01 July 2012

A couple more ways to say "thank you" and "sorry" in Japanese

You all probably now about "Arigatou gozaimasu," which might translate to "Thank you, sir/ma'am" in English or "Salamat po" in Filipino, or "Sumimasen," which could mean "Excuse me" or "Sorry," or "Paumanhin po." Of course you can also just say "Arigatou" which translates simply to "Thank you" or "Salamat." Or, you can say "Doumo arigatou gozaimasu," which translates to "Thank you very much, sir/ma'am" or "Maraming salamat po."

But you can also just say "Doumo," which translates to "Thanks!" The Japanese expression also has a past-tense version, i.e. "Doumo arigatou gozaimashita." For example, when you board a bus, there will be a recorded announcement that says "Arigatou gozaimasu" in present tense; i.e. thank you for being on the bus right now. When the bus is about to reach its destination, the announcement will say "Arigatou gozaimashita" in past tense - to thank you for having ridden the bus.

Before I came here to Japan, I was taught that Sumimasen means Excuse Me or Sorry. I played basketball with locals and whenever they missed stuff and what not, I heard them say something else: "Gomenasai." Now this is what actually means Sorry. And Sorry only. Get the difference between Sumimasen and Gomenasai? Anyway, there is another way to say sorry: Shitsurei Shimasu or simply Shitsurei, except what it really means is "I'm being impolite" or "Excuse me for being rude" or "Mawalang galang na po." And so while it also means you're being sorry, these three ways (Sumimasen, Gomenasai, Shitsurei Shimasu) are used in very distinct situations.

Anyway, there are two more ways to say thanks. One is "Kansha shimasu," which also means Thanks or I Appreciate (You/Your ___). I've heard the word Kansha before in church, where we say "Kami ni Kansha," or Thanks Be To God, after some bible readings. The second one is by "Okagesama de ..." which translates to "Thanks to you, ..." or "Salamat sa iyo, ..." As indicated by my use of leaders (3 dots), "Okagesama de" is accompanied by an explanation of why you are thanking. But again, there's different situations where you might use the Arigatou form, Kansha shimasu, or the Okagesama de form.

Well, I hope you learned something new today! For reading through this article, arigatou gozaimashita!

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