anibee's Guide to Nifty Japanese Words 101! (Vol. 21)

Saying "Sorry"!

All of us are bound to mess up now and then. Whether if it's spilling a drink, breaking a vase, crashing a car or blowing up a building - hey, we're only human!

Which is why in a society that's as well-oiled and structured as Japan's, knowing how to admit (profusely) your mistakes is a key element in fitting in. Here are a few phrases that are bound to help get you out of any jam - we hope!


"I beg your pardon!"

An easy to remember phrase that's sufficiently polite and versatile. Great for those small mistakes, it also doubles as a pseudo-thank you!


Gomen nasai!
"I'm sorry!"

Uh oh, did you blow up your homestay mother's oven? Then you'd better be more sorry about it - that's where this phrase comes in!


Moshiwake nai!
"I'm SO SORRY!!"

For those really serious mistakes, it's hard for most decent people to turn their noses at you when you fire this baby off. Replace ない(nai) with ございません(gozaimasen) or any other similar polite suffix, together with some kowtowing and head banging, and you've got a guaranteed fool-proof apology ritual!!


"My apologies/I am in your debt"

Another great phrase that doubles as a "Thank you", whipping this phrase out instantly makes you sound like a Samurai straight out of the Edo period... or a huge Origami Cyclone fan boy.

- Q

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