Skip to comments.Americans say "Thank You", but Japanese Have at Least 10 Ways to Properly Express Their Gratitude.
Posted on 06/21/2014 1:03:40 PM PDT by lee martell
A co-worker of mine is preparing himself for a trip to Tokyo to meet his fiance's parents. He is now studying the rudiments of their language. For most westerners Japanese is not a simple language to learn, unless you are using it on a regular basis. My friend has learned there are many ways to say Thanks in Japanese. You have to remember that this is a society that still gives great focus on the status of an individual, and that individual's relationship to or with the person speaking. Most times, the worst one can do is to speak in a way that is 'too familiar' at the very start of your friendship. Due to the exclusivity of this topic, I will only cover a few of the forms here, referring you to the 'Internets' if you need more information. The point is that even today, in a time where courtly manner and proper deportment are less observed, expected, valued or even taught, there are certain customs that persist in many developed nations.
To say a Casual Thanks; #1. Say Domo Arigatou; (Do-mo-ah-ree-gah-toh) A fairly standard yet casual way to say thank you. Use this with friends and co-workers, but avoid using it with someone in a position of authority over you. Not for formal setting either.
#2. Shorten it to "Arigatou" (Ah-ree-gah-toh) For an even more informal way of saying thank you. Use this with friends and family. People who share your status, but not someone with higher status like a supervisor or teacher!)
#3. Shorten it to "Domo" (do-moh) Domo is more polite than arigatou, but it falls somewhere in between casual and formal speech. Not the most formal of phrases.
#4. Formal Thanks; #a. Arigato Gozaimasu (Are-ee-gato, Go-zah-ee-mas) Use this to thank those with higher status than you. This includes teachers, elders, strangers or aquaintences who appear older than you. You can also use this to express heartfelt gratitude to someone close to you.
#4b. Switch to Domo Arigatou Gozaimasu (Domo-ahree-gatto, Goh-zah-ee-mas) This is an even more polite way to thank those with higher status than you.
#4c. Express thanks in the past tense as "Arigatou Gozaimashita" (Ah-ree-gatto, Go-zah-ma-shee-tah) If someone has done something for you in the recent past, use this phrase by changing the "U" ending to "ita".
Some of which include texting you cartoon pictures of nekkid schoolgirls.
In the Kansai area, “oh-keeni” is regional slang for thanks, if I recall.
Which is why after two years of college Japanese I could just manage to ask where the toilet was.
So how do I say to Obama, “Thanks a lot, as***le?”
don’t forget the three alphabets...lol. Dropping out of Japanese my Freshman year was one of the most fulfilling accomplishments of my life...still like the food though.
Katakana & Hiragana were no problem. I still have nightmares about being tested on Kanji, though.
I’m surprised they don’t have a Bureau of Linguistic Planning and Regulation Enforcement. The Chinese or Quebecers in Canada would consider something like that.
I always liked the somewhat archaic yet charming “thank you” from the South...”I’m obliged...”
If you think the Japanese women is pretty then there is another way of saying thank you.....
I always remember, years ago, I was working on the east side of midtown Manhattan; I saw two groups of young Japanese business people meeting up with each other. I think some were likely Americans, but of course I can’t be sure.
What I noticed was how they bowed to one another. Of course they did it so naturally, it wasn’t stilted or overly formal at all. And I found it most charming.
I remember thinking: that is such a good idea, it is so respectful, but there’s no touching. More sanitary and no chance some jerk will give you one of those vise grip handshakes (a person like that must be rejected out of hand, pun intended) or, what is almost worse, that you’ll get one of those dead fish treatments (a person like that needs a lesson in handshakes).
I hope your friend enjoys his visit with his future in-laws.
The “I’m Obliged” response sounds better than what I usually hear “No Problem!”. Who said it was a problem? I don’t fret over it much, but I notice the subtle shift of what passes for an acceptable demeanor. Less humility, more casual to anybody, regardless of who they are to you.
My Dad always said “Much obliged.” In Texas we say “Preshaydit” or “I appreciate it.”
In my Hollywood years I worked for a while at a facility that, among other things, did sound tracks for porno films. I rode the elevator one day with a group of very polite and professionally dressed Japanese business people. They turned out to be the performers who’d been hired to do the “groan overs” on the porno movies. Watching them work was pretty funny... “Hai” hasn’t meant quite the same thing to me ever since.
“no problem” is actually widespread - in spanish “de nada” means “its nothing” similar in italian “prego” and in greek i think.
So Madame Butterfly was only interested in making tea and keeping the house swept clean? Okay. I guess she just really liked her job. There was the implication in those Arias that their relationship was far more ‘evolved’ than just boss and maidservant, but that’s Hollywood for you, glitz and glamour.
Beware of a southern lady telling you, “Well, bless your heart”...
2. Thanks a bunch.
3. Thank you
4. Thank you very much
5. I’m so grateful
6. I really appreciate that
7. I could just kiss you
8. This means a lot
9. OMG OMG OMG
10. I’ve died and gone to heaven
11. What did I do to deserve this?
12. I’m in your debt
13. I’m deeply in your debt
14. I’m forever in your debt
And I could go on and on. We have, and do, express gratitude in many different ways.
A lot of the words for “I’m sorry” also double as expression of gratitude.
It’s like you’re apologizing for acting in the role of receiver.
Actually paying to be entertained by a geisha ..
1. Means you’re rich
2. You have access to the expense account of a large company
3. You’re sort of a “playa”
4. You almost certainly had no sex at all
PS - Most “geisha” are actually MAIKO, a geisha apprentice.
Their world is extremely hierarchical and arduous.
I thought that was Jawa for “stop the sandcrawler and pick us up, we got us a droid.”
“They turned out to be the performers whod been hired to do the groan overs on the porno movies.”
HA! That is a funny story, thanks for sharing it! (I HOPE that’s not what the folks I saw were up to, but you never know.)