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Lesson Transcript

In today’s lesson, we will cover phrases used for apologizing. Now if you haven’t quite mastered Japanese, it’s probably very useful to know these. Being able to apologize in Japanese will help you leave a great impression in case you bump into someone or you take someone’s seat by mistake. Basically if you mess up, it will make a huge difference. So let’s start.
The Japanese phrase for apologizing is Sumimasen. Su-mi-ma-se-n. Sumimasen. Let’s break it down by syllable Su-mi-ma-se-n. Here it is again Sumimasen. Like I said, you can use this phrase whenever. If you bump into someone or if you want to get someone’s attention as well. You can also use the phrase Gomen’nasai. Go-me-n-na-sa-i. by syllable that would be Go-me-n-na-sa-i. Together that’s Gomen’nasai. That would be a more casual way of saying I am sorry but people might use it on you as well. Now those two phrases are specifically mean to say I am sorry but the term Sumimasen has a double meaning.
Now this phrase can be used in all sorts of situations. For example, if you accidentally bump into someone or if you step on someone’s shoes. Now this may not seem like a realistic situation where you are living but in Tokyo where the Subways and the trains are really, really crowded, this is a daily occurrence. People shove you, people shove their bags into you, happens all the time. So if you accidentally bump into someone, just say Sumimasen and say it like you mean it too Sumimasen. Now there is a strong possibility that people are going to step on your shoes, what do you do when that happens?
Well there is two options. The first one is pretty simple. It’s a gesture. Simply nod your head really quickly as if to say okay, okay, okay. Basically this just acknowledges that you heard them apologizing and that it’s okay. The second option is to actually say Iie, iie. Again that’s Iie, iie. I-i-e, i-i-e. It just means, no, no it’s fine. Don’t worry about it. It’s a very formal way of saying it. If you could remember, this might leave a better impression. So let’s get on to Sachiko secret.
So Sachiko secret of the day is that Sumimasen can have a double meaning. It can also be used to mean excuse me as in trying to get someone’s attention. So if you are at a restaurant and you want to catch the waiter’s attention, simply say Sumimasen and your job is done. Also if you are at a store and you want someone’s advice, you can call the store clerk over by saying Sumimasen. It can be used in various different ways. So remember Sumimasen the almighty word of the day. Be sure to use it when you come to Japan. Okay so to close our today’s lesson, let’s practice what you’ve just learned.
I will give you the English equivalent of the phrase and you are responsible for shouting it out loud in Japanese. You got that? I will give you a few seconds before I give you the answer. So good luck Ganbatte kudasai in Japanese, the word that means excuse me as in trying to get someone’s attention and also mean I am sorry is say like you mean it. Sumimasen. Su-mi-ma-se-n. Sumimasen. and the more casual way of apologizing is Gomen’nasai. Go-me-n-na-sa-i. Gomen’nasai. Be sure to apologize when you step on those toes. All right. That’s going to do it for today. See you later which in Japanese is Matane.


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