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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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JapanesePod101.com
Tuesday at 6:30 pm
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In Japan, apologies are very important - learn how to do it right with this lesson!

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JapanesePod101.com
May 16th, 2016 at 7:55 am
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Simon san,

Konnichiwa.:smile:

I agree with you.

It should be between すみません and もうしわけありません.

Yuki  由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

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Simon
May 7th, 2016 at 4:10 pm
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今日は!

When I saw Yuki さん's reply to Frances san, I started to wonder where does "失礼いたしました" fit in the politeness level ? (from high to low)

もうしわけありません

すみません

ごめんなさい

ごめん and so on.


I guess may be between すみません and もうしわけありません. I'm not sure my whether my guessing is correct or not.

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JapanesePod101.com
May 5th, 2016 at 8:51 pm
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Ruth M さん、

Konnichiwa.:smile:

Thank you for your comment.

Yuki 由紀

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Ruth M
April 26th, 2016 at 3:20 am
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"Ohayo,YUKI-san!":thumbsup::smile:

I understand ,that apologies are very important in Japan:thumbsup:

It should be so in every country,not in just Japan,and a few other countries.

It's a positive gesture to say:"I'm sorry, excuse me.":thumbsup::smile:

The lesson was::thumbsup:

ARIGATO GOZAIMASU!:thumbsup:MATA NE!:thumbsup::heart::thumbsup:

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JapanesePod101.com
March 8th, 2016 at 5:36 pm
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Frances san,

Konnichiwa.

The Japanese language has many politeness levels.

Regarding ‘I am sorry’, it has many expressions, for example,

もうしわけありません

すみません

ごめんなさい

ごめん and so on.

もうしわけありません is in the highest level of politeness among those four and is basically used for customers.

On the other handごめん is the lowest and used among family members, close friends or children.

In your case ごめんさないshould be ok.

However, if you first meet your daughter in law’s family and friends, I recommend you to use すみませんin case.

If it is too polite to them, they would tell you that you don’t need to use polite words.

I just say being polite is better than being rude.

:smile:

Yuki  由紀

Team JapanesePod101.com

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Frances
March 2nd, 2016 at 4:35 am
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I am a bit confused. You say that ごめんなさい is casual but my Japanese friends from Nagoya say that it's a formal apology and that the informal would be ごめん. I don't want to be rude when visiting my Japanese daughter in law's family and friends. Or, indeed, when traveling in Japan.

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JapanesePod101.com
May 18th, 2015 at 9:44 am
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Nora san,

Konnichiwa.

Thank you for the question.

‘Sitsurei itashimashita’ is same as ‘shitsurei shimashita’

When you are leaving your boss’s office, you should say that.

Or when you made a mistake, you should say that.


Yuki 由紀

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Nora
May 11th, 2015 at 8:56 pm
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Hi all,


I am VERY new to JAP, so sumimasen if I am asking a weird question now, but, when do we use Shitsurei itashimashita? I didn't hear it on the audio lesson... did I miss it?! :flushed:

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William
March 5th, 2011 at 6:35 am
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Gomenasai! Arigatou for the email. When I Always sign in it doesn't work.

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チィ
March 4th, 2011 at 2:05 pm
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すみません。あの。。。。。。。Jessiさんは日本人ですか。