Friday, August 14, 2009

Why are you apologizing?

Apologizing is a fundamental part of Japanese Culture but I think it can sometimes go too far. I was in a museum a couple of weeks ago and, while getting lost in translation, one of the curators apologized to me for their inability to speak English.

Come again? I came to your country so it is my responsibility to learn your language.

There was absolutely no reason why apologizing should have even entered her thought process. I was actually kind of offended for her.

It happened multiple times. Each time I tried to tell her that she shouldn't apologize and that I was sorry I didn't speak Japanese better. Unfortunately, this just put a puzzled look on her face and made her start apologizing more.

1 comment:

  1. funny, dutch people are the opposite. like when i was a little, i remember this kid fell and i said "sorry" and she was like "why are you sorry, you didn't do anything"
    In our language sorry is only for if you have committed a crime personally or something an most be severe. empathy doesn't factor in. man, i am making us sound like monsters. But basically sorry isn't used that way and apolosing is a very complicated thing there.