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Mariko's Corner: A Japanese Language Column with Mariko Sensei

November 26, 2020

Mariko's Corner: A Japanese Language Column with Mariko Sensei

“Arigatō”​ Thank you


Happy Thanksgiving Day!

It is a great time to remind ourselves who and what to appreciate, and also say thank you from our hearts. We remember, especially in difficult times, to take nothing for granted.

Here are two beautiful Japanese phrases to express gratitude. Arigatō, “Thank you” is quite well known, but not really its original meaning. Arigatō came from the word, arigatai which literally means “It’s hard to exist.”, essentially meaning “It’s a miracle.”.​ ​Saying Arigatō to each other becomes a praise for each other’s life. Life is a miracle!

Many of you have also heard ​itadakimasu, ​“I humbly receive.” which is said before having a meal with palms together in a prayer-like position. It is a phrase to express gratitude to everyone and everything from the earth to the table – receiving other lives for us to live everyday.

Since ancient times, the idea of kotodama,​ ​“word spirit” has been believed in Japan. It is the idea that a word itself has a spirit and energy that comes true. We should use words mindfully. How wonderful it is that we have this magic tool! How wonderful it would be if the world was full of the word, “​Thank you”​! ​To whom​ and what would you like to say thank you?