I realise that apologizing is very important in Japanese culture; I have memorized some of the more common apologies (すみません, 申し訳ありません, 失礼します, ごめんなさい, etc.), but I am having a little trouble finding what comes next. If I apologize to someone; like, actually apologize for doing something, not just bumping into them; what are they supposed to do? What will they do, if it’s not what they’re supposed to do? If someone apologizes to me, what do I do? Are there any faux pas I need to worry about?
Thanks in advance for putting up with my ramblings, みんなさん…
A typical structure is as follows;
- Introduce the thing you are apologizing about
- Optional - bow. Important to finish speaking first, then start to bow. Don’t bow whilst speaking.
- Explain how you will avoid this in the future or how you will ensure it wont happen again.
- Apologise again.
Don’t make some sort of convoluted excuse, just state facts - I made a mistake, I misread, I overslept, I misspoke, I lost my temper etc.
Modified example taken from a textbook I dug up.
Scenario: I turned up at a clients office a few hours late, as I misread the invitation. I thought it said 1pm start, but in fact it was an 11am start.
The next time I see the client…
If you are asking how to accept an apology or how yours might be accepted, here are some options
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