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When Thank You and Sorry mean the same thing

It’s interesting how some things are expressed differently in different languages. Take for example in Japanese, when someone opens the door for you, you apologise to them for having inconvenienced them, whereas in English we’d usually thank them. In Japan, it’s all about humility. When you do something, anything, to inconvenience someone, you are sort of at their will. In English, apologising for this can make you seem weak or feeble, or ungrateful.

For the longest time, I’ve been making an effort to be positive in my remarks, for example instead of saying ‘sorry for the wait’, I try and say ‘thanks for your patience’. This is in an effort to keep things positive, to avoid putting a downer on things. In some cases though, this just isn’t possible in Japanese. I mean, it’s possible, but it’s completely unnatural.

A similar instance is that on the phone or at the door when we can’t see the other person talking, we say ‘It’s” and then our name, rather than just saying “I’m”. This sort of thing you don’t really notice until you have to teach it, and there are so many exceptions in English it can be hard to keep track.

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi


Hi, I’m Tim Bunting AKA the Kiwi Yamabushi, a New Zealander who became a Yamabushi Ascetic in the Dewa Sanzan mountains of north Japan. I’m part of the Yamabushido team, and we host life-altering Yamabushi training on the Dewa Sanzan (website link). People come to us for the ultimate mindfulness experience, to reach the next level, or simply connect with nature and themselves.

I’m on a mission to summit all 100 Famous Mountains of Yamagata Prefecture to spread the splendour of this fabulous location, and in dedication to all those who lost their lives out in nature, including my father.

On my daily blog I post thoughts of a practicing Yamabushi that I hope people can use to better themselves and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Sign up to the weekly Mountains of Wisdom newsletter, follow me on social (Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Clubhouse, all @kiwiyamabushi), or send me an email via the link below to stay in touch.



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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 


All photos my own. Contact for more. 

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