Tea Ceremony Scroll by B Tse © 2012 niall. All rights reserved.

doumo arigatou gozaimashita

After training we say thank you to our teachers and to our partners and to our students.

In Japanese there are a few ways to say thank you. By the way often the u is omitted in writing Japanese into English – Tokyo is normal, not Toukyou, and of course so is judo, not juudou, but I have put it in to make the words easier to pronounce. Here are seven different ways to say thank you. It’s no wonder we get confused. For budo you can usually forget the first five. And please say thank you the way your teacher tells you or you’ll get me into trouble.

“Arigatou,” is quite casual.
“Doumo,” is even more casual.
“Doumo arigatou” is casual too but a little stronger.

“Arigatou gozaimasu” is “Thank you” in the present tense. So it has a kind of implied feeling of a continuing connection or relationship. And if you add Doumo at the beginning “Doumo arigatou gozaimasu” roughly means “Thank you very much.”

“Arigatou gozaimashita” is “Thank you” in the past tense. So we use it for something that’s finished or when a result has become clear. So in normal social interaction it is rarer than Arigatou gozaimasu. But it is the one that is appropriate for keiko. It was difficult for me to catch the nuance of difference between these two.

“Doumo arigatou gozaimashita” is a little more polite maybe and is only used to people (so not to the dojo) to say “Thank you very much” for something that is over.

In budo after training even though of course we do have ongoing connections between teacher and students and between sempai and kouhai we say thank you with this feeling of something having finished.

That lesson will never come again. That conflux of circumstances that brought us together for that moment will never come again. Before we meet again things will change – someone might move away, someone might get married, someone might become sick, someone might die. And who knows, perhaps we will not meet again.

In the tea ceremony that is called

一期一会
Ichi go Ichi e

Life is transient. We have just the one chance. And each moment together is precious.

So Doumo arigatou gozaimashita. Thank you very much for reading this. Oh come on, give me a hug.

Niall

photo: Tea Ceremony scroll by B Tse

This article was originally published on the aikido site aikiweb.

Aqui la traducción en español.

Hier die Deutsche Übersetzung.

© niall matthews 2010

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