“Arigato(or thank you)” is something we say every day. We use this word every day, but we may not really understand what it means. I think this word, “Arigato” is much different from the “thank you” in other languages!


Let’s look at the word “Arigato” in other languages:

  • (English) Thank you : “Thank” comes from the Latin word Tongere, and it means to “think”. So “Thank you” means “I am thinking of the good things you have done for me”.

  • (French) Merci : “Merci” has the meaning “Wages, pity”

  • (Chinese) Xie xie : The character for Xie is made up of 2 characters. The word for “Word” and to “Shoot(an arrow)”. By saying the “word”, you relieve the tension. In Japan this character is used for words like “gratitude” and “Apology”

“Arigato” is made up of 2 words “To be” and “Difficult”, so it actually means “Something that is difficult to happen, or rarely happens”. The origin of this word comes from a Buddhist parable of the “Blind turtle and the floating wood”.

Buddha told of the parable of the blind turtle and the floating wood. “There was a blind turtle in the ocean that would only go up to the surface once every 100 years. And in the same ocean was a wood with a small hole drifting in the ocean to the west and to the east, and to the north and to the south. What is the chance that the blind turtle goes up to the surface of the ocean, and have it head stick into the small hole in the wood floating in the ocean?” The probability of that is infinitely small, but we cannot say that it will never happen.


Opposite of “Arigato/Arigatai” is “Atarimae(something that is bound to happen)”. To be alive, to have someone be nice to you, to be able to live this day with health is not something that we should take for granted, and we should be deeply thankful for it. Let’s take the time to say “Arigato” to someone today!



#ありがとう #感謝 #日本語


1 Comment

Kristine · 2021年7月13日 at 3:27 AM

Thanks very interesting blog!

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