What Arigato means? – あいうえお Blog! 「あ」

Posted by on February 1, 2018 – Japanese Study

What is the meaning behind Arigato?

「あ」ありがとう – あいうえお Blog!

日本語はこちらから

Hello, everyone! This is the first in a series of blogs we will call  “AIUEO”

Here at Coto and our staff and teachers will be writing blogs about the Japanese language and Japanese culture in the coming weeks. The reason why our blog is called “AIUEO blog,” is because the first blog will start with a word beginning with “A,” the second blog will start with a word beginning with “I,“ etc.

This follows the format of Japanese phonetic alphabet “AIUEO.”
Can you think of what the next blog’s word will be?

I chose the word “Arigato,” because I wanted to talk about a wonderful word that everyone uses. It’s the very first word that we learn when we go to a foreign country! The word that makes others smile!

It’s a great filler word for times when you do not know what to say in Japanese – but here is a tip – If you’re not sure what to say, just say “Thank you”!

According to a survey about what words Japanese women want to hear from their boyfriends, the number one, by a landslide, is “Arigato.”
(Come on Japanese guys … say “Arigato” to your girlfriends … ( ノД`) *sniff*)
Anyway, please use “Arigato” in your everyday life in Japan, since it makes everyone happy!

Now then, the word “Arigato” in kanji is “有り難い.”
The word was originally used in Buddhism, where “有る = existing; being” was considered “難しい = difficult,” and thus pointed to “something that rarely exists“ or “something rare and precious.“
In other words, “having someone do something for you, is a rare and precious thing.”
The word “Arigato” is now widely used in everyday life – at home, at school, at work, at the store, etc. However, when you remember the word’s original meaning, when you receive a homemade meal, feel kindness from your co-workers, or encouragement from Coto’s teachers before the JLPT (^_^), you might feel a deeper sense of gratitude, knowing how precious all of these things are.

Alright, it’s time for the end quiz!
You can probably already guess the answer, but what is the opposite of the word “Arigato”?

— Thinking time —

Time’s up!

The answer is “Atarimae = something ordinary or common.” 当たり前
If you take away the feeling that the event is precious and rarely happens, you just get “That’s normal, completely ordinary.”
Only when something stops being ordinary, will we start feeling gratitude. So, remember to say “Arigato” to show your appreciation. (If you usually forget to say “Arigato” to your partner, then today you have to do it! Hehe)

This blog was written by Ayana Nezu – Nezu San will begin working at our New Azabu Location from February onwards – www.cotoclub.com with more than 10 years experience in the education, training, and human resources industries – she brings a wealth of experience to Coto – as well as a bright smile and a love for Sake tasting workshops in her free time.  Come say Arigato to her starting February at Coto Club!