What is the antonym of Arigato?

May 11, 2015 Juju Kurihara 2 Comments

One of the most well known Japanese words is Arigato (ありがとう). As soon as people know that I´m Japanese and if they know some Japanese, they say, "Arigato" with a big smile. It feels nice.
Many people who have travelled Japan often mention their experiences in the shops or the restaurants where the waiters or the shop assistants shout "Irasshaimase! (いらっしゃいませ/ Welcome) " and "Arigatogozaimashita! (ありがとうございました/ Thank you very much)" when they left. OK, it´s a little funny that they shout but no one must´ve felt unpleasant but rather good feeling. This is the effect of Kotodama (言霊) I´ve talked about recently. 
I assume that you are agree with me that the word Arigato is a very popular Japanese word internationally. Then, can you say, what is the antonym of Arigato?  This seems to be a question even native Japanese speakers can hardly answer.
I´ve found a video that explains it.

The antonym of Arigato,
I´d never even thought about it.
The answer they told me was…
"Atarimae (当たり前/ normal, expected) "
"Arigato (ありがとう) " written in Kanji is "有難う",
means rarely exists.
It´s hard to happen or rare.
You come across something rarely happens.
In other word, it´s miracle (Kiseki -奇跡).
The antonym of miracle is "natural" or "expected". 
We believe that everything around us is
there because it should be.
It´s normal that we can walk.
It´s normal that we can see and hear.
It´s normal that our limbs move.
It´s normal that we wake up in the morning.
It´s normal that we have food.
It´s normal that we can breathe.
It´s normal that we can meet friends anytime we want.
It´s normal that the sun rises every morning.
It´s normal that we were born.
It´s normal that our husbands (wives) come home
every day.
It´s normal that we alive.
As well as the narrator of this video, I´d never thought about what is the antonym of Arigato. It´s true that we forget to appreciate the things around us. Probably everyone has experienced of cutting a finger with a paper. Suddenly a tip of your finger takes a lot of your attention. You feel the existence of that finger every time you want to type keyboard or wash your hair. The finger has been with you all the time but why we´ve forgotten how important the finger tip?
We can understand that we say Arigato to give things a value. In the ancient Japan, this word was used in the literal sense more often, means “It´s hard to exist”. That is to say, “It´s hard to live”. But in the middle age, the Buddhism´s “jihi (慈悲/ mercy)” philosophy influenced over people´s daily life and the word Arigatai changed the meaning to appreciation.
My father often told me, “Itsumademo aruto omouna oya to kane (いつまでもあると思うな親と金)”. This is a Japanese proverb and meaning is, don´t expect the parents and the money will be always there for you.
I always thought how mean he was but it was true. Until I left the house, I was always protected by my parents and didn´t need to worry about where and how much money came to our family. For me as a child, it was absolutely normal that the parents were there to do things for me and I could ask money whenever I needed. But now? I´m alone and I have to take care of myself and the money. Now I know it was a precious time, Arigatai period of my life, which obviously I didn´t realise back then. 
We don´t say Arigato when we don´t appreciate the things. It would be sad people didn´t value anything. It´s normal a waiter serves you. It´s normal someone opens the door for you. That would be a very arrogant society. But at the same time, it´s not so easy to say thank you from your heart. Arigato is such a short word but it has a lot of value in it.
The second half of the video tells you a story about a couple. I´ve added the translation for you in case you are interested in reading.  
Also they have told me about a couple.
The husband was having a drink with his dinner.
Suddenly he said to the wife, “Can you serve me?”,
which he had rarely asked in the past.
The wife was washing up the dishes and said,
“I´m busy now. Can you serve it by yourself?"
He looked a little disappointed but
poured sake by himself.
A few hours later, the husband collapsed.
He was taken to the hospital by the ambulance 
but passed away.
After that, 
why she didn´t serve sake to her husband
when he asked
the wife regretted for a long time.
“Why I could´t have responded
with kind words,
with a big smile,
with appreciation
when he asked…"
We all believe that
tomorrow will be the same as today.
you can meet someone, talk to them, laugh with them,
have a meal with them and work.
All these things you think it´s normal
are actually just a sequence of miracles.
“It rarely happens"
We can´t stop saying “thank you"
for this sequence of miracles that we live and come across to others. 
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  1. koneko 7 years Reply

    That was beautiful. Arigatou!

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