The Japanese culture is a culture of politeness. There is word you use with family and friends, it is “gomennasai,” and it means “I’m sorry.” However, in a more formal setting, such as business or a public space, the word to use is “sumimasen.” Loosely translated, it means, “Words are not enough,” is also used to express gratitude, and, can encompass pretty much everything, as in, “I’m sorry for what I have done, am now doing, and will do.”
This leads to today’s thoughts. There is a Jewish holiday coming up, beginning tomorrow evening — Rosh Hashana. It is the Jewish New Year — the head of the year. It is a nine-day holiday, and leads up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. These are the Highest Holy Days for the Jews. What we’re supposed to do during these first days of the New Year is to go around and apologize to everyone we have wronged. We are to make amends for all the wrongs we commit, thoughtlessness toward others, all of our casual cruelties, mean words, and gossip. The idea is to start the new year with a clean slate, so that we can be written in the Book of Life, as opposed to the Book of Death.
Therefore, I want to use this particular format, my blog, to apologize to everyone I might have said mean, thoughtless or unkind words. I try to use my language for the good (not the vulgarity, because I do enjoy vulgarity so much), but I am aware of the power of words, and there is no excuse for me to not be watchful and more respectful.
Therefore, I say, and mean with all my heart, “gomennasai” to my family, “sumimasen” to the rest of the world, and may anyone who celebrates New Year right now have a happy, healthy, sweet new year.
And I’m also sorry that this blog is so short.