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The Many Ways To Say 'Sorry' in Japanese
Dale Wisely

I owe you an apology for my behavior at work over the past few weeks.  Mistakes are often made in the passive voice. I've been coming in late each day, I've been distracted during meetings, and the projects I've been turning in have been full of errors and mistakes that I should've been able to catch. Did you never call? I waited for your call. A series of very bad mistakes were made, and a tragic accident occurred. History is harsh. What is done cannot be undone. I am sorry that I used the word. And it's a shame that I did because the point I was trying to make was in the exact opposite spirit of the word itself. Even now, I find myself speechless and my heart is rent with the utmost grief. How deep is the scar? My work has been shamefully sloppy, and for that, I am very sorry. I’ve been letting my home life get in the way of my work. We have a new baby, and she has been keeping us busy around the clock. I don’t think I can say anything that will help, but I hope through your God, you can forgive me. I'm definitely not the person now that I was then. I was sick, afraid, and looking for love in all the wrong ways. You cannot touch a person. It would be wrong to touch a person. Touching someone is not for me. Plus, our oldest has just started school, and he's having trouble making the transition. I realize that there's no excuse for letting my personal affairs impact my work like this, though. Starting Monday, I promise that things will improve. I hope that you can forgive my poor performance and allow me to prove to you, once more, that your trust is well deserved. We're so sorry if we caused you any pain. The hour of departure has arrived, and we go our ways.


Sources: “So. Central Rain,” by R.E.M.; Bill Clinton on the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in 1999; Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe’s 2015 speech on the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in WWII; John Mayer apologizing for using the n-word in an interview; “Uncle Albert/Admirable Halsey” by Paul McCartney; Kanye West apologies to Taylor Swift on Twitter; Plato quoting Socrates on his sentencing; Sample email apology from WikiHow; Final words of an executed man in Texas; Reggie Jackson apologizes for profane outburst caught on video.

Dale Wisely edits Right Hand Pointing, One Sentence Poems, and prose poetry at White Knuckle Press. He is a clinical psychologist and public school administrator.