[The Power of Arigato]
I never understood the Japanese people who said that their favourite word was Arigato.
So simple. So everyday. So trite.
The other day, my bicultural kid looked at me in The Eye and said out of the blue, “Arigato, Papa.”
It’s a bit difficult to describe what happened next. On one hand, an ember flowed from my heart, gradually spreading warmth to my entire body. On the other hand, fireworks exploded in my mind, sending a surge of adrenaline that conveyed the message:
“I WILL DELAY MY RETIREMENT AND SLOG IN THE RAT RACE FOR ANOTHER TEN YEARS!!!”
Okay, maybe 5 more years.
Now I understand why some Japanese say that their favourite word is Arigato. Although I’m Chinese, I gotta say that it packs a greater emotional punch than Xie Xie. Maybe because it comprises four syllables, stretching the flow of gratitude. Maybe because Arigato ends on a falling tone and is melodious on the ear. Either way, I’m glad I acquired Japanese all those years ago.