Often times, people ask me why Japanese tend to apologize and say "I'm sorry".
So I reply it's a polite way of saying "excuse me".
This question started me to think that not many individuals say sorry as much as Japanese do. Maybe I am imagining things but whenever I find out problems due to operational error or overlook issues, I remember they never said sorry. Even if I point out that it was completely due to the person not following the procedure, he does not apologize.
I guess there is a reason for that.
It seems if he apologizes, he knows that it's a sign of admitting the mistake. All the blame will go to him and will be responsible for the mistake so that's a risk he cannot take.
When I was on a business trip, a guy bumped into me but he did not say sorry but instead told me to watch out.
Even pinpointing the mistake, a guy will not say sorry but instead says I will be careful next time.
From a Japanese perspective, I would have said lots of sorry.
When I was a new graduate, I used to say "I'm sorry" as if I were saying "Hello". In occasion where I ask a question I said "I'm sorry but I have a question".
And one day I forgot to add "I'm sorry" when I asked a question and my colleagues started laughing saying "Did you forget to apologize today?"
Well, this was the day I finally realized that it was a mistake to repeatedly use "I'm sorry". There is nothing to apologize. It took me a year to find this out. Now, I do really appreciate the guy for teaching me a good lesson.
Now I am trying my best to say "Excuse me" instead of "I'm sorry". For example,
I try not to apologize but show appreciation instead like as follows:
The whole purpose here is to replace "sorry" with "thank you". Whenever I have a question, I always feel sorry for the individual of having to spend time answering my question but now if I say "thank you" I have no reason to apologize.
So whenever you notice a Japanese saying more "thank you" than "sorry", you might be talking to me:)