My parents have acted as host parents for many years to Japanese overseas students who came to study at our local universities.
When my father passed away, a few of these former overseas students whom he had previously hosted actually came all the way from Japan for his funeral. I was very touched by their kind gesture.
I cannot speak any Japanese, but I want to say “Thank you for coming” in a thank-you letter. What should I say?
Answer by Professional Japanese Teacher
I am very sorry for your loss. Your father must be a wonderful man to have many former overseas students coming for his funeral.
“Thank you” is “arigatoo” or “arigatoogozaimasu” in Japanese. In Japanese language, the level of politeness differs according to the relationship with the target audience.
For people who are close to us, we use “arigatoo”. For business associates or older people, we use the more polite version “arigatoogozaimasu”.
However, even for people who are close to us, we use “arigatoogozaimasu” especially in formal situations or situations where we wish to reassert ourselves.
This makes the language more refined or sophisticated. The person(s) you are writing to is your former host family. If you wish to show a sense of familiarity, you can say “kitekurete arigatoo”.
If you wish to express your thanks again formally even for close friends, you can say “kitekurete arigatoogozaimashita”.
“Gozaimashita” means past tense. We use “gozaimashita” to show thanks for past actions.
Arigatoo is a fast way of saying "thank you" in Japanese. But do you know that there are many ways of saying "thank you"? And do you also know that these different ways target different people for different occasions? Let's find out more!