05 May 2011


When the Japanese use the word 'sumimasen' to connote both thanks for the receipt of a gift as well as sorrow for imposing one's needs on another they are implicitly addressing both the mishpat side of gift giving as well as the choq side of imposing oneself across the boundary of another's autonomy. 
The sorrow is for the need to violate and encroach on another's space, to impose a cost and thereby to entail oneself in indebtedness to another; the thanks are a gesture of appreciation for the value of the gift. 

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