All couples fight. But what separates a good couple from a bad couple is that with a good couple, someone will usually step up and apologize before the awkward atmosphere devours their relationship whole.
Today we’d like to share several tactics that Japanese women employ to apologize to their boyfriends when they’re in the wrong.
We’ve categorized them according to the severity of the fault committed and supplemented them with photographs for your reference. We hope that they will be useful for men dating Japanese women and women who wish to work a bit of Japanese humility into their repertoire or apologies.
■Level 1: The “Tehe-pero”
Example situations: You passed gas in front of your boyfriend; you left rice in the rice cooker without turning it on
“Tehe-pero” is a portmanteau of the Japanese onomatopoeias for an embarrassed giggle, “tehe”, and sticking out one’s tongue, “pero”. It refers to giggling cheekily and then sticking out your tongue after making a trivial mistake.
Many Japanese women instinctively use “tehe-pero” after a harmless slip up to secure their boyfriend’s forgiveness. “Tehe-pero” is an excellent way to leverage your cuteness and often leaves boyfriends wondering why they were upset in the first place.
■Level 2: The Normal Apology
Example situations: The dinner you made tasted like feet; you were to late to your date by an hour or less
With your eyes cast downward, bend your upper body forward slightly and say you’re sorry. The Normal Apology should work for most repairable mistakes and mishaps.
■Level 3: The 45-Degree Bow
Example situations: You were caught sending questionable text messages with the opposite sex; you broke an object of sentimental or economic value belonging to your boyfriend
With your head lowered, bend your body forward 45 degrees and sincerely apologize for what you have done. Be sure to maintain the position until you have been forgiven. Tears may help to expedite this process.
■Level 4: The Dogeza, or “Kowtow”
Example situations: You were caught having an affair; you threw your boyfriend’s dog out on the balcony and locked it out because it was being loud
Dogeza is the Japanese custom of kneeling on the ground and bowing so as one’s head touches the floor. It is often used to express deep apology or when making an earnest request of someone.
When there’s no mistaking that their boyfriend is furious and they are at fault, many Japanese women first turn to dogeza to appeal for forgiveness. You should drop to the floor and enter the dogeza position the moment you see your boyfriend. With your head pressed against the ground, swear to him that you will never do something like this again.
■Level 5: The Nigerian Dogeza
Example situations: You gambled away all your boyfriends savings in futures trading; you registered your boyfriend in a cult without his permission.
The Nigerian Dogeza is effective for when you’ve done something that could (and probably should) result in a lawsuit or time in prison. Whatever you say will likely end sending your boyfriend into an inferno of rage and so your best bet is to silently maintain the position until he either forgives you in exasperation or calls the police.