carrying the following English
meanings: "excuse me
", "pardon me
", "I'm sorry
", "thank you
is most often used as "pardon me
", but it carries an apologetic
note. In combination with the hesitation
...", it is the best way for foreigner
s to get the attention of Japanese stranger
s, etc etc. Don't use it for shopping
scenarios, as the clerk
s themselves are supposed to take the humble
attitude and the customer
is given the utmost in courtesy
-- he has no need of apologizing.
Omatase shite, hontoo ni sumimasen deshita.
I'm really very sorry for making you wait.
Anoo...sumimasen. Byooin wa doko desu ka.
Err, excuse me. Where is the hospital?
Compare with gomen nasai, a more formal apology for having done something wrong, and shitsuree shimasu, a more formal way of excusing oneself in the presence of superiors.
Written (sumimasen), no kanji.