CorrectedCultureDiaryEssayIdiomJapanese tradition

Gowasan de Negai Mashite wa (ご破算で願いましては – Starting Afresh)

  • Gowasan de Negai Mashite wa


    Have you ever used soroban (そろばん – “Japanese abacus”)?

    In one of the Japanese abacus calculation exercises, a student adds numbers read aloud by an instructor. This exercise usually begins with the phrase gowasan de onegai mashi-mase (ご破算で願いましては) or simply negai mashite wa (願いましては).

    Go (ご) is a polite prefix, wasan/hasan (破算) means “to reset the abacus to zero,” and negai mashite (願いまして) means “please.” Therefore, the literal meaning of gowasan negai mashite wa is “please reset your abacus to zero (for a new calculation).”
    「ご」は丁寧の接頭辞、「破算」は「そろばんを払って 0 の状態にすること」、「願いましては」は “please” を意味するので、「ご破算で願いましては」の文字どおりの意味は “please ” となります。

    As a child, I heard this phrase almost every day in abacus classes.

    By the way, now I am almost in the state of hasan (破産), meaning “bankruptcy.”

    Original sentence