Partly due to wordplay with numbers, virtually every day on the Japanese calendar has some theme or special event attached to it, some traditional, some not so.

For no immediately apparent reason, Dec. 10 has been officially approved by the Japan Anniversary Association as “Gomenne no Hi” (“I’m sorry” Day) in Japan. To commemorate the occasion a site called Ayamari Bijin (Beautiful Girls Apologizing) has been counting down the days to the event with a new video of a different woman apologizing uploaded each day.

Most of the apologies are pretty mundane stuff like “I’m sorry for being late to the office, I slept in,” but there was the odd one that made me chuckle. Here are a few of my faves:

  • “The other day on the train I gave my seat up, saying ‘please sit down sir.’ Actually it wasn’t an old man, it was an old lady. I’m sorry.”
  • “I was eating sushi with my friend and put tons of wasabi under hers when she wasn’t looking. Sorry.”
  • “I’m too tall and always hog the space under the kotatsu (heated table). Sorry.”
  • “When I was a child I used to put the food I hated on my older brother’s plate. Sorry.”
  • “Dear mum, you finally made me walnut bread, but it was so horrible I threw it down the toilet. Sorry.”

The day was created in response to the results of a national poll on apologizing that showed that most people didn’t like apologizing. The idea is that if everyone says sorry on the same day, the act of apologizing will become more lighthearted.

While the Ayamari Bijin site had a beautiful girl for every day of the month, Bijin Tokei (Beautiful Girl Clock) goes one step further by featuring a different girl every minute, who holds up a chalk board with the time on it and poses for the camera.

Bijin Tokei has been going for some time now and has diversified into creating one for Shibuya Girls, one for Boys and even foreign ones in France and Korea. They recently announced that the next project is Sapporo Beautiful Girl Clock.

Undeniably beautiful girls liven up the mundane process of telling the time, but can they also encourage Japan to say they’re sorry? Do you have anything you need to get off your chest?

Postscript: OK, our turn to apologize. On Dec. 10 the Ayamari Biji site suddenly became a big ad for eating juicy steaks at family restaurant chain Gusto. The joke is Gusto’s apology: “Our steaks are so big they won’t fit on the plate! Sorry!”

Though we feel slightly duped, we’re still impressed at the trouble they went to.

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