Recently, I became curious about the origin of the common Japanese word “ありがとう” (arigatou), which is used in modern Japanese to express gratitude or simply say “Thank you”. I had heard from several people that it originally meant something like “It is hard for me to exist”, and for some time I accepted this explanation. After all, one way to write this word is “有り難う”, which contains a form of “aru” (to exist), and a form of “gatai” which can be used to mean the previous verb is difficult to do.