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I have the following sentence, extracted from a textbook,

こちらからお願いに伺うべきところを先方{せんぽう}からお出{い}でいただき、恐縮した。

This sentence feels a bit overly polite which does not help me. I think that こちら is the one who speaks (it could be a legal entity but since the verb is お出でいただく I assume that it is an actual person), 先方 is the one who did the favor to the subject here omitted.

So I understand “お願いに伺うべきところを” as “at a time where you should have asked me a favor”. 先方 seems to means someone else in one's in-group (内).

If I understood correctly, here, the speaker explains that he/she feels sorry for not having been the person to come while he/she feels strongly he/she should have been asked.

Is this interpretation correct or did I fumbled my way around with 先方 and お出でいただく?

  • 1
    先方…相手の方/相手/あちら 当方…自分の方/自分/こちら。お出でになる…来る (or 行く)  社長が私の家にお出でになる(The president comes to my house.) /社長が海外旅行にお出でになる(The president goes on a trip overseas.) – nariuji Apr 1 '16 at 10:23
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「こちらからお願いに伺うべきところを」 means "Even though I was (originally) the one who should go (to them) to ask them a favor." (≂「私のほうからお願いに行くべきなのに」)

「先方からお出でいただき」 means "They came to me." (≂ 「相手に(私のところへ)来てもらって / 相手のほうから(私のところへ)来てくれて」)

先方 is the person (or people) that こちら(= 私, the speaker) should have visited and asked a favor of. (先方 isn't someone in こちら's in-group.)

おいでいただく is the humble form of 来てもらう (lit. "I have them come (to me).").

So I think the sentence means something like...

Even though I/we should have visited them to ask them (something), they came to me/us instead, so I/we felt very sorry/obliged.

  • Thank you very much. It has been quite a long time since I first wondered what this sentence meant and I was still quite far from the intended meaning. – 永劫回帰 Apr 1 '16 at 11:04

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