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不好意思 is similar to "excuse me",when you're not really doing something wrong. For example,you can say "不好意思,请问厕所在哪里?"(Excuse me,where is the bathroom?) In this case,you're simply apologize for disturbing others.This phrase is commonly used when talking to unfamiliar people,in order to act polite. 对不起 is like "sorry",when you actually do something wrong. For ...


Read this answer... it explains the reason in great detail, but it's too long to post here. Basically buying something from the east town/something from the west town... eventually it just became buy something (east/west). http://gbtimes.com/life/hello-china-97-things Oh, and there's a cute video at the bottom too.

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