Whenever you meet a Japanese person, one of the absolutely guaranteed first questions you will be asked some variation of “どこから来ましたか” or “Where are you from?” While you could easily wise crack that you are Japanese (highly recommended!), most people answer without any hesitation or thought. It’s not a difficult question in Japanese, but the type of answer varies on the person being asked.
Where are you from is interpreted in 3 ways
1. What country are you from?
2. What state/province (in the case of the US or Canada or other countries set up like this) are you from?
3. What city are you from?
If you ask a Japanese person visiting your home country the same question, they will almost always answer “Japan” and not their city or prefecture. Which leads me to believe the correct answer to this question in Japanese should only be your country.
But let me ask you, as this has always puzzled me.
What do you believe is the proper way to answer this question?