4 Learner Questions I Dislike Being Asked by Japanese People — 6 Comments

  1. My least favorite question is usually a follow-up to one of the questions you posted. “Have you lived in Japan before?” And I’ll usually reply with a, “yeah, for a little bit.” Then they have a face that says oh now I get it. あれで納得するのはちょっとイライラするんですね。なんか自分の努力が無駄になっちゃった感じがして虚しい気分になります。

    • Ahh yes, the pleasant “you were able to become fluent because you lived in Japan.” 全否定されているような気がするよね。

      Another one related to this is if someone finds out you are dating and/or married to a Japanese person.

      • I get this one all the time as my wife is Japanese – only thing is…she’s completely fluent in English and we didn’t speak Japanese at home for 15 years til my son was born! Its interesting – when other non-Japanese ask I feel like they are trying to justify their own Japanese skill level. It all comes down to how hard we work and how bad we want it – as I think everyone on this site knows :) With Japanese people they just seem dumbfounded that I speak any Japanese at all – but this goes way back to when all I knew was how to introduce myself – somehow this elevated to me god-status with super human powers that I knew one sentence in Japanese. Of course, not everyone is like that but I get these reactions quite a bit.

  2. I dislike when they say “Japanese is hard isn’t it?” I mean, I don’t disagree necessarily, but it doesn’t fit well in conversation. If I say yes then what, is this going to become some pity party for me and all my struggles to learn big bad Japanese? I could say no, but that would only confuse them and be a lie. The question also implys that Japanese in particular is challenging.

    I also sometimes get “Where did you learn Japanese?” which I don’t quite understand what they mean. I can say “the internet” as that’s probably the most accurate. I’ll often just say “at my university” though since that requires less explanation.

    While I obviously like meeting Japanese people, you usually have to prepare yourself for a game of 20 questions (most of which you’ve answered a hundred times before).

    • Those two are also both tough. Especially the second one, because the “online” response for some reason still results in some kind of strange shock to some people. If it were still the 1990s I’d understand the reaction…

      I feel like every Japanese learner needs a few canned responses (of least resistance for them), so that they can move into the real conversation where you get to know someone and make friends.

      • Its hard to maintain motivation and effort over a long period of time – no matter what the task is. But is each individual step particular hard? No I don’t think so…Completing 10000 steps?…yes I think I’d say that’s hard! :)

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