There are certain things you hear as a Japanese learner that cause a varying range of reactions and emotions. I’ve covered to death over the years “Nihongo wa jouzu!” But there is another one that produces a different type of confusion. You can’t escape it, and it doesn’t even involve talking to a Japanese person (hopefully…)
“Say something in Japanese!”
The most open ended request imaginable. And the result of someone finding out you are either studying or good at Japanese. Japanese is not something you hear every day come out of the mouth of a non-Japanese person. So the thought of getting to see that is a cool spectacle. It’s a parlor trick to be done in front of multiple people.
Initial gut reaction
I honestly never know the appropriate way to respond. Because it doesn’t matter what I say. No one is going to understand it.
I used to think… well I could just answer “何か.” But that is just as unoriginal and boring as saying “something” when someone says “say something.” Also, the person asking doesn’t want to hear just one word. They want an onslaught of something that sounds amazingly Japanese and beyond human comprehension.
My response is pretty boring and usually goes something like:
Them: Wow! What did you just say?!
Adam: I said “okay, I’m speaking real Japanese. Please listen carefully.”
Them: Say something cooler!
What’s your response?
I haven’t cracked the clever(?) responses like I did with jouzu. I’m sure all of you have had this experience from friends, family, and strangers though. How have you handled a “say something in Japanese?”
Founder of Jalup. iOS Software Engineer. Former attorney, translator, and interpreter. Still watching 月曜から夜ふかし weekly since 2013.