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Say Something in Japanese! — 12 Comments

  1. I have only been in this situation once, and did not expect the question, so I just replied something along the lines “Would you be able to understand if I did?”. The other person did concede that she would not and we moved on to something else.

    I can relate to the initial feeling of “why did they just ask me to do that?!”, but I guess in the end it probably is just the other person wanting to express interest in what one is putting so much time into, so nothing too harmful :-)
    I do not know though how I would react if I were asked to do that more often.

    • I actually really like this. Bonus points if said in a train announcer voice:

      まもなく1番線に電車がまいります。危ないですから 黄色い線の内側まで お下がり下さい。

    • In a similar vein to this, I just go with the navi line that got burned into my memory from driving in Hokkaido:
      「速度超過を感知しました。安全な運転を心がけましょう」

      I swear I wasn’t even going that fast – people were zooming by on the right at +20kph and the navi was still politely telling me off T_T

  2. This has happened to me a couple times and caught me off balance. After pausing for a minute because I couldn’t think of what to say then they asked a specific line. That’s extra hard because now I have to play English to Japanese translator in my brain and usually there are vocabulary holes so it makes the request even harder and you sounds like you don’t even know Japanese. Lol

    My recommendation is just think of something basic like self introduction that has some value to practice so you are prepared. This will happen.

    • Being asked for translation on the spot is tough.

      It can be even worse when they want you to then teach them how to say it.

    • I really like the idea with the self introduction. Not only because it is good practice, but also because there will be some words which your conversation partner will understand (e.g. your name) which gives them the feeling to understand what is going on and hopefully allows for a smooth continuation of the conversation.

      • Ooh that’s a good idea. I use that to get a laugh out of JP speakers, but it’d totally work for this case too now that you mention it.

        「下がれ、下がれ悪漢どもよ!その目を見開き、しかと見よう!この、正義の一撃を!」

  3. Haha-I usually go with the literal 何か日本語で!分かる? The other person typically seems astonished by such a silly-and sarcastic-reply. If only it were that easy to be fluent! :)

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