Despite having been knowing a lot of stuffs related to Japan, being in the country itself gave me a lot of new experiences. Especially when interacting with the Japanese themselves. As someone who always watching Japanese anime and drama as well as reading manga, I certainly did try learning the language by myself but I didn’t put that much effort with it. Ended up I only have a very basic conversation on how to ask for stuffs and directions. Most of the time, I used English. Japanese are known for their funny Engrish but that didn’t stop them to try to speak it. So, here’s the type of Japanese people I met when I tried to speak with them.
1. Tried to speak English but then fully speaking in Japanese
This is the most type of Japanese people I met. When I got separated from my friends, I tried to get any free Internet WIFI or at least a net cafe (a.k.a. cyber cafe in Malaysia). Greeted a policeman and asked him in English, he said that he can talk in English a little bit and then he guided me towards some Softbank guys. As I started saying that I could speak Japanese very little, he then went on full Japanese to me. He even talked to the other guys in Japanese implying that I fully understand them. I do understand most of their conversation but had problem answering them.
2. Tried to speak English until the end
Whenever I wanted to buy foods or goods, I simply used Japanese because it’s not that hard. In most cases, they were aware that I am a foreigner. So, even if I tried to speak Japanese, some of them will try their best to speak in English despite having hard time conversing it. On a funny note, I replied them in Japanese. How hard was it to ask for three T-shirts for kids anyway?
3. Claimed to be able to converse in English but never spoke it
Usually I will ask them if they can speak English in Japanese like, “英語しゃべる？” which basically means, “Do you speak English?” and some of them said they could albeit a little bit. But afterwards, they kept speaking in Japanese. Perhaps knowing that I talked to them in Japanese, they expect me to understand Japanese very well too.
4. Ran away when being asked in English
Quite unusual for a polite Japanese people to run away when being asked but this actually happened to me when I asked one of them if they could speak English. Well, it was at McDonalds, perhaps the worker I asked there was some school part timer, hence why they’re kinda afraid being asked by foreigner (though the other guy there was like No. 2 when I asked him instead).
5. Suddenly talking in English to you out of nowhere
This one happened at Ueno Station when I was transferring between trains. A random Japanese guy suddenly talking to me in English, asking me about where I came from, etc. It’s either they’re just wanted to train themselves speaking in English or perhaps some special branch spy trying to monitor foreigners. Well, another one happened in Kansai Airport when we suddenly being stopped by a guy asking if we can speak Japanese and suddenly asking for our passports. Turned out to be a police officer doing random checking.
Final thought: It would be better if you stay stupid as in ‘baka gaijin’ as you might be in deep trouble if you bragging yourself to be knowing the language very well despite you know nothing. But it can’t be help when you’re in dire need, you have to explain something that they might be understand.