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Do other non-Japanese asians have this problem ?

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Do other non-Japanese asians have this problem ?

Postby Aritaurus » Sun 11.18.2007 7:51 pm

I'm a Chinese Canadian , born and raised in Canada. I've been to Japan three times and I've had this problem every time. Back then, I didn't speak much Japanese but now I know enough to get around.

What's a good way to approach people by letting them know that you're a foreigner so they'll go easy on you with the level of Japanese they use on you ? Most locals will usually think that I'm a local by appearance and speak all Japanese to me and when I don't understand what they're saying, they'll just give up trying to talk to me.

My friend said I should ask them in Japanese if they speak English or not first, then if they say no , they'll start speaking to me in easy-to-understand Japanese.

I'm going to Japan again in less than two months and I hope communication will not be a problem this time.
Last edited by Aritaurus on Sun 11.18.2007 7:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Do other non-Japanese asians have this problem ?

Postby Noob » Sun 11.18.2007 8:02 pm

Your friend is right. I'm sure if you tell them that your japanese isn't that good from the start, you will be better off. Just be polite about it.
Say something like " Hello, i am "your name" and i am from Canada." That should be a hint to people, that you are not japanese. Just be sure to say it in nihonga.
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RE: Do other non-Japanese asians have this problem ?

Postby I-samu » Mon 11.19.2007 9:28 pm

All the time! I'm half japanese but people mistake me for being full. People used to come up to talk to me and I as embarassed because I couldn't understand/respond.

But like you, I don't think it will be a problem anymore because all of the studying I've been doing.
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RE: Do other non-Japanese asians have this problem ?

Postby Aritaurus » Tue 11.20.2007 12:56 am

I hope so, I-samu. I'm going to be travelling around Japan for 2 months, I know my Japanese has improved but it's still not at the conversational level. I'm going to try and speak only Japanese to locals and see if the immersion will help me get somewhere close to conversational. I think getting through this problem is the first step. Once people know that I'm learning Japanese, they'll speak to me in more easy-to-understand terms.
Last edited by Aritaurus on Tue 11.20.2007 1:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Do other non-Japanese asians have this problem ?

Postby Kuri » Tue 11.20.2007 5:03 am

You're asking to be treated like an illiterate outsider who doesn't speak their language? Why not just learn Japanese so you can meet up to their simple expectations that you know the language of the country you're in.

Just a tourist? Wear a flag on something.

When I think about the foreigners who DO speak Japanese and get completely ignored under the assumption they're just another foreigner who can't order rice.... Please, don't complain about this anymore.
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RE: Do other non-Japanese asians have this problem ?

Postby katafei » Tue 11.20.2007 5:27 am

I would try the following sentences:
すみませんが、私は日本人ではありません。
日本語が上手ではありません。
ゆっくり話してください。

It may not be fluent, but it would get the message across in no time. And it shows that you are eager to try Japanese conversation.
I have to say, I agree with the former poster. I don't quite understand the problem. But then I would never be in the same position, so.....who am I? ;)

EDIT:
what utter rubbish. Of course I've been in that position! When I travel through Europe, people can't tell that I'm not Scandinavian, German, French or British by the shape of my nose .....
Usually, they find out soon enough. And if I want to communicate in their native tongue, I'll simply say so.
So yet again:
I don't quite understand the problem.
Last edited by katafei on Tue 11.20.2007 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Do other non-Japanese asians have this problem ?

Postby Aritaurus » Tue 11.20.2007 11:25 am

katafei wrote:
I would try the following sentences:
すみませんが、私は日本人ではありません。
日本語が上手ではありません。
ゆっくり話してください。

It may not be fluent, but it would get the message across in no time. And it shows that you are eager to try Japanese conversation.
I have to say, I agree with the former poster. I don't quite understand the problem. But then I would never be in the same position, so.....who am I? ;)

EDIT:
what utter rubbish. Of course I've been in that position! When I travel through Europe, people can't tell that I'm not Scandinavian, German, French or British by the shape of my nose .....
Usually, they find out soon enough. And if I want to communicate in their native tongue, I'll simply say so.
So yet again:
I don't quite understand the problem.


katafei , you're right. There really shoudn't be a problem. I was a little worried because the last three times I visited Japan, I knew close to no Japanese. I've been studying Japanese for the past year since my last trip.

I was actually worried about drowning in complicated grammar and vocabulary when I'm with a salesperson or when someone is trying to explain something to me. I guess I could use something like すみませんがもっと優しい言葉で説明下さい。
Last edited by Aritaurus on Tue 11.20.2007 11:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Do other non-Japanese asians have this problem ?

Postby Kuri » Wed 11.28.2007 8:16 am

Aritaurus wrote:
すみませんがもっと優しい言葉で説明下さい。


Excuse me but, please an explanation with kinder words

勉強を頑張ってね
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RE: Do other non-Japanese asians have this problem ?

Postby richvh » Wed 11.28.2007 10:07 am

I think that katafei meant to write もっと易しい言葉 - easier words. (Same pronunciation, different meaning.)
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RE: Do other non-Japanese asians have this problem ?

Postby two_heads_talking » Wed 11.28.2007 12:50 pm

if all else fails aritaurus, just be honest. honesty goes along ways, and sincerity makes it go further.
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