English or Japanese

If you’re a halfie, when you are in places like airports, most of the time you will surprise staff by being able to speak Japanese. I am often approached by foreign visitors in tourist attractions asking for directions, in english, so I understand why but it just bothers me lot more than it should.

My friends also share this opinion where its frustrating when people force themselves to speak english so use Japanese to them, but still get responses in english. Sometimes its obvious that the other person is struggling to explain something or is struggling to talk to you so you answer them in a language they would understand much easier but your efforts don’t seem to change anything. I am not sure why this happens but it does a lot.

I was at a big Electronics store in Shibuya buying a charger. In Shibuya there are a fair amount of tourists so some staff can speak various languages in certain shops. I went to the cashier with my charger and I gave it to the man. I noticed that on his name tag there was a British flag next to his name so I figured he must speak english but  I continued to talk to the man in Japanese. I said ありがとうございます (Thank you in Japanese) when i got my change and as he handed me my charger he said “Thank you” in english very quietly. During the short one minute I spent with the man he did shy away a few times so maybe he just wasn’t convinced I understood Japanese, it still bothers me to this day.

At Disneyland, I was in line for a show with my family. I have a younger brother so my mother was concerned about what was in the show because my brother is terrified of everything. I spotted a member of staff who was lining people up and I asked her in Japanese “what was in the show”, “how long is it” and “do you think a 10 year old would find it scary”. And every answer I got was in forced english. I didn’t mind I just wanted the lady to not force herself too much to speak english. I made it clear that I could speak Japanese (and my Japanese is around the same level as my english so I have never had too much of an issue with others understanding me). But my efforts failed and I didn’t know how to respond to her after she mimed half the show in front of me so I thanked her in english and walked away.

Sometimes it does get on your nerves a little when people refuse to speak Japanese to you therefore leaving you with less than half of what you wanted to know. But I appreciate the fact that many people in Japan are so willing to help me out.



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