- Welcome to ESP: The Emotional Sentence Pack!
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 1: Gaijin Boyfriend
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 2: The Great Dye Debate — A Beef With Brown Hair
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 3: Gaijin Girlfriend
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 4: Haterade Overdose + Animation Flamation
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 5: The Kanji Conspiracy — Japanese Schools Dumbing Down Japanese People
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 6: One-Liner First Reactions to the 2012 Evangelion Movie (Q)
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 7: Why Don’t Japanese People Speak To Me In Japanese?
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 8: Yet More Reactions to the 2012 Evangelion Movie (Q)
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 9: (More) Why Don’t Japanese People Speak To Me In Japanese?
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 12: A Certain Kind of Man
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 14: Dry, Loveless Marriage
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 10: Pooh-Producing Machines
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 13: English Love Song Lyrics
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 11: Cheesy Quotes
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 15: I Have Boarded a Maritime Vessel!
- [ESP] The Emotional Sentence Pack, Vol. 16: Dallas Police Blow Up Micah X. Johnson
- ESP Bonus Extra: Tongue-Tied
It’s a perennial gaijin complaint: being responded to in English despite initiating a conversation in Japanese. It used to bug me, but ever since hookers and blow became the unquestioned center of my life I mean wait I love family values. At any rate, I’ve had some really amusing experiences with this phenomenon. My own reaction used to be to persist in speaking in Japanese. But lately I just switch to English until the other guy falls apart and then goes: “You can speak Japanese?! Why didn’t you say so?”. It’s a form of bullying on my part. I’m a jerk.
The important thing to realize is that most people don’t do this out of malice. Most Japanese people are too busy and overworked and (like everyone else) self-absorbed for petty malice 1; it’s a just panicky reflex. A “knee-jerk” reaction. People panic so hard that they won’t even remember that you started the conversation in Japanese.
I’m not gonna lie. I kinda enjoy it. I enjoy being foreign. I didn’t come to Japan to fit in; I came to stand out. I didn’t cross continents and oceans so everything would be the same. I like how I can do whatever I want and not be questioned about it. “No one to tell us ‘no’ or where to go”, that’s my typical experience here. My every eccentricity is either welcomed or politely ignored, but never harshly questioned. If I wanted to just be one of the guys, I’d have stayed where I grew up. Being normal is overrated. Being family 2 is overrated. Being a guest is where it’s at: you can ask for ice-cream and your friend’s Mum has to give it to you 😛 .
Being a guest means always getting the benefit of the doubt. And I’m all about the bennies 😛 .
Anyway, here are some Japanese responses to that oh-so-common and oh-so-helpful gaijin…question…complaint…quibble…whatever — compiled, edited, analyzed, synchronized, collated, translated and consecrated just for you:
Why do Japanese people try to answer me in English even though I speak to them/open the conversation in Japanese?
They’re not used to foreigners who can speak Japanese.
Japanese people have been brainwashed into thinking that all white people speak English, so…
“＝” is pronounced 「イコール」
Why do they look like a deer in the headlights when we speak Japanese to them?
The psychological barrier is perhaps larger than the language barrier.The psychological barrier is perhaps harder to overcome than the language barrier. Perhaps, at some level, they don’t want the specialness or mysteriousness of their language to be destroyed. Cultural attitudes like that take time to change.
Dude WTF, I spoke Japanese, why’d they answer me in English?
You a##holes are the ones who think English is the world’s lingua franca.
You’re the a##hole, azzhole. Don’t you get it? What they’re trying to say is that that idea [=English is the world language, everybody should speak English] is itself a Japanese fantasy/misconception.
I remember someone somewhere once saying that the world’s lingua franca isn’t English, it’s the smile.
※※※英語＝えいご and 笑顔＝えがお sound similar, so this is a pun.
Your punniness makes me want to shoot myself.
It’s prolly because we think/assume that they only know how to say “KONNICHIWA”, so…
We don’t know how much Japanese you know, man.
When overseas musicians come to do concerts in Japan they speak English fast and mercilessly, man.
But when Japanese artists go overseas they bust a nut trying to speak the local language, if only haltingly.
We Japanese should just lay down the kid gloves and bust out our own language, too, man.
>Why do they look like a deer in the headlights when we speak Japanese to them?よくわからんがワロタ
I don’t quite get what this expression means but it made me lol.
I guess they’re referring to that “eyes transfixed and wide open” look?
Note: “Deer in the headlights” is very much an American expression, so…
If you motherf####ers’ Japanese were good enough to understand our Japanese, we would answer you in Japanese.
But whenever it’s not, we don’t. Read between the lines!
※※※位＝ぐらい 俺達＝おれたち 察する＝さっする
Well, there are gaijin who go “KONEECHEEWA” when I greet them in English, so…
Hey, we want to use our English just as much as you want to use your Japanese, mang!
>Japanese people have been brainwashed into thinking that all white people speak English, so…
That’s true, there are plenty who don’t as well.
I feel like such a retord [sic] for suffering and stumbling through an English answer to those South East Asian people who asked me for directions [the other day].
Because their Japanese pronunciation is utter s##t.
If they had awesome Japanese like [gaijin sumo wrestlers] Hakuhou and ASA Shouryuu (Dorji), then any and all of us would speak to their a###es in Japanese.
This American on Facebook came up to me and was all “I speak awesome Japanese! Let’s chat!”, so we chat and I am just lolling at the machine-translated Japanese this guy is giving me.
Why do they write such s###t Japanese with so much confidence?!?!
- 外人「こんにちは！」 日本人「は、hello」 外人（なんで俺が日本語なのに英語で返すの？）:ワロタニッキ is.gd/mzfy1W
- Don’t get me wrong, there are richardheads, but they’d have been richardheads anyway. Richardheadiness knoweth no nationality. ↩
- See “Hoarders” for details ↩