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How do you feel when you speak fluent or reasonably good Japanese to a Japanese person and they insist on answering you in English?

30 Comments

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30 Comments
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Insulted.

-14 ( +6 / -20 )

It depends.

Some Japanese sincerely want to practice their English and their speaking English has nothing to do with your English.

Others, however, do it because they think their English is better than your Japanese. In which case, you decide whether to let it slide or call them on it.

However, regardless, I am confident in my Japanese abilities and don't need to "prove" to anyone how good my Japanesr is.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

Annoyed actually. But even worse is when the answers to my questions are addressed to my other half.

7 ( +14 / -7 )

I switch to Cornish.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

It no longer bothers me. I speak Japanese they speak English.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

I kinda like it. I'm speaking a foreign language, and so are they. It's fun.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

It bothered me when I was at an intermediate level of Japanese, where I was better at Japanese than they were at English, so it was a bit of a hassle. But when I got to an advanced level, I didn't feel as strong a need/desire to get in every bit of practice I could, and I didn't mind providing the people with an opportunity to practice themselves. I essentially lost the chip off my shoulder.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Don't mind it at all, in away I want to help him or her improve their skills too as long as we both tolerate each other mistakes.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I didn't get upset about it. If you want to speak English, fine. Let's speak English.

Too many foreigners with barely understandable Japanese were deep within the left side of the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Add in the drama gland and a hair-trigger offended switch, and it was down right embarrassing to be around.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Have you ever asked Japanese "How do you feel when you try your best to speak English, a once in a while chance, to a foreigner and they insist on answering you in Japanese ?"

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Depends on the level of English. If it’s good fine. If it’s terrible and then they insist on continuing to answer in broken English then it just shows me they don’t really want an actual conversation, nor to really get to know me. It’s actually a good thing to know about their character so early in the game. The conversation never lasts long with those types. No a big fan of being used.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Mostly? Just tired. I recall an otherwise relaxing onsen in Bepu where a Japanese high school "English teacher" was heck bent on speaking English to me. I was game for a bit but really, if your language is that bad, just default to the person with the stonger skill.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I feel the same as Ricky, above. And I would add that if they replied in English, then I would reply back in English. Which is when I often find out that they really can’t speak English, so they then reply back in Japanese.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I can't say I have encountered that problem.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I reply back in my very harsh Queens Long Island NY City, "The City" English, and they quickly revert to Japanese, cause de ain't gonna get it. dang daug...ets getta a cawfy.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

For the pas 17 years living in Japan I never had this problem, my wife and her family only speaks Japanese and I live in the country side where no one speaks my native language and English. Only one time this once when I spoke in Japanese to a lady while visiting Tokyo when she spoke to me in English and my responce was: Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Immediately it went back to Japanese.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Used to bother me. Not anymore.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Even if they consider themselves fluent, unfortunately, few Westerners can speak Japanese fluently. Therefore, it is possible that Japanese people are answering in English.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Honestly couldn't care less.

Terrible answer Moonraker.

Everybody get over it - if you have been 10+ years then you really should let it just pass you by.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Even if they consider themselves fluent, unfortunately, few Westerners can speak Japanese fluently. Therefore, it is possible that Japanese people are answering in English.

This is what some internet commenters like to say. I have two companies in Japan. I have negotiated contracts, bank loans, have Japanese staff, and have done presentations to thousands of people in Japanese. I speak Japanese with enough outside qualifications that I know I'm not just drinking my own kool-ade. From my experience, at a certain point, most people don't bother trying English, because through mannerisms and specific language used, it's very apparent I speak Japanese, but even then, some will still try their English.

It's nothing to get uppity about. There are better ways to deal with it.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

OK guy.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Doesn't bother me. The one thing that bothers me, tho, is when I talk in Japanese to someone (A) and that person talks someone else (B), so that other person "translate" what (A) is saying. So rude.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

As someone who has N1 yet whose Japanese listening and speaking skills are trash, I welcome it!

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Terrible answer Moonraker.

Well, I am terribly sorry about that. It's how I feel and I have not criticised anyone for how they feel. Cos it's how they feel. It's not how they act in response, in which case I am mostly rather polite. Perhaps you need to get over your own sense of superiority.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

I enjoy it and appreciate their effort.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

It's just a basic gesture of politeness. If you don't understand and appreciate this, Japan might not be the right place for you.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Does it even matter?

As long as there's communication and the point is understood, who cares what language was used?

Never understood why people get "insulted" by it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Well, I am terribly sorry about that. It's how I feel and I have not criticised anyone for how they feel. Cos it's how they feel. It's not how they act in response, in which case I am mostly rather polite. Perhaps you need to get over your own sense of superiority.

Some people, such as the individual who foolishly attacked your rather sensible comment, will overlook and even justify the most atrocious behavior imaginable, just so long as it is a Japanese person doing it and not a Chinese person.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Man, these people are sensitive. If they insist on speaking English, just ignore it and continue to speak Japanese.

Either that, or you could just reply in English and be on with your day. Sometimes Japanese people are learning English and are dying to use it in a real scenario.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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