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Image: Twitter/@CHANGHAENG
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Message to foreigners at Japanese convenience store sparks controversy online

108 Comments
By Oona McGee, SoraNews24

Japanese convenience stores are known for being wonderful havens, where you can get everything from cat breads to pancake steamed buns at any time of the day or night.

With such glowing reputations attached to them, it came as a bit of a shock to find one convenience store that wasn’t so amiable to its customers.

Twitter user @CHANGHAENG was visiting the convenience store, a branch of Lawson located in Osaka, when they came across a sign posted on the steamed bun display case at the counter.

The sign (above), despite being written entirely in Japanese, is addressed to foreigners, and reads:

“To foreign customers,

Kore is prohibited. Say nikuman kudasai."

To explain, kore means “this” and nikuman kudasai means “Can I have a steamed bun please”.

Reading between the lines, it appears that staff had had enough of “foreign customers” saying kore, and presumably pointing to the display case while doing so, as indicated by the illustration of a pointing finger (assuming that’s an index finger and not a middle finger). The tone of the message is remarkably curt, with the absence of “please” making it read as a command rather than a request, and far removed from the usual level of politeness expected in a customer service environment in Japan.

There are a lot of things wrong with a sign like this, and commenters online pointed them out, saying:

“I don’t think the word ‘foreigner’ should be used here.”

“If it’s a message for foreigners, shouldn’t it be written in English?”

“Does that mean Japanese people can say kore?”

“Well, they shouldn’t give their steamed buns such long names like ‘pizza bun with melty cheese and tomato.’”

“They should give the buns numbers instead [given there are so many].”

“It’s hard for staff to see which one people are pointing at from the other side of the counter.”

While it might be true that pointing at a small display case can make things difficult for staff to work out which item is being requested, it’s also true that convenience stores pack a wide variety of different steamed buns into those display cases, so simply saying nikuman kudasai isn’t necessarily going to solve the problem.

Of course, pointing the finger at “foreigners” and prohibiting them from saying kore when ordering is also problematic, given that a number of Japanese people themselves said they might use the point-and-request system. In any case, a sign written entirely in Japanese isn’t the best way to get your message across to people who might not read the language, so perhaps it’s time for convenience store chains to think about implementing a numbering system for the hot items sold in display cases.

As for the sign itself, it was taken down after people who’d seen it online contacted Lawson headquarters to lodge their complaints. Lawson said staff told them the sign was put up after a number of customers ended up receiving the wrong bun. The company has since apologized for the sign and its wording, saying they aim to be a store where all customers can shop comfortably.

Source: Twitter/@CHANGHAENG via Net Lab 

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

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© SoraNews24

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108 Comments
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Well not everyone working at a convenience store is a genius! This probably applies to Japanese, just didnt want to be direct in saying it, and was trying to be cute about it!

-14 ( +13 / -27 )

Greetings esteemed shopkeeper! I humbly beseech thee for your gracious attention and extend to thee my utmost appreciation for the dedication and diligence with which thou hast conducted thy business.

If it would not be too great an imposition upon thy most valuable time, might I request the purchase of one of your FINE STEAMED BUNS from thy esteemed establishment? I understand that thou art likely occupied with numerous tasks and responsibilities, but I would be ever so grateful if thou couldst spare a moment to assist me in this matter.

Please forgive me for any impertinence or inconvenience that my request may cause, and please be assured that I shall conduct myself with the utmost respect and courtesy in all dealings with thee.

Thank you kindly for thy consideration, and I look forward with great anticipation to any response that thou may provide.

22 ( +46 / -24 )

As it's in Osaka, shouldn't it be "butaman kudasai"?

18 ( +23 / -5 )

Jay: Thou art a genius. Kore!

6 ( +24 / -18 )

Immature and regressive. More passive-aggression from our good folks in Osaka.

5 ( +18 / -13 )

I knew on spot this was created to avoid wrong orders.

Still, why a message in japanese directed solely at foreigners, especially if some (if not most) cant even read it?

You assume this if the foreigner orders by pointing at the steam bun instead of asking in japanese.

One of my first cultural shocks in this place was to line up at the combini/supermarket and see the checkout lady cheerfully asking to every customer "do you have a point card?/do you need a plastic bag?", proceeded by a "shitsurei shimashita" after EVERY single japanese just kept staring down, not even bothering to reply anything. These people dont know how to make eye contact, cant even say a "no thank you" but surely foreigners just fresh off the boat are at fault for saying "kore".

14 ( +50 / -36 )

far removed from the usual level of politeness expected in a customer service environment in Japan.

Very satirical. Customer service with a dose of passive agressive racism is repugnant for sure. Customer service here isn't that polite actually, some of it sloppy, some of it patronising. How many times has the author of this been shoved from table to table at a restaurant? Too many to count for me.

-16 ( +12 / -28 )

defend behavior like this

There is the indiscriminate use of the unqualified and define 'this' again.

What behaviour?

Aexithymia is real.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

*undefined

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Very satirical. Customer service with a dose of passive agressive racism is repugnant for sure.

Believe me, its actually worse when you are with your japanese wife. Happened just yesterday lol. You are in front with your shopping cart ready to check out your groceries and the staff sticks her neck out all the way to go talk with your wife pushing the baby stroller behind. The other day I was lining with my wife and asked her to wait ahead not to disturb the line with the stroller, ok here we go and the staff kept looking everywhere to find my wife almost like omg how am I going to deal with this lol

5 ( +36 / -31 )

HaHa. Somebody has a good sense of humor.

“Does that mean Japanese people can say kore?”

12 ( +22 / -10 )

Believe me, its actually worse when you are with your japanese wife.

The worst is the Vietnamese purple-haired 20 something, (maskless might I add), chewing gum, who doesn't understand gaijin Japanese as a sign of solidarity to her Asian status, as she toils away in the izakaya.

-25 ( +5 / -30 )

Unfortunately pizzaman is no longer an option for non Japanese at this location.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

No biggy

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

If you can converse in Japanese you'll be fine, but if not well things may not always go your way.

I once got received a pizza with a gaping hole in it at a reputable Italian restaurant in Tachikawa which prides itself on customer service (i.e. walking every customer out the door)...after I pointed it out, they were all apologies, made me up a new one and even comped me a free drink.

So yea occasionally they mess up here but if you can converse with them they usually make up for it, on the whole if you speak their lingo customer service here on par with or beyond most countries.

11 ( +17 / -6 )

While it might be true that pointing at a small display case can make things difficult for staff to work out which item is being requested

Looking at it from the angle of the staff, it’s hard to tell. It’s not so much a lesson on politeness of the language but clarity when ordering.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

It's just a convenience store. Just do you job.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

Just to illustrate the limited iq the store manager that authorised that message: FYI, if a gaijin can read that then (s) he'll not order with kore, are... He can speak enough to ask.

10 ( +17 / -7 )

Do what they did with cigarettes behind counter and give numbers then. Or reverse door and allow customers to get it themselves. So many solutions besides making something forbidden.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

Or how about teaching staff basic English or Chinese-international Japanへ行きましょうか

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Pretty minor issue compared to what I've seen and experienced as a 30 year foreign resident in Osaka.

The usual click bait from Sora news.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

I read some anger may be some hate in this message, without speaking to the responsible staff it is hard to judge .

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Here I am thinking, people actually intentionally eat those pitiful little steamed buns? The third world cousin of the mighty meat pie? ....though it is probably a good thing that ubiquitous convenience stores don't stock meat pies, I'd be at least 10kg heavier than I am now!

As for the store clerk, if you are a regular there, you could probably spot the winner who wrote the sign quote easily, next time snap your fingers and point.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

There's a simple way to sidestep this whole sticky debate about racism. Simply stand a foot further back and say "sore!". Problem solved, at least until they update the sign.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

I'm quite partial to a steamed bun when it's cold. I don't know if meat pies would be that good to be frank

But, tolerance all round is required.

It always amuses me how people are quick to jump to the most negative assumptions when they are feeling low.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Good luck explaining the sign in kanji/kana to your non Japanese speaking/reading the sign. And once you do, expect those customers to just walk down the road a block to 7/11.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

ok

"koitsu chodai!"

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Some angry loser making ¥730 an hour to sell cigarettes and onigiri writing some dopey note hardly seems newsworthy to me.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Solution: Stand farther from the counter, point, and say “sore”.

5 ( +15 / -10 )

This story is three months old.

Most Japanese folks assume it is a message to rude Japanese customers that uses the word foreigners to avoid direct confrontation.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

Call me skeptical but this could be mere astro turf.

--It could be photoshopped.

--It could have been a customer who wrote it, attached it, and then took a picture of it to create ink and controversy.

--Further, if foreigners are basic in their lack of handling Japanese skills, why the hell

would it even be in Japanese, since if they have not mastered basic polite verbal matters such as "kudasai" they likely cannot even be expected to read kana and kanji.

Anyways, whatever. I'm going back to sleep.

Bigger fish to fry like North Korean missiles.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

nani KORE?

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Another of those many passive aggressive behavior that Japan is famous for.

Unfortunately this proves again the inability for many Japanese to be comfortable and flexible enough to deal with people from other backgrounds and culture,and this is in 2023.

Long way to go to become fully developed.

-14 ( +10 / -24 )

Some Japanese are just too freaked out by foreigners. Some just have an itch they can't quite scratch when it comes to complaining about us.

This is so silly.

"You said 'KORE' so I'm not going to serve you one of our delicious steamed buns!"

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

I agree with Yubaru above. This was meant for their Japanese customer bit didn't want to sound too direct so they used 外国instead.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Most foreigners won't be able to read it. Most will not even notice it. So will they refuse a sale even if I merely point and gunt?

6 ( +9 / -3 )

More passive-aggression from our good folks in Osaka.

Osaka has done a great job cultivating this image of being fun-loving, outgoing and funny. Interesting, because I found them to be largely outgoingly rude.

-4 ( +5 / -9 )

Also, screw Lawson, team 7/11 for life!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I'm pretty sure all Chinese can read it, and those other non-Japanese who are studying Japanese, as well as others who have half a bit of Japanese social integration can read it.

I can't see how someone used 外国人 to indirectly refer to Japanese (and therefore everyone) regardless of what language it's in.

Saying これ in itself is not rude, just direct. It's hardly これ来い (pronounced korekoi) which has real clout. It's more how the kore is said and how the person wants to interrupt it

All in all, it is clearly a discriminatory and passive- aggressive dig at the less entitled members of society.

Next step is "Japanese only" signs, which means us numbskulls will have to dependent more on our Japanese spouses. Again.

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Never forget the confusing english explanations at 7-11.

For the nikuman, the sign reads "pork bun."

For butaman, the sign reads "large pork bun."

And then oshiri tantei confuses things even more being the buttman.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

"As for the sign itself, it was taken down after people who’d seen it online contacted Lawson headquarters to lodge their complaints. Lawson said staff told them the sign was put up after a number of customers ended up receiving the wrong bun. The company has since apologized for the sign and its wording, saying they aim to be a store where all customers can shop comfortably."

Storm in a teacup which is over.

How many foreigners used that branch?

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Thank you Lawson, 7-11, Family Mart, Mini Stop, Daily, (RIP AM/PM). Your contributions to my fluctuating weight after arriving in Japan is undeniable. You always bring cool delicious products to the market, and really are a convenient aspect of life in Japan.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sign says, please say "give me a nikuman", but all nikumans are clearly sold out and only pizzaman. Come on man!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

So will they refuse a sale even if I merely point and gunt?

no matter how impolite or ignorant the gaijin appears, theyll still put their hand out and take the gaijins money LOL

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well not everyone working at a convenience store is a genius! 

Irasshaimasen.

Lol.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

It is necessary a prominent level of naiveness to write in Japanese, using kanji, to inform foreigners about the "right way" to order niku manju. Unfortunately, there are, from time to time, news about weird attitudes of convenience shop employees that project their frustration onto customers. Fortunately, so far, since 2019, I have been receiving polite attendance by humble staff of all places that I have been to.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Seems like a path of most resistance.

Wouldnt it have been easier to stick a handwitten sign in romaji " Nikuman" or "This is Nikuman" with an arrow ?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Kudasai don’t mean please to my partner who live in Akita. In Akita she pointed out (pun) means “I want” lower class people were forbidden to say kudasai. Only upper class Samurai and lords use this term and think about it A person of authority isn’t go use pleasantries are they. So over the years merchants started use kudsai between each other not in a demand way but in pleasant manor. So Only in Osaka the city of merchants that this apply.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

write it in romaji instead so that foreigner's can read it.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Generally the sign being written in Japanese/Kanji thrown in there would most likely not be noticed by foreigners using "kore" anyway.

However, as Lawson is a big chain the clerk/person responsible for writing this was not in the position to make this statement.

I understand that some/lots of conbini workers cop a lot of crap from customers, but still... a little respect and understanding goes a long way.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There are so many developed European countries where shop staff only use their local language with pretty unfriendly attitude. I even know some information for tourists are only written in their language...

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

There are so many developed European countries where shop staff only use their local language with pretty unfriendly attitude

Yep, if in doubt and Japan is criticized, point the finger at another country

-6 ( +8 / -14 )

So in order to communicate, people must speak in full, correct sentences and make sure they know all the vocabulary. Otherwise, they just should not even try to communicate and should not expect to be served.

What a crock of shite.

I want to go to this store and say KORE! at the top of my lungs while pointing at it, just to see their blood pressure rise.

Who says feminists are bitter and angry...

-4 ( +7 / -11 )

weird attitudes of convenience shop employees that project their frustration onto customers. 

This comment pretty much sums up the problem here, as well as pretty much all the problems in the world right now. Nicely said.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

masterToday 12:52 pm JSTs

Who says feminists are bitter and angry...

Yes, because the reason I'm angry about this sign is directly related to the fact I'm female, as this would not make any men upset.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

Yes, because the reason I'm angry about this sign is directly related to the fact I'm female, as this would not make any men upset.

yes.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

“If it’s a message for foreigners, shouldn’t it be written in English?”

I think it goes with the territory. If they can't write a message to foreigners in English, then its probably because they can't write or speak English. From my experience in Japan, the one's that can't stand foreigners or are a little racist, can't speak a word of English or they refuse to even try.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

silliness, and hardly something for anyone to act outraged about (but this is 2023, so..)

If a foreigner has mustered the strength to learn "kore", then he or she can also learn the basic "o kudasai" as well. I seem to remember it took me all of 30 seconds.

When in Rome.

-14 ( +3 / -17 )

“To foreign customers,

Kore is prohibited. Say nikuman kudasai."

It should be "Please say nikuman kudasai."

2 ( +6 / -4 )

How long was the notice there? Not the worse I have seen.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

The sign has no relevance to someone like me that does not read kanji. If it is not in English then the sign is not meant for me and I act accordingly.

Pretty pointless when the target audience (tourists and such) are unable to know what it means or that it is directed to them. I would call the attempt a fail.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

In the 15 years I previously lived in Japan, buying one of these was NEVER a problem.

Must be something to do with Osaka, someplace I never went.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What’s “interesting” is that they didn’t write the message in English… I’m sorry but I can’t get used to the fact that ninety nine percent of the Japanese population can only speak Japanese…; in Europe, especially among the younger generations, it is considered normal to have a second language and there’s a considerable number of people that can speak more than two languages…; I speak five languages so I’m guessing that it’s not impossible to learn a few words of the universal language (sorry, érow and sankyuu is not enough)…; laziness, ignorance and stupidity…, what a terrible combination.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

With such glowing reputations attached to them, it came as a bit of a shock to find one convenience store that wasn’t so amiable to its customers

This slop aside, having been here since the bubble days, rude treatment comes as no bit of a shock. However, it has given me a great idea! I go to a convenience store where there's one staff who never says anything to me, even with me speaking the language and being respectful.Fom now on, I'm going to say "kore" for everything.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

William77Today 09:35 am JST

Another of those many passive aggressive behavior that Japan is famous for.

> Unfortunately this proves again the inability for many Japanese to be comfortable and flexible enough to deal with people from other backgrounds and culture,and this is in 2023.

> Long way to go to become fully developed

You hammered down the nail that sticks up!

-14 ( +4 / -18 )

rcchToday  03:11 pm JST

*What’s “interesting” is that they didn’t write the message in English… I’m sorry but I can’t get used to the fact that ninety nine percent of the Japanese population can only speak Japanese…; in Europe, especially among the younger generations, it is considered normal to have a second language and there’s a considerable number of people that can speak more than two languages…; I speak five languages so I’m guessing that it’s not impossible to learn a few words of the universal language (sorry, érow and sankyuu is not enough)…; lazinessignorance and stupidity…, what a terrible combination.*

As a fellow European I totally agree with you,I dare to tell you even more.

In northern Europe already from my parents generation they were used to speak at least a second or even third language,and I’m in my mid 40es.

Here on the other hand they’re still struggling to deal with one language even these days.

Besides this won’t be a good publicity for the “omotenashi” that they want so much sell us.

Also we need to consider that Osaka being a major city and a touristic place has many foreigners only in vacation for a short period of time and they try to grasp just a few survival words such as “kore”

-16 ( +8 / -24 )

Also we need to consider that Osaka being a major city and a touristic place has many foreigners only in vacation for a short period of time and they try to grasp just a few survival words such as “kore”

If a Japanese tourist flew into London and jabbed his finger at someone selling fish and chips while grunting "this", you'd melt down.

-8 ( +7 / -15 )

Also we need to consider that Osaka being a major city and a touristic place has many foreigners only in vacation for a short period of time and they try to grasp just a few survival words such as “kore

I see where you went wrong here.

"kore" is not a survival word.

"Onegaishimasu" and "Arigato" are.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Maybe social media should point all the other common examples of xenophobia dealing with housing, stalking, bars, employment, and police. If other parties addressed those issues so rapidly, Japan would be a utopia that everyone could be proud of.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

rcch

What’s “interesting” is that they didn’t write the message in English… I’m sorry but I can’t get used to the fact that ninety nine percent of the Japanese population can only speak Japanese…; in Europe, especially among the younger generations, it is considered normal to have a second language and there’s a considerable number of people that can speak more than two languages…; I speak five languages so I’m guessing that it’s not impossible to learn a few words of the universal language (sorry, érow and sankyuu is not enough)…; **lazinessignorance and stupidity**…, what a terrible combination.

Europe is a continent or one land mass comprised of closely connected countries both linguistic and culturally with very few barriers to move between them and a long violent history of conquering one another to force one's culture on another. Japan is an isolated archipelago. Then add the large refugee migration. Not really the same thing!

That being said. Japan being a first world nation with usually the first or second largest economy in Asia. They should have a better education system with a stronger grasp of at least one foreign language considering it is compulsory in school.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

If a Japanese tourist flew into London and jabbed his finger at someone selling fish and chips while grunting "this", you'd melt down.

Why would a Japanese person do that in London at fish and chips, over and above a "foreigner" in Osaka at a nikuman?

And why would anyone "melt down"?

Master B doesn't know half the story and his mind is filling in the blanks..,

4 ( +7 / -3 )

It also targets the Chinese community more because it involves steamed buns which are popular among Chinese people.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Awa no Gaijin

Hmm....

Well perhaps you aren't aware of the fact that Russia is Europe and also Asia and that not all the countries of Europe are connected as one land mass.

Geography issues ?

I am well aware of European geography. No one cares about Iceland, I can see the UK from several European countries' shores including France and vic versa. The same can be said between Ireland and the UK. Russia is still in Europe with borders with other European countries that I can walk across.

What is your point?

Everything, I said is still true!

Logic issues?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Steam dumplings are popular in all nations.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

What’s so wrong with it? Using a demonstrative pronoun instead of repeating the just former said noun is grammatically valid and commonly used in many languages. Nikuman wo hitotsu kudasai. Kono nikuman desuka. That dialogue is even stranger, although correct too. I guess, the complaining person even omitted the ‘kudasai’.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I think it's sweet they assume many foreigners can read Japanese.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Awa no Gaijin

Perhaps you should view the written note again in the above article photo because it isn't only written in kanji.

It helps to pay attention to your own language.

What is your point?

The Japanese language involves writing in a combination of kanji, hiragana, and katakana.

Everything, they said is still true! They still wrote the message in fluent Japanese for people who probably cannot speak or read Japanese.

Writing messages to foreigners would make more sense if it was in the foreign language.

That is why train stations and other locations have signs written in multiple languages for the foreigners.

Logic issues?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Yes, I see, it’s the other direction. So name the products correctly at that box preferably also in Latin letters. A product name as well as the price and the tax are compulsory, but I don’t see 肉まん on that photo above.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

masterToday  03:51 pm JST

Also we need to consider that Osaka being a major city and a touristic place has many foreigners only in vacation for a short period of time and they try to grasp just a few survival words such as “kore”

If a Japanese tourist flew into London and jabbed his finger at someone selling fish and chips while grunting "this", you'd melt down.

-11( +0 / -11 )

And where is the article pointing at this story?

My wife which is Japanese and lived in Europe for almost a decade never saw such signs complaining at such kind of things.

I see where you went wrong here. 

"kore" is not a survival word.

"Onegaishimasu" and "Arigato" are.

I see where you are wrong here,your rigidity of mind,not everyone has the same culture and if a tourist who stays only few days tells me (this,das or questo) I won’t be a fuss.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

A message for foreigners written in Japanese. It's like Google Translate and DeepL doesn't even exist.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Surely this idiot got fired?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This whole thing is stupid. It's stupid for anyone to order "kore" as it is inprecise and could easily result in a mistake. And it's stupid to write the sign in Japanese if it's intended for foreigners. But the intent is obvious. Also stupid is a foreinger trying to make a gaijin thing out of it.

2 ( +14 / -12 )

Ossan

This whole thing is stupid. It's stupid for anyone to order "kore" as it is inprecise and could easily result in a mistake. And it's stupid to write the sign in Japanese if it's intended for foreigners. But the intent is obvious. Also stupid is a foreinger trying to make a gaijin thing out of it.

If pointing at something and saying "this" is so imprecise, then why point at all. In fact, you should tell Japanese people to stop point at their noise when they refer to themselves with their name or pronoun.

You can also tell them to stop bowing and signaling each other when they want people to go "This way."

It is so confusing and imprecise, right?

Do you also dislike crossing guards, too?

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

If a Japanese tourist flew into London and jabbed his finger at someone selling fish and chips while grunting "this", you'd melt down.

-11( +0 / -11 )

Yes. Entitled foreigners who can't be bothered to take a few minutes out of their life to learn a few basic Japanese phrases don't enjoy being reminded that they are just that. Especially the crowd that frequents this website.

My wife which is Japanese and lived in Europe for almost a decade never saw such signs complaining at such kind of things.

Did your wife take the few minutes and learn the very basic phrases that would have avoided this situation? Or did she just grunt "this" for 10 years whenever she went shopping?

I see where you are wrong here,your rigidity of mind,not everyone has the same culture and if a tourist who stays only few days tells me (this,das or questo) I won’t be a fuss.

Is it only my culture that expects one to be gracious guests and learn a few simple phrases instead of grunting "this" like Koko the gorilla?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

I have noticed this kind of problem in Japan, wherein even if the foreigner correctly expresses the general idea they're trying to convey in Japanese properly, they are often ignored or treated as though what they're saying is incomprehensible. The Japanese are a funny bunch - they are terrible at English and have embarrassingly low proficiency test scores, but also expect foreigners to master an extremely difficult language that will only be spoken by less than 80,000,000 people by the year 2100. The thing is, there are Japanese YouTubers that have explicitly stated pointing at the thing you want and saying "Hitotsu Kore" is an acceptable way to order items. But for the nativist types, it is never good enough; the pronunciation and intonation have to be perfect, the correct grammar always, the eagle has to land on the tree at 4 o'clock sharp ect. It's too picky - the reality is, Japanese is not an important global language. After almost three years of international Covid isolation, many people in this country have become delusional.

-11 ( +4 / -15 )

Oh, and to end this discussion, as no-one see the forest for all trees:

They are selling other things than "nikuman" in that case! What if the foreigner want to by an "anpanman" or any of the others???

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I remember working in one of the Hilton hotels in Poland where a lot of Korean employees were staying at. We had to help them in the mornings during breakfast and they often referred to certain dishes and sandwiches by simply pointing at them quietly. I remember how we spent sometimes up to 2-3 minutes trying to find what they were aiming at and while it doesn't seem that long it definitely is when their bus is leaving for work in next few minutes.

What I'm saying is - although it is unpleasant to read this kind of message I kind of can understand what the employees were going through. Of course at that hotel we'd never resort to this "solution" but I can simply understand the feelings and recommend still looking for better option.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

If this is the major problem of the day there ain't much to worry about.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I do feel sorry for store employees who have to deal with foreigners who are too lazy to bother studying the language even though they are living in Japan. If you live in Japan, you have a moral obligation to study and improve. If you aren't doing that, you're not a quality foreigner.

But this sign is stupid, because the people with the linguistic capability read the sign are the most likely to to NOT revert to a one-word grunt of これ when requesting something.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

The thing is, there are Japanese YouTubers that have explicitly stated pointing at the thing you want and saying "Hitotsu Kore" is an acceptable way to order items.

It's pidgin Japanese.

It should be これ、一つ (kore hitotsu). And a please always goes a long away in any culture.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

"do you have a point card?/do you need a plastic bag?"

The plastic bag part I can understand but I always wonder why they keep asking me if I have a point card all the time. They've seen my face all the time at the regular supermarket I go to and I've told them milions of time that I don't have one. Sales pitch I guess. Reading Japanese is a much harder task for foreigners than speaking Japanese so I don't get why Japanese insist on writing in Japanese to convey a messsage to foreigners. It's like writing a message in Arabic to Japanese tourists in Dubai. Overall I've found customer service at convenience stores pretty good. One even let me use their phone to contact someone when I was running late. I decided to buy something because they helped me out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I honestly only go to Lawson as a place of last resort. The Lawson brand had a moment of glimmer with their Natural Lawson stores appearing here and there, though sadly not so many around, and really the only good thing they had was their Salad range.... for a time.

Personally I prefer 7-11, better food range, better quality, cleaner Stores. Friendlier staff... just speaking from experience. So... I'm not surprised to see this article. Lawson should see this as a wake-up call to fix their image - but of course, I guess they won't.

And yes, occassionally, I use "sore wa" when pointing at a particular food item on display, to distinguish it from the others ... simply because it may look bigger/juicier/fresher from the rest.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I don't know the Japanese for 'Can I have a chocolate doughnut please, not the one that looks like a jam doughnut but actually has beef curry or something in it', so I just point very carefully, smile and say 'Chokorēto please'. I may as well have 'Tourist' stamped on my head. The konbini staff are always lovely. I lived on konbini-bought food for my first trip (it sold Y100 groceries), went in the nearby store at least once every day for the entire trip, and gave the staff a box of chocolates before I left as they had been so sweet.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I worked at chain restaurants in Japan for a couple of years when I was younger and plenty of Japanese customers would point their finger at menu pictures and say "kore" when ordering (this would happen to both me and my Japanese co-workers) - so I'm kind of surprised to see combini staff get flustered by that kind of behavior. Also, they probably have a customer service manual that instructs them to confirm the item before taking the nikuman and packaging it (like how they are trained at McDonalds to point at the counter menu to confirm foreigners' orders)...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Konbini staff are on their feet all day and don't earn heaps. Be nice. Smile. Thank them. They aren't robots yet. You will miss them when the chains go self-service to make even more loot.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

One guest to this message is targeting. It seem to trigger a certain Karen to tweet about a Steam bun which dislikes being call kore,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

“ Europe is a continent or one land mass comprised of closely connected countries both linguistic and culturally with very few barriers to move between them and a long violent history of conquering one another to force one's culture on another. Japan is an isolated archipelago. “

You don’t think I know that(?)…; if this was two thousand, that would’ve been an acceptable argument…, what I’m saying is that the world is a much smaller place today but Japan, in a way, still wants to remain closed/isolated…;

we’re not even talking about basic English… that’s how bad it is…;

smh(!)

Mar. 7  11:53 pm JST I do feel sorry for store employees who have to deal with foreigners who are too lazy to bother studying the language even though they are living in Japan. If you live in Japan, you have a moral obligation to study and improve. If you aren't doing that, you're not a quality foreigner.

But this sign is stupid, because the people with the linguistic capability read the sign are the most likely to to NOT revert to a one-word grunt of これ when requesting something.

A small contradiction there, buddy…; they’re talking to foreigners in general, not just the ones living, working or studying in Japan… so you shouldn’t try to justify this “stupid sign” (your words, not mine)…; just say that it’s stupid, rude and unacceptable…;

imo, I don’t see a big difference between すみません、これをお願いいたします and just これ because the tone and the way you say it is extremely important…; all this strictness for just going to the konbini… give me a break…(!)

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

note:

the last paragraph of my previous post was about this specific situation where a foreigner that can’t speak Japanese goes to a konbini and, with his/her lack of confidence, shyness and insecurities of being in a foreign country and not being able to speak the language, tries to buy some food by saying これ、a simple, inoffensive word. Not a big deal, especially if the person is not aggressive (and we can tell that through their body language and tone of voice). Focus on the real problem: the people responsible for that “warning” and their (original) frustrations (maybe even hate).

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

A small contradiction there, buddy…; they’re talking to foreigners in general, not just the ones living, working or studying in Japan…

No they aren't, because almost no visitors to Japan could read this sign, and therefore it is not for them.

And as I said:

the people with the linguistic capability read the sign are the most likely to to NOT revert to a one-word grunt of これ when requesting something.

I still stand by that.

so you shouldn’t try to justify this “stupid sign” (your words, not mine)…;

How did I try to justify it? Do you not realize what calling something 'stupid' means? You'll have to justify your assertion, because there doesn't seem to be anything from my post that could logically have led to that conclusion.

imo, I don’t see a big difference between すみません、これをお願いいたします and just これ

Well, some people are ruder than others, because they don't understand the basic rules of politeness in society. So you are welcome to that opinion, but don't be surprised if other people aren't welcoming to your opinion.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In the first part of your post, you showed sympathy for the store employees that “have to deal with foreigners who are too lazy to study the language”, which means that you’re basically saying that you understand why they’d write this, which means that you accept it; your acceptance means that you’re justifying their action.

In the second part of your post, you admit that the sign is stupid because:

The sign (above), despite being written entirely in Japanese, is addressed to foreigners, and reads:

“To foreign customers,

Kore is prohibited. Say nikuman kudasai."

Again, it clearly says “to foreign customers”; it doesn’t mention their occupation or how long they’ve been staying in Japan; they don’t know if the person is a tourist, a businessman/businesswoman staying in Japan for a few days, a student or a family member or friend of a long term resident…; those who have at least some knowledge of the Japanese language would never just point and say kore so this sign is for those that can’t speak the language, but it’s written in Japanese. This stupid sign is a result of their frustrations and ignorance (and xenophobia, because that wouldn’t be surprising).

imo, I don’t see a big difference between すみません、これをお願いいたします and just これ 

Well, some people are ruder than others, because they don't understand the basic rules of politeness in society. So you are welcome to that opinion, but don't be surprised if other people aren't welcoming to your opinion.

was careful enough to explain this in my previous post.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

In the first part of your post, you showed sympathy for the store employees that “have to deal with foreigners who are too lazy to study the language”, which means that you’re basically saying that you understand why they’d write this, which means that you accept it; your acceptance means that you’re justifying their action.

Huh? Saran wrap would be jealous of the stretch it took to come to that conclusion.

First, I didn't say all foreigners, I stated it was the subset of foreigners who are too lazy to bother studying the language even though they are living in Japan. Tourists have no obligation to know Japanese. But if someone is living in Japan, and doesn't know how to say 'nikuman wo hitotsu kudasai', something that is learned in the first few chapters of any textbook - this is on that person. They are living in the country, and any time they go into a store and force their non-understanding of the language they have chosen to live in, they are imposing a burden upon that store person.

People visiting Japan, and people making an effort to learn Japanese are not covered by the subset of foreigners I referred to.

As for justifying their action, the whole thing is silly - the people who can read it would already be saying more than 'kore', and the people who can't read it won't be able to to know not to say 'kore'. So I'm not justifying the sign, rather I think it's... stupid. As I said.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Lost in translation. Japan you make my tummy hurt so much from laughing at your signs. I am a foreigner and I don’t get offended by them just a sore tummy from laughing

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Open-mindedMar. 7  08:37 pm JST

Ossan

This whole thing is stupid. It's stupid for anyone to order "kore" as it is inprecise and could easily result in a mistake. And it's stupid to write the sign in Japanese if it's intended for foreigners. But the intent is obvious. Also stupid is a foreinger trying to make a gaijin thing out of it.

If pointing at something and saying "this" is so imprecise, then why point at all. In fact, you should tell Japanese people to stop point at their noise when they refer to themselves with their name or pronoun.

You can also tell them to stop bowing and signaling each other when they want people to go "This way."

It is so confusing and imprecise, right?

Do you also dislike crossing guards, too?

I don't normally waste my time responding to people who are so obtuse to know that terms like "this" and "that" are imprecise. Furthermore anyone who has been in a Konbini in Japan knows that to a clerk behind the counter, pointing doesn't mean anything because it's not visible and there ay be other items in that case. Oh and I do dislike obtuse people.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I said KORE everywhere in Japan - one of the very few words I knew when I first went there. Didn't seem to upset anyone!

BTW , what does baka gaijin mean ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lawson Twitter account just block me cause I share some Cake picture of my country to they have more ideas for products...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If was someone disabled mute to order???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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