But We’re Speaking Japanese!

(YouTube link)

Here’s a skit that takes place in a restaurant in Japan. According to the comments at YouTube, this kind of thing happens all the time. And if you flip the languages, I’m sure it happens all over. The video was produced by Ken Tanaka and friends, who brought us What Kind of Asian Are You? -Thanks, Ken!


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Her head would have just simply exploded. Most Japanese wouldn't even consider, in a hundred years, that a Caucasian doesn't necessarily speak English. You're a foreigner, right? You GOTTA speak English...

I always had fun whenever I went out with my Italian friend when we both lived in Japan. He didn't speak a lick of English, and the only Italian I know is restricted to naming types of pasta. So the only way for us to communicate was always in Japanese. No biggie. We both spoke it well enough. But the weird looks we'd get in public... And on occasion, whenever we had a larger group of us, we would ALL speak Japanese because that was the one language we ALL understood. But the locals wouldn't ever get that. They would think that a table full of foreigners, without a single Asian face among them, yet ALL speaking Japanese was just the strangest thing in the world. And on occasion, a braver soul would even come up and ask... "Uhhh.... Aren't all you guys foreigners? Why are you speaking Japanese amongst yourselves?" And we'd have to explain that we were from different countries and not all of us spoke English, whereas Japanese was lingua franca for us. But even after explaining it, sometimes I got the impression they never really did quite get it.
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OMG! This vid just summarized my last 11 years living in Japan. I just about hurt myself laughing so hard! This was just PERFECT! I LOVE the horrified look on the waitress's face the moment she realizes she has to serve a table full of "gaikokujin" (foreigners)... And then immediately gravitates to the one Japanese-looking person for help. Absolutely spot-on! I've been in this situation too many times to even count.
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Had a similiar experience in Japan. My husband and I are American (caucasian) do not speak Japanese, but were traveling with two people who spoke Japanese but are American, not of asian decent.) All four of us were looking at a resturaunt menu sign outside, figured out the food sounded good and decided to go in and order. All of us pretty much knew what we wanted and we had two people who were fluent enough to order dinner. The waitress was insistent that we needed an English menu because none of us were Japanese. Our friends were a little offended because she didn't want to listen to them telling her we were fine without it. This was the one and only time anyone was even somewhat rude about it though.
Typically the waitstaff, and everyone else for that matter, were very helpful and accomodating even when we didn't have our Japanese speaking friends with us. After all, it's not too difficult to point at what you what you want politely, nod and say "hi" with a smile.
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