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36

While saying "No" in Asia is generally different from other countries in western Europe, I made the experience that - depending on how well you know people and in which environment you are - it is much more difficult to find out what the actual situation is in Japan than let's say in China, Singapore etc. I experienced the biggest differences to the Japanese ...


26

While this phenomenon exists, it's not as big a problem as you think, and it affects primarily relationships with people you already know. If you ask a complete stranger for directions, they will say "no" or direct you somewhere else if they can't help you, and if they go out of their way to help you they're doing it entirely voluntarily. Sure, you might ...


11

Asking if someone speaks your language has several potential pitfalls, and even more so in Japan. There are completely different expectations to assess whether oneself actually speaks a language and a portion of fear what kind of expectations the asking person might have if one confirms. In Japan on top of this, people feel the expectations towards them are ...


11

I don't think your Japanese will be much help, except for interacting with Japanese tourists. Where there are guides or directions in Japanese, there will almost certainly be guides or directions in English. Your kanji may help with Taiwanese signs or Korean newspaper headlines, but Japanese is not related to Mandarin and distantly if at all to Korean, aside ...


11

In general all major airlines will have flight attendants on board that speak at least the following languages : The main language of the country they are flying FROM The main language of the country they are flying TO English That's not to say that every flight attendant on the flight will speak all of those languages, but there will be at least one ...


7

I've found that a 'no' usually comes in a roundabout way - as an alternative plan or delay in answering, or occasionally a rub of the forehead followed by the phrase "ちょっとう..." ("chotto...", colloquially "well..."). In business settings 'yes' is usually used to indicate "I am listening". When you need a clear answer, leave the request open so time is ...


5

Knowing Kanji will help a bit in Chinese-using areas such as Taiwan, in that you may be able to get the general idea of some signs. That's about all. Don't expect anyone in Taiwan or Korea to understand spoken Japanese. You would be better off trying English.


4

Japanese people don't really say "yes" when they mean "no". What they say is "it's very difficult" or "it's unlikely". The only time they will say "yes" is if they think you are not really asking them something. For example if you invite someone to your house and they say "yes" without asking for details of the exact time and your address it is probably ...


4

If you can't find out anything on-line, just take some time when you get to Tokyo. Find the addresses of some schools and actually go there and hang around outside, then ask some of the students for their opinions as they come out for a break. I did this when I learned Spanish in Antigua (Guatemala) which is full of Spanish schools.


4

I would still suggest asking the question in Japanese is better. It at least shows you're trying and in most cultures this is appreciated. If the people didn't answer your question it might be that they didn't understand what you were saying. At that point, it would seem OK to switch to English to see if they understand. At least you've demonstrated a ...


3

Japanese is not hugely helpful in those countries, but not altogether useless. There will be a few Koreans who will know Japanese better than English. And part of the Japanese WRITTEN language (Kanji) is borrowed from Chinese, so Taiwanese will be able to read what you write in Kanji, and you would be able to read the Chinese script using Kanji. Younger ...


3

Well first, we assume you are pronouncing it correctly when you say it. So in that case, there are a few options. you could be saying it clearly, and they themselves don't speak English, so are embarrassed to admit this. they may speak English, but are embarrassed to try their broken English, and at the same time are worried your Japanese sounds poor, ...


1

"Do you speak English" is different from other questions. "Which way to the train station, please?" might be best in English, especially if you don't know how to understand the answer in the local language. But "Do you speak English?" in English carries with it that you can only speak English and nothing else. It wouldn't be a good first sentence of a ...



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