Your Japanese is Great!

There is something odd that happens quite often in Japan.  A foreigner speaks one sentence in Japanese and they are immediately complimented for their skill at speaking Japanese.  This is usually said with great enthusiasm and sometimes with surprise.  It’s a hard thing to listen to because you can’t actually tell if someone is skilled at speaking a language based on one sentence.  My Japanese is also not very good so I feel strange when people tell me how skilled I am.  Today it happened after one word.

Marty was looking at a Galaxy Note at a Galaxy exhibition.  It was a largish room and we were the only people there who were not staff.  None of the staff wanted to speak to us.  The staff who were supposed to be monitoring our table were standing against the wall.  They were both trying to talk the other one into speaking to us and neither of them wanted to try speaking in English. Finally the woman approached us.  She spoke slowly and said, “konnichiwa”.  Marty responded with, “konnichiwa”.  She clapped her hands in excitement and told Marty that he was really good at speaking Japanese.  It was bizarre and we did our best not to laugh, but I assume her enthusiasm came from relief that we did not look blankly at her.  It’s good to know that Marty is skilled at saying “good day”.

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