Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Overly Polite Japanese

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Overly Polite Japanese


As a foreign student from Taiwan, I went to Japan for my studies. Just like other foreign students in the US, I first attended a language school in Japan before going to college there.

In that school, there were more students from Asia than those from anywhere else, and the only common language for us was Japanese. As a beginning learner, I tried to speak the language every day, but I often couldn’t make myself understood. Any student knew that when speaking Japanese, you’d need to choose proper expressions depending on the person you’d talk to or the situation.Yet, we often couldn’t pay much attention to such a rule because we were too busy trying to speak the language by just following the textbooks.

One day, I heard loud voices from a hall in the school. It appeared that a Korean student and a Taiwanese student were having an argument loudly in Japanese. “Excuse me, sir, but I’m afraid that you are a very bad person, sir. Why would you have to do such a thing?” said the Taiwanese in a very polite tone. “I am not bad, sir. If I might just say something, you are the bad one, sir,” replied the Korean student, also in polite Japanese.

I’ll still burst into laughter when I recall their reddish faces that were about to blow up and their overly polite Japanese.

Ao-chan, still not good at polite Japanese