Off Into The Sunset

Just Something To Do

Why I Don't Speak Japanese Very Much in Japantown

So I was in Nijiya Market yesterday, as I am so very often. This guy in front of me was this tall, dark haired Italian-looking guy who looked like he was probably obnoxious. In this case, the looks weren’t deceiving. So as he’s leaving he spews out this well-practiced spiel to his cashier saying good bye and I’ll be back again, etc. in Japanese, looking all smug, and making sure others could see that here was this white guy who could speak Japanese. The cashier, of course, just laughed at him. Not because there was anything wrong with his Japanese, but because she doesn’t speak Japanese - she speaks Cantonese. He was, of course, making the assumption that any Asian who works in a store in Japantown must be a native Japanese speaker. Which might sound right, but in reality, that’s just an incorrect assumption to make. I’ve been to a few restaurants already where a Japanese family comes into a restaurant and they have to go find the one Japanese speaker working at that time to serve them. Anyway, basically I don’t want to be like that guy at the market, so I usually speak English until I can be sure I’m not being a jerkstore.