Communication in Japan Weblog

{December 11, 2008}   Culture Shock

Wow… it’s almost the end of the semester and I still feel like it’s only October, maybe closing to November.  My friends told me that it’s because the weather is probably different where I lived.  They said that it is the little things that I missed. 

Anyways, so, the class started out this morning  with what each of us are doing over winter break.   Then one of my classmates said she is going home.  She said that she really misses home.  She told us that there was this one time where she just wanted to go home and that she really didn’t like Japan.  She said she feels better now, and that she really likes Japan, but she’s still excited to go home. If this doesn’t scream “culture shock,”  I don’t know what does.  ^_~


{November 27, 2008}   Implied messages

One day when I was with my speaking partner, I think I asked him to translate what he said in Japanese to English without using the denshi jisho, but of course he had to take it out.  So, I called him a “cheater” while pointing my finger at him and making ‘tsk’-ing sound.  My poor speaking partner then said “chigau! no!” while shaking his head.  He then asked me, “Why do foreigners get ‘angry’ when people cheat?” … or something like that… 

I remember this incident because we talked about implied messages in one of our previous classes.  In the case with my speaking partner, I think that he just read way too much into my ‘accusation.’  I was just kidding around, and I think other foreigners who called him that did the same.  I think that when I called my friends a cheater in a playful situation, they would just brush it off or come back with some sort of retort.  Unlike my (other) friends though, I think that my speaking partner was really worried about this accusation.  I had to tell him that I was just kidding and that I wasn’t serious.

On another note, I think I made “genki” into a form of ‘hello’.  This morning, I said “Ohayou! Genki!” while passing by one of my friends.  My friend ended up responding, and I just continued on my way downstairs(he was talking up too).  I was a staircase below when I realized that my friend answered me, but I didn’t want to walk back up.  =(  I feel like a bad friend….

{November 26, 2008}   High Context Society?

So, I’ve learned in class that Japanese people tend to be more indirect.  Last night, my host mother and sister wanted to go meet my other host sister at Kuzuha.  My sister invited me to go, but I didn’t agree exactly; I didn’t really want to leave the comfort of the nice, warm living room. 

Maybe half an hour to an hour before they left, I decided that I wanted to go.  At that time, I didn’t know whether I should say, “Hey, I want to go with you,”  or be indirect.  So, using what I learned about the Japanese culture, I decided to be indirect and was like, “Okaasan, I don’t want to stay home by myself.”  Ok, I don’t know whether that was ‘indirect’ enough, but my mom had no clue what my decision was.  My host sister had to tell my mom directly that I wanted to go too.  

So, I guess that my mom got used to me being ‘direct’ while my sister, who studies in Kyushuu, understood me because she doesn’t live at home.  Either that or my mom couldn’t understand me. -_-

(…I’m not conciously aware if I was ever ‘direct’ to my mom when I speak, so I could have been indirect or direct… I just realize it yesterday because I had no idea what I should say to express my desire…)

et cetera