Why do the Japanese tell you “You can speak Japanese very well”?

If you already know how to speak a little Japanese, the Japanese will come to you and say “You can speak very good Japanese”, but if you believe it and stop studying it more, it will cost you a lot.

Today I’ll explain why we say that.

Japanese people pay attention to foreigners

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Photo by Magnetme on

Clearly I can’t say that all Japanese are perfect, but normally we don’t have any enmity towards foreigners. Besides, if you can speak Japanese, we are very happy and want you to have a good time in Japan. Many people think “I want to help this nice person!

So if you make a mistake in speaking Japanese, we don’t feel bad because they try so hard to speak our language, and we say “Courage, you can speak very well!

That’s our kindness.

Well I have the same experience. For example now you are reading my article and you don’t feel that it is an article that a native wrote. But nobody told me like that; “What are you writing??, silly, I can’t understand what you have written!!”

But if the Japanese praise you like that, it doesn’t mean that we think it’s not necessary to study Japanese anymore. We praise them, but we want them to try harder while thinking “Hmm now he doesn’t know how to use Keigo, but I shouldn’t mention that you should use Keigo to this person because he tries so hard to speak Japanese hmm.
But don’t think that you can just let him study. If you don’t make an effort, one day we’ll let you.

I call this attention “Gaijin Zone”

The time you have to leave Gaijin Zone

This Korean has the same experience

I have already explained, the Japanese praise your level of Japanese waiting for your skill improvement. That’s why if someone tells you;

Come on, you can speak very well!

It means;

Come on, you can speak very well! (although you studied for only this long, but clearly you’ll study more to be able to speak more, right?)

You see, the Japanese don’t say all the things they feel, you have to understand the context. We’re not saying you don’t need to be able to use Keigo.

But if a foreigner can’t understand it, he might think “Oh I can speak Japanese enough, yay!”

It’s very dangerous because the Japanese look at you very well without saying anything smiling. Then one day suddenly your boss says to you;

“If you don’t improve your Japanese any more, I can’t take you to the meeting with my clients.

Game Over. You should understand the context of the sentence sooner.

Make an effort even if someone praises you

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Photo by Anete Lusina on

Una extranjera explica por qué lleva 3 años en Japón y no sabe hablar japonés | International Press – Noticias de Japón en español

In this article a Philipine woman says that she can live in Japan for 3 years without knowing Japanese, but don’t think that you can really live in Japan without knowing Japanese.

If you don’t know Japanese, it means that you are only in a place called Japan. The Japanese don’t care about a foreigner who can’t explain what he’s feeling, and they will take away his visa if something emergency happens. In fact, many foreigners lost their jobs because of Covid, and they complain about unfair treatment by Japanese society, but Japanese newspapers don’t report much because no one wants to know. Do you want to go back to your country like this?

Understand our Honne and Tatemae very well.

For instance, don’t you want to know what they say if you can speak Japanese perfectly?

Well, we don’t say anything.

Because we feel that they are like Japanese if foreigners can speak super well, there is no need to praise anything. In fact, I never praise another Japanese person as “Oh, you can speak Japanese very well.

So ironically, if someone praises you for your level of Japanese, it means that something is missing. Now what is your level of Japanese? Give me your opinion.

(2) Comments

  1. ミカエル says:


    1. ご丁寧なコメントありがとうございます。今まで数カ国行きましたがこの「あなた何語上手ですね」現象はどこでも起きているようです。世界中で多くの外国人の人が同じように頑張っているのかもしれませんね。

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