Help me understand the Japanese


08-29-2005, 02:00 AM

Can you help me understand the japanese?

I had some not so good experiences with japanese people. A few years ago, me and another female colleague were assigned to the same project. We went to Paris and London. Stayed together in a hotel for a total of 6 months (3 mos Paris, 3 Mos London). We became very close and would say that we became good friends while we were there. We go to client office at the same, have lunch and dinner at the same too. We even go for drinking and spend our weekends touring the place around together.

We went back to Japan. She got assigned to another project and I got assigned to another one. After coming back, we never talk, have lunch, have dinner. Our path would normally cross in the hallway during lunch time but we just say hello. Suddenly, its like we are strangers and we dont know each other at all. I have heard about this IN and OUT with the japanese culture. Is this an example of YOU’RE IN while we were outside Japan and YOU’RE so OUT when we got back?

Another case, there is this colleague that told about his coming marriage and said that we are invited. Invitation didnt come. Marriage took place. Most of our friends are there except us (which is good in a way :)). But why say something that you dont really mean?

Case three, we have this old friend that we havent been communicating with for quite awhile. I told my husband to call, say hello and see how he is doing. He called but he asked if we are in trouble? Is it really like this with japanese? Japanese make calls only when they are in trouble?

I really cant understand them …


08-29-2005, 10:20 AM

cant undersrtand them neither.
even if i want to blend in with them, may barrier talaga na mahirap ibreak.


08-29-2005, 01:36 PM

Another case, there is this colleague that told about his coming marriage and said that we are invited. Invitation didnt come. Marriage took place. Most of our friends are there except us (which is good in a way :)). But why say something that you dont really mean?

In all cases, hindi lang naman Japanese ang gumagawa nyan, pati taga-ibang bansa din including Pinoys.

As for case 2: may tinatawag dito sa Japan na “社交辞令” (shakou jirei), o diplomatic remarks/social etiquette daw according to

Ang shakou jirei ay yung mga bagay na sinasabi ng mga Japanese (not all) sayo just to be polite, pero hindi talaga nila ito sini-seryoso. Yes, wala sa kultura nating mga Pinoy ito.

May dawalang Japanese, si A-san at B-san. Nagkita sila unexpectedly sa loob ng isang grocery. Hindi naman sila close, nagkakilala lang sa isang party.

A-san: Uy B-san! Genki? Balita ko ikakasal na daw kayo ni C-san ah! Congrats in advance!
B-san: Salamat! Oo nga busy na kami sa preparasyon. Ang dami pang di nagagawa!

A-san: Goodluck na lang ha! Invite mo naman kaming mag-asawa. (jokingly lang)
B-san: Sure! (jokingly din…pero walang planong magpadala ng invitation)

Eto ang isa pang example: Spot: Plan. Collaborate. Explore.

When you are invited with the words: “Come to my house.” by Japanese, it is usually just a polite greeting. You don’t have to check your schedule and plan accordingly.

Likewise, when American people say: “Talk to you soon.” or “Talk to you later.”, what does it really mean? Once, I didn’t know “how soon it was” , so I was patiently awaiting the call. I had been waiting for about one hour for the call, which never came. I remembered feeling sad.
Now, I know they’re just words. I learned one more communication skill in America.


08-29-2005, 02:24 PM

Hi, Makulit!

Ahhh, yeah… Max-san is right about such custom called shakou-jirei(lip service), but in your cases, it seems to me that it all just comes from their personality. It seems so weird to me that the person acts like she is a total stranger to you after coming back to Japan.

When we give such “shakou-jirei”, most of the times we(among Japanese) all know that it’s just shakou-jirei, so you don’t take it seriously.(We know that the person gives shakou-jirei only not to hurt other people’s feelings by ignoring them. It’s just a sign that we also care about you. But there is sort of a “silent agreement” that “don’t take it seriously”. I’m aware that a lot of foreigners don’t understand us because of this kind of “silent understang” among Japanese. For instance, we tend to just smile when we decline someone’s invitation saying “chotto”… This means that you are declining softly instead of saying “no”. But foreigners don’t understand why we are just smiling. It’s just that we like to avoid hurting other people’s feeling by saying things straightforward.)

Don’t worry it’s not your fault. It doesn’t happen only to foreigners like you. It happens to us too all the time. Mostly it’s not bacause of our custom, it’s just because of their personality.


08-29-2005, 04:47 PM

Hello Makulit!

Solution: don’t try to understand them… mahirap talaga minsan! I would just regard that “friendship” as something that was temporary and fleeting - something that was good while it lasted, after that ay relegated to good memories na lang. Hindi ba parang very Japanese ang dating? Parang ding sakura - brilliant and beautiful for one evanescent moment before withering away… Zen na Zen, naks!!:smiley:

Seriously, I think Teddy might be right… the problem might be with her as an individual. In Paris and London, she has no choice dahil dalawa lang kayo, at lalo na ikaw yung mas magaling sa Ingles, it was advantageous for her to cultivate the friendship.

Her loss, not yours…


08-29-2005, 10:49 PM

equivalent yata sa ating mga Filipino yan ay yung pag pumasok tayo sa bahay ng ibang tao at nagkataon na may kumakain.tapos…aal ukin tayo na kumain kahit alam na di tayo uupo at makikikain (pag umupo at kumain,sasabihin ng pabulong sa sarili ‘‘kapal nmn nito,inalok lng kunwari,naupo na’’…lols).

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