Thank you for all your comments on the topic of aisatsu. I have to do the feedback early this week because I will have no time tomorrow.
In the morning, I’m doing a presentation at a conference for junior high and elementary school teachers in Gifu. In the afternoon, I have a class, and then I have to drive down to Kobe for a big conference this weekend.
On the topic of aisatsu, I think the biggest difference between Japan and other countries is the formality of the greetings. When people talk about someone “not doing aisatsu properly,” I think they often mean that the person did say something, but that it was not appropriate or correct. That is not really such a big deal in Western countries.
At the moment, I am teaching an advanced English class at my university on Wednesdays, and we usually have a discussion about whatever topic I have posted on the blog that week. It was interesting to read your comments about personal space, because that is exactly what we ended up talking about on Wednesday.
As some of you pointed out, it seems like a contradiction that even though Japanese people tend not to touch each other when they greet, they are comfortable in situations where they have very little personal space.
Another topic we talked about was people who kiss as a greeting. This is common in European countries, and it is becoming more and more common in the UK too. Actually, I don’t really like it, because I never know how many times I am supposed to kiss or which side to kiss first. I like hugs, though!
Anyway, here is some feedback on your comments. I’m afraid I won’t have time to read any questions, though, because I will be at the conference all weekend.
as you grow older, you see the world and begin to think like, “If greetings settle everything, then why don’t I try it? It’s much less stressful.
You could also say, “As you grow older, you tend to choose the path of least resistance.”
Of course, workplaces are not the military, so you don’t need to shout it to the whole office. That would be weird!
People do exactly that in Japan, though. When I went to observe my students doing their teaching practice, they had to shout a greeting every time they entered and left the staff room, even if no one was listening.
I make it a rule to greet people from me with a smile and tell my sons to greet people.
I make it a rule to greet people with a smile, and I tell my sons to do the same.
Just as your son’s case,
Just as in your son’s case,
As for your supermarket story, I know exactly what you mean. Some Japanese people are very polite to only people who are acuainted with them and often behave horribly badly to strangers!
I have definitely noticed this tendency in Japan.
Did anyone watch the TV program featuring a Japanese woman married an English man last night? She was complaing about the way her husband did the dishes, and it was like perfectly what we discussed with Kattie a little while ago! He never rinses the dishes after washing them with washing-up liquid. The program visited another family to confirm if it was only the case in the above-mentioned family, but the wife of the latter-mentioned family told the Japanese TV interviewer that she did dishes in the same way, too, and she even said that it was a traditional way of washing the dishes in the UK! Of course, celeblities in the TV studio all said, “え～っ、きったな～い!”, but as you all know, Kattie told us that she always rinses them like we do.
I hate to say it, but isn’t this just proving the point I made last week? A TV program about how people wash dishes? Really??? (LOL)
Japanese people are lucky to have these handy phrases!
That is very true. Since I learned to speak Japanese, I have often found myself searching for a phrase like “onegaishimasu” when I speak English.
But when you have to Aisatsu for older people than you, it’s a bit nuisance, troublesome or annoying to care about using proper words every time.
But when you have to do aisatsu to people who are older than you, it’s a bit of a nuisance and quite troublesome and annoying to worry about using the proper words every time.
I don’t think people would get angry because of not using fancy words.
Really? I think that a lot of people, especially older people, do get angry about this.
I think Japanese people are a bit insensitive to being very close to other people, or touching(accidentally, of course!) other people, aren’t they?
That is a very interesting point.
I knew some coworkers(they are all Japanese) who hated being said “otukaresama”
… who hated it when people said “otsukaresama” to them.
The husband said to me “Nihao”. I answered, “Konnichiwa” and told him, “I’m Japanese”.
You are very patient. I would just have ignored him! That’s what I do when people start asking me things about America.
Hi, I have a question today. I should have written on the last topic about TV.
Hi Taco. Sorry, I can’t really help without hearing the program. I know that Jamie Oliver can be a bit difficult to understand at times, though.
I used to work at a company where we had to do aisatsu in a militaristic way.
That’s the only bit of the aisatsu culture that I don’t really like.
Actually, I just remembered something one of my students said on Wednesday. He is actually a high school English teacher, but he is doing a Master’s degree now. He said that one day, one of his colleagues suddenly started talking to him differently. When he asked him why, the reply was, “Because I’ve just found out that you are older than me.” My student looks quite young, so the other teacher had thought he was a kohai instead of a sempai.
That’s it for today, have a great weekend, and I’ll be back with another topic on Monday.