It is very rare indeed that people in Asia in general, and in Japan in particular are rude to anyone, especially to foreigners. Usually they go out of their way to help you and do so with a smile on their face. Now, what do you think of this:

A Man presses a "reject" buttionThe other day, when I was in a bookstore browsing the (tiny) English section, a man came straight towards me. Our conversation was very short, I only said a single word in response. In virtually perfect English he said, “Can I ask you a very impolite and personal question? I nodded and he continued, “Are you a native English speaker?” “No.” At which point he raised his hand in a dismissive gesture, turned around on his heels and disappeared without a single further word.

This the first time somebody has been obviously rude to me in Japan (I mean the running away part, not the asking) and it still baffles me. I talked about this incident with a housemate of mine who has been living here for 5 years or so, and he said this might have happened because the man wanted to practise his English, used up all his courage in the first question and then did not know anymore what to say. I doubt that as his English was too good for that, though. My housemate also said similar things have happened to him – he’s a native speaker and gets annoyed when people don’t leave him alone, so it’s the opposite – and I should not take this too seriously. I am still somewhat annoyed by this though, especially as this totally hits my sore ENS spot: English Native Speaker…

One thought on “Rude”

  1. Dear Iris,
    I was not there so I cannot judge; however, the impression that I have tells me that he was not rude! though, it would be better if he had apologized for taking your time ….

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