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Chuckle from thanking? Where I went wrong?

M. Lamm

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Elementary question: I don't speak Japanese (yet). I ordered in an empty bar and tried to make sense of different Japanese whiskies. Barkeeper knew no English so we sorted out the order by universal hand gestures. I paid and said Arigatou gozaimasu, which gave chuckle or laugh from the bartender. Was he mocking me (I think my pronunciation is not too much off - based on YouTube samples)? Nevertheless, whisky was good.
 

Toritoribe

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I don't think he was mocking you, even if your pronunciation was not good, and/or you should say "Gochisousama deshita" instead of "Arigatou gozaimasu" in your situation. I think he was just pleased with your saying it in Japanese.
 

Akihiro

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Elementary question: I don't speak Japanese (yet). I ordered in an empty bar and tried to make sense of different Japanese whiskies. Barkeeper knew no English so we sorted out the order by universal hand gestures. I paid and said Arigatou gozaimasu, which gave chuckle or laugh from the bartender. Was he mocking me (I think my pronunciation is not too much off - based on YouTube samples)? Nevertheless, whisky was good.
Well, I think the fact that Japanese words came out of your mouth made him chuckle or even laugh. Japanese people are not getting used to hearing 'Gaijin' speak Japanese as we believe they speak only foreign languages, not Japanese, so it was not definitely mocking you but it was just a sign of his embarrassment. You can just brush it off.
 
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Well, I think the fact that Japanese words came out of your mouth made him chuckle or even laugh. Japanese people are not getting used to hearing 'Gaijin' speak Japanese as we believe they speak only foreign languages, not Japanese, so it was not definitely mocking you but it was just a sign of his embarrassment. You can just brush it off.
Really? I get the impression here in Tokyo that it's not uncommon for 外国人 to speak Japanese. The only times people seem surprised at all is at the airport or in foreign ghettos like certain areas of Roppongi.
 

Akihiro

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Yes, of course, there are many gaijin who speak Japanese well, especially, in a big city like Tokyo. But when they talk with Japanese people in person, then it often happens that Japanese are very surprised to hear them speak Japanese. 'Surprise' may not be a good word, it's hard to explain, but it looks like 'Wow, he / she speaks Japanese!! I'm so amazed!' That kind of feeling often makes us say, "Nihongo jozu desu ne!" ( You're good at Japanese! ) with chuckling or giggling. My wife always says so whenever I bring my friend from a foreign country to my house. But when I started to learn English, I was often told I am good at English by my gaijin friends. I knew it's complement, but I thought the difference is whether chuckling or giggling is seen when they say, "You are good at...". Japanese people often chuckle when they say it, so gaijin may regard it as mocking or even insulting. Don't you think so?
 
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Yes, of course, there are many gaijin who speak Japanese well, especially, in a big city like Tokyo. But when they talk with Japanese people in person, then it often happens that Japanese are very surprised to hear them speak Japanese. 'Surprise' may not be a good word, it's hard to explain, but it looks like 'Wow, he / she speaks Japanese!! I'm so amazed!' That kind of feeling often makes us say, "Nihongo jozu desu ne!" ( You're good at Japanese! ) with chuckling or giggling. My wife always says so whenever I bring my friend from a foreign country to my house. But when I started to learn English, I was often told I am good at English by my gaijin friends. I knew it's complement, but I thought the difference is whether chuckling or giggling is seen when they say, "You are good at...". Japanese people often chuckle when they say it, so gaijin may regard it as mocking or even insulting. Don't you think so?
I speak to Japanese people every day in Japanese and none of them ever seem surprised. None chuckle or giggle, they just reply in Japanese. If I have difficulty (for example I went to the drug store yesterday for wound care cream after my mother tore her skin and I didn't have the vocabulary to express my needs) they work to help me through it.

Maybe they are just more used to it in Tokyo, I don't know.

P.S. Some people find the term 'Gaijin' to be offensive and prefer 外国人. I personally don't care what term is used as long as the intent is good but I thought I'd let you know.
 

Mike Cash

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It's the 笑って誤魔化す phenomenon. It is unsettling and confusing if you've never encountered it before and don't know what it is.
 

Akihiro

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I speak to Japanese people every day in Japanese and none of them ever seem surprised. None chuckle or giggle, they just reply in Japanese. If I have difficulty (for example I went to the drug store yesterday for wound care cream after my mother tore her skin and I didn't have the vocabulary to express my needs) they work to help me through it.

Maybe they are just more used to it in Tokyo,

P.S. Some people find the term 'Gaijin' to be offensive and prefer 外国人. I personally don't care what term is used as long as the intent is good but I thought I'd let you know.
Probably
I speak to Japanese people every day in Japanese and none of them ever seem surprised. None chuckle or giggle, they just reply in Japanese. If I have difficulty (for example I went to the drug store yesterday for wound care cream after my mother tore her skin and I didn't have the vocabulary to express my needs) they work to help me through it.

Maybe they are just more used to it in Tokyo, I don't know.

P.S. Some people find the term 'Gaijin' to be offensive and prefer 外国人. I personally don't care what term is used as long as the intent is good but I thought I'd let you know.
Thanks for your advice. I'll be careful.
Probably it's because people in Tokyo are getting used to Gaikoku jin or because you are a fluent speaker of Japanese. But the issue here is if there's something wrong with Gaikokujin who speak Japanese when they received a baffling response from the Japanese person. At least, I don't think there's something wrong with that Gaikokujin because chuckling or giggling that can be seen in the expression of Japanese people doesn't mean they are 'evil-minded'.
 
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Probably

Thanks for your advice. I'll be careful.
Probably it's because people in Tokyo are getting used to Gaikoku jin or because you are a fluent speaker of Japanese. But the issue here is if there's something wrong with Gaikokujin who speak Japanese when they received a baffling response from the Japanese person. At least, I don't think there's something wrong with that Gaikokujin because chuckling or giggling that can be seen in the expression of Japanese people doesn't mean they are 'evil-minded'.
Oh, I agree, I have never met a Japanese person who was unhappy to hear a foreigner speaking Japanese! Even a small effort is appreciated.

I wish I was fluent, sadly I am far from it. So much I don't know and so much I say incorrectly.
 
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