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Being told that you're beautiful by your boss, normal?

Val11

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Hey guys, so this thing happened to me. I had a second job interview with the manager of a restaurant I intend to work and everything went ok, I hope. The only thing I found weird was that this guys told me at the end of the interview while we were walking towards the station, that I'm very beautiful, thing that I found particularly weird as it never happened to me before. Now my question is: is it normal for Japanese people to give girls compliments even after a job interview? And if so what am I supposed to answer? Thank you for your help!
 

Lothor

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Hey guys, so this thing happened to me. I had a second job interview with the manager of a restaurant I intend to work and everything went ok, I hope. The only thing I found weird was that this guys told me at the end of the interview while we were walking towards the station, that I'm very beautiful, thing that I found particularly weird as it never happened to me before. Now my question is: is it normal for Japanese people to give girls compliments even after a job interview? And if so what am I supposed to answer? Thank you for your help!

Normal? I'd say not.
My experience is that Japanese men tend to be hopelessly shy at giving women compliments. I make a point of doing it, but only to women know me well and know that I'm not coming onto them. Such a comment from a Japanese man who doesn't know you well is probably sending a strong message.
I'd be wary about taking a job there unless it's a particularly good opportunity. With the labour shortage in Japan (nearly every place I pass in Tokyo is advertising for staff), you can afford to pick and choose.
 

cocoichi

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I don't know if you can comment on this from the sidelines. Yes, it could be that he sees you as a piece of meat. On the other hand, maybe he saw it in a foreign movie and thought this is how to talk to foreign women. Maybe he does not know the weight of expressions or words, and learned that it is good to make a comment about a woman's hair or something.

In the west it is quite easy to say I love you, but from what I can tell people in Japan hardly ever say aishiteruyo, just daisuki. Maybe your case is an example of something the other way around.

But yes, it could also be a serial rapist. I wasn't there so it is hard to tell. As for your answer: you don't really have to say anything, just smile.
 

Val11

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Oh I don't think he meant it in any too personal way, I took it like a normal compliment, it just seemed weird coming from someone I am going to work with. And it wasn't even my first interview, but more like a meeting to explain me more about what the job is like and stuff. I don't think it was some kind of harassment either, maybe just a way to be nice to me, I don't know. But anyway thank you for your answers!
 

mdchachi

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Certainly it's inappropriate. Probably innocent. You'll just have to keep your eyes open. See how he acts when you go out drinking with him. Hopefully he won't get out of line.

As for as answering, my stock answer for something like that is とんでもない which means "outrageous" but can be used in the same manner as "don't be ridiculous." The Japanese way to receive compliments is not to accept them.
 

Lothor

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On the other hand, maybe he saw it in a foreign movie and thought this is how to talk to foreign women. Maybe he does not know the weight of expressions or words, and learned that it is good to make a comment about a woman's hair or something.

Good point. Maybe my previous post was slightly alarmist, though I do maintain that it is unusual for a Japanese man to compliment a woman they don't know well in this way. Proceed with caution!
 

Mike Cash

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I would expect a compliment, if forthcoming at all, to come in the form of remarks to a third-party in the OP's presence...not directly to the OP when nobody else is around.

He's checking for reactions to size up the potential for putting some moves on the OP later.
 

Val11

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I see, I see. Makes better sense now. Thank you guys!
 

madphysicist

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Normal? I'd say not.
My experience is that Japanese men tend to be hopelessly shy at giving women compliments. I make a point of doing it, but only to women know me well and know that I'm not coming onto them. Such a comment from a Japanese man who doesn't know you well is probably sending a strong message.

I'm a bit late to this thread but I disagree with this statement, at least from the gaijin perspective. As a young white-looking girl in Japan I was constantly being told that I was beautiful by Japanese people of both genders - by shopkeepers, Japanese tourists at the temple, people I lived with, my female teacher, the friends of the guy I was dating...

I am not so stunningly beautiful that people in Europe feel the need to comment on it, unless they're specifically trying to hit on me. I don't feel like any of the above interactions were people trying to flirt or anything, and I didn't feel threatened. I can't really say why it happened so often, I can only guess because my hair is sort of blonde and that's a rarity.

I don't think this is much help for the OP's situation, because without being there it's hard to say what the guy's intentions were. I do think such comments are inappropriate in a work context and it's worth being a bit wary. But it does often happen that these comments are made in a friendly way with no hidden agenda.
 

Vincent3

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It's certainly not wrong to see it as a red flag. Regardless of how he might have meant it, you have every right to feel uncomfortable.
 

madphysicist

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It's certainly not wrong to see it as a red flag. Regardless of how he might have meant it, you have every right to feel uncomfortable.

Certainly. I would say generally, regardless of which country you're in, if you have a bad feeling about someone making this kind of remark or touching you in some way etc., do NOT think you're overreacting by getting yourself away from that situation as fast as possible.

Recently I had an experience abroad (not in Japan) where I ascribed someone touching me far too often and in too familiar a way as "probably a cultural difference" but it turned out, no, he was planning to assault me. (Luckily I managed to get away with only mental trauma in this case.) These instances are not uncommon, where a victim feels/is made to feel that they're "overreacting" to harassment.

My previous post was just to say that it does seem to be common in Japan to be so direct as to say "you're beautiful" or similar to foreign women, and it is not always meant in a sexual way. Quite possibly they're just admiring your foreign features or pasty pale skin because they consider them fashionable. I found this compliment often came right after the "nihongo ga jouzu desu ne" and carried about the same weight i.e. very little. As a foreign woman you don't necessarily have to be alarmed if this happens to you. But if you do get a bad vibe, your instincts are probably correct.
 
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