Good Questions to Ask Americans you Meet in Japan by Sarah Jones

レッスンパートナーのSarah Jonesが日本で会うアメリカ人への「Good Questions」を挙げてくれました!


- Where are you from?

- Where in countries name are you from? (Ex: Where in the United States are you from?)

- Do you travel often?

- What brings you to Japan?

- What have your general impressions of Japan been?

- How much of Japan have you seen?

- Which is your favorite region?

If the American is on vacation, you can ask:

- How long do you plan to stay in Japan?

- Have you done any sightseeing?

- Where have you visited in Japan?

- Are you enjoying your stay here thus far?

- Have you done anything exciting?

- Is this your first trip to Japan?

If they live here, you can ask:

- Why did you decide to stay in Japan?

- How long have you been living in Japan?

- What do you do for a living?

- What interests you most about Japan?

- Do you speak Japanese?

Taboo/Rude Questions

- How old are you?*

- Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?

- How much money do you make?

- How much do you weigh?

- Have you gained/lost weight?

- What race are you?

- Are you mixed?

- How much did something cost? (Ex: How much did your earrings cost?)

- Are you pregnant?

- Can you speak Japanese?*

- Why do you like/date Japanese guys/women?

* The ‘how old are you?’ question is considered rude/taboo because it is considered to be a personal question.
Many Americans prefer to keep their personal information to themselves and do not particularly like to divulge information pertaining to their age, sexual orientation, income, place of employment or where they live.
「how old are you」の質問については、「あまり好ましくない質問」です。

* ‘Can you speak Japanese’ is thought to be a bit rude because of the ‘can you’ part of the sentence.
‘Do you speak Japanese’ is considered an acceptable question to ask when you first meet an American.
Right now, you are probably wondering why it’s bad and thinking that the two sentences are the same, but they are not.
They have a subtle difference and while most Americans pay such differences no mind, some do.
The reason why some people may be upset by a ‘can you’ question is because ‘can’ more clearly suggests one’s ability to do something, while ‘do’ indicates the act of something, regardless of capability.
So, when you ask ‘Can you speak Japanese?’… some Americans might hear ‘Are you capable of speaking Japanese? Are you smart enough to speak Japanese?’. So, when in doubt, just ask ‘do you speak Japanese’ when you meet an American for the first time. It’s safer.
「Can you speak Japanese」の質問については、「Can you~できますか?」という問いかけがあまりよろしくないからです。
「Do you speak Japanese」(日本語を話しますか)という質問であれば、初めて会ったアメリカ人にも質問として受け入れやすいと思います。
今、恐らく皆様は「なぜでそれ(Can you)じゃダメなの?Can youもDo youも同じことでしょ」と思うかも知れません・
なぜこの「Can you」という質問を気にする人がいるかというと、「Can 」には何かをするための能力をより明確にし、「Do」には能力差ではない行動を示唆するからです。
その為、「Can you speak Japanese?’」と質問すると、アメリカ人の中には「Are you capable of speaking Japanese? Are you smart enough to speak Japanese?」(あなたは日本語を話す能力がありますか?あなたは日本語を話せるほどの賢さがありますか?)と聞こえてしまいます。 
初めて会ったアメリカ人にどちらの言葉が良いか疑わしい時は、「Do you speak Japanese?」と聞くのが良いでしょう。

NOTE: This blog is only about Americans. I cannot speak for foreigners from other countries — they may have different things they find to be rude or taboo. Also, not all Americans find these questions to be rude or upsetting. Many Americans have no problem answering these questions. The hardest thing will be figuring out if it’s okay to ask these questions or not.
I would suggest you wait until the person you are talking to approaches the topic themselves.

For example:

Foreigner: My boyfriend wants to see that movie, too.
You: Nice! Oh! You have a boyfriend? Is he Japanese?
Something like that is okay to ask. However, asking someone if they have a boyfriend/girlfriend right off the bat is considered to be too pushy and may turn them off from you.


外国人:「My boyfriend wants to see that movie, too.」 (私の彼氏もその映画見たいって言ってたわ)
あなた:「Nice! Oh! You have a boyfriend? Is he Japanese? 」(見てみたいよね!あれ、彼氏いるの?日本人?)


Sarah Jones


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