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Is this normal? 2013/5/3 08:02
When I visited Japan 2 months ago with my family, a Japanese college student that was waiting at the same bus stop as my grandma and I started to talk to us.

He first asked if we were catching the bus in Japanese and when we said yes, he turned to me and asked me in English, "Where are you from?" I said, "Hawaii" and ran away because I am a shy person.

After that he spoke to my Grandma in Japanese. She said that he was the same age as me, lived alone, attends college and lives in a student housing.

I am curious about the social and cultural customs of Japanese people because no Japanese person outside of my family ever interacted with me before, especially when I visited Japan several times before. Could someone please explain this to me?

I apologize if this seems offensive in any manner.

But here is what I am wondering:
1) Are Japanese people usually friendly to tourists enough to come up to them and speak to them in English?
2) Are bikes a normal mode of transportation enough to travel from Sapporo to Takachiho? [The Japanese college student did that and I was really surprised]
by ChibiAngel37  

Re: Is this normal? 2013/5/3 11:00
Not at all unusual.
by Little Ben (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is this normal? 2013/5/3 14:08
Japanese are like everyone else. Some are shy, others bold, others in-between.

Those that speak a foreign language and are also quite secure will talk to foreigners.

I have been asked questions in English--at a bus stop too--then asked by this student if I spoke French. I did, so he happily switched to French..to practice that language. I didn't think that it was unusual at all..

In Hiroshima it is common for groups of young students--10-15 years old I would say--to stop foreign tourists and ask them questions.
by Monkey see (guest) rate this post as useful

Bike 2013/5/3 16:03

Do you mean Takachiho in Kyushu? If so, that's not what everyone does every day.

But then, have you never heard of people who ride their bikes from the northern tip of the U.S. to the southern tip? Or even from the West Coast to the East.

There are bicycle riders as well as motorcycle riders around the world who love to travel across boarders as a hobby or sport. Those people are usually adventerous and they tend to enjoy exchange of conversation at their destinations. They are travellers themselves, just like you.
by Uco (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Is this normal? 2013/5/9 18:59
"Those that speak a foreign language and are also quite secure will talk to foreigners. "


I'm pretty shy myself, so I understand where you're coming from. Unfortunately a lot of Japanese people seem to have the perception that foreigners are, as a rule, more outgoing than Japanese people.

On the other hand, if you can get used to it, most people don't have enough English to carry out more than a pretty basic, very short conversation, so it doesn't have to be a huge bother. Also they never mean anything but friendliness, so you'll make their day if you give them the impression that they've successfully talked to a foreigner (there's a good chance they've been screwing up their courage for a bit before they were actually able to approach you).

And finally, I find Japanese people to be almost universally super gracious in conversation (both in English and Japanese), so if you can manage to get used to occasionally getting surprise attacked with conversation, you'll probably find yourself walking away feeling pretty good too. :)
by Harimogura (guest) rate this post as useful

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