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. 2007/10/21 00:48
While you may think it is impolite to ignore them, it is also part of their job to greet you.

Many people don't do any aknowledgements at all, and depending on the situations it is fine. I had to walk up 5 floors of Tokyu Hands the other day at opening and each end every corner is an employee welcoming you, you don't have to aknowledge every single person.
by John rate this post as useful

It's free, you know! 2007/10/27 06:34
If someone greets you either by obligation or free will, it does not cost you anything to at least look at her/his direction with a friendly disposition, does it?! You do not have to say anything, nor nod or.... become friends.
The question is: Would YOU like to be ignored at your work?
Noticing the salespeople may not be the Japanese way, it may not be expected of a foreigner, but it is free of charge!!!
by An European Shop Assistant rate this post as useful

irasshaimase 2007/10/27 10:52
The point is, as I mentioned before, is that "irasshaimase" is not really a greeting in the usual sense. In a large shop often the shop assistants are not looking towards you and are a long way from you, they just call it out kind of automatically. It's not actually possible to respond to them in this case. There is no real equivalent of this in European cultures. Shop assistants don't call out greetings from 20 metres away in Western countries.

If you go into a small local shop and the assistant looks directly at you and smiles and says "Irasshaimase, konnichiwa" like some of the people around where I live do, then it's polite to smile, nod or reply of course.

Different cultures have different customs- they can't necessarily be applied everywhere you go.
by Sira rate this post as useful

Getting a reaction 2007/10/27 11:17
I am reading these responses and having a bit of a laugh--at myself. I came to Japan 2 years ago for a 2wk visit and every time I wandered into a store, large or small, the clerks would call out that greeting. And then they would only get halfway through it once they caught sight of me. I am a short, caucasian 39 year old woman with bright hot pink hair. I guess they don't see many of my type in the stores. Of course, I would politely nod or wiggle my eyebrows at them or wave. Then we'd all giggle. It's an icebreaker but effective. I vote that the best response is to respond back somehow if you are given a somewhat personalized greeting. A shout from across the room doesn't warrant a response (since no one is close enough to see you respond)! Konnichiwa! :)
by Grace rate this post as useful

shop keeper wanted an answer 2008/5/28 17:34
sorry for bumping an old thread.

i was shopping in akihabara and in two of the stores i recived a greeting i hadnt heard of. it wasnt irashimas

at first i thought it might be hajimemashite, but it didnt sound quite that long, and i think that phrase is used more for someone you are going to be seeing more of later.

anyway for one of them i just smiled, she then said it again to me. as i didnt know the exact response i just greeted her ohaiyo gozaimas. she responded the same way.

so my question is, is there another greeting they might use (beyond the normal ones). was she being wierd by asking twice, as it has been said its common to ignore them.

maybe she was asking if she could be of help.
by shadow jam rate this post as useful

It is an old thread but....... 2008/5/29 05:01
As an Englishman who has traveled to Japan many times I can understand that some us feel the need to respond. my own personal feeling is to look at who is speaking and if we make eye contact then I respond with a smile or a small nod of my head.
I can understand the confusion with how to respond because my wife is Japanese and her response is usually nil.
However I always reply to people in our local shops when in Japan. I am one of only a handfull of Gaijin around they all know me or know someone who knows me.
by Dwane Dibbly rate this post as useful

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