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Japanese descendent, don't speak Japanese

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  • Japanese descendent, don't speak Japanese


    I'm a third-generation Japanese descendent, my wife has European ascendence and we have a 2 year-old child.

    I've never learnt to speak Japanese, and I applied recently for an assignment at the Tokyo offices of the multinational company I work for. Japanese is not a pre-requisite, as the official language in the company is English, and one of the purposes of the job is to develop a better communication (in English!) between teams in Japan and in other countries. In addition, I won't have time to go further than the basics of the language if the my application works out well.

    Should I expect to be discriminated by my Japanese colleagues at the workplace to an extent that would prevent me from doing my work properly? And what about the my family and our life outside the workplace?

    Thank you!

    Post Edited (04-08-04 10:06)

  • #2
    Re: Japanese descendent, don't speak Japanese

    You may be called a banana a few times....


    • #3
      Re: Japanese descendent, don't speak Japanese

      People will be very confused because you look like a native, that's for certain. Perhaps, you could ease tensions and become a little of a celebrity at the same time by wearing a badge or something with a slogan that says, "Sansei. Only speaks English. Japanese learner." or something like that.


      • #4
        Re: Japanese descendent, don't speak Japanese

        I know how you feel. I'm Taiwanese American and apparently I look very Japanese so i get all these weird looks once i open my mouth and out comes broken Japanese. I suggest you take classes and try to learn as you are (or will be) in Japan and should know their language. In the workplace, it depends...for me, no prob. Only when I go outside, then the curious looks occur.
        Good luck.


        • #5
          Re: Japanese descendent, don't speak Japanese

          Hi truth hurts, Glenski and sftoky. Thanks for your input. It helped to lower my anxiety.


          • #6
            Re: Japanese descendent, don't speak Japanese


            i'm a little late.. but here's my input:

            i too am of japanese descent. only half though, i am half japanese and half white. i have been living in osaka for two months and barely speak any japanese.

            even though you are japanese... i think you will still be taken as a foreigner. I don't think you will dress or act like the Japan Japanese. When I first arrived and the weather was cold and i was always bundled up...i dont think i stuck out much then, i looked as though i could have fit in. but once the weather got warmer and i began to wear my more "american" clothes, it has become very obvious that i am not japan japanese.

            i dont think you will be discriminated against (i have not been). the japanese culture is very patient and helpful. if you make the slightest bit of effort to try to communicte with them, they will be more than helpful.

            good luck!