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Top 3 questions from Japanese people and how to deal with them

Question #1. What is your favorite Japanese food?

When I meet new Japanese people, they often say: “What is your favorite Japanese food?” Then they start grilling me about the particular kind of Japanese fruit/vegetable/meat etc. It is one of the essential questions that simply has to be asked. I should confess that I also started asking fellow foreign expats about Japanese food they like, maybe because it’s one of the neutral questions to start a conversation with. But I finally realized that my answer to the question is “None”. I am not particularly fond of any kind of Japanese food, although I do eat sushi or yakitori once or twice a year, and occasionally enjoy curry rice (カレーライス).

3733__1448270723_61886But there are so many restaurants in Tokyo with food from practically every country of the world! And I never cook Japanese dishes at home, except for miso soup. I just stick to okonomiyaki or takoyaki, then praise Japanese beef and apples. Then I confirm that eating sushi or raw egg gives me stomach pain, and everyone looks happy – I am a typical foreigner!

Question #2. Why did you get married to a Japanese man?

It is a rude question, but nevertheless, I hear it too often. When I was changing my surname in my home country, I was asked about it once or twice by some officials. Sometimes it was offending, because they had put it like this: “Weren’t you able to find a man of your own nationality?” Basically, I get asked about it in a softer form in Japan. I don’t answer to such questions. Sometimes, if I’m in a particularly good mood, I say “Because Japanese men are very kind!” The reply may be “Yes, too kind” or something else, but usually it’s sarcastic. So, if someone implies you should have gotten married to another foreigner instead of Japanese, just run. Such kind of people won’t be nice to you.

Question #3. Did you get used to life in Japan?

When they say “life”, do they mean the language, the people, the food, the crowds, the small size of everything, or maybe the climate? The question should be more specific. Otherwise, I just say “Yes, I did”, because that curious Japanese lady obviously doesn’t expect me to say “No”. And in a way, I did. For example, I started taking a hot bath with various bath salts every night.

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Article by Olga Kaneda

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