Wednesday, December 10, 2003


I can go through the whole day at home without saying anything except for "domo-domo". The thing is I can get through the day perfectly with just "domo-domo".

This is life in Japan. This magic word is vague but will get anyone, anywhere. My shopping trip will take me to 3 or 4 malls and shops at one time. I will get the usual "Irashaiimase", then pay for my goods. The cashier would mentioned the amount of cash given and mentioned the amount of change with "okaishi shimasu"(returning your change). Then, "mata okoshi kudasai" (please come again) with a big "arigatou gozaimashita". When you are blocking the way while browsing in the aisle instead of saying "excuse me, please" the staff there would shout "irashaimase", making you jump aside to let them through. Very polite way to say "get out of my way"! I can go through the whole day, not smiling or saying anything to anyone at all.

I remember while in Malaysia, Johore Bahru. I often shopped at Pelangi Plaza, the mall called Kerry's (not there anymore now). I went there regularly and the checking staff there were quite familiar with me after few visits. They made friendly conversations while checking my items like "your scarf is colourful today or you are all pink today". Then, I started to make friendly conversations as well. But not the usual case in Japan. You only speak when you cannot find anything or for price inquiry, which frequently happened to me.

In Japan "QUITE" has a very different meaning. When you ask a typical Japanese something he cannot understand, he will go quite. When he disagrees with your point of view, he will go quite. When you embarass him, he will be quite. When he finds you strange with strange foreign habit, he will be quite.
Quite also shows advance stage of intimacy. When lovers very much in love, they are quite. Lovers don't even hold hands in public.
You don't see loving couple kissing on escalators or young couple hugging waist while walking. Loving couples are very quite!

Domo for reading this :)

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