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being polite in japanese こんにちは, the other day my friend came across some kind of J-drama where this particular person speaks to everyone in casual Japanese, even strangers. She would say stuff like "いいよ。", 小さいサイズある?", and so on. Why does this person do this and is this normal in Japan? Thanks in advance.
Sep 4, 2019 4:48 PM
Answers · 1
My old Japanese teacher told me that the formality or politeness of Japanese used is not about how you feel about the person you're talking to, but rather how you want them to see you. Which is to say, perhaps the person in this drama wants to be seen as a cool, modern person, who's easy-going. Yes, what she's doing would seem rude if it's to a superior at work, but honestly it's pretty normal to use plain speech with shop assistants (like in your example) or people on the street, because it's briefer and more efficient than keigo. And indeed, when I shop at street vendors in Harajuku, Akiba, etc, they use plain speech to me, because it's a more relaxed environment than, for instance, a department store, where staff members are taught to be very, very formal (they actually use old-fashioned language with customers, as opposed to standard polite speech).
September 4, 2019
Language Skills
English, Japanese, Slovak
Learning Language
English, Japanese