Whether good natured or ruthless,
truthful or not, Japanese people love to gossip.
Speculating about other people's personal lives is a national past
Right behind sumo, karaoke and drinking parties, of course. They don't however,
in English. Gossip Land is vast and unexplored territory to many foreigners.
over and over how its impossible to tell what a Japanese person thinks
of you, but give 'em half
a beer and learn just what they think of everyone else.
But they'll think twice about
anything they say in English, so if you don't understand
at least a little Japanese, you'll
never get the good dish.
Maybe you don't like to gossip? Maybe you
find it immature and petty.
Well, at least be aware that if they aren't gossiping with you, they are probably
about you. And if they know you don't understand what they're saying,
they may even gossip
about you, in front of you. Its most likely not going to be
mean gossip, and
really, if you could understand, you'd probably wonder why they
even care enough to waste their
breath. But they do. As a resident foreigner,
you will unavoidably be the
topic of many conversations. Love lives seem to be of
particular interest. Ironically though, the more information you give them, the less
likely they are to gossip and
speculate. If, for example, you were to say you didn't
have a girlfriend, but were subsequently
spotted around town with a Japanese girl,
everyone and their sister would know about it in a
week. Give an evasive 'its
none of your business' answer, like, "oh, she's just a friend.",
and you've just supplied
months' worth of gossip fodder.
On the other hand, if you were to say that she was just
some chick you met and went
out with once or twice and had a huge boinkfest, you'd probably never hear a peep
muttered. Of course the obvious answer to such a dilemma as to what to say is to
simply lie. Making up a convincing answer works as well as the truth. For some
though, lying doesn't seem to work as well in English.
They are very perceptive. You have
to throw 'em off by using a little
If you do happen to find a little gossip entertaining
and fun, then all the more reason
to learn Japanese. You'll see a side of those over-polite teachers and tea
you never imagined. Gossip is the 'in' for Japanese society. Gossip with
for 10 minutes in Japanese and they will proclaim you an honorary Japanese
The standard actually seems pretty low, it would make you believe that all it takes
to be a
Japanese person is a mediocre to fair ability to talk about someone else in
it can afford you great privilege. Because if they are gossiping with
you about the other
foreigners in town, then they aren't gossiping about you.
At least, not as much as
they could be.