Gamesmanship - part 6

S is for Japanese

The amateur gamesman, new to Japan and its language, has little problem coaxing compliments out of the natives by virtue of his low-level Japanese abilities. Merely saying “hello” or “thank you” in Japanese is enough to illicit gasps of awe and much back slapping. Once your Japanese ability increases however, so does the level of criticism to the extent that you won’t receive any compliments until you are a native level speaker.

For the gamesman with a mid level grasp of the language there are some techniques to exude an image of being “pera pera”, which means “fluent”, without actually being so.
Many of the traditional exclamations and greetings used on a daily basis end with the syllable “su”; like “ohayou gozaimasu”, “yoroshiku onegaishimasu”, “shitsurei itashimasu”, etc.You will find however that the Japanese focus all the emphasis on the last syllable while skimming over the rest of the word. So by mumbling incoherently and ending with a sharp “S” sound you can pretend you are offering the correct greeting or response to any situation even if you’re not sure which it is.

See for example:
“Excuse me, Mr. Gaijin-san, can I pass?”

"Ah, Mr. Gaijin-san. I have some important work I need you to do by tomorrow!"
"Oh well, maybe someone else can..."

The added bonus is that mumbling like this is slightly haughty and will thus dissuade the recipient from engaging you in further conversation, leaving in stead with the impression of having talked to a master of the Japanese language. They will talk about how good your Japanese is behind your back simply by accentuating the "S” and not much else besides.


  1. I'll have to try this trick on my Japanese teachers :D

  2. I ROTFLd

    Seriously, congrats for your blog: I discovered i through kotaku and it's become one of my favourite ones.

  3. I laughed... a lot! Please keep this blog up, it's really good.