Keigo 01:挨拶 Is not just a greeting

I’ve been an introvert throughout most of my life, and if you were like me you know how intimidating it can be to just open your mouth and say something to express your existence, basically just saying hello takes a little effort. However if you’re like most of the other people I know, I see everybody around me talking like machine guns in a war climax scene where they exchange bullets of words, everyone is talking, joking and laughing, and all I do is just stand there trying to find a moment to step in into the battle and have even a small share of all that.

I think it’s all about THIS moment, how can you step in the conversation and say “hey, I’m here!”. Introverts like me don’t hate to talk, as a matter of fact, I like to talk and have a nice conversation with people, and it all comes down to one thing, it’s this moment when you meet someone and say “hi!”, when you first introduce yourself, when you say “thank you”.

I believe small talk is the first step to deep profound conversations and developing friendships and business relationships as well. in Japanese, it is 敬語 that regulates people’s communication, defines boundaries and at the same time breaks them, and 挨拶 is key to a productive communication.

On the other hand, 挨拶 might not particularly be 敬語 but I can’t stress how important it is for defining relationships with Japanese people or in Japan generally.

Continue reading “Keigo 01:挨拶 Is not just a greeting”

Guide to Keigo Fluency: 敬語の指針

In the previous article I introduced 敬語 and its importance, I also talked about its structure and the latest findings that 敬語の指針 presents. but before I delve into the details I want to first explain some of the basic cultural concepts that you will need to better understand 敬語. the most important one is its close relationship with the hierarchical system that the Japanese cherish. as a general rule of thumb you need to use 敬語 with people older than you even if it’s just one year. this is probably the minimum requirement of using 敬語. so let’s see what other important aspects are there to learn about.  Continue reading “Guide to Keigo Fluency: 敬語の指針”

Guide to Keigo Fluency: Introduction

Japanese has many unique and special characteristics, one of which is what’s known as “Polite language”, “Honorifics”, “Formal Language”, “Business Japanese” and 敬語. I will use the name 敬語 in this article, because I like to use the original Japanese name. apparently, Every Japanese learner has the notion that 敬語 is notorious of being extremely difficult and complex, which I’m not going to say that it’s wrong, not at all. it took me a long time to be able to use 敬語 with confidence, and in an effort to make it a little bit easier for other learners like myself, I would like to write a guide to help you understand 敬語better and hopefully get you closer to 敬語fluency. Continue reading “Guide to Keigo Fluency: Introduction”