I went to Japan for an exchange programme last year. I don't think the no-communication thing is that extreme. Maybe I only went to one of the smaller cities in Japan, but everyone there was ultra friendly. For example, the bus that we rode in. It's not a public bus, so everyone inside was from the same (my) school. Outside of the bus, the Japanese in another car were actually pretty excited to see us, and they even waved to us first! x) I actually find that pretty nice.regregreg wrote:Hmm, I've read what apartofmylife wrote about Japanese not talking to strangers even if sitting next to each other on a train... and it's quite understable, really. But the thing that I was wondering about is... how do Japanese people make friends then? If you don't talk to strangers, you will never get to know them and you will never have friends! Or is it okay to talk to a stranger if you two attend the same class and/or work at the same place? Japanese people don't even talk to anyone who's not in their family or is not their classmate/workmate? And how the hell do they get a boyfriend/girlfriend if they don't talk to anyone? Someone explain it please!
Of course talking to your classmates and co-workers are fine. And their boyfriend/girlfriends, they're from their own class, probably (or at least the same school)? I mean, my host's boyfriend is her schoolmate.
But me too, I wouldn't talk to strangers at all unless they're only asking for direction or something. I mean, I don't know them. Would you out of nowhere start talking in friendly terms with people you don't even know? I don't think so, especially in Japan where one's status is pretty important (considering there's even 'senpai', 'san', 'sama' etc attached to their name =P).
In terms of their English, they do learn English, but it's very basic. For example, in their junior high school years, they're still learning elementary English. I attended one of the English classes. The teacher was teaching them by interactively playing games. And considering it's very rarely used in the country, I don't think they have much practice with it. So we can't expect them to know English. It's the same for me, where I learn Mandarin in school, but since I have no interest in it, and I refuse to speak in the language, my Mandarin still sucks (despite the fact that this country has many of the people speaking Mandarin).