The number of foreign tourists that visit Japan continues to increase year after year. It is estimated to be more than 23 million people in 2016.
This means the opportunity for Japanese people to speak with foreigners has also increased. Especially people who work in service industries like restaurants.
A lot of Japanese have a so called “English allergy”, but some non Japanese natives can speak Japanese very well! There are still Japanese people who are not used to this kind of situation though… it's something like “Why are foreigners speaking Japanese?!” And some Japanese think Asians are more easy to talk to (because they look almost the same as Japanese people). But of course communication is more easy with a non-Asian who can actually speak Japanese than an Asian who doesn’t speak Japanese.
Here, is a comedy video that really hits the mark for this topic.
In the video one group goes to a restaurant in Japan. There is some White and African American people who can speak Japanese, and one Asian woman who doesn’t speak Japanese.
The White and African American people there speak very fluent Japanese, but Japanese clerk talks only to only Asian. (even though she knows no Japanese.)
This movie made as a joke, and is humorous but this is what really happens!
Maybe some tourists have had an experience like this...
It's kind of a sad situation, people from other countries who speak Japanese, but still can’t talk to Japanese people because of this situation, not their language ability.
Japanese people should take care of this English allergy problem, but the more important thing is to communicate with non-Japanese people.
“I realize that we may not look like we can speak Japanese.
But it's the 21st century. It's time to accept that physical appearance
is not necessarily a reflection of one's cultural identity!”