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Listen carefully to what I haven't told you!

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Bob1
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Listen carefully to what I haven't told you!

Postby Bob1 » November 26th, 2006 2:02 pm

Listening to the radio while driving through Tokyo on Saturday, I heard a Japanese fellow trying to explain a 特徴 (tokuchou, defining characteristic) of Japanese society. He encapsulated it in the following instruction, which sounds so illogical on its face that even Japanese laugh when they hear it put this way. But they laugh because they recognize its illogical kernel of truth.
「言われてないことを良く聞きなさい。」"Listen carefully to what isn't/hasn't been said." I'm told that French culture also has this aspect to social interactions. At any rate, this is a major aspect of Japanese culture, and I find Japanese in general to be excellent and active listeners. But this expectation that others should understand what you haven't explicitly stated can lead to incredible vagueness and uncertainty. And when you are the person trying to decipher others' unspoken meanings, this can be very tiring. Perhaps this explains why Japanese so frequently repeat what they think they have been asked to do, so as to avoid misunderstandings!

Bueller_007
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Re: Listen carefully to what I haven't told you!

Postby Bueller_007 » November 27th, 2006 8:06 am

I agree. Dealing with Japanese people in professional situations is often quite tiring because of this.

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Elfunko
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Postby Elfunko » November 28th, 2006 2:59 pm

空気 読もうよ

You should read the atmosphere

:lol:

metablue
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Postby metablue » December 2nd, 2006 8:27 am

Try working with people who don't understand anything unless it's completely explicit. It's even more exhausting. You can't use words like "it" or "this" because they're too vague. You can't refer to earlier conversations or use descriptive terms.

The reason we don't have good machine translation yet is because language just points at things that we all already know. Without that shared knowledge about what it's like to live day to day in the world, a lot of the things we say make absolutely no sense at all. The meaning isn't in the words, it's in our heads.

The Japanese have just taken this a little further. And it's worth doing! Rather than expecting the other person to make things completely clear for you, making them do all the work, you have to put yourself in their place. Imagine what you might mean if you were saying what they are. It only takes a little effort and you don't have to waste time with all those useless words when everything is right there in the context.
Last edited by metablue on December 2nd, 2006 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

metablue
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Postby metablue » December 2nd, 2006 8:46 am

This makes me wonder how Japanese geeks survive. It's the geeks, I guess people who are a little closer to the autistic end of the spectrum, who need explicitness. Even the incredibly smart ones have difficulty understanding a reference to a conversation that took place 15 min ago, while I know much less-smart non-geeks who could effortlessly make the connection.

Geeks are everywhere - what happens to Japanese geeks?

CrazySwayzee
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Postby CrazySwayzee » December 11th, 2006 2:51 am

metablue wrote:This makes me wonder how Japanese geeks survive. It's the geeks, I guess people who are a little closer to the autistic end of the spectrum, who need explicitness. Even the incredibly smart ones have difficulty understanding a reference to a conversation that took place 15 min ago, while I know much less-smart non-geeks who could effortlessly make the connection.

Geeks are everywhere - what happens to Japanese geeks?

alot of Japanese geeks seem to become hikokimori (people who live in their room).

and sometimes its really hard to express yourself in Japanese because there's no word to describe it! amazingly the word "self-esteem" does not exist in the Japanese dictionary!
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Jason
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Postby Jason » December 11th, 2006 2:54 am

Umm...look up 自信.
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CrazySwayzee
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Postby CrazySwayzee » December 11th, 2006 3:08 am

isn't 自信 translated as self-confidence?

but then again, your probably right as the word could probably be used as "self-esteem"

also, would 自尊 be a better word to describe self-esteem?
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Bueller_007
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Postby Bueller_007 » December 11th, 2006 8:03 am

CrazySwayzee wrote:isn't 自信 translated as self-confidence?

but then again, your probably right as the word could probably be used as "self-esteem"

also, would 自尊 be a better word to describe self-esteem?

自尊心 = respect for one's self
自信 = belief in one's self

IMO, both are okay for "self-esteem". 自尊心 might be a slightly better choice.

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