2009-01-15(Thu)

About that Japanese often ask "Can you ***?"

I heard that some people don't like Japanese who often ask something like "Can you use chopsticks?" "Can you sleep with futon?" to them. I'm gonna excuse about this.
At first, the meaning of CAN is different a little bit. If japanese ask you "Can you use chopsticks" in English or "hashi tsukaeru?" in Japanese, it doesn't mean they check your ability. We are just saying "Do you use chopsticks?" or "Do you mind if I take you to a place you need to use chopsticks?".
It's just an interest or a care. Besides, Japanese like this way because it's easy to deny. When someone asks Japanese "Do you like **?", we don't want to say NO because the asker may like it or may be going to give it to us. So We want to say something like "I don't hate it. But some of me is saying I don't need it. Sorry if you are gonna give it to me!" I guess this is why we like "Can you **?". But we use "Do you like" too.
If he or she asked you in English, probably he or she didn't know the difference between "Do you" and "Can you" so much. Our teachers didn't tell such a thing! I too have to say I don't see the definition of "can" clearly.
I think other reason is that we don't know what we'd better to talk with you about. I'd like you to remember most Japanese have no chance to talk with foreign people (This is one of the reasons Japanese CAN'T speak English well. How come we can speak English when we have no chance to use it?). If we ask common things and you don't know it, we feel awkward. So we tend to ask you cultural differences.
If you feel annoying, it's true. But it's true too Japanese is not gonna look down on you.

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another good point.
thank you. i think it's an okay
question. as long as they have
different cultures, well it's ok.
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