When you come to Japan for the first time, you may be asked, “Hello!” This is the situation that can be usually seen in Japan. However, some of the foreign people feel.. “Don’t assume that we cannot speak Japanese!”
Assuming is easy. Assuming is unconscious. But assuming is one of the discriminations. As a Japanese, I did not think about this so much until I met one woman. Coming to Japan, she started to meet people who define her depends on how she looks like. Although she speaks perfectly understandable Japanese, many times she has been treated as someone who speaks only a few words of Japanese.
I think, on behalf of Japanese people, it seems that we might take this attitude “unconsciously.” I have never intended to discriminate someone because of different looks from Japanese, but I often try to talk to them in English. Simply, I just wanted to improve my English. But knowing her viewpoint, I realized that I might have ever made someone feel be deliberately differentiated.
I don’t mean to say all Japanese people behave this way, but many of them have this tendency. So, if you face this sort of situation, I hope you understand this is an unconscious phenomenon among Japanese. When you feel offended, you can say, “I can speak Japanese, so don’t worry and don’t feel pressured. Feel free to use Japanese!” I believe Japanese people need to get more accustomed to facing different kinds of people who have totally different backgrounds. Your understanding and mental preparation would assuage discord with Japanese people.