The Ideal Communication in Japan

Japanese people use omoiyari as a way of communicating. They try to be considerate and avoid conflicts. Hence, there is a noticeable difference in how the Japanese communicate compared to other cultures. Miku distinguished this when she got the chance to experience living in other countries.

Nick: I'd like to read the description you wrote for your YouTube video, because I think it says a lot about who you are as a person. So would you like to read it? 

Miku: Oh, please read it. 

Nick: Okay, I'll read it. Here I go:

If we can all consider other people's feelings and give love and kindness to each other, this world would become a peaceful place. If we can all realize we are just brothers and sisters, we will be united. If we can put ourselves in other people's shoes, we would not jump to judgments, we would listen to understand. I can also say that I felt so much omoiyari in my life. People I've come across are so full of love and kindness. I think this world needs more of omoiyari and connections.” 

When I read that, I thought, wow, what a beautiful caring person – this is someone who seems very wise. And I thought, yeah, I'd like to connect with this person. So that's why I reached out. 

Miku: Thank you. 

Nick: So something I read. And we kind of talked about this, but I read that omoiyari is regarded as an ideal communication in Japanese society. It's something I think that's taught at school. So would you like to talk about this?

Miku: I think when I went to other countries, I realized that the way we communicate in Japan, and the way they communicate in other countries, is different. And that's not like, this is good and this is bad. It's just that it's different ways of communications. 

Like for example, when I'm talking in Japanese, I don't say yes or no very quickly, right? I go, I think this is good idea, but it's better, maybe better to do this way, so let's think about it together kind of communication, right? 

And when I went to Spain, I struggled so much it took me so long to learn to say yes and no. Because I don't say yes or no so directly in Japanese. So that's when I realized, wow, that it's really different. Japanese is a really vague language. You know it, right?

So that's first thing and second thing is that we are not used to debating. We don't have debating culture. So we listen to each other, usually depends on the person. But we usually try to listen to the other person until they finish. Then we talk about, we say something. 

But I struggled so much when I was living in Spain and Mexico, because it's not that they are trying to interrupt me. But when I'm trying to form sentences in my head in Spanish, and then say something, they talk about their ideas. And I talk about my ideas. And it's more like building conversation. 

It's not because they are not respecting me or anything. That's how they communicate, debating and talking about ideas. So when I came back to Japan, I was so amazed by how patient… I mean, that's how we communicate. So it's not like, it's good and bad. 

But I was so amazed by how Japanese people listen to each other until the end. Also, it's not only the mindset, because Japanese language, the very important thing, the most important information comes at the end, the verb. 

Like, if I say "taberu," I eat, right? And if it goes up, “Taberu?”, means “Do you want to eat?” And "tabeta" means I ate, "tabeyo" means let's eat – the important part comes at the end. So language itself, you need to listen until the end.