Is it your dream to teach English in Japan?
This week’s Questions You Get When You Live in Japan. Now we want to know:
Where are you from? どの国から来ましたか。(Literally, what country are you from.)
Sometimes this question is followed by being stared at for a minute. Sometimes you can pass for Japanese and no one notices until you speak, but if you aren’t Japanese looking and sounding, you’ll definitely get this question by the curious people in your neighborhood. (If you don’t hear this question, they’re probably trying to be polite, but thinking it.)
Your country of birth is the appropriate answer here, but Japanese people might not be able to understand the English word for your country. Number one: learn how to say it in Japanese. They’ll know of some big cities, especially if you can pronounce it in Japanese. If you’re from a big city, or near one, you can try it out. Even well educated adults have probably never heard of the small town/city where you might be from.
You might meet Japanese people who have traveled to your country and they will be eager to chat with you about the experience. Sometimes people tell me, ‘I went to the Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon, and Yosemite park!’ Then I have to admit that I’ve never been to these places in my own country. I’m sorry, I have nothing to say about those places, should I go?
I’m from the US, so we can use (with proper Japanese pronunciation) ‘アメリカ/America‘ conversationally. America is a really large area and even North America includes three countries. More accurately, they use ‘米国/Bei Koku‘ in Japan for some reason, which translates as ‘rice country.’ If I want to say I’m an American, I’d add ‘person’ after my country, so it’s, ‘アメリカ人/America-jin.’
To make this an answer to today’s question, “アメリカ人です。/America-jin desu.” Way to keep it simple.
England is イギリス/Igiris, Canada is easy, カナダ/Canada, and we can add ‘人/jin‘ to the end of these to change to ‘~ person.’
Have fun telling everyone where you’re from!
(Unless Trump wins, then we might want to keep that a secret…)