Are Japanese People Interested in Age A Lot? 年齢に興味ある?

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Mar 14, 2014 09:47
I don't know exactly why Japanese people show an abrupt onset of asking about someone's age when they see people from other countries.

I've been having a friend from America over my house for a couple of days. Since I've been having a daily living, when my friend is with me, he's gotten some chances to meet some of my acquaintances.

He's met four Japanese people so far, and as you might imagine, those Japanese people were startled by his presence, just because (I guess) his appearance shows that he's from somewhere in Western countries. I don't know if they were out of their mind with astonishment, the word that they first came out is "How old are you?"! Three out of four people he met said, "nan-sai-desuka?" all of a sudden. 「何歳ですか?」 I was so surprised, and at the same time I felt that it was an interesting phenomenon in Japan or maybe in my city.

Although he doesn't seem like he felt that they were rude, I actually felt ashamed as a Japanese. It's because the same thing has happened before when I was hanging out with American ladies who are in their twenties, thirties, forties and fifties. They didn't look like happy then.

When people are at a loss for a word in surprise, I wonder if they burst out what they are really interested in or they subconsciously choose a word or a question that they think is easy...?
日本人って、外国の人に会うと、どうして突発的に年齢を聞くのか はっきりした理由がわからない。

今、アメリカからの友人がうちにいる。私は普通に暮らしているので、彼が私と一緒にいるときには、当然、私の知り合いと会うことになる。

これまでに4人の日本人と出会った。想像できると思うけど、みんなはすごく驚いた様子だった。私が考えるにそれは単に彼が西洋人だったから驚いたんだと思う。 彼女たちは、驚きで正気を失ったのかどうかわからないけど、最初に口から出てきた言葉は、「何歳ですか?」だった。 私も驚いたし、同時にこれは、日本の(あるいは私の町の)興味ある現象だと思った。

彼はそのことを失礼だとは思ってないようすだったけど、私は日本人として恥ずかしく思う。 なぜって、これと同じことがいつも起きているから。アメリカ人の女性(20代、30代、40代、50代)と一緒にいたときにそうだった。なんか彼女たちはいやな顔をしていた。

人間って、驚きで言葉を失ったとき、彼らの本当の興味が口から出てくるんだろうか、それとも無意識に簡単な質問とかが、次いで出てくるんだろうか?