A foreigner eating at a Tokyo restaurant with a couple of local friends has had his attempt at verbal communication redirected to another person.

“Apparently, I’m not worthy of human interaction,” says 34-year-old Christian Taylor.

“Although I enthusiastically initiated correspondence through the transmission of the native spoken word, I received a proverbial slap in the face.”

The restaurant waiter looked at the floor while processing the flow of information coming from Taylor’s mouth and then took a moment before replying to Taylor’s friend.

“My mate wasn’t even listening,” says Taylor.

Taylor’s friend is South Korean visiting Japan on vacation and wouldn’t have understood the waiter’s response even if he was listening.

Image: Flickr/Soyousay


  1. Happened to me a million times….
    I lived in Tokyo, and eventually came to expect it – especially at restaurants.
    It became normal to me. Anything can become normal to you, you just stop questioning it.
    But, it eventually becomes normal, and comfortable. And you become comfortable with being treated different. when I came back to Canada I expected to be treated “normal,” but there`s no “normal,” politics exist everywhere – no matter where you are…there are these largely unwritten rules of human interaction. I`ve finally accepted that I will never fit in.

  2. Yeah, my wife is from South Korea and doesn’t speak Japanese but every time we are out, go to the bank, store or doctor, everybody always answers to her…even when I tell them she doesn’t speak Japanese.

  3. When I go to restaurants with my wife now, she doesn’t even look at the staff and completely ignores them, forcing them to talk to me.

  4. Yeah, had this experience umpteen times, had waiters address my 9 year old Japanese stepson after my fluent Japanese query/request, as if he held the authority over me! Gotta love it…,


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