Mastering the Art of Indirect and Non-verbal Non-Communication

Different Ways of Thinking

It’s Not What You Say That Matters

The conventional wisdom on Japan says that, here, indirect expression is usually the preferred form of expression. Mostly, this has been said by Westerners; the Japanese themselves have been rather tight-lipped and vague on the matter. However, unnecessary though it may be, indirect and non-verbal communication is practiced by Japanese people in their dealings with Westerners. As a foreigner, you may want to prepare yourself in advance. By simply familiarizing yourself with some cultural points, you’ll be not communicating your ideas in no time at all.

Expressing ‘No’

The most important thing to remember is that ‘no’ is rarely expressed as ‘no’.
Rather, the Japanese person may use phrases such as:

Kangaete mimasu.
I’ll pretend to think about it.

Zensho shimasu.
I’ll pretend to see what I can do about it.

Hai.
I understand (your idea is stupid).

Wakarimashita, ga…
I understood what you said, but… (man, was it a load of rubbish)
[Incomprehensible gibberish.]
You can’t understand this, so it doesn’t really matter what I say.

Baka!
To hell with this indirect expression crap! *

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