I speak good English

One week into my new job and all seems well.  Every one in the office is lovely and helpful; some quieter than others, but I am sure that will change given time.  What is the difference between working in London and working in Tokyo?  I get told that I speak good English.

Even in just one week, I had one client query where I had learnt my English from, and another client tell my colleague that I speak good English.  I didn’t know what else to say, other than that I am Malaysian and have lived in London for 11 years.

In case you haven’t realised, the comments are because I look Japanese to foreigners.  I have been mistaken to be Japanese by some Japanese people too, but of course, they spot that I am a foreigner as soon as I open my mouth to speak.

There have been a few times now where strangers come up to me and say “英語の本を読みます。すごいですね.” (translation: “isn’t it amazing that you read English books”).  I just turn to them and say, “外人だから” (“it’s because I am a foreigner”).  And without fail, the response would then be, “日本語をもしゃべれます。上手ですね” (“you can also speak Japanese well”).  Now this then follows the two words that when foreigners say, gets the most intriguing response.  “上手じゃないです。。。まだまだです” (“I’m not fluent… I still need practice!”).  まだまだ (madamada) in Japanese means I still need practice, which I was told sounds very ‘Japanese’.  And because it sounds ‘Japanese’, the Japanese people automatically think that you are fluent when you use that!  It never fails to bring a smile to everyone’s faces.  So, note it for the next time you travel to Japan.

Anyway, there are of course pros and cons to looking local… I just need to learn to use them to my advantage!  ^_^


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