Oct 16, 2015

If you are Canadian why does your English sound not right?!


(This picture is just a picture of me in a Hamamatsu Curry restaurant ^^)
Today I am going to write about something that is happening to me more and more often. I work at a restaurant that takes in well over 150 customers per day, so sometimes I get a customer who can't speak Japanese and only speaks English. So my chances of running into new English speaking people have increased.
Not only that but since I am working almost full time now, I spend 95% of my day constantly speaking Japanese. I like to call it "in Japanese mode". The menu at my work is in Japanese, so I have it all memorized in Japanese, along with the explanations and what I am supposed to say to customers. So when suddenly expected to give this in English, I get thrown off.
I noticed since working longer hours I get some customers giving me a funny look when I tell them I am originally from the English speaking part of Canada.
Even as I am speaking English I think to myself "why does my accent become this weird. Ugh why can't the words just come out!!!".  Its a weird phenomenon that happens, especially at work.
When I record videos in English sometimes the start, starts off a little weird but I re-record it a few times and then I bounce into English mode and only have a minor weird accent and random slip ups of strange grammar.
But when I am at work its on some NEXT LEVEL!   #shestillgothertorontoslang
I kinda freeze up at work and words don't come out sometimes, I studder and its almost like I am a non native speaker trying to pull words out of my brain. The customers even slow down talking to me and use easy words. I find it nice and often cute how they act around me, but then I remember....hey wait.. but I am a native speaker!!!!
Even more awkward when I finally tell them I was born in Canada. It usually goes something like this.
"so we will bring to you...the bread when make it. if you think more is needed to you then you can call and tell me and I can get for you" :D    *omg mira wtf is wrong with you! more is needed to you?? what is that!??! what is that omg*

"Oh thank you *smiling thinking oh how cute shes trying to speak English*. Oh and I would like......ummm  *asks their friend, how do I say water in Japanese again??*  Yes I would like mizu ^^ mizu kudasai!!"
"hai! omizu de" *aww thats sweet they are trying to use the little Japanese they know*    (This actually happens very often. Even if customers need English help, they still use Japanese words and 75% of the time, will say arigatou gozaimasu at the end when walking out. its common courteous to the country they are in and the language the people here speak)
*Mira goes and comes back*

"heres you water ^^ and this is bread ^^"

"Oh looks wonderful!. Oh by the way, Are you Japanese?"

"Oh no"

"Oh okay ^^ Where are you originally from??" ^^

"Canada :)"

*You can notice right away a slight change in their tones and faces..like a surprised look*.

"Oh thats funny! us too!! which city??"

"Toronto"

"oh! we are from Toronto too! so how long ago did you move to Japan?"

"Over 4 years ago".

*long pause and odd faces peek through their smiles*

"Oh. Did you live in any other countries before that or something?" *mira can tell they are wondering...you are from Canada but your English is so unnatural and broken*



Thats kinda how it goes down.  I think the main issue is when I am at work, I don't know what to say in English so I just translate stuff from Japanese into English directly. Since I translate it from Japanese into English, the sentence order is messed up and the time it takes for me to try to find a good word, is a slight delay so it appears as if I am struggling for a word I don't know.

Japanese sounds are pronounced different from English, so I noticed when I speak Japanese a lot for a long time then try to speak English it doesn't come out right.

Other than the strange looks and obvious elephants in the room , It doesn't affect me. They still understand and the orders get taken. In the end they go home happy. Its also kinda nice to see how people treat non English speakers or people who speak broken English weather its language deterioration or they are just learning. Its good to know people are not flat our rude or say "hey! speak proper English!!! " or something in anger.

Does anyone else have any interesting experiences like this or funny stories to tell ^^ ??