Interesting but Impossible to Understand Japanese ways of expressing themselves


Why do Japanese people point at themselves?


English teachers from overseas in Japan often talk about the way Japanese people show surprise by pointing at themselves with their fingers.

In English schools, the foreign teacher asks a Japanese student a question, or to say something. The student who was chosen makes a surprised face and points at himself with his finger.


It means “Me?” but non – Japanese often talk about that gesture being odd. Foreigners always say “Japanese students are generally shy, aren’t they?” Also, in the business world, they’re more polite and replace “shy” with “polite”.

The background to this is that Westerners are puzzled by Japanese people not expressing themselves and their keeping things inside. When the teacher asks you a question, if you point at yourself with your finger and have a surprised expression on your face, it will reinforce that impression.




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