[S1E38] How my students improved their Japanese (3)

Shadowing Sentence: Culture Shock in Japan|Is Aizuchi polite or rude?


My experience with Aizuchi

So this is from a blog article I happened to read, and they were talking about the Japanese way of doing Aizuchi could be impolite to some foreigners in Japan because they feel they are getting interrupted often by that. So, they find it hard to get used to.

Personally, I have never really thought about it or never been told anything like that by anyone in the US or Canada when I talked to people in English, but it may be simply because I am not quite listening to people and don’t do Aizuchi much?! haha


  • 相槌(あいづち)interjections during a conversation that indicate the listener is paying attention or understands the speaker, filler words
  • 相槌を打つ(あいづちをうつ)to say the interjections to show that you are listening
  • 意思表示(いしひょうじ)expressions of your intentions
  • 話し手(はなして)⇆聞き手(ききて)speaker ⇄ listener
  • 不安(ふあん)にさせる to make (someone) worried, concerned, insecure
  • 頻繁な(ひんぱんな)frequent
  • 遮る(さえぎる)to interrupt
  • 馴染む(なじむ)to get used to, to adapt

Kanji Time 1

Kanji Time 2

More examples with those kanjis of 意思表示
  • 意見:世の中にはいろんな意見があって当たり前ですよ。
    It is natural that there are different opinions in the world.
  • 思い出:大学生の頃に1人でたくさん旅行をしたのは、今でもいい思い出です。
    I traveled a lot by myself when I was in college, and that is still a good memory.
  • 表情:今日の彼女は、いつもより表情が明るかったですよ。
    Her facial expression was more cheerful than usual today.
  • 指示:いちいち指示をしないと仕事をしてくれない人が多すぎて、本当に困ります。
    There are too many people who won’t do their jobs unless I tell them what to do, which is a real problem.

Kanji Time 3

More examples with 不安
  • 不安になる:もうすぐ試験の日なので、だんだん不安になってきた
    It’s almost exam day and I’m getting anxious little by littel.
  • 不安がる:もうすぐ試験の日だけどあんまり勉強してないみたいなので、彼女は不安がっているみたいですよ。
    It’s almost exam day and she doesn’t seem to be studying much, so she seems to be anxious about it.
  • 不安気(ふあんげ)な=不安そう:「最近思うように勉強できていなくて・・・」って彼女は不安気に言ってましたよ。(=不安そうに言っていましたよ)。
    She was saying “I haven’t been able to study as much as I’d like lately” and she seemed a little worried.
  • 不安に思う=不安だ:今度の試験は前回よりマシになるといいけど、ちょっと不安に思ってます(=不安です)。
    I’m hoping the upcoming exam will be better than the last one, but I’m a little nervous about it.

Kanji Time 4

More examples with 結構
  • ここには結構な数の人がいますよ。
    There are quite a few people here.
    (It could imply you are a bit surprised to see this many people, etc.)
  • 昨日見た映画は、結構良かったよ。
    The movie I saw yesterday was pretty good / want’ bad at all.
    (It could imply you didn’t have much expectation but it was better than you originally thought.)
  • 彼は、日本語が結構できます
    He can speak Japanese quite well
    (It could imply better than I thought or better than others I know, etc.)
  • 今朝は結構食べてきた
    I’ve eaten quite a bit this morning (before coming here).
    (It could imply something like “more than usual or I originally planned”)
  • 今週は結構走りましたよ。
    I did a quite a bit of running this week.
    (It could imply more than usual or originally planned, etc.)

Ok, what’s the difference between 結構 and たくさん then?

  • たくさん means “many” or “a lot of” – sounds neutral.
  • Whereas 結構 has a nuance of “pretty good”, “not bad at all”, “relatively well/a lot” or “more/better than expected”, etc. depending on the context.
  • Adding 結構 generally softens the verb and could also be a way of sounding humble if it is about yourself.
    ex) 私の料理は結構おいしいんですよ。The dishes I cook are pretty good.

What else?

  • 結構 is a very common adverb that we use all the time.
  • 結構です。No, thank you. – This is not a very common expression, I would say. Personally I never say this because to me you could potentially sound “結構 rude” = “pretty rude”.
  • Instead, you could say 「あ、大丈夫です。ありがとうございます。」if you want to politely decline the offer. You would sound much more neutral and nicer this way, in my opinion.

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