Screenshot: Nintendo

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Anybody who speaks Japanese and has hung out within the nation has heard it: nihongo ga ojouzu (“Your Japanese is nice”). Even Animal Crossing isn’t secure from this inevitable and dreaded praise.

That’s precisely what occurs in Animal Crossing: New Horizons when you play the sport in Japanese. Under is a screenshot from a North American participant:

The related textual content reads, “Ah, you reside in North America! Your Japanese is so good that I believed you lived in Japan!” (Observe that even for these gamers in Japan, they get complimented with the next: “Ah, you reside in Japan! That’s why your Japanese is so good!” In-game, the praise isn’t just for residents outdoors Japan.)

So what’s the deal? That’s a pleasant factor for Animal Crossing to say, no? Let me clarify. No, really, let YouTuber Dogen clarify:

The inference is that the complement is in the end backhanded. When you converse higher (nicely, as Dogen jokes, a minimum of pretty much as good as a primary grader), you gained’t be advised your Japanese is so jouzu (good).

Amongst non-Japanese, to get the jouzu praise has grow to be a little bit of a meme and known as being jouzu’ed or ojouzu’ed. The nihongo-ga-ojouzu flattery appears to be usually given out for uttering something in anyway in Japanese. Say a primary greeting, you’ll get a jouzu. Barely open your mouth, smile or nod and you continue to would possibly get jouzu’ed. Truthfully, the praise actually doesn’t imply that your Japanese is nice. There are exceptions, relying on the individual and the intent, and infrequently, it may be nothing greater than meaningless small discuss with zero ill-will in anyway. But when somebody tells you your Japanese is nice, take it with a grain of salt.

As an alternative, say one thing way more difficult and concerned (or have okay sufficient pronunciation), and also you’ll get a how-long-have-you-lived-here query. If it’s a very long time, you’ll inevitably get, “Oh that’s why (you converse good Japanese.)“

There are a number of bulletin board threads on methods to cope with nihongo ga ojouzu (here, here and here, for instance), as a result of these remarks can really feel like Pavlovian responses. Hear a foreigner converse one thing—something—in Japanese, say “jouzu.”

Japanese folks are inclined to downplay compliments, so to be truthful to the opposite individual, even when being jouzu’ed generally is a bit awkward and even dreaded, it’s in all probability greatest (and most well mannered) to answer with humility, humor and heat.

Bear in mind, most individuals aren’t really attempting to be condescending, so just make certain to deal with the state of affairs jouzu.

In case you missed it, you may learn Kotaku’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons overview proper right here.