"OK" as Negation Confuses ForeignersPresentations in Kyoto Prefecture
A presentation event by foreign residents in Japan to express their opinions and feelings in Japanese was held on January 28, at Palette Joyo, a community facility in Terada, Joyo City, Kyoto Prefecture. Five participants from Vietnam, Indonesia, and Taiwan spoke about the difficulty of Japanese language and cultural gaps.
The event was organized by "Yume-Kikyu," a volunteer group that provides support for learning Japanese.
Eko Susanto, an Indonesian who works for a plant in Joyo City as a technical intern, introduced his experience of being confused by "Iiyo," literally meaning, "OK," which can show negation, and not affirmation. When he was asked what he wanted Japanese to keep in mind during the question and answer session, his requests were "Talk in simple words," and "Don't get offended even if I make a mistake."
Fadillah Zaen Akbar, also from Indonesia, explained Islamic law and introduced a Japanese song that he sings with his band. Pham Ngoc Sang, from Vietnam, who talked about the importance of learning Japanese, said with a content look, "I was nervous, but this was a good experience, and gives me confidence."(Translated by Mie Hiuzon, Psyche et l’Amour, Inc.)