The most encouraging thing anyone ever said about your Japanese ability

Learning Japanese isn’t easy, I think most people here would agree. Some of us study everyday, consume all sorts of media, put other interests we have on hold, only to wonder if we are actually good enough. Sometimes, the things people tell us are there to remind of us of how far we’ve come and how long we still need to go.

“You’re pretty damn good, you just need to push yourself to be more fluent.”- A member in my study group who had lived in Japan for many years.

This really put a lot into perspective for me. I think people generally think I’m good, but they know I can do better. I know I can do better. It’s something I think about a lot.


When I was in Japan a native speaker told me “日本語が上手ですね”. At that point I knew I had reached fluency.


:rofl: It was so depressing to hear that all the time…


I was once told that they thought I must have been Japanese in my previous life. That was pretty cool.


One time I did a half-assed post in Japanese on italki, and the native speakers that corrected it told me it sounded like a Japanese person wrote it. So the less I try the better I seem to perform?


I’ll be content that I reached fluency when I stop being complimented on my language abilities by natives lol. (“Wait, you weren’t born here?!” being the only exception, but I doubt that’d happen with Japanese much.)

Until then “this is a very good/natural sounding sentence” is great to hear from teachers. I’m way too low level to believe any of that 日本語が上手ですね, every other sentence I make a mistake that I can spot myself two seconds later. So having them point out one specific sentence (or maybe even a short text) that’s actually good is way more believable.

@raquel1 A lot of language teachers say people speak best when they’re slightly drunk, so… XD


One time a native speaker told me my handwriting was almost as good as a native’s. That blew my mind.

I see what you did there!


I was in the The Museum of Oriental Ceramics in Osaka about five years ago, an older lady appeared surprised that I was there admiring the works so she asked me “好きですか?” and I just replied "好き” and she said “日本語が上手ですね”. And that just about sums up the value of that phrase.


Yeah, I hear that too. I’ve learned to understand the code.

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Feels like a code for secondhand embarrassment when I hear it XD
Also, thanks to this 上手ですね~ I feel bad when people say nice things about my pronunciation… Feels like level’d up “上手ですね”… Lol


“I understood about 30 maybe 40% of what you said” Was pretty happy with that.


I was talking with someone (a Japanese native) I had just met on Twitter and they said that they saw my tweets and assumed I was a Japanese native. Pretty sure they were just being nice and this was on par with a 日本語上手 but hey, I’ll take it.


As vapid as it sounds, the person I’ve been seeing told me that it was cool :3
That, and when speaking with my tutor, I told her that I interviewed for a job and Tokyo and she responded with something like


Which made me feel really good about myself.


This is a pretty small thing I think, but a Japanese classmate happened to find out that I’m learning Japanese and asked me if I could say anything, so I did. He sounded genuinely impressed when he said my pronunciation was really good.


At home, I get alot of brutal honesty. The smallest mistake will trigger scolding & shame plus I get demoted back to pre-level N6 material w/ drills. Then I get to hear what is wrong with all my study methods (usually everything) which may include additional critiques outside the realm of language study for good measure. So no free 上手’s coming this way. But to end this paragraph on a high note, I had to negotiate several business transactions via email last week which required alot more keigo than I’m comfortable with along with details to convey but somehow earned a ‘good job’ and a pat on the head with no corrections, hooray. But a compliment or critique are equally a self reflective distraction, I’d rather just get constructive feedback w/o opinion.


This is hilarious. Sometimes native Japanese content makes me feel I’m still pre-N6 level.

Whenever people ask me to say something I always blank out and have no idea what to say lol. I always tell them to ask me how to say something instead and I’ll say it.


I always revert to the most basic self-introduction ever. Something that I could have memorized in 5 minutes to fake being able to talk Japanese :sweat_smile: Still, to people not speaking Japanese that still sounds fluent, so :man_shrugging:

As for the question, the only time I felt really complimented was with a new tutor on italki who was amazed that I was (back then) only studying for three months, she couldn’t believe I hadn’t been doing it for a year or two ^^

Most of the rest is indeed the dreaded 上手 - phrase :sweat_smile:

I actually had one yesterday, when someone asked me what language school I go to. They seemed genuinely shocked that I’ve never had any formal teaching and that I’m self-taught. Felt really nice because my biggest downfall is actually my speaking ability (something carried over from English if I’m honest!).


Number 1 was when people started talking to me like a normal person.

Number 2 was when the JLPT portal said I passed N2.

The least encouraging thing is 日本語上手 lol. People usually say that after I make a mistake.


I said to a Japanese person that my Japanese isn’t that good right now and he replied いえいえ、いいです。:smiley: