Detailed and specific information given by Japanese

I have noticed through my own personal experience as well as research that Japanese people prefer to provide detailed and specific explanations. I read* about an American exchange student’s complaining that she was puzzled by not getting a straight simple answer from Japanese people. For example, when she experienced a very cold morning, a Japanese started talking to her like “the average temperature in this area since the Meiji era, …”. She wondered why the person just not said “it is very cold this morning!” .

I have noticed that I myself have this type of tendency. In order to provide a sort of accurate information, I feel obliged to start at somewhere far away rather than giving a simple straight answer. I often realise my explanation in ENGLISH (yes, I do this even in English) sounds convoluted, but I cannot help it myself! 
Why do we do this? Does anybody know the answer for this?
* 中津燎子(1978)『なんで英語やるの?』文春文庫

2 thoughts on “Detailed and specific information given by Japanese”

  • oh yes!! I do that too!
    when my kiwi friends talk to me, sometimes i feel like they’re always keeping it short. also, when I talk to some teachers who are New Zealanders, they just like to keep things simple… but I always wanted to get more information from them. hehe~

  • Fumiko Nishimura says:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *