It’s no secret that people compliment your misrable attempts to speak their language all the time. Usually these compliments are straight forward, like “お上手ですね” (“Your Japanese is really good!”), which usually means more like “Hang in there!”. There’s also the surprise comment where you are better at their language than they expected these are usually “へえ、何でこんなにうまいの?” (“Wow, why are you so good [at Japanese]?”). Finally there’s the indirect compliments that really make you feel good. The one I get the most is “何年前に日本へきましたか” (“How many years have you been in Japan?”) because the other person assumed that your proficiency in Japanese could only be achived after living there for years. I love smiling and replying “Oh, I’ve only been here for 5 months.”.

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