What is the most embarrassing mistake you have made in spoken Japanese?

This stands out 20 years later as my most embarrassing mistake. I still feel CRINGE to my toes when I remember this.

I’d just arrived in rural southern Japan. In the village I was living in people openly gawped at me in the streets. They’d really never seen a foreigner.

Sooooo a new colleague told me I should visit the village bakery because they made delicious food. I went to said bakery. Everyone stopped talking when I entered. I was browsing the produce and the owner asked me what kind of cakes I like.

And this is what I said.


Instead of あんこが大好き。

The silence was something else.


Yeah, I think you just won this thread from the get-go. :stuck_out_tongue:

Most of my conversations tend to involve someone saying something to me, and me working out what it was five minutes later…


Went on a date, it went pretty well. Then I tried to arrange second meeting but asked in a really rude way and she never spoke to me again even after I apologised. I didn’t do it on purpose. That’s life.


basically the most laughed about thing I can remember is not thaaat embarrassing. But I was around with my language partner at that time and it was around new years and I was curious about the burning at the temples (side info they burn good luck charms to bring them to the gods - kind of)
And I just couldn’t remember the word for fire or straight out didn’t know so I was tried asking in Japanese and was like how do you say “火曜日のか” and she laughed so hard at me >.<
but now it’s a fun memory we both can laugh about :wink:


As for me, there’s not really any specific language mistake that comes to mind. However, I visited my dad’s colleague’s house once when I was in Japan, and she let me try one of her special kimonos (big. deal.) Her mother and aunt came over and got me all dressed up. We went outside so they could take some pictures of me, so naturally I wore the kind of shoes you wear with a kimono like that (I don’t remember what they’re called) and it was a great experience… until we went inside and I walked all over their pretty wooden floor in the shoes I had forgotten to take off :woman_facepalming: I broke the Japanese Politeness Rule #1… One of the little ladies chased me and just went "shoesshoesshoes!" Needless to say, it was a pretty embarrassing experience. Forgive me じゅんこさん… T-T



Could’ve been worse, though. You could have stepped onto tatami mats with the shoes on…


Happens like 100% of the time I speak Japanese:

Speaking Japanese, thinking that youre doing great only to find out no one really understood you.


shudders at the thought


I haven’t had much practice with spoken Japanese; so far this is the most embarrassing:


One friend and I were waiting for another friend to arrive by bus…

I thought I said,


however… It came out a little differently,


So close, yet so far…


At my japanese class I wanted to say I will not come next week. Consider I was just starting learning the language and I said


My teacher started laughing aloud and I then realized my mistake. He then asked why I will be absent and I wanted to say


but instead I said


and he again he started to laugh. Not really embarrassing, but it was funny and I still laugh when I think about it.


This happened two days ago in Shimokitazawa.

I was in a bar with some mates, one of who was djing, when one of those TV talent interviewer guys came in with 2 cameras and interviewed a Japanese mate and my Djing mate.

They then turned to me and asked me some simple questions in front the camera such as where I’m from. He then quickly asked me 観光? (sightseeing), it being a loud bar and my Japanese not great, I thought he asked about my hometown, so I just said “London”. He smiled and nodded his head.

I told the the disclosure lady not to use my brief interview in the segment.


When I first started my job in Tokyo about a year ago, I was trying to thank a male coworker for helping me, and instead confessed my love for him.

I said 大好きて instead of 助けて… (to me the daisu and tasu sound really similar)

To this day everyone still thinks we are a thing. :sob:


My most embarrassing mistake was getting drunk and pronouncing なんでやねん terribly the rest of the night. I’ve since learned how to properly say it, but those were embarrassing videos to watch back.

But other than that, I don’t really have any embarrassing moments.

My friend, though, was standing on a super packed train next to me and she realized she could “read” the kanji 反対 written above the door, so she suddenly said (loudly), “I can read that! へんたい!” The entire train went very, very quiet, and all of the men around us looked uncomfortable. I couldn’t stop laughing.


This is half written, but I said it in Japanese so here it is-
Background! I work at several schools in a small town called 小千谷. One school is called 吉谷小学校。For some reason, everyone I heard pronounce it emphasized the に in 谷(たに) so I thought it was called ”吉田2(に)小学校”。The name on the schedule, 吉谷, must be a combination of 吉田 and 小千谷’s 谷。
I started calling it 吉田 for short and everyone inevitably corrected me- 吉谷。I was like yeah, I get it, 吉田2, I’m just dropping the 2! This year, I get asssigned the school so I finally asked the above question, wondering what happened to 吉田1. They stare at me for like half a minute before repeating, よしだに。 That’s when it clicked. I’ve never felt more stupid.


During a conversation I was a part of, the topic of an internationally recognized musician came up. Someone asked me if I knew them, to which I replied,「汚い」. Everyone made on O-face. My girlfriend at the time asked me if I knew what I said. “I think I know what I said…” was my reply. After a generous pause, I began to blush upon realizing what I did say, and then was given the time and grace to correct myself after trying to apologize in broken Japanese: 「聞いたことがない」 . Everyone had a good laugh.


I forgot if it was one of the school teachers or students who said this, but I was told that my Japanese was “ペラペラ.” Literally never heard of the word before, but I thought it was something negative so I said “Sigh yeah, yeah , I know… T_T.”

Later, I found out it means “fluent.”

In the end, I’m not very “ペラペラ” after all (and I probably sounded arrogant LOL).


Some of these are very funny…keep them coming.

My Japanese boyfriend really could not speak a word of English. He really couldn’t. However one day I introduced him to my British friend and he yelled at the top of his lungs, 'Pleased to F*****G meet you!"



Whenever I want to say the word 反対 (which I use pretty often at work) I always pause for a few seconds before and say it over and over in my head before saying it out loud to avoid this very issue haha :laughing:


Well, a lady of my acquaintance was sitting with her Japanese teacher at the language school she was attending and when asked to introduce herself, she said しょうふ です、instead ofしゅふです. The teacher was well aware that the lady was a beginner in Japanese but she still was, or professed to be, quite shocked. . .