Due to the structure of the Japanese language, only a very small percentage of the Japanese population can actually speak and converse in English. This is the main reason why a lot of store tenants are having difficulties conversing with foreign customers. At desperate cases, they even do charades just to get the message through. I am a witness to this scenario for a couple of times during my stay in Japan and I had no choice but to act as an interpreter for strangers at times.
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