Conversation between me and clerk upon my leaving Kinokuniya, the Japanese bookstore, at Rockefeller Center in Manhattan:
Clerk: Domo arigatou gozaimashita.
Me, in English: I'm sorry?
Clerk: In Japanese, Domo arigatou gozaimashita means thank you very much.
Me, in Japanese: Ah, yes it does, doesn't it. Where are you from in Japan?
Clerk, bowing: Domo arigatou gozaimashita.
Me, in Japanese: What I mean to say is, where is your hometown?
Clerk, bowing lower: Yes, thank you.
By this point, I'm thinking that what we have here is one of those ultra-insular Japanese who is so xenophobic that he won't acknowledge that a foreigner is addressing him in his own tongue, even if the grammar is correct and the pronunciation is OK.
Yes, yes, I met quite a few like him during my years in Japan ...
Me, in English, frustrated: Where in Japan is your hometown?
Clerk, sheepishly: Actually, I'm not from Japan. I can't speak Japanese.
Me, sheepishly: Ah, yes, sorry, have a nice weekend.