How does one address a stranger? That’s the first problem for us Japanese peeps!

In English, you can always address a stranger as “you”;

however,in some other languages (I think Malay too) you need to use different forms of “you”depending on who you are talking to, right?

In Japanese, we have too many ways of saying “you” at a crazy level.
Ehhh…according to Wikipedia, there are 25 forms of “you”. Indeed,
I guess there are more than that, and some of them even I don’t know of.

(By the way, I am a native Japanese and had been an editor of magazine more than 20 years.)

All these mean “you”:

Okay, OKAY…enough already!

Anta actually sounds similar to the Malay ”Anda” and both of them have the same meaning.
But you don’t use “Anta” for your friends or strangers, unless you are very close to them, because it sounds quite rude.
When you address someone “Anta” “Omae” or “Kimi”, you imply that the person addressed is lower than you.

These usages are quite subtle and tricky, and sometimes cause problems.
Normally you can call strangers “Anata” in polite way. However, sometimes it sounds odd because it is too formal.
It is, especially, too formal for kids, so they tend to use “Omae”,”Kimi”, etc., etc.
My son told me that’s why some Japanese boys are always fighting each other saying someone called in a “rude” way.

“In Japan, these levels of respect are taken to the extreme. You will need to use different words to say the same thing depending on whether you’re talking to your sister, a stranger, your boss or the President.”

That’s exactly what I always feel whenever I switch my language from English to Japanese!

In my view, that’s what makes Japanese manga and anime interesting, as they can imply something in the way of “addressing the others”.

If you are watching anime, and you notice all of the addressing words, maybe you are becoming an expert in the Japanese language!

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