Nihongo no Kokoro Part 132

Hitomishiri

人見知り

Maybe it’s due to all the convenience we now have at our fingertips thanks to the Internet, it seems that there are now more “hitomishiri” than ever before. Hitomishiri is used to describe people who feel shy about talking to people they don’t know and so don’t really know how to communicate well with them. Hitomishiri, however, actually means “to know someone at a glance”, which doesn’t quite seem to relate to shyness. So how is it that it’s come to be used to describe shy people?

You see, the term was used to describe children at first. And kids, babies especially, tend to simply go by whether or not they recognize a person facially and whoever they don’t, they are naturally afraid of. And this was apparently how “knowing someone by looking at them” also came to mean “new faces = scary.”

So. Are you the type who’s able to converse smoothly with people you’ve only just met?

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