What kind of people do you think are Russians? There are many people who are unexpectedly close to Japan but don’t know much about it. Here I would like to talk about the Russian expression that I was surprised at.
When I was on a plane from the Russian capital, Moscow, to the local city of Tomsk, I had always felt it. The passengers on the plane were mostly Russians, who were blonde, slender and spoke Russian.
The Russian who sat next to me didn’t feel relaxed until she arrived. I didn’t talk to her very much and she sat alone and maybe just felt that way because of the lack of conversation. However, even when I give a little greeting or when I receive my drink from the flight attendant and give it to me, I feel like I have no expression. There was never a little lifted corner to show a smile.
There is no smile even at customer service
Even from Tomsk, I rarely saw people smiling. For example, in Japan, shop assistants at restaurants and supermarkets often laugh at each other.
But here in Russia, I have never seen a clerk showing that expression. Customers are also talking to the store clerk without smiles. If I came from Japan, where the hospitality industry is wonderful, they seemed not interested in facial expression control.
Being interested in communication
No smile = Not interested in the other party!?
I was looking at Russians who didn’t smile so much and I had the image that they were cold. I even had the impression that I was not interested in the relationship with people.
But I have this experience. When I was choosing bread at a supermarket, I was looking at various bread labels, and a strange Russian gave me a bread. And he told me a word “This bread is delicious”.
He taught me strange bread. Of course, even when he spoke such words, he was expressionless. I don’t know what I was told about, so I was worried.
Do not judge based on facial expression alone
This made my impression of the Russians change drastically, and I felt embarrassed of myself because I had a cold impression with only a facial expression. I was able to feel the kindness, interest and compassion of the Russians that I could not understand from their facial expressions.
At that time, I was not yet fluent in Russian. For this reason, they often didn’t know what they were saying, and that may have been the reason why they had a cold impression on them.
Showing the smile gradually
The smile to show is a real smile
That doesn’t mean that Russians don’t laugh at all. Some people are laughing at work or private, and I feel that such a smile is truly a smile.
When I met a Russian friend, I rarely saw her smile. At first, she thought she might hate herself. However, I gradually started to smile and started to feel kindness. It took time to feel it, but I think that the longer you spend together, the more you can feel the compassion and kindness of that person.
Linguistic ability does not matter
Of course, it is important to be able to speak a common language to communicate. However, even if you don’t understand the language well, you can feel kindness and compassion from your usual behavior.
Don’t judge someone just because you don’t have a smile. If you are the first person you meet or you don’t know at all, you may feel cold because of the expressionlessness, but it is not because it is cold. Spending time together will impress you with a casual feeling. So when I meet someone for the first time, I try to come in contact with them, even if they don’t know what they are thinking at first.
Face gets frozen because it’s too cold?
The fact that there is no Russian expression is sometimes pointed out in Japan. And some people say, “Russia is cold because it is cold,” “Face is frozen, so there is no expression.”
I don’t know if this is true, but it may be true because there are some Russians like this.
In other words, winter cold may just be taking away their smile. If Russia was a warm country, they sometimes feel that they may be smiling people.