Usage is not a potentiality...*I'm a 6' white guy, who mumbled the question to the clerk "can I use this?" in the simplest Japanese, so the way he answers me is to use the arch and vague 'keigo' his managers require him to, because the Japanese find it polite, but a Gaijin has high odds of not understanding? It's not like there're a lot of Gaijin JSL speakers in my part of Tokyo, or anything? There are. He must deal with a dozen in a shift. Morons who speak 'keigo' to non-fluent Gaijin, politeness is not about honorific speech, it is about putting people at their ease: with second language speakers that is by making yourself easily understood, without patronizing them. It's this lack of cosmopolitanism that puts me off bothering to learn more Japanese (older post on same). Maybe it's just a case of something I've read elsewhere:
In Japan the people act like robots, and the robots like people.Bear in mind this is Tokyo, not 'the sticks'. I've had better luck in 'the sticks'! Not with getting English, which I don't need**, but with getting straightforward Japanese. For the most part people will switch to 'Standard Japanese' for me, which they might scorn doing for a Kanto native, and good for them.
*I know there's no subject or object. Welcome to Japanese.
**Two years of university Japanese in my twenties, four years in Japan over two decades, level three in the proficiency test, if you must know. BFD.