One big problem I noticed as a learner of Japanese in Japan is either many people will only use English at you no matter how good your Japanese is or many people will dumb down their Japanese a lot. It's gotten to the point where once I was speaking Keigo with a hotel manager and he was using plain form mixed with English with me. It felt very awkward.
Is there a way you guys know how to cope with this?
Years Studied: since 2000 Studying: 自分のため、日本語教師だから
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I got this all the time! How I dealt with it depended on the situation. When the person was someone I'd have to deal with more (for instance, when I got a new supervisor), I would be polite but blunt and just say something like 日本語の方がいい. When it was someone like in the situation you described, I might say something like 気を楽にして、日本語に続きましょう or something like that. The only time I can think of that I didn't insist on them using Japanese was when I was being interviewed on TV by this guy who thought it was funny to try and speak to me in English - annoying, but what can you do?
When this happens, I usually interrupt them fairly immediately after they've uttered a few English words with the simple phrase 日本語でいいです. Usually they'll let out a sigh of relief upon hearing this and immediately switch to Japanese.
In terms of having Japanese being dumbed down to you, I feel like this happens a lot when someone's accent is very strong. If that might be the case with you, try working on your accent by mimicking tv shows and whatnot. I don't have the accent of my native language when I speak Japanese so I'm able to "fool" a lot of Japanese into not realizing that they're speaking Japanese with a foreigner. (At least until I make a mistake. ;))
When that happens to me, I tell them that I'm from Venezuela and that I don't get English as well as Japanese. For instance, 私はベネズエラから来たから英語で話すことができない、でもスペイン語と日本語がいいよ。it always works. They immediately switch to Japanese since most of them don't speak Spanish.
The sad thing is most of the time I tell them I'm from Spain and I don't speak English in Japanese and most of the time they still refuse to speak Japanese and they'll just talk in slower English. It's like AHHHHHHHH.
But next time I'll try your advice and add in the Spanish or Japanese is fine. Hopefully that will change things.(・∀・)