It is clear that Rizal couldn’t speak Japanese well when he first came to Japan. This is evident from the fact that he needed an interpreter to introduce himself to Osei-san (Ms. Seiko Usui), a Japanese lady who eventually became his girlfriend. "They first met one pleasant afternoon when Rizal beheld a charming girl walk past the Legation gate. With a Japanese gardener as his interpreter, our champion introduced himself to the amused lady. Rizal spoke poor Nippongo, but Seiko knew English, and thus they shared a tongue. Since then, they got together almost daily, revealing the city's sights."
Like some Filipinos, Rizal looked like a Japanese. His Japanese appearance made it difficult for natives to detect that he was a gaikokujin or foreigner. This and the fact that he couldn’t speak Japanese bothered Rizal as can be seen from his letter to his friend Blumentritt: "Here you have your friend Rizal, wonder of the Japanese, since he has a Japanese appearance, and yet does not understand Japanese. "When I go out in the streets shopping and want to buy something,people stare at me and ill-bred boys laugh at me because I speak so strange a language. There are very few people in Tokyo who speak English, but in Yokohama many speak it. Some think I am a Europeanized Japanese who does not want to be taken as such. That often happens with the half-bred Japanese in the Philippines."  Joutatsu