Originally Posted by Samantha
...such a difference in culture.
...such a cultural difference. (-al, adjective)
I find that Japanese speakers use 'maybe' (i.e. ta-bu-n) in much the same was as Chinese speakers use 'maybe'. Having lived in Japan for almost 5 years, I can tell you that it's somewhat frustrating at times when "Tabun", maybe, is the set response for "Do you think...?" The paralinguistic factor here is related to cultural norms, set in place by history. Find out what s/he thinks first, then give your answer. S/He who answers too quickly could lose one's head/life. I believe the English saying Tread softly on unknown ground is comparable. :D