Richard Mahaffey on mon 26 oct 09
The O is the honorific form, it is used in polite language. If the woman a=
the Tofu-ya was older then she would be a person who speaks Nihongo
(Japanese) in a more polite way. It is still used as in Ocha or okome (kom=
is rice that is raw).
It is always safer to err on the polite side in Japanese. I have learned
some very polite language that I use when talking to a professor or
President or VP of a university. It shows respect for them and it is
something that they don't expect from Gaijin (foreigners).
Another example is:
Watakushi very polite form of I
Watashi polite for of I
Boku men's language more casual form of I used around friends
Ore rougher form of I used by yakuza and such.
I find that it helps to be extra polite when you can it opens a few doors
from time to time.