I wasn't really verbally awkward in Japan because I wasn't verbal. Coming home has reminded me that not much has really changed.
While at the airport:
Man: Your ticket?
Me: <hands it to him>
Man: Thank you. Here you go.
Me: <thinking to my jet lagged self, "Say 'thank you' as I reach for the ticket>
Me: Arigatou gozaimash...
<I stop mid-sentence with my hand half on my ticket, and stare at the man in shock while my mind panics, "That's not English! How do I fix this?"
<I take off running>
At the restaurant:
We're leaving and a girl trips on the stairs as she goes up them and I'm coming down them.
Me: <thinking to myself, "Daijoubudesuka? Not English. Don't even try it!">
Realizing that I was not going to do well verbally, I went for non-verbal communication.
The girl gave me a weird but amused look and walked past me.
Kat: What was that?!
Me: The first thing that came to mind was Japanese so I did the next thing that came to mind. I bowed.
Food worker, calling out my order: Erin?
Me: Hai!...Iiiii. <My desperate attempt to make it into a Hello> "Yes, that's me."