It is not always easy to ask a perfect stranger to do a favor for you.  If you are in a foreign country, the best way is to just say things as the locals do.  In Korean, you start with “저, 초면에 실례지만,” and end with “… 주시겠어요?” 

is an interjection of “humility” here, which shows you are hesitating to ask.  초면에 implies “We have never met before, and I know it’s too much to ask, but….”   초면 literally means “first face” (初面).  By saying the 3-syllable word “초면에” before “실례지만,” you may have a better chance of getting the help you want from a total stranger.  The ubiquitous “실례지만” alone would sound too terse and often insincere, when you ask for a real help.  The stand-alone 실례지만 is spoken all the time as a nicety, even when someone just asks about your name or age. 

Another related expression is 처음 뵙겠읍니다.  Unlike 초면에, this one is a greeting, and it literally means “This is the first time I see you.”  Basically it has the same social effect as 만나서 반갑습니다 (Nice to meet you.)   

Watch how Koreans ask a stranger for help:

How did he say “저, 초면에 실례지만” ?  How was his facial expression? 🙂

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