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Survival Japanese [12] Useful Expressions, Greeting Part 5. Long time no see. Beginner's level

Haven't seen you in a long time.

In this discussion, you are going to learn the expressions when you see your friend whom you have not seen in a long time. (If you would like to learn only sounds, look at the roma-ji sentences and the meaning. Skip others.)

Example 1
[Japanese] こんにちは。         お久しぶり       です。
[Furigana] こんにちは。         ひさしぶり     です。
[Roma-ji] Konnichiwa.         Ohisashiburi   desu.
 [meaning] Hello.               Haven't seen you for a long time.
Your friend:
[Japanese] あぁ、        ご無沙汰   して  います。      お元気でしたか?
[Furigana] あぁ、          ごぶさた   して  います。      おげんきでしたか?
[Roma-ji]  Ah,          Gobusata  (shite imasu).   Ogenki deshitaka?
[meaning] Ah,          longtime no see.              How have you been?

Example 2
[Japanese] 佐藤さん、     ご無沙汰しています。            お元気でしたか?
[Furigana] さとうさん、     ごぶさたしています。             おげんきでしたか?
[Roma-ji]  Sato san,    Gobusata shite imasu.      Ogenki  deshitaka?
[meaning] Mr. Sato, I haven't seen you for a long time.   How have you been?

Your friend:
[Japanese]   [1] ハンナさんじゃないですか。 [2] 本当に、お久しぶりです。[3] 私の方は元気にやっていますよ。[4] ハンナさんはどうしていましたか。
[Furigana] はんなさんじゃないですか。ほんとうに、ひさしぶりです。 わたしのほうはげんきにやっていますよ。はんなさんはどうしていましたか。
[Roma-ji] [1] Hanna-san janai desuka. [2] Hontou ni ohisashiburi desu. [3] Watashi no houwa genki ni  yatte imasuyo. [4] Hanna-san wa doushite imashitaka.
[meaning]  [1] You are the Hanna, aren’t you! [2] Longtime no see. [3] I am doing well. [4] How about you, Hanna?

Please DON’T to be overwhelmed by these long sentences. If you just need to know some phrases, you firstly need to learn “(お)ひさしぶり(です)。(O)hisashiburi (desu) .“which means “Longtime no see.” With the expression “O” and “desu.”, the phrase becomes more polite. Actually, the ごぶさた(しています)。Gobusata (shite imasu.)” has also the same meaning but it is usually used as the response of “(お)ひさしぶり。(O) hisashiburi.” or you may use it to the person whom you should be respect. In the latter case, you should use polite expression using “しています。shite imasu.”

Then you may want to ask your friends how they are doing. This is “(お)げんきでしたか?(o)genki desitaka? You can put the question mark at the end of the sentence. However since we can know this is a question by the ...か。/… ka sound at the end, we may not use “?” in formal writing. Furthermore, again, notice that there is no subject “you” in the sentence. This is a particular Japanese expression.  If we include the subject “you” in the sentence, it is like;
(Anata wa) ogenki deshitaka.
Anata wa: with “wa”, “anata” means  “you”

“おげんき ですか。Ogenki desuka is also correct but the usage will be slightly different. It is used more in writing like letters and e-mails. In oral, you may use both; but “(お)げんき ですか (O)genki desuka” is asked about current condition, and the answer may beげんきです。Genki desu.”, whereas “(お)げんき でしたか。(O)genki deshitaka.” is asking including about their past condition.

The answer will be various. The expression, げんき に やっていますGenki ni yatteimasu.  Which means “I am doing well.” is for the answer for “(お)げんきでしたか?(O)genki deshitaka?” (Again, you can omit the subject “I”.) If your feeling is “Okay” or “so so”, you may say “ぼちぼち やっています。Bochi bochi yatteimasu.”
Finally, when you talk about yourself like “げんき に やっています。 genki ni yatteimasu.”, you should NOT use “お/O” sound with some noun: in this case, the げんき genki. We never say “Ogenki ni yatteimasu.” unless joking.

These are all the today’s basic expressions. If you would like to learn more about the other expressions, please keep reading this discussion. You’ll understand the lest of these in the future. Please don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Today’s review

Japanese, furigana, roma-ji
(お)久しぶり(です)。 おひさしぶり(です)。 (O)hisashiburi (desu).

ご無沙汰(しています)。 ごぶさた(しています)。Gobusata (shite imasu.)



(O)genki (deshitaka)? Genki (ni yatteimasu).



(O)genki (desuka)? Genki (desu).

The expressions or sounds in the () are able to be omitted but if you want to be polite, you need to use these expressions.

To express questions
“...か/… Ka” at the end of sentences

Learning with sounds
Can you catch some of today’s expressions in the songs?
Goaisatsu no uta


Ohisashiburi dane, Nagoya

Review Questions
Fill in blanks


A: O______ desu. O______deshitaka?
B: Ah, Sato-san. O_____ desu. Eh, watashi no hou wa ______ ni ytteimasu.


A: Ito-sensei, _______shite imasu.  O_____ desuka?
B: Yamada-kun janaika!? ____ buri. Rippa ni nattaneh.

The answer will be posted on Monday.
Questions? Comments? Correction? Typos? Requests? Thanks.

18 Ağu 2012 22:19
Comments · 1

Review quiz answer

Fill in blanks




A: Ohisashiburi desu. Ogenki deshitaka?
B: Ah, Sato-san. Ohisashiburi desu. Eh, watashi no hou wa genki ni ytteimasu.




A: Ito-sensei, gobusata shite imasu.  Ogenki desuka?
B: Yamada-kun janaika!? Hisashi buri. Rippa ni nattaneh.

20 Ağustos 2012
ちぃ先生 Dr.Chi
Language Skills
English, Indonesian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish
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