When meeting someone you haven't seen in a long time, what do you say in English? Most would respond with "how are you?" The Japanese phrase first introduced that means this a person learns is o-genki desu ka お元気ですか. However, this phrase is notably not used in the spoken language. So, how do Japanese speakers actually greet each other in this situation?
Another phrase that is common in English is "long time no see." The Japanese equivalent is
(o-)hisashiburi desu (ne)（お）久しぶりです（ね）. The use of o- お at the beginning adds respect to the phrase, and the use of ne ね adds a tone of familiarity. Casually, you can just say hisashiburi 久しぶり or even hisabisa da ne 久々だね.
Mina-san, o-hisashiburi desu.
Long time no see, everyone.
Ō, hisabisa da ne!
Whoa, long time no see!
Hisashiburi desu! Chōshi wa dō desu ka?
Long time no see! How are you doing?
Hisashiburi! Saikin dō?
Long time no see! How’ve you been recently?
Hey, long time no see!
Sentence Note: This expression is no longer really used—a shigo 死語—but it is still a notable contraction of o-hisashiburi お久しぶり.
Go-kigen ikaga desu ka?
How are you feeling?
Sentence Note: Kigen 機嫌 means “mood.” This phrase more so literally means “how do you do?” but it isn’t old-fashioned like this English counterpart. For the most part, it’s treated as a more formal, elegant replacement for o-genki desu ka? お元気ですか. However, it isn’t appropriate in business because it isn’t the case that clients/customers are always in high spirits, and it isn’t the right place to assume this.
Go-busata shite orimasu. O-genki de irasshaimasu ka?
I’m sorry for not hearing from you all this time. Are you doing well?
Sentence Note: Imagine if you haven’t spoken or heard from a superior or someone of high social status for a while. Although blame for this lack of communication could be on both sides, a very honorific opening such as this would be very appropriate. Also note how replacing です with its honorific form でいらっしゃいます makes the phrase more natural.
Nagaraku go-busata shite sumimasen.
I apologize for not hearing from you in so long.
It’s been a long time.
Sentence Note: This phrase would be appropriate especially when you’re recognizing how long it’s been since you’ve been in contact with people.
Ikaga o-sugoshi deshō ka?
How are things with you?
Sentence Note: This phrase is also quite honorific and is appropriate in very formal situations, both written and spoken.
Usage Note: Just as in English, these sorts of phrases are appropriate even when you're corresponding to others in writing.
Curriculum Note: To learn more about the word 元気, see Lesson ??.
You might have noticed this phrase being used in Ex. 19. In a broad sense, it can be translated as "thankfully," but upon closer look, it always shows thanks to someone/something. In Ex. 19, it was used in the broad sense of being aided by everything that's gone on, but it may also be used to directly thank someone for their cooperation/kindness.
Thanks to you, we got the deal closed.
Thanks to everyone, we were able to make it to our 10th anniversary.
Thanks to everyone, I'm now able to speak Japanese.
Note that when used with an actual name or person/people, さま is not used.
Another similar phrase that more literally translates to "thankfully/fortunately" is ありがたいことに.
Thankfully, everyone was safe/unharmed.
The Japanese equivalent of "congratulations" is omedetō (gozaimasu) おめでとう（ございます）. The full version おめでとうございます is the proper honorific form of the adjective めでたい meaning "happy/auspicious." So, in a way, you are literally seeing, "how wonderful/how auspicious (this is)."
You can see おめでとうございます in all sorts of congratulatory 挨拶. Below are a few of the most common phrases utilizing it. Although all the phrases below end in ございます, to make any of these phrases casual, just drop any initial お・ご as well as ございます.
(O-)tanjōbi omedetō gozaimasu.
Akemashite omedetō gozaimasu.
Happy New Year.
Phrase Note: Some speakers also add 新年 to the start of this phrase, but because 明ける already refers to the year starting, many view this as ungrammatical. However, it's worth noting that you can also say 新年おめでとうございます.
Go-nyūgaku omedetō gozaimasu.
Congratulations on enrollment.
Go-kekkon omedetō gozaimasu.
Congratulations on your marriage.
Go-shussan omedetō gozaimasu.
Congratulations on giving birth.
When you look up the Japanese word for "please," you'll likely find the word dōzo どうぞ listed. We first saw this in the phrase どうぞよろしくお願いします at the start of this lesson. Indeed, it is used in many polite commands/requests. It is often paired with the verbal ending -te kudasai ～てください, which is the polite way of making commands.
Please, by all means.
Word Note: By itself, its nuance is more so like "by all means," letting the person know that it is okay for them to do what they're intending to do.
Dōzo agatte kudasai.
Please, come in.
Sentence Note: This phrase is used when letting people into one’s home.
O-saki ni dōzo.
Please go ahead.
Dōzo o-kamai naku.
Please don’t fuss over me.
Dōzo kochira e.
This way, please.
Dōzo meshiagatte kudasai.
Please enjoy your meal.
If there is no sense of “by all means,” you should simply using -te kudasai ～てください. Of course, in casual speech, you are free to drop kudasai ください. Notice how these sentences don't feel like 挨拶 whereas the sentences with どうぞ above do.
Shorui wo matomete kudasai.
Please compile the documents.
Koko ni shomei shite kudasai.
Please sign here.
Other phrases that may translate as "please" include お願いします and chōdai 頂戴.
Hai, o-negai shimasu.
(I'm begging you,) please!
Okashi (wo) chōdai!
Please give me candy!
Could you please be quiet?
Grammar Note: As for 頂戴, it is essentially a highly casual variant for 下さい and is seen at the end of a sentence after an object or the te-form.