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Yoshi and Chigusa: おはよう、大阪!(Ohayō, Ōsaka!)
Chigusa: ちぐさです。(Chigusa desu.)
Yoshi: ヨシです。(Yoshi desu.)
Peter: Peter here. All right, we are back with Chigusa-san and Yoshi-san. Back for lesson 3, newbie lesson 3.
Chigusa: Yay!
Peter: Things are really starting to be grasped along here. Chigusa, I feel that. You know, Japanese is just exciting.
Chigusa: Yeah.
Peter: And we have just touched the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more that we cannot wait to get into. Now, in the previous two lessons, we worked on self introductions. And last lesson, Yoshi-san, what were we talking about in our last lesson?
Yoshi: Japanese greetings?
Peter: Yeah. And we covered “Good morning,” which was
Yoshi: おはよう。(Ohayō.)
Peter: And the formal version,
Yoshi: おはようございます。(Ohayō gozaimasu.)
Peter: And then we had “Good evening,” which was
Yoshi: こんばんは。(Konbanwa.)
Peter: And for all the students out there studying in the afternoon, we have, Chigusa-san?
Chigusa: こんにちは。(Kon’nichiwa.)
Peter: “Good afternoon.” So, we covered this through a Skype phone call. Now, Watanabe-sensei received a Skype call from a former student, Yamaguchi-san. Now today, the next newbie lesson and maybe one after that will be continuing on with this Skype conversation. Now in the last episode, they just covered the basic greetings, just “Good evening” and “Good morning.” That’s basically it. That’s all they covered. Now, we’re going to work on some greetings for someone you haven’t seen in a while. Plus, asking how someone is doing. Now, these greetings will set the foundation for really interacting with Japanese people. So again, we continue on with Ms. Yamaguchi and Professor Watanabe. Here we go.
山口 (Yamaguchi):お久しぶりです。(O-hisashiburi desu.)
渡辺 (Watanabe):そうですね。しばらくですね。(Sō desu ne. Shibaraku desu ne.)
山口 (Yamaguchi):お元気ですか。(O-genki desu ka.)
渡辺 (Watanabe):はい、元気ですよ。お元気ですか。(Hai, genki desu yo. O-genki desu ka.)
山口 (Yamaguchi):おかげさまで、元気です。(Okage-sama de, genki desu.)
Peter: One more time, slowly please.
山口 (Yamaguchi):お久しぶりです。(O-hisashiburi desu.)
渡辺 (Watanabe):そうですね。しばらくですね。(Sō desu ne. Shibaraku desu ne.)
山口 (Yamaguchi):お元気ですか。(O-genki desu ka.)
渡辺 (Watanabe):はい、元気ですよ。お元気ですか。(Hai, genki desu yo. O-genki desu ka.)
山口 (Yamaguchi):おかげさまで、元気です。(Okage-sama de, genki desu.)
Peter: This time, Chigusa-san and Yoshi-san will give you the Japanese, and I’ll give you the English.
山口 (Yamaguchi):お久しぶりです。(O-hisashiburi desu.)
Yamaguchi: I haven't heard from you in a long time.
渡辺 (Watanabe):そうですね。(Sō desu ne.)
Watanabe: That's right.
渡辺 (Watanabe):しばらくですね。(Shibaraku desu ne.)
Watanabe: It's been a while.
山口 (Yamaguchi):お元気ですか。(O-genki desu ka.)
Yamaguchi: How are you?
渡辺 (Watanabe):はい、元気ですよ。(Hai, genki desu yo.)
Watanabe: Yes, I'm good.
渡辺 (Watanabe):お元気ですか。(O-genki desu ka.)
Watanabe: How are you?
山口 (Yamaguchi):おかげさまで、元気です。(Okage-sama de, genki desu.)
Yamaguchi: Thanks to you, I'm fine.
Peter: Okay. Let’s get a little feedback about this conversation. Yoshi-san, what do you think about this conversation? Be honest. Brutally honest.
Yoshi: I think it’s nice to ask someone what they are doing.
Peter: Is it pretty typical or is it textbook skewed?
Yoshi: It’s typical but it is used very often I think.
Peter: Okay. So, this conversation does work well. There are a couple of pitfalls and a couple of traps we want you to watch out for, but we’re going to cover all that in a minute. First, what we’re going to do is we’re going to go over some phrases, okay? We’re going to take these phrases apart one by one. And this will help us really get an understanding of the conversation.
Peter: Okay? Let’s take a look at the first phrase, which actually consists of our first sentence. Chigusa-san.
Chigusa: お久しぶりです (o-hisashiburi desu)
Peter: Okay. Here we have two elements. First we have the お久しぶり (o-hisashiburi) and then we have です (desu), the copula, the polite form of the copula. And this means, “It’s been a long time.” Can we break it down?
Chigusa: おひさしぶりです (o-hisashiburi desu) お久しぶりです (o-hisashiburi desu)
Peter: Okay. First thing you want to point out here. Here, the copula is making this sentence polite. If you see a friend, and you haven’t seen him in a while, Yoshi-san, what would you say?
Yoshi: 久しぶり。(Hisashiburi.)
Peter: which is much more informal. And you might want to take it out one politeness notch, which would be?
Yoshi: お久しぶり。(O-hisashiburi.)
Peter: Without the です (desu). But if you’re talking to your professor, you want to use the most polite form, which is?
Yoshi: お久しぶりです (o-hisashiburi desu)
Peter: Now, Yoshi-san, can you just give us from the most polite to the most informal, one more time? Most polite.
Yoshi: お久しぶりです。(O-hisashiburi desu.)
Peter: It has the prefix お (o), followed by です (desu). Then we have second
Yoshi: お久しぶり。(O-hisashiburi.)
Peter: Just the prefix お (o), the polite prefix お (o). Finally, we have
Yoshi: 久しぶり。(Hisashiburi.)
Peter: No prefix and no polite form of the copula, です (desu). Just 久しぶり (hisashiburi). Now, there’s one that’s even more informal, and that is
Yoshi: ひさびさ。(Hisabisa.)
Peter: This is an extremely informal way to greet someone - a really, really good friend you haven’t seen in a while. So, not recommended for the classroom. Then the next set of expressions we have is…
Yoshi: しばらくですね。(Shibaraku desu ne.)
Peter: “It’s been a while.” Break it down.
Yoshi: しばらくですね (shibaraku desu ne) しばらくですね (shibaraku desu ne)
Peter: Now, there are three elements to this phrase. First one, しばらく (shibaraku), followed by です (desu), and finally we have the particle ね (ne). So, three elements. しばらくですね (shibaraku desu ne), “It’s been a while.” With this set phrase, is there a shorter version? Is there an abbreviation of it?
Chigusa: しばらく。(Shibaraku.)
Peter: Again, outside the classroom, maybe with a friend, someone you’re on good terms with. It’s quite informal. So, しばらく (shibaraku), “It’s been a while.” Okay? Then we have, next phrase.
Chigusa: お元気ですか。(O-genki desu ka.)
Peter: This is the Japanese equivalent of, “How are you?” Now, what should be noted here is with the お (o) prefix, お元気ですか (o-genki desu ka) with that prefix, this phrase is used when you haven’t seen someone for a while. There’s been some space. There’s been some time in between the last time you spoke to that person and now. If you meet someone on a regular basis, that お (o), that prefix お (o), will be dropped. And you’ll wind up with
Chigusa: 元気ですか。(Genki desu ka.)
Peter: So this phrase is used for two purposes. One, if you haven’t seen someone in a while. It’s been a long time since the last time you spoke and this time. It kind of adds emphasis of, “How have you been?” rather than “How are you now at this current point and time?” And there is that from last time until now, nuance to it. The second case would be someone you’re not on very kind of intimate terms with. Someone you’re not on a kind of informal speaking basis. But if it’s someone on a less formal level, you could drop the お (o) and just have 元気ですか (genki desu ka) which is still quite polite. This is kind of the standard, what you’ll hear for, “Are you well?” “How are you?” Now most cases, you won’t use the one with the prefix お (o). It will be 元気ですか (genki desu ka), and this has a high level of politeness to it, even as is. Okay? Now, let’s break down the elements of this. First we have
Chigusa: お元気 (o-genki)
Peter: The prefix お (o) followed by
Chigusa: 元気 (genki)
Peter: Break it down.
Chigusa: げんき (genki) 元気 (genki)
Peter: Now, this word means “vigor,” “lively,” “well.” Followed by
Chigusa: です (desu)
Peter: The copula.
Chigusa: か (ka)
Peter: And the question mark and particle. So, let’s interpret 元気 (genki) as “well.” 元気 (genki), “well.” Then we have “are” and “you” is inferred. You’re asking the person directly. “Well are you?” We reverse this into, “Are you well?” Finally,
Chigusa: おかげさまで、元気です。(Okage-sama de, genki desu.)
Peter: “Thanks to you, I’m fine.” Okay, the first part here is a set phrase. Here we have
Chigusa: おかげさまで (okage-sama de)
Peter: Literally, “thanks to.” But here the “you” is inferred because you’re speaking with the other party. So, おかげさまで (okage-sama de), “Thanks to you.” Break it down.
Chigusa: おかげさまで (okage-sama de) おかげさまで (okage-sama de)
Peter: So, why don’t we do some practice with 元気ですか (genki desu ka), because this is kind of a much more practical expression than お元気ですか (o-genki desu ka). Inside your classroom, your professor may demand that you greet her with お元気ですか (o-genki desu ka) or him with お元気ですか (o-genki desu ka). But if you’re on more intimate terms or if it’s the less informal situation, you’ll probably wind up using 元気ですか (genki desu ka). So, why don’t we try a little with this, okay? Let’s have Chigusa-san and Yoshi-san have a “How are you?” exchange. Here we go.
Chigusa: ヨシさん、元気ですか。 (Yoshi-san, genki desu ka.)
Yoshi: はい、元気です。(Hai, genki desu.)
Yoshi: ちぐささん、元気ですか。(Chigusa-san, genki desu ka.)
Chigusa: はい、元気です。(Hai, genki desu.)
Peter: All right! Very nice. Now, we’re not going to give you anything, except that you’re doing well or really great. We’re going to give you a few more now. Yoshi-san, can you give us some more interesting ways to say that we’re doing well, to say that we’re doing great, to say that everything is amazing? Chigusa-san, let’s ask Yoshi-san one more time, “How are you?”
Chigusa: ヨシさん、元気ですか。(Yoshi-san, genki desu ka.)
Yoshi: はい、絶好調です。(Hai, zekkōchō desu.)
Peter: My favorite! “I’m on top of the world.” So, can we just break that down?
Yoshi: ぜっこうちょう (zekkōchō) 絶好調 (zekkōchō)
Peter: “On top of the world.” And if you’re speaking with your professor, the whole, to complete the expression is?
Yoshi: 絶好調です。(Zekkōchō desu.)
Peter: Chigusa-san, can you just give us that pronunciation one time?
Chigusa: ぜっこうちょう (zekkōchō)
Peter: Notice the short pause after ぜ (ze), then the long お (o) for こ (ko) and ちょ (cho). Yoshi-san, one time nice and slow.
Yoshi: ぜっこうちょう (zekkōchō)
Peter: ぜっこうちょう (zekkōchō). Pause, long, long, okay? Now, this is the perfect answer to everything. So, next time you’re in class and your professor asks you
Yoshi: 元気ですか。(Genki desu ka.)
Chigusa: 絶好調です。(Zekkōchō desu.)
Peter: “I’m doing great.”


Peter: That is going to conclude this newbie lesson.
Chigusa: またね。(Mata ne.)
Yoshi: またね。(Mata ne.)


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