Let's learn how to use the Japanese Word: ぶり (Buri)!


Useful Expressions
In a Conversational Setting…
How about Hisashiburi (久しぶり/ひさしぶり)?


Useful Expressions

Expressing the passing time in a foreign language can be quite tricky. Japanese is no exception. So let’s learn a very important and useful expression to convey “for the first time in…”, “It has been – x time – since…” in Japanese!

→ 5年ぶりに柔道しました。
→ Go nen buri ni juudou shimashita.
→ For the first time in 5 years I did judo.

The expression “buri” is quite simple: you define a period of time (day日, monthsヶ月, years年) and then add “buri(ni)”: ◯◯日ぶりに・◯◯ヶ月ぶり・◯◯年ぶりに.

You do not need to precisely define the time:

→ 彼は数年ぶりに日本へ帰ります。
→ Kare ha sunen buri ni nihon he kaerimasu.
→ He’s going back to Japan for the first time in a few years.


→ 数日ぶり
→ suujitsu-buri
→ a few days


In a Conversational Setting…

For a better understanding of how to use it, let’s practice “buri” in various conversations.

Buri can be used when you have not met someone or have not done something for a long time. For example, let’s say that yesterday you met a friend from high school for the first time in a very long time. The last time you saw her was 20 years ago at your high school graduation.

→ 昨日、20年ぶりに高校時代の友達に会いました。
→ Kinou, nijyu-ne buri ni koukou jidai no tomodachi ni aimashita.
→ Yesterday, I met my friend from high school for the first time in 20 years.

On holiday, you finally got the opportunity to go abroad.

→ 夏休み3年ぶりに海外旅行に行きました。
→ Natsu yasumi san nen buri ni kaigai ryokou ni ikimashita.
→ On summer holidays, I went on a trip overseas for the first time in 3 years.

You finally went back to the gym after 6 months.

→ 半年ぶりに運動をしました。
→ han toshi buri ni undou shimashita.
→ I worked out for the first time in 6 months.

The expression “buri” can also express a short period of time too! Let’s say you caught a cold and didn’t take a bath for three days. But, you finally got better and yesterday you could take one;

→ 昨日、3日ぶりにお風呂に入りました。
→ Kinou, mikka burini ofuro ni hairimashita.
→ Yesterday, I took a bath for the first time in three days.

Surely, it feels natural for English speakers to say  “I have not seen her for 20 years,” and “I have not taken a bath for three days”. But be careful, as “buri” is always used with the positive form:

✕「20年ぶりに会いませんでした/Nijyu-nen buri ni aimasendeshita.」
✕「3日ぶりにお風呂に入りませんでした/ Mikka buri ni o furo ni hairimasen deshita」


Let’s read more examples:

→ 村上春樹が3年ぶりに新作を発表するそうです。
→ Murakami Haruki ga san-nen buri ni shinsaku o happyou suru soudesu.
→ It seems Haruki Murakami is going to publish a new work for the first time in three years.

How about Hisashiburi (久しぶり/ひさしぶり)?

Finally, if you have little knowledge about Japanese, you have probably heard “buri” in the expression “hisashiburi“.

→ 久しぶりですね。
→ Hisashiburi desu ne.
→ I haven’t see you like forever!

Hisashiburi is of course an exaggeration! It can be translated to English expressions such as “like forever” or “it has been ages”. In this sentence, “hisashi” means eternal and “buri” would be “since”. If you want to express “it has been a while”, you can use “hisashiburi” in the following structure: 「・・・をするのは久しぶりです。」”…wo suru no ha hisashiburi desu”, “it has been a while since I have done…” .

→ ラーメンを食べるのは久しぶりです。
→ Raamen wo taberu no ha hisashiburi desu.
→ It has been a long time since I have eaten ramen.

→ ジョギングをするのは久しぶりです。
→ jyougingu wo suru no ha hisashiburi desu.
→ It has been a while since I jogged.
Now let’s hope that you will not have to say “it has been a while since I spoke Japanese”!

Click this link to read about the Japanese Word: Chotto! 

Credit CC BY-SA 2.0: Norio NAKAYAMA
Title: 圓光寺秋の早朝特別拝観
source: Flickr

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