Expressing Long Time No See! in Japanese - Hi (ひ) – Hisashiburi

What Does Hisashiburi Mean in Japanese?

As a Conversation-Starter…
Adding numbers to Buri

Hisashiburi As a Conversation-Starter

“Hisashiburi!” Is one of the most common ways to start a conversation.
There are many kinds of greetings, but I don’t think that any carries the mixed emotions of cheerfulness and mild embarrassment like this one does.


“Hisashi” means “a long time,” while “buri” means “since.” I love the way that this one short word conveys the happiness one feels after reuniting with someone after a long time. (In English – the direct equivalent would be close to “Long time no see!” But it can also be used to make other statements.)

Adding numbers to “~Buri”

You may also add specific numbers to this phrase to say things like “juu-nen buri” or “ni-juu-nen buri.”
1. A: Wa! Hisashiburi. Itsuburi kana? (Oh! Long time no see. How long has it been?)
     B: Saigo atta no wa, tashika tomodachi no kekkonshiki datta kara, tabun san-nen buri gurai ka na.
Translation: The last time we met must have been at our friend’s wedding, so probably around three years ago I guess.)
2. Han-toshi buri ni eakon no soji o shita.
Translation: I cleaned the aircon for the first time in half a year.
3. Nihongo o gakko de narau no wa, ni-juu-nen buri gurai kamoshiremasen.
Translation: It may have been around twenty years since I learned Japanese at school.

By the Way

Frequent drinkers have an “oyaji gag” (a cheesy pun) that goes, “kino buri ni sake, nonda yo” (I had a drink for the first time since yesterday). That’s just for your reference.
In a business or other formal situations, please use “ohisashiburi” or “gobusata shiteorimasu” which can definitely make you sound more polite!
For the Japanese version of this blog, visit this page.

About this week’s AIUEO Author:

Yasuko Hidari received her Masters of Literature at graduate school in Scotland and studied about rock music as a commodity, after which, she worked for a culture related think tank. She has a very extensive knowledge of music and movies.
Co-author of  the Japanese beginner textbook, “Nihongo Fun & Easy”.

Other A I U E O Series

AIUEO – A (あ)
AIUEO – I (い)
AIUEO – U (う)
AIUEO – E (え)
AIUEO – O (お)
AIUEO – Ki(き)
AIUEO – Ku(く)
AIUEO – Ke(け)
AIUEO – Ko(こ)
AIUEO – Sa(さ)
AIUEO – Shi(し)
AIUEO – Su(す)
AIUEO – Se(せ)
AIUEO – So(そ)
AIUEO – Ta(た)
AIUEO – Chi(ち)
AIUEO – Tsu (つ)
AIUEO – Te (て)
AIUEO – To (と)
AIUEO – Na (な)
AIUEO – Ni (に)
AIUEO – Nu (ぬ)
AIUEO – Ne(ね)
AIUEO – No (の)
AIUEO – Ha (は)
AIUEO – Hi (ひ)
AIUEO – Hu (ふ)
AIUEO – He (へ)
AIUEO – Ho (ほ)
AIUEO – Ma (ま)
AIUEO – Mi (み)
AIUEO – Mu (む)
AIUEO – Me (め)
AIUEO – Mo (も)
AIUEO – Ra (ら)
AIUEO – Ri (り)
AIUEO – Ru (る)
AIUEO – Re (れ)
AIUEO – Ro (ろ)
AIUEO – Ya (や)
AIUEO – Yu (ゆ)
AIUEO – Yo (よ)
AIUEO – Wa (わ)

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