Common Mistakes: How to use “—buri”

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— buri

“for the first time in —“

What phrases are appropriate to use in the following two situations? Please consider it carefully.

1) Yesterday you met a friend from high school for the first time in a 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.

2) You caught a cold and didn’t take a bath for three days. But, your cold got better, and yesterday finally 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.

Sometimes I hear students incorrectly say things like, 「20年ぶりに会いませんでした/Nijyu-nen buri ni aimasendeshita.」 and 「3日ぶりに入りませんでした/ Mikka buri ni hairimasen deshita」Most likely, in English it feels more natural to say things like, “I haven’t seen her for 20 years,” and “I have not taken a bath for three days.” Try to remember that in Japanese, the positive form is used after “~buri.”

Example)
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.

倒壊したビルの中から、3歳の子どもが20時間ぶりに救出されました。
Toukai shita biru no naka kara, san-sai no kodomo ga nijyu-jikan buri ni kyushutsu saremashita.
The three-year-old child was rescued after being trapped in the collapsed building for 20 hours.

久しぶりですね。
Hisashiburi desu ne.
I haven’t see you for a long time.

*****

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Iidabashi Japanese Language School

The Iidabashi Japanese Language School motto is "Be Unique, Have fun Globally!" We teach classes focused on conversation skills to foreigners living in Japan.

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