“How are you?” is the most common phrase to start a conversation in English.
So, many students say “元気ですか？（Genki desuka?）” which means “ How are you? ” when they speak in Japanese but honestly, Japanese people don’t start a conversation with this.
Then, what kind of phrases do Japanese use?
There are some examples we use.
久しぶり！ ( hisashiburi )*It’s been a while. お久しぶりです ( ohisashiburidesu ) It’s been a while.
最近どう？ ( saikin do-? )* How have you been? 最近どうですか？ ( saikin do-desuka? ) How have you been?
こんにちは ( konnichiwa ) Good evening いい天気だね ( i-tenki dane )* It’s good weather. いい天気ですね ( i-tenki desune ) It’s good weather.
最近暑いね ( saikin atsuine )* It has been very hot recently. 最近暑いですね ( saikin atsuidesune )
It has been very hot recently.
I remember when I explained about this difference during a lesson, a student said “ Why Japanese people don’t care about somebody’s condition?
Because they don’t try to ask “ How are you? ”and just talk about the weather. ” Yes, we do care :) but we just don’t ask directly and we ask ” Ogenki desuka? ” when we write a letter.
Japanese classes and tutoring in Toronto, Canada