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Is there a phrase that Japanese people use to express amusement when seeing each other unexpectedly? For example, if you just said goodbye and then ran into each other somewhere else?

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  • You might be looking for 偶然(ぐうぜん)which is commonly translated as coincidence. 例:「ああっ!偶然だ!」"What a coincidence!"
    – Leo
    Aug 4, 2016 at 7:08

3 Answers 3

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A common word for this is 奇遇【きぐう】 (not to be confused with 奇偶: oddness and evenness (of numbers)). 奇遇ですね is an idiomatic phrase worth memorizing as-is.

  • こんなところで会うとは奇遇ですね。 What a coincidence to meet you here!
  • 君も北海道生まれか、奇遇だね。 Oh, you were born in Hokkaido, too? What a coincidence.

But if you just said goodbye and then ran into each other soon after that, you can't use this phrase. (Can you say "fancy meeting you here" in that situation?)

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If I meet someone in an unexpected place in an unexpected time, I would say;

これは、これは - wow, Jesus!

(こんな場所でお会いするとは)これはまた、奇遇(偶然)ですね - It's really coincidence (to meet you in such a place)

おや(あら)、まあ - Oh My God!

おや(あら)、お珍しい - Wow. I'm surprised (to meet you in such place).

いや、懐かしい(casual), Dear! Long time no see.

お懐かしゅうございます - Ditto, but polite, or said to senior).

If I ran into someone whom I just said “Goodbye” somewhere else, I would say;

おや、また会い(お会いし)ましたね。- Oh. We saw again.

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Probably most commonly heard is あらまあ (shortened to あら). Although it rather expresses surprise, it fits into the scenario:

あらまあ

[感]軽い驚きや思いがけなさを表すときに発する語。多く女性が使う。「―、どうしたの」

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