The Joy o' Kanji Essays

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intuition
JOK: 1100
Discover how 勘 bridges the brain’s hemispheres! This kanji represents both the sixth sense (which guides perceptions and hunches) and the ability to consider ideas and estimate profit. Learn to say, “Check, please,” “Put it on one bill,” and “Let’s split the bill,” as well as “I would do anything but that,” “Give me a break,” and “That smartphone looks nice, but he can’t afford it.”
endure
JOK: 1104
Explore two interrelated on-yomi and four stunningly similar kun-yomi for 堪. These readings enable you to say, “I can’t take this anymore,” “Let’s hang in there till help comes,” “The cottage will not withstand strong winds,” “I’m dying to see her,” and much more. Find out how the rhetorical question “How can I put up with it if I lose?!” really conveys the bold statement “I will never lose.”
daring
JOK: 1106
Find out how to talk about taking decisive steps, having courage, doing things deliberately, and taking action just for now. See how once-disgraced entrepreneur Takafumi Horie has connections to our star kanji. And learn to say, “Brave as he was, he recoiled at the sight,” “He was brave enough to go there alone,” and “Boldness sometimes has dangerous consequences.”
goodwill
JOK: 1108
Learn to read the fine print. This essay teaches you to talk about articles of incorporation, clauses in contracts, and boilerplate agreements. The kanji also relates to money that countries lend each other. Find out how to say, “The IMF ruled out any new loans to that country.” Discover which Asian country receives the most aid from Japan—and which one Japan refuses to help.
lenient
JOK: 1110
Old copper coins with square holes. The fossilized hipbone of an elephant. Having a generous, benevolent, and magnanimous disposition. Letting your hair down and making yourself at home. Feeling uncomfortable with strangers. Being tolerant of diversity and open to various religions. Begging for forgiveness. Going easy on people.... All of these concepts connect to 寛. Find out how!
remorse
JOK: 1113
After reading this essay, you'll be able to understand scripted apologies devoid of sincerity; lambast something as "utterly deplorable"; say, "Your behavior leaves much to be desired"; and differentiate grudges fueled by resentment from those fueled by regret. You'll also know how the poet Basho made a region complain about its gloominess and how a piano prodigy publicized his regrets.
rut
JOK: 1125
This kanji brings us both the straightness of railroad tracks and a term for “orbit” (usually elliptical). The shape isn’t important; the idea of a path is. Learn to say, “We can't know where the trajectory of our lives will take us,” “get the economy back on track,” “when your business gets going,” “We need a course correction,” “go off the rails,” and “He was really wild in his youth.”
starving
JOK: 1127
Learn to talk about literal hunger, saying things such as “A slice of bread was not enough to satisfy his hunger” and “I would rather starve to death than steal.” Also find out how to speak of it figuratively, as with “a hunger for adventure” and “starving for conversation.” Encounter a saying about a starving dog’s mentality, and see how the Japanese talk about bloodthirsty beings.
ogre
JOK: 1128
The oni (鬼), the Japanese devil or demon, is elusive. It's hard to find images of this supernatural creature at temples or elsewhere in Japan. On the other hand, devils and demons work their way into our lives much more than we might realize. In Japanese, 鬼 references are pervasive. Find out when 鬼 is a term of endearment and when it's an insult. Learn about a folktale (in which Momotaro travels to Devil's Island) and the holiday called Setsubun. Finally, see how 鬼 functions as a radical or component in several Joyo kanji.
shine
JOK: 1132
This kanji will make your eyes sparkle with joy! Using 輝, you can discuss the shining moon, shoes that gleam, and buildings ablaze with lights. You can also use 輝く figuratively to talk about shining in public speaking and living a radiant life with a brilliant future. Find out how to say “She has glossy hair,” “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine,” and “I noticed a glint in her eyes.”
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