The Joy o' Kanji Essays

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JOK: 1788
With 慕 we can express nonromantic love, as in sentences that mean “The girl is deeply attached to her aunt,” “He is longing for his mother,” and “He was pining for his hometown.” But 慕 can also represent romantic adoration, as in “She went to Tokyo to follow the man she adored.” See why one would use 喪う over 失う and what it means to steer a ship up a mountain.
get dark
JOK: 1789
You might expect a kanji meaning 'to live' to be exuberant. Instead, 暮 captures the gloomy sense of 'We're born with one foot in the grave." Still, you can use this very flexible kanji to talk about all these things: scraping by on a small income, what one does for a living, year-end gifts, twilight, living alone, being lost in thought, and spending all one's time doing something.
home country
JOK: 1792
If you think you know how to say 'Japan,' 邦 comes as a surprise. In Japan, native speakers call each other 日本人 (Japanese), but in other countries they could also use 邦人 (overseas Japanese national). Crossing borders means that vocabulary changes, along with currency and converters! The essay compares 邦 with other kanji for "Japan," looking at the nuances 邦 lends to words.
JOK: 1794
Discover key differences between two verbs written as 抱く. Learn about grudges and sitting on eggs and what connects these things. Read about (not) hugging in Japan, an odd translation of a Beatles song title, bundling products, armfuls of things, caretaking, patience, ambition, and being saddled with work. See how one book title sounds dull in English but erotic in Japanese.
JOK: 1795
Learn to talk about bubble baths, soapsuds, frothy waves, and whipped cream, as well as many types of alcohol, from bubbling champagne, foaming beer, and sparkling wine to happoshu, Hoppy mixed with shochu, and awamori. Find out what it means to "eat bubbles." Also discover ways of saying that efforts are in vain or that things (including companies) are as short-lived as bubbles.
JOK: 1798
Although 倣 pops up in words for “copycat” and “counterfeit goods,” it’s not all bad. Imitation may lead to innovation. As one Japanese writer said, “Imitation is the mother of originality, its only real mother.” Our kanji also factors into terms for following in people’s footsteps. Back on the dark side, find out what the “Trump Cannon” is, and see why the Asahi Shimbun is hated!
JOK: 1799
Packed with fun quizzes and great photos, this short essay teaches you to talk about soaring peaks, successive peaks, and the tallest mountain in a range. You'll find out why people compare Mount Fuji to a lotus blossom. The essay also pays close attention to yomi issues, including an unusual pattern of phonetic changes and the oddity of an identical kun-yomi and on-yomi.
grow weary
JOK: 1802
With 飽 you can complain that you’re tired of things, including “the monotony of daily life.” Of course, someone may reply, “I’m getting sick of hearing you complain,” again using 飽. It’s not all negative; this kanji enables you to say, “His unceasing efforts to achieve success have made him what he is today.” See why it takes courage to lose interest and why we crave change after 7 years.
JOK: 1806
Busyness is a key part of Japanese life. A wedding invitation may include an apology for having a ceremony at such a busy time. Learn to say that busyness is work-related. Find out how to read 忙しい with two yomi, each with different meanings. Discover terms for being busy versus simply looking busy. And enjoy sayings about finding odd moments of leisure when swamped.
JOK: 1808
When things (illness, bad weather, or even self-sabotage) prevent us from meeting our aims, 妨 helps us express that! Learn to say, "The noise disturbed his sleep," "His arrogance stood in the way of success," "Heavy rain blocked their way," "The accident held up traffic," "Fog prevented planes from taking off," "He interrupted our conversation," and "This building obstructs the view."
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