The Joy o' Kanji Essays

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kiln
JOK: 1881
This photo-rich essay brings you into the fascinating world of kilns in Japan, where people have fired pottery for 10,000 years! One kiln is named for a snake. Another climbs hills and requires people to stoke the fire around the clock for weeks. Find out about "kiln effects," wherein flying ash enhances a pot's beauty. Also learn to talk about baking food in ovens and building your own wood oven!
hug
JOK: 1882
Become a champion! Learn to say, “She is an ardent supporter of women’s rights,” “We must fight for our democracy,” “They stood up for the rights of their nation,” “Human rights organizations are putting pressure on authoritarian governments,” and “We put him up as a rival candidate.” Also find out why so many birds are fluttering around kanji compounds involving protection.
rely
JOK: 1889
Through 頼 you'll learn to trust again. The many sample sentences include "I trust him completely" and "He is a very reliable person." You'll also find out how to manipulate others with "I'm begging you," "You are my last resort," and "Can I count on you to get me the job?" You'll see what role dependence plays in Japanese culture. Finally, mnemonics will help you master the four Joyo yomi.
whey
JOK: 1891
See why the kanji for “dairy product” contains the “saké” radical. While reading about dairy farming and dairy products, find out about “tree cakes,” “butter mochi,” and a snack that’s like sand. Discover the Japanese for “dairy-free.” Find out about a cheese ingredient that’s also in adhesives and other industrial products. And learn about an acid in milk, body odor, and vomit!
willow
JOK: 1898
Willows play important roles in Japan, lining rivers in several cities (and the streets of Ginza in Tokyo) and frequently appearing in ink paintings. Using pliable willow wood, people make everything from chopsticks and wicker to medicine. Sayings about taking things in stride often include 柳. There's also a link between 柳 and geisha, as well as a connection between willows and ghosts!
dragon
JOK: 1899
Unlike Europeans, who have feared dragons, the Japanese have viewed them as mythical or divine since ancient times. The dragon is even more important in China, where it symbolizes the emperor, is associated with water and weather, and is an imaginary creature in legends. In this essay you'll find out about dragons from every angle, including the following: animals with dragons inside them, tense relations between dragons and tigers, dragons that fly away, and the dragon inside the waterfall kanji. In more practical terms, you'll read about Chinese dragon boats, as well as Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, who both had connections to dragons. Finally, you'll discover whatever there is to know about the "dragon" radical - and why one might be tempted to call it the "hidden dragon" radical. Incidentally, 竜 is a Shin-Joyo kanji; it's a 2010 addition to the Joyo set.
consideration
JOK: 1904
This is an essay of Thou Shalt Nots, filled with signs issuing prohibitions. But it’s not all negative; some sentences with 慮 encourage people to ask questions freely and to eat cake. Several keywords involve being thoughtful and sensible. Learn to say, “We failed to take the weather into account” and “It was a silly misjudgment to decide, after seeing the prototype, that we failed.”
tears
JOK: 1916
Learn how tears well up, trickle, and stream in Japanese and how to say that you're moved to tears. Start complaining about your pittance of a salary, and find out how to say that you've overlooked an insult. See how money can blunt the pain of a breakup. Also learn about the tears associated with sparrows, mosquitoes, crocodiles, and devils, as well as with chopsticks and blood.
base (in baseball)
JOK: 1918
This kanji seems to be designed for baseball haters, but this essay is for baseball lovers. Learn to say that the first batter up got a single, Ishida stole third, a player was thrown out at second, and bases were loaded with two outs in the ninth inning. You'll even be able to say, "Matsui pulled the Giants back from the brink with a grand slam that gave them a come-from-behind victory."
encourage
JOK: 1919
Inspiring others, and working so diligently that one torments oneself! Our kanji spans these very different ideas, with zeal as the connection. Learn to say, “She encouraged him to write a novel,” “His success greatly encouraged me,” and “Give her a pep talk,” as well as “Instead of taking a break, he worked much harder than usual” and “Her courage during her illness is an inspiration to us all.”
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