The Joy o' Kanji Essays

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peace
JOK: 1538
In a country that values harmony, one term for “compromise” has negative connotations! Learn to say, “It’s against my principles to compromise” and “The mayor will compromise to a certain degree,” as well as “His theory is widely accepted as valid,” “His proposal is reasonable,” “It was quite right of her to do that,” and “You ought to think about whether or not the premise is valid.”
laziness
JOK: 1540
Find out how social critics view the fierce work ethic in Japan (some finding it lacking!), and see why the Japanese disdain idleness. Learn to say “His idle lifestyle ruined him,” “He was lazy and irresponsible,” and “Break out of the inertia in your life.” Discover how 惰 and another laziness kanji differ in nuance. See what it means to “devour lazy sleep.” And learn a fun term for a lazy animal.
waterfall
JOK: 1550
Learn about the waterfall in Japan, from its role in religion to the use of 滝 as a simile. With great photos of Japanese waterfalls, as well as enticing tidbits about them, the essay could turn you into a waterfall tourist in Japan. One must-see spot: a hot-springs waterfall powered by an active volcano!
marsh
JOK: 1552
For a kanji that appears in relatively few compounds and that means 'marsh,' 'plentiful,' 'to glisten,' and 'benefit' (a range that makes the head spin), 沢 seems to poke its head up in quite a few places. It's the 489th most used kanji in newspapers. That's puzzling, but this essay will reveal the reason. It will also teach you the names of several types of dishes, help you talk about luxury, and put the luster back in your life (if it's missing).
entrust
JOK: 1555
When we trust another (whether a babysitter or a bank) with what we care about most, 託 plays a key role. By using this kanji, we can consign goods and establish trust funds. This character also leads us into a world of bribery and conspiracy! Read about 託 to find out why a bank chose Peter Rabbit, a vegetable thief, as its mascot!
muddy
JOK: 1558
A lack of transparency holds fascinating secrets, and so it is with the muddiness of 濁. This kanji connects to evasive answers, impure hearts, and "muddy streams" in finance, plus muddied sounds, murkiness in the body and mind, and figurative birds that may or may not muddy waterways. Learn about saké production, and find out what "A bad boy drinks tea" could mean!
however
JOK: 1559
With 但 you can control others! When it means "provided that you do what I say," 但 enables you to lay down rules for other people's behavior! You can also use it to hedge your bets and cite exceptions to rules, saying things like "Free shipping! Remote islands excluded." Side discussions cover ways of interpreting and representing ただ, as well as the grammar of "if-then" statements.
rust; vermilion
JOK: 1563
Find out which hues 丹 represents. (It’s complicated!) Learn to use 丹 to discuss great effort and careful work. See how a mineral gave rise to the shape and meaning of our kanji, and find out why the ancient Chinese fatally consumed this mineral in the pursuit of immortality. Also see why the Japanese revere the peony, and read about its connection to mochi, windfalls, and shrimp.
gall bladder
JOK: 1564
Find out how 胆 and 肝 (liver) enjoy an incredibly close relationship. They're often interchangeable and collectively serve as a metaphor for profound compatibility. These organs supposedly work together to govern our minds and hearts, with the gallbladder supplying courage. Learn about a long-standing theory that bodily fluids such as bile even determine personality traits.
podium
JOK: 1571
An altar may be the spiritual center of a Buddhist household, but that doesn't mean it can't be heavily marketed. By studying text and photos used to sell all styles of household altars, you'll become an altar expert. Enjoy colorful photos of temple altars from Malaysia to Japan. Also find out about Edo-era execution methods and how they relate to a figurative expression used today.
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