The Joy o' Kanji Essays

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arrive
JOK: 1641
This kanji takes things to extremes. In sentences with 到, people attain goals, writers complete long novels, and hikers reach mountaintops. You'll hear that marriage proposals and fan letters arrived in a flood. You'll find out about people whose research is beyond reproach. You'll also learn 3 adverbs meaning "at last" and will get a grip (at last!) on how they differ.
fall over
JOK: 1643
This kanji is full of instability. If you fall to the floor, fall ill, fall to a better team, or have your government's cabinet fall, this is the kanji to use. You can also use it if you fell a boxing opponent, wrestle an attacker to the ground, or simply collapse a car seat. When you turn anything on its head, from a Spanish exclamation point (¡) to a change in the word order of a sentence, this kanji can again help you discuss that state of affairs.
pottery
JOK: 1650
While enjoying gorgeous photos of pottery that only Japanese clay and firing techniques can produce, you'll gain a sense of what pottery means to the Japanese, from its use in daily life to its Zen connections. You'll also learn how to say not only "pottery" and "potter" in Japanese but also "He made me who I am today" and "I'm drunk on music."
pagoda
JOK: 1651
This gorgeous photo essay explains the origins of the pagoda; presents historic pagodas in Japan; tells you how to talk about pagodas with 2, 3, or 5 tiers; and explains the "cosmology" of stone pagodas. From the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the literal and figurative Tower of Babel, you'll find out about towers, also discovering what it means to call someone a control tower.
load
JOK: 1652
Knowing 搭, you can board Japanese planes confidently. You'll be able to ask what time boarding begins and where. You'll know how to say, "I was told to check in 2 hours before my flight." When you hear "Welcome aboard" in Japanese, you'll understand. Outside of airline contexts, you can use 搭 to say that your PC comes with Android installed and that your mobile phone has a camera.
pox
JOK: 1654
Find out how smallpox once killed a third of the Japanese population. See how Japan did and did not respond to the smallpox epidemic in the Edo era. Learn terms for “smallpox,” “smallpox vaccine,” “chickenpox,” “monkeypox,” “pockmark,” “pockmarked face,” and more. Also discover how smallpox connects to cows, seeds, dimples, sci-fi imaginings, and a former pond in Tokyo.
rice plant
JOK: 1656
This kanji has quite a split personality. Growing rice (稲) is a deeply down-to-earth pursuit. But 稲 is also linked to fanciful notions that lightning impregnates rice and that tofu-loving foxes are messengers for the god Inari (稲荷). He is reputed to help with crops, health, sex, and money, so Inari shrines abound, steeped in fox statues and other symbols—all a far cry from farmers’ earthy concerns.
inflation
JOK: 1660
This kanji helps us talk about everything from boiling water to soaring stock prices. Learn to use a term for “boiling point” to say, “He gets angry easily.” Also find out how to say, “This documentary is controversial,” “Prices have jumped,” “The rise in prices is putting pressure on our family budget,” “Public opinion was heated,” and “We are analyzing factors in fluctuating crude oil prices.”
cave
JOK: 1661
Find out how the structure of 洞 reflects the process of forming a cave. Learn to talk about limestone caves, stalactites, and stalagmites. See how the Japanese have used caves for everything from shelter to religion. Discover how people use 洞 to discuss insightfulness and to describe a particular kind of loss. Enjoy several photos of Japanese caves, as well as kanji signs for those caves.
ridge
JOK: 1663
After reading about this famous kokuji, you'll know how to say that you're "over the hump" of a crisis and that a trend has peaked. You'll also understand the significance of mountain passes in Japan, including the military importance they had in the past, the dangers they once posed to travelers, the way they've inspired woodblock artists, and the abundance of hot springs at passes.
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