The Joy o' Kanji Essays

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simple
JOK: 1827
This cute kanji has a wounding message: you’re not nearly good enough! The essay is about nobodies. Find out how to say, “I saw at a glance that he was an ordinary man,” “I’m not a genius, just a mediocre person,” and “The professor’s idea is far beyond ordinary people’s imagination.” Also learn to talk about stupid mistakes and see why 凡 has a connection to baseball!
flax; flux
JOK: 1829
This essay will be totally rad, man. That is, it's about 麻, which means "hemp" and can serve as the "hemp" radical. The essay presents Japanese terms for "marijuana" and other opiates, as well as "drug addiction," "torpor," "anesthetic," and "paralysis." Oh, and there's also talk of sesame seeds and brown-nosing.
polish
JOK: 1831
The definitions of 磨 present contradictions. Polishing is gentle, but grinding is harsh. With the versatile 磨, you can say you've brushed your teeth, scraped pans, worn out shoes, and improved your skills. This kanji helps form the word for "Daruma." Find out why this popular round doll has crane-shaped eyebrows, a blank eye, and connections to snow and fire, as well as goal setting.
again
JOK: 1835
Though 又 looks simple and has just one Joyo yomi, it's not so straightforward, as it can mean opposite things: "and" and "or." Mostly, it means "again," which also seems simple, but emotionally it's not. When things happen repeatedly, we have strong feelings, as we see in songs such as "When Will I See You Again?" or "I'll Never Love This Way Again." Because people often sing about repeating patterns in life, and because songs are inherently cyclical, I've found musical pairings for each nuance of 'again," much as a sommelier finds wine to accompany any given dish. You'll be tapping your toes and singing along as you read! You'll also learn about 又 as a radical.
erase
JOK: 1836
Find out everything you've wanted to know about matcha (powdered green tea) but were afraid to ask! See who first produced it and when, its role in the tea ceremony, and how matcha differs from a similar tea given for free at restaurants. Discover what people blend matcha with, from salt to beer! Also learn how 抹 relates to incense, whales, erasure, brushstrokes, and Denmark!
ridicule
JOK: 1837
Many 慢 terms involve pride. These words run the gamut from healthy self-regard (in a few cases) to pompous self-importance (much more of the time). However, 慢 also plays a role in 我慢 (がまん: patience), an incredibly positive quality that the Japanese revere. The essay explains how this is possible and examines various views on what 我慢 truly means in Japanese culture.
random
JOK: 1838
There's water in 漫! See why! Also learn why the "man-" of "manga" means "random" and what "manga" used to mean, as well as the history of manga. Discover terms for "yelling at someone for no good reason," "browsing," and other random acts. Also learn to talk about unrestrained speech, out-of-hand government spending, a pervasive smell, and a riot of cherry blossoms.
charming
JOK: 1839
Learn to say that you're attracted to a pile of money, a dress, a woman, opera, or even hornets! Find out how to say things like "Her smile attracts a lot of men," "I was attracted to her at first sight," "The audience was fascinated by his speech," and "The charm of Kyoto lies in the beauty of its old temples." This one should come in handy, too: "I think she's very attractive."
headland
JOK: 1840
Learn about the 16 extremities of the four main islands, and see why Japan has a whopping 5,503 lighthouses. Find out how a powerful novel and a shipwreck changed Japan and how another shipwreck bonded Japan and Turkey. Learn the various kanji for cape names, and see why the 山 radical in 岬 can be a misfit. Discover the locations of coral reefs in Japan and capes in your body!
strange; mysterious
JOK: 1841
This kanji enables you to talk about everything from subtle nuances and delicate situations to strange dreams, a mysterious light, fitting words, an ingenious idea, exquisite building techniques, a clever fraud, and a skillful clown. By studying this versatile kanji, you’ll even learn to say, “At this time, investing in real estate looks quite profitable” and “Strange to say, I didn’t feel any pain.”
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