The Joy o' Kanji Essays

Show: Sort:
ooze
JOK: 1737
Find out what urination and secretion have in common in Japanese, read about the endocrine and exocrine systems, learn which substances we secrete rather than excrete, and see why urology and dermatology are closely associated in Japan. Learn to say, "An excessive lifestyle throws hormones out of balance." Also see which animal secretions you can buy and why you might want them!
drift about
JOK: 1739
Drift on the sea, on land, or in the sky with 漂! Also find out how to say the following: “The boat was drifting in the ocean,” “The balloon floated off to the west,” “The aroma of coffee wafted through the room,” “Smoke from factories hung over the town,” “The mood at the conference soured,” “I wandered around the unknown street aimlessly,” and “The tide carried the boat out to sea.”
seedling
JOK: 1740
Find out about the literal side of 苗 (e.g., all that happens before rice seedlings go into paddies) and the figurative aspects of 苗 (e.g., when the "seedlings" of a culture bear delicious fruits). See how seedlings played key roles in "The Mutiny on the Bounty" and in one Nobel Peace Prize winner's work. Also discover why 苗 can mean "Hmong" and how it relates to smallpox.
cat
JOK: 1742
The cat is omnipresent in Japan, appearing in nearly every house in olden times and in cat cafes today. Having inspired scads of charming expressions, as well as Hello Kitty and beckoning porcelain figurines, cats have also stimulated the imaginations of creative types from Kuniyoshi to Soseki and Haruki Murakami. Find out why Japanese people have such deep affection for cats.
seashore
JOK: 1743
Why did the Japanese once cling to poles in the sea in hopes of curing disease? Where can you ride camels in Japan or nest in a hole on a hot beach in order to heal? Find out about all this, plus beach rituals, beach-inspired literature, and a sandbar-inspired pattern that has influenced designs of everything from tables to cakes. Also enjoy photos of the prettiest beaches in Japan.
VIP
JOK: 1744
Learn to talk about guests, whether they're party guests enjoying refreshments, foreign guests in Kyoto ryokans, guest speakers, or a queen who is guest of honor at a ceremony. Also learn words related to VIPS (e.g., imperial family members or CEOs). See pictures of posh state guest houses where U.S. presidents have stayed. And discover two connections between pigs and guests!
cleverness
JOK: 1746
This kanji helps describe a range of people: those who act quickly (e.g., to put out fires), those with nimble bodies or minds, and those who detect sights, sounds, and even opportunities that others miss. As sensitivity easily slips into oversensitivity, 敏 is also for Nervous Nellies. A fun aside: Find out how an old anatomy book has inspired a term for “detailed analysis.”
aid
JOK: 1748
What binds us together - laws or love? Do we merely follow mandates to pay taxes and alimony, or do we help each other out of concern? The essay raises such questions by focusing on financial obligations toward others. These issues became urgent, says one book, after the disasters of March 11, 2011, made people realize that they had become cold and needed to renew their bonds.
frightening
JOK: 1749
Learn to talk about cowards, risks, and the politics of fear, as well as horror films and terrifyingly complex kanji! See how both the meanings and yomi of 怖 can provoke anxiety. Understand how 怖 and its near twin 恐 relate to each other. See what it means figuratively to be bitten by a snake and thus to fear a rotten rope. And find out about fears and phobias specific to the Japanese.
proceed towards
JOK: 1751
If you're going places physically (as when you head to a destination) or psychologically (as when you follow your heart), you'll need 赴. For instance, it will help you talk about heading to a war zone, going somewhere in person, or even riding into the jaws of death! And if you want to discuss job transfers and being posted overseas or away from your family, this kanji is indispensable.
Kanshudo is your AI Japanese tutor, and your constant companion on the road to mastery of the Japanese language. To get started learning Japanese, just follow the study recommendations on your Dashboard. You can use Quick search (accessible using the icon at the top of every page) to look up any Japanese word, kanji or grammar point, as well as to find anything on Kanshudo quickly. For an overview, take the tour.
×