Components

Point of interest: 辛い

POI
辛い - spicy or hard?
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辛い can be read as either からい (spicy; salty) or つらい (painful). Without furigana it could theoretically be either word, but in practice it is usually quite easy to tell from the context which is the appropriate choice:
このカレー
から
すぎる

This curry is too hot.
かれ
つら
じんせい
人生
おく
った

He lived a hard life.
Of course, if you find spicy food difficult to handle, but you enjoy tongue twisters, you would be within your rights to say something like this:
から
すぎる
つら
くて
から
もの
らない
っていう
つら
あるけど
から
たまにいい
Spicy things are good once in a while, but there's a level of hardship I don't need that comes from things that are so spicy they are actually painful.
The heart of this is a nice expression combining both meanings:
から
くて
つら
い (so spicy that it's painful).
One nice extension of the word からい is
あまから
甘辛
い, which literally means 'sweet and salty', and can be used to describe food flavor, but also has more or less the same figurative meaning as the English 'bittersweet':
かれ
あまから
甘辛
じんせい
人生
おく
った

He had a bittersweet life.

Words used in this point of interest

2
1. spicy; hot
2. salty
(click the word to view an additional 2 meanings, examples and links)
0 2
1. painful; bitter; heart-breaking; difficult (emotionally)  (often written with kana only)
2. tough; difficult; hard (usu. of situations)  (see also: 辛い; often written with kana only)
(click the word to view an additional 1 meaning, examples and links)

Kanji used in this point of interest

シン   から spicy   
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カン   あま sweet, indulgent   あまえる to behave like a spoiled child   あまやかす to pamper   
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ヒ   かれ he   
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ジン   ニン   ひと person   
セイ   ショウ    life   なま raw   いかす to enliven   いきる to live   いける to arrange flowers   うまれる to be born   う to give birth to   き pure, undiluted   お to grow, to sprout   はえる to grow, to sprout   はやす to grow, cultivate   
ソウ   おく to send, to escort   
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ヨウ   い to need   かなめ pivotal point   
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