Wednesday, April 30, 2008

換 - EXCHANGE Children?!


Readings & Meanings:

か(える)

カン

か(わる)

exchange

Common Usage:

交換

換気扇

Examples:

電池が切れてきたので新しいものと交換した。

フライを揚げるので換気扇をつけた。

Translations:

My battery kept dying, so I exchanged it for a new one.

I'm deep-frying, so I turned on the fan.

Radical:

手, the hand radical, is on hand (ha!).

The phonetic is all that stuff on the right. 奐 indicates the birth of a child. In the original pictograph, you can see a woman with spread legs on top, hands ready to assist her on the bottom.

(No, I'm not going to post that pictograph. Stop asking.)

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

替 - REPLACE Your Husband?!


Readings & Meanings:

か(える)

タイ

か(わる)

replace

Common Usage:

入れ替える

両替

替える

Examples:

新しい畳を入れ替えた。

円とドルを両替する。

円をドルに替えた。

Translations:

I switched in a new tatami mat.

I'm going to exchange yen for dollars.

I exchanged yen into dollars.

Radical:

Here's an oddball radical: 曰, or Hirabi.

I know it looks like 日, but Hirabi's middle line doesn't quite reach the right side. 曰 means "say" and is a picture of a mouth (口) with a suggestion of a tongue in the middle. In 替, though, it's just an action indicator.

(In fact, 曰 was replaced by 日 later on, for simplification. I say, too little, too late.)

On top we've got a doubled husband: 夫. 夫 is the standing figure of any person (doesn't have to be husband).

This kanji then shows one person taking the place of another.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

変 - A STRANGE and Tangled Tale


Readings & Meanings:

か(える)

ヘン

か(わる)

change, abnormal, strange

Common Usage:

人が変わる

変人

変質者

大変

Examples:

二年前の彼女とは人が変わったようだ。

江戸の発明家平賀源内は当時は変人扱いされていた。

暗い夜道は変質者に気をつけて、何かあったら警察に通報してください。

その女性は夫の死後、女手一本の子育てに大変な苦労した。

Translations:

She's a different person than the girl (I knew) two years before.

The Edo inventor Hiraga Gennai was treated as a weirdo.

Along a dark road at night, be careful of degenerates, and if anything happens report it to the police.

After her husband's death, that woman has had a hard time raising her children on her own.

Radical:

Suinyou (夊) down below is the radical. This was originally a pictograph of a dragging foot.

A note from KN: 夊 is often assumed to be the same as 夂, but they're different characters. Unfortunately, in combination with other kanji, 夊 often takes the form of 夂, leading to more confusion. Just memorize 変 as dragging a foot.

What's that on top? A simplified 赤, right? WRONG. But you were right about the simplification.

変 was originally . 糸 on both sides of 言. This represents a tangled situation. Tangled indeed.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

省 - REFLECT upon the fine details


Readings & Meanings:

かえり(みる) to reflect upon

セイ to look

ショウ suffix for government dept.

はぶ(く) to omit, cut down

Common Usage:

省みる

反省

運輸省

Examples:

今までのことを省みて、生活を改善する。

バケツを持って、廊下で反省していなさい。

高速道路の整備は運輸省の管轄だ。

Translations:

Reflecting upon my life up to this point, I'm going to better my life.

Hold the buckets and reflect in the hallway.

Highway maintenance is the Ministry of Transport's jurisdiction.

Radical:

目 is the radical, although it's on the bottom.

少 is on top, the kanji for very small or little. (Incidentally, this kanji is made from 小, which is a pictograph of a wooden stick and its shavings, and a ノ mark, which indicates a sword, cutting even that whittled stick into smaller pieces.)

So, look at the fine details. Certainly something that government departments should do.

"omit, cut down" is a borrowed meaning, unrelated to its original etymology.

Bonus: Buckets?

A traditional school punishment in Japan was to stand holding two buckets filled with water. That's not done anymore, but you still see it in manga and so on.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

返 - RETURN That Wood to Whence It Came


Readings & Meanings:

かえ(す)

かえ(る)

へん

return

Common Usage:

返す

返事

繰り返し

Examples:

本を図書館に返す。

返事は大きな声でしてください。

漢字の勉強は繰り返し復習することが大切だ。

Translations:

I'm going to return the book to the library.

Please give your answer in a loud voice.

In studying kanji, it is important to repeatedly review them.

Radical:

辶 Shinnyou, spilling out from the left into the bottom, the road particle strikes again.

The phonetic element is 反. This is a hand curving wood back onto itself.

The idea is that you return to your point of origin (via a road?).

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

角 - I See HORNS Poking Out from around That CORNER

Readings & Meanings:

カク

かど

つの

corner, horn

Common Usage:

角(かど)

角(つの)

四角い

三角形

角界

Examples:

次の角を左折してください。

鬼には角がある。

彼の顔は四角い。

三角形のお皿を作った。

角界に新しいルールができた。

Translations:

Please make a left at the next corner(かど).

Demons have horns(つの).

His face is square.

I made a triangular plate.

There is a new rule in the world of Sumo.

Radical:

角 is its own radical! Call it Tsuno.

It is a pictograph of curved horns.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

欠 - YAWN with a Wide-Open Mouth

Readings & Meanings:

か(く)

ケツ

か(ける)

lack

Common Usage:

欠席

欠勤

欠ける

欠点

Examples:

クラスを欠席する。

会社を欠勤する。

道で転んで歯が欠けた。

欠点のない人などいない。

Translations:

I'll be absent from class.

I'll be absent from work.

I fell in the street and chipped a tooth.

There are no such people without weaknesses.

Radical:

欠 is its own radical! Call it Akubi, it's the wide-open-mouth radical.

It's a pictograph of a person with a wide-open mouth.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

限 - Adhere to the LIMITS

Readings & Meanings:

かぎ(る)

ゲン

limit

Common Usage:

限界

限りない

無限

制限速度

Examples:

彼の態度に我慢するにも限界がある。

限りなく広がる未来。

無限に広がる宇宙。

制限速度を守りましょう。

Translations:

There is a limit to his patience.

The future is limitlessly spreading out before us.

The universe spreads out infinitely.

Let's keep to the speed limit.

Radical:

阝 on the left means Kozato, piled earth.

On the right, we almost have "good," 良, but not quite. It's 艮, and Kanji Networks is a little unclear about it. KN says that 艮 is an indelible tattoo, whcih indicates adherence. However, I can't find info on 艮 itself.

At any rate, the Kozato radical (shorthand for 阜) makes us think of walled borders around a town, hence, limits.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

掛 - HANG the Rod on the Wall

Readings & Meanings:

かか(る)

かけ(る)

hang, catch, call

Common Usage:

掛ける

掛け算

手掛かり

Examples:

タオルを肩に掛けた。

掛け算が得意だ。

手掛かりが何もない。

Translations:

I hung the towel on my shoulders.

Multiplication is my strong point.

There aren't any clues.

Radical:

Obviously, this is the 手 radical.

The phonetic is 卦, which is two 土 (earth) and a divining rod (卜). The piled-up earth represents a wall. So this shows a divining rod leaning against a wall.

Add 手 (hand) and you get the idea of someone leaving that rod there. Perhaps they hang it on the wall. References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

係 - The Officer CONNECTS the Dots with Extended Thread

Readings & Meanings:

かか(る)

ケイ

connect, in charge

Common Usage:

関係

肉体関係

飼育係り

Examples:

彼はその事件に関係がありそうだ。

上司と肉体関係をもつ。

クラスの飼育係りになる。

Translations:

He seems to be connected to that affair.

I am having sexual relations with the supervisor.

I became the Class Pet Raiser.

Radical:

It's not 糸.

人 is the radical here, as you can see on the left.

But on the right is not 糸.

The phonetic element is 系, which is 糸 with an extension, 丿.

So 係 is a person connecting objects with a thread. I guess only people in charge should do that.

But not with 糸.

Bonus: カンケイネー!

In Japanese, there is a very useful phrase: それは関係がない。 It means, "There's no connection!" It's useful in debating things with your friends, or arguments in general (just shout 関係ない!), but it's also used when watching TV and something totally silly and absurd takes place.

Speaking of silly and absurd, below is comedian Yoshio Kojima's attempt at teaching English.



In 2007, Yoshio Kojima became famous for dancing in his underwear, pumping his fist at the ground, and saying "そんあの関係ネー!"

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

Monday, April 28, 2008

交 - Dad MIXES the Stew in the Nabe Pot


Readings & Meanings:

か(う)

か(わす)

コウ

まじ(る)

to be mixed, to be associated with

Common Usage:

交わす

交通

外交

交換留学生

Examples:

友達の証に握手を交わした。

交通ルールを守りましょう。

政府の外交政策に疑問を感じる。

シンガポールからの交換留学生を仲良くなった。

Translations:

To show we were friends, we shook hands.

Let's stick to the rules of traffic.

I feel that there's a problem with the government's foreign policy.

I made friends with the exchange student from Singapore.

Radical:

Another cover radical, 亠, is the Nabe-buta, the Nabe lid radical.

We've seen this a couple of times or so.

We've essentially got a cross-legged person here. Yes, it looks like the Dad kanji, 父. Kanji networks says that's just a coincidence.

So, cross-legged person -> cross, interchange, mix, mingle, converse.

交 is also a frequently-used element itself; see, for example, 学校.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

害 - Cover Your Mouth before You HARM Someone


Readings & Meanings:

カイ

harm, calamity

Common Usage:

百害あって一利なし

公害

Examples:

テレビは子供にとって百害あって一利なし、だ。

中国の公害問題が心配だ。

Translations:

For children, TV has a hundred harmful points and not one single benefit.

I'm worried about the Chinese pollution issue.

Radical:

宀 is the radical... have I dealt with this before? I guess not directly.

This is the う-crown, U-kammuri. It's called that because it looks like the top of the katakana ウ. It is a pictograph of a roof or some kind of cover.

口, mouth, is also in there. Everything above the mouth element indicates something covering the mouth. It looks painful.

If your speech is hindered, you are probably damaged or harmed.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

皆 - All Right, EVERYONE Line Up!


Readings & Meanings:

カイ

みな、みんな

all, everything, everyone

Common Usage:



皆勤

皆無

Examples:

皆で協力して掃除をした。

皆勤賞をとる。

そのような事実は皆無だ。

Translations:

With everyone cooperating, we finished cleaning.

I won the award for perfect attendance.

No such facts are in evidence.

Radical:

I already dealt with this in the post on 階. But here is the explanation again.

比 is on the top of 皆, and we should know it from 比べる, to compare. 比 is a pictograph of two people lined up.

The bottom part of 皆 is a squished version of 自, self. It acts as an action indicator.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

介 - MEDIATORS Introduce Distant People and Bring Them Closer


Readings & Meanings:

カイ

mediate, come between, to aid

Common Usage:

...介して

自己紹介

介護

Examples:

鈴木君とは友達を介して知り合った。

自己紹介をする。

老人介護施設を訪問する。

Translations:

I got to know Suzuki through acquaintances.

I will introduce myself.

I visit a nursing home.

Radical:

The top "roof" of this kanji is actually a form of 人.

(I was surprised as well.)

Below, you see two vertical lines. These indicate two sides.

Think of a person standing between two people, introducing them and reducing the space between them.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

灰 - ASHES in the Stove


Readings & Meanings:

カイ

はい

ashes

Common Usage:

灰色

石灰



Examples:

灰色はねずみ色ともいう。

石灰でドッジボールの線を引く。

火山が噴火したのであたりが灰だらけになった。

Translations:

The color gray (灰色) can also be called mouse-colored (ネズミ色).

We drew the line for the dodgeball game with lime.

Because of the volcano eruption, the surrounding area became full of ash.

Radical:

Radical is 火. It's stuck in a roof-like element that is actually 又, the hand that indicates action. It originally indicated what you take out of a firepit (after the fire is gone).

Well, when I said the roof was 又, I was referring to the archaeological evidence from before 206 BC. After that, the hand was turned into a stove-like shape in 厂.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

Friday, April 25, 2008

解 - SOLVE the Problem by Dissecting It...


Readings & Meanings:

カイ



と(く)

と(かす)

と(ける)

to solve, untie, dissolve; explanation

Common Usage:

難解

解く

不可解

理解

正解

Examples:

難解な問題を解く。

彼は不可解な人間だ。とても理解できない。

全問正解の人には特別プレゼントがあります。

Translations:

I solve difficult problems.

He is a mysterious, incomprehensible man. I cannot understand him.

There is a special present for those who got 100% of the questions right.

Radical:

角 is the radical. Its name is Tsuno. It's a pictograph of curved horns. It's the horn radical. Splendid.

刀 is above 牛 on the right. 刀, in English, is katana, or sword. 牛, a cow.

This entry does not look like it's going to be PETA-friendly.

So, you take your knife and dismember a cow, removing the horns, too. In a sense, you are disentangling the cow, separating it into parts you can eat and parts you can use.

In the same way, we must untangle difficult problems in order to understand them.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

快 - PLEASANT Is the Lightened Heart


Readings & Meanings:

カイ

こころよ(い)

pleasant

Common Usage:

快い

快方に向かう

快速列車

愉快

Examples:

彼はその無理なお願いを快く引き受けてくれた。

病気が快方に向かう。

7時の快速列車に乗りそびれた。

彼は顔に似合わず愉快な人だ。

Translations:

He cheerfully took up that impossible request.

Her illness is getting better.

I missed the 7:00 express.

Although his face doesn't show it, he's a pleasant and happy person.

Radical:

With a reading like こころよい, you'd think 心 would be in there. Well it is!

On the left there is the Kokoro radical, in 心's vertically-squished form.

The phonetic is 夬, which shows a hand scooping out a a hole.

A heart (心) with all the bad stuff scooped (夬) out would certainly be pleasant.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

械 - I'm Shackled to this MACHINE


Readings & Meanings:

カイ

machine

Common Usage:

機械化

機械

Examples:

農業の機械化が進んだ。

人間は機械ではないから、時々リラックスする必要がある。

Translations:

The industrialization of agriculture has progressed.

Human beings are not machines, so sometimes there is a need to relax.

Radical:

木 is the radical.

The phonetic element is 戒, "admonish." It's a pictograph of a pair of hands with a spear or halberd (戈). Think of "admonish" as an officer warning his troops to be taut for battle. Or, think of brandishing your spear to your enemy, thus "warning" him.

Together, the idea here is "shackles," which used to be made of wood, used for punishment. Such a device was used, perhaps a lot? Thus we get "machine."

Bonus: 産む機械

In January 2007, the Health Minister of Japan Hakuo Yanagisawa referred to women as "child-bearing machines," or 産む機械. It was in reference to Japan's declining birthrate.

Of course it sparked a controversy. Although he followed it up with a "pardon the expression" kind of apology, it was still stunning that a Minister of Health would feel free to alienate half of the people he was supposed to be looking out for.

For a little context and the exact quote, please go to the more-learned Japanese linguistics blog No-sword at this address: http://no-sword.jp/blog/2007/01/machine-language.html.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

階 - Higher RANKS Take Higher Ground, All the Rest Stay on the Ground FLOOR


Readings & Meanings:

かい

floor (of a building), rank

Common Usage:

階級

階段

三階

Examples:

江戸時代は士農工商という階級制度が定着した時代だった。

階段から落ちて怪我をした。

三階のアパートの住民はいつも夫婦喧嘩をしている。

Translations:

The Edo Period was the period when the social hierarchy of samurai, farmers, artisans, and merchants was established.

I fell down the stairs and hurt myself.

The couple who reside in the third-floor apartment are always having domestic squabbles.

Radical:

阝 on the left, so the radical is Kozato, an abbreviated form of 阜, a picture of a pile of earth.

阝, Kozato, is different from 阝 (Oozato), as explained in my post on .

The phonetic element is 皆. We should already know 皆 as meaning "everyone."

比 is on the top of 皆, and we should know it from 比べる, to compare. 比 is a pictograph of two people lined up.

The bottom part of 皆 is a squished version of 自, self. It acts as an action indicator.

Let's just think of 皆 in 階 as "line up" and 阜 as "higher earth." Thus "rank," as in when you line up people you will place the higher-ranked people higher than the rest. You can also think of "stairs," if you think of a long line of people, one after the other, marching up the stairs. If you've ever been in a busy train station in Japan, you can easily imagine this.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

貝 - SHELL out


Readings & Meanings:

かい

seashell, shellfish

Common Usage:

貝殻

貝塚



Examples:

海岸で貝殻を拾う。

要するに貝塚は大昔の人々のゴミ捨て場の遺跡である。

貝の食中毒で死にそうになった。

Translations:

I gather seashells on the shore.

The point is, this heap of seashells is the remains of an ancient people's trash site.

I almost died of seafood poisoning.

Radical:

貝 is its own radical, Kai-hen. It's from a pictograph of a clamlike shellfish. The original pictograph split the box in half vertically, to more resemble a bivalve.

As we've seen in all the kanji we've already looked at with Kai-hen, this radical almost always imparts the meaning of "goods, wealth, money, commodities," because shells used to be used as currency.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

Thursday, April 24, 2008

河 - The Bending RIVER

Readings & Meanings:



かわ

river

Common Usage:

大河ドラマ

河川

Examples:

NHKの大河ドラマを見る。

河川が氾濫して、あたりが水浸しになった。

Translations:

I watch the Taiga (historical) dramas on NHK.

The rivers flooded, and this area became submerged.

Radical:

San-zui, yet again, the three drops of 水 on the left mark this as a water-radical kanji.

The phonetic element is the one we just learned, 可. Remember, the pictogram shows a bent hook.

So, a bending body of water = a river.

Important: 河 & 川

川 means the same thing as 河, and is pronounced the same way.

Look, I know. I KNOW. What. The. Heck.

Google to the rescue. I found a forum thread just about these two kanji (see ref).

While there might be a difference etymologically from the Chinese (可+水=long, bending river with lots of twisty tributaries), there's no real difference in Japanese.

One forum poster says that 川 is mainly used for rivers in Japan and 河 is used for foreign rivers, usually. That's good to remember. Also good to remember is that Japanese people think 河 is the "hard kanji for river."

And just remember 河川 means "rivers" so you'll remember both!

Bonus:大河ドラマ

Wondering what kind of shows "Taiga dramas" are? They are the historical dramas that NHK puts on every year. They last for many weeks, following historical figures. One ridiculous one I saw was about a real guy, but it was completely manga-fied. The historical figure was secretly a martial-arts expert, and he avenged people in the night wearing a Tengu mask.

I'm not sure what that one was called, so I couldn't find a clip. Instead, here's a random Taiga clip from Youtube, wherein a guy with an eyepatch has a moral dilemma:



References:

http://forum.koohii.com/viewtopic.php?id=458
http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

可 - APPROVED

Readings & Meanings:



possible, approve

Common Usage:

許可証

不可能

可愛い

Examples:

このビルに入るには許可証が必要です。

そんなことは不可能だ。

顔が可愛いと得することが多い。

Translations:

You need a valid pass to get into this building.

That kind of thing is impossible.

There are many benefits open to you if you are cute.

Radical:

口 is the radical.

The pictogram shows a mouth and a bent hook. The idea is that it's hard to speak with a constricted or bent throat, but it's "possible." (Or so Kanji Networks tells me.)

Important:

可愛い is the original kanji of かわいい, yes. But it's become very common to use the hiragana.

Hiragana is more "friendly," also. Writing かわいい as 可愛い makes me think of Gore Vidal chatting someone up using eight-syllable words. It's correct, but just too stiff.

That being said, isn't 可愛い such a cute combination? Approve + Love. When you say かわいい, perhaps it's like approving someone's/something's loveliness?  

Bonus:

This is the top result from Google's Video search for かわいい:



References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

課 - SECTION 118, Tax of Fruit and Words

Readings & Meanings:



section, lesson

Common Usage:

課長

課税

Examples:

課長、電話です。

贅沢品に課税する。

Translations:

Sir, telephone for you.

Luxury items are taxed.

Radical:

The radical is 言, words.

The phonetic element is 果, result (and fruit). We just looked at 果 here: http://sokasoka.blogspot.com/2008/04/fruit-has-come-to-fruition.html.

The connection is that you have to investigate (using words) in order to obtain results. This is such a task that you have to assign a whole "department" to do the investigation.

Bonus: Japanese Business Hierarchy of Titles

I translated 課長 as "sir." This is not accurate. 課長 means "section chief" or "section manager." But nobody says "Section chief, telephone," in English. The idea is silly to us.

But in Japan, that's how it goes. You call people by their titles. Additionally, there are several levels of power that you should be familiar with.

社長 - top level, company president

副社長 - company vice president

支店長 - branch manager

部長 - division manager

課長 - section manager

...

Did you think that was it? Ha! Far from it. I found a nine-pages-long PDF of almost all the titles in existence. It's here: http://www.j-net.org.uk/Miscellaneous/J-E%20Job%20Titles.pdf. I couldn't get it to open, though. I would suggest right-clicking on that link and downloading it as a PDF, or (more safely), you could go to the google cache of the PDF: here.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

Thursday, April 17, 2008

貨 - Change Your MONEY into GOODS


Readings & Meanings:



money, goods

Common Usage:

硬貨

金貨

貨物列車

Examples:

偽の硬貨が自動販売機の中から見つかった。

金貨をオークションで買った。

貨物列車が通り過ぎた。

Translations:

I found this counterfeit coin in the vending machine.

At the auction I bought some gold coins.

The freight train passes through here.

Radical:

The radical is 貝, Kai-hen, the standard "goods" radical, as explained in these other blog posts (except for the last one).

The phonetic element, from which 貨 gets its "ka", is the one we just learned, , meaning "transformation."

As 貨 is more for commodities, which are objects that signify a monetary value, 化 + 貨 = money transformed into goods

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

果 - The FRUIT Has Come To Fruition


Readings & Meanings:



か(たす)

は(てる)

くだ

fruit, end, result

Common Usage:

果たす

果たして

果て

果物

Examples:

念願を果たせないまま、その老人は死んでしまった。

果たして、少年の運命やいかに?

昔の人は地球の果ては断崖絶壁になっていると信じていた。

果物は体によい。

Translations:

With his heart's ambition's unfulfilled, the old man died.

And after all this, what next awaits our young hero? (Find out in our next thrilling installment of the manga/in the sequel!)

People long ago believed that, at the end of the earth, there was a sheer, precipitous cliff.

Fruit is good for you.

Radical:

木 is the radical.

I always remembered this kanji by thinking of the 田 on top as a bunch of fruit-laden branches, full of ripe goodness.

Happily, the etymology is the same as my invented mnemonic: the pictograph is of a tree filled with ripe, round fruit.

Bonus:文旦

When I was last in Japan, I had this fruit, called bontan. (We call it "pomelo.")



Huge, right? They look like giant grapefruit, but taste very different. Sweeter and more of a subtle taste... honestly, it was a few months ago, and, while I was impressed at the time, I can't summon up the exact flavor. Delicious, though.

I had mine in Beppu, but they're grown in many places in Japan. I saw huge, basketball-sized ones growing in Hamamatsu.

In Vietnam, I think they're greener. At least that's what I've ascertained via the internet this morning. In Japan, ぼんたん are yellow on the outside but pink with an orange tint on the inside.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

加 - ADD Power to Your Voice


Readings & Meanings:



くわ(える)

くわ(わる)

add

Common Usage:

加える

参加

手加減

人口増加

Examples:

僕も仲間に加えて。

ゲームに参加する。

君には手加減しないよ。

人口増加に伴い、食料の確保が懸念される。

Translations:

You guys, let me join (you)!

I'll participate in the games.

I'm not going to take it easy on you, you know.

In connection with the population increase, food will be an issue.

Radical:

力 (Chikara) is the radical on the left. 口 is the element on the right.

Power + mouth = shouting over a great distance. Amplifying your voice. Adding to its range. ADD.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

荷 - A Grass Crown, What a BURDEN


Readings & Meanings:





load, burden

Common Usage:

荷物



Examples:

妹が荷物を階下に運ぶのを手伝ってやった。

チームのお荷物になりたくないので、頑張って練習した。

私にはその仕事は荷が重過ぎる。

Translations:

They helped me move my luggage to the bottom floor.

Because I don't want to be a burden to the rest of the team, I practice hard.

The work is too much of a load for me.

Radical:

艸, Kusa-kammuri, the grass crown, as seen here before.

I bet you're thinking, "I know the rest of this kanji. That's "nani" below the grass crown."

Yes and no. 何 is definitely below 艸, but did you ever stop to look at 何 itself?

何 is a pictograph of a person carrying a big load upon his shoulders. Think of his stuff as being tied to a pole, and then you might see it.

That's right, folks, 何 did not originally mean "what." It was later borrowed to have that meaning.

荷 had a different meaning as well. It originally meant "lotus," as that's a flowering plant(艸) that is borne(何) on the water.

When 何 was snatched up and used everywhere for "what," 荷 was taken back to its roots and applied to the ideas of "bearing" and "load."

(And lotus became 蓮, which is a pretty difficult kanji to remember, so many Japanese people write ハス.)

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

化 - CHANGE Your Position, Sit Down.


Readings & Meanings:





ば(かす)

ば(ける)

change (into)

Common Usage:

化学

文化

文化交流

お化け屋敷

国際化

Examples:

化学の実験レポートを提出する。

文化交流の一環として、留学生に書道の指導をした。

お化け屋敷で口裂け女の役のアルバイトをした。

国際化に伴って、子供の英語教育に力を入れる。

Translations:

I'm doing a presentation on my chemistry experiment report.

One way of cultural exchange is to instruct the exchange student in calligraphy.

I work part time as a Kuchisake Onna at at haunted house. (see Bonus)

I'm involved in an internationalization program and putting effort into my children's English education.

Radical:

匕 is our radical, and her name is Saji. She's a pictograph of a curved, spoonlike utensil. The horizontal slash traditionally protruded on the other side of the vertical line, but more and more the protrusion is disappearing.

However, 化 has nothing to do with spoons. Rather, it has to do with change. The left shows a standing person, and the right shows a seated one. Used to be, the left 人 was inverted, showing someone fallen; the change motif continued.

Why this is classified under 匕 and not 人, I haven't a clue.

Bonus: Kuchisake Onna

Were you confused by that example sentence? The speaker is a woman who dresses up as a Kuchisake Onna monster in an amusement park's haunted house.

Kuchisake Onna ("slit-mouthed woman") is a traditional Japanese monster that borders on being an urban legend. The trouble with calling her an urban legend is that she's been around since the Edo period.

According to the wikipedia article, her mouth was slit open by a jealous husband. Now, she must enact the same fate on others. She usually asks the same trick question to her victims. "私、キレイ?" If you say no, she's not beautiful, she'll cut your face open, like any woman would. If you say yes, she'll walk you home and then cut your face open, since きれい (beautiful) sounds like 切れ (cut). Some think that if you say "so-so," you'll be saved, but this is only if you run really fast right after saying it.

From the ever-wonderful blog Watashi To Tokyo, I learned that there is going to be a Kuchizake Onna movie. Here is the link to the trailer. But you know, this has been done before... See the video below and let me know which one is scarier, the schoolgirl, or the trenchcoated woman.


References:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuchisake-onna
http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

Monday, April 14, 2008

休み

I won't be able to post until Wednesday, due to a photo assignment in New York.

Friday, April 11, 2008

科 - Examine Your Standing in Your DEPARTMENT


Readings & Meanings:



subject of study

Common Usage:

物理科

科学

教科書

Examples:

彼は物理科の学生だ。

科学の発展で人々の生活様式は大きく変わった。

日本では田中総理大臣の時に、全ての義務教育用の教科書が無料で生徒に配られることに決まった。

Translations:

He is a physics student.

As science progresses, people's lives have changed in big ways.

During the time of Prime Minister Tanaka in Japan, it was decided to distribute the public-school textbooks to students completely free.

Radical:

Nogi-hen, 禾, on the left. 斗, a pictograph of a ladle or measuring cup, on the right. Originally 科 was used to mean "rank" or "examine," like you examine the quality of rice by measuring it.

Departments in universities are where examinations are held.

Bonus: 教科書

The textbooks in Japan are strictly regulated by the government. Even in the private schools. And there's no home school system.

So everybody born in the same year knows exactly the same stories. That's neat; you always can reminisce with anyone the same age, even if you didn't go to the same high school. It's also kind of scary. The idea is trying to make everybody think the same way.

There are controversies about what is to be included and what isn't. For example, the Nanking Incident/Massacre. How this is handled is always a subject of debate.

References:

http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

香 - The Sweet SMELL of Millet


Readings & Meanings:



コウ

キョウ

かお(る)

fragrance, smell

Common Usage:

香り(が する)

香水

香道

香港

Examples:

この花はとてもよい香りがする。

デパートで香水を買った。

香道は皆で香りを楽しむ集まりである。

香港へビジネス旅行に行った。

Translations:

A really good smell is coming from that flower.

I bought perfume at the department store.

"Koudou" is a meeting where people can enjoy fragrances (of incense).

I went to Hong Kong on a business trip.

Radical:

香 is its own radical, named Kaori. It's another kind of lonely radical, only used in 馨 and 馥.

The top part comes from 黍, which is moist millet. 甘 means sweet, and it shows an object in the mouth. These two pictures combined into 香 to describe the scent of boiled millet.

You can really see why Japanese people think rice is equivalent to bread. Think of how many people love the smell of bread. The same is true in Japan for cooking rice.

References:

http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

御 - Honorific Prefix; Get Down from Your High Horse


Readings & Meanings:

おん



ぎょ



honorific prefix

Common Usage:

御飯

御味噌汁 (おみそしる)

ご苦労様でした

Examples:

朝食に御飯と御味噌汁を食べる。

お仕事、御苦労様でした。

Translations:

For breakfast, I eat rice and miso soup.

Thank you for your hard work.

Radical:

It's 彳 or Gyouninben again. As before, this implies a movement.

卸 is on the right. 卸 has traveled a long way from its original meaning. 卸 used to be a pictograph of a kneeling figure (the 卩) pounding something with a hammer, and when 止 was added, it showed someone whipping a horse that kicked. Then 卸 was borrowed to express relieving a horse of its burdens, and that was extended to mean "unload."

御 works with the "tame a horse" meaning, meaning "control." And now 御 is the honorary prefix, sometimes written just with ご. It's because it at one point referred to the possessions of the emperor.

Bonus: Being Polite in Japanese

For any beginners who have crawled their way to my site:

"Gochisou sama deshita" and "gokurou sama deshita" are two very polite and very good phrases to know. Say ごちそうさまでした at a restaurant or at a home after your meal. Say ごくろうさまでした to express appreciation for someone else's work.

Bonus: みそ

My language-exchange partner's middle school teacher taught two ways of saying 御味噌汁. One is the one I used, pronounced おみそしる. Another was strange:

御御御漬 (おみおつけ)

Maybe miso soup is so revered, it requires three 御s.

Please take this information with a grain of salt.

References:

http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

降 - COME DOWN, from the Hill or from the Sky


Readings & Meanings:

こう

ふ(る)

お(りる)

to fall (rain, snow)

to get off, to come down

Common Usage:

降る

降雨

降参

Examples:

昨日から雪が降っている。

明日の降雨率は50パーセントだ。

降参の印に白いハンカチを振った。

Translations:

It's been snowing since yesterday.

There is a 50% chance of rain tomorrow.

In a sign of surrender, they waved a white handkerchief.

Radical:

It's a good time to address Kozato, the 阝 radical.

That is, 阝 is called Kozato only when it's on the left. When it's on the left, it's an abbreviated form of 阜, which means piled earth, mound, or hill.

(But, when 阝 is on the right (see 京都), it's called Oozato and is an abbreviated form of 邑, for town. Sometimes simplification makes things harder.)

On the right is 夅. 夅 was how this kanji appeared in the earliest records of Chinese calligraphy (before 1000 BC). 夅 is a pictograph of feet that are pointing down.

The earliest meaning of 阝+ 夅 was to descend a high hill or descend from something higher. Later, the meaning was extended to "defeat," "give up," "rain," and even "abort."

References:

http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

折 - FOLD Paper by Hand


Readings & Meanings:

お(る)

せつ

to break, to fold

Common Usage:

折りたたむ

折り紙

左折

折り目

Examples:

折りたたみ式の傘を持って出かけた。

折り紙は大人の間でも流行っている。

次の信号を左折してください。

彼は普段から折り目の正しい人だ。

Translations:

I went out carrying a compact (folded-up) umbrella.

Origami is even popular among adults.

At the next light, make a left.

He is a polite, straight-laced person, even in his daily life.

Radical:

Hand radical 手 on the left.

斤 on the right, which is a pictograph of an axe approaching an object. We've seen 斤 before.

Seems pretty straightforward.

Actually, the original kanji (1000 BC or so) had two trees on the left, emphasizing cutting wood into two even pieces. Later this kanji became "to fold."

Bonus:

There are many videos on incredibly detailed origami and the masters who can create such things. Here's a Japan Probe post on one such video: http://www.japanprobe.com/?p=1116.

But I had to actually embed this one; it's hilarious.



References:

http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

Thursday, April 10, 2008

面 - Your True FACE, or a MASK?


Readings & Meanings:

おも - face, front

めん - side, phase, mask

おもて - face, outside, front

Common Usage:

お面

面接

面会謝絶

赤面

Examples:

お祭りの屋台でお面を買った。

二次面接で落とされた。

緊急手当てのため、彼の病室には面会謝絶の札が下げられた。

彼女は人前で転んだので、恥ずかしさに赤面した。

Translations:

I bought the mask at one of the festival vendor's stalls.

I was rejected at the second interview.

For purposes of pressing and urgent medical attention, a No Visitors sign was hung on his hospital room door.

Since she fell in front of everybody, she turned red with embarrassment.

Radical:

面 is its own radical. Unfortunately, it's a lonely radical. Only one other kanji uses it, the kanji for dimples: 靨

面 combines a form of 首, for neck/head, with a surrounding line, like the shape of the face.

Bonus: 面白い

おもしろい is an excellent word. I'm sure anyone reading this blog knows it, even if they only know it in romaji as "omoshiroi." It means "funny, interesting" and it used in almost every situation. I sometimes feel I overuse it, you know, like people whose reaction to funny things is always "That's so funny."

面白い is the kanji form, and boy, is it ever 面白い. Look at how well we can decipher it now. 面 is face and 白い is white.

How did that become interesting?

Well, I've read two different theories. One has to do with everything looking brighter when you're enjoying yourself. Your face itself looks brighter. Think "delighted" in English; when you're delighted, everything looks light and cheerful, right?

Sounds like a folk etymology to me. Another source I read says that actors used to paint their faces white, and one way or another the saying 面白い started applying to all entertaining things.

Second Bonus: お面

お面 refers to the masks sold at 祭り. Here's a brief shot of one of these vendors in the midst of a nighttime matsuri:



But this was too cute not to share:



References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

覚 - REMEMBER What You Have Learned


Readings & Meanings:

おぼ(える)

かく

to remember, to understand

Common Usage:

覚える

目覚まし時計

感覚

Examples:

こんな沢山の漢字、覚えきれない。

目覚まし時計を6時にセットした。

長い時間正座をしていたので、足の感覚が麻痺した。

Translations:

I can't completely remember this many kanji.

I set the alarm for 6 o'clock.

Because I sat "seiza" for a long time, my legs fell asleep.

Radical:

The central element is also the radical: 見る.

That crown you see on the top is a simplification. The way this kanji used to be written: .

Luckily, that's the same way that 学's crown used to be written: .

So, remember what you've seen (見る) in school and 覚えろ!

Bonus: 正座

Seiza is the Japanese "polite" way of sitting. It's the formal pose you see people sit in at tea ceremonies or any kind of ceremony. Sit on the floor with your thighs on top of your shins, with your rear on your heels, back straight up. And yeah, your 足 feel all 麻痺 after a few minutes of it.

Here's how (not) to sit seiza:



いたそう!

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/ka.htm

帯 - The OBI, the Incredibly Expensive Cloth around Your Waist


Readings & Meanings:

おび

タイ

a belt; a region

お(びる)

to wear

Common Usage:



黒帯

危険地帯

Examples:

着物の帯は非常に高価だ。

ついに黒帯に昇段した。

帯に短し、たすきに長し。

危険地帯への旅行は控えた方が良い。

Translations:

A belt for a kimono is exceedingly expensive.

At last, I was promoted to black belt.

Too much will spoil, too little is nothing. (idiom)

You might want to refrain from going to a dangerous region.

Radical:

巾 is the radical here, also referred to as "Haba." It's a pictogram of hanging cloth. Appropriate for 帯.

巾 joins with more pictograms that look like objects run through with a string.

帯 is a cloth belt wrapped tightly around your waist.

Bonus:

If you think tying a tie is difficult, perhaps you should give up hope of learning how to tie an obi.

(Yes, men wear kimono--just a different style. Also, maybe I'm talking to the ladies in the audience who wear ties?)

The below video shows how to tie an obi. It's 9 minutes long, which is a fraction of the time it would take you, alone.



Actually, you need a certificate to be an obi-tying instructor. They are called 着付師, and they are professionals at preparing kimonos.

An obi is the "life" of a kimono. Geisha were judged by the price of their obi. It's not just a belt. I mean, obi cost as much as the whole kimono! And yes, you buy them separately.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

各 - I Always Stub My Toe on the Same Step, EACH and EVERY Time


Readings & Meanings:

おの

カク

each, every

Common Usage:

各国

各々

各位

Examples:

オリンピックには各国のスポーツ選手の代表が集まる。

各々の良いところを大切にしよう。

父兄各位:

Translations:

At the olympics, teams of representatives from each country gather together.

I will value each good place.

To All Parents & Guardians:

Radical:

We learned about this kanji in the post on .

This comes up under the 口 radical, but the box, which usually means "mouth," here just shows a rectangular object. Above it is a leg in motion, hitting it.

If your leg hits something, you'd stop, right? Each and every time, perhaps. (bit of a stretch)

Bonus:

You're a kanji ninja by now, right? You know what this 々 means. It means "repeat the preceding." To say おのおの, the Japanese write 各々.

The sound is not necessarily repeated exactly the same way. The sounds follow the normal rules of change. For example, toki-doki ("sometimes") is written 時々.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

踊 - Stomp Your Feet and DANCE


Readings & Meanings:

おど(る)

ヨウ

a dance, to dance, to jump

Common Usage:

盆踊り

日本舞踊

Examples:

夏は盆踊りの季節だ。

日本舞踊の先生の家を訪ねた。

ちびまるこちゃんのアニメの歌"踊るぽんぽこりん"は一時期流行った。

Translations:

Summer is the season of the O-Bon Dance.

I visited the house of the traditional Japanese dance teacher.

The song "Odoru Ponpokorin" from the anime of Chibi Mariko-chan was really popular for a while.

Radical:

I didn't recognize it for the longest time, but We've got Ashi-hen on the left: 足.

Phonetic element 甬 on the right consists of 用 (pierce or business) and 人 written a different way. The idea is of a person stamping their feet; 甬 alone means narrow road.

The 足 radical reinforces the stamping the feet idea. To dance is to stamp your feet.

Bonus:

Chibi Maruko-chan is an old anime, probably pretty good for studying. I've never watched an episode. I can wholeheartedly recommend this song to you, though. It's catchy. I can't embed it, but go to this link for a video and romaji lyrics: http://www.animelyrics.com/anime/chibimarukochan/odoruponpokorin.htm

As for the translation of ぽんぽこりん: I couldn't find a translation anywhere, which is really odd for an anime song. From my sources, ぽんぽこ refers to a big, swollen belly, usually an animal's. The tanuki statues at restaurants in Japan usually have these kinds of stomachs. ぽんぽこりん just has a cute suffix. I suppose the translation would be "dancing belly," but, well, the entire song is incoherent and doesn't really need to make sense.

The anime is rather silly, I'm told, but interesting. Take a look at this clip, which I was able to find.



Can you figure out what the boy is doing?

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

訪 - VISIT Just To Chat


Readings & Meanings:

おとず(れる)

ホウ

たず(ねる)

to visit, to call on

Common Usage:

訪れる

家庭訪問

Examples:

久しぶりに祖父の家を訪れた。

来週の火曜日に担任の先生の家庭訪問がある。

Translations:

I visited my grandfather's house for the first time in a while.

Next week on Tuesday, the homeroom teacher is going to call on his pupils' homes.

Radical:

Our first look at Gon-ben in a while! 言 is Gon-ben and obviously has to do with language.

方 is on the right. This is actually a pictograph of a plow with blades spread left and right. 方 also acts as a phonetic element, lending its pronunciation of ほう to 訪.

To visit is like spreading your words far and wide? I guess some might see it like that.

Important:

たずねる is one of those words that has a cognate pair--by which I mean two similar meanings with the same pronunciation but different kanji.

訪ねる(たずねる)means to visit, call upon.

尋ねる(たずねる)means to ask, enquire (formally, politely, as opposed to the more common 聞く)

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

夫 - HUSBANDS Should Have Topknots


Readings & Meanings:

おっと



フウ

husband, man

Common Usage:



夫婦

工夫

大丈夫

Examples:

夫とは30年の仲だ。

夫婦そろって映画を見に行く。

バットの持ち方をいろいろ工夫してみた。

一人でも大丈夫だから心配しないで。

Translations:

My husband and I have been together 30 years.

Spouses go to see movies as couples.

There seem to be many ways to hold a bat.

I'll be fine by myself, don't worry.

Radical:

大 is the base of this character, which shows a large, standing figure. The line on top is a topknot.

Bonuses:

それ, a long long time ago, used to be written as 夫.

Also, you can write おっと in kanji two ways. One way is 夫. Another is 良人. Both are pronounced おっと and mean the same thing.

Further complicating things, 妻 now means wife, but, long long ago, 妻 used to mean just "spouse" and could have been used for either husband or wife.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

落 - Each Dewdrop FALLs to the Ground


Readings & Meanings:

お(ちる)

ラク

お(とす)

to fall

Common Usage:

落とし穴

落ちる

駄洒落

洒落

Examples:

落とし穴に落ちた。

「オヤジギャグ」とはどうしようもない駄洒落のことである。

デートのためにお洒落をする。

Translations:

I fell down in a trap.

"Oyaji gag" [old-man pun] is a kind of joke that can't be helped.

I am dressed up nice for my date.

Radical:

Kusakammuri (艸) up top, otherwise known as the Grass Crown.

洛 below. This has San-zui on the left, the common form of 水. On the right is 各, showing a leg hitting a box and meaning "each" or "every."

洛 is also a phonetic element, importing the らく pronunciation.

So think of each blade of grass having dewdrops, which must fall.

Bonus:

So why is 洒落 a joke and お洒落 stylish?

洒落 can also mean cool. Cool people can be stylish, or they can be funny. (Rare is the person who is funny and good-looking, perhaps?)

But I want to talk about why 落ちる (fall) and 洒落 (joke) share a kanji. This comes straight from the idea of falling into a trap. 落ちる and 落とす can mean trick. It's a short logical leap from "trick" to "joke."

Also, did you ever notice what a Japanese person does when you tell him or her a bad joke?

(Maybe I tell a lot of bad jokes, and that's why I know.)

They pretend like they're falling.

I can't find any evidence that 落 is the connection, though. Rather, it's 転ける (commonly written as こける). This also means "fall," but more like in a "overturn and fall" way. 落ちる is falling straight down, due to gravity.

You can also see this in many manga as the sound "コケ".

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

恐 - FEAR Kneeling Men with Pipes


Readings & Meanings:

おそ(れる) to fear

キョウ

おそ(ろしい)

fear, anxiety, fearful, fierce, awful

Common Usage:

恐ろしい

恐竜

恐怖

Examples:

恐ろしい夢を見た。

恐竜がいた頃の地球の気温は今よりも高かった。

恐怖に顔がこわばった。

Translations:

I had a terrible dream.

The earth during the time of the dinosaurs had a higher atmospheric temperature than present today.

His face was frozen in fear.

Radical:

Another 心, which ties into the emotional meaning of this kanji.

In the BC years, this kanji was related to 巩, which means firm, strong. It shows a kneeling person connecting two things with a pipe. This became the basis for the top element of 恐.

So, when your heart feels punctured (i.e. by a pipe?) you feel fear.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

収 - COLLECT Threads


Readings & Meanings:

おさ(まる)

シュウ

to obtain, to pay (taxes), to store

Common Usage:

収まる

収穫

収入

Examples:

示談金を払って、全ては丸く収まった。

秋は収穫の季節だ。

病気で会社を休んだので、その分収入が減った。

Translations:

The settlement was paid, and all worked out peacefully.

Autumn is the harvest season.

Because I took off of work for being sick, my income was diminished by that much.

Radical:

又 (mata) is the radical. But it's a little tricky.

This kanji used to be written this way: 收.

That's just 又 with a stick. 攵 and 又 are both hand pictograms, and both indicate an action.

The part on the left comes from 叫, which shows two threads twisted together. 叫 also includes 口, which explains why its meaning is "to yell": to yell is to twist the throat.

叫 + 又 = threads together + action = the action of twisting threads together = collecting, obtaining, settling.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

治 - CONTROL the Rivers, HEAL the Dams


Readings & Meanings:

おさ(まる)





to rule, govern

なお(す)

to cure

Common Usage:

治療

政治

治す

治安

Examples:

虫歯の治療をした。

政治のことに詳しい。

腕が外れたので治して欲しい。

NYの治安は昔に比べるとよくなった。

Translations:

I treated my cavities.

She knows a lot about politics.

I dislocated my shoulder, so I want that fixed.

The public peace in New York has improved a lot, compared to previously.

Radical:

Our old friend 水 is here in the San-sui on the left.

台 is normally, now, a counter for vehicles. Here, think of it as a pictograph showing heavy pressure (from above) on the ground.

Add 水 to pressure and you get "controlling the flow of rivers." This can feed into the meaning of "calm, settle down" as well as "to govern." Plus, if you are controlling a river that often overflows, you are "fixing" the problem, "healing" the cities damaged by flood.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm

幼 - CHILDREN Have the Power of Thread


Readings & Meanings:

おさな(い)

ヨウ

childish, very young

Common Usage:

幼い

幼稚園

Examples:

彼は60歳なのに顔が幼いのでよく30代に間違えられる。

4歳になったら子供は幼稚園に行く。

Translations:

Although he's sixty, because of his babyface features he's often mistaken for 30.

When children turn 4, they go to kindergarten.

Radical:

Instead of 糸, we have Ito-gashira, 幺. It's still a thread. In this case, 幺 lends a pronunciation "ヨウ" to 幼.

The other element is, of course, 力, power.

How much power does an infant have? As little as a very thin thread.

References:

http://www.kanjinetworks.com/indices/radindex.html
http://www.thejapanesepage.com/node/kanji/o.htm