Kanji Meditations

Exploring language via Chinese characters


迷 Three random incidents this week wove themselves together under the theme of “lost”. I. In one of my Japanese lessons, the vocabulary list included the word for enigma, puzzle, or riddle: nazo 謎 「なぞ」。 When I looked up the kanji, it turned out to be rather arcane (that is, not in the standard school set). On the left-side, is the radical “word” (to say). On the right side is

Don’t Make Me Lose Hope

I Knead Practice

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The Examined Life

Language: The Examined Life 改 KAI: examine, amelioratePerhaps my fondness for this kanji stems in part from my Catholic upbringing and the cyclical and ongoing practice of examining one’s conscience and making amends for one’s faults. The verb 改める”aratameru” means roughly: revise, alter, rectify, correct, redo, renew, over again, and anew. In short, in order to improve, you must both examine and change. Composition of 改 On the left side

Making Sense of Experience

Purpose, Goals, Destinations

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The Pleasure of New Words

GPlus Timestamp: Oct 30, 2014 8:53:44AM GPlus Permalink: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MSinclairStevens/posts/Z1twhzcwYmD Migrated. Not Formatted. ToDO I have another post on intention. These need to be edited and combined. Every day I spend an hour or so learning new words. For me the practice is a type of meditation: an investigation into meaning, signs and significance; comparing and contrasting concepts via two different sets of words. I learn a lot about my native

Google Translate

GPlus Timestamp: Sep 29, 2014 1:19:38PM Migrated. Not Formatted. The advent of Google Translate encourages me to work at my Japanese because it piques my interest in the original text. I laugh and wonder what could possibly be going on in the original Japanese to produce results like these? 農業とは無縁だった高野さんには不可能に近い難題であったが、「むずかしい仕事に直面すると、胸がジーンと熱くなるのです」。 It was a challenge nearly impossible to Takano-san was unrelated to agriculture, “When you face a difficult job, chest I

Will, Intent

意 意 is composed of two other kanji: sound 「音」and heart 「心」. If one listens to the sound of one’s heart (metaphorically), one attains consciousness or awareness 「意識」[ishiki] which enables you to form opinions 「意見」[iken]. (How do you see the topic under discussion in your mind’s eye?) Your opinions express which way you lean on a topic; that is, tells us about your inclinations 「意向」[ikou] (in Japanese, it’s literally which

I Can’t Know What You Want

What fascinates me about Japanese is how certain forms that would merely be politely evasive in English are built into Japanese grammar. For example, when I speak of desire, I use different words when speaking of my own desires in contrast to a third party’s desires. I can know about my own emotional state but I can only guess what other people are feeling. ~garu In English, I want a

By Human Measure

里 “The ri 「里」, the old Japanese measure of distance, has disappeared entirely from road signs and maps, and within ten years it will vanished from the language. One ri , say the conversion tables, equaled 3.927 kilometers, but that is nearly irrelevant. One ri ―as I came to know in practice―was the distance that a man with a burden would aim to cover in an hour on mountain roads.

Abrupt Commands

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Setsubun: Dividing the Seasons

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