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Eve Kushner's Blog

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Sep.14.2012
You know how it is. With too many great things in life, you keep saying, "Someday I'd love to do that" or "Eventually, I want to go there." And yet somehow you never take that trip to Bali or start studying Italian. Time passes and keeps on passing. What a relief when you realize, "Wait a minute!...
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Sep.07.2012
Let's start with a quiz. What do you think the following could mean? 朝顔     morning + face If my pre-shower and pre-caffeine "morning face" is any indication, the object in question might not be too appealing! I'll block the answer with artwork by a talented woman who...
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Aug.31.2012
  You know how some weeks have certain themes, where a particular type of thing keeps happening for no apparent reason? You sometimes hear, "Oh, Mercury is in retrograde," and although that might sound like an explanation of sorts, it doesn't really cut to the heart of the bewilderment. In my...
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Aug.24.2012
While we fuss and fret over thousands of kanji, we take a few simple ones for granted, particularly 一 (one). It's perfectly pictographic, so much so that there's nothing to grab ahold of there. And yet this kanji trips me up in unexpected ways. Take, for example, the following sign: Photo Credit...
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Aug.17.2012
Last weekend, when my language partner and I chatted about world affairs, I discovered this fun term in the dictionary: 井蛙の見 (せいあのけん: narrow perspective)     well + frog + to see Kensuke-san called it a difficult expression, one that he hadn't heard. Nevertheless, he immediately...
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Aug.10.2012
Imagine encountering this sentence: 業者と結託して私腹を肥やす。 Wow, it has a lot of tough vocabulary! Actually, the first word is logical enough: 業者 (ぎょうしゃ: trader) After all, it breaks down as trade + person. Aside from that, what's really going on in this sentence? The radicals and the odd character...
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Aug.03.2012
Let's start with a quiz. Match the numbered words with the lettered definitions on the right. To help you out, I've supplied the usual meanings of the kanji in blue:  1. 辛抱 (spicy + to hug)a. cloudy; irritating 2. 痴漢 (stupid + Chinese)b. patience 3. 鬱陶しい (depression +...
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Aug.03.2012
Let's start with a quiz. Match the numbered words with the lettered definitions on the right. To help you out, I've supplied the usual meanings of the kanji in blue:  1. 辛抱 (spicy + to hug)a. cloudy; irritating 2. 痴漢 (stupid + Chinese)b. patience 3. 鬱陶しい (depression +...
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Jul.27.2012
On the ferry from Okayama to Shodoshima, I walked into a room not meant for me. The sight of a urinal was a huge clue that things were not quite right. Fortunately, no one else was around. I backed out sheepishly and glanced at the sign on the door: I understood お手洗い (おてあらい) as "bathroom," or...
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Jul.20.2012
To tour Shodoshima, the second largest island in the Seto Inland Sea, my husband and I hired a driver for the day. I knew beforehand that he would speak no English, and I worried about how well we would be able to communicate. Actually, it went better than expected. Most of the time, he spoke...
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Jul.14.2012
Ah, where to start? What a whirlwind trip I took to Japan! In a little more than a week, I hung out (usually for long periods) with 14 people, including four proofreaders, the main JOK web designer, and dictionary guru Jack Halpern.  Aside from all the ways in which I enjoyed these...
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Jun.28.2012
Eons ago, I went to hear novelist Rita Mae Brown read. When someone asked for advice on becoming a writer, Brown said, "Learn as many languages as you can. Once you do, you'll understand the roots of words, and you'll make connections. Bells will go off!" Inspired by this idea, I took up Spanish...
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Jun.22.2012
Just this week, three Facebook friends posted pictures of run-ins with wild creatures: a black bear in New Hampshire, a venomous cottonmouth snake in Florida, and a possible coyote in California. In each situation, I'm sure I would have been much too scared to take a photo! Photo Credit: James...
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Jun.15.2012
  Let's start with a quiz. What three trees do the Japanese associate with happiness? a. peach, plum, and appleb. cherry, Japanese maple, and cedarc. pine, bamboo, and plumd. willow, pine, and cedar   Photo Credit: Christopher Acheson If you chose ... [To read the rest and...
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Jun.08.2012
This week brought news of another security breach. This time people reportedly hacked into LinkedIn, accessing the passwords of more than 6.4 million people. I don't yet know if I was one of those people. Not long ago, hackers stole credit card information from Zappos, which did affect me directly...
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