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Eve Kushner's Blog

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I told you last week that I had an uplifting talk with Len Brackett. A hero of mine, he lived in Japan for seven years, learning the fine art of temple carpentry. He now builds Japanese-style houses in California, infusing them with all that he learned as an apprentice in Kyoto. "Yes,...
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Just about the only downside to all my kanji writing is that I have little human contact these days. I do find tremendous amounts of stimulation when I immerse myself in each character, but there's something about the unpredictability of talking to another person that can't be equaled. Ah, the...
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A Facebook friend posted that he has gone running for 425 days straight, logging in a whopping 4,463 miles. In response, his Japanese friend wrote this comment: 素晴らしい継続力ですね。Wonderful ability to stick to it! 素晴らしい (すばらしい: wonderful); 継続力 (けいぞくりょく: stick-to-it-ness) The word 継続力 arrested me, and...
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Nearly every time I start writing a kanji essay, I feel stuck, and I see no way out. I'm armed with a collection of compounds to cover, several of them fascinating in their own right. But when I take them as a whole, they sometimes seem flat and lifeless on the page. Over and over I ask myself,...
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Last weekend my husband and I had a houseguest, an American who has lived in rural Japan for 20 years (in a valley filled with monkeys!). I barely knew anything about Richard before he arrived. He's a friend of a friend on Facebook, and I've had little contact with the person who connects us. But...
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  Knowing that Jack Halpern is a whiz with a unicycle, I was amused to find this listing in his Kanji Learner's Dictionary under 歴: 一輪車歴 (いちりんしゃれき: one's experience as a unicyclist)          unicycle (1st 3 kanji) + experience   He must have...
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  If you sought kanji with which to make gender distinctions, what would you use? My mind would naturally go to these two: 男 (54: male, man) 女 (35: female, woman) These characters can indeed serve that purpose, but they don't always mean what you might think. Moreover, some other pairs of...
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  I've just posted essay 1513 on 双 (pair), which will have you seeing double, given its focus on two-of-a-kind things. Here's one example: Photo Credit: Sui Feng Osaka schoolgirls. If seeing double excites you, how about kanji "triples"? On page 53 of my 2009 book ...
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In my last JOK Notebook entry I presented 樹雨 (きさめ: precipitation resulting from thick fog condensing on leaves). That word begins with 樹 (888: tree, timber tree, stand of trees), a kanji I've recently encountered an eerie number of times. For instance, I've been...
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A friend sent an email that contained a lovely word:      雨宿り (あまやどり: taking shelter from rain)   rain + shelter To me, this kun-kun construction sounds eminently gentle and soft. The word appeared in this sentence:      ...
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I was lucky enough to come upon this wonderful term:      手沢本 (しゅたくぼん: favorite book (worn from much handling))          hand + to glisten + book The concept reminds me of the children's book The Velveteen Rabbit. ...
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I've posted a new JOK Notebook on Joy o' Kanji. It's about the despair and "aha" moments that come with studying Japanese. http://www.joyokanji.com/status-updates/everything-illuminated%E2%80%94s...
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This weekend I told my language-exchange partner how I recently rode a camel in the Canary Islands. When I showed him pictures, Kensuke-san wondered why the camel's mouth was caged.  More ...
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Because of my recent dragon postings at Joy o' Kanji, people have sent me some wonderful dragon images. You can enjoy them here: http://www.joyokanji.com/status-updates/more-and-more-dragons-1 Also, I've posted two new essays on Joy o' Kanji. One is on 斤 (loaf (of bread)), and the other is on 沢 (...
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What do you think you get if you cross a rabbit with a horse?! Find out in this new JOK Notebook post at Joy o' Kanji! http://joyokanji.com/status-updates/rabbit-crossed-horse-0
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