Counting One’s Lucky Stars

Friday, September 25th, 2009

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If your life is on the line, that’s a bad thing. But what if that line were the horizon? Then it wouldn’t be a negative idea at all:

生涯 (shōgai: one’s lifetime)     life + horizon

Your lifetime stretches out over the horizon of your life!

Sample Sentence with 生涯


It’s that time of the year when I move a smidge to the right on the horizon of my life. (I’m assuming one reads horizon life lines from left to right, but it’s hard to say for sure!)

Or Is All My Life a Circle? …

This means a few things:

1. A short vacation in Malibu (near Los Angeles) with my husband and dogs. Yippee! (Unfortunately, by the time you read this, the vacation will have been dead for two days. Its 生涯 will have come to an abrupt end.)

Cool Words About Death ..

2. As a result, I’m throwing this blog together in a bit of a frenzy, doing another round-up of cool compounds—my favorite part of kanji-land.

As long as I’m counting the years (or trying not to!), I’d like to present several fun words related to numbers.

Here are two very cool words that I’ve recently encountered:

一卵性 (ichiransei: identical (twins))
     1 + egg + natural property
二卵性 (niransei: fraternal (twins))
     2 + eggs + natural property

Identical twins come from one egg that splits, and fraternal twins come from two separate eggs. The compounds capture the biology perfectly!

Now, jumping from 1 and 2 up to 5 and 10, here’s a quick quiz. What do you think these could mean:

五線紙 (gosenshi)     5 + lines + paper
数十 (sūjū)     number + 10


The answers are at the link.

Answers to the Quick Quiz …

In terms of guessing games, the next one is easy, so I’ll just give it to you straight:

百足 (mukade: centipede)     100 + legs

This is also an example of ateji, as neither kanji has the yomi of mu, muka, kade, or de.

More fun with numbers at the link.

Counting the Stars …

Time for your Verbal Logic Quiz!

Verbal Logic Quiz …

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