Tips for Reading Kanji: Part 2

If you missed part one of this article, you can find it here. It explained how to find the radical a kanji and the information that it can give you. Part two will look at the rest of the kanji and what it can tell you.

Once you have found the radical as explained in part one, have another look at the kanji. Is there any part of the kanji that occurs frequently in other kanji? This part may give you some information as well. While the radical can tell you about the meaning of the kanji, the other parts can give you hints about how the kanji is pronounced. This only applies for the on-yomi (Chinese reading) of the kanji, and there are a lot of exceptions, but this can still be a useful tool to use when learning kanji. Read more

The art of the bento

There was an interesting article in the New York Times recently about the growing popularity of the bento in America. Why all the rage?

For dieters, they are an eye-popping form of portion control. Artistic preparation of ingredients can act as a pleasant distraction for health-conscious parents. For others, bentos are a way to make lunch pretty or indulge their love of things Japanese.

In Japan, compact, compartmented bento boxes are traditionally filled with rice, pickled vegetables and fish or meat. Japanese mothers take pride in their obentos and hope they outshine those of other mothers, said the Japanese cookbook author Hiroko Shimbo.

“Obento making is a kind of cult,” she said.

student bento 2A balanced, cute meal with added creativity and a competitive spirit? That’s quite the lunch. Of course, there is always the konbini bento option as well, which isn’t cute or particularly healthy, but it is convenient. (Note: to learn more about the kinds of bento enjoyed from pre-school to retirement age, check out Just Bento.)

Whether you make your own lunch every day or just need a bento for a day trip, it’s good to know what kinds of foods work well. One of the easiest things to make is onigiri (rice balls). Read more