Kanji 319-330. Step, Recline, Fence Posts

StepReclineFencePostsIt’s time to introduce some more simple primitives: ‘step’, ‘recline’ and ‘fence posts’. All of these are based on straight lines: step looks like the narrow version of ‘person’, but with an extra short line above it, perhaps representing a person stepping forward; recline resembles a horizontal version of ‘person'; ‘fence posts’ is simply a pair of vertical lines, with the left one tending to be slightly curved.



#319. ‘Going’ refers to movement, and this kanji conveys a sense of movement through the use of motion lines. On the left, a person is taking a step. On the right, the J-shape we usually interpret as ‘street’ also seems to be moving, but that could be an illusion because everything is going so fast.

In terms of radicals, this is actually a combination of ‘step’, ‘one’ and ‘street’. So imagine going on a journey that starts with one step on the street. (Be careful not to confuse it with ‘journey’, introduced below. They both use the step radical, so you can learn them together.)

A Journey Starts...


#320. Step, lord, journey. Continue the mnemonic from ‘going’… You started going by taking one step on the street, and you continued your journey to see your lord ().


#321. In the military, you are totally subjugated, and are even taught how to step correctly.


#322. The right half of this kanji means ‘pelt’ () and looks a little like a picture of a man wearing a pelt. If you treat the step radical on the left as a club, then the whole kanji looks like a caveman, an archetypal ‘he’.


#323. Wait for a moment of contemplation before you step into the temple.


Learn this with ‘wait’ (). There is only one small difference, the waiter uses the person radical, because he is a person. Some have seen the missing stroke in ‘waiter’ as a dropped dish.


#325. This kanji combines step and ‘too much’ ().

When doing something difficult, don’t try to do it in a single step, or do too much at once, do it gradually.


#326. Although the lower radical normally means ‘hook’, picture it as a cobra with raised head, swaying before a reclining man, who has his begging bowl out for the tourists.


#327. Recline plus ten = noon.

Confusingly, this symbol is also used to represent the “Sign of the Horse” in the Chinese Zodiac – though it differs markedly form the actual kanji for horse.
I reclined from ten till noon.


#328. If you already know the ‘noon’ kanji () as the Sign of the Horse, you could make a mnemonic involving horses (some imagine a horse wearing a monocle). Instead, think of this as being a modified version of ‘noon’ – basically it is ‘noon’ plus a lazy horizontal ‘L’. For ‘year’, think of a New Year Resolution:
This year, I won’t be so Lazy and nap till noon.

The stroke order may be confusing, so once you have a broad sense of the shape, try stroking it out as you say this equation:
“1 = 1 over 1.”

The first, partly diagonal stroke is the first “1”, the next two strokes are an equals sign, followed by another short, vertical “1”. The “over” is a long horizontal, and the final “1” is long.

jammed in

#329. Although the radical usually means ‘fence posts’, this looks like a pictograph of two people jammed in under one umbrella. The person on the left has a flowing dress.


#330. Imagine a rice farmer who is so dedicated to his rice paddy he thinks the whole world is ‘jammed in’ () to his ‘rice paddy'().