The ‘wrap’ primitive (勹), also known as ‘bound up’, is used in a large number of other kanji. In a slightly distorted form, it appears beneath a ‘one’ (一) in ‘ten thousand’ (万), and it crosses the ‘one’ in ‘direction’ (方). Add a drop to get the ladle primitive (勺). Each of these, in turn, is re-used in many other kanji.
The ‘wrap’ primitive often surrounds other elements, as ‘ladle’ (勺), ‘phrase’ (句) and ‘ten days’ (旬). When the ‘wrap’ primitive appears at the top of other elements, it takes on a more angular form that looks like a trapdoor (as in the top part of ‘dangerous’, 危, or ‘defeat’, 負). Feel free to consider this smaller version as ‘wrap’ or ‘bound up’, or remind yourself of the shape and position by treating it as ‘trapdoor’.
万 ten thousand
It might also help to note that this kanji looks like a ‘T’ for ten fused with an ‘h’ to make a ‘Th’, standing for thousand… T+Th… Ten thousand.
#665. Try to see this as a pictograph of a ladle, with the top left stroke as a handle, the curve as the outline of the scoop, and the drop as the contents. (It takes some imagination.)
#666. The small vertical line at the top of this kanji may appear to be joined to the downstroke of the ‘wrap’ primitive, but it is separate, so the top element is actually ‘lid’ (‘top hat’). You could imagine having a ‘compass’ (a useful image for the abstract notion of ‘direction’) bound to the inside of your hat (or wrapped up in your hat), just in case you get lost.
I prefer to see the first short vertical as a small pointer showing the direction to the hidden ten thousand (万) dollars introduced in the earlier mnemonic, to highlight that these two kanji are so similar and only the small stroke turns this into ‘direction’.
#667. An attempt to draw a tongue twister, a phrase that is difficult to wrap your mouth around (which is why the mouth is not around the wrap element, but inside it, bound up and struggling).
#668. If you catch a snake, please make sure you have very good wrapping to wrap it in. Make sure you distinguish between the ‘wrap’ primitive and the ‘wrapping’ kanji.
旬 ten days | decameron
#669. This kanji possibly gets the prize for the worst Heisig keyword… Probably more people know the word ‘decameron’ from attempting to learn this kanji than from meeting it as a real English word in the wild. The kanji refers to a ten-day period, and particularly to the short period of time that a fruit or other seasonal food may be in season.
Quick, grab something to wrap this food in before it spoils under the hot sun! We’ve only got ten days to wrap it all, so let’s get started.
#670. If you want to treat the angular version of ‘wrap/bound’ just like it’s larger rounded brother, then this combines ‘bound’, ‘cliff’ and ‘fingerprint’. If you are bound to a cliff by just your fingerprints, that’s super dangerous…
If you see it as a trapdoor over a cliff edge, it’s also a dangerous image. The swirl at bottom-right could be the fingerprints you left on the railing before you fell down, or it could be the the comic-book swirl your body made as you fell to your death.
#671. This kanji combines ‘soil’ (土) with a new version of ‘ladle’ that has an extra drop. The only time a ladle is used with soil is when kids make mud pies, so imagine some kid carefully leveling off the muddy soil (土) in his ladle (勺), brushing the excess over the side where it falls as an extra drop.
#672. Ever been the driver when a woman is navigating? Never disturb her while she is working out which direction to go.
#673. Simple gender test… Let a kid loose in the back yard. If the child heads in the direction of the soil, it is probably a boy.
#674. Despite all the perfumed party-goers, the police sniffer dog went straight in the direction of the illicit grassy substances.
#675. No-one had the muscles/power (力) to climb down the cliff until it was announced that there was ten thousand (万) dollars at the bottom. That sure encouraged them.
的 bull’s eye
#676. New party game, using a ladle to throw white ice-cream at a target. Hit the bull’s eye and you get a free tub of it.
#677. The man was so obese there was flesh (月) in every direction (方)
#678. A bubble is just a wrapping of H2O. Note that this mnemonic uses wrapping (包), not just the ‘wrap’ primitive.
栃 horse chestnut
#679. This kanji does not contain the cliff primitive, despite some mnemonics you might find on the Internet. After the tree primitive (木) on the left comes ‘drag’, followed by ‘direction’ (方).
We were watching the horse chestnut tree for weeks, getting ready to pick the ten thousand horse chestnuts growing on it, when someone cut the tree down and dragged it away. Of course, it was easy to follow them because the dropped chestnuts showed us the direction to the tree..
#680. A placenta is part of a flesh-wrapping for the growing foetus.
#681. Compare with ‘bubble’… What do you get if you replace the water of a bubble with stone? A cannon ball.
#682. I got a job bartending, but they were not happy with my approach, which was to administer the alcohol out to customers in ladles.
#683. He boasted he was good at angling, and could catch a fish faster then anyone, but when we saw his technique we were not impressed: he just went up to a tiny goldfish bowl and scooped up the goldfish with a ladle.
#684. The mouth element indicates that this kanji relates to vocal sounds. The sound of a yell comes from a single mouth, but it sounds like the voices of four (四) large (大) men are wrapped/bound together.
#685. The crown got stolen so the police interviewed the bystanders… A bystander is a person who was (人) standing (立) around when the crown was stolen, and who can point in the direction (方) the thieves went.
#686. This kanji involves an element that is a cross between ‘circle’ (円) and ‘moon’ (月) -it could be ‘moon/flesh’ with an extra vertical line, or ‘circle’ with an extra horizontal. Remembering that ‘circle’ also means the unit of currency, yen, you could see this as a pile of yen hidden under a trapdoor. The extra line could simply be a stick that can be moved to hold the door of the trapdoor up. To access the yen under the trapdoor, you change the angle of the stick from horizontal (月) to vertical (円) as needed.
#687. Many people see this kanji as a combination of ‘bound up’, ‘sun’ (tipped on its side), and ‘human legs’. Others see it as a rabbit, with the ‘trapdoor’ element as ears.
Of all the kanji we have already met, this is most similar to ‘elder brother’ (‘teenager’, 兄), but the rectangle/mouth component is split. So picture a teenager (your older brother) trying to come up with an excuse for not doing his homework… He binds his head up and claims that he split it open (knocked it on a trapdoor).
#688. I’m going out to meet my mortal enemy. I’ve hidden all my money (貝) under a trapdoor in case I am defeated.
#689. After all that exertion, I have no more power left. At least, that’s my excuse.
#690. You’ll have to excuse me, said the sun, but that’s it for the day, I’m retiring. And so it was nightfall.
#691. When trying to swat an insect, it is not good enough to make contact… You have to get the angle right to make sure you squash it properly.