Saturday, January 31, 2009

Today's Word: Electric Brain

#chinese #mandarin #hanzi #kanji .
Yes: computer. You guessed right.

I have not found any frequency list so I am not sure which of the two words for computer is the most common one, but I guess it is the second one below:

电脑 diànnǎo -- 计算机 jìsuànjī

Nevertheless, I think an Electric Brain 电脑 is more fun than a Calculation Machine 计算机.

电脑 diànnǎo -- 计算机 jìsuànjī

Nevertheless, I think an Electric Brain 电脑 is more fun than a Calculation Machine 计算机.

As mentioned earlier here, I was not very happy with Chinese Simplified Characters when I started to go from Japanese/Kanji to Mandarin. - Here you find the posts on Simplifications. - There still are some simplified characters that I would like to have reverted to their original, traditional version, if I could. Electricity is one of those hanzi:

Not all characters are immediately offering a view of the original idea/object, but here is an excellent time-machine. The top part of the traditional character - same as the Kanji - is the rain radical/primitive 雨, used in so many characters for weather etc.: 雲 cloud, 雪 snow, 露 dew, 雷 thunder and so on.

The bottom component is the most interesting, though: is it a turtle, tortoise or a dragon? The blue, middle characters are tortoise and a simplified version of dragon (Kanji, but also a less frequently used Hanzi). So the first 'vision' of electricity was some sort of dragon in the sky appearing when it's raining. Neat. What's left in the simplified form is thus only the dragon part.

Confession: I was too much in a hurry when I wrote Today's Hanzi: Very difficult?

As you might remember I confessed ignorance regarding the bottom components of the "mane" character below.
If I had given my memory a bit more time to work, it would possibly have arrived at "hmmm.. doesn't this remind me a bit of BRAIN??" Let's look at the simplified brain character again (to the right below).
First there is what we can call the moon-flesh component signaling a part of the body. Then we have a) a lid of some sort, b) X and c) a container shape. We can agree that the brain indeed is a huge X - seen a brain recently? - contained in our skulls. No argument there. But.... here we go rats again!

I know, I know.... You might go rats here in the beginning, but the whole idea with this project is to show show you that each and every Kanji/Hanzi - simple or complex - is painted from a very limited palette of components/radicals. There is no absolute consensus on exactly how many radicals we should use, but consider slightly over 200 as the maximum.

To make it more interesting the ancient scribes added their own twists and misreadings, and we will never know exactly what. The traditional brain has the "hair" trio <<< and [x] with a little dot or accent´. No doubt: a head. If we go further back in history you can see that head of the ancient mouse/rat had the same head, but without the extra dot.

Trust me: Your memory is vastly superior to any computer! There will be a slight memory overflow in the beginning as you dive into this, but the dust will soon settle. Electric Dragon (in the Sky) settles into the Body Part called Brain. Now quickly: put on the lid!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Today's Hanzi: Very difficult?

#hanzi #chinese #mandarin #kanji
Chinese Characters can be difficult to remember, not doubt about that. But there is probably a notion that "difficult" character - that is: complex character with many strokes - are more difficult to remember than more ordinary Hanzi/Kanji. What about these mainstream character:

They might be easier than the more complex and stroke-rich character we will look at soon. but remember that you can fill an entire page with these "medium" characters, and the individual characters will soon start to get fuzzy.

I continued exploring animal words/characters after posting Today's Word: Cat-Headed Bird-Bird. I think my experience from Japanese can be applied to Chinese as well: animal names can have pretty tough characters. Here is what caught my eye: Iguana - lièxī.

The right character is the generic one for lizard: insect (see below for another one) + "chop" (divide, separate = tree + axe), i.e. something that chops up insects. A lizard tongue? But it's the left one that is Today's character: mane. I didn't manage to download an image where it's very clear that iguanas have some sort of mane on their back, but this was pretty good:

And here is a close-up of only "mane" liè:
Hmmmm.. A lot of stuff, isn't it? But wait: the difficulty is to identify the components. Once you have done that, it's very unlikely you will forget the character. The left part is a component meaning ... hair. And the bottom part is also meaning .... hair, or to be more precise, a head with hair and beard. Once again the doubling-up we have seen before: hair + hair = mane.

If you look at the most common traditional character and Kanji for hair you find the first component again (on top of the component for "friend"):

The bottom part is slightly more tricky, but if you ignore the fact that < < < style="font-weight: bold;">Taped/crossed over mouth is the symbol for the head here.

And then I have to declare defeat! I have not found any etymological suggestions regarding the lowest 7 strokes, looking like some sort of legs, really. We have already seen these "legs" in the character for mouse/rat. (Weiger suggest that these strokes are the whiskers of the mouse.) But here it is a beard! We have to draw them as graphical elements and memorize them as such.

It's interesting - and sort of a relief - to note that the lower component set in "mane" has been simplified in characters like wax/candle and hunt. Note "insect" again - from above - to the left in the first character and the "wild dog" component in the second one. See cat in Today's Word.

The final challenge is to draw this character so it gets fairly equal in size to other character, but it's perfectly OK to make it slightly higher when writing with a pen/pencil. But DO draw it several times. Promise? Then I will promise less complex characters the next several times here :-) Good luck!

Today's Word: Cat-Headed Bird-Bird

#Chinese #Mandarin #Birds
This not as immediately funny as yesterday's Bag Rat, but has some interesting twists and turns.

The character for cat will remain really funny for ever, considering the story provided by James W Heisig in "Remembering the Kanji". The left part is a generic animal component, but Heisig suggested wild dogs as the specific label. To the right we have seedlings, i.e. something growing on a rice field. So to remember this you have to see a pack of wild dogs watering the cat plants/seedling on a rice filed, waiting for the chase to start as soon as the cats have grown up. (Unfortunately, Hanzi students will have to wait for volume 2 of "Remembering the Hanzi" to get to this character.)

Head is one of those radical simplifications we find in Hanzi:

頭 > 头

Finally the Bird-Bird character.... Yet another feature of character creation: the same 'meaning' is doubling up. "old bird" + "standard bird"

鹰 = 隹 + /鳥

This "bird-bird" character is some sort of generic label for several birds of pray and found in words like hawk, falcon, eagle, owl etc. Alone, by itself, it means Eagle. More birds at

listen to māotóuyīng spoken (

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Today's Mandarin Word: Ever met a BagRat?

#Chinese #Mandarin
Japanese has tons of cute and funny words. As hopefully will be demonstrated here, Chinese/Mandarin is not lacking either.

Pronunced dàishǔ this can be read as "Pocket Mouse", and even "Pouch Mouse". But what sort of thing is this?? A Kangaroo, of course!

shǔ is actually one of the more difficult-to-write characters I've encountered. It took - and takes - a lot of practice to get the lower part OK for me. Stroke Order Animation here.

Today's Chinese Character: Simple Justice

Today's character/Hanzi/Kanji is a RADICAL simplification. But does it fit into the UGLY vs CUTE categories, previously defined here?

I don't think so. The original traditional Hanzi/Kanji is one of my favorite characters. The most common meanings are "justice; righteousness". But "meaning" is also there as in 意义.
A couple of Japanese vocabulary items: Islamic fundamentalism vs. Christian fundamentalism. These Kanji seems to be possible to bundle to form many words 原義 (gengi) means Original Meaning here, taking everything very literally. 主義 means doctrine etc. and 原理 means "doctrine, rule, principle". Whatever you think of Japanese, "inflexible" shouldn't be there.

As usual I have some nagging feeling that I've made some mistake in my Japanese: "should it really be クリスチャン (ku-ri-su-ta-n) or something else?"


So let's go back to Mandarin. I've found two, rather similar words for fundamentalism:

原教旨主义 yuánjiàozhǐzhǔyì

Where the 教 ought to emphasize the religious aspect ("teach, religion...."). The other word for fundamentalism, 基要主义, seems to be less used so I simply ignore it here. 主义 has the same meaning in Mandarin as in Japanese - doctrine; -ism - which is no wonder since the world probably was imported to Japan from China.

To round up this not so deep-digging post:

義 = 羊 + 我

羊 is easy enough to remember as SHEEP, but the very important and frequent character 我 will get a component destruction any day, week. You have to admit that it's a bit faster to write the simplified version, isn't it? These characters are pronounced as in Mandarin. The fourth tone here would be easy to remember if the animation really showed the strokes: dot - down - down. Get a better view at nciku.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Today's Hanzi: Meet General Zong

If you look at a comment on yesterday's post - Chinese Character Animations you can notice that there are many aspects of "Chinese Characters" - "Kanji" or "Hanzi" - to keep in mind, but only as long as you enjoy it. The entire idea of learning is to make it a pleasure!

So I hope it's a pleasure to meet a new friend of mine: General Zong. Why he was a totally new acquaintance will come later .... If you take some time to read previous posts here you will learn that this blog is based on James W Heisig method to learn Kanji/Hanzi: you make up stories for each and every character to better remember them. Imagination, word play and associations.

Will skip the finer details today and ignore if the top two strokes actually aren't legs or not, or something entirely different. Here they are HORNS. Horns placed on top of a Big Mouth. So here we have a Big Mouthed, sort of devilish General. But wait, there is more: underneath his bullish apperance there is also a Big Heart, so he's not really as bad as he might seem at first contact.

Why "General"? That's the basic meaning of this character: general, overall, always etc. Here come the finer points: This character has - at least! - three variants. The top one (demonstrated with two different fonts) and one traditional and a different Japanese Kanji (and there is No Kanji at all like the simplified version here):

Quite a remarkable simplification, isn't it? In both characters above there is the component version of thread to the left. In the traditional Chinese character there is perhaps a chimney over the heart. - Told you: etymology is not rocket science! - The Japanese Kanji has the same meaning as it's Chinese origin: "general, overall, whole". 国連 = UN General Assembly :-)

I hope this will help you to remember General Zong - actually zǒng - the next time you meet him. Remember: he's really got a Big Heart. so don't let his equally Big Mouth offend you.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - Chinese Character Animations

#chinese #mandarin
It would be great to be able to add character animations here now and then, so I am now testing those available at (the best Chinese/Mandarin dictionary).

Well... It didn't work. I am pretty sure these animations are not Made At nciku, so I will hopefully find an alternative source. ...

Update 09-02-02

I have still not managed to find those animations I think I've seen somewhere, but on the other hand I found a way to show the animations here, if the people at think it is OK.

end of update

In the meantime a GIF animation from this page. Not a bad alternative, really.
Testing something more advanced from eStroke

Too "advanced", too big, too many Google ads....

The reason for picking this particular character is that I tend to forget the stroke order all the time. If you want to get 5 new characters to practice every day, follow the nciku blog. Here is a permanent link to the very first five characters.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Nice Japanese fonts to download

Once upon a time I was an obsessive font collector. Now I am happy to pick up some new font here and there. Unfortunately I am not good at bookmarking my downloads, but the most recent one - top - can be downloaded here. The second one - my favorite Aoyagi Kouzan - can be downloaded on this page.

The first one is a strict "ballpoint font", with 2nd Aoyagi more in the Shodo (brush) style, perhaps even scanned from brush writing. The bottom two fonts are intended for more conventional printed material.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Learn Chinese Characters (Components III)

This is the third and final post continued from

Component Learning and Analysis II

To get the full background you might/should also study

Kanji Lesson 1 for JapanesePod101 Students

Don't mind the "Kanji" word there. "Kanji" (Japanese) and "Hanzi" (Chinese) is identical for the purpose here: How to learn and remember Chinese Characters.

In the first parts we only looked at the seemingly complex character. Now the really easy two other characters. yǎn is short for eye, and according to the etymologists the character contains two components meaning eye.

The black component above is the standard character for eye. And below is a mirror image of an eye, still according to the experts.I agree that it is hard to "see" this, but we'll have to accept it for the time being. This component is very common so it's a very good idea to assign a keyword/label here. Since there is a very similar character ....... meaning "Good" with just one tiny "drop" making the difference. Let's assume it's so GOOD that a little tear trickles (upwards :-) ), then we could call the mirror eye "Dry Eye"? It's really up to you to assign labels/mnemonics to each component according to your own imagination and preferences.

Finally we have a REAL mirror/lens:
This is the simplified character for the full Kanji, traditional Hanziuses the full version of Metal/Gold as the left component in Mirror/Lens
So what's left is the rather peculiar component to the right:
This is make up by adding Person/Human legs to a Sound! Yes, it's a funny world, this.Finally, if we pull "sound" apart
we have the (gray) component derived from the character for To Stand etc. Below (black) might be seen as SUN, but it isn't. It is a mouth with tongue (in cheek). CompareThey are indeed easy to mix up when you don't see them side by side, but you can usually spot the longer shape of the sun.

Now time for do-it-yourself and practices. Copy the character below into, search and scroll down the page to see the stroke order animations. Write, write and write! Good luck!

眼 目 艮 良 金 音 立 日 曰

Friday, January 23, 2009

New Global Background Image

Seems like today became a "design day" :-) Still not sure if the image below is good or not. It seems a bit BUZY, doesn't it? The original version is live at my Twitter page. Maybe to be replaced by the muted one. Comments?

Original version:

Muted version ....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Frequent Updates on YouTube

Update: Now you can follow the Kanji Hanzi World at YouTube to the right here. Thanks to the excellent service FriendFeed. - BTW: Art Ensemble of Chicago is obviously still a very interesting group. Got quite a few visits from people searching Google. Art Ensemble of Chicago website. "The Art Ensemble of Chicago featuring Roscoe Mitchell, Joseph Jarman, Famoudou Don Moye, Corey Wilkes and Jaribu Sahid."

The Kanji Hanzi World on YouTube

Seems like a frequent reminder is needed here. There is simply too much amazing stuff on YouTube to keep up with, so I'll do my best to guide you to the Classics and the Best New Stuff. According to my refined taste(s) :-)

Today I added a funky Art Ensemble of Chicago, plus one clip with AEoC playing with Cecil Taylor, and Adrian Belew Power Trio. Happy listening.

Techo News: Twitter SMS Updates

I am not a geek or a nerd, but now and then really impressive stuff comes my way. The ability to enter a piece of text on my cell phone and get it INSTANTLY up on my Twitter page, was one of those!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Beautiful 'Distraction': Adrian Belew

I am - really - producing material about Kanji and Hanzi, but got a bit distracted on Twitter. Again. Never mind. I had intended to post this video sooner or later. Now it got sooner.

I am not a fan of lists, but I think Adrain Belew is moving to the top of my three best guitarists ever: add Jimi Hendrix and the awfully underrated Guitar God Frank Zappa. Adrian is thus the greatest one alive, in my opinion. On top of that he is an amazing singer.

Silly me: forgot

Monday, January 19, 2009

Richard Dawkins: Scientist or Priest?

Since I joined the Education Network - scroll down to the bottom of the page, please - I found a little post about one of my favorite .... ahem .... pets: Mr. Dawkins, possessed by The Selfish Gene - no, not Gene Simmons! - and other viruses.

Richard Dawkins: Growing Up in the Universe - Designed and Designoid Objects

Instead of relying on high-minded philosophical reasoning, awesome as it is, Dawkins explains these wonderful insights to the lucky children attending this Faraday lecture through the use of a great number of intelligently designed examples :) from the natural world and computer models.
I could spend the entire day writing about this, but I will condense all this to: WE JUST DON'T KNOW. WE MAY SPECULATE, HAVE FANTASIES, BUILD RELIGIONS, SCIENTIFIC "MODELS" OR WHATEVER, BUT WE STILL JUST DO NOT KNOW. PERIOD.

Anybody who pretends to have THE ANSWER is nothing but yet another fanatic. Welcome to the mothership, Mr Dawkins.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Logo Work

Just a note; I've added a new logo, still under work. Added a Twitter widget. Added a very nice ReverbNation player, video player from YouTube, added a clip with Emilie Simon on the Kanji Hanzi World at YouTube, tweaked the lovely widgets from NeoWORX and possibly some more stuff. All in all, a very fun day. Happy viewing, playing and ...... reading?

David Byrne in **BIG** Hong Kong

It's has some practical advantages to live in "Virtual", China. I get updates about what's happening in China, new blogs in Beijing etc. Here is a more funny one:

The information I got said that David Byrne - ???: more later - would play at the Convention Center in Hong Kong tomorrow, January 19, 2009. So far, so good.... I knew that Hong Kong had been "integrated" into larger China, but I never knew that Hong Kong had grown this much!!

(click on image for 100%)

Of course the first map somehow got it wrong. It's absolutely true that David Byrne will perform in Hong Kong tomorrow - full tour schedule 2009 here - and with a bit of luck the already luck citizens of Hong Kong might get a ticket here.

And luck is with us here too. YouTube is a MAIN distraction. There is simply too much great stuff there to avoid spending at least a couple of hours there each and every day. Make sure to check in at the regularly updated Kanji Hanzi World there. New stuff like Pharoah Sanders and John Coltrane has pushed down Talking Heads a few step. Unfortunately this video can't be embedded here, but here is the link:

There is a series of videos from this absolutely stunning concert in Rome. The one above is perhaps my favorite. Partly because you can see (the slightly younger) Adrian Belew perform his magic close up.

Nothing to not used for advantage. Just because I reluctantly pushed down two clips with Art Ensemble of Chicago to make room for Pharoah Sanders, I can post the first AEoC video HERE!! Enjoy Warsaw 1983. Most amazing live band I ever saw! Live.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Welcome to Virtual, China

In case you see "China" on some profile, somewhere: My exact location in China is a place called Virtual. Bring out your maps and see if you can find this extremely attractive "township". IN the meantime you can enjoy the video above. It's created by Zhang Yimou, the director of the utterly beautiful movie HERO:

It seems like it's very difficult to get decent looking Chinese to appear on web pages, so I will use images to make it possible for us analphabets to see what it actually says.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More videos: MUSIC VIDEOS on YouTube!

Need a break from Hanzi, Kanji and the World? Why not take a look at

The Kanji Hanzi World at YouTube?

Even if Julia Nunes still is a favorite, there is plenty more to see. Most recently I added two clips from a Warsaw gig (1983!!) with Art Ensemble of Chicago, probably the greatest live bend there ever was. Another pet project is the Adrian Belew Power Trio. And so on. Tinariwen?
A small and very carefully selected LISTENERS DIGEST for those really wanting THAT EXTRA when consuming the universal language of Music! PEACE!

Video: Straight Talk from Norman Finkelstein

As I wrote recently I will avoid too much off-topic posts here, but now and then I will inevitably stumble upon something that is too good to let go of. (Besides: this is my official living room and I am free to whatever I like, as long as it's legal.) Like this video with Norman Finkelstein:

Do you think this guy can speak like this everywhere, despite the fact that he is a highly respected scholar?? No. The authoritarian intimidation mafia is of course doing everything they can to silence him. On some people the age old black art of intimidation just don't work.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Component Learning and Analysis II

UPDATE 2009:

Time to 'divert' from interesting distractions and bring the blog back on course. This is all about Kanji/Hanzi with a focus on the latter. I repost the very first post here and add the promised continuation at the end. Happy New Year's reading!

Posted on December 17, 2008:

I've been doodling around with this idea for a while, but then I joined today and found this little "Component Video" and thought it might be time to stop doodling and to leave the draft board ....

Here is a nice little phrase I picked up at nciku

Does it seem difficult to learn this? To learn it enough so you can write it from memory without a trace of hesitation or need to scratch your head?

The good news are that it is not at all difficult if you use a component-based approach to Chinese Characters. It can be time-consuming, but that is not really the same as difficult. For certain types of memories/brains it does not seem to take more than a matter of weeks or a few months to learn 2000+ characters with a single keyword - "meaning" - associated with the Kanji/Hanzi.

There are different approaches to this but I happened to start with Japanese and James W. Heisig's "Remembering the Kanji" (download generous sample in pdf-format) many years ago. After many, many delays there is also a "Remembering the Hanzi" available, that is: the first part of two, together covering 3000 characters. There are samples available of both the simplified and traditional editions. Read the introductions to get a good understanding of what all this is about.

To make a long story short: "the Heisig method" is indeed very smart and works as advertised if you follow the rules, so to say. But ..... Not all of us have the kind of time, patience and creative imagination it takes to get through all the 2000+ for Japanese and the 3000 characters for Chinese before really starting to read and write.

So when I, some four months ago, put Japanese on the shelf for a while to study Mandarin instead, I also started to think about alternative ways to take the best of Heisig's work and to apply it to a more combined approach with learning the proper language, i.e. including pronunciations and vocabulary.

It's not really fair to compare myself with a beginner since I have been studying and writing Kanji for many years, but the totally effortless process of learning Hanzi, pronunciation, and building vocabulary is very, very encouraging and promising. I am very interested in testing how this will work for absolute beginners and intermediate students of Chinese wanting to learn the written language in a more profound way. Note that "written" also means being able to write from decent to great Hanzi as well.

Sounds interesting? Check back here now and then and see what's happening. The first step will be to wipe away the fog from cā yăn jìng as a first demonstration of the Power of Component Analysis.

Continued on January 15, 2009:

(Hmmm .. Didn't remember it was such a total cliff hanger :-) ) Most of the images were already prepared, though, so I will go through this as briefly as possible.

This is possibly a bit overwhelming the first time you get into the details of a single Chinese Character, but stay around for a while and you will notice that this is no different than any new subject: it takes a few minutes to get used to it :-) And it's very much on purpose that I used such a big font. I have found it much easier to memorize characters when I learn them BIG TIME, so I have all the 2042 Kanji in RtK 1 in this kind of size.

First you might want to check this character out a and also see the stroke order animation. This is not one of the most complex characters you will meet, but it does belong to the upper division; 17 strokes is not a minor and simple character. It's pronounced cā as you could see in the beginning above.

So the next task is to break this beauty apart and see how it was created, so to say. The very first item that sticks out is the simplified hand to the left:

Since the hand looks like this in its full form (left)
we will be helped by assigning the shorthand :-) for hand as something else, and finger(s), as suggested by Heisig, is perhaps the easiest keyword. BUT... to be able to remember the characters with all the components, the action going on there, you will need a full story. To memorize the full story it's better to transform Mr Fingers into a known individual or some person you just invent. Make this person as colorful as possible. Personally I used a very famous actor, known for his expressive hand movements. Now this poor soul, had to watch from heaven :-), as I made him perform a number of tasks he perhaps wouldn't have approved of himself. Since they are in my mind only, I am sure he doesn't care. Really.

So next in line is the right part of the character, which is a full character too, which you can inspect on I keep on showing new components in the context of the full character here:
This (black) character is pronounced chá and there we get a very valuable lesson. This character/component is the phonetic of (the full one) and as is often the case there is a slight distortion of the sound, but here and chá were once upon a time probably the same sound. Phonetics is one of the most useful things when you learn Chinese Characters and their pronunciation. - There you have the reason why I have departed from the Heisig advice "stick to the characters and learn the sound/pronunciation when you've finished 3000 (or less) characters". - Chá means observe, inspect or/and scrutinize and is part of the word for 警察 jǐngchá police, to take one example here.

To get down to the first memo-combination here, we the have "Mr Fingers" "scrutinizing/observing" something. But what is he watching? First let's establish where this is taking place: In a house, of course! Watch the chimney on top of the roof!
Then we move further down the line and look at what's happening inside the house, and we get down to the really gory details: A bloody ritual with sacrifices! Ghastly stuff. A piece of meat and a cut-off hand on top of an altar. No less. The (keyword) altar looks like this when it's used as a component, but meaning mostly "show, indicate" today when used as a character on it's own merits, but it was nevertheless an altar in the beginning, according to the etymologists:
We need to take a closer look at the "flesh/meat" component to the left, immediately below the roof ...... since time has blended two characters into one, sort of:

To the very left we see the Moon as we expect it. Then comes a slightly simplified moon on part cut off, perhaps covered by a cloud or perhaps it is the crescent moon? Anyhow: "Evening". Two evenings/moons is suddenly meaning "many", many a moon/month? Too many evenings? Suddenly FLESH + DOG is being roasted over a fire (the four dots)! Yes, somewhere along the path to now, the most known character for meat got this moon-like shape. But first the last character: brain where the "moon" to the left tells us that it's about "flesh", usually a body-part.
And above is the most common character for flesh/meat. This is also a rather brutal image: two persons hanging inside some sort of "container", perhaps to become dried meat? :-)

Now, my patient readers, we just have one tiny detail left in the house of sacrifice: the cut-off hand/arm.
How can we tell that it's cut-off? Because this is how it usually appears in various combinations:
There are quite a few components/characters having been used as hands/arms/etc. since a departure from the ancient shapes have taken place. Heisig uses sometimes rather special keywords for components (or primitives as he prefers to call them) and this a crotch. Pick and choose any crotch you like, but once again it's not a bad idea to select one person when you build your stories. I don't know why I once upon a time picked Sean Connery to play this role, but that's the way it goes.

The forth character above is interesting since is the very Han in Hanzi, Chinese Character. When the revolutionaries simplified - some would say ruined - some of the original characters, this was originally something entirely different. Just look and you can see only an arm or a crotch there:
This last part here is entirely for my own pleasure, since I do find the things VERY INTERESTING AND FUN and like going into the finer points of Kanji/Hanzi. The second character above is actually the Japanese one! And since I didn't find the same font for the traditional Chinese "original" it only looks very different because of the font. But as you can see there are two differences: the top two downward strokes have been joined by a small horizontal stroke and the left "leg" goes up to join this stroke. History and time. End of lesson 1!

So is it worth all the trouble to dissect characters like this? The time it takes at first? Yes, I think it is. It's more fun than starting to learn 15000-2042-3000 characters in one sitting, so to say. (It took me three attempts to get to 2042, that is several months distributed over many years.) The components learned in a rather complex characters like this can be re-used in dozens of new characters. Will you ever forget ALTAR? That is: if you follow the most important recommendation here: Write the character and then write it again, and again ..... Look and write!

To be continued and finished with one much, much easier and one not too difficult character: