JOK Notebook

Songs of Innocence and Experience

Knowing that Jack Halpern is a whiz with a unicycle, I was amused to find this listing in his Kanji Learner's Dictionary under 歴:

一輪車歴 (いちりんしゃれき: one's experience as a unicyclist)      

unicycle (1st 3 kanji) + experience

He must have had fun putting that in there!

The word for "unicycle," 一輪車, breaks down as one + wheel + vehicle. Now there's something I can enjoy without falling flat on my face!

Meanwhile, although this 歴 (れき) usually means "history," here it has more the sense of "experience," which is after all "personal history." This kanji plays a part in the following colloquial sentences:


I haven’t dated anybody in three years.

彼氏 (かれし: boyfriend); 3年 (さんねん: 3 years)


How long has it been since you broke up with your girlfriend?

彼女 (かのじょ: girlfriend)

Using 歴, I feel inspired to create my own compounds of experience, but at the very moment I'm flailing around with Adobe Illustrator, trying and failing to create a simple graphic, and all I can sense is my inexperience. I think that ない歴 structure might be just the ticket for me today!

How about you? Are you experienced? Have you ever been experienced?

And did you catch this allusion, as well as the one at the beginning of this post?! What are the references? If you're the first person to write the two correct answers (on Facebook or on the Joy o' Kanji site itself), you will win a free Joy o' Kanji essay of your choice!

Aha! I finally figured out Adobe Illustrator, at least enough to produce these previews of the essays I've just posted: 

To find them on the site, just go to the Character Home Pages for essay 1727 and essay 1776.

Have a great weekend! 


eve's picture
A big oops! I didn't have the comments enabled on this post, which means it must have been very hard to tell me what the two allusions were! Now they're enabled, and the contest is still open. Anyone want to win an essay?!

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