You can learn a lot of kanji on WaniKani. But still, there are lots more out there.
I learned 籤 (くじ lottery, raffle) while looking up the word あみだくじ, those lotteries where you draw lines in a ladder-like pattern (which, btw, is 阿弥陀籤 in kanji, since it comes from the Buddhist term, which I was also unaware of)
Other common words that use it are 宝籤 (たからくじ, lottery) and 籤引き (くじびき, drawing lots)
I learned 祠 - ほこら - small wayside shrine - not a Jouyou, not even in the RTK 3000 (book 3)!
It’s surprising how many uncommon kanji you can encounter reading media targeted towards young adults - even if it’s a rare occurence, like one out of 1000 kanji.
Maybe the writers just overlook that it’s rare and that it may be more accessible in hiragana.
On the other hand, it’s a learning opportunity.
I’m not really reading native material yet so I generally don’t see much outside the most common joyo kanji, but I did learn 糎 センチ from a Jisho search and was surprised at how simple it was, as well as how it could probably be used pretty frequently if people wanted it to be. Plus it’s a kokuji which is kinda neat.
Here is a daily life special. Today in less than 10 minutes, I learned (or relearned) 3 non-WK, non jouyou kanji.
In front of a restaurant, there was a lawson with 野菜・果物・肉・惣菜 written in big on the front. Well, easy, of course vegetable, fruit, meat and … huu…somethingざい ? Hold on, what is 惣 ? It’s just 物+心, it should be a super basic kanji ? But actually no, it’s a kanji used almost only in 惣菜 = そうざい = side dish and I’m still in complete disbelief how I did not manage to notice that word sooner.
The restaurant was a soba place, so of course in the menu there was 蕎麦 written everywhere… which made me realize I somehow didn’t know (or forgot?) the 蕎 of そば
The restaurant had a notice on the front with 大晦日の案内 in bold letter. And I was thinking what does “guide to the big every day” mean ? Finally noticed it was not 毎 but 晦 ! 大晦日 = おおみそか the last day of the year. Knew the word, but not the kanji.
臥薪嘗胆 (がしんしょうたん). Can be shortened to 嘗胆 (preserving Chinese syntax) or 胆を嘗む (Japanese syntax, read as いをなむ) with the same meaning.
Source: Haganai NEXT
To take great pains and make great efforts to destroy an enemy (original meaning)
To make great efforts to to achieve a goal
I already knew this proverb in Chinese, but I didn’t know it existed in Japanese too.
Origin: During the Spring and Autumn Period in China, the Kingdom of Yue was defeated by the Kingdom of Wu, and the King of Yue was taken prisoner. In order to keep himself motivated to avenge his nation, the king slept on firewood every night, and took a gall bladder before every meal and before he slept (because it was bitter, like his condition). Eventually, the Kingdom of Yue made a comeback and defeated the Kingdom of Wu.
I just watched a Detective Conan episode where they talked about よみがえる (to be revived). The かえる part made sense to me but I was curious to see how よみ is written (for sure it is not 読み, right?)
Turns out it has its own kanji altogether:
This is a Jinmeiyou kanji which means “be resuscitated”, “revived”, and surprisingly also “perilla / shiso” (you may have seen its beautiful leaves as a tasty decoration for Japanese dishes).
Why it has these two very different meanings is beyond my imagination, though.