I live in Japan, I’m constantly surrounded by kanji, I spend lots of time reading things I run across in everyday life, I’m level 28 WaniKani, I’m studying for the N3 etc etc…and yet sometimes I have experiences in the wild that are completely humbling…like today…
My toddler daughter has been wearing disposal face masks when we go out. There is a single kanji stamped into both the left and the right side of the mask. For weeks, every time I put on her mask I’ve briefly wondered why it says “stop” in kanji.
Today, a Japanese friend asked me if my daughter’s mask was a kid’s mask and I said yes…but why does it say “stop”? She said oh that means “up”.
(…umm… of course I knew that Grade 1, WK lvl 1, N5 Kanji. I’m confident I would have been able to read it correctly in a vocab word, yet that simple standalone kanji tripped me up for weeks…granted I was only 1 stroke off )