They told me I didn't need to learn these kanji

I was lied to! :pensive:


The fact that Coffee kan is literally written right next to it makes me feel like they DIDNT lie to you and you didn’t need those kanji at all…


kanji sucks, man. i wish there was some kind of device where i learn all the kanji and all the words

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You mean a kind of 脳 ?


those are ateji and I’d be surprised if any Japanese person used them regularly


As humorous as that is, I’m sure you know well that they do get used regularly without furigana or romaji.

To the OP, yes, restaurant names and menus often have difficult kanji on them.


After posting it I wondered if I should’ve posted it in campfire haha. It was not meant seriously.

On the way back I had a tonkatsu curry there.


How do Japanese people know that 珈琲 is read as コーヒー? Is it just shared knowledge that “well those two together are コーヒー”?
Without context like the romaji next to it, my best guess would have been that may be カ (correct) and might be ヒ (actually it’s ハイ).

I would have liked 口火こうひ (be careful, our coffee is hot), or maybe 厚秘.

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Same way you know that 今日 is read as きょう


I just learned the kanji for public building like 8 hours ago lol, so this picture helps with retention.


Don’t you just love when that happens? I’m pretty sure there’s a name for that phenomenon, eg when you learn a new word and suddenly you see it everywhere.


I was about to answer to you when I found something interesting:

咖啡 is the Chinese for coffee.
So I assumed that japanese people would recognize it as coffee and use the コーヒー pronounciation.

However, the japanese kanji used are 珈琲 (with the king radical instead of mouth).
I have checked and the Chinese hanzi with mouth radical seem to also exist in japanese…

Maybe someone knows why japanese doesn’t use the same kanjis as in chinese, I have no idea why.


Baader-Meinhof effect. Though Wikipedia is boring and just calls it frequency illusion.


yep i wish there was a device like that

EDIT: Looking around it looks like the japanese way of writing it came first and the chinese changed it to 口偏. This is reading translated chinese articles though so @Jonapedia might be able to take a look and give a more reliable answer.


And also why curry is 咖哩 instead of 珈理…

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I’m not really sure if Chinese ‘changed’ it, but I don’t really know exactly where to look for reliable information. Anyhow, what I mean by that is that the Chinese way of writing it may not be historically related to the Japanese way of doing so, though I could certainly be wrong.

What does seem to be true from the Chinese articles I’ve found, however, is that the word ‘coffee’ entered Japanese before Chinese, possibly about 200 years earlier. I can’t really say why Japanese uses the kanji it does – I see that the article linked above says it might be because coffee berries look like some sort of ornament, which sounds plausible – but I can explain what’s going on in Chinese, or at least, why it feels natural to me as a Chinese speaker.

In Chinese, a lot of characters that have little or no meaning, but which are used for transcribing sounds, use… 口 as a radical. That’s really about it. Why? Maybe because we use our mouths to make sounds a lot. That’s how I think about it. Anyhow, it’s really very common e.g. 哗啦啦 (huā lā lā) is typically the sound of rain falling, and I think it would even explain stuff like this:

One case where this stuff doesn’t apply, however, is when transliterations also draw on kanji meanings. One example: 基因(jīyīn) for ‘gene’. It may sound all too convenient, but since the kanji effectively mean ‘basic/fundamental cause’, well… guess that’s appropriate for genes :man_shrugging:


So much?
Then it may explain the use of 珈琲 (which should expectedly be カハイ or カヒ) if the word was originally borrowed not from English but from another language (like パン or バテレン from Portuguese), and pronunciation changed but not the kanji.

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