Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Friday, December 02, 2005

Japanese Language Study

The Japanese Language studies are going well. I’m about halfway through the course I’m taking. A few weeks ago, after a big push ahead, I was just beginning to study the Kanji; the Chinese characters adopted by the Japanese.

I could see that learning Kanji was going to take a lot of effort. I decided to stop my forward progress for a time and do a big review of everything I’ve learned so far; while considering how I wanted to tackle the Kanji

While I was at it, I came across a very interesting program entitled Wakan. It’s available as a free download as long as it’s not put to any commercial use. Wakan translates between Japan and English, and between Chinese and English. It’s a very handy way to look up words and characters. Even if you have no intention of studying either Japanese or Chinese, but may want to look up a word or character from time to time, I think you would find it useful.

Wakan can be found at

I was fooling around with Wakan one day. I input the phonetic rendering of my last name: mattsu (マッツ) and nothing came of it. Then I decided to try matsu (マツ), and what it spit out was “pine tree.”

I decided to put Rick (riku) in. Riku gives “shore.”   has a lot of things going on in it’s composition.

A shore pine is a type of pine tree.

In researching the sumbol of a pine, this is what I've got so far ( ):

The favorite tree of Chinese painters, the pine symbolizes longevity and steadfastness. Pine trees rank above all other trees and epitomize self-discipline. Pine, bamboos and plum-trees are the "Three Friends in Winter."

The Kanji for pine tree is : (matsu is the Kunyomi or Japanese reading; Sho is the Onyomi or “Chinese” reading; the Kanji is made of the characters for ‘tree’, and ‘public’).


ms_lili said...

Very neat that you found out what your name means. It fits you.

I tried to follow the link for the english/chinese/japanese translator and got nowhere. Tried to add www in there and still nothing. Will you recheck it please?

Rick Matz said...

I copied and pasted the link: