December 13, 2007

Three women

Brian writes about a Hanzi myth: the Chinese do not use the same symbol for "crisis" and "opportunity". Which reminded me of another: "the Chinese symbol for trouble is two women under one roof."

I'm pretty sure that one's wrong, too, but I decided to do a feeble attempt at testing it. Hanzi is too much for me, but I do have at least a passing familiarity with kanji now and know where some tools are. So I decided to see what I could learn from that.

The kanji for "woman" is 女. It's three strokes. I used Breen's radical search to see what I could find, looking for kanji with 7-9 strokes which included that one.

And I did find an odd one. Let's make it really big:


It's three women. It's pronounced kan (and a lot of other ways) and it means "mischief". It also means "noisy". Isn't that marvelous? For instance:

姦計 kankei means "trick"
姦策 kansaku means "scheme"
姦人 kan nin means "villain"
姦智 kanchi means "craftiness"
姦しい kashimashi means "noisy, boisterous"

UPDATE: This is a test. This is only a test:


This has been a test of the emergency Pixy broadcasting system. If it had been an actual emergency, you would have been directed to tune your browser to Ambient Irony.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Japanese at 08:17 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
Post contains 220 words, total size 2 kb.

1 Hey, Pixy! What happened to the formatting?

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 13, 2007 08:17 PM (+rSRq)

2 So, three or more women together always means trouble?  I can buy that.

Posted by: BigD at December 13, 2007 10:10 PM (JJ4vV)

3 You broke it!!!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 13, 2007 10:16 PM (PiXy!)

4 I was looking at this earlier, then got distracted.  The HTML is perfectly correct:

<blockquote><span style="font-size: 72pt;">姦</span></blockquote>

However, Firefox, IE, and Opera all screw up the rendering. Since they have completely different rendering engines, that only leaves one culprit: the font rendering.  It's returning the wrong height value.

Safari does its font rendering slightly differently, and it gets it less wrong.  Still wrong, though.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 14, 2007 10:10 AM (PiXy!)


The HTML should be correct; I set the size on that kanji using the tool in the editing box. I didn't try to create the HTML directly.

I wonder if it would also fail for a Roman letter? I'll try adding an update as a test.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 14, 2007 01:07 PM (+rSRq)

6 That's interesting. It doesn't work for Roman letters either.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 14, 2007 01:10 PM (+rSRq)

7 There's enough "bad" HTML in the page to force browsers into quirks mode. In this case, the SPAN seems to be rendering based on the combination of two percentage-based LINE-HEIGHT tags in #main and .content, while the BLOCKQUOTE uses its own override. I guess they're all emulating a common old broken behavior, where the height of an inline element didn't expand the height of the containing block element.


Posted by: J Greely at December 14, 2007 01:34 PM (9Nz6c)

There's enough "bad" HTML in the page to force browsers into quirks mode.
I was wondering about that, then I realised that Steven is running on the old templates and stylesheets.  I did some work to clean things up in the 1.1 release, so I'll try copying that HTML to my blog and see what I get.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 14, 2007 04:53 PM (PiXy!)

9 Not fixed in 1.1.  I'll put it on the list.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at December 14, 2007 04:57 PM (PiXy!)


If there's a need for me to upgrade my templates, I'll need to be given a place to copy all the new ones from.

I've modified about three of them, but most of them are still "stock".

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at December 14, 2007 05:07 PM (+rSRq)

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