The kanji for 2015 is...

Good morning everyone,

It was a pretty warm day again yesterday. I didn't need a hat or gloves when I riding to and from work. In fact, yesterday I worked for a bit in Ujina and by the time I got back home, I was sweating. That probably won't be a problem tomorrow. Today will be a bit cooler than it has been, but not too bad, with a high of 13C. Actually, the forecast for the whole week is way warmer than they had predicted as recently as yesterday-except for tomorrow. It's supposed to only get up to 8C tomorrow, but the rest of the week will see highs in the low to mid teens. Overnight lows will still be pretty chilly, hovering somewhere between 2C and 5C for the rest of this week.

The kanji 'an', which denotes safety or peace (or cheap), best symbolizes the national mood in 2015, a Kyoto-based kanji promotion organization said Tuesday.

The kanji "an" won 5,632 of 129,647 votes cast between Nov. 1 and Dec. 8 for this year's symbolic kanji contest, held annually by the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation. Voters were asked to provide reasons for choosing a kanji character, and many of those who picked "an" noted the controversial security-related legislation passed in the Diet this year, as the kanji is used in the name of the legislation. Others mentioned the terrorist attacks in Paris and a hostage crisis involving Japanese nationals, among other incidents, as they shattered people's sense of safety.

In keeping with annual tradition, chief monk Seihan Mori of Kyoto's famous Kiyomizu temple, where the result was announced, handwrote the winning character using a giant calligraphy brush on a sheet of washi (Japanese paper) 1.5 meters high and 1.3 meters wide.

It was selected based on votes cast by the general public. Of the 129,647 entries received this year, an ranked at the top with 5,632, according to the Japan Kanji Aptitude Testing Foundation.

The kanji that placed second was "baku," or "to explode," with 4,929 votes. The third most popular kanji was 戦, meaning war.

I think I'm becoming too cynical-when I saw the kanji, I first thought 'cheap' because the government has devalued the yen, making Japanese products cheaper overseas. And then I thought...hmmm...isn't that the same kanji as in PM Abe's family name? I wonder how much the LDP party donated to the kanji promotion organization to get them to choose that one? Of course I'm joking...well, mostly joking.

To be completely honest, I feel like people chose 'an' because that is exactly how they are NOT feeling this year and are hoping that 2016 is way more peaceful for Japan and the rest of the world. I hope so too...

Have a great day!



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