Month: September 2016

Croter illustration


Liuhe Night Market 六合夜市 Taiwan


Taiwan Confucian Temple 台南孔廟


Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts 高雄美術館




旅人茶房 Taipei Tea Café


第六個夢 第六個夢 『是誰說核電廠絕對安全的?即使核電廠本身真的安全,管理的可是人們啊啊啊!』 黑澤明 《夢》

Illustrations by Croter Illustration & Design Studio. You can find Croter’s illustrations on Facebook, My Portfolio and Behance.




This is a moon.

月 as noun: moon, month, moonlight, menses, confinement, moonlike, monthly
月 as adjective: beautiful (to describe women’s beauty or things relating to women), for example: 花容月貌 (hua1rong2yue4mao4, huāróngyuèmào, said of a woman, fair as a flower and beautiful as the moon)

Pinyin: 月 yuè (yue 4)


The character looks like this: 朋, and means “friend”, “friendly”, or “classmate”. I like to remember this phrase by imagining two friendly moons chatting the night away.

朋 as noun: 朋友 (Friend), 女朋友 (Girlfriend)

朋 as verb: 朋比 (Gang Up With)

Pinyin: 朋 péng (you 3)

You can practice this character by using the phrase 你好,朋友們! (ni3 hao3, peng2 you3 men), which means “hello, friends!”. 😀

Pinyin: peng2 
(Traditional, Simplified and Kanji)
Pronunciation/Stroke Order:

CHALLENGE: How many times can you use the phrase 你好,朋友們! (ni3 hao3, peng2 you3 men) in one day? You must be addressing more than one person, and it has to be a friend, not a family member!


Source: Chineasy


The traditional Chinese calendar is lunisolar (based on the sun and moon), which is very different from the Gregorian calendar that is commonly used in Western countries. However, in modern times, almost everybody (including the Chinese) uses the Gregorian calendar for official business; it’s the unofficial standard for the world!

To write the month in Chinese, we take the number of the month and then add the character 月, which means “moon”.

In the traditional calendar, months are measured by the phases of the moon. One lunar cycle is one month. Even though we are talking about Gregorian months here, you can remember each month as “one moon cycle”, “two moon cycles”, etc…


本月, means ‘this month’. It consists the two characters: 本 and 月. 本 has various meanings, but here it means ‘this’.

You may wonder why we don’t use characters’ main definitions. Well, you can give it a try: ‘foundation moon’ doesn’t really make sense! In such cases, the characters must have alternative definitions.

A good learning strategy for characters like these is to focus on their main definition first e.g., 月’s main definition is ‘moon’. When you review the character again, slowly add in alternative definitions to your practice. Soon, it’ll only take you a second to translate a phrase like 本月.


Every month, more money enters into your bank account!

月入= 月 (Moon, Month) + 入 (To Enter) = [literally] (Monthly Enter); (Monthly Income)

月入 Pinyin yue4ru4
Style: Traditional and Simplified
Rarity: Common


The phrase 淡月 uses the compound 淡 (tasteless, light, weak) and the character 月 (moon, month) together.

淡 (tasteless, light, weak) +月 (moon, month) = [literally] (Weak Month); (A Slow Month For Business).

A very significant 淡月 in Taiwan and many other areas in China is ‘Ghost Month’–the seventh lunar month. On the first day of the month, the Gates of Hell open to allow ghosts and spirits access to the world of the living. The spirits spend the month visiting their families, feasting and and looking for victims. During the ghost months the sales of houses, cars or wedding services typically plummeted due to the superstitious culture.

Pinyin: 淡Dan (dan4); 月yuè (yue4)


August is 鬼月 (ghost month). In China and Taiwan, people will set out food for the ghosts, burn joss paper (a.k.a. paper money), and pray to their deceased ancestors. All of this will hopefully appease the hungry ghosts and prevent them from causing us any problems.

Pinyin: gui3 yue4


When we combine 月 (moon or month) and 子 (child, son, or as a noun suffix), we get 月子. This phrase refers to a postpartum tradition where mothers rest for about a month after giving birth.

This tradition has been practiced in East Asia, India, and Greece as well. The full Chinese phrase is 坐月子 (zuo4yue4zi, zuòyuèzi). We can translate this to “postpartum period”, “confinement”, and “sitting the month”. The idea is to help a new mother’s body recover from giving birth. In China and Taiwan, the baby’s grandmother will look after both mother and child, and visitors aren’t welcome (besides close family members). There are also some special diets and foods that are designed to help the mother’s body retain body heat that will help the mother’s circulation and promote healing.

You can read more about traditional confinement foods here:

月子 = 月 (Moon, Month) + 子 (Child, Son, A Noun, A Noun Suffix) = [literally] (Month of Child); (The Month After Childbirth), (Postpartum)


If we combine 明 (bright) and 月 (moon), we get… “bright moon”! No surprise there. This phrase is often used as an adjective that means “bright”, “clear”, “explicit”, “wise”, etc.

明 (Bright) + 月 (Moon) = [literally] (Bright Moon)




Sun is an interesting character, as well… it looks like a window (handy) but how did this character evolve to look like something that, lets face it, doesn’t look like a sun at all.

As I have said many times before, Chinese has evolved over thousands of years and just like English has ‘old English’, ‘middle English’ and ‘modern English’ so does Chinese.

In the Oracle Bone Script (c.1400BCE) the character for sun was a circle with a dot in the middle. It was a pictographic representation of the sun:

…but then it changed.

During the Seal Script (c.220BCE) the character evolved and became more rectangular. It almost looks similar to a goat’s eye (Google it, a goat has rectangular pupils).

As time progressed this character became more angular and geometric until the middle dot finally stretched to reach both side of the circle, and the circle became a rectangle!

So on to alternative meanings:

日 can refer to the sun (that big burning ball in the sky)
日 can also refer to day (when the sun is in the sky)
日 can also finally refer to a date/period, or day of the month.

For example:
Spring Time: 春日 [spring + date] (chun1 ri4)
Birthday: 生日 [life + day] (sheng1 ri4)

The common way to write sun (as in the solar object) is 太陽 [trad] or 太阳 [simp]. You can see the sun radical in the simplified form of the phrase.

太阳/太陽: too big + sun = [literally] big sun (tai4, yang2)

A word of warning though! The character 陽/阳 can also mean “male genitals” when it is used as a noun, so be careful!!!!!!

日 as noun: sun, day, date
日 as an adjective: Japanese

Pinyin: 日 ri4
Stroke order:
Style: Traditional, Simplified & Kanji
Rarity: Common

Source: Chineasy


1. 快乐:Happy

2. 生日:Birthday

3. 生日快乐:Happy Birthday!