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The sound "koi" can mean several things in Japanese: love, thick or strong, deed or action, and carp. How can one tell what is meant?

Each sound has its own kanji (character). That is, of course, how we can tell in English the difference between to, two, and too. We also know meaning from the context of the word. So too in Japanese.

This koi is brilliantly coloured and very distictive, like all his brothers and sisters. He is peacefully attending to his business while raindrops fall on the surface of his pond.

Meanwhile, several water bugs scoot across. Those bugs should be careful. Our koi may decide to make one his next meal!

 

- Morley Evans, August 2001

The image above has been created with a Java applet written by Fabio Ciucci running over an image of a koi. A realisic effect has been created with only a few lines of code.