Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sample movie - Pulp Fiction.

Some people over at Fabrice's awesome site have asked me to put up and entire movie example. So I thought I'd oblige with a short movie - Pulp Fiction. I use it for KOKU (sounds like cocaine), which has nine kanji with that onyomi reading. I'll be using my primitives here and italicize them.

Revelation: 告
Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) had a revelation. After being shot at, he's convinced it was "divine intervention" that saved their lives. So the scene is when they're in the diner talking about it. Jules is shoving a big cow into his mouth as part of his breakfast.

Cruel: 酷
There are so many scenes to choose from. Let's pick the scene where Vincent (John Travolta) is on the toilet, and Butch (Bruce Willis) finds him there about to shoot him. Normally I'd use the essential image of "shoving a big cow into his mouth", but it doesn't quite fit in here. So instead we replace Vincent here with a cow who's mouth is hanging open in surprise (a stunning display of anthropomorphism, if that helps). Butch splashes the cow with sake.

Country: 国
This one was easy for me. Vincent just got back from Amsterdam - a foreign country. So in the scene where they're talking about the "little differences", Vincent shows Jules something he got overseas: A glass encased jewel that's dripping. Weird.

Overcome: 克
Butch just beat somebody to death in a boxing match and now he's changing in the taxi. Let's pretend this is the first time we see the combination of a mouth on legs. I'd say to imagine Butch as a very talkative(mouth) man, who is stomping his legs down (this will be the essential image to use later). The taxi driver, Esmeralda, reaches back and stabs him with a syringe.

Valley: 谷
I was reminded of the scene in the car, where Vincent accidentally shoots the guy. This is a good example of when you're instantly reminded of a scene, but you don't know why. When it happens, just go with it.
In this scene, Vincent is holding an umbrella in his mouth. He's kinda drooling saliva (visualized as two drops), too. Gross.

Engrave: 刻
Vincent is cutting out an acorn shape with his katana from the table in the restaurant scene (Jack Rabbit Slim's) with Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman). The restaurant is engraved in the past, I suppose.

Black: 黒
Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) is black. I just had to pick a scene with him in it. So I imagine him handing Butch a computer that's on fire as payment for throwing the game (first scene we see them both).

Cereal: 穀
So what is Brad eating for breakfast? Big Kahuna burger? No, he's having cereal now. Specifically wheat cereal. He's also wearing a tiara. Jules, the awesome samurai that he is, has him [explicit wind + crotch].

Stone: 石
Somebody simply trips over a stone somewhere. I picked the scene where Mia Wallace is telling Vincent her joke.


  1. This is really interesting. I'm gonna have to take some time to thoroughly read your site, so far this seems really solid. I love the stories from Pulp Fiction, and the fact they share reading just pushes Heisig's method to an even higher level. I'll be adding this blog to my watch list :)

  2. This looks very promising. I am about halfway done with RTK and I think I'll stick with that for kanji meanings (I've been doing 30/day). Do you think a similar method could be employed for only the readings?

  3. Could you please put an image of your notes or maps?
    in case you write down this things in paper,

    keep up the good job

  4. Sorry, but I don't have any notes or drawings beyond what's written on the site.

  5. Do you think this method would work for novels, too? I mean, I'm fairly certain that I imagine my favourite novels as movies in my head, anyway. I wonder... maybe I should try it? DO you think it'd work?

  6. I know this is a very old thread but can you please explain how the story for valley relates to the keyword "valley"?

    1. Cause they're in the part of California they call "The Valley"


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