Lately, I share a lot of kanji, words, and phrases from Japanese in my twitter stream, but today's word demands a bit more of an explanation. Plus it has one of my favorite units of time built into it: the kalpa.
How long is a kalpa, you ask? In Hindu and Buddhist cosmology, they explain it this way sometimes: Imagine an immense block of stone. Every century, an angel descends from heaven to give the stone a brief wipe with a silky cloth. That stone will be worn down a little at a time by this process. But the stone will be gone long before a kalpa can finish.
Less poetically, some clock a kalpa at 4.32 billion years.
Anyways, looking at today's word, 億劫 okku, meaning troublesome or annoying, we can see the kanji 億 (100 million) and 劫 (a kalpa). So it refers to a task that would take 100 million kalpas, or 4.32x10^17 years. Very troublesome indeed.
Bonus kalpa fun: A webcomic. The kalpa part comes around panel 31.
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