Obviously a lot of kanji are based on oriental cultural ideas. Chinese architecture, eastern mythology, rice fields and bamboo, etc…
While this undoubtedly helped the original inventors of the kanji remember what each symbol meant it isn’t nearly as helpful to those of us who grew up in the modern West.
Which is why sometimes it’s best to ignore the real history of a kanji and come up with your own interpretation of what it looks like instead. After all, as long as you accurately remember WHAT the kanji means it doesn’t really matter HOW you remember it.
Blue: Some kanji represent abstract ideas instead of physical objects.
Blue: Working with these requires a little more imagination.
Blue: One popular way to remember the kanji for “early” is to think of it as a flower that blooms early in the day to soak up the sun.
Blue: And for this “old” kanji I like to think of an old fashioned church with a giant cross on the roof.
Yellow: Looks more like a sword in a stone to me.
Blue: As long as you remember “old” it doesn’t matter if you imagine an old church or an old sword or something else entirely.
Yellow: EXCALIBUR COME FORTH!