For western lovers of language, there can be no more imposing challenge than understanding the strokes and symbols of the Chinese, Japanese and Korean written word. One character in particular is not for beginners. Taito is the name given to a Japanese character meaning ‘appearance of a dragon in flight’. Combining the symbols for ‘cloud’ and ‘dragon’. it takes 84 pen strokes to create the taito. Combining characters in this way to create compound words is common in Chinese writing; intriguingly, some scholars liken the words to mollecules and their parts to atoms.