The first kanji that the word 'recess' makes me think of is this:
This is the kanji for 'rest', and it is made up of two parts:
a kanji component for a 'person',
a kanji for a 'tree.'
Picture a person taking a rest by a tree. --That is how we've learned this kanji, which also means 'a period of time when someone stops working, vacation, or a holiday.'
The second kanji that comes to mind is the following:
This is the kanji meaning 'the inner, hidden parts of something.' According to my kanji dictionary, it originally stood for the furnace or the oven in the kitchen, which was in the furthest corner of the house.
I've found such examples as 'in the dark recesses of my mind,' and 'in the inner recesses of the temple' in the dictionary, and I'm wondering why the word recess is in the plural form in these phrases.
The third kanji that I associate with the English word 'recess' is this:
I think this character is self-explanatory. This kanji, meaning 'concave', would help us picture 'part of a wall, set back from the rest of the wall.'
According to one of my English-Japanese dictionaries, the English word recess comes from the Latin 'recedere' [ re (back) + cedere (to go)]. The multiple meanings of the word recess seem to have the notion of 'going back' in common. 'Going back', away from the activities, the lessons, the surface, and so on...
'Recess' reminds me of the word 'recession', which looks similar but has quite different meanings...
I wish I could keep pondering on these words, but it is about time I took a break.
Thank you for reading this post.