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So I'm trying to learn kanji from the 'basic kanji book' and also this website. I got to 本 and the basic kanji book and this website said that it had different meanings. While the book said it meant 'root, origin, true, main' this website says it means 'book, counter for long slender objects.' Also the basic kanji book says that 本日 means this day- now I'm no expert but I'm pretty sure that those two together mean Japan, or Japanese. Does anybody know the true meaning of 本 ?
By itself it does indeed mean book, and it is also a counter. Your basic kanji book is merely telling you what the abstract meaning of the kanji is when it is a component of a word, but scrutinizing these abstract meanings is not worth you time. 本日 means today in the sense that our current position (origin) in time is the day we are currently. Not tomorrow, not yesterday, which are deviations from our origin. Dont bother yourself with all that extranneous thinking, just learn the literal meaning of each word itself, and over time any abstract associations with a kanji will automatically reveal itself to you.
Personally that's what I'd do. As for the actual word 'origin', you will see it written with a different kanji most of the time anyway... But perhaps for you it's worth keeping in the back of your mind that 本 can have that other meaning for now, it's a personal study choice, but I did not study that way.