…the sage, traveling all day, does not lose sight of his baggage. Though there are beautiful things to be seen, he remains unattached and calm.”— Lao Tsu, Tao Te Ching (Feng and English translation)
If we’re on a quest for spiritual self-transformation, we need to give our best attention to how we are with money because it’s one of the keys to a big part of our human nature. A human being, according to the great spiritual teachings of the world has two natures or aspects: a side that is meant to be engaged in the activity in the world, making and doing…the other side has to do with the spiritual, the transcendent . . . We are called on to find the relationship between these two opposing parts of ourselves and to develop the kind of awareness that relates each to the other in a harmonious way. –Jacob Needleman in Personal Transformation Winter 2000
I used to do a series of “Mind, Body, Wallet Workshops” to encourage people to think about money. Sometimes money is a reflection of thought patterns that obscure reality. Surfing is great but if your mind is ruled by these unobserved and uncontrolled waves it can lead to trouble. (Drawings are by Ken Polotan)
I have this habit of overcoming challenges, doing a lot of research, and then sharing what I’ve found with the world. I did this 15 or so years ago when I got out of debt and started thinking about the role of personal finance in my life and my so-called consciousness. I still firmly believe that you need to “do money” or money will do you. I need to think about money so that money concerns don’t affect my health, my relationships, and my ability to learn more.
Versions of this article appeared in magazines over a decade ago. (BTW magazines are these paper objects with articles and photographs that people read.) The articles appeared in New Age magazines. Yes, they were written when my crystals still smelled of patchouli. But I still stand by a lot of what I wrote, specifically these three steps:
Watch –your financial patterns without judgement
Build–a base by eliminating debt and thinking about your life purpose
Move–invest and find work that you love
I am not a financial expert. Consider me more your financial cheerleader (or coach if you don’t like facial hair on cheerleaders.) Check out the storef or helpful books and specific resources. Continue reading »
All I need to know is how much is enough. —James Heisig’s translation of saying on a small stone basin at Ryonji, a Zen temple
Buddhist poet Saigyo tried to live “one inch above the ground.” . . .not with one’s feet planted firmly in the everyday, not walking on the clouds, but floating a thumb’s length above the ground. –Heisig, Dialogues at One Inch Above the Ground
Stop being a jerk to yourself. You did your best given what you knew at the time. Now do your best now. —from a Silverspoon email.
Remember, in order to actually get better at guitar you need to actually take the guitar out of its bag. —Dan Emery, head of NYC School of Guitar in a postcard to all the students
I decided to shut up and show the samurai up with guitar. I picked this book to begin with because it will reinforce my Japanese. Of course, it has a mangalike character on front. If you are interested, here is the closest version I could find on Amazon Japan. Two birds. No killing. Just a rolling stone gathering no moss.
In my last post, I focused on Heisig and how he examined his systems and perfected them. Heisig optimized his learning and the learning of many more through his system for learning kanji. I also suggested that it’s great to examine your methods, find your weaknesses and reassess. I still believe that is true, but I also believe you also just have to show the Samurai up! If you can’t think of the “right” thing to do, do something! In short:
if you can’t think of the most fun or targeted learning activity, do the “boring” one until you are inspired
inspiration sometimes comes through “work”–sometimes it doesn’t
keep your brain myelinated …keep the mental and physical conversation of the skill going
still, don’t forget the fun–what’s really great is when some fun activity or experience reinforces the work and seals the deal on what you have learned
stay “one inch above the ground”…grounded in the practice of what you are trying to learn and also dreaming and enjoying it . . . watch experts and children who still enjoy learning and model them
I need to practice what I preach. 🙂 Lately, I decided to start playing guitar again. I have no dearth of materials, in Japanese and English. I was getting my underwear all in knots thinking of which set of materials to use: a Japanese guide, Jamplay.com, or the many English DVD’s and books that are hidden in different corners of my apartment.
Did anyone notice how good Japanese graphic arts can be? In addition to these homey little characters (this one is showing you how to hold a guitar correctly) there are also very precise and sharp schematic drawings about how to hold the pick and hit the strings.
I finally to stop fretting (guitar joke!) about all the materials and just get started. I had an old flashcard deck devoted to guitar playing and started with some scales. Then I decided to open up one of the many guitar books I have and just go through it. It includes a DVD and I fired up an old Dell that I now use as a spare DVD player. The first few lessons are really simple, and explain how to hit the strings with your pick. The first few video lessons show how to hit one string with different rhythms. It’s kind of boring but hitting the strings and doing it rhythmically correct is fundamental to a lot of guitar playing. Hey, someone should write a book called Zen Guitar! (It’s an actual book!)
This is a reference manga for the manga series, “Beck.” The manga is about a 90 lb. weakling who joins a rock band. (I didn’t end up following the manga or the anime.) The music guide gives background to all the characters and all the real-life music influences that run throughout the manga. If I read this, not only will I know more Japanese, I will also know more about rock and roll music history. Amazon Japan Link.
After doing scales for a few days, I thought about perusing the lessons at jamplay.com and found a new series on the guitar playing of Eric Clapton. I went through a beginning lesson that covered the style of the Yardbirds doing a song called “Boom Boom.” I listened to this song and the many versions of the original by the blues-man John Lee Hooker. It’s so much fun to watch what the masters can do with their guitar. (of course you never hear what they sounded like when they were sucky beginners)
The Beck Music Guide is fun and encyclopedic. For example, one character is really influenced by the blues, so here you see the character and then all the real-life albums that “influenced” his playing. It’s great to see the cover art of all these great blues albums from Bo Diddly, John Lee Hooker, Howlin’ Wolf, etc all in one place.
But all of this happened because I decided to show the samurai up! Use a timer if you need to do but do something daily instead of fretting about the methods. Stay grounded but not at the point where you are digging your own rut. Get inspired by the masters but not to the point where it looks impossible and you stop practicing. Work. Have fun. Stay “one inch above the ground.”
I use kanji.koohii.com to share and use mnemonic stories to remember how to read, write, and understand the kanji. It’s great to work with others across the world but in the end you also have to make your learning your own. I am wandering beyond the standard kanji. Learning a lot of botanical kanji lately, like this kanji for “stamen.”
Samurai Mind Online is dedicated to helping people take on whatever they want to learn whether they think it’s impossible or not. Last night I almost gave myself a concussion when I realized that I hadn’t taken the opportunity to share an interview that I did with James W. Heisig in 2006. As you’ll see in the interview (it’s way longer than my typical post), Heisig came up with a system for how to remember kanji, the Chinese based system that is a key system of writing in Japan. But regardless of whether you are reading this blog because you are interested in learning Japanese, I think there are a few take aways from this interview that any one wanting to learn anything in their life could take away from this story:
be bold and don’t be afraid to follow your own path
always be on the look out for smart short cuts or opportunities for deliberate practice. Khatzumoto has some key questions in his article, “Practice Time, Game Time” that I think can apply to any field: What don’t I know well? What doesn’t work? What needs fixing? What can be improved? (Talent is Overrated is a great book to think about this whole idea of deliberate practice.) Heisig realized that understanding kanji would really propel his Japanese fluency and invented a whole system around it.
don’t depend on others to tell you what is impossible or not
have fun. Happy feelings bring happy learnings. Heisig hightailed it from the language school as soon as he could and went to the mountains of Nagano and said he learned a lot of Japanese by playing with children and reading comic books.
Give yourself the edge. Be bold and independent but also look at all the resources that are available and be persistent about evaluating them. And above all have fun and enjoy the journey.
Another great tool is anki.ichi.net, which allows you to create flashcards for anything that you are learning. As you pass and fail cards, they come up in a spaced repetition system, so you are mostly reviewing things at the edge of forgetting and remembering. SRS systems are a great way to give yourself an edge.
This interview originally appeared in kanjiclinic.com, a great resource for learning more about kanji.
“Adventures in Kanji-Land: James W. Heisig and the Birth of Remembering the Kanji”
Based on an Interview with James W. Heisig
By Juan W. Rivera
Free download of the first 125 pages of Remembering the Kanji I.
Every now and then, someone confronts their own personal challenge, systematically overcomes it, and then shares that system with the world. This not only opens up their world, but also opens up the world for generations of people to come. James W. Heisig, author of the sometimes controversial book Remembering the Kanji I: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters, is definitely one of those people. Many people refer to his approach to learning to write the complex Japanese characters as “revolutionary,” making Japanese and kanji study accessible to their lives and opening up a whole world of learning and possibilities for them. I conducted a telephone interview with Prof. Heisig from his office at the Nanzan University Institute for Religion and Culture in Nagoya, Japan.
Heisig’s kanji journey began while he was living in a commune of poets and artists identified as the “spiritual” side of the Sandanista revolution that would soon overthrow the Somoza government. Because of his familiarity with research centers, he was invited by Nanzan University to consult on the establishment of an academic institute devoted to dialogue among religions and philosophies East and West. Shortly after the consultation he was invited back to assist in the project, on condition that he would remain for five years and first attain fluency in spoken and written Japanese at an academic level.Continue reading »
In my last post I discussed the happiness decision, or the power to make a decision to turn your mind towards positive things even when you don’t feel happy. Lately, I’ve also been pondering the question of how do you confront the darkness without becoming dark. I was thinking specifically of two people I really admire Mahatma Gandhi and Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Many people focus on them almost as heroes or saints, but they were just human beings. Yes, they wrote and spoke of great things, but they laughed, they cried, they had faults. They were human.
They laughed and gathered and consulted with the people around them. They made the “happiness decision” in countless ways. I think this is a forgotten reason for why Gandhi and King were able to lead these social movements. I googled, “Martin Luther King, Jr. and happiness” and stumbled upon these great quotes gathered by goodreads. They really helped to power my morning and I want to share a few with you:
Part of what I think made Martin Luther King Jr. a great leader was his capacity for joy and reaching for people. From the National Archves. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivering his I Have a Dream Speech at the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C. 08/28/1963 ARC Identifier 542069 / Local Identifier 306-SSM-4D(107)16
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
“Now there is a final reason I think that Jesus says, “Love your enemies.” It is this: that love has within it a redemptive power. And there is a power there that eventually transforms individuals. Just keep being friendly to that person. Just keep loving them, and they can’t stand it too long. Oh, they react in many ways in the beginning. They react with guilt feelings, and sometimes they’ll hate you a little more at that transition period, but just keep loving them. And by the power of your love they will break down under the load. That’s love, you see. It is redemptive, and this is why Jesus says love. There’s something about love that builds up and is creative. There is something about hate that tears down and is destructive. So love your enemies. (from “Loving Your Enemies”)”
― Martin Luther King Jr., A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Be absolutely determined to enjoy what you do. –Ben Hogan
You don’t have to “feel”happy to put your mind in happy places.
Focusing on happiness is a decision.
It’s possible that happiness is a habit of turning your mind to positive places. There is also a key role for tears. Sometimes you need to wring out a wet towel before putting it in the dryer.
The happiness decision may help you learn more. Earn more?
Learning more may help your happiness. It’s an unvicious cycle.
I’m back in New York and writing out of the Writer’s Room. It has a lot more sunlight than the cave-like atmosphere of a manga cafe. My laptop, copies of the books in the post and two of my samurai notebooks. Samurai notebooks are more fun to review when you fill it with fun, personally thought provoking and inspiring material. What is in your notebook is a happiness decision.
For a few weeks now I’ve been walking around with two Japanese books in my “man-bag” and realizing that there is a strong connection between the two books but not quite being able to put my finger on it. Today I finally realized what was the connection. Happiness is a decision and it can help you transform everything that you do, especially with learning and transforming your life.
My dose of soy sauce translation of the two book titles are: Only Do Good Things with Your Brain by Ken Mogi (脳にいいことだけをやりなさい！）and Speed up Your Information Rate by 10 Times with the NLP Speed Reading Method by Naoya Matsushima (情報量が10倍になるNLP速読術). (Keep in mind that I am in day 457 of a 595 Japanese immersion experience. Some day I will throw more English resources at you.)
Ken Mogi is a Japanese brain scientist and prolific writer and talk show host. This book is slightly more technical, so I find it hard to keep really give the full meaning of it to you. (I am also only in the middle of the book. Yeah, I break the rules but at least I tell you!) But it is pretty clear from on of the first drawings that Mogi believes that happiness is, in part, a decision. Part of the reason I picked the book is because it has pictures (all is fair in love and reading!). The first picture shows a happy person with the happiness lgauge on full blast. The illustration below that is an unhappy person (fumes emanating all around him) with the happiness full gauge on low. The final illustration on the bottom shows a person changing a control gauge (like an old fashioned volume control) from bottom to high. The phrase at the bottom reads: 脳の中にある「幸せど度」いつでも変えられる or “You Can Always Change the Degrees of Happiness in Your Brain.”
How do you do this? The second illustration tells you how. It hows a person who has built a happiness house:
The foundation is “elimination of negative thinking.”
The supporting pillars are: positive thinking, love and gratitude, the body’s energy (breath, position, etc), and “grabbing big power” (?) 「大いなる力」とのつながり。
The roof is goals for living.
There is a nice yard around the house and that is labelled, relationships with people.
All of these things interact and Mogi spends the rest of the book describing certain techniques for developing happiness. Just looking at the picture makes me happy.
Speed up Your Information Rate by 10 Times with the NLP Speed Reading Method by Naoya Matsushima (情報量が10倍になるNLP速読術)
Matsushima’s book is a guide to help busy, overwhelmed or under-motivated readers increase their reading speed and increasing their information retention. Matsushima, being an NLP guy, emphasizes the importance of getting in the right state of mind for reading and argues that one of the reasons people have problems with reading is all the negative associations they have with reading. He offers several exercises for using breathing and body posture for changing your state of mind before reading.
But what is most interesting to me is that he asks readers to pick a happy moment and think about and feel it with all the senses before commencing with reading. Happiness is an active decision that can help you learn more and experience joy through learning, if I follow Matsushima’s book correctly.
This happiness decision might be worthwhile in other areas. In 100 Ways to Create Wealth, the authors explain that you should always “move to the part of the work that you love.” This is a happiness decision that can result in improved efficiency, service, and even the ability to more easily transition to work that you love.
If you make the happiness decision then maybe you can experience more creativity in your life. Self-loathing and criticism aren’t going to help you. I finally got around to getting out my Japanese guitar books. Learning through love. Trying to make the happy decisions. Many birds, no stone. Online Guitar Lessons
I will warn you that the day I made the connection with all of this happiness stuff, I was grouchier than the Grouch. I also believe there is a role for crying and other forms of expressing other emotions. Sometimes you need to wring out a soaked towel before you put it in the dryer.
But it’s nice to be able to make more decisions to move towards happiness. Heck, it might even get addictive and help to you to transform the world.
The time that you can wake up to what you can do is now. As you follow your dreams and learn what you’ve always wanted to learn you need persistence. You also need to bob and weave. You can change your materials and your learning approaches like a time shifting ninja.
I’ve been taking photographs of pages from books that I find inspirational or interesting. This is from Kenichiro Mogi’s Japanese book, “Only Do Good Things With Your Brain.” This phrase here means that developing happiness helps your brain grow. Happiness, learning, happiness. A non-vicious cycle.
However, I’ve also come to realize lately is that you can also change your state of mind. Yes, you can change your materials and your methods and you should always be awake to that. But you can also change your mind, and that can make a world of difference. Before I lose the thread of what I want to say in a jet-lag haze (just got back from Japan two days ago), here are some quick tips to help get you get in a learning state of mind:
Check your breathing and your posture. Open up. Breathe deep.
Smile towards towards your work and tell yourself, “I am going to look for what is fun in this.”
Be gentle with yourself. Do you point and laugh at children that are learning how to walk?
On the other hand, don”t try to bliss out. You don’t have to motivate yourself to do what is odious to you. Put that Napalm for Idiots book in the trash. You don”t have to know every fact or keep every flashcard. Choice is a loving act.
The other day, I was looking at my Samurai notebook and really feeling resistant about looking at it. I had been resisting looking at it for days. Part of the reason I was feeling this resistance was because I had filled my journal with “obligatory” notes from online courses from my job, etc. I realized this recently smiled, took relaxed breath and a looked at one of the positive goals in my Samurai notebook and turned a chore into a joy and challenge. I also made a decision to quickly skip over things that didn’t interest me at the moment. My samurai reviews have been going better ever since.
“Don’t focus on being negative. It won’t work anyway.”
In one of Khatzumoto’s emails as part of my Silverspoon (a Japanese immersion service) experience he writes something like, “don’t focus on being so negative. It won’t work anyway.” (Khatzumoto sends out emails containing both an inspirational quote—sometimes brutal, sometimes sublime, sometimes cheesy. ) In the daily “sprints,” Khatzumoto asks that you do what I would call an affirmation (though I think the youngster would probably choose a “hipper” phrase.) “Why do I choose to touch Japanese every day” is just one example.
A sign for guitar classes in Numazu. I want to take guitar classes and study how to play guitar with Japanese materials. Use what you love to learn. Loving two birds with no stone!
Part of the reason I keep recommending Khatzumoto’s site, ajatt.com, is because he is constantly finding ways to challenge states of mind that get in the way of doing what seems impossible. His site is about learning Japanese but just check out his site and replace learning Japanese with whatever “impossible” goal you have in mind. Here’s a start. I want to turn this into a bumper sticker. (I just need a car first):
Take a look around you, inside of you. What seems impossible? What’s one little step you can take. Breathe. Smile. Open a new page. Samurai reading is samurai singing. Samurai singing is samurai learning.
One of the three books in my rotation. I started just writing the chapter titles down because they make sense. “Don’t compare yourself to others.” That’s a good one, especially when you think of yourself as a reader.
Okay, well far as love goes, you should try to be human , respect and work things out, and let them down easy but as far as books go, love ’em or leave ’em. Here are some other important differences between love and reading:
Having multiple ‘partners’ is healthy in reading. You can read several books and articles in quick succession.
You can drop a book the minute you’ve gotten whatever you want out of it.
A book can’ t break your achy breaky heart.
Why read? Sam Beckford, co- author of 100 Ways to Create Wealthexplained that the difference between his successful business and a several failed businesses before that was the 700 books that he read in between the two. Reading and applying what you read is a powerful way to move forward. Most importantly, reading is just plain fun way to explore and use your mind and a great way to keep it active.
(Being shiftless, cheap, and easy is specially important when you are using reading to learn a foreign language. Keep it fun, or drop it and leave. I know I quoted AJATT in my last post but I want to emblazon the title of his last piece into my brain:
Here are some quick Samurai tips on how to be a reading ‘player’:
Browse. Go to real bookstores and libraries and relaxedly look around. Even if you don’t buy or borrow a single book, a browsing session is a fun way to explore and map out the
I picked this up at a local Bookoff. Kenichiro Mogi”s , “Only do Good Things with Your Brain.”
topography of your heart’s desires.
Speed it up. Spend one minute, five minutes, ten minutes on a book if time is limited or even just to get more out of it. For a long time, I was one of those people that said that ‘there is no time to read.’ However, adding ‘time pressure’ to your reading can actually make reading more fun. Set a timer or just use your interest as a guide. Skim through every page or read closely. Whatever turns you on.
Suck the marrow out and spit the rest out. You aren’t married to your book. Lately, especially with Japanese books, I’ve noticed that I get a lot out of a book even if all I do is read the table of contents. Skip to the good parts. You can always go back later.
Break up huge or ‘unapproachable’ books into small bites. Ask yourself, ‘What is fun or interesting’ about this. It can be fun to claim some herculean work. I’ve been reading The Making of Modern Japan by Marius B. Jansen with the help of a timer. It also helps that I ask myself what is fun about what I am reading. I tend to skip over the parts about the bureaucratic administration of rice allotmentzzzzzz.
Sakamoto Ryoma, the 19th century samurai who is credited with helping to create the plan that would help Japan move into modernization and protect it from the West is credited with saying, “In whatever situation a person finds himself, he should not
After finishing this post, I went for my last browse in a Japanese bookstore until I come back next summer. This is an NLP inspired book called (roughly) “NLP Speed Reading Techniques to To Speed your Information Retention by 10X” Talk about serendipity.
abandon his favorite ways and his special abilities.” Remember this as you read and choose how and what to read. You are the artist, defender, and creator of your life. Have fun, read, and grow.
Yes, I guess my mind is turning into a Japanese t-shirt. That’s a good thing While I’m at it, here is a whole string of truisms coming at ya:
Do what you love and love what you do.
Love what you learn and learn what you love.
Bored or frustrated with what you are learning? Here are two options: change what you are learning or change your mind.
Fun doesn’t mean easy.
The other day I was doing my Chinese exercises by the beach and was graced by both the sight Mount Fuji and a fleeting glimpse of a rainbow. I caught it all on my iPhone. In between Nei Kung sets, I did little flashcard reviews using my Midori app. In these brief little sprints, I stop when a word repeats or when I get bored. (AJATT and other immersion experts recommend studying sentences rather than single words but I enjoying having little bursts of vocabulary exercise.)
Sometimes the clouds just lift and you can see Mt. Fuji
As I went through the cards, I noticed that I was really remembering the cards I had some fond, personal connection to rather than the cards I just collected by more formal ‘studying.’ I remembered that どじょう was loach fish (wth?) because it was a word I had collected while my daughter was singing karaoke with my father-in-law. I could picture the cartoon face. Last night I looked up ひやひや (chilly or fearful) and can remember that it was a word a Japanese ping pong player used to describe her team’s close game.
I think it’s also possible to change your mind about what you are learning and ask what’s the fun in this? Sometimes I get a lot more out of just reading the table of contents of a Japanese book rather than boring myself by struggling through every page and killing my desire to read. Everything is fair in love, reading, and learning.
Fun doesn’t mean easy.
Kenichiro Mogi, author of several books on the the brain （ 脳） loves to talk about the dopamine effect. He explains that overcoming mental hurdles and challenges releases endorphins and dopamine that create feelings of happiness. It’s why some people love video games, mountain climbing and even algebra.
A lot of people idolize Jimi Hendrix as a rock god. (Yes, I am not worthy.) But what a lot of people don’t acknowledge is all the hours of work that he put in to play the guitar so well. He walked around his apartment with his guitar strapped on. And he didn’t forget the fun. Hard work + love + fun= dope (dopamine)
Learn what you love and love what you learn. Become the Jimi Hendrix of your life. Climb the mountain! Catch the rainbow! Online Guitar Lessons
I am enjoying just reading the chapter titles. The chapters are bite-sized but I haven’t gotten around to reading the innards. There are some great hints for leading a powerful, simple life. Here are a few of my faves. As always, take my translations with a dash of soy sauce. Use it for your life or for your sentence sampling if you are studying Japanese.
十五分、早起きしてみるーーTry waking up fifteen minutes earlier.
朝の空気をしっかり、味わうーーReally take in the morning air.
脱いだ靴を整えるーーWhen you take off your shoes, arrange them neatly
いらない物を捨てるーーGet rid of things that you don’t need
デスクの上整える＾＾Arrange your desk neatly (uh-oh)
一杯のコーヒ＾を丁寧に淹れる–Serve Up Your Coffee Mindfully
食事をおろそかにしないーーDon’t neglect your meals
食事では、一口ごとに箸を置くTake Only One Bite-Full with Your Chopsticks
好きな言葉を探す＾＾Search for Words That You Really Like
持物を減らすーーReduce the Amount of Stuff You Carry Around
ベランダに小さいな庭をつくるーーCreate a Small Garden on Your Veranda
自分の手で自然に触れるーーTouch Nature With Your Hands
寝る前は嫌いなことを考えないーーDon’t Think About Negative Things Before You Go to Sleep
My Un-Zen desk at the Manga Cafe.
今できることを一生懸命にやるーーDo everything you are doing now with gusto
ときには、考えるをやめてみるーーTry to Stop Thinking Every Now and Then
起こっていないことで悩みないーーDon’t Worry About Things That Haven’t Happened Yet
仕事を楽しむーーEnjoy your work
悩むより動くーーMovement is better than worry
人と比べないーーDon’t Compare Yourself to (Other) People
平凡な一日こそ、感謝するーーBe Grateful for the Average, Every Day Things in Life
This book didn’t make my browsing cut but I like the message. I think the title is something like ‘Nothing is Pointless.’ More Buddhist self-help, please!
Of course, this all brings me to the question： Is Zen Zen because its Japanese or are the Japanese Japanese because of Zen? The answer is probably yes.
Will all of this help you? I don’ know. I do know my mother in-law is thrilled I neatly arranged the shoes. 🙂
Eighteen minutes left on my timer. One more hour left in the manga cafe. Day 440 of 595 of a paid Japanese immersion experience called Silverspoon. (I’m listening to Japanese Youtube as I write.) ￥900 to be in this booth. I paid a heck of a lot more to get motivational emails and study sprint suggestions from Silverspoon. I’m working and also having fun. I am playing Samurai money games.
As my time in Japan approaches, I have to make financial decisions. I decided to go on an expensive trip to Hakuba in Nagano with Japanese seniors. Fun times included listening to the same enka recording for the eight hour commute.
In this series I have explored how you can turn time into a game to help you move towards your goals. Even if you are extremely rich (did I tell you how great you look today?), your money is limited. You can either get depressed about that limit or have enjoy and respect the ‘energy’ of money and learn, do, create, and share in the most joyful, productive, artistic way possible. Who knows? You might even end up richer. (You look mahvelous, dahling!)
Money is energy. Respect it. Have fun with it. Share it with love. Here are some Samurai money games:
Get thousands of dollars of value from from your $1-15 ‘investments.’
Pay for a ‘coach’ to keep yourself on track.
Honor the energy of money. Use the fact that you have paid money for a service as a motivator to keep going. Keep it fun.
Release your death grip on money. Give some away.
Get thousands of dollars of value from from your $1-15 ‘investments.’
Books are great “investments.” Half the fun/learning was just browsing at a bookstore. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized the book was Zen based. (I read everything but the biggest kanji on the cover!)
I’m talking about books, apps, gadgets, etc. One well-used book or app can create thousands of dollars of value in learning. For example, I play a little game with my Midori Japanese dictionary app. I paid a mere $10 for this app but I try to get the most out of it. I look at the history of the words that I have looked up and review what I studied one day, two days, four days, and a week ago. (a rough form of spaced repetition) I play around with flashcards when I am on the bus, at appointments, etc. I may have already learned more vocabulary by doing this than if I had spent hundreds of dollars in Japanese classes.
Squeeze the value out of books. 毎朝１分で人生は変わる：One Minute, One Action in the Morning Will Change Your Life suggests getting the most out of a book by reading it several times and reviewing it at night. Another Japanese author suggests beating up your books (not library books), and even taking it to the bath with you. Move on when you don’t feel the life force in a book anymore.
Pay for a ‘coach’ to keep yourself on track.
You keep yourself on track, but it’s good to have someone pushing, prodding and creative alternatives. You can go to the gym and you can also get a personal trainer. A personal trainer costs more but it’s all part of putting your money where your mouth is. I pay what some might consider a hefty sum to do Silverspoon (a Japanese coaching service from ajatt.com), but in part the money keeps me on track. If ajatt.com is the gym, then Silverspoon is like a personal trainer, switching it up like a ninja. Sometimes the value you get from the extra push is worth a lot more than what you pay.
I passed on the vanilla icing covered potato chips.
Honor the energy of money. Use the fact that you have paid money for a service as a motivator to keep going. Keep it fun.
Paying money is a way to bookmark is skills and knowledge you want to have. I currently pay for three services to help me keep moving forward in my goal of learning Japanese: Japanesepod101.com, Iknow.co.jp and Silverspoon. They add to my palette of Japanese learning. When I get bored with one system, I move on to another. I’ve also donated to kanji.koohii.com and anki.ichi.net, which are free but invaluable systems that have helped me. I also subscribe to jamplay.com, a guitar learning website but haven’t actually been playing. However, I am keeping this service as a bookmark and motivator of where I want to go.
Release your death grip on money. Give some away. “Waste some.”
Money is like a samurai sword. If you are too loose with it, you easily lose any advantage. If you grip too tight, you lose your fluidity. (BTW I have never held a samurai sword–too sharp and scary!) Give some of your money away to good causes, frivolous games, friends in need. I don’t know how and if this works, but I do it and I like it.
Sometimes you have to try something new and not be calculating about money. Give to a charity or buy Salty Watermelon Pepsi!
Money is energy. Respect it. Have fun with it. Share it with love. Play samurai money games.