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I love it when a song pops in to your head and it fits what you’ve been thinking and reading about.   Enjoy yourself (it’s later than you think).  I just discovered the Louis Prima version but I was introduced to the song by a ska group called the Specials.

Sometimes you just have to jump into your desired skill to enjoy it.  The sign from this ice cream shop in Japan says,  "If it drinks and it eats the dessert, it becomes happy feelings about this shop."  That's my philosophy about deliberate practice in one confusing sentence. :)

Sometimes you just have to jump into your desired skill to enjoy it. The sign from this ice cream shop in Japan says, “If it drinks and it eats the dessert, it becomes happy feelings about this shop.” That’s my philosophy about deliberate practice in one confusing sentence. 🙂

Hi my name is Juan and I’m going to enjoy myself first.  (obscure song reference 🙂 )  What got me thinking in this vein was a quote from my current carry around town book,  1分スピード記憶勉強法:  Study Method with One-Minute Speedy Memorizing:

好きで興味があるところだかららくに読め、くり返すことができ、どんどん言葉になじんでいくでしょう。この「いい環境」の波に乗ることばでりば、頑張らなくてもどんどん「英語を読む」ようになっていくのです。

If you read things you are interested and read in a relaxed way,  reviewing is easier, and bit by bit the you will be steeped in more vocabulary.    If you ride the waves of this “Nice  Environment”,  you will be able to [read English] without knocking yourself out.  Masami Utsude

I actually finished this book a while ago but decided to just carry it around for subway rides, waiting for appointments, etc.  It’s fun, easy but with a lot of new vocabulary, and just reinforces positive thinking and methods I want to incorporate into my life and learning.  It’s like All Japanese All The Time except it’s written in Japanese most of the time!  (There are sample English sentences for Japanese learners who want to learn English.)

A big part of learning involves controlling and nurturing your environment and ensuring that you will both push and relax into your hoped for skill.   In the morning I create and study flashcards and all that other Silverspoon-push stuff.   In the off moments, I may be listening to Japanese music or watching snippets of Japanese youtube videos.   Then, I “read” my Japanese books.   I may read every word on every page or just read the chapter headings or the table of contents.  I don’t worry if I know every word.  I may look at a new kanji compound and think, “Wow, I haven’t seen you before.”  And then, I move on.   I’m light years away from where I was months ago, when a page of Japanese text put me into a cycle of self-loathing.

Whatever you are doing or try to learn, there is a place for “pushing” and practice but an equally important place is relaxing and enjoying your skill.  Create a “nice environment””

  • Begin by being nice to yourself.  Be as nice as you would to a child learning to walk.
  • Think in terms of games.  I just realized that some people have crosswords and sudoku and I have kanji.  I’m not going to master “kanji”  I’m going to play kanji.
  • Find the teachers and tools that you enjoy or at least choose to enjoy your teachers.  Currently, I am watching Steve Eulberg’s lesson on the Circle of Fifths on Jamplay.  (They have a sale in December!  Follow the link on the right)  It’s wracking my brain but, hey, I like the guy.
  • Make time on your side.  Use timers to turn the “pushing” part of your day.   Lately, I’ve been going at the Japanesepod101..com lessons (check out yet another link on the right) but using incremental and decremental timers (an AJATT tool) to make it all mission-impossibly fun.  It’s also part of adding speed to my game.
  • Let yourself play and play “bad.”  I’ve been playing a lot more guitar since I’ve given myself the opportunity to play badly.  In fact, it’s been liberating to give up.  Nope,  I am not going to play like Keith Richards tomorrow.   But I can practice this G scale pattern and noodle around afterwards.

I’m glad we all survived the apocalypse.  But the timer is still ticking.  Enjoy yourself.  It’s later than you think.

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