I am on a “one-minute” book roll. This weekend, I had to spend expiring gift certificates at a Sanseido bookstore in New Jersey. So many books so little time. Fortunately, I chose an “illustrated” version of 1分間勉強法: One Minute Tips for Effective Studying. If picture books work for my five and two year old as they learn Japanese and English, why not give myself a break and have a book that is richly illustrated with diagrams and drawings as I baby myself into Japanese? Over Thanksgiving break, though I was busy with school planning and family, I got pulled into 1分間勉強法 partly because I could look at the diagrams. Then I read relatively small amounts of text in between the diaper changes and being challenged to sumo matches by my children. (How do I always manage to lose?)
Time Magic/Color Magic [タイム＊マジック」／「カラー＊マジック」
This is one of those books that appears simple but where I wish my Japanese was a little higher to catch the subtle points. Basically, Takashi says that you should take advantage of “shrinking time” and using the right brain through his “Time Magic” and “Color Magic” methods. “Time Magic” involves speeding up the reviews of a book. He suggests that you practice turning every page of a book within ten minutes, then five, and one. He has very specific information on how long to stay on each page and even how to turn pages quickly. From what I can understand, Takashi claims that a few things work when you do these quick page turning exercises:
- You are using your subconsciousness （潜在意意識) to “read” a book just like you can use your intuition to “read” a person at first glance
- The discombobulation that comes from turning pages so quickly creates a healthy confusion that helps you get a lot out of each book
- The “time magic” forces you to squeeze a lot out of each reading and can also be more fun
- Time magic also works with his philosophy of taking quick and repeated jabs at memory in order to achieve a knockout. (Spaced repetition) It reminds me of a recent phrase AJATT shared with Silverspoon members: “Get started. Momentum is more precious than well-argued ideas. #immersion #SRS”
Once you’ve mastered this quick method of looking through a book, it’s time to use “color magic.” According to Takashi, organizing the information from the books you have read involves right brain activity by using color. It works like this:
- Once you’ve finished reading or reviewing a book, take out a special colored sheet that that has red, green, yellow, and blue squares on it …. you can download a sheet here
- red is for the information that you feel is key, green is for information is also important, etc….blue is for interesting but not necessarily important information
- once you’ve made this sheet you can use the one second review technique to review the book….over time you will be able to review 60 books in one minute
I haven’t totally incorporated this system but I like the idea of page turning. There are so many unread books on my shelves that it is intimidating. However, just flipping through the pages and catching random chapter titles is both a learning experience and helps me develop a road-map for what I want to read.
I haven’t methodically used the one-minute review system, but I’ve found that it has really helped to get me reading again. I do a quick “speed date” with some of the books that have been lingering in my apartment. It reminds me of why I picked them up in the first place and gives me a preview of what I want to read for. Then I just read in the normal fashion.
However, with Japanese books, I have given up looking up new vocabulary when I am just reading for fun. I just enjoy meeting a new word for the first time. I know more and more kanji everyday and can figure out the meanings of a lot of words. I also know that I have time every day when I study new vocabulary more intentionally.
Having a mid-life reading crisis? Don’t give up on reading. Add some speed and a lot of color. It’ the 1分 way! Reading is fun for da mental!
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