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Here’s a quick little Samurai success formula to take on whatever you want to do or  know more about in life:

  • Push.  Find little windows where you can push yourself to learn a little more and push.   Write down a new word, concept, do push ups until you are tired.
  • Relax.  Congratulations on pushing yourself.   Take a few breaths or a nap.  A relaxed learner learns more than a self-loathing ball of nervousness.
  • Have Fun.   Find a fun angle on what you are trying to learn, do, or accomplish.  Find a comic book version of what you are trying to learn.  Zumba!  (WTH!)
  • Repeat.  Go back to the seat of the crime and take a fresh samurai stab at it all.  Be persistent like water, grasshopper.

Yesterday’s Yomiuri. A foreign newspaper can seem scary, but it can also be a game. You can look at pictures can’t you. Any goal has opportunities for pushing and having fun.

Case in point–the Yomiuri News.   Yomiuri Shinbun is kind of like the Japanese Wall Street journal.  It’s the most interesting newspaper lying around my father-in-law’s house.   I already know a lot of kanji and a lot of Japanese vocabulary, but if I try to read every page my eyes start to swim in desperation and confusion.

But all is not lost.  My vocabulary has increased since doing AJATT but what has also changed is my attitude.  I’ve begun to take on Japanese newspapers.

Bad stuff happening in Syria and the ongoing mess at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Yomiuri is the best paper in the house and I’ve decide to at least open it every day.   Push.  I scan the headlines and pictures for things that interest me.   Have fun.  I find a story that interests me and find one word or more that I don’t understand and look it up with my iPhone app, Midori. At the touch of a screen I instantly add it to my flashcards.  This word will be with me for a while.   Push.  I start to feel like it’s turning into homework and I Relax.   I like reading the small ads at the bottom of Yomiuri hawking all sorts of diet, sports, business, and self-help books.  I enjoy the language of promises and I also like the bite-sized、digestible bites they come in.  Have fun.  The newspaper comes again the next day and I Repeat.  PRHR! (Like a cat with spelling issues.)

The ads are like little candies. Small and chewy!

I’m hoping to PRHR through more of I want to learn:  financial and investment literacy, Spanish, and playing guitar.    Today Yomiuri, tomorrow the world.