Tag Archives: memory

Life is an SRS: Create your Learning Environment

One of the more fun lessons I’ve gotten from ajatt and other sources is that you become what you surround yourself with.   If you want to learn Japanese, surround yourself with Japanese people, music, and experiences.   Maybe it works for other things as well.  If you want to be rich, surround yourself with rich people, or at least with books and audio that explore ethical and fun ways to create wealth.  Life itself is an SRS.

Signs signs every there’s signs. Walking around is just one big kanji and vocabulary review.

An SRS is short for spaced repetition system.  A spaced repetition system usually involves creating flashcards.   Using various online and offline computer programs these cards come up in an algorithm based on how successful you’ve been at remembering the various facts.   The harder to remember facts come up sooner, while the easier facts come up at increasingly longer intervals.  An SRS is an excellent way to consciously push your learning further.

I guess I could sit at my computer and look at flashcards all day, but maybe walking around the park and realizing that the sign I thought was some kind of haiku years ago actually says, “Let’s clean up.  Dog poop is the responsibility of the owner.”

When I first came to Japan, I thought these signs were haiku. This sign means it is your responsiblity to clean up your dog’s poop.

There are a thousand opportunities to learn.  The conscious pushing of study opens up more possibilities but the random discovery of real-life experience “cooks in the flavah.”

Use this symbiosis between conscious effort and environment.   Yes, you can push but also think what’s around you.  Khatzumoto often says something like, “You learn the language that’s on your walls.”  You don’t want to be hermetically sealed off but you want to think about your environment.  It’s the reason that the Dali Lama didn’t attend Chico State, the party college of California.

Some random, unsolicited hints for a better Samurai Repetition System:

  • Stop watching television or be more selective about the content and amount of time you watch
  • Hang out with the kind of people you would like to become – come on you funky line dancing hipsters – come to Samurai Juan
  • Read the books you want to become
  • Create little opportunities for adventure—eat somewhere different, talk to someone new—you might not know where you want to go unless you occasionally stray off the beaten path .
  • Pray and meditate.  I’m going out on a limb here.  Your thoughts are part of your environment.  If you are not a prayer person at least imagine good things for people.

Let me know how it goes and thank you for making samuraimindonline.com part of your learning environment.


The Power of Morning and Evening: Samurai Slumbering–Samurai Rising

A passageway from a temple to garden in Nagasaki. Morning and evening are key transition times.

A Japanese self-help book, a samurai self-help blogger , and a Japanese immersion website meet at a bar and talk about the best time to “do it.”  Morning and night.

Morning and night might be one of the best times to set your intentions, embedded knew knowledge, and change your life.

Anchors Away!

Khatz talks about the importance of morning and evening as anchors:

I’ll just say that in terms of just outward behavior patterns, those two “anchor points” do tend to set pattern for the rest of the day. Broadly speaking, the rest of one’s day often seems to run off of the inertia from these two times of day.

Focus your energy on managing your immediate environment, the 3-foot wide country that is you — especially at these two critical times – and you may well find that other things just naturally fall into place.  —All Japanese All the Time

Khatz has been lightly hammering the idea of anchors in my daily “sprints” or suggestions for immersion.  Basically, I take this to mean that the morning and the minutes right before sleep are the most key moments of the day.   The morning sets the tone for the day and the minutes before sleep set the tone for the dream scape.

I’ve been experiment with this in many ways.   When I walk out in the mornings I often listen to japanesepod101.com podcast lessons.  Yesterday, however, I felt the pull to listen to Japanese music.  I follow whatever method or activity seems to be the most fun at the time.  In the middle of a work day, I usually work through at emergency room like atmosphere at a school.   As I get ready to sleep, I may read the supporting materials to the jpod lesson (if I’m interested) or listen to an non-jarring podcast.  These days I “listen”  to Tokyo FM’s Tokyo Midtown Presents, a pleasant and interesting program about different design concepts.   The voices are so pleasant that I never consciously listen to the content before sleep.  Does it work?  Who knows?  But I am enjoying Japanese, so why stop?

Power Your Morning (and Night), Furuichi Style

Yukio Furuichi, author of 1日30分を続けなさい!人生勝利の勉強法55 Learn to Win  My (My take with a dash of soy translation:   Keep going 30 minutes a day!  55 Study Steps to Winning in Life) also writes about the power of morning and the evenings.

Furuichi’s Reasons Why Studying in the Morning Pays Off:

  • There are fewer interesting television shows in the morning.
  • There a less distractions such as phone calls, social outings, etc
  • From his experience, the rate of learning seems to be higher in the morning than in the evenings
  • If you “git ir done” in the morning, you’ve got a huge part of your studying done for the day

Furuichi’s Hints for the Evenings:

Buddha at rest. You have to sleep in order to wake up.

  • Get at least six to seven and a half hours of sleep
  • If you don’t get enough sleep you become less effective when you study
  • While you are sleeping, memories get arranged and fixed
  • If you can’t sleep, have something by your bed you can study.  After you are tired (usually around 30 minutes) you should be able to sleep.
  • Napping helps but don’t go for long naps because they throw off your biorhythms.

Samurai at Rest/Samurai Rising

If morning and evening are such powerful anchors, why limit using them to whatever you are studying?   (Keep in mind that by studying I mean that you take on what you want to move forward in your life.)  What are the thoughts and intentions that you go to bed with at night?   I’ll be the first one to admit, that I often wake up with internal grumbling?  But why not wake up thinking about what you want in your life?  What you want for the world?   Why not rise up singing?

It’s the same with the evening.   Instead of taking your worries to bed with you, what about going to bed with appreciations and your dreams for the yourself and the world?

Sun up.  Sun down.  Samurai at rest.  Samurai rising.

Keep Your Mind on Samurai Shuffle


I was one of those guys that resisted getting an iPod for what seems like an eternity.  Then, I started trying to learn Japanese and realized what a relic I was walking around town with a cassette deck or even a CD player.

Ipods, etc are a great boon to the samurai mind. You’ll want to have moments of silence but you can immerse yourself in your field or in your field of dreams. I have used my sound environment to help me with Japanese, WordPress, my health, and to start blasting through old creativity and money patterns. Photo by Jim at http://bit.ly/S1Kvpd

Then I started doing AJATT (All Japanese All the Time) at ajatt.com.   Khatzumoto recommends that you always have fun Japanese music and podcasts playing during times you can’t be hooked up to other forms of Japanese media.  It made sense and I bit the bullet.  I haven’t looked back since. Continue reading

Spaced Repetition Systems: How to Forget About Remembering

When in doubt, space it out.  Spaced repetition is a simple habit that has turbo charged my language learning.  Now I am using it to shake other things in my life.   Continue reading

Samurai Notebooks of the Mind

Spaced-repetition, the final frontier.   To boldly go where no samurai notebook has gone before.

I’ve used notebooks for a long time.   For a while, I was doing “morning pages”, a method popularized by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way.  (I highly recommend it.)   Continue reading

Samurai Book Review: 1日30分を続けなさい!Each Day 30 Minutes. Learn to Win!

「1日30分」を続けなさい!人性勝利の勉強法55 Learn to Win 古市幸雄 Furuichi Yukio

Furuichi Tip #1:   Timing is Essential

First a note on how I found this book.  I knew through the All Japanese All the Time website that if I wanted to learn Japanese, I “needed” (dwa–dangerous word alert) to immerse myself in materials that I enjoyed.    However, I felt that I “should” (dwa) do this by reading Japanese comics.   “Should” and “need” are actually words to watch out for as you find ways to to tap into your mind’s potential.  Fun, even if fun means overcoming obstacles and enjoying it, is a better signpost to a learning and life-path.

After trying to become a manga fan, I realized that my guilty pleasure is actually reading self-help books.   I love books that promise me the world, that promise me that I can transform my life in x steps. Continue reading