Tag Archives: one minute

Hybridize Your CRACK! Samurai Mind Reading

“Man reading should be intensely  alive.   The book should be like a ball of light in one’s hand.”  Ezra “Could I Getta” Pound
One study hack I enjoy is just reading the table of contents.   It reinforces positive information I want to have or it's a nice review of a book I've already skimmed.  Easier to read on a fast moving train, too. Writer's Room mug in the background. :)

One study hack I enjoy is just reading the table of contents. It reinforces positive information I want to have or it’s a nice review of a book I’ve already skimmed. Easier to read on a fast moving train, too. Writer’s Room mug in the background. 🙂

Let’s warp this already awesome quote and make it more politically correct:  “Samurai reading should be intensely alive.  The book should be like a ball of CRACK in one’s hand.”  Of course by crack I am referring to my patented 🙂 method called Crevice Reading Acquiring Cool Knowledge.   This method involves taking advantage of little crevices in time to read books to have fun, increase your skills, and in the process save the earth.   There are no “rules” in CRACK reading but there are some general principles:

  • the book should be fun.  If it’s not,  choose something else.
  • you don’t need to read cover to cover.   Read the back first. Re-read.  Savor the flavor.
  • use “time pressure” of reading in small windows of time to turn reading into a game
  • repeat

CRACK reading works on several levels.   Repeated exposure to a language or a skill takes advantage of both short term and long term memory.   It also helps maintain and sustain momentum.   And most importantly, life is short why not enjoy it by surfing all the great skills, ideas, and silliness your mind can surf?

Now, here is where you can take CRACK to the newest heights:  HYBRIDIZE it!  This works especially well if you are trying to learn a foreign language.   For example, the author of Study Hacks!  suggests that his Japanese readers learn English by reading the great English books about accounting.

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. Two birds with one CRACK.

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. CRACK will.  My Japanese guitar books. Learning through love. Trying to make the happy decisions. Two birds with one CRACK.

Let’s say you’ve done something silly like make New Year’s resolutions.   You want to learn Japanese and you want to learn Japanese.   Get your little hands on a fun little guitar book and carry that around (or copy pages of it).   Pull it out and enjoy it whenever you have a minute.  Remember, it’s always a good time for CRACK.   You understand Japanese/Spanish/German/Serbo-Croatian?  You don’t even understand the letters?  Look at the pictures.  Look at the letters.  Admire how cool they are.  Move on.   Have fun.  Remember:  if it’s not CRACK, it’s whack!   Hybridize, enjoy, have fun, and enjoy the year of the CRACK!

Confessions of a Samurai Crack Addict

I have discovered crack, and it is good.

One study hack I enjoy is just reading the table of contents.   It reinforces positive information I want to have or it's a nice review of a book I've already skimmed.  Easier to read on a fast moving train, too. Writer's Room mug in the background. :)

One study hack I enjoy is just reading the table of contents. It reinforces positive information I want to have or it’s a nice review of a book I’ve already skimmed. Easier to read on a fast moving train, too. Writer’s Room mug in the background. 🙂

I do crack whenever I have a moment.  Well, a crack is actually a moment because the crack that I am using is cracks in time–little moments when I can do a little part of a dream:  study a little Japanese, add a couple more sentences to my blog, look at the Circle of Fifths and wonder, what the heck!

“すきまの時間を活用する”:Use Cracks in Time

My trusty vibrating timer.  What I like about this timer is that once the timer goes off, it starts counting up and reminds me of how much time has elapsed since I last spent time on focused tasks:  writing, cleaning, SRS reps, etc.  It's a gentle way of keeping me honest. Here 21 minutes have elapsed since my last flashcard reps.

My trusty vibrating timer. What I like about this timer is that once the timer goes off, it starts counting up and reminds me of how much time has elapsed since I last spent time on focused tasks: writing, cleaning, SRS reps, etc. It’s a gentle way of keeping me honest. Here 21 minutes have elapsed since my last flashcard reps.

I didn’t even know I had a crack “problem” until I started to read Study Hacks by Ryuusuke Koyama (in Japanese).   I didn’t even know the word すきま (crack, crevice, gap, opening) until I found this little pocket sized guide to how to more efficiently leverage your mind to learn what you want to learn.  Basically, he says you should take advantage of any little moments available to learn and do what you want to learn.  He makes two interesting points:

  • Use the time you would normally be “doing nothing” to study.
  • The short “crack time” creates a sort of nervousness that can lead to more effective studying.

Use the time you would normally be “doing nothing” to study/play

“Studying” has such a heavy feel to it, but part of what I’ve learned from using time limits is that “studying” is a game.   Actually, maybe I’ve already known this and the times I’ve been most effective as a “student” has been when I’ve turned learning into a game.  Somewhere along the line in some tweet by Khatz somewhere, he said, “Play it like Farmville.”  I never played Farmville, but I got what he was saying–turn learning (insert what you are trying to learn) into a fun, somewhat repetitive game.  Khatz explains in more detail in part of his series on timeboxing:  “We need to cut up our work into pieces so tiny and so easy to do that we don’t even know or feel that we’re working any more. We need to turn our work into Farmville.”

Koyama says you should take advantage of time commuting to work, waiting time, etc to pull out your smart phone and check out your latest Evernote entries.   (I’m still just playing around with this tool to capture notes for guitar scales, notes on Mangajin’s Japanese Through Comics, etc).  You could also use Anki, Surusu, or any other SRS system.  Or you could just pull out the fun book you are reading in your target language or subject.

You can do crack in the elevator, on the train, waiting for the train, while your children are up to mischief (oh how lovely! you’ve unspooled the toilet paper onto the floor–again!),  etc.

“Crack time” creates a sort of nervousness that can lead to more effective studying

Koyama points out that short periods of study have a powerful little benefit.  緊張感。A feeling of nervousness.  You set a timer for four minutes and try to get started on the paragraph.    You get started and the timer begins to run out and you try to finish and get one more idea down on the page.  Little chunks of time turn can turn everything you are trying to attempt into a little game.

And it works best when it feels like a game.  If it starts feeling like work, play a new game or just space out.

I know there are going to be a lot of articles and promotions for how to achieve goals for the New Year.   But just sit back, relax, and do crack.

 

 

 

 

 

One-Minute Tips for Effective Studying: A Samurai Minute Review

図解 Version of 1分勉強法  Richly illustrated with graphics and drawings, I felt like I was “cheating” by not reading the mostly text version. But hey, I am learning a new language here and trying to keep it fun! Fun is an important element according to the book.  “Your ability to learn is limitless.”

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

    An excellent example of some of the graphics that help you understand the 1分 process. After mastering the “one minute” process of reviewing a book, the focus is on “color magic.” Basically, you organize information from the book into colored sheets. You can create one sheet for each book and eventually, review 60 books in one minute.

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.

Here are my notes on the multicolored paper. Crucial information is in the red box. The least crucial information is in the blue box. I’m not sure if you make these after just reviewing a book for one minute or whether you do this after a longer reading. This is my sheet for 1分勉強法. Time will tell if I will continue with this method.

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!

 

Support Samuraimindonline.com.   Consider donating towards the web hosting fees  by following the link on the bottom right.  Or visit the store and get something nice for yourself.  A small portion goes to samuraimindonline.   Remember, a samurai mind is a terrible thing to waste!   Thanks for visiting!

One Minute Review: Enjoy Yourself to Learn a Foreign Language

I’ve been dipping into this book by Masami Utsude about adding speed to your learning methods. He recommends learning English by watching and reading materials that you enjoy. Good advice for learning any language!

As part of my Japanese immersion project, I have Japanese books stashed all over the place: in  my man bag, by my bedside, by the computer, etc.  At the Writer’s Room, where I spend 45-60 minutes each morning studying or working on my writing, I have several books.  At the top of the pile is 1分スピード記憶勉強法: Study Method with One-Minute Speedy Memorizing by Masami Utsude.   I dip into this book every now and then because it is simply laid out, has a lot of pictures, and is inspirational.

A whole section is devoted to learning English,  but these methods and ideas can be applied to any language–for fun and profit :).  Here are some of my dash of soy sauce translations of some of the best ideas.  [I put brackets around where I mistranslated “English” into “foreign language.”]

Guarantee Improvement While Having Fun!:  One Minute English Study Method.“楽しいながら確実に上達!「1分スピード英語勉強法」”  

Unless the text is completely compelling, these days I am choosing Japanese books with pictures. 1分 has a lot of fun pictures. This one emphasizes that it is more fun and easier to learn a foreign language through quick and repeated reviews.

Utsude argues that one of the main reasons Japanese people don’t learn English is because they don’t give themselves enough opportunities to read, speak, and hear English.   The best way to actually review is to read, speak, and hear materials that you enjoy in a foreign language.

The Shortcut to Learning a [Foreign Language] is Repetition“英語上達の近道は「くり返し」増やすことに尽きる”  

Utsude explains that you wouldn’t expect to become a better swimmer by reading a book and getting into a pool once.  To become better you need hundreds of hours of actual practice.  Utsude was writing about English but you can fill the blank above with any language or skill you want.

What are the Two Walls that Keep (Japanese) People from Learning a [Foreign Language]?日本人の英語勉強を阻む「2つの壁」とは?  

  1. Your Environment:   Are you surrounding yourself with good materials in your target language?  Ajatt.com recently echoed this sentiment by explaining how learning a language is a lot easier when you modify your infrastructure: “So any issues an able-bodied, sound-minded adult is going to have with learning (getting used to) a language will be entirely due to infrastructure, not linguistics, not biology.”
  2. Your Self (自身)  Are you clear and confident in your goals and motivation for learning a foreign language?

In Order to Remember/Review Your [Target Language]  Relax and Surround Yourself With Materials You Like ラクにくり返しをして記憶するための一番コツは、あなたの「好きなこと」「得意なこと」と英語を結びつけてしまうのです。


It’s the infrastructure issue all over again.  Masami Utsude urges his readers to “review” while having fun learning from English dramas, movies, newspapers, etc.  It’s the reason that I am reading Japanese books about learning.  I have a natural motivation that keeps me motivated and moving forward.  No birds.  No stone.

 

How to Smoothly Read [Foreign Language]  Books 英文がスラスラ読める効果的な方法

  1. Read the Table of Contents First–It Gives You a Road Map and Gives You a Native Experience of the Foreign Language
  2. Relax and Read without a Dictionary
  3. Read the Titles
  4. Make Sure You Are Reading the Genres You Enjoy

Getting The Most out of Watching [Foreign Language] Television and Movies「好きなテレビドラマー映画を楽しんで観る」がコツ 

  1. Watch without subtitles.   Even if you don’t understand just enjoy the atmosphere of the movie and let it fill your heart.
  2. Repeat scenes that you love over and over again.
  3. Let yourself feel like you are part of the movie or drama.  “Shadow” the dialogue and repeat what they say.

 

1分スピード記憶勉強法 has a lot more great ideas about learning foreign languages.  If you are a follower of AJATT or antimoon, these ideas are not new.  In a way, that’s why I chose the book–because it affirms messages that I already understand and know.   Reading about these methods reinforces both the positive advice and Japanese itself.

In learning a foreign language there is a time for pushing and a time for relaxing into the language.  Both are important.  I push by making new flashcards, reading definitions of Japanese words in Japanese, and studying flashcards.   I relax into the Japanese by listening to Japanese music, television, movies and by random channel and web surfing.   I’m not “fluent” yet but I consider it a milestone that I just read Japanese books for fun now.

Don’t give up on your dream of learning a foreign language.  Take a minute to have some fun.

 

Support Samuraimindonline.com.   Consider donating towards the web hosting fees  by following the link on the bottom right.  Or visit the store and get something nice for yourself.  A small portion goes to samuraimindonline.   Remember, a samurai mind is a terrible thing to waste!   Thanks for visiting!