Tag Archives: prosperity

Money Games: Samurai Time, pt. 4

Eighteen minutes left on my timer.  One more hour left in the manga cafe.  Day 440 of 595 of a paid Japanese immersion experience called Silverspoon.  (I’m listening to Japanese Youtube as I write.)  ¥900 to be in this booth.   I paid a heck of a lot more to get motivational emails and study sprint suggestions from Silverspoon.  I’m working and also having fun.  I am playing Samurai money games.

As my time in Japan approaches, I have to make financial decisions. I decided to go on an expensive trip to Hakuba in Nagano with Japanese seniors. Fun times included listening to the same enka recording for the eight hour commute.

In this series I have explored how you can turn time into a game to help you move towards your goals.   Even if you are extremely rich (did I tell you how great you look today?),  your money is limited.  You can either get depressed about that limit or have enjoy and respect the ‘energy’ of money and learn, do, create, and share in the most joyful, productive, artistic way possible.  Who knows?  You might even end up richer.  (You look mahvelous, dahling!)

Money is energy.  Respect it. Have fun with it.  Share it with love.   Here are some Samurai money games:

  • Get thousands of dollars of value from from your $1-15 ‘investments.’

  • Pay for a ‘coach’ to keep yourself on track.   

  • Honor the energy of money.  Use the fact that you have paid money for a service as a motivator to keep going.  Keep it fun. 

  • Release your death grip on money.  Give some away.

Get thousands of dollars of value from from your $1-15 ‘investments.’

Books are great “investments.” Half the fun/learning was just browsing at a bookstore. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized the book was Zen based. (I read everything but the biggest kanji on the cover!)

I’m talking about books, apps, gadgets, etc.  One well-used book or app can create thousands of dollars of value in learning.   For example, I play a little game with my Midori Japanese dictionary app.  I paid a mere $10 for this app but I try to get the most out of it.   I look at the history of the words that I have looked up and review what I studied one day, two days, four days, and a week ago.   (a rough form of spaced repetition)  I  play around with flashcards when I am on the bus, at appointments, etc.  I may have already learned more vocabulary by doing this than if I had spent hundreds of dollars in Japanese classes.

Squeeze the value out of books.   毎朝1分で人生は変わる:One Minute, One Action in the Morning Will Change Your Life suggests getting the most out of a book by reading it several times and reviewing it at night.  Another Japanese author suggests beating up your books (not library books), and even taking it to the bath with you. Move on when you don’t feel the life force in a book anymore.

Pay for a ‘coach’ to keep yourself on track.

You keep yourself on track, but it’s good to have someone pushing, prodding and creative alternatives.  You can go to the gym and you can also get a personal trainer.  A personal trainer costs more but it’s all part of putting your money where your mouth is.  I pay what some might consider a hefty sum to do Silverspoon (a Japanese coaching service from ajatt.com), but in part the money keeps me on track. If ajatt.com is the gym, then Silverspoon is like a personal trainer, switching it up like a ninja.  Sometimes the value you get from the extra push is worth a lot more than what you pay.

I passed on the vanilla icing covered potato chips.

Honor the energy of money.  Use the fact that you have paid money for a service as a motivator to keep going.  Keep it fun. 

Paying money is a way to bookmark  is skills and knowledge you want to have.  I currently pay for three services to help me keep moving forward in my goal of learning Japanese:   Japanesepod101.com, Iknow.co.jp and Silverspoon.  They add to my palette of Japanese learning.   When I get bored with one system, I move on to another.  I’ve also donated to kanji.koohii.com and anki.ichi.net, which are free but invaluable systems that have helped me.  I also subscribe to jamplay.com, a guitar learning website but haven’t actually been playing.  However, I am keeping this service as a bookmark and motivator of where I want to go.

Release your death grip on money.  Give some away.  “Waste some.”

Money is like a samurai sword.  If you are too loose with it, you easily lose any advantage.  If you grip too tight, you lose your fluidity.  (BTW I have never held a samurai sword–too sharp and scary!)  Give some of your money away to good causes, frivolous games, friends in need.  I don’t know how and if this works, but I do it and I like it.

Sometimes you have to try something new and not be calculating about money. Give to a charity or buy Salty Watermelon Pepsi!

Money is energy.  Respect it. Have fun with it.  Share it with love.   Play samurai money games.

Think Genki: As a Samurai Giveth, A Samurai Receive(th?)

My “office space” when I’m in Japan. Well-lit, computer and internet access, and as many Calpis, coffee, and assorted drinks as human could tolerate.

Preparing for Take-off

The house-sitter is secured.  Passport is in order and samurai is ready to go to Japan.  My bags are not yet packed but somehow I’ve found a few minutes to read my trashy self-help book, 毎朝1分で人生は変わる:One Minute, One Action in the Morning will Change Your Whole Life.  Challenge #7 tells the reader that whatever energy you give to others is the energy that comes back to you.   [If your Japanese is better than mine, please correct me in the comments, and excuse my punctuation because I am on a Japanese keyboard in manga cafe.]

 The Challenge

「元気」はあげればあげるほど自分に返ってくる。 The more good energy you send out the more good energy comes back to you. Miyake-san goes on to add:


Samurai translation:  If you want people to like you, you need to start by liking people.  Once you start doing this, people will start liking you.   If you want to be `genki` [energetic, excited, happy], you should be happy and excited abou the people in front of you.  After a while, you will also become `genki.`

So Far, Not So Bad

Going to the airport was a perfect opportunity to test this new habit.   Usually, I am cranky as hell as soon as I have to take off my shoes and go through security.  It was still annoying, but I made a decision to send out positive vibes.  (Yes, I know, so 60s!)  I had a cornucopia of moments to turn beyond annoyed at people to sending out good thoughts.   🙂

If sending positive vibes doesn't work!

If sending positive vibes doesn’t work then this will have to do.

Does it work?  I don`t know, but I realized how much time I spend spinning out negative thoughts and doubts.   What a waste of energy!  If anything, making a point of sending out good thoughts stops the cycle.

Stop the Cycle of Negative Thoughts

The day I left for Japan, I had the pleasure of being at a friends wedding.  He was marrying another man and it was great to celebrate the beginning of that journey with him, his partner, and friends and family.  At the end my friend explained that there were people who could not make it to the wedding for various reasons and he asked us to send healing and positive thoughts in their direction.  My friend happens to be a Buddhist, but you don`t have to subscribe to any creed to practice this.   Golden Rule anyone?

I don’t know if I will remember to continue this habit, but it can’t hurt.  Let the summer of positive vibes begin, man!!!


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

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

Keep Your Battery Charged: A Little A Day Keeps Your Skills Great

Don't let your skills lose their charge. A little a day keeps the skills in play.

Don’t let your skills lose their charge. A little a day keeps the skills in play.

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest (lit: most important) thing in life is to keep your mind young. 

Furuichi Tip:「太く短く」より「細かく長く」のほうが簡単!

Samurai Dose of Soy Translation:  A Little Bit Every Day Over Time is Better Than a Lot over Short Periods

I have been a reluctant writer but now I have found ways to turn writing into a game.   I have had a space at a writer’s loft for years and have written many pages now, but now it seems my writing has taken off in new and exciting ways.  (To me at least!)  Part of this is a new way in which I am managing time.  (See Samurai Time is on Your Side)  But I also play a little game called keeping the laptop battery charged. Continue reading

Welcome to Samurai Mind: Learning Tools for Health, Wealth and the Earth.

My name is Juan Rivera and this is my blog. Samurai mind online is about learning  and self-help strategies with an Eastern edge.  Disclaimer #1:  I don’t know anything about samurai.   I don’t want to be a samurai.  I don’t buy into the samurai mythology.   I don’t want to be Tom Cruise.   (Though I do like the thought of jumping up and down on Oprah’s couches and babbling excitedly).

What fascinates me about the whole samurai thing is how the Japanese were able to choose to rise to the challenge of modernization.  They were confronted by the West and were able to rise to the challenge and compete with the big boys.    As the events leading up to World War II show, there was a dark side to this new knowledge.  Learning needs to have an ethical side to it as well.

Let Samurai Mind Online Help You Find the Way

This blog came about from my desire to learn Japanese and from what I learned about learning as I learned more and more.   (Did you learn something  from my overuse of learning?)   As I learned more kanji, I realized that I learned more from reading materials that were fun for me.   I tried reading manga or Japanese comics, but that was somebody else’s fun.

I realized that I was a self-help junkie and started to realize that’s what I needed to read.  I became particularly interested in Japanese “brain-boom” books, books that explore study methods and how to better optimize learning and growth.

Disclaimer #2:  I am still learning Japanese and am committed to immersing myself in the language.   My translations may be flawed, but its part of my immersion journey.  I could also back up my ideas with research done in English, but that also interferes with my immersion goal.  I will include reviews of “Western” books that I have found helpful.  Take everything I say about Japanese sources with a grain of soy sauce.  Take everything else with a grain of salt and experiment on yourself.

Samurai Mind explores some of these books and their underlying philosophies as well as my meandering along the way.   My purpose is to share these books and other tools I’ve come across the way so that we can all lead happier, healthier, and wealthier lives.   I firmly believe that if we fully can tap our minds, we can better serve our selves, others, and the earth in a spirit of intelligent play.