One month Experiment Day 3: Mental pushups and refreshing


Tim Ferris talks quite a bit about reactivating langauges on his blog, and I found the concept interesting. I mean he calls is “reactivating” and I say “refreshing”, but he adds a level of detail ( and global, bestselling author and polylingual swag) to what he does, so it sounds better than anything I can say at the moment : p

Either way, so I said I’d start trying to get back on the wagon, and fortunately I haven’t fallen too far off. I did about 200 card revisions today in Anki (that took about 1.39 hours because I was refreshing some Kanji words I had forgotten). What’s good is that certain words are not completely forgotten. In fact, a lot of the words I “forgot” after remembering my stories behind them, become very easy to recall. As I’ve said before, I think its pretty hard to spend hours, days even weeks creating a story you embed into your memory banks and then have it go “poof” and vanish.

For the first 30 minutes or so I started to feel stressed because I was worried that all the Japanese I had studied I would have to completley relearn, but that wasn’t the case. If you remember how Anki works, you gradually store words deeper and deeper into your long term memory. So words like 駐車場 (ちゅうしゃじょう)chuushajyou  which means “parking area/lot” and stuff like 手術 shujutsu which which means “surgical procedure” started refreshing some patterns… so I saw 手 選手 and 車 sha from 自転車 jitensha. 


I have about 700 cards in all to revise, so in about five days I should be done with everything hopefully. I’m also doing a little bit of language practice by practicing some grammar patterns with vocab I learned for that day. I’m not going “hardcore” really, just getting familiar with speaking, reading and writing again. What i’m finding is that i’ve forgotten how to write a bunch of Kanji, but rewriting them is activating some of the muscle memory of writing Kanji, and even those are becoming familiar again. So, here is just a glimpse of what i’ve been up to.

some writing.


trying to use some vocab in a few sentences for speaking. What I try and do is model the grammar in the sentence, and isolate what I consider to be the way to phrase it Japanese style.

e.g This sentence has the target word of “見方”mikata which means ‘view/direction’. It was copied directly from the Anki Cards I was revising.

彼に対する見方が変わりました。 – > My view of him has changed.

But the sentence has  ( Subject +NI ) then “tai suru mikata ga” + changed. So I can see its a form of expression. This is where grammar comes in, and why I want to get really speaking. So for my sentence. I wanted to say:

My view of Jamaican elections has changed.


However, I’m not completely sure if “mikata” is only relative to the view you have of someone… so again, this is where speech  with a native comes in. But just to show what else I was doing, if I’m working on something, I started doing my immersion thing, having something in Japanese play in the background.









So that’s it pretty much. Nothing in tense, just an active schedule leading up to a point where hopefully I can really get my grammar up, get more motivated with Japanese and see where it takes me.

About marcusbird

Writer, Designer, Filmmaker
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