Category Archives: Random

Learning to read faster

I’ve heard of speed reading and things like that, but I’ve never really given it thought before. I just assumed it’d be tricks like skipping over simple words, like prepositions. But in fact, there’s more to it, as I’ve recently learned.

A few weeks ago I came across a link for Spreeder, a free site sponsored by the makers of 7 Speed Reading. Basically, you copy/paste text into a window. Then site runs some fancy javascript and jQuery scripting magic to adjust the rate at which is shows the words to you.

The premise, and what kind of opened my eyes to speed reading, is that most people, myself included, tend to read only as fast as you can say the words. That is, when you read, you often have a voice in your head. If you can silence the voice, you can read faster. So, the site will parse the text you pasted, and show you one word at a time on the screen, in rapid succession. It starts you off with 300 wpm, but you can adjust it up or down in 25 wpm intervals. Mine is set to show me two words at a time at 950 wpm.

It’s an interesting concept, and I will say that when I use Spreeder I read much faster. 7 Speed Reading claims there are many more methods, and it’s something I may invest in later this year. After I’ve received a few more paychecks.

Back with a passion

I finished Japanese language school on Sept. 20, 2013. I spent time job hunting (after squandering a month doing nothing really), had lots of interviews, met with various recruiters, and took a job in Chiba. I moved on Jan. 7, 2014. 2013年9月20日に日本語学校から卒業しました。1ヶ月あとは就職が始まりました。面接が多くて、リクルーターに会って、千葉県で仕事を見つけました。2014年1月7日に引っ越しました。

I then bought some furniture, a TV, and spent about three weeks getting used to my new home and job. 家具とテレビを買って、周辺に馴染んで仕事になれました。

It’s just about the end of January, which marks about four months of not studying Japanese. Sure, I’ve been reviewing various things, but I haven’t been actively trying to learn anything new. I need to do that now. 1月はほとんど終わりますね。4ヶ月ぐらい新しい日本語のことを勉強していません。やばい!すぐに続かなければなりません!

My goals this year: Pay off my student loan debt, newly acquired (see above) credit card debt, pass JLPT N2, and improve my reading speed (in both English and Japanese). 今年の目的は:奨学金を払い戻すし、クレジットカードを払い戻すし、日本語能力試験2級に合格するし、速く読めるように練習します。

Let’s see how it goes! 頑張りましょう!

That reminds me of a puzzle…

Professor, what are going to do?!

Professor Layton was one of my favorite game series for the Nintendo DS. I loved the short, but wonderfully animated and voiced videos sprinkled throughout the series. I enjoyed the setting, music, and really just about everything about it. Oh, and the puzzles. But what I hated was how EVERY GOD DAMN THING LED TO A PUZZLE!

“I think we should eat our way to the clues!” — Something Layton would probably not say

Hey Prof, my dog died last night.
I’m sorry to hear that. Say, that reminds me of a puzzle!

Can you help me put this book back on the shelf?
Of course. By the way, can you figure out this riddle about books?

Regardless, I still enjoy the series. And so do the Japanese. A few months ago in Japan convenience stores around the country were selling small boxes of Professor Layton chocolates. Also, inside each box was a puzzle similar to what a player encounters in the games.

Below are pictures from inside the box as well as a puzzle and the solution. Continue reading That reminds me of a puzzle…


In level 4A of my school, I had to write about a strange experience that happened to me… real or made up. This is partly true, but not completely.









Two months, huh? Seems like a good time to post

The Colonel dressed as Goku from Dragonball Z. Part of a promotion for an upcoming DBZ movie.

School is an interesting thing. I get to see classmates and some friends, learn some things, and have an opportunity to get out of my home. Of course, there is always homework to do if I attend class, as well as taking one or two tests every week. All in all though, it’s a good time.

After my first quarter (the year is split into quarters), I thought I would have become accustomed to the workload, which would leave me with a bit more free time right about now. Haha, silly me! If anything, class and homework is more intense. At least I don’t have to worry about having nothing to do and becoming absurdly bored like I was during winter break. Continue reading Two months, huh? Seems like a good time to post


Friday morning I was awoken around 5:30 to a slight shaking of my bed. This is nothing new, as I’ve felt small earthquakes in the middle of the night before. I went back to sleep.

During the second half of class we learned about procedures and what to do during an earthquake. Cover your head, immediately open a door so that the frame doesn’t become warped leaving the door stuck closed, where our school’s evacuation center is, etc.

Then around 5:30 p.m. after class, there was a real earthquake, and definitely the strongest I’ve felt since being here. I was on the third floor having dinner with someone from my class, and I immediately felt it. A second later everyone else there did, looked around, became quiet, and immediately began checking their phones. What was a bit worrisome about this one was the strength of it and the duration. It honestly felt like 45 seconds to a minute of swaying.

Turns out it was near Miyagi-ken. Last I heard, there were some injuries in that area. Here in Tokyo and Yokohama, everyone is fine, the last time I checked.

Just a quick update to let everyone know I’m OK.

Also, finals this week! Listening, reading, writing, speaking, pronunciation and I hear an essay will be required. Oh, and a speech. Sooo, probably won’t post for a week or so!