2008 April 2 Wednesday thru April 6 Sunday.


Welcome to The Learning Curve.   

If you are a non-native speaker of the English Language, and you are reading this blog, with a full understanding of what I am talking about, you already KNOW what The Learning Curve is all about.   

The reason I bring this topic up TODAY, is because one of my most enthusiastic students, a middle-aged person who attends my classroom 3 times a week, told me something that was profoundly interesting for me.   

This particular student has only been attending my classroom for one year.   

Before he came to my classroom, he had attended a big name English Conversation School, in the city of Kitami for two years.   

At that time, he wanted to study English as a hobby, because he was living alone, and had quite a bit of free time on his hands.   

After 2 years of living and working in Kitami, he was transferred to Asahikawa, and he immediately starting looking for a new English Conversation School in Asahikawa 旭川英会話スクール.   

It didn't take him long to find this website for my little ole school, right here on the WORLD WIDE WEB.   

AKA the internet.   

He called here and made an appointment for a free trial lesson 無料体験レッスン.   

After that lesson, he immediately decided to sign up as a new member of this classroom, and has been coming here almost every week, and on average about 2 or 3 times a week, for a total of one year now.   

At today's lesson he told me that he is so happy, that he can now speak English in a fluent and accurate manner, and he felt so good about IT, that he couldn't stop talking about IT.   

I then explained to him in English, about the concept of a learning curve.    

Please look at the graphic, above/left.   

When a person, any person, first tries to learn something completely new, they START on the LEARNING CURVE.   

At first, they must study very hard, and they do not make much progress.   

But if they keep on trying for a long enough time, they will reach phase one.   

At this point, they can feel that they have learned something new, but it is still not very useful in their daily lives.   

If the student continues to study, they will make it to phase two and then phase three and up to phase four, where they notice a significant increase of their knowledge about the new study, but IT is still NOT QUITE ENOUGH to become very useful in their daily lives.   

At this point, many people will have spent about 2 or 3 years studying this new knowledge and they all have a decision to make.   

Should they continue their study, or should they quit?   

Unfortunately, a lot of people get frustrated with their own slow progress, and give up at this point.   

However, those students who keep on trying to learn more about their new knowledge, and DO NOT GIVE UP, have a very big surprise waiting for them, just around the corner.   

After phase four, the amount of time spent studying begins to yield much bigger results in total learning achieved.   

This is the point where critical mass has been achieved, and the return to the student for their time spent studying, INCREASES EXPONENTIALLY.   

In other words, their total understanding of the knowledge at hand becomes greater and faster with each step they take towards that knowledge.   

The student finally has enough pieces of the puzzle, to be able to SEE the BIGGER PICTURE of that knowledge base.   

This is true for any type of LEARNING (knowledge acquisition).   

It is a fundamental LAW of the COSMOS.   

IT never changes.   IT just IS.   I KNOW FOR A FACT that this is true, because I have had many personal experiences, in my own 50 something years of humanoid EXISTENCE on this EARTH, that have taught me the true meaning of learning.   

For example, learning how to play the guitar, the piano, the bass guitar, the Japanese Language, the teaching of languages, the learning of new languages, and the list goes on and on.   

Don't be one of those people who give up when the going gets tough 三日坊主.   

Hang in there and tough it out.   

There are millions of sad stories about people who did their best, and then STOPPED ONLY 3 METERS AWAY FROM THE GOLD MINE.    

Do not allow yourself to become one of them.   






2008 February 26 Tuesday thru February 29 Friday.


Is there anybody out there, reading this, who was born on February 29?   

The babies born this year won't be able to read nor write anything of their own native languages,  until about 3 or 4 years from now.   

However, the leap year babies who were born this year, will begin to learn their native spoken languages, almost immediately from their day of birth.   

Spoken languages and music, are basically the same thing.   

Music is the language of the universe, and is everywhere and all around us, at all times.   

Speaking of written languages, I have been spending a lot of time this week, writing simple sentences in Korean, using a book that my wife bought entitled; 文法から学べる韓国語 ISBN 4-8163-3706-7.   

文法から学べる韓国語 Book 文法から学べる韓国語

著者:李 昌圭

Even though she bought the book, I'm the only one who uses it.   

The title in English would be something like;  Learn Korean starting with grammar.   

Sounds kind of boring, doesn't it.   

It is not boring.   

In fact, I find it to be rather interesting, because my main focus right now, in regard to the Korean Language, is to learn how to read and write it.   

Why?    Well, for one thing, I am becoming more and more able to read Korean Language websites, of which there are many.   

Also, I have very little opportunity to use spoken Korean, unless I want to go out of my way, and make some time for such situations.   

Maybe some day, I will do this, by taking a trip with my wife and her family to the southern part of South Korea.   

Then, I can really test myself to see how much progress I have made in listening comprehension and speaking ability.   

This little side trip is probably about 2 years away.    

A little something to look forward to, in the near future.   

However today, having enough time to write this blog again, I am hunkered down in my own Private Hokkaido.   

It is snowing big time, just outside my window.   

I think I'll take a long hot bath, while listening to spoken Korean on CD.   

Learning is so much fun, I just can't get enough of it.   

How about you?





2008 February 18 Monday thru February 24 Sunday.

Another busy week of afternoon and evening classes, some lasting until 21:40.   

All throughout the beginning of this week, I kept hearing a song in my head, that I haven't heard for many years.   

I am talking about a song that first came out in about 1972, when I was still in high school.   

The song that I was hearing over and over in my head was Rikki Don't Lose that Number by the band Steely Dan.   

I just couldn't get it out of my head, so on Friday night after my last class of the weekdays was finished, I went onto You Tube and found several videos of the song, as well one video of a guy who shows you how to play the song on the acoustic guitar.   

Of course, I had to get out my dusty old guitar and try to play along, with mixed results.   

Recently, I don't play the guitar very often.   

Nowadays it's mostly the Alto Recorder and the keyboards that I turn to when I want to make my own music.   

When I was in high school, and after that in the USCG, I would play the guitar every day, for anywhere from 2 to 6 hours.   

Needless to say, I was pretty good at that time.  Not so nowadays.  Another thing I spent some time doing this week, was to practice writing some simple sentences in Korean.   

I am pleased that I can now begin to read some of the basic words and phrases that appear on Korean Language Web Sites.   

The Korean Language uses an ALPHABET which they call HANGUL.   

Once a person learns the basic letters, and the basic rules for putting the letters together to form words, that person can make rapid progress in their ability to read and write the language.   

Just another TOOL available for use, to acquire further knowledge of the world around us.   

Anyway, with today being Sunday, and a sunny day, I think I'll go for a drive on the wet streets.   

It is beginning to look a lot like springtime.   

At least for today.





2007 September 1 Saturday.

What a noisy day it was today! 

As I have mentioned from time to time during the past two months, this building is getting a complete face lift, on its outside walls.   

All of them. 

Today again, it was my turn. 

What they are doing now, is using mini jack hammers, to remove some of the small bricks that are glued to the outside of the concrete walls. 

About a month ago, a man was walking around on my balcony, tapping on all of the bricks with a metal rod, to see which ones had come loose during the almost 20 years, since this building was built. 

If he found a loose brick, he would put a piece of green vinyl tape on it.   

These are the bricks, which the jack hammers have been removing for the past 3 days. 

Today, was the heaviest of operations on my walls.      

Which is good, because I don't have any classes here today.   

I spent most of my day reading the book, which I talked about in yesterday's blog.   

Not only is this book interesting from the standpoint of its information on Hokkaido, it is also a BLAST FROM THE PAST 懐かしい思いをすること,  reminding me in extremely vivid detail, about how I used to study the Japanese Language every day, while I was living in the USA, and while I was, waiting and praying for a job opportunity in Japan, to come my way. 

Before I began to study the Japanese Language in 1976, the only things I was interested in, were playing my guitars, and running around with pretty girls.   

I lived in a very small world at that time. 

Nowadays, I can speak, read and write Japanese sooooooooo much better than I could up until about 17 years ago, but I still need to use a dictionary from time to time, to understand the true meaning of, fuzzy vocabulary. 

Especially since yesterday, when I bought my new study book.      

Anyway, the intense noise of the jack hammers, just a few meters away from my ear drums,  continued from 8:00 until 11:40, and then again from 13:10 until about 17:30. 

Geeeez Louise!   

I hope they have finished that part of their job, on my part of this building.   

I have NO COMPLAINTS about it.   

In fact, I was thinking about calling it;   The Jack Hammer Symphony in F Sharp Minor.   

Who knows?   

Maybe we have a HIT here.    

Finally, at about 19:30, I walked on over to the Chubetsu Park 忠別公園, to see what was happening at the annual O Kagura Matsuri  お神楽祭り, which is held every year on September 1, 2 and 3.   

The photo which you can see above/left, is the only decent photo out of the total of 21 snapshots that I took today.   

That is why, I always take a lot of photos.   

Only about 10% OR LESS of them will be any good.   

Today, the VIBES were at ONLY 5%.   

Good enough.    I got ONE good photo.   

Tomorrow will be yet,  another day, but at that time also,  it too will BE TODAY. 

It is always NOW.   

Anyway you slice IT. 





2007 June 19 Tuesday.

Today I went to Asahikawa University as usual for a class with the freshman and repeaters starting at 10:40.   

When that class was all wrapped up at 12:10, and while I was walking out the front door of the university, one of the junior professors called out to me, and asked me if I had time to meet some foreign exchange students from Inner Mongolia.   

I said;  "Sure, I'd be happy to."   

We walked back into the main entrance and turned to the left, where a new room had been set up.   

The sign above the door said; Foreign Exchange Students Meeting Room, or something like that.   

When the professor and I had entered the room, I saw three young ladies, one of whom is in the English class that I had just finished teaching.   

The other two I have never met before.   

All five of us sat down and talked in English, Japanese and a tiny bit of Chinese, until about 13:00.   


I have forgotten how to speak Chinese!   

Xit!  Here is a big opportunity to learn it again!   

I was invited to come back again next week, and I most certainly will do so.   

Time to listen to those basic conversation CDs again.