Learning Japanese: 1

Welcome to learning Japanese, this is how I am planning to learn Japanese without a. I am writing this series for myself to keep track of my progress (as the year has 38% passed and I haven’t made much progress) and maybe it can help someone.

  • Learn Hiragana Syllabaries
  • Learn 1000 words
  • Watch and listen to a ton of audios
  • and practice speaking

Challenges I have to tackle:

  • remember and recall
  • Find a conversation partner
  • and many more …

There is no strict order in this list, that’s not how learning a language works for me. But for me to start somewhere I need to learn Hiragana. What I did not specify in this list is practice, which goes without saying.

I already have some materials give by my teacher and know some fundamentals. Here are some links I find very useful.

I am going to follow my teacher’s methods: learn the Hiragana characters, learn some words and create basic sentences

Laying the strong foundations: mastering the vowels

あ – aa (pronounce a as in all)
い – e (pronounce e as in enough)
う – Uh
え – é (pronounce e as in hey)
お – ô (pronounce o as in Hospital)

Words with above characters

あい  – Love
あお  – Blue
いえ  – House
いいえ –  No
うえ  – Top
おい  – Nephew
あう  – Meet

Sentence: Learning how to say yes and no

Yes is pronounced as ‘Hai’
No is pronounced as いいえ (e-e-a)

 

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Productivity.

I wanted to share with my friends some of productivity practices I am trying to imbibe in my routine which are giving results. Writing this help me put my ideas in order and I can share without repeating. And here it is. For me being productive is to have more time. The judgment of what is required and what is not, what is worth persuing and what isn’t is a skill to develop. My inspiration  for productivity arises from a thought that having time to waste is the greatest of all luxuries. When I realized this luxury came at a bigger cost and seemed not affordable. If you appreciate that having  time for yourself and for things you care about, please read further.

Cutting down the crap

How often we become restless when the phone the battery falls below 10% ? Probably everyday. Social media is successful in making oneself feel their own life is miserable.

  1. I removed myself from social media which didn’t add much value to me. I still have twitter account, I try to carefully use it by un-following those spamming; Spam: those information doesn’t add value to life.
  2. I try to not read news, and not spend my cognitive energy on sensational crap from the internet. I would rather not have a conversation if that was the only purpose of reading news. “Low information diet” as called in Four hour work week.

Goals

How do I effectively make judgments about what is important and what is worth persuing. This is a constant effort and enough time spent on planning each day is crucial, because this keeps me in line with my goals.

Plan bottom up

  1. Write down the plans for the year
  2. Write down the plans for 6 months
  3. Write down plans for 3 months
  4. Write down plans for 1 month
  5. Write down plans for this week
  6. Write down plan for today

Tip: Make plans for the next day the previous evening.

execute top down

  1. Plan the day, such that it makes sense to achieve goals for the week, and plan goals for the week that is in line with monthly goal. and monthly goal inline with quarterly goal and in turn year’s goal.
  2. Goals and plans change, review and audit if goals meet your plans.
  3. Keep everyday goals small and achievable, this is required for improved flow of confidence and increased serotonin release.
  4. Spend time to prepare/study to execute goals, unprepared mind will lead to stress. (todo: write an post :P)

All the goals require auditing, spend time to review your progress.

Benefits: Chaos to Order, effective use of time and self improvement.

Life style + attitude

  1. Work for yourself. There is no one with altruistic intentions. Create your work that will benefit others.
  2. Design your day, find early successes. Find out things that make you feel successful, can it be making your breakfast? Or making your bed?
  3. Habits should work like a well oiled machinery. effortlessly automatic. Create habits that benefit you. Compounding effect of even something small over a period would bring great results.
  4. Exercise: healthy body/mind is crucial to execute those goals, Goals doesn’t make sense if you sick and tired. I follow the seven minute workout. I recommend it. 7 minutes for 7 days a week, think of benefits if done for a year.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Don’t skip breakfast.

 

Take feedback and find inspiration

Constant improvement is a value. Ask for feedback from person you trust, and gracefully think through them and if it makes sense,  work on it.

Conclusion

While I strive to follow my own advice, these have brought in tremendous benefits to my own life and satisfaction.

Words of wisdom as I turn 30 🙂

Special thanks to Murat for helping me fix my lousy English and trim the post.

EDIT 1:

While all of the above still remain true and I follow that. There are few more that are helping me become faster.

  1. Detachment: backwards law – too much care about becoming better only makes one look less confident and weaker in own eyes.
  2. Spending time to ask the right questions.
  3. taking it slow. work is never over.

 

 

 

McLeodGanj, Himachal, India

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t posted anything for a year, what a shame! But I had had an exciting time meanwhile. Out of many trips (hopefully I will write a blog for each one), being to McleodGanj was the most exciting and enlightening. I went there to learn an introductory course on Buddhism at Tushita.

I was attracted to Buddhism after reading an amazing book “Tibetan book of living and dying”, a book I should credit for changing my outlook of world and death – filled wealth of  wisdom. However I wanted to fill the gap of knowledge fundamentals; I enrolled to “Introduction to Buddhism”, 10 days residential course.

10 days of blissful meditation, inspiring teaching and soulful food has left me cleansed of the dirt of anxious life. The little bit of knowledge I gained and practice has brought subtle and greater change in me. All residents are not allowed to talk, kill(anything crawling/walking/flying) or engage in worldly affairs.  All we had to do was meditate, read, listen to teaching and do some karma jobs.

After this delightful time, I was fortunate to be a part of HH Dalai Lama’s teaching. I was able to see him all four days, except on the last day I shook hands with him, an experience I will always cherish. Trust me, his every action is filled  with compassion, when he look towards us who were sitting in front, I couldn’t contain my tears. He is overflowing with compassion.

I also did enjoy the local food and events, made alot of friends whom I am still in touch with. Just wonderful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everest Movie

It’s unusual from me to write about movie in a blog which is essentially a travelogue, and more unusual since I don’t watch movies.  This movie in particular has captured my attention. Watching those places in 3D has brought some of my own memories to life. The movie is based on this wonderful book “Into Thin Air” by Jon K. Though the movie has given the chapters life, I enjoyed the book more.

I came across this book after my Himalayan trip, I was able to connect to each sentence of the book to my own exaggerated experience and learnings from a professional mountaineer. When I encountered vocabularies like HAPE, HACE I understood, when I came across “toes freezing” I know how it feels and when I read frost bite I know the pain of it. I developed immense feeling towards this mountain which remained invincible for hundred years after its discovery and costed hundreds of lives. Giving it easy is not the way of great mountains. Cost to attempt the summit remain so high, I made this desire to intention and put on hold, instead I decided to visit.

The movie is a great attempt, but it has missed the essential background and to rake up the emotions and sentiments. I loved it when the actor says “why are we doing this to ourselves”, a question that often lingers while I trek when I am drained of last drop of my sweat and sinking into ground. While I enjoyed the book more, having this experience through book, in real and movie make it all like three scoops of ice-cream.

Exploring Goa

Guest post by Devarshi Patel.

If you are a beach bum, like me, I am sure you can never have enough of beaches in your life, right? Goa, the beach paradise of India is the most favored vacation spot among the beach lovers. Besides beaches, there are plenty of other beautiful places to visit most importantly churches, water fall and forts.

As the taxis are surprisingly expensive, the best option is to hire a two wheeler. It will cost 250-300 Rs. per day.

It was 1st may, the sky was blue, the air was crisp and the sun was shining gloriously, when I stepped out from the bus. The first day in Goa, We stayed at “SARAYA”. One of the rare place, that brings you very close to nature. Indeed, One sleeps here under a tree, Can have dinner sitting on a wood prank and Can have a pizza made in mudoven. The owners have used natural wood / organic substances to furnish the place, and the surrounding adds more to this harmonious atmosphere. Staying off the beach is, in fact, a far better way to get a taste of traditional Goan hospitality.

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On the same day we went to the Divar Island situated in Old Goa. Portuguese influence is every where here in the architecture and religion. Along the road behind the coconut trees, there are villas painted with bright primary colors. The Church of Our Lady of Compassion is located in Piedade, which is one of the Divar’s largest village, that has great panoramic views. The church designed by a Goan priest is known to be the first Christian structure erected here and is a charismatic building dating from the early 17th century.

After this, we went to a place, where I experienced the eternal feeling of spiritualty, The “Bom Jesus Basilica Church” (UNESCO World Heritage Site) . Construction of this massive structure was commenced in 1594 and was completed in 1605. The moment you step into the church, the feeling of tranquility flows in your body. Inside the church, on the right side, there is the mortal remains of St. Francis Xavier, that are kept in the casket. The casket is kept at a good height and the amazing thing is that one cannot get clear snapshots of the Saint’s body.

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Just across the road are St Catherine’s Chapel, Archeological Museum and St Francis of Assissi Church.

On the Second day, we planned for the north Goa. We started our day with the Miramar beach, here we did a boat ride in which sighting the Dolphin , the aguada fort, the central jail, House where “haseena man jayegi ” (Bollywood) movie was shot etc were included. It cost us 300 Rs. per head.

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Then we went to the Dona Paula. Dona Paula is on the mouth of River Zuari. So large, that one can easily mistake it for a sea! The place where many of the Bollywood movies are shot like Singham and Murder 3. A viewing point on the cliff offers an excellent view.

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We headed for the Fort Aguada, but on the way we went to the Sinquerim beach. The view here is wonderful and it has the water rides same as the famous beaches like Baga and Calanguate, But here the cost is comparatively less.

The Fort Aguada, it is the Portuguese fort now maintained by the archaeological survey of India. It served as a chamber for storing fresh water and also was a guard against the Dutch and the Maratha’s. A scene in the famous Bollywood movie ” Dil Chata Hain ” was shot here. The fort is locked up after 5.30, make sure you reach before it.

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The light house is situated near by the Fort Aguada. The view from the top of light house is really incredible, The cool breeze and the sound of waves !! I was completely hypnotized by the beauty that I witnessed. Don’t miss the experience.

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Then, the Baga beach (Most popular and crowded beach of North Goa). The main road that connects the Baga and Calanguate beach is lined up with cheap mini mall-style architecture.

Anjuna Beach, just near by the Baga beach. This beach is the most silent beach of north Goa. I felt completely mesmerized by the water here. I witnessed the best sun set and evening of my life, Astonishing beach very silent and peaceful. Don’t miss a walk here. This is the ultimate one, for the people, who love to hear to the sound of waves without any hinderance.

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Next day we started for south Goa. The best way to reach there, is to take a Government bus or it will be very expensive by taxi or auto. On reaching there, we rented a two wheeler. Our hotel was near to the Colva beach, Something similar to the Baga beach.

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We en routed for the Palolem beach !!! I had included this place in my list after being enamored by its description and pics on google. The way to the beach is lined up both the sides, by trees and hills on either sides, astounding view. The numerous small islands visible from the beach, adorning it.

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We took a ride on a boat from here. The helmsman will take you to the butterfly island. This ride was the most thrilling ride of my life, fascinating experience. The moment you reach butterfly beach, it has the high hill on one side and on the other side an incessant sea !! Visit this place in evening to experience its best part.

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The Cabo de rama fort is near by. It was dark, when we left from the Palolem so, we missed this place. On the way to Palolem, we went to Mobor beach, a silent one.

For the next day, we planned for the “Dudhsagar Falls ”. It is quite far from south Goa. We started early in morning around 7.30 AM and reached there by 10.30 AM. Falls are not directly accessible. An easy way to reach Dudhsagar is to hire a jeep from Castle Rock or the nearby village, which will guide you through the forests to the falls, Personal vehicles are not allowed here.

It took an hour to reach falls in Jeep, through the forest. The moment I came out from Jeep, the sound of water fall was apparently audible. I could not wait to see the beautiful place, that I had seen only in Pics. Finally after a walk of 15 mins, the fascinating scene, most appealing one, was there in front of my eyes. The water of it was so pure and clear, the feeling of pleasure was unimaginable, when I touched it. Unfortunately, due to my lack of swimming skills, I could not go near the falls. This is the place, that you ought not to miss, if you visit Goa.

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The optimal time to visit Goa is in october. Goan’s best attitude of live-and-let-live, is what I admired the most. The places which I will surely recommend are : the Basilica church, Anjuna Beach, The light house, Saraya and the Dudhsagar falls.

Dwaraka & Somnath

After visiting Pasupathinath temple in Kathmandu and from the time wearing ‘Rudraksha’ which I bought it from shop outside Pasupathinath my spritual fevour has stepped to the next level. I boarded a bus from Ahmedabad and travelled over night to Dwaraka. As soon as I boarded the bus, there was a gentleman already sitting and had kept his bag on the seat where I had reserved, he seemed irritated when I went there to sit. He asked rudely where I am headed. When I answered “Dwaraka”, he sarcastically exclaimed “what will you do in Dwaraka, ha ha ha !!”. Though I was first offended, when he started a similar conversation to the person in front I felt better thinking I am not alone.

Dwarakadeesh. #dwaraka #gujarat #travel #live

A photo posted by The Pedestrian (@lepedestrian) on Jan 9, 2015 at 6:35pm PST

The Dwarakadeesh temple is inside the town. Hotels are two minutes away by walk, and they are nominally priced. There were small good shops who serve Dokla, Gaatiya, Samosa and few other Gujarati delicacies. I always stood there in those shops thinking what to buy, but ended up buying small portions of all the names I could grasp when they say me their menu orally.

A photo posted by The Pedestrian (@lepedestrian) on Jan 10, 2015 at 4:25am PST

//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.jsDwarakadeesh temple is always busy with walking in, walking out and posing pilgirms. The fascinating palace like bygone architecture of the temple evince the presence of unknown and orenda in the land of Lord Krishna. Later in the afternoon I was was on my way to other places of interest. First I visited the Rukmane Temple, a temple on sea shore and Gopi talav, a small lake with historical importance – both temples has interesting stories. Later I visited Bet Dwaraka, which is an island 5 kms away from shore. There are over 150 ferries which are primary transportation to reach the island, usually overcrowded. The emerald green water and flock of sea gulls flying over the boat were moments of “Wow”.

Bet Dwaraka risky boat ride #dwaraka #gujarat #costal #travel

A photo posted by The Pedestrian (@lepedestrian) on Jan 10, 2015 at 3:04am PST

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On the way back from Bet Dwaraka, which is some 30 kms away from from Dwaraka I witnessed a best sunset of my life. The evanescence of the sun at the narrow stretch of road the divine fireball kissed the earth at the horizon.

Next morning I was already in road toward Somnath before sunrise which is 250 kms from Dwaraka. I had reached late afternoon, I had enough time to visit the temple and good time watching the sunset. I was little disappointed since I couldn’t continue the trip with Raan of Kutch and Gir National park but soon turned up in to my checklist of places to visit in Gujarat.

A photo posted by The Pedestrian (@lepedestrian) on Jan 11, 2015 at 4:49am PST

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Everest Base Camp 5364m

I have come back ten years younger or I have come back with fitness of a marathon runner. My hair has become silky, jaw line is well defined and my skin has got 14 days free spa treatment. Nothing came easy. I was fully put into test mentally, physically and emotionally. Once I sat down on a rock surrounded by vast void of thin air and colossal rocks while my eyes couldn’t contain the overflowing tears, and I don’t know why. I haven’t fully recovered while I am writing this after 3 weeks since I finished the trek. I still feel the need for incubated nourishment of Biriyani and beer injected into my veins directly.

15987328216_dd71f3bfa1_oThe trip started at Lukla to Phakding. And then to Namche and tengboche. Tengboche is unforgettable. We were lucky enough to go to the proter’s house to try ‘Raksi’, a very delicious clear water like drink served hot. Taste of Raksi was enlivend by a beautiful girl there. No lip gloss could make any lips as hers, No make up artist could recreate her rosy cheeks. I was more intoxicated with her smile than Raksi itself. The gentleman inside us walked out as we sipped and gulped the drink. Our eyes stuck on her like a chewing gum in shoe. Once my corporate mind thought I could marry her and become a Nepal citizen, as Nepal citizens don’t pay to climb Mt.Everest which was an addon. We decided to take the trek further to Dingboche while I let the pervert inside me sleep till I return back. We furthered our trek to Gorekshep.

16013168625_6e22b8d5f2_oWith fear to finish creeped in, we treked to Kalapattar and Everest Base Camp. The proud moment has come. We were at Everest base camp, 5364 meters above sea level. It wasn’t any close to easy, there are people who say it’s easy, but the world knows you are just having a poker face while saying that.

15393782204_86713312fe_oEnduring the monotony of eating, hiking and sleeping is also an adventure. In a group every one comes with a different idea, like mine was to see Mt.Everest someone else’s was to find peace. But mighty humble mountains teach us more than we realise.