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)




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.


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.


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.


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.




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


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


Gandhinagar – Gujarat

Gandhinagar is very sparsely populated. There are few place inside city to be visited and many place at around thirty kilometer radius. I had boarded on a overcrowded Jeep from Taltej, Ahmadabad. The jeep drove through S.G highway, a wonderful road which took only 25 minutes on a 21 km stretch to reach the destination.

I have arrived at Akshardham, a prodigious structure of architectural value and artwork stood majestically surrounded by sheltered corridors which made it look like a palace. It’s the holy place of SwamiNarayan temple. The temple has preserved scientifically treated cloths, hair, nails, tooth, utensils, bed etc. of Swami Narayan, The whole temple premises is surrounded by wonderfully maintained garden. Mobiles, cameras and any other electronic devices are not allowed inside temple premises which can be saftely deposited in the designated place. You will probably thank for not taking in your mobile and camera after you visit.

There is an exhibition in the premises, tickets can be purchased at INR 50. There are five halls, the first hall will welcome you with a statue of man carving himself symbolising “Man is the maker of his own happiness”, and next hall will give the experience of arduous travel Swami Narayan which lasted for seven long years with artifial hanging bridges, rain forests, then a movie on the Indian Culture, geography, and travel of Swami Narayan, and finally with wonderful depection Ramayan with life sized effigies.

Outside of the premises is full of small shops food, pani-poori, Gujarati costumes and lemon soda.


I hired a rickshaw to Adalaj to visit the step well (“wow” in gujarati) and Trimandir


The step well is an architectural marvel. There are five stories in the building, water can be accessed at any level, and each story has a parapet wall at floor level which will let access to any part of the well.

and finally Trimandir

Auroville, India

Auroville, near to pondicherry is a place to explore and experience culture, people and life as a whole. Unity and peace is the mantra here. Auroville itself is made of many settlements. I had packed my bags to Auorville for a weekend. I had already booked my guest house: Samarpan, is run by a wonderful Donata and Stephano with her very old mother. They came to Auroville 8 year back from Italy, who is more Indian than me; she said “I love the place, the people and their shit” pointing the beach where villagers come for defecating.

Samarpan guest house is just in the beach, with wooden cottages and studios. The cottages are facing the sea, witnessing everyday the divine sunrise which decorates the orange sky. I hired a scooter which is economical and convenient way to visit around. I was served with Idly, toast, pancake and fruits for breakfast.

view from cottage

I relaxed watching the sea with my Kindle.


To visit Matir mandir next day, booking must be made at the Auroville information center after watching a video. It’s handy to have an Auro card which is like a debit card. A free pass can be got to visit the Matir Mandir viewing point.


Savitri Bhavan, Solar Kitchen and Kala Kendra are few must visit places. You can make the most of the experience if you plan you trip according to Auroville’s events. There are many cafes and restaurants around, all these places are different in their own way. We can get fresh pizzas and I loved the yummy chocolate cake made of wheat and chocolate balls at “Farm Fresh”, which is few hundred feet away from Auroville Bakery.

Auroville is a place for architects. Building are unconventional, beautiful and eco friendly. I visited a project: houses built by volunteers just by scavenging. I saw some one made a stool with tetra packs. It is also possible for anyone to become a volunteer by applying through Auroville’s website. To get the story: talk to people, everyone there are very polite and good.

You might be tempted you live back if you are deep in your mind frustrated with living the mechanical life and living in the traffic.

Murudeshwara, Karnataka, India

My new found love for coastal Karnataka has brought me here to Murdeshwara, known for Lord Shiva temple at the sea shore. The Shiva statue and 18 floor temple tower brings all the popularity Murdeshwara has. I had come from Bangalore to Murdeshwara via Mangalore. All along the way there were scenic backwaters what seemed to me is like a river. It is absolute scenic stretch of Gangoli beach; on the left is bright blue sea that extends beyond horizon decorated with whitish sand and stone wall and on the right is beautiful backwaters. I had reached around 10:30 after the bus had departed from Mangalore at around 6:30. This day I was sweating uncontrollably, humidity in the air made me notoriously sultry. First thing was to search for a hotel, hotels here are overpriced for what it offers. There are small houses that host travellers. I neither found anyone hosting on couchsurfing nor hostels. Most hotels were reluctant in hosting lone travellers due to some unfortunate incident, identification proof was mandatory at all hotels. I stayed at Dhenu Atithya, hotel gave me a decent discount since I was travelling alone. They have a restaurant attached at first floor of hotel and interestingly they perform “gou pooja” every morning where the guests are also invited.

123 feet Shiva Statue
123 ft Shiva

Aerial view of beach
Aerial View of Beach

The temple’s eighteen floor tower’s top can be reached using elevator by paying meager rs.10–This is probably the most important view to be experienced, it provides an amazing aerial view of the Shiva statue, beach and the town. The beach becomes interesting place by early morning; fresh catch of crabs, indian mackerel, prawns come from boat of all sizes, getting into sea waters is not advisable; beach is crab infested. You can stroll across streets to find small hotels who serve fish but they are only few.

Plan for Murdeswara, can be done along with Nethraani Islands and Gokarna.

Murdeswara town


Udupi, Karnataka, India

Udupi, a holy town famously known for Sri Krishna temple and its food. A clean town, which is around 400 kms from Bangalore, there are buses to Udupi, which go via Mangalore. There are abundant bus services from Mangalore which is around sixty kms away to Udupi. The temple which has an interesting history on how it was founded by Madhvacharya is five minutes by walk from the bus stand. Spirituality was already in the air, with divine fragrance and and the music as we approached the temple. You can find accommodations around the temple, prefer the mutt’s accommodation which is closer to temple, inexpensive and of good standards, we paid ₹750 for a non-a/c room.


Udupi Cuisine, know across nation for its uncomplicated flavor without onion and garlic, food is served at the temple twice a day for lunch and dinner from where popularity of Udupi cuisine come from. It would remain incomplete without experiencing other Udupi recipes, prefer smaller traditional restaurants near by temple. did I say ‘Masala dosa’ originated at Udupi?

There is a strong urge within me to talk about Udupi girls, they are beautiful and they still posses the lost art of shyness and I shall end it here.

Six kms away is the Maple beach, you have abundant small buses from Udupi. Plan to spend a full day at the beach. There is a Mahatma Gandhi statue at the entrance, apart from couple of resorts and few small shops the beach is not much commercialized. There are few rocky islands near Malpe, there are boat services to these islands at nominal cost. St. Mary’s island is special because of its rock formations. Basalt, a type of igneous rock is in columnar formation, within the island there are columnar hexagonal formation. Island holds geological importance, also declared as a geological monument by Geological Survey of India. In the Malpe beach, you can walk little further to visit the shipyard, visitors are not allowed inside but you can see some of the shipyard by coming around to back side. There is also a port with hundreds of fishing boats anchored. By evening, beautiful sunset that anyone cannot afford to miss.

arriving at island

St.Mary's Island

Malpe beach

With a traveler spirit without a tourist attitude, Udupi has much to offer.