I started learning Japanese when I was an undergrad. Of course we ‘learned’ by using Japanese the Spoken Language by Jordan/Noba. Now Professor Jordan does have a great command of the Japanese language. I give her due for that. But her textbook, an overtly detailed stereo instruction details about the finer points of Japanese grammar, was not to say the best tool for my learning. I got a D in my Japanese Class. It was the first and only time i scored so low in a class, from Jr. High-school through graduate school.
But looking back, there was another reason why I didn’t do so well. My health at that time was not up to par. I wasn’t too concerned about my health either. I was more concerned about passing my next test, going to the next party, and so on. In graduate school, my health slipped down to a new low. I ate a lot of fast food and developed a lot of digestive problems. Even though I was really beginning to study Japanese again (on my own, and my best friend was the new Japanese teacher), I probably wasn’t doing as well as I could have at the time.
Well, moving to Japan and loosing about 40 pounds really did help. My brain was able to remember things better. But one thing that really really helped my learning was when I decided to start running. I began to see real improvements soon after starting.
Lately I have discovered another secret to good health with language learning. I don’t know if this will work for you, but it certainly has had a good positive effect on my learning. The secret, cinnamon. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon a day is very good for you! Cinnamon is a natural anti-biotic, so it helps keep you from getting sick. I personally haven’t had a cold since last October (before i started eating cinnamon). And I teach children… and teaching teaching children generally means having a constant cold or flu… But this year, nope! not one time! Also the smell is very good for your brain. It must stimulate your brain or something… but yes, i am sharper now than a few months ago. I pick up things and remember them a lot easier. Furthermore, for me it acts as a natural prozac. I am overall much happier and energetic now than i was a few months ago. It really has made me feel great!
So everybody, why don’t you give it a try? Just plain old cheep powdered sugar-free cinnamon. I put it on toast with honey (no butter or margarine), I put it in my soy milk, I put it in plain yogurt (with a touch of honey) and i put it in ice cream. Of course I put it on Apples.
so everybody, remember that your health can have a great impact on your language learning. If anybody else has found any little health secrets that have helped you, please share them.