Japan Journey

 

This week’s blog will be a personal reflection of my recent week in Japan where I went with my two younger sisters and step-mother for the purpose of joining my father’s ashes to my mother’s in two cemeteries, the Hachioji Cemetery and the Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo.  My mother passed away in 1986 at age 64, in her final year as a missionary for the United Church of Christ.  My father passed away last October in Florida at the age of 93. I write to you while enjoying my dried persimmons and quality green tea brought back as “treasures” to enjoy.

Each morning, at the Sun Hotel in Shinjuku, I was able to enjoy a delicious Japanese breakfast of rice, miso, boiled seaweed, pickled plums and cucumbers, lotus root, grilled salmon, mackerel and egg, while reading the very wide pages of the Japan Times with eager curiosity.  Two items stood out for me.  One was an article on the amount of child pornography in Japan and how little is being done to contain it or control its distribution.  Very disappointing, indeed, and doesn’t reflect well on the Japanese attitudes towards children. The second was on the amount of thyroid cancer diagnosed in children exposed to the Fukushima nuclear site meltdown.  Some doctors are saying there is more cancer; the government saying this is not the case, and since most people don’t trust the government to tell the truth, they make their own conclusions that there is a definite increase in the cases of thyroid cancer.

As we came and went from the hotel in taxis, or private cars, we took in the architectural changes to Shibuya and Shinjuku, observed the current fashions of young people and generally got a snap shot impression of some aspects that appear to have changed over the years since we had been in Japan.  Obligatory ceremonial functions took two of our five days so we were left with three days to pursue our own agendas, mostly gustatory, and looking for special items to take home to our loved ones.  Tasty persimmons were in season, as were tangerines, eaten while we viewed the changing colors of the foliage travelling up to the 5th level of Mt. Fuji by private car where we saw busloads of Asians and other foreigners disgorge from busses, but few actual Japanese.  A sushi meal at the famed Tsujita Fish Market, which is to be closed and relocated on Nov 6th, was not nostalgic for me as it will be for most Japanese, as I had never been there before, but certainly was my last opportunity.  Japanese high cuisine has become more “French like” and Sukiyaki and Tempura no longer seem to take center stage at very important events.

Of course, we were able to spend important time with friends of our childhood and adult life, refresh our rather “feeble” Japanese and experience the schizophrenia of being a third culture child probing backwards and forwards to connect this current experience together with our past.  The attached photo of Kwan Yin is one I took at the Hachioji Cemetery.  Her smiling presence greeted me as we drove up the winding hillsides of traditional Buddhist grave sites to the one Christian site, where the members of the Kyodan Church bury their members.  The minister officiating at the ceremony never knew my father, being a very young minister, but he was representative of the type of man that my father gave many years of service trying to raise up and we knew my father would have been pleased.  We left Japan, not knowing when me might return, if ever, but that is the way it is with one’s journey in life.

Celeste A. Miller

Kwan Yin at Hachioji Cemetery

Kwan Yin at Hachioji Cemetary

Dr. Makoto Shichida Part 2

Dr. Makoto Shichida, Part 2

Dr. Shichida postulated that the two distinct types of brain functions (right and left) result in two different types of memory and mental operations.

Left Side of Brain

The left side he believed operated at the beta wave frequency (14 to 30 hertz cycles per second).  This brain wave pattern is most frequent used by adults in our awake states.

Right Side of Brain

The right side of the brain operates on the alpha wave cycle (8 to 13 hertz cycles per second).  This pattern is more common in young children.  The right brain wave pattern – alpha wave cycle – learns mostly with images.  This wave frequency is most often associated in adults with a relaxed alert state of mind such as in meditation, just after awakening, or while relaxing to music.  Chinese chi-gong masters have been scientifically shown to be working with alpha waves and the right side of the brain is “wired” to learn from alpha waves per Dr. Shichida.

Thus, it is not the activity that is either right or left brain, but the frequency of the brain that you use to do the activity. So, for example music could be listened to with the left brain or with the right brain with a different result.  The left brain might analyze the music and the right brain experience the music.  Meditation, deep breathing and music are tools to shift the wave patterns from beta to alpha.  These two brain wave states are our waking states. Dr. Shichida believed that children were in the alpha wave state up to the age of three. After this, the left side of the brain begins to dominate in most people.

Key to Dr. Shichida’s theory is the notion that our subconscious mind receives information through our skin as well as the five senses in the alpha wave length state.  In order to send and receive images, the mind must be operating at the Alpha wave cycles.  Telepathy is possible when the vibrational frequencies travelling through the body are changed into mental images at the alpha wave state.  (Note:  Dr. Shichida uses the term “right brain” to refer to alpha wave learning and “left brain” to refer to beta wave learning.  It may be that there are wave patterns of learning not limited to a particular brain hemisphere and that calling certain types of learning right or left brain as he does is misleading.  Therefore, it may be more accurate to discuss his success as attributable to using certain brain wave frequencies of learning using various parts of the whole brain.  Future neurological studies might be able to sort this out.)

Materials to develop right brain functions

The method used to develop right brain function is to input information at a high speed to the right brain (Science has yet to tell us exactly where this information is stored in the brain). This is accomplished with speed-reading, speed-watching and speed- hearing.  At the Shichida Child Academies in Japan, mothers attend classes 1 time per week with their child and are taught to use flash cards in a rapid-fire manner flashing visual information at less than 1 second per card and by repetitious playing of audiotapes (speed-hearing).  “A high speed massive input (without comprehension or conscious memorization) is the key to activate the right brain” [1]The content of the visual and auditory input is carefully orchestrated to achieve specific skill levels of right-brain functioning but not to teach specific information.  Once the pathways (mylenated synapses) are established for right-brain functioning, a child can learn anything and learning becomes automatic.

Using these methods he had some success with children with brain disorders and Down’s syndrome children. Flash cards music, games and physical exercises were all part of a holistic program he developed into kits for various ages.  Storyboarding cards, vocabulary cards, memory games and guessing games are many of the activities that parents use with their children.   The specific games and methods he used to develop right-brain functions are proprietary intellectual property shared only at his academies, but a glance through his catalog gives you the idea there is plenty of variety.

1. Shichida, M. (1996). Right Brain Education – The education of mind and affection. Japan: Shichida Child Education, p. 6

Dr. Celeste Miller

 

All known English references for Dr. Shichida

Shichida, M. ( 1993a    ) Right brain education in infancy theory and practice.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1993b)  Babies are geniuses.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1994).  Science of intelligence and creativity.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1996). Right Brain Education – The education of mind and affection.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1997).  Workshop given in Minneapolis, MN, November

Shichida, M. (1998).  Workshop given in Livingston, MT, June

 

Butterflies

Butterflies

 

 

 

Dr. Makoto Shichida

 

I first met Dr. Makoto Shichida, a Japanese educator of accelerated education, in 1995 at a conference for accelerated learning held in Tampa, Florida. He was a vegetarian, up in years, with bright shining eyes, and quite evidently on a mission to spread his new educational “gospel” of right brain education for all.  He seemed to have a deep love for children.  He spoke (through a translator) about his 50-years experimentation with accelerated learning with mothers and babies in Japan, and how he was originally inspired by Glen Doman’s work at the Institute for Human Potential working with brain damaged children.  He recounted for his listeners how he had uncovered a vast learning potential, untapped in most people, but strongly present in all babies, preterm and at birth, which he was calling right brain education– to distinguish it from traditional education which is more left brain. He described encyclopedic information absorption, advanced mathematical calculation abilities and foreign language absorption, among other abilities of young children resulting from his methods.   I was intrigued, and with my Japanese language abilities, I was able to talk to him at length after his session.

As a result of our conversation, he sent me copies of his four (now out of print) books in English and his Japanese monthly magazines and catalogs and I began to study these for my own edification.   It appeared to me that he was very popular and well known in Japan with classes, TV interviews and merchandising with an extensive product catalog. At that point, he had trained many teachers, who had in turn opened up over 300 franchised Child Academies all over Japan. I was never able to travel to Japan to verify his claims for myself, first hand.  But, he returned to the U.S. on several occasions in 1997 and 1998 to give workshops, and I was able to attend those informative functions.  But, I was still left with more questions than answers.

In 1997, I published a paper, Introducing the Work of Dr. Makoto Shichida, in which I attempted to systematically present his theories and findings according to his claims. Here is a brief synopsis of his discoveries.  He found that all children’s brains had some basic (and mostly unused) functions: resonance functions (the right brain is equipped to be able to receive and process vibrational frequencies); image-visualization (the right brain has the ability to have photographic memory); high-speed mass memorization function (the right brain has the ability to absorb and memorize mass amounts of information at high speed input); high speed automatic process function (the right brain has the ability to process unconscious memory) and five ESP functions (described below).  Basically, he believed that “The left brain is physically oriented; the right brain is spiritually oriented.”  Right-brain education is the education of mental and affective faculties. The right brain learns through images, is intuitive, sensitive to music, and absorbs the whole without needing to understand the parts. ).  The ability to image is the key (opens the door) to accessing these right brain functions.

The Five ESP Functions

According to Dr. Shichida, there are five ESP right brain senses.  These are as natural to humans as the left brain senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell).  The ESP senses operate on the theory that cells in the body radiate energy waves and receive wave radiations from the environment (resonance function) and store this information in the unconscious mind.  The five right brain senses are tactility (guessing by touch), precognition (predicting events), clairvoyance (seeing the hidden), telepathy (mental communication) and telekinesis (moving objects in space. His books are replete with anecdotal examples of children who as a result of systematic training have abilities in these l ESP functions.

In Japan, mothers are very serious about beginning the education of their offspring while they are yet in the womb.  Being able to receive information in the womb is one of the abilities resulting from the ESP function of the right brain and thus, begins the Shichida educative process.  Most of the contents of his book Babies are Geniuses is dedicated to exploring this subject.

Although, his anecdotal examples are hard to discount, and the reader is left quite sure he has obviously discovered a lot of unexplained abilities of young children, Dr. Shichida struggled to explain scientifically how the brain was able to have these abilities.  Along the way, he developed some naïve theories to do so, which in my estimation don’t really explain much at all.  But like visionary educators before him, he knew he was on to something new about children’s learning that needed to be optimized in the first three years of life.  (This information will be continued next week with details on his specific methods).

Shichida, M. (1993a).  Right brain education in infancy theory and practice.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1993b).  Babies are geniuses.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1994).  Science of intelligence and creativity.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

Shichida, M. (1996). Right Brain Education – The education of mind and affection.  Japan:  Shichida Child Education

 

Dr. Celeste Miller

Australian flower

Australian flower