Memory Techniques Are Big In Japan

Memory Techniques Are Big In Japan

How To Build Memory Palaces – Even If Your Home Is Microscopic!

It’s true. Housing in Japan is notoriously tiny.

Just have a look at this video demonstrating the extremely small size of one person’s home:

No doubt about it. Tiny locations can make effective Memory Palace construction challenging.

However, I’ve got a solution to suggest on today’s podcast Q&A. It will give you plenty of ideas that will boost your success no matter how small your abode may be.

And the best part is that you can also read the entire episode right from this page.

Your Cramped Home Is Bigger Than You Think

Hello Anthony,

I am just having a few obstacles come up with completing the worksheet and building the foundations of the Memory Palaces. For example, I know that I have been living at various spots throughout my life, but maybe I am not so confident about the layout of say, the school I attended, or the shopping mall I visited, etc.

How vivid and detailed do these locations have to be in order for them to qualify as a Memory Palace?
Obviously, these places are in my memory, but it has been years since I have been physically there, and in other cases as much as 10+ years since I visited them.

Another question would be about distance. What if I cannot remember in detail where things are in my journey of the Memory Palace? For example, walking around campus in my University. Things that I do remember are sometimes far apart from each other. Also, I am just naming spots, like the library, the parking lot, etc. I can probably go online and look at a map and that would most likely jog my memory as I mentally walk through the campus, and it would have the proper names of the buildings and the locations.

How do I not get crossed up in a cramped area like my apartment? I live in Japan, and things are unbelievable tight in these apartments. This could be a real challenge. Are there strategies for not getting crossed up when memorizing the layout of a memory palace. Do we stay on one side of the wall or walkway and exit through the other side?

For example, the school I work at now. How would I navigate this? (I could also pdf you a map of the layout). Imagine a Square with one side missing. And classrooms go down to the end of each side.
How do I not get crossed up walking over the same path here? This has me a bit confused.

Also, are we walking or are we flying / floating through our Memory Palaces since walking through large spaces like a Shopping Mall, or a University Campus, or an Amusement Park would take too much time to navigate?

Thank you so much for your help and support.

How To Wake Up Your Imagination And Make Even A Fishbowl Seem Like A Football Stadium In Your Mind

Thanks for this question!

Ultimately, a lot of these questions will be answered by experience. But based on my own experience, I can tell you this and then expand on some ideas: I personally don’t need my Memory Palaces to be so vivid.

However, when I take the time to go through various exercises I’ve created (or heard about from Magnetic Memory Method readers and course participants), each Memory Palace becomes more vivid. And the effects are more immediate, intense and long-lasting.

The exercises are simple, but depend upon being relaxed. In fact, all of the technical strategies aside, the number one piece of Magnetic Magic underlying the Magnetic Memory Method is relaxation.

The Surprising Techniques That Makes Everything As Easy As Whip Cream

So here’s what to do first: Get yourself in a relaxed state. Use mediation, Pendulum Breathing, progressive-muscle relation and any other principles you know. Everything will come together.

Once you’re in a relaxed state, all you need to do is wander through the Memory Palaces. Figure out if you can take a journey through the Memory Palace in a way that follows the Magnetic Memory principles of not crossing your path and not trapping yourself.

The journey can be simple or relatively complex so long as these principles are in effect, and you can make a natural journey. I also recommend that you don’t try passing through walls like a ghost or jumping out of windows, etc.


Because these activities use mental energy and take the focus from simply going from one station to the next. You need that so you can quickly decode the imagery you’ve created and placed at the station.

Can you proceed to memorize using a network of Memory Palaces without following each of these? Of course … but you risk spending mental energy on remembering where to go next. And this prevents you from focusing on what comes next during recall practice.

Very Private Matters That Only You Can Tackle

Again, personal experimentation is key.

Dealing with distances is an interesting issue, but it is again solved by personal experimentation.

I use the campus of one of the universities I studied at extensively, but always focusing on individual college or administrative buildings. There were also not any unusual distances between the buildings.

But if I were to face long distance issues, I would consider creating multiple journeys and labeling each accordingly.

In sum, it sounds like your apartment might not make an ideal Memory Palace.

But don’t throw it away! You can save it for when you are at a more advanced level and start working with virtual Memory Palace elements. These would include bookcases and the like.

How To Play Memory Like Music In Your Mind

As for flying/floating, I came up with the term “Magnetic” because as things work for me, I am simply drawn from station to station. Almost as if a Magnet had pulled me there.

You might like to fly or float, but this is something you will learn from practice and experimentation.

I realize that I “pass the buck” onto practice and experimentation a lot, but there’s a reason for that. It’s because learning the Magnetic Memory Method is essentially like learning music. There are many elements that come together in order for a musician to produce sound based on reading marks on a page.

The Magnetic Memory Method is those marks on the page and you are the musician.

Sure, there are a few shortcuts here and there, but if you want to experience the music (i.e. the boost in fluency made possible by memorizing vocabulary en masse) then you’ve essentially got to know

1) How to read the music and

2) How to perform it on your instrument (which in this case is your mind).

But There’s A Paradox!

A lot of people say “but my mind is different!”

To a certain extent that is true. But how music is written and how it is performed relies on the same eyes, ears, fingers that most of us have to work with. And the principles of music are more or less universal. In fact, music is inherently mnemonic itself as you can see from the circle of fifths.

Although music has universal characteristics, we have the paradox of individuality. Each person who picks up an instrument has the amazing ability to play it in a way that is unique from every other musician. I don’t know if Heavy Metal is your thing, but there is no one else on earth who can write and play riffs like David Mustaine from Megadeth. Literally no one else on the planet.

You can even use musical terminology to describe his note preferences and some of the flavors and tones he uses. But at the end of the day, only he can do it. This is true of all musicians, whether they are great musicians or not.

And this is true of all language speakers.

Whether it’s our mother tongue or a second language, we learn it and then use it through a vast network of personal mental associations. These are our entirely our own and yet are still based on universal principles.

And That’s A Wonderful Thing!

Why? Because you have all the “Rock Star” substance you need to excel. You’ve just got to take this piece of music I’ve given you, fill in the words you want to memorize and then start to perform.

The last thing I would suggest to you (for now) is that you start visiting new places and take care to pay attention to their layout. If you haven’t got enough places in your past, the good news is that the future is a big place. There is no end to the new locations you can collect for:

a) General enjoyment in life and

b) Memory Palace development

Carry a notebook with you, make a list of new places you’ve been and take a few seconds to draw a layout or take some photos if that helps.

Trust me, you won’t regret it.

It’s True: Size Does Not Matter

On the matter of size, I was in Leipzig the other day, but it really doesn’t matter that the hotel room was small. I still made a mental image of it because there are all kinds of occasions where even just a tiny space can quickly provide ten stations for memorizing something.

There is no building too large or small for Memory Palace construction and use.

I hope these thoughts help you move forward! Let me know if I’ve missed anything or if you have any further questions and I hope to be in touch again soon.

Further Resources

How to Renovate A Memory Palace

4 Responses

  1. Thank you for your all the free help on memory you always provide.
    I appreciate you work it is always relevant to we students than any other group.

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Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, names, music, poetry and more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun.

Dr. Metivier holds a Ph.D. in Humanities from York University and has been featured in Forbes, Viva Magazine, Fluent in 3 Months, Daily Stoic, Learning How to Learn and he has delivered one of the most popular TEDx Talks on memory improvement.

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