The Day I Met With The Prime Minister Of Japan And Why I Am My Memories
The other day, as I was tidying up my study room, I found an old newspaper clipping that I had carefully kept all these years. It was a treasured memory, and the old newspaper clipping was that of me and a group of students with the then Prime Minister of Japan Mr Yasuhiro Nakasone. The year was 1983 and I was still a university student. I was in Japan on Japan Air Lines Scholarship Program to study Japanese Management at Sophia University, Tokyo. This program was attended by 50 plus students from more than 10 countries. I was very lucky to be selected as one of five students to represent Malaysia.
This trip to Japan was a milestone in my life as it was the first time that I had traveled overseas. And it is was during this trip I was bitten by the traveling bug. Since then, I had taken the opportunity to travel whenever and wherever possible.
Although Mr. Nakasone was the highest-ranking official that I met in Japan, I seem to have forgotten about this event. My memory of the event was only jolted when I found the newspaper clip. Instead, I had other fond and warm memories when I reminiscence about my trip to Japan. The crowded train stations during my commute from my hostel to Sophia University, the long queues at Tokyo Disneyland as it was just newly opened, the disappointment the group felt when we could not climb Mount Fuji as there was no parking space for the bus and the care and kindness shown by my Japanese foster parents.
Looking at the photograph in the newspaper clip, my first recollection was that I wore a batik shirt instead of a formal suit simply because I could not afford one. My other memories were of the TV crew that was following us around, the swarm of reporters and the incessant flashes from reporters’ cameras.
I will discuss how are memories formed and how these memories shaped our lives
How are memories formed?
Memory refers to the procedures for acquiring, storing, retaining, and retrieving information. Memory is made up of three basic processes: encoding, storage, and retrieval.
In order to build new memories, information must be converted into a useful format, which is accomplished through the encoding process. After the data has been successfully encoded, it must be saved in memory for future use.
Much of this stored memory is hidden from our awareness most of the time, except when we need it. We can bring stored memories into our awareness through the retrieval process.
Different Types of Memories
Memories can be classified into two broad types; short-term memory and long-term memory
Short-term memory is only good for 20 to 30 seconds at most. It momentarily stores information before discarding it or transferring it to long-term memory.
It's also known as working memory, albeit that term refers to information that we receive, process fast, and then discard. For instance, your shopping list is stored in your short-term memory and after you have finished shopping, the brain will discard it as it is no longer useful.
Long-term memories are more complicated than short-term recollections. Long-term memory would be used to store anything that happened more than a few minutes ago. The strength of our memory fluctuates depending on how often we recall or use a specific piece of knowledge. Long-term memories are sub-divided into explicit and implicit memories.
Explicit memories are a form of long-term memory that you recall after thinking about it consciously. These memories can relate to events that happened in your personal life for example my trip to Japan. Another type of explicit memory is the general knowledge that we have acquired for example giraffes have long necks.
On the other hand, memories that you don't have to consciously recollect are known as implicit memories. Once you have learned to ride a bike, even after a long period has elapsed, you will be able to remember how to ride a bike. Therefore in our daily lives, we are able to perform certain tasks like driving a car automatically without the need to think about them.
How Memories Shape Our Lives?
We are who we are because of our memories, or to put it more simply we are our memories. They shape our viewpoints in ways we aren't even aware of. We're made up of memory blocks that join together to form our awareness. What it feels like to be you—your goals, expectations, and fears—are all based on memories of previous experiences.
Humans being materialistic tend to spend a lot of time, effort and money to acquire physical things. These things can be stolen and depreciate over time. In a lot of instances, people suffered from buyer’s remorse after buying expensive items. On the other hand, memories with loved ones can be created at virtually no cost.
For me personally, after I have achieved a certain standard of living, I like to spend my money creating more memories rather than buying things. That is why I loved to travel with my family.
I also like to share with you two habits that will make us more aware of our positive memories. The first habit is to keep a gratitude diary where you can record all the good things and blessings that you received on a daily basis. By putting this on paper which you can refer to anytime, you are storing these positive memories close to your heart. Another technique is to discuss with family members perhaps over meals, the best thing that happened today. These conversations will not bring the family closer together but we are to reflect on the good memories of the day.
Life is precious and life is short. Therefore we should all strive to create as many wonderful and beautiful memories while we still can. So do share memories that you cherish in the comments section.
Follow me and stay positive.
Do check out my previous posts.
Spreading positivity one post at a time.