Memory No. 2: Nobuaki was a friend of mine.

Dear Nobuaki,

I haven’t seen you since fifth grade. Or was it fourth grade? Wait, maybe it was third grade. Recently I had the pleasure of chatting with you online, and sometimes I wonder what happened to you in the past several years. Because life has gone by, and I’ve changed. But I still have the image of a nine-year-old Nobuaki in my mind.

Firstly, you asked me about the SAT. The SAT is one of the stupidest tests you will take in your life. It’s also one of the most important ones you will take in your high school career, if you intend to study in the US. It has a writing, reading, and math section. In my own opinion, the reading is the easiest, the writing the second easiest, and the math the hardest. However, because you are getting a famed Japanese education, you may very well disagree. Either way, it is an astoundingly easy test for which the best way to prepare right now is to read everything you can and pay attention in math class. In eleventh grade you might want to look through the official SAT test book, and if you can you should take the PSAT in eleventh grade (do they offer it in Japan?). But otherwise, don’t fret. It’s only one of many things you need to do well on to get into college.

And that’s where grades come in. You realize this, and I realize this, and grades are important. I honestly don’t think you should worry too much about the precise numbers you need to get into Yale, which is one awesome school (my dad got his PhD there). But at the same time, you need good grades. They don’t need to be stellar now; you have three more years to show what you can do as a student, and junior year is what matters most. And also, because you spent a lot of time abroad, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t have an A+ in Japanese. Play your strengths to your advantage, and you’ll be fine.

Secondly, you introduced me to the awesomeness that is Piers Morgan. Thank you.

Thirdly, you mentioned that you lived in Scotland for awhile, and that Scots call erasers “rubbers.” I want to live in Scotland; it sounds like so much fun! And so does table tennis–I think you’re the only person I know who plays it.

Fourthly, you asked me about good books to read. As I said, you should read Ender’s Game. I first read it when I was nine, and since then I have reread it each year. Maybe, since you think Aristotle is so cool (he is, I agree), you could read Nicomachean Ethics? Or maybe you should read his Metaphysics. An ethics professor recommended it to me a few years ago. He was teaching a class over the summer, right before he went to teach a course in Dublin, and he recommended a lot of interesting books to me. Crime and Punishment was absolutely amazing. Dostoyevsky always seems to get overshadowed by Tolstoy, but really, Dostoyevsky is brilliant.

Lastly, on the evolution of mathematics and how it was revolutionized by the Cartesian plane: I will speak about it in another post later this week, if only because I think it’s a wonderful topic that requires its own response.

Hoping all is well,


P.S. You choosing Bill Gates over the Bible because Bill Gates is more accepting of laziness made me laugh.

“How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.” -Proverbs 6:9–11


“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job. Because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.” -Bill Gates

Categories: Dear Past, Memory | Leave a comment

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