- Dec 14, 2004
- Reaction score
Crazy.....this guy has quite a memory. The method he used to memorize all those numbers is intriguing though:In fact, so marginal is the perceived importance of pi -- a number many remember from school only as "somewhere around 3.14, or roughly 22 divided by 7," but which is actually the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter -- that many schools in Japan even teach the value of pi as 3 to simplify the concept amid the plethora of math formulas, grammar rules and history facts that students must cram.
But for Akira Haraguchi, pi is more than just a vague figure or a mathematical concept -- like zero -- that proves itself vital to many calculations. In fact, he says the infinite series of numbers, which computers have calculated to more than 1 trillion digits without detecting any repetition or pattern, provides him with the source of epic novels and poems -- and even the answers to his lifelong spiritual quest.
Otherwise, why would anyone want to try to set a world record in reciting 100,000 digits of pi? That, however, is exactly what this 61-year-old retired engineer from Chiba Prefecture set out to do -- and accomplished -- during a 16 1/2-hour event in Tokyo in October.
Very cool.So how does he do it? He has come up with his own way of assigning kana characters to each number. The number 0, for example, can be read as o, ra, ri, ru, re, ro, wo, on or oh; 1 can be a, i, u, e, hi, bi, pi, an, ah, hy, hyan, bya, or byan. The list goes on up to 9.
Combining these characters, he has created a myriad of stories and poems, including a story about the legendary 12th-century hero Minamoto no Yoshitsune and his sidekick Benkei, who was a Buddhist monk. In his January 2006 book titled "Bucchigiri Sekai Kiroku Hojisha no Kiokujutu (The Memorization Skills of a Whopping World-record Holder)," he explains that the first 15 digits of pi, which are 3.14159265358979, can be memorized as "saishi ikokuni mukosan kowakunaku" -- which roughly translates as: "The wife and children have gone abroad; the husband is not scared."