Flash Anzan is a technique in which a person uses a mentally visualized abacus for calculations. The imaginary abacus helps add up numbers much faster than anyone can expect. Typically scores of Japanese children learn the abacus, which they call soroban; but this cutting edge mental math is gaining better results.
Abacus teacher Yoji Miyamoto developed Flash Anzan as a math game, which could be only solved using an imaginary abacus, a skill known as anzan. In the All Japan Soroban Championship, fifteen numbers are flashed on a giant screen and contestants are expected to calculate the results in a jiffy. The numbers are randomly chosen between 100 and 999 and are flashed so fast that you can hardly see them.
Takeo Sasano is one of the more seasoned players and broke his own record this year. The numbers were flashed onscreen in 1.70 seconds, and he had the right answer soon after that! The game plays out like this; when the first number is flashed, the contestant imagines it on his imaginary abacus, he keeps adding up the subsequent numbers. There is no time to blink your eyelids, lest you lose your calculation. By the end of it, most contestants don’t even remember the interim numbers. The method is foolproof if you master it. Naofumi Ogasawara who won the Mental Calculation World Cup used this technique and the previous winner, Priyashi Somani, from India, did the same too.
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