November 2, 2012 4:39 AM Subscribe
The world record for Flash Anzan
was broken this year at the 2012 All Japan Soroban [abacus] Championship. Competitors in Flash Anzan sum up 15 3-digit numbers that are displayed in turn within a set time. The record is now 1.70 seconds, which means that each number is displayed for just over 0.1s. Here is a video of a "slow" 1.85 seconds
seconds where the numbers are barely readable.Previously
. Flash Anzan competitors are so good at the abacus that they don't need one any more - they hold a mental model of one in their heads.
, author, journalist and mathematician, recently presented a programme on BBC Radio 4 called Land of the Rising Sums
(link may only work in the UK), exploring the Japanese culture of numbers. For them, numbers are a fun after-school activity, like sport.