This blog post was brought to you by the generosity of AJATT's patrons!

If you would like to support the continuing production of AJATT content, please consider making a monthly donation through Patreon.

Right there ↑ . Go on. Click on it. Patrons get goodies like early access to content (days, weeks, months and even YEARS before everyone else), mutlimedia stuff and other goodies!

How To Learn Japanese While Living In Japan In Only 3 Ridiculously Easy, Concrete Steps

So you’re in Japan and you’ve learned that “just being in the country will make you awesome” is a total myth, albeit a reasonable-sounding and persistent one. What now?

  1. Turn on the TV at 9pm today.
    • Turn it off at 9:30 pm…2 years from now. Seriously.
      • I am not effing kidding. This is not hyperbole. Leave it on. Leave it audible. I used to leave things playing even when I wasn’t home, just to be a bastard about continuity. Wait — I still do!
    • Get cable/satellite ASAP. More variety.
    • Channel-surf like a fiend.
  2. Rent one Japanese-dubbed Hollywood movie every day.
    • One DVD.
    • That’s only 100 yen per day.
    • You spend more than that on beer and cigarettes, you vice-loving gaijin, you.
    • Why can’t you be like me and use hookers and blow 1? You know, like a proper grown-up?
  3. Get a new copy of 少年ジャンプ (Shounen Jump) every week (or キャンキャン (CanCam), egg, ageha and Men’s Non-No every month…yes, all four; it’s only once a month, champ) .
    • Tear out 3~10 pages and post them on your fridge and walls.
    • Increase, replenish and/or replace these pages weekly.
    • Don’t be a jerk about buying these. They need to be in your house, in your bedroom and living room. They do you little good sitting on the shelves of the nation’s convenience stores because you don’t live at the conbini, do you? 😛

Related Reading:

  • The Gaijin 12-Step Program | AJATT | All Japanese All The Time
  • If Immersion Works So Well, Then Why Can People Live In a Country For Double-Digit Years And Never Learn The Language? | AJATT | All Japanese All The Time
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Expats Who Live In Japan Don’t Know Japanese | AJATT | All Japanese All The Time


  1. (Swahili for “hot chocolate and books…and also hookers — no use being a darn fool about it”)

  26 comments for “How To Learn Japanese While Living In Japan In Only 3 Ridiculously Easy, Concrete Steps

  1. Jordan Johnson
    July 15, 2011 at 04:30

    I think this is my problem. Although I do not live in japan I need to increase how much Japanese characters I see. I need to Japanese my room and visit more Japanese websites.

  2. July 15, 2011 at 04:34

    You don’t suppose this would work in other countries, do you? 😛

    • ahndoruuu
      July 15, 2011 at 06:36

      Maybe if we got all those sexy cable channels it would work just as well :/

  3. July 15, 2011 at 08:22


  4. July 15, 2011 at 17:58

    That’s the problem with having a girlfriend. She wants the TV in a language she already understands. This really messes with my Dutch.

    • Han
      July 16, 2011 at 01:16

      This problem is why I got a girlfriend who is both learning the same language as me, and is a native speaker of my other aim 😉

      • July 16, 2011 at 01:49

        Could you explain this again Han. I didn’t understand the first time.

        • Han
          July 16, 2011 at 03:43

          Sorry bro.
          I’m learning Russian and German. My girlfriend is also learning Russian, and German is her native language. So I don’t have the problem of our language goals conflicting!

  5. Joshuah
    July 16, 2011 at 10:08

    I think this could be done outside of Japan as well… I mean, emulating a typical Japanese room is the at the core of game itself… A Japanese TV could be replaced by a screen with anime/drama/J-TV (And YOU get to choose the programs here, which equals premium TV with the best programs :D). As for the Shonen pages on the fridge… everyone has a printer, and there are tons of internet pages with tons of content, maybe with some creativity you could create yourself something similar to look at. Concerning the dubbed Hollywood movie, I believe there could be ways around it. Of course, all this requires effort, and doesn’t replace the original environment.. But it is still worth it given that it is better than nothing.

  6. Skeen
    July 16, 2011 at 14:28

    And if your not in Japan. Do the same flippin thing anyway. I’d also like to add— If in Japan, become that dude or chick that talks way too much, only in Japanese obviously. Seriously drive your Japanese friends crazy until you have to get new Japanese friends.

  7. Neil
    July 16, 2011 at 19:54

    Are the hookers mentioned what I think it is? hehe

  8. July 18, 2011 at 11:05

    Several people mentioned that you could just as easily do this anywhere else in the world, and they’re absolutely right, though perhaps people IN Japan need to hear it even more because they may automatically assume that they don’t need to do this since they’re already in the country and unless they speak the language already (and they wouldn’t be reading this if they did, now would they?) then they very well DO need to do it.

    Just expose yourself to the language as much as possible in as many different ways as you can, it’s really that simple.


  9. fura
    July 18, 2011 at 13:53

    Where do you rent the movies for 100円?

    • Mike
      July 21, 2011 at 13:41

      TSUTAYA has 100yen rentals. You can even get them cheaper than that since they will often hand out stacks of 50yen off coupons when you rent there.

      The smaller, more local rental shops have even better deals.

      • Kris
        July 21, 2011 at 22:46

        I don’t know about you, but my local Tsutaya wants about 300 yen a pop.

  10. ahndoruuu
    July 18, 2011 at 16:44

    The key to learning Japanese is to expose yourself to Japanese people.

    Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like 😉

  11. ライトニング
    July 19, 2011 at 16:10

    There’s this quote I heard while watching ボンバーマンジェッターズ、 It’s the best anime IMO。


    I think I may have この With something else that starts with a こ、But it still makes sense to me.

    I apply it to myself everyday.

  12. Jason
    July 23, 2011 at 10:28

    I do the same…except I leave Japan youtube on.

    It’s pretty much the same thing.

    But do you guys know a program that can play youtube videos forever and not stop when the video stops??

  13. 藤原健二
    August 16, 2011 at 07:34

    I love that this article was posted two days after I had come to Japan without having learned enough of the language. I mostly just knew kanji writings & readings as well as some basic grammar and vocabulary.

  14. August 17, 2011 at 02:45

    Just use the method on this website and you’ll become fluent. That’s how awesome AJATT is. Living in the country DOES give you an advantage over students who are stuck in the US, because you get to wander in supermarkets, so you see the language used in a native environment.

    • August 17, 2011 at 03:48

      <q>Just use the method on this website and you’ll become fluent. That’s how awesome AJATT is.</q>
       I think the discussion warrants a little more explanation than faith in a method. I do follow the tenets of the website but find the comment a bit rude.
      Have you learned a language to fluency with a native level accent? 

      • Chagami
        August 18, 2011 at 04:56

        Maybe it’s an unpopular opinion, but I agree (the need for more of an explanation than faith, that is.)
        To embark on a journey with nearly no visible returns for months, you have to deal with a lot of self doubt. Sometimes, I wonder if the cracks in my immersion are cutting my progress to a tenth of what it could be; sometimes, I wonder if I’m actually engaged enough in my Japanese audio to actually be learning; Of course, I’m always I’m wondering if I’m, “doing this right.”
        Indeed, “just use the method” is sound advice, but perhaps a little more description would be handy.
        It would seem that saying, “Step 1: build an immersion environment” to 藤原健二 would be silly, seeing how s/he’s already living in Japan, but I think it’s still valid with a little twist: make sure you don’t make an *English* environment while being immersed in Japan!
        After that, start learning the Kanji. Also, just turn on your TV – as Khatz suggested – and just leave it on. Everyday, let yourself be graced with the beautiful Kanji and sounds of the language.
        And as for the self doubt, well, there is nothing that will remedy that. But, keep in mind that thousands of people – just like you and me – have seriously doubted the entire Japanese thing and thought they’d never get there. But, they did. Just as long as you know more today than you did yesterday, you’ll get there, trust me (:

  15. August 18, 2011 at 01:02

    The low rating of your post proves my point. I’m right, and there’s nothing you can do about it. I wasn’t being rude or anything. I’m just stating the obvious. I do have a native-like accent in English, even if I’ve never lived in the US.
    I also used to sound native in Italian—native enough for my teacher to say “your grandparents are from Italy, right?”
    Anyway, end of conversation.

  16. August 24, 2011 at 03:40

    At least I told the truth. Anyone can learn a language anywhere, and I did just that with English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *