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A Day In The Life of Khatzumoto (No, For Real)

No making fun of you this time 😛 . Let me walk you through what a typical day was like for me between 2004 and 2006, the legendary “hardcore phase”, for want of a better name, of what came to be known as the All Japanese All The Time project:

Time Non-Japanese Activity Japanese Activity
0:00 Sleep
  • Listen to Japanese news or other monotonous audio
  • Wake up
  • Shower
  • Breakfast
  • Listen to Japanese news/music (including in the shower)
  • Read Japanese news online
  • Walk to school
  • Read/do homework assignments in lab
  • Read Japanese books and/or listen to Japanese music while walking
  • Listen to Japanese music while reading English
9:00 Attend classes (lectures)
  • Write out class notes using a kanji-kana hybrid shorthand that isn’t real Japanese (English syntax and nuance, liberal interpretation of kanji keywords) but that uses real Japanese symbols
  • Listen to Japanese music when walking between classes
  • Use a PC running a Japanese OS to take class notes
12:00 Programming in the lab
  • Listen to Japanese music while coding
  • Do SRS reps during breaks
15:00 Baito (Part-time job)
  • Listen to Japanese music
  • Read Japanese websites
  • This, by the way, is the baito where I was given the nickname “Katsumoto” (→Khatzumoto), because I was always doing Japanese stuff, and because my student supervisor liked Last Samurai.
17:00 Play Ultimate Frisbee
  • Read and listen to Japanese while walking to and from the playing field, but basically no Japanese during play. My ever-present Japanese books would sometimes start conversations about Japanese.
  • Hang out with friends
  • Watch movies
  • Surf Internet
  • Clear up extra reading/homework assignments if necessary
  • Read Japanese websites
  • Listen to Japanese music
  • Add new Japanese SRS cards
  • Watch a Japanese movie
  • Do Japanese SRS reps while watching an English-language movie (if the non-Japanese-speaking friends were feeling neglected 😀 )
  • Speak Japanese with Japanese friends and get roundly abused for the tiniest error — or even for speaking too slowly! Aaaaah…tough love.
    • I taught my Japanese friends to be cruel by insisting they not let me get away with saying anything “un-Japanese”. It takes several repetitions of such a request until people know you’re not just feigning humility. But once they know…oh boy.
22:00 Sleep
  • Listen to Japanese news or other monotonous audio


  • There were Japanese-less or near-Japanese-less holes, e.g. from 9am to 12pm (classtime) and 5pm to 7pm (frisbee time)
    • Lab time also occasionally required recourse to English for consultation, etc.
  • I had little or no specific, dedicated time for Japanese; I just weaved it into my life
  • I didn’t plan my day, I planned my tools and environments. I worked moment to moment, asking myself “What have I done for my Japanese lately (i.e. in the past 5 minutes)? What could I do now?”

  33 comments for “A Day In The Life of Khatzumoto (No, For Real)

  1. Mattholomew III, Esquire
    February 6, 2011 at 12:36

    They ask, the meek, and to the patient He giveth. Yea, let no one say He is not a merciful, benevolent, and ultimate frisbee-loving God. Amen.

  2. Peenkoo
    February 6, 2011 at 17:23

    Thanks for finally sharing your old schedule. I try to include as much Japanese as possible into my life, but after reading your list, I think I can get even more into my day. Though, I need to read a lot more Japanese. Ya for Japanese OS. 😀

    • Chagami
      February 7, 2011 at 00:40

      I put my OS into Japanese a little while ago. I was dragging my feet because I thought I’d need to reformat to change the language – not the case! 😀

      It’s one of those things you just need to do. I won’t change the language of “big” programs (like Photoshop, Flash, etc) and chances are, you’ve probably got it memorized where most of the things in the system menus are anyway, so it’s not much of a struggle.

      For the past week, I’ve been building my Japanese environment, and in that week, I have already noticed AJATT working; I’ve picked up and learned a few words, and I’ve made some somewhat accurate assumptions about some simple phrases.

      The proof of the pudding is in the eating 🙂

  3. February 6, 2011 at 21:03

    This is pretty cool meng. Always Hardcore like Scooter.

  4. Maru-chan
    February 6, 2011 at 21:04

    Crazy man.

  5. Ken
    February 7, 2011 at 01:51


  6. February 7, 2011 at 03:04

    This… ぜったいにかっこいよ。Can’t believe you did this. This is actually more hardcore than I thought; and definitely more doable than I thought.

    I just didn’t understand this line: “My ever-present Japanese books would sometimes start conversations about Japanese.” I know it’s a joke I’m just not getting.

    • ahndoruuu
      February 7, 2011 at 06:51

      Really? For some reason this seems infinitely less hardcore than I imagined. I’m not quite sure what I thought it was going to be but this definitely wasn’t it. I guess this means I should stop feeling guilty for accidentally overhearing my roommates talking in English because the volume wasn’t high enough on my Evangelion.

    • ahndoruuu
      February 7, 2011 at 06:55

      Also I think the line you don’t understand is just people asking him about the Japanese books that he always carried around.

    • Thomas
      February 7, 2011 at 08:41

      I do believe he means that He always caries his books around with him. And sometimes people would see those books and it would spark a conversation about Japanese.

    • SquallKing
      February 7, 2011 at 16:41

      Key point Khatz means is that he didn’t want to spark convos about Japanese which aren’t IN Japanese. Talking about something is not useful, doing it on the other hand is.

  7. あんど
    February 8, 2011 at 00:25

    And now I’ll forever imagine Khatz as a dude who sees that the clock is about to hit 17:00 and he’s like “CRAP NO I HAVE TO PLAY ULTIMATE FRISBEE AT THIS TIME

  8. Eri
    February 8, 2011 at 07:40

    Wow, this is a lot less hardcore than I thought it would be… makes it seem a lot more doable (if I remember to charge my MP3 player since I always forget). And you’d listen to the news while sleeping? I listen to music because anything else is just… too strange for me. But listening to music makes me have strange dreams about singing said Japanese music… it’s very strange. Perhaps I’ll try something more monotonous, but then I might start having weird dreams about the news! There is no escaping Japanese once you start it with this method, is there? 🙂

    Also, the thing about carrying around a Japanese book sparking a conversation about Japanese, I kind of know how that is. I carry around printed sheets of Japanese with furigana to read when I’m bored of English (which happens quite often :D). Whenever someone sees it, they always say “You know Chinese?”, then while raging at them inside for saying the wrong language, I politely correct them. Then they find no problem with it and say “You know Japanese?” which I have to so ‘no’ to, since most of what I’m reading I don’t understand a lick of. But it’s still fun somehow… I can’t quite figure out why either. Anyway, the conversation always seems to end there… I wonder if they’re thinking ‘then why are you carrying around something you can’t understand’ or if they perhaps think I’m just being modest. People are funny that way I guess.

    • Jules
      February 8, 2011 at 10:50

      I put my ipod on shuffle and I have a mix of Japanese music and radio shows that my fave band does on there so I’ll get a mix of music and speech that is kinda nice ^_^

      • god
        February 11, 2011 at 00:19

        Podcasts. Not quite monotonous, but well…

  9. ahndoruuu
    February 8, 2011 at 10:14

    Actually, Ultimate Frisbee is just called Ultimate now, according to the Pedia of Wiki.

  10. Jules
    February 8, 2011 at 10:48

    I’m envious that you had a job where you could weave in Japanese. The only time I can is before and after work with my ipod. Being a waitress really doesn’t leave a lot of room to weave Japanese in.

  11. blackbrich
    February 8, 2011 at 14:48

    Hmmm… Maybe it’s because I’ve read this site top to bottom many times…
    but I swear he’s said most of this stuff before…

  12. brityan
    February 8, 2011 at 18:06

    But what time was the hookers and blow?

    In all seriousness, you should’ve posted this years ago! I agree that when it’s laid out like this it seems much more simple and doable for us mere mortals. We can see that you were a normal guy with a life, job, friends, and, err… frisbees 🙂 I know you’ve said as much before, but even so, it’s kind of hard not to envision “hardcore Khatz” as an ascetic Japanese devotee who willingly cut himself off from the rest of the world to go on a studying binge… or something. Or failing that, at least one of those magical beings who somehow seem to have more time than everyone else 🙂 But reading this schedule, I just see a really enthusiastic guy who gets that one song and one SRS rep in wherever he can.

    In fact, the only part of your schedule that seems really hardcore to me (but maybe this is because I’ve been reading common sense for too long now to be shocked by it?) is taking notes in class in a “kanji-kana hybrid shorthand”. But this taken by itself (instead of as one aspect of the Insanely Hardcore Japanese Bootcamp regimen I think many people were imagining) seems like nothing more than a fun challenge 🙂

  13. Sarah
    February 8, 2011 at 19:58

    Lol. I agree with some of the others, its actually a lot less hardcore than I imagined. But practical and logical.
    I’m doing most of those things except the SRS reps~ Trying my best but with med school finals 4 months away its hard to add cards to the deck~! :p
    and taking notes in the “kanji-kana hybrid shorthand”??! i love doing that! I write it instead of the english word so even when I’m studying for class, I’m actually studying Japanese! ^^

  14. Amelia
    February 9, 2011 at 03:37

    I did it based on this website for a year for Mandarin, and I got WAY better. Now I’m doing it for Japanese. I’m glad to see my interpretation of what Khaz did is not too far off–and it SO WORKS. Also: it has the effect of making everyone think you’re crazy.

  15. Chagami
    February 9, 2011 at 09:23

    I think that Khatz 10,000 hours in 18 months was a bit of an estimate, and this number has also been rounded a couple times, but I’ve done the math and if you want to get exactly 10,000 hours in 18 months, you can have 4 and a half hours a day for non-Japanese moments.

    I’ve now built my Japanese environment, now I’m trying to optimize it. Like, I may have Japanese audio on and working on RTK right now, but I’ve also got a hockey game on TV (with the sound off) and I’m typing to this in English… :/

  16. February 9, 2011 at 14:14

    [quote]I taught my Japanese friends to be cruel by insisting they not let me get away with saying anything “un-Japanese”. It takes several repetitions of such a request until people know you’re not just feigning humility. But once they know…oh boy.[/quote]

    Hmm, interesting. Maybe the site should be “” Lang-8 is similar to this, but I think not quite the same as being corrected by a live human.

  17. shikantaza
    February 10, 2011 at 10:24

    参ったなぁ。 I have to get back to doing stuff. Seems like my trip to Japan killed my immersion environment … 5ヶ月返してくれー!

  18. February 10, 2011 at 22:25

    “I taught my Japanese friends to be cruel by insisting they not let me get away with saying anything “un-Japanese”.


  19. god
    February 11, 2011 at 00:16

    That reads like I live. I have the same routine at the moment.

    I want to thank you for this comment:

    “I planned my tools and environments.”

    That made me think quite a lot about what I can do now, as I have been considering it a lot right now.

    After reading again, I am going to try to do more writing of notes, etc. in Japanese. Thanks for the help!

  20. salem
    February 11, 2011 at 11:41

    The one and only time I’d ever write individual words (I’d never enter a word on its own into the SRS; language doesn’t work in terms of self-sufficient “words”) is if I’m doing what Khatz describes, by just making up little notes while in a class or whatever. This works great with nouns, verbs and small, simple sentences: you get the benefit of:

    a) writing practice,
    b) immersion, and
    c) more associative incidents (i.e. if you’re learning about cell walls and you write “wall” next to the cell wall diagram, bam: you just got a fresh associative incident) …

    … all without instilling bad grammar into yer brain or making up Japlish. I didn’t do this often since it works best for Japanese (I’m learning a Semitic language) and I haven’t been to school in years, but it’s great for any idle time really.

  21. Emma
    March 14, 2011 at 20:18

    I was just thinking that I’ve really been negleting ajatt and my immersion lately… But then I realised, the TV’s on and it’s in Japanese, I’ve just been at work for 10 hours and my collegues and kids mostly speak to me in Japanese, when I drive to and from work the radio is only in Japanese, when I have spare time between classes I study Japanese, if I want to do or get ANYTHING it has to be through Japanese (oh and gestures! Never underestimate the power or gestures XD).. it’s so easy to learn living in the country of your target language! It used to always have to be an active thing for me to be in an immersion environment.
    Although, I must say, I have met people who have been here for YEARS and they know noooothing! You can really isolate yourself in a bubble wherever you live ;P Ganbare, minna!

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