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Advanced Immersion in 3 Steps: How To Get Immersed and Stay That Way

1) Removal

This step’s pretty easy. Super easy — physically, that is. All you do remove, delete, give away or otherwise destroy all your non-essential L1 materials.

2) Sequestration

This is where you basically confine all the materials you didn’t destroy in step (1) to a specific region of physical or virtual space.

Now, Steps (1) and (2) are pretty standard AJATT practice. They were never named per se, but they’ve been touched on in old skool documents like:

But any three-day monk can remove and sequester. That’s immersion checkers. Now you’re about to play immersion chess. Here comes the clever part:

3) Reverse Pollution

You’ve done the removal. You’ve done the sequestration. But sequestration is as excellent as it is dangerous. Why? Well, it’s sort of like keeping a bunch of “criminals” together — you don’t correct them, you just turn them into even better criminals. Lie with dogs, catch fleas and all that.

There is perhaps always the danger of a “relapse” or “binge” back into your L1. Part of the reason we do the removal and sequestration is to suppress the behavioral attraction — the “centripetal force”, if you will, of the L1. But the attraction may remain. And if one does “succumb” — slightly moralistic and melodramatic choice of words, I know — to the pull, then the purity of the sequestration becomes its very danger — you have created an L1-only physical/virtual space that if touched, could set you up for an L1-only chain reaction. So here’s what you do to fix that:

Go back on the offensive and “poison” (“pollute”) your sequestered physical and virtual L1 spaces (rooms, bookshelves, file folders) with L2 material. That way, if you ever do have an L1 nostalgia binge, it’s mitigated by L2 content, bringing you back to your goal. It’s like filling a prison not just with criminals but also with a bunch of “incorruptible”, upstanding citizens, to act as a counterweight and a shining example. No, it’s better than that, it’s like somehow magically filling junk food with fresh spinach. Yeah, it’s that cool.

So, put concretely (computer example here), say you have an L1/English media folder, one that for whatever reason was not amenable to outright deletion, one that you’ve separated off from everything else and put out in the virtual boonies. Perhaps it’s even off-board, on its own external drive that’s rarely connected — so, pretty well sequestered, both physically and virtually. You now go and fill it with L2/Japanese materials as well; you “pollute” it with L2 content so that if and when you do access it, there’s automatic, built-in L2/Japanese “suppression fire” going on.

OK, let’s review.

  1. Create and maintain many L2-only spaces in your life
  2. Destroy (uncreate) all L1-only spaces in your life. Invade and pollute them with your L2.

Anyway, yeah that’s it! 😀 . If you have a cool immersion technique, you should totally share.

  5 comments for “Advanced Immersion in 3 Steps: How To Get Immersed and Stay That Way

  1. Dan
    December 11, 2013 at 13:27

    It seems that every issue that I come across during this Japanese journey, Khatz comes out with post that helps. Thank you so much Khatz for what you do, truly an amazing site!

  2. BlueBubbles17
    December 14, 2013 at 07:38

    I guess this goes with setting up your environment so that it is providing you with L2 no matter where you are.

    I have multiple iPods that all have different purposes and content. A 64GB iPod Touch that I has a crap battery life and horribly cracked screen, so instead of tossing it, I leave it hooked up to the charger and it plays Japanese talk-radio or podcasts from the Japanese iTunes store (so that is all L2, no English) whether I’m there or not. That way, I don’t have to make myself turn on the Japanese when I come back to my dorm; it’s already there, playing. (It also plays as I sleep).
    I have a old 32GB iPod Touch that has nothing but anime and dramas (I would love to use this for talk radio and the other for videos, but this one has great battery life). I carry that one around with me, and I listen to it whenever I’m not in classes. I have a bluetooth headset (Jawbone) that I have in my ear so that I’m wireless and discreet. Whenever I can, watch something, but most of the time, I’m listening to shows that I have already watched. When I want to listen to music or just Japanese people talk, I have a 8GB iPod Nano with it’s own earphones that I keep in my backpack.
    I have a 160GB iPod Classic that I keep everything on. I don’t use this one very often, as I got it as a thing to keep all my media on no matter the language. So it just serves as a backup of all my music and podcasts.
    Lastly, I have an 16GB iPhone that I don’t keep any media on because it’s too small. All I have is Tae Kim’s Guide, a few 4コマ apps, and Anki. It’s really fun to be listening to something like キルラキル or ONE PIECE while doing reviews.

    I reach at least 10 hours of passive listening every day using this set up.

    Listening is really important to me, and I’m starting to add in more reading. I keep manga and novels with me in my bags and snippets of articles, parts of novels I typed up and printed off, and 4コマ in my pockets (I can’t bring myself to tear up a book). I find that having the snippets are really effective and fun.

    At this point, it feels completely unnatural to not hear or see Japanese at every moment and I can’t wait to get back to Japanese material after my classes end.

  3. three dots
    June 23, 2014 at 08:46

    I’d love to be able to do all of these things. .. but what if I happen to not have access to these resources? Like, with BlueBubbles17… I’d really like to be able to listen to Japanese podcasts and such but I don’t have the internet quota to download them. I’d like to have more otaku merch, real copies of raw manga… but I don’t have these things. What do I do?

    • July 6, 2014 at 23:12

      You have no excuse Three Dots! 🙂

      Change your phone language to Japanese, download podcasts, get tuneIn Radio app on your computer or phone and stream Japanese radio. You have Youtube as well.

      Download LINE – messaging app and find your favourite Japanese artists and try and read their posts. Twitter, facebook etc etc. There’s online dictionaries as well as a free guide to Japanese grammar (just search Tae Kim).

      You can totally do it. 🙂

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