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 Make The Monolingual Transition in Baby Steps

“Relevant quote”

Opening joke.
Rambling monologue.
Pregnant pause. Excessive ellipsis marks…
Segue. 1

But seriously.

What’s up, man?
So you know how I never give you enough concrete advice?
Well, today is going to be different.

There are many reasons I dislike and actively avoid giving concrete advice. But I can only think of two right now, so let’s talk about two. There’s the dogma reason (people latch onto it and never let go) and there’s the detail reason (it’s just annoying for me to go into detail) and there’s the currentness reason (I regularly obsolete my own methods and it’s annoying to keep the information updated. 10,000 Sentences is sooooooo 2007).

So I managed to think of three reasons. Look at me go.

But, I’ve been talking to other people lately: Momoko, my friend Adrianne, my other friend Heidi who took me to that place in Akihabara where you pay money to sleep next to a young girl and yes I did enjoy it but it was totally her idea and I haven’t gone again but if Heidi wanted to go again I would…consider it.

So, yeah, I’ve been talking to people who aren’t me — mostly women, because I think that makes a difference and makes me sound cooler to you and gives me a pass to tell more sexist jokes in future — who don’t think like I think, who don’t know what I know, who haven’t experienced what I’ve experienced, and I’ve realized in a very concrete way that AJATT, the method, the website, the philosophy, whatever you wanna call it can be, well, rather opaque.

And but 2 they (well, some of them) have also told me that they love the parts of things like SilverSpoon where I go into violently clear, excruciating, painstaking, step-by-step, this-is-exactly-how-to-do-it, this-is-what-to-see-think-and-do-at-this-stage detail in my instructions on how to use many AJATT-specific techniques, be it Lazy Kanji or “The Annoying Little Sister” game.

Talking to people other than myself has made it clear to me that I can sometimes be too much like that genial-but-ineffective math teacher, or that kid that’s already good at math. You know the guy I mean. He sits there, boyish grin stamped on face, all Skittles and giggles, happily assuming that you’ll understand, infer and interpolate any and all intermediate steps on your own without any further information from him, happily assuming that it all makes sense, happily assuming that you’ll “get it”. Handwaving. It’s all so “yeah, and then a miracle occurs and voila…you’ve taken the second derivative”.

And, well, that would be nice.
But it isn’t true.
You don’t need miracles: you need steps.
You don’t need magic: you need systems.
The steps must be laid out into a coherent system.
Like a recipe.

Even if you do go and do things your way and make minor variations, you need a clear base from which to vary in the first place. It’s all very well having your own special personal cookie recipe, but first you need to know the basic one. You can’t put your own twist on anything until you see the straight version first.

Sometimes, you do need unambiguous guidance. You do need it spelled out for you. And it does help. Yes, sometimes it hurts, but…concrete advice counts. Concrete advice works. Concrete advice has a place. And it may need to be modified and qualified and reined in by a metric pooh-ton of abstract advice, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t exist.

After all, when you want to know how to close a process using the command line on your new MacBook Air, you don’t reach for the Dao De Jing 3 and a biography of Steve Jobs. No, you go for clear, direct, specific, step-by-step instructions. When you want to figure out how to make salmon jerky, you don’t pick up a copy of “Salmon and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. When you want to bake cookies, you don’t go…

I think you get the idea.
You need a recipe.

Earlier, I mentioned SilverSpoon as a place where concrete instruction is thick on the ground and the chosen people — SilverSpooners — love me for it. Well, with the coming of Neutrino (SilverSpoon 7.0), SilverSpoon has gone in new directions, beyond a day-based system to a fully customized, personalized, individualized and addictivized one, based on atomic actions and getting you hooked, because that’s what you start to need when you go long and deep like SilverSpoon does. However, both SilverSpooners and I agree that a more rigid, day-based system works very well over short spans of time whenever you’re first being introduced to some new technique or method.

MonoTran: The Monolingual Transition Baby Steps Course is thus, a tiny little piece of the Old SilverSpoon magic. While it is an original course, made from scratch, built from the ground up, and was never itself a part of the original SilverSpoon, it does use some of the same mechanics and principles of SilverSpoon 1.0. SilverSpoon itself is, of course, an exclusive club that only a chosen few are allowed to enter, but MonoTran: The Monolingual Transition Baby Steps Course is open to all 4, like your mom’s legs that’s only funny because it’s true.

Over the course 30 days, in one easy, effortless session per day, MonoTran: The Monolingual Transition Baby Steps Course, takes you by the hand, into the mind of Khatz, and through the exact steps and moves you need to make the transition from using English to learn Japanese, to using only Japanese to learn Japanese.

No more fumbling and guessing at what Khatz meant. This is what Khatz meant. No more interpreting a funny but cryptic blog post with only one or two examples in it. Like your mother’s clothing choices, there’s nothing left to the imagination, nothing cryptic. This is raw, actionable data. No more wondering what you should do in certain weird situations. MonoTran: The Monolingual Transition Baby Steps Course is here to tell you exactly how and what to do in any contingency, in any situation, weird or otherwise, that comes up during the monolingual transition.

There is much here at AJATT that is, for better or worse 5 unique. One of those unique things is the idea of consciously, actively leaving behind your L1, your native language, and using Japanese itself to learn Japanese.

To many, this idea seems impossibly daring, like a distant dream, like your mother closing her legs, but it is totally doable; it is totally systematizable. I did it. And now, I have systematized it for you, so you don’t have to. There is no magic left, no confusion, no wondering, and very few jokes. Just no-nonsense, wall-to-balls implementation.

Ultimately, English is English and Japanese is Japanese: you can’t fully understand Japanese through English any more than you can fully understand English through Japanese. Ultimately, Japanese must be worked and understood in Japanese. English must be worked and understood in English. Both languages — all languages — are packed with untranslatable words, phrases and concepts. Both languages are better defined in themselves than they are through other languages — the definitions are more abundant, more up-to-date (good luck try getting an accurate English definition of a Japanese word like “適當” ), easier to understand and far more accurate.

And that’s just the beginning. Hold onto your cupcakes, Dorothy, because this is where things get weird. The irony of going monolingual is that it allows you to be both be lazier and accomplish more at the same time. Going monolingual simultaneously allows you to learn more and do more, and get away with knowing and doing less! This is not head-in-the-clouds, “conceptual savings” stuff here. I’m talking about true laziness: a lot of times I don’t even bother learning the Japanese word for something because I can just talk my way over, under, around and past it. I don’t know how to say “tadpole”; I’ll just say “baby frog, you know, all long and thin and with gills and stuff”.


Being able to function in Japanese monolingually brings a natural effortless, predictable end to the whole “translating to/from English/L1 my head” phenomenon. It also naturally jump-starts the whole being a native-like speaker phenomenon; it jump-starts circumlocution. There’s certainly a time and place to let nature take its course, but I firmly believe in intervening aggressively whenever and wherever such intervention is fun, possible and helpful.

You can become a circumlocution ninja; you can become native-like — perhaps not enough to fool your over-critical, hyper-perfectionist self, but definitely enough to fool Japanese people on the phone. You can have “self-hosting”, self-sustaining, self-contained Japanese skill. You can come to truly understand and experience Japanese from the inside. And the way to do that is to go monolingual.

But how to go monolingual?

Like I said, until now, this process had been kind of murky. Kind of unclear. Kind of left to the winds and the fates. You knew you could “do it”, oh gosh you knew, all the endless AJATT pep talks and the dumb quotes and the references to hookers and blow. You even knew that people had done it, from all the success stories you read here and elsewhere online. But you didn’t know how. You kinda knew how, but not really. You couldn’t see it the way you can see the route from here to Wal-Mart. You couldn’t see it the way you can see the directions on your GPS and the sexy digital voice lady tells you to take a left at Albuquerque.

Well the time has come to put an end to the confusion once and for all.

So What’s In MonoTran: The Monolingual Transition Baby Steps Course?

  • A 21+9=30-Day Course Delivered Over 30 Sessions
    • 1 Session Per Day
    • 21 days of intense “core material”
    • 9 interspersed days of extra review to cement your knowledge
    • Lifetime access to all sessions after the 30 days are complete, so you can always refer back to the course at your own pace and convenience. Once you buy it, you own it. It’s yours forever.
    • Free lifetime access to updates and extensions
  • Plus, FREEBIES galore!…
    • Free 6-Month Subscription to AJATT Plus
      • The world’s first and only troll-free language acquisition forum
      • Exclusive premium content
      • Free previews of future products
      • Automatically renewing for your convenience
      • You’re free to cancel it at any time
      • Worth $89.97+
    • Free MCD Revolution Kit, to take you to ever greater heights of awesomeness
      • Worth $29.99+
    • Free Science-Fiction Sentence Pack
      • Ever wanted to know how to say those Star Trek and Star Wars and Stargate and pretty-much-anything-with-robots-or-”star”-in-it lines in Japanese?
      • Want to have fun and learn how to talk about math and science at the same time?
      • You’re gonna with this bad boy.
      • Drenched in awesome sauce
      • Worth $39.97+
    • Free Computer Software Sentence Pack
      • There’s always been a bit of a catch-22 with learning to use a computer in Japanese. Like, you need to learn Japanese to comfortably use a Japanese UI (user interface) but you need to use a Japanese UI in order to learn Japanese. Many computer UI screens cannot be copied and pasted and therefore cannot be easily looked up or SRSed. You would need to know readings to learn them and need to learn them to know readings…
      • The AJATT Computer Software Sentence Pack (CSP) ends that catch-22, because its sentences are SRS-ready, DRM-free and copy-pastable. This is a sentence pack for nerds, full of stuff that matters. Stuff like warning screens — undoubtedly some of the most important (textual) computer info of all.
      • The production of language study is dominated by computer-illiterate, computer-phobic humanities types. But software and computers are all around us, and they ain’t goin’ nowhere. That smartphone in your pocket? More computer than phone. This is real, natural Japanese as it is used in software, because software unites us all. Software is our new ubiquitous reality.
      • A sentence pack for all humankind, for all 10 types of human beings — those who understand binary, and those who don’t.
      • Worth $29.97+
    • Free Moë Sentence Pack
      • Lovingly dubbed: “The Sexy Sentence Pack”
      • You couldn’t get this even if you wanted to: only available for sale separately on Valentine’s Day
      • Worth $69.97+
    • +1 Free Super Secret Freebie!
      • What is it?
      • What’s in it?
      • …That’s a secret!
      • Worth $199.97+
  • That’s over $459.84 worth of freebies alone! Just the freebies, dawg, not even the main course. Exclamation mark!
  • All 100% DRM-free. No DRM whatsoever:
    • DRM sucks.
    • I hate DRM. I trust you. You’re a good person. I know you’re not going to screw me over.
    • I believe you should and must have the right to remix (copy and paste, etc.) information for your personal, educational use.
    • I believe that information is for fiddling with, not just looking at.
    • I believe that you, a paying customer, should and must not be treated like a freaking criminal and subjected to ludicrous, draconian restrictions on how you manipulate data you paid for for you own consumption.
    • The Monolingual Transition Baby Steps Course and all its associated freebies are 100% DRM–free, easy to copy and paste and otherwise manipulate digitally for your personal, educational use, so that you can get the maximum possible value out of them.
      • That, and, you can do all those little things like resize the text to a size that fits you exactly, not to just one of three lame presets.
      • Because it’s also the little things, the little indignities, the little tyrannies, the little loogies that DRM lovers like to hock in your general direction, that make DRM suck so hard.
  • Batteries not included!
  • 0% Fat!
  • No cholesterol!
  • Gluten-free!

Who’s It For?

Well, it’s definitely not for everyone. While it would definitely be a fun and interesting exercise to try learning a language monolingually from the get-go, and the venerable Norsk experiment notwithstanding, MonoTran: The Monolingual Transition Baby Steps Course assumes a prior knowledge of Japanese. So in order to qualify for and benefit from it, you need to already know enough Japanese to read aloud and understand at least one of the following sentences:

  • お前の母ちゃんビッチ
  • どうしたの?
  • どんどん食べて!
  • ジス・イズ・ア・ペン
  • 日本語上手!
  • 大丈夫?怪我した?
  • 今何してんの?
  • これがバターじゃないなんて信じられない!
  • 着いたら電話頂戴。
  • 気を付けて!

So depending on how you look at it, the hurdle is pretty high. If you can’t read aloud and understand at least one of the sentences up there, then you’re too early. It’s not your time yet. Perhaps some other time.

No Japanese loves the kanji like a Heisig kid. No Arab loves the desert. 6 No school does this for you.
No school believes in you like this.
Either they never even attempt to bring you to monolinguality (yeah…not a word), or they spring it on you suddenly.

To my knowledge, only AJATT makes going monolingual a conscious, deliberate priority. And now, with MonoTran: The Monolingual Transition Baby Steps Course, we take that priority and make it an inevitability.

Come now. Let us monolingual together.

Get MonoTran: The Monolingual Transition Baby Steps Course

Timebomb Pricing: There is no limit to the number of people who can get it on MonoTran: The Monolingual Transition Baby Steps Course. However, the price goes up every 15 minutes, without fail, automatically and permanently, like an upward-ticking timebomb 7. That’s almost 100 price increases every single day. The earlier you act, the less you pay. That’s the AJATT way.

So, the earlier you get in, the more you save. This, too, is the AJATT way. Here in AJATTistan, things always disproportionately favor the early adopter. There are not and will never be any discounts or special offers that will change this: earliest is always best. Soonest saves the mostest. This is my way of rewarding those wise and loyal souls who invest in AJATT products and services as soon as they come out 😛 .

Fo’ Shizzle Satisfaction Guarantee

Buy it. Try it. No likey? No payey. If, after 60 days of trying the course (30 days for the actual course and 30 days of just givin’ it an extra chance), you still don’t like it, just ask me for a full refund. You don’t even have to have gone through the whole course. No fuss. No hassles. Just be like: “I love you, Khatz. You’re so pretty and smart. I just want a refund for Monotran. I promise I’ll be back soon.”

Safety Notice

No transgender people were harmed in the creation of this product.

Khatz, I Don’t Like That You Sell Stuff?

That’s nice. The thing is, I like hookers and blow a lot more than I like the ideological approval of moralizing strangers using my bandwidth, so…yeah. I hear they hate people having or using money and freedom in North Korea, though, so…fans of Communism would no doubt be welcome there 😉 .


  1. No, so, I had real jokes that were supposed to go here, but women and minorities started getting on my case about it (“that’s meeeean!”), so I took them out and now it’s just meta and unfunny. ####ing women and minorities, meng…
  2. Not a typo
  3. Tao Te Ching, to the uninitiated
  4. OK, not all, but…a relatively wide audience.
  5. (almost all for better though, right? Oh…don’t be sourpuss just because I said that stuff about your mom…hey…look at me…I have dipped my quill in the ink…we’re family now, OK?)
  6. Hey, don’t look at me like I made this up: I didn’t. It’s a quote from a Hollywood movie set a century ago, so we know that it’s neither inaccurate nor racist
  7. Until it reaches its final resting price, which will it will do around July 13.

  19 comments for “How To Make The Monolingual Transition in Baby Steps

  1. May 12, 2013 at 01:32

    Alright Khatz, I’ll bite. I’ve quit mono so many times. I just can’t seem to make it stick, I get a little ways in then it starts to become painful and just not worth the time vs just doing regular mono cards but I do recognize the benefit when I read j-j sentences I can already understand I just wish I could make a full SRS transition I don’t know how people do it. I’ll do this though sign me up, because I want to finally get over this hurdle… Where is the link or pricing info or countdown? Unless I’m missing something. I don’t see anything above or in the ajatt store, in the source code, mother’s legs etc.

    • May 12, 2013 at 01:34

      whoops meant j-j definitions when doing srs… hopefully after I wake up the price won’t have skyrocketed 😛

      • Anonymous
        July 6, 2013 at 13:43

        Click the giant orange words. Right now, the price is a little over $200.

        • kanjiguy
          July 6, 2013 at 18:15

          I left that comment when the article was originally posted in May. There was no link at the time and khatz deleted/removed the article the next day. Perhaps he posted it by mistake and wasn’t ready.

          Khatz could have been really cool and deleted my comment since he was gonna repost it later but why not make me look like a giant ass lol. It’s cool though I ended up going monolingual on my own, I read some mono articles on ajatt plus and khatz’s way just didn’t work for me. I think he’s right about going slow like “add 1 card, pat yourself on the back.” then you don’t even review for a day or two… REAL SLOW, but I don’t like it no… I disagree 100% with “look up words you already know” in fact, I think that is stupid.

          What I did was just look up one or two words as I went along, new words, then… wait a minute I’m not just going to tell you for free… but I did it kind of backwards to what khatz tells you and I think my method works better because you don’t do hundreds or thousands of recursive look ups like khatz and jalup want you to do.. what a waste of time.

        • Hiei
          July 17, 2013 at 09:35

          Yikes Khatz!!!!

          its doubled already!!!!!

          I guess I have to settle for the waiting list.

  2. liz
    July 6, 2013 at 13:45

    Well hi there. First off ジス・イズ・ア・ペン made me lol. Welcome to my apartment, at the moment. (English lesson time).

    So I’m supposed to be done SS, but with Neutrino I am still an obese caterpillar.
    I spend most days listening to a lot of Japanese @ research sites. Complicated, grad school level Japanese. And I have recently let myself regress from mono SNS cards to bilingual, because I was hating my mono cards… hating. And I wasn’t retaining anything, and I didn’t know what the definitions meant, and.. yeah.

    And I am realizing that right now what I need to do is more systematically learn some of the basic terms I’ve never picked up. Like… nihongo 101 terms that I breezed by before.
    Going by interesting passages rather than “words I NEED” wasn’t helping me get by in Nee-hon very well. So yeah… I started doing dictionary sentences bilingually, and find that I retain better that way. But I feel like maybe I’m slowing myself down. Whadyathink?

    So yeah, dunno if this is for me (broke-jotai aside) or not. And maybe this wasn’t the right place to post this. Maybe I am trolling your blog. Time to leave my apartment, I think.

    p.s. you’d better name drop me in your blog sometime. I am getting jealous of these other bitches. 😉 Kidding, kidding!

  3. 魔法少女☆かなたん
    July 6, 2013 at 21:12

    srsly I lol’d

  4. Tom P
    July 9, 2013 at 03:46

    My two yen worth…

    For me, the transition to mono was a zillion times easier by starting out using a J-J dictionary made for grade school children. Easy definitions, easy sample sentences. Once I got used to that, I transitioned to a more adult-centric dictionary, but I still frequently go back to the kiddie jisho when needed.

    • ミヒ
      July 9, 2013 at 05:39

      Sounds like a real good idea. Care to share which one you are using?

      • Tom P
        July 9, 2013 at 20:52

        I have a printed one (whose name escapes me) that I found at Kinokuniya in San Jose, selected it by just thumbing through the many they had on display.

        For my iPad, I use this childrens dictionary

        For “adult” J-J I have several that are good including and

        • ミヒ
          July 11, 2013 at 06:34

          thank you!

        • Octonion
          July 11, 2013 at 07:59

          Wow, thanks! I had picked up a grade school dictionary way back, in anticipation of the monolingual transition, based on this post. But by the time I actually got around to transitioning I had forgotten all about it! I’d been managing to do OK with, more or less, but this really was a zillion times easier. And then I tried out the app which was like another factor of a zillion times easier! While I’ll probably want to head back to adult dictionaries at some point (after 1000 cards, maybe?) for the time being this feels really game-changing. Thanks again!

    • 魔法少女☆かなたん
      July 11, 2013 at 12:19

      I agree.

      However, the biggest issue I’ve ever had with children’s dictionaries is that I can’t really find one that I can use on my computer to copy/paste from. This means a LOT of manual entries, which are … time consuming. On the other hand, furigana and having pictures for some things are awesome.

  5. 無神論者
    July 9, 2013 at 07:48

    Oh monetary system, why must you debilitate me so?

    • Tom P
      July 12, 2013 at 04:46

      I am honored to be tweeted by the great KM

      m(_ _)m

  6. June 5, 2015 at 21:31

    I give away the secrets for free:

Leave a Reply

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