Much as with gadgets, computer hardware and software, there’s always been a bit of a catch-22 with learning to read signs in Japanese.
What exactly do I mean?
- You need to learn to read signs in Japanese in order to thrive (not survive, but thrive) in Japan, but…
- You need to know how to read signs in order to look up what they say (and thus learn from them)
It’s the old need experience to get a job/need a job to get experience bind. “Why not just copy and paste?”, you say?
Good luck with that. It’s a sign, playa. It’s not digital text and you can’t take it with you. So you would need to know how to read the words in order to type them out and thus learn them, and you would need to learn them in order to know the readings…
A massive, clusterhump of a chicken-and-egg problem it was.
“But why not just read the English translation? Many of the signs have English, Japanese and Korean on them! Screw learning Japanese. Asian people need get with the times and learn to use the Roman alphabet, like normal human beings. The alphabet is the highest level of writing system; logograms are primitive”, says Ask Whole #2.
Again, I said thrive, not survive. Of course you can get by without knowing English in America, and many signs even have Spanish on them, but can you thrive? No. Coming back to Japan, a lot of the signs, if they are translated at all, are translated inaccurately and incompletely. I’m not just talking about Engrish here. I’m talking about signs that actually make the rules in English stricter than the rules in Japanese. If you read the rule in Japanese, it talks about what you can do as well as what you can’t — rights and responsibilities, prohibition and permission; the English version is all prohibition.
Wait. It gets worse.
One time, I was hanging out doing parkour (yeah, shaddup) with a couple of gaijin guys, one Anglo-Canadian (lanky), one European-American (stocky), out near where the annual Tokyo Game Show is held. Neither could read Japanese, though both could speak some. I think Stocky even had a spousal unit of Japonic persusasion. Anyway, we want to go into a cool-looking open space (an empty, raised parking lot-ish area) to practice free running and there’s this prohibition sign and Stocky goes: “oh no, we can’t go in there”.
And I go: “yeah, we can. That sign signs no bike parking allowed; it doesn’t say we can’t enter”.
Do you see what happened here? Stock and Lanky’s illiteracy was literally narrowing their physical horizons. Now, if it can happen on a scale as small as this, one can only imagine what’s going on in the rest of their lives. Illiteracy is a disease and books are the cure. Indeed, while we’re on the subject of narrowed horizons, Malcolm Gladwell has written at length about how working class Americans’ docility and “illiteracy” in the ways of dealing with, currying favor with, speaking up to and getting things done with officialdom, severely limits their horizons, even in the case of super high IQ individuals like Christopher Langan. (There’s also the very real fact that they tend to read fewer books and watch more TV, but that’s another story).
The AJATT Signs Sentence Pack (SGP) is here to set you free. Fully illustrated (yeah, actual pictures of all them awesome signs), its sentences are digital, SRS-ready, DRM-free and copy-pastable. This is a sentence pack that comes in peace, for all mankind. Because, you’re going to want to know how read signs. Even if you were (for shame) never to crack open another book for the remainder of your time on this Earth, modern life demands literacy of us all. Our physical space is festooned with important, meaningful and dare I say it, fun written messages — signs.
For more or less the same reason why you would want My First Sentence Pack. The key words here are ease, convenience and, to quote a Simpsons episode, 「can’t somebody else do it?」. Sure, you could go figure out how to read that all them Japanese signs by yourself — you totally can; I did. You could go out and:
- Take photographs of a kajillion signs, and
- Have Japanese people transcribe, explain, translate and furigana-ize them fo you
And there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with going it alone. Independence is a noble, beautiful thing. I go solo all the time 1. But if you can’t be bothered, if you don’t want to put in the effort, then consider this the equivalent of paying somebody to do your homework for you. Paying someone to do your gruntwork and housekeeping for you. Because, honestly, who can be bovvered, right?
Who’s It For? Who Should Get the Signs Sentence Pack (SGP)?
The SGP is for you if:
- You are getting used to, or wanting to get used to (i.e. “learn”) Japanese, and
- You live in, or want to visit Japan
- You already know hiragana and katakana
- Note: If you you’re still a bit of a noob — still close to being a total beginner — My First Sentence Pack is prolly a better fit for you.
Who’s It Not For?
- People who are already native-level in Japanese
- People who don’t know or don’t want to know any Japanese
- People willing and able to fly to Japan, taken a billion pictures of signs, hire/befriend/kidnap a willing Japanese person to sift through them and then transcribe, explain, translate and ruby (furigana-ize) them.
Don’t MCDs (Massive-Context Cloze Deletions) Make Sentences Irrelevant? Didn’t The 10,000 Method Sentences Die?
The answer to the first question is no. The answer to the second is yes. MCDs re-orient how we work with sentences; they change how sentence packs are used. And as a result, MCDs actually make sentence packs even more useful by allowing us to absorb and internalize them both more deeply and more effortlessly. “More effortlessly” — that sounds funny, but you get the point! Ultimately, the point is to get the language inside your head, inside your body, and MCDs, combined with sentence packs, accomplish this in spectacular fashion.
Sweet! How Can I Get Mine?
The Signs Sentence Pack (SGP) comes in two flavors, basic and deluxe. Basic’s cheaper; deluxe is more value. Both versions are:
- Fully illustrated with a ton of (real, high-res photos of) Japanese signs, taken right here in Japan
- Natural, authoritative English translations
- Awesome explanations (also in English), and
- Kanji readings (furigana) to boot.
And it’s all based on engaging, for-native-by-native subject matter that’s actually relevant to your life, because how many times are you going to read a textbook that shows you how to say you’re a student with two brothers and a younger sister before you want to shoot yourself? Exactly.
Timebomb Pricing: Unlike many other AJATT products, there is no limit to the number of people who can get it on this bad boy and get themselves their very own Signs Sentence Pack (SGP), to love, learn from and own forever. However, the price is always increasing, automatically and permanently, like an upward-ticking timebomb. So it starts low and keeps going up until it reaches a final resting price. Then it rests for some time. Then it starts rising again.
Here, try this experiment: check the price now, and then come back and check it a few hours later, and see how much you could have saved. And then realize that you’ll save that and more by acting now rather than later. Early action is always richly rewarded; such is the AJATT way.
Sexy Satisfaction Guarantee
Buy it. Try it. No likey? No payey. Just ask me for a full refund. No fuss. No hassles. Just be like: “I love you, Khatz. You’re so pretty and smart. I just want a refund for the Signs Sentence Pack. I promise I’ll be back soon”, and AJATT staff will run your refund for you with a smile 😀 . We know you’ll be back 😛 .
Oh, we know.
- PHRASING! ↩