Amir saw Kelsey Exeter’s inception success story, and so decided to share his own! Here’s our interview:
Amir: I’m a success story too btw. Learned Japanese to fluency inspired by your site. 😉
Khatz: How did you get started? What was your language experience (home and school) pre-AJATT
Amir: I started 4 years ago. Before I found your website I already wanted to learn Japanese independently without classes. I tried useless programs like Rosetta Stone (which was horrible btw), and books like Minna no Nihongo (an interesting start but it didn’t really help me in learning the language).
Khatz: What was your initial opinion of AJATT in general? What is your opinion now?
Amir: My initial opinion of Ajatt was that I found it awesome, and I still think that it’s great.
Khatz: Which AJATT ideas still seem lame? (lol)
Amir: You have no lame ideas.
Khatz: I love you and want to have your babies.
Amir: [No response]
Khatz: How did kanji go for you? How did SRS go for you?
Amir: Kanji was difficult at first, but the best strategy that worked for me was ‘not nothing’ every day. SRS was the same way.
Khatz: Which ideas seemed crazy and stupid but turned out awesome?
Amir: Ideas like ‘not nothing’ and simply showing up.
Khatz: How have you changed things to suit you? What personal customizations have you made to the AJATT method?
Amir: At some point I stopped SRSing as a whole and only watched shows, anime with subtitles which seemed to get the job done perfectly. I used subtitles from this site : [Japanese subtitles – kitsunekko.net] goo.gl/aNXgQ5
Khatz: What techniques do you use to make immersion an daily, hourly, minute-by-minute reality for yourself?
Amir: I turned all my devices, Computers, browsers, games etc. into Japanese. The most effective method that worked for me was ‘not nothing’ every day. Because if you continue every day like that you’ll be fluent eventually, [tortoise] vs hare and all of that good stuff. 😉
Khatz: “The most effective method that worked for me was ‘not nothing’ every day.” This is deep. “Not nothing” is a gift that keeps giving and a lesson we can’t stop learning.
More questions: How did you deal with the “intermediate angst”? Did you ever have feelings (however unfounded) of reaching a plateau or not making progress?
Amir: One amazing thing I realized is that most native Japanese people have difficulty with kanji!! I have several Japanese friends and the funny thing is, there were instances where I could read kanji better then actual native Japanese people! I was like: “WTF dude, you’re Japanese and you can’t read that!?” He was 19.
He couldn’t read the 爵(しゃく) in 公爵 which translates into “duke” in english,
People have to let go of fake perceptions.
Japanese people are the same as you, they’ve just been in the game longer.
I had no more intermediate angst after that experience. You’ve come this far, stop being a bitch. Play the next game, watch the next anime!
Khatz: What is your daily routine like now?
Amir: My daily routine is this, I just do whatever I love in Japanese I just have fun in Japanese; that’s it.
Khatz: How did you deal with the “lostness” that beginners face? New language. New writing system. What were your first materials inside and outside the SRS?
I just followed your classic method in the beginning. Total immersion →2000+Kanji→Sentences,
There was no lostness, it’s a new language, get used to it!!
Khatz: How about social resistance? How did your friends and family react to your intense Japanese-ness?
Amir: People are all assholes. I just hid my Japanese project part.
Even now that I’m fluent they either don’t care or simply hate and make fun.
My Japanese friends find it amazing though.
Khatz: Where do you get Japanese books?
Amir: Here’s where I buy my books: [無料まんが・試し読みが豊富！eBookJapan｜まんが（漫畫）・電子書籍をお得に買うなら、無料で読むならeBookJapan] goo.gl/E3YA
They even have their own app and it’s great because it works in my country.