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    Japan is Wherever You Are: 10 Ways to Turn Your Environment Japanese

    November 27, 2006
    By

    We’ve previously discussed the importance of turning your environment as Japanese as possible. With very little money (far less than you might need for a typical class), you can turn wherever you live into a little Japan.

    Even if you already live in Japan but your Japanese needs work, these suggestions will still work for you. If you’re like most expatriates on these islands, you may have turned your life into a little enclave of non-Japaneseness. I would like to show you how to turn that on its head.

    Wherever you are, it is crucial that Japanese become the “official language” of your life. Japanese can’t be just this thing you visit for an hour a day, five days a week, and then go on with your “real” life the other 90% of the time. It has to be pounding at you 24/7; it has to be the 90%. I don’t know all the reasons why this works, but one that comes to mind is this: In life, whether it’s learning a language, losing weight, or waking up early we usually don’t fail at a major project because we’re lazy or stupid. We fail because we’re forgetful. We forget what thing it was that we were ultimately trying to do, especially if the road to that thing just seems painful; we get lost in the fog of effort and forget the joy that the mere thought of our destination can give us. Remember that what you are trying to do is to become your dream: you are trying to become indistinguishable from a native speaker of Japanese. If you don’t constantly hear native-spoken Japanese, then you might forget that; it might just seem like you’re trying to get through a mountain of gruntwork. On the other hand, if your eyes and ears are bombarded by things Japanese all the time, then you will always remember where this is leading—to fluency, not to Gruntwork Valhalla. That which you cannot now fathom (Japanese), you will one day fathom fully.

    Learning in general is the birthright of human beings. We humans, relatively speaking, don’t have sharp teeth, big lungs or fast feet; instead, we have flexible minds. Language is so fundamental to our lives; it’s foundational — language is just the basics and it’s not “hard”; there’s nothing truly difficult about it; it takes time, but it’s not some intractable problem. Unfortunately, somewhere between boring classes, boring textbooks and boring teachers, we’ve forgotten that. In a sense, this site exists to remind you of your power to learn.

    So, here is a list of about 10 things to do (and not do), in order to Japanize your environment.

    1. Music: Japanese only
    Put away the Avril Lavigne. Sell the CDs on EBay; give them to a Japanese friend who’s learning English. Whatever, just get rid of it. Delete the mp3s. Don’t “put aside” your non-Japanese music; that includes the Manu Chao; I don’t care if he sings in English, Spanish *and* French; it’s irrelevant. Destroy it. I know this is harsh, but it’s something you have to do. Why destroy it? Because if you don’t, you will listen to it in a moment of weakness or nostalgia (you’re all: “(sigh) I remember when I understood the lyrics in the songs I listened to, those were the days”); it could lead to weeks of regression, or even destroy your immersion program altogether. Replace it all with Japanese music: music by Japanese *in* Japanese. It’s best not to even “do it in stages”, just go cold turkey. Even if you have so little Japanese music that you have to keep repeating the same song, then that’s a good thing! Repetition is the mother of skill, remember? Let go of the non-Japanese bands; there are plenty of Japanese bands that have the sound and feel you’re looking for.

    Not only should you exclude languages other than Japanese from your life, but you should actively include Japanese music with you wherever you go. If you don’t yet have a portable music player, acquire one, and where it around with you *everywhere*. If you are not in an important conversation with someone who does not speak Japanese, then you should be listening to your Japanese music.

    2. Movies: Japanese only
    Movies that are not in Japanese no longer exist to you. Now, fortunately, you can get Hollywood movies dubbed into Japanese at www.amazon.jp (be sure to check the item details, especially for movies more than 5-10 years old, since these may be Japanese-subtitled but not dubbed).

    Don’t use your significant other as an excuse. “But we have to spend time together”, you say. Bollocks. Take a walk together and hold hands, but make sure to be listening to Japanese music on your portable player; come on, let’s be honest, you don’t really want to hear what they have to say anyhow ;) (joking)! And don’t let your friends or family make fun of you or browbeat you into going along to see the latest mindless flick with them. Don’t let them tell you that you “have to unplug sometimes”; they’re full of crap; they’re only saying that to get you to go along. Don’t let them tell you “you can do it later”. Will they be there for you when your Japanese sucks because you didn’t practice because you were always “going to do it later”? Do your friends know Japanese fluently? Probably not. Because if they did, they would understand why you need to do what you need to do, and they wouldn’t try to dissuade you from it. If they do know Japanese fluently, then they should know better than to attempt to strip you away from the very thing that got them fluent: constant practice.

    Be strong. Your friends and family will make fun of you for a while, but just hold on. In the short-term, they may not seem to like you unless you do what they want. But it in the long run, they’ll respect you more than if you’d just given in to their pressure. They may say horrible things to you: “Do you think you’re better than us? Do you value the advice of random people on the Internet more than that of your real world friends and family? Do you think you’re Japanese or something?” to which you may reply under your breath: “actually, I do”.

    3. TV: Japanese only
    Unless you live in an area with a large Japanese community, there may not be Japanese TV available. But you never know. Check with your local cable/satellite provider. Failing live TV, even if there’s only a small Japanese community, there may be a Japanese store in your area. More likely than not, that store sells/rents tapes of Japanese television, complete with commercials. You want to patronize that store and buy some tapes. Failing that, there’s always Ebay, YouTube and even (shudder) BitTorrent.

    One of the cool things about Japanese TV is some of the most popular American TV shows (and even some of the good ones) are dubbed in Japanese, including 24, Monk, CSI (all cities), Friends, Full House (the worst show in human history) and many more.

    Whatever your sources, get some Japanese TV arrangement going, and have it playing constantly. Like me, you may not even watch TV. But when it comes to Japanese, and only Japanese, you have the permission to be a couch potato. Or a couch carrot: lighter and leaner than a potato, but still a bit vegetative.

    4. Radio: Japanese only
    Again, unless you live in an area with a large Japanese community, there may not be Japanese radio available. Not a problem. That’s what the Internet is for. Sometimes, running Japanese TV could be distracting for you. But you can listen to radio and podcasts while you cook. Get some (ask me if you want to know specific places).

    In the case of both TV and radio, don’t worry if you can’t understand it all. The point initially is not for you to get everything that’s going on. The point is for you to have it turned on, and playing. At first, you probably won’t understand a single word. Then you’ll start picking up single words. Then you’ll start picking up sentences. Then you’ll start picking up scenes. After some time, you’ll be able to watch and understand it all. It may take a while (many months), but stay patient and let the bright colors, shiny objects and detergent commercials entertain you.

    5. Computer/Internet: Japanese only
    Do it. Do it now. As far as possible, only visit Japanese websites. Need to check your favorite website? Check the Japanese version instead. Need to check the news? No, you don’t ;). In addition to original Japanese websites, there are Japanese-language versions of several of the most popular English webpages, including Yahoo, Wired, CNN and Slashdot.

    What operating system do you use? Better get the Japanese version.

    What’s your browser’s homepage? Better make it a Japanese one.

    Tip: enter a JapaneseURL into the box on www.hiragana.jp/, and it will add kana pronunciation aids (furigana) to the kanji.

    6. Friends: Japanese only
    OK, this is as harsh as they get, but you’re going to need to work on your social circle. I’m not saying that you should kick out non-Japanese-speaking people from your life, but you should definitely surround yourself with Japanese speakers.

    Sometimes you can’t always be with your real-life Japanese friends, so when you’re alone, your Japanese friends are the singers and actors you watch and listen to.

    7. Walls: Japanese only
    What is on the walls around you? You need some Japanese posters and signs. If you’re in the kanji-studying phase, then there’s this cool poster of all 2000 odd General Use Kanji; at $24 it isn’t cheap, but in the spirit of “discipline is remembering what you want”, I think it’s a valuable reminder. I had one on my wall. You could also make your own poster by filling in each kanji you acquire. Whatever you do, Japanese the walls of your home.

    8. Food: Japanese only
    The Japanese restaurants I know of are expensive. Maybe you can visit them only once in a while. You could also visit Japanese food shops, buy the ingredients, and cook your own food. You don’t know how to use the ingredients? Just ask the shopkeepers (or your friends) about what to cook.

    Also, whatever kind of food you eat, eat it with chopsticks. I started using only chopsticks years before going to Japan. Don’t be intimidated, they aren’t hard to use. Plus, you can almost eat anything solid with chopsticks: rice, cake, ice-cream. So use them! Again, you may earn the ridicule of those around you, but just grin and bear it. Since moving to Japan, it’s dawned on me that the chopsticks thing wasn’t just a psychological tool and it wasn’t just for getting attention. It really is a social skill; outside of Japan, they may be rare, but in Japan everything comes with chopsticks; you need to know how to use them.

    9. Floor and Furniture: Japanese only
    This is similar to the chopsticks suggestion. Again, before moving to Japan, I thought I was just being kitsch by doing this, but it turns out (again) that in addition to reminding you of your goal (Japanese fluency) this is actually an important social skill. Japan very much remains a floor-centered society.

    Use Japanese-style furnishing in your home. You don’t necessarily need to go out and buy new furniture to do this, and even if you do, it needn’t be expensive. All you need is a low table (zataku, 座卓) to sit at. Low enough that you can sit on the floor with a cushion (seiza, 正座) and use it.

    You should also sleep on the floor on a futon; if you don’t have one, you can lay down a duvet/comforter and sleep on that. Anyway, the point is: sleep and work close to the ground. Outside of offices, almost everything in Japan is low, close to the ground (private homes, restaurants, etc.) You’d do well to get used to it sooner rather than later. If you’ve been working high off the ground until now, this may take some getting used to, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. The task doesn’t change; you do.

    10. Brain/Thoughts: Japanese only
    Last but not least, your brain. You probably have thoughts and some of them might be in words and those words might be in a language that is not Japanese. Well, that won’t do. My method for changing the language of thought, the “inner monologue” if you will, was to carry around a Japanese dictionary (electronic) with me. Whenever I was walking, if I had a non-Japanese thought, I would look up the words in a dictionary, and then re-think the thought in Japanese instead. I now have an inner monologue mostly in Japanese, except when I’m speaking or writing English. Don’t feel silly — it’s worth it. Surrounding yourself with Japanese should eventually Japanize your thoughts anyway, but this forces it to happen sooner.

    Anyway, as always, go out and have fun doing Japanese! Take control of what goes into your brain, and your brain will reward you handsomely.

    You look beautiful today. That color is great on you. Yes, I will accept your donation.

    The Emotional Sentence Pack
    The MCD Revolution Kit

    99 Responses to Japan is Wherever You Are: 10 Ways to Turn Your Environment Japanese

    1. [...] You are not a 三日坊主. No Japanese learning monsoons followed by Japanese droughts for you. You study (play) Japanese every day. You have a minimum fixed number of new kanji or sentences that you learn on a daily basis. You have a minimum fixed number of old kanji or sentences that you review on a daily basis. Maybe it’s 50 new and 100 reviews. Maybe 30 new and 100 reviews. Whatever. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you make daily, quantifiable progress. And of course, when you’re not actively playing (studying) Japanese, you have your environment backing you up. [...]

    2. Alec on May 23, 2007 at 20:00

      Wow. For me, it’s a little extreme, but I admire your perseverence when you started out. Now you’re reaping the rewards!

      Out of curiosity, now that you’re living in Japan and considerably fluent, have you started listening to English-language music and watching American films again? Or are you still in a completely Japanese environment at home and why?

      (Great site by the way; I’m trialling the sentence method at the moment to see how it works for me.)

    3. khatzumoto on May 23, 2007 at 20:42

      Hey Alec,

      Crap, I just realized that the most recent post kind of repeats this one…oh well, sorry about that!

      I still have a primarily Japanese environment at home. I’ve been speaking English with my spouse (aka Momoko), but we’ve been mixing it with Japanese the more she learns. She understands a lot now. We watch lots of Japanese-dubbed American shows together.

      My Japanese is fluent, but it’s not native-level yet. I want to get it to the stage where I use it unconsciously and perfectly: saying exactly the right thing in exactly the right way at exactly the right time, with little or no effort. It is getting there; lately I find myself having the right word just pop into my head before I even have the chance to “look for it”–if that makes sense–the whole action is getting to a subconscious level in that I almost don’t quite know how the word gets there.

      Nevertheless, I do find myself needing to consciously prepare for specialist situations–particularly of the legal, medical and business kind–being a computer geek, I used to pretend that the law, medical science and business simply did not exist ;). So, anyway, before getting our cat, I (needed to) read lots of animal material to learn veterinary things like “neuter” and “viscous discharge from the eyes”. Finally, I also pay close attention to people who are good at explaining concepts, in order to use simpler verbiage in my own explanations (run a search on this site for “SJWs”)…since I used to be a bit over-technical.

      Dumbing down and smartening up at the same time…I guess this is all what you might call “polish”. Japanese, like any human language is wide and deep. There’s more to see than can ever be seen, etc. I firmly believe that anyone can get good at it, but there will always be more; words and concepts are always being invented. So, my motto is: “lifelong learning, but not lifelong sucking”.

      Oh and another thing–some people in Japan, especially in areas with not a lot of foreigners, just aren’t used to meeting foreigners, and may assume that you’re illiterate, stupid or both, apparently regardless of how well you speak. Clearly my reaction to it is immature, but I sometimes feel the desire to metaphorically beat such people over the head using some lavish demonstration of vocabulary or kanji, so I keep expanding my knowledge for that reason as well–to shut people up…puerile, I know. But, man, when you ask for a form of some kind, and the form lady responds with a question like “but, can you read?” or, “but, wait–can you write your own address?”…I should probably be rising above it, but it really, REALLY, *REALLY* gets on my nerves. “No, form lady. I came here alone and unlettered and then magically asked you for a form that I can neither read nor complete using big words that I could not understand. The book in my hand is for show; I merely cast my eyes over it in motions mimicking comprehension, and I may or may not have been holding it upside-down. Who knows? After all, this is no ordinary language, it’s ‘Japanese’, which means that no one but a pure yokel like you will ever have more than a snowball’s chance in Okinawa of understanding it, will they? Then again, as you’ve demonstrated, gormlessness has no nationality.”

      Now, the great majority of people in Japan are wonderful and they are not going to make ludicrously inappropriate inquiries as to your level of basic social education, so rest easy. I’m just a petty, petty, small-minded, petty man, Alec. And so I choose to get upset over the few people who do.

      &$&%ing form lady.

    4. khatzumoto on May 23, 2007 at 21:40

      >For me, it’s a little extreme,
      It was extreme for me, too :)! But what can one say–drastic actions lead to drastic results. Also, if you’re like most people, you probably grew up in one country in one culture speaking one language, or at least having a primary country, a primary culture and a primary language. Whether you knew or not (and you probably didn’t), you were pretty darn focussed. What I’m suggesting, then, is that we take that focus we had in our childhood, and combine it with our adult knowledge and experience.

      The combination of a childlike, single-minded determination, and the raw knowledge and experience of an adult, can be pretty staggering. I’m not saying adults are better than children; they just have an advantage. Children have to learn it all from scratch. As an adult, you have much more conceptual background to draw from.

      Anyway, have fun!

    5. Alec on May 25, 2007 at 02:39

      Thanks, Khatzumoto. You’re right; especially with languages there is no end to learning. I don’t know every word/proverb/idiom in the English language and I’ve been speaking it all my life!

      Sentence method is going well. In my Japanese final yesterday I was thrilled to be able to use one of my sentences in my writing. (I know memorising sentences isn’t part of the game but this is one sentence that I just have stuck in my head.) On writing to an imaginary host family, I said I wanted to “sit on top of Mt Fuji and look at the night sky because looking up at the Milky Way is said to teach the mysteries of the universe”. Pretentious, I know. But advanced enough to merit an A I believe! Haha.

    6. ModishMinuet on October 1, 2007 at 04:52

      “4. Radio: Japanese only
      Again, unless you live in an area with a large Japanese community, there may not be Japanese radio available. Not a problem. That’s what the Internet is for. Sometimes, running Japanese TV could be distracting for you. But you can listen to radio and podcasts while you cook. Get some (ask me if you want to know specific places).”

      Ok, so you might have this up somewhere on your site, but let me tell you, it’s HARD finding old posts on your site sometimes (I’m one of those “follow a link that has another link that has another link and OH! this is interesting!” type of people, so sometimes, I forget where I started and what the name of that interesting post or article I read before was-But I digress) SO, I’m going to go on and ask, because it’s been bothering me: HOW DO YOU GET THE RESOURCES??

      It might seem simple to find a website with online radio or tv shows, or even just definitions, but for me, I NEVER can find what I’m looking for on the internet. I can’t ever find music (alright, that might be my fault: but my friends always find free downloads!!), and I definitely can say that I cannot find Japanese radio that works.

      This was a little bit of ranting, I suppose, and therefore unnecessary for asking where I can find good Japanese radio, but this is a major mental brick wall for me when it comes to trying to learn anything, especially when it comes to languages (which is why I’m going to thank you right now for putting up the names of all those music artists in your other post, because it really helped!!!) So yeah…Sorry for getting so off topic again, but could you please say some good sites for that kind of thing?

      • Andrew on October 2, 2011 at 00:51

        Bull. Go to last.fm, type in J-(music type) and bam! Japanese artists. I’m listening to akb48.

        • Kimura on October 23, 2011 at 08:59

          Even simpler: www.japanaradio.com. Don’t even have to bother with searching for stuff, just sit back with headphones on and let the 音楽 flow. If you hear something you like, write down the artist/title (from the main page “Now Playing” ticker, not the pop-up player) and google up more of their songs.
          Only downside is that their playlists are not 100% 日本語で. It’s probably about 1 in 6-8 songs that are in English, but it’s still a fairly good going rate.

      • Jacob on July 6, 2012 at 12:05

        Step 1: youtube
        Step 2: find japanese music you like on youtube… Its there dont be lazy
        Step 3: youtube–> mp3 converter site.
        Step 4: fill your harddrive with more than you will EVER listen too.
        Step 5: listen to it until you know every word to every song 

    7. [...] teaching approaches, but it seems like an awful lot of money for an inferior version of the immersion environment that you can create on your own. I wonder how much of the popularity of language schools in China [...]

    8. Rob on October 18, 2007 at 23:36

      Hi Khatzumoto,

      Thank you for your site. I’ve been looking for a method like this for years, so I was excited when I stumbled onto your site to say the least. I was wondering what your thoughts are concerning changing your “inner monologue” to Japanese. My thinking is doing this too early might be damaging in the same way as trying to speak or write before taking in enough correct input.

      I mean even if you have a dictionary with you to look up the words, the sentence you form in your head may or may not be correct. Any thoughts on this?

    9. khatzumoto on October 18, 2007 at 23:44

      @Rob
      Interesting point. You may be right.
      I guess I never personally had that problem, but…
      I mean…it is an inner monologue and you will never share it with anyone, so it needn’t be that neat and tidy? I mean, mine is a stream of “video”, emotions, pictures and words anyway, and all fragmented. So, thought doesn’t seem to have to be as organized as speech or writing, but that might just be me.
      Also, the dictionary (hopefully) provides some guidance through good examples.
      There are also friends to ask. Oh, and at one point, I paid close attention to works such as Gantz (the manga version), which had very good (realistic) examples of inner monologue.

    10. Sidd on October 25, 2007 at 16:24

      Rad method! A double thumbs up to j00 :D
      But if I only visit Japanese websites, I won’t be able to come back here anymore…. :(

    11. khatzumoto on October 26, 2007 at 07:07

      I know :( — but that’s part of the deal, Sidd!

    12. Jimmy on December 2, 2007 at 22:02

      “What operating system do you use? Better get the Japanese version.”

      When you installed a Japanese browser, did you have to get a Japanese keyboard as well? I want to install a Japanese browser on my laptop, but I don’t want my computer to stop working!

    13. khatzumoto on December 2, 2007 at 22:04

      >but I don’t want my computer to stop working!
      It won’t. You don’t need a Japanese keyboard, you can use all your current hardware.

    14. Jimmy on December 2, 2007 at 22:30

      How do you switch between writing systems when you’re typing?

    15. khatzumoto on December 2, 2007 at 22:32

      It’s called an IME (input method editor); there’s lots of info on it online. You can even start using one before you get a Japanese OS.

    16. Immersion « GATTSU on December 17, 2007 at 17:53

      [...] this list came from here. The more I read of Khatzumoto-san’s site, the more I see I have to do to get where I’m [...]

    17. Dave on December 27, 2007 at 19:27

      One question. Where do you get the stuff you list out and mention here, especially that kanji poster you mentioned? I did a look on j-list and google and I haven’t found any poster that comes close to what you describe (only a few posters that have some Kanji upon them, usually phrases and sentences). Any help on where to go to shop would be appreciated!

    18. khatzumoto on December 27, 2007 at 19:30
    19. [...] previously discussed Japanizing your environment, and part of that Japanization involves covering your walls with kanji. The kanji posters I had on [...]

    20. Chantelle on March 7, 2008 at 06:08

      WOW!This is so helpful.Although I couldn’t do everything I could do some of it and it has helped me out with Japanese alot!Thanks!!!!!!!!!

    21. Tony on June 25, 2008 at 09:52

      Hi
      Just wondering how many Kanjis do you know? It is said that there is no shortcut to learn kanjis and it takes an average Japanese or Chinese person several years to learn them…
      And one need to know 1000(or maybe 2000) kanjis to pass level 1 of the Japanese proficiency language test.

      Thanks
      Tony

    22. khatzumoto on June 25, 2008 at 10:12

      4500 plus…coming on 5000 soon. This isn’t a result of “talent” or “good”/”photographic” memory, just systematic mnemonics combined with electronically calculated spaced repetitions.

      >it takes an average Japanese or Chinese person several years to learn them…
      their current methods suck
      Perhaps one might more accurately say: it takes an[yone]…several years to learn them, using sucky methods.

    23. Anonymous on July 6, 2008 at 07:51

      You are ****ing insane. Only Japanese thoughts, friends, and tastes in everything? That is like saying to abandon everything about yourself and create a new identity.There are so many things wrong with that, I cant even list them all.

      • Miss Language Learning on October 24, 2011 at 00:55

        Oh, someone who’s bitter, jealous and monolingual. I pity you.

        • ライトニング on October 24, 2011 at 02:20

          You’re about 3 years late to respond :)
           

    24. Anonymous of /jp/ on August 11, 2008 at 00:18

      > You are ****ing insane.
      Aren’t we all!

    25. Ricardo on August 12, 2008 at 18:33

      I speak both Spanish and English would this hinder or couse some slowing in me learning japanese…….couse i REALLY want to learn and im dumb for not doing it years ago. Ive been watching anime for ever…so yeah im tired of subtitles and tired of seeing manga that i cant read, its time i face this challenge face first!, so is there hope for me?.

    26. ~ on August 18, 2008 at 12:14

      Yeah, I’m trying to do the “immersion” at home type thing. My email is the japanese version, my computer is set in Japanese, my drawn-on-the-whiteboard-calendar is in Japanese… I’ve only been listening to Japanese music for as long as I can remember, because I like it. THe thing is, I’m a student… still in high school. I’m only being taught in English, I have to do homework in English, and worst of all, I have to do math over the summer being explained to me over the internet in English, and since I have procrastinated a lot (like I am right now, along with everything else I’ve been doing in the summer… only studying Japanese, haha) I’m on a really tight limit for my stuff. Since I don’t have that much time for hard-core studying every day, how do you suggest I fit passive Japanese learning in my everyday lifestyle? Thanks in advance~

      PS: Maybe I’m weird, but my entire stream of thought is in words. I think only in words, unless I’m thinking of a specific image/event. I’d need a pretty big dictionary. :P

    27. David on September 19, 2008 at 23:55

      Hm, it makes me sad that not all of the 10 things can apply to me. For instance, I don’t really like to watch TV, (commercials are bothersome). I have tried watching Japanese TV on KeyHoleTV. This wasn’t too bad, but, I have this voice in the back of my head saying, “go learn more Kanji!” So I spend my time doing that; listening to Japanese music in the mean time, of course! I’ve actually been listening to Japanese music for years, but not quite like I am not. I used to listen to Japanese music occasionally, and English most of the time. But now, it’s “all Japanese, all the time.” In the music department anyways. I think Music and Radio go hand-in-hand, so I sort of make my own Radio by carrying that iPod shuffle mother so kindly purchased for one lucky guy. Load it with songs and pod casts and listen to that while I gracefully acquire the next Kanji.

      One thing that I’ve made an effort to change is my walls. I’ve been taking notebook paper and using a sharpie to write out nice and big, the Kanji. Having them on my walls may sound like cheating, but, there’s really no cheating when you’re trying to learn something, right? I just don’t look. It’s too much effort to look up anyways. ;)

      So far, music/radio, walls, TV/Movies all taken care of. Oh, and I almost don’t notice it anymore, but my browser is installed under Japanese, as are any other programs. All my folders are renamed to Japanese names. (I don’t have the money for a Japanese OS at the moment, so I’m making due). All my bookmarks (even for English sites (yes, I know BAD!) have been renamed in Japanese). I try to name most of my files in Japanese too. The only English site I actually visit anymore is this one, and it’s typically because I’m just craving to read something motivational. I especially like the posts about life in Japan. But, I digress.

      The inner monologue thing is difficult with me since I don’t actually have much vocabulary (still in the Kanji phase). So instead of thinking of the words in Japanese I think about what Kanji best fits he thoughts I’m having. For instance, if I and thinking: “I want to read this.” I think of the Kanji I’ve learned for those meanings. “I” and “read” are two Kanji that I know already know, so, those pop in my head. Once I start on my sentence phase, I’ll definitely make more of an effort in changing any monologue thoughts to Japanese. (I have a paper dictionary that will have to do, for now). I also do this Kanji-think (<– official term now) when I am reading something for class, I’ll fill-in the appropriate Kanji for as many words as I can. I find this is good practice since, as mentioned, being in the Kanji phase. What are your thoughts on this?

      With food, I’m fortunate to know of this Japanese food store. The whole place in Japanese (go figure!). I enjoy walking in and being greeted with いらっしゃいませ!
      Anyways, I like to spend huge sums of time in there just reading as much as I can. I’m planning on making a trip there again soon, and buying ingredients to make things that I’m learning to cook online. I think cooking in Japanese is a good way to learn the names of foods and utensils used.

      As for living style. I still use my bed for now. My dorm room has a concrete, cold, uncomfortable floor. And, I’m lacking in the comforter department. But, I’m tempted to just go all the way and sleep on the floor regardless. I hear it’s good for your back, anyways.

      So, now that you have an idea on how I’m making my own immersion, I’m curious what you think about some ideas I have in regard to furthering it, and maybe, if you want, you can add to these and help me make my life even more Japanese? ;)

      I was thinking about looking up the words for every single item in my dorm room and taking my roll of masking tape and sketch paper, and going to town with my sharpie marker on labeling everything. Bed, floor, wall, windows, printer, computer, TV, and roommates.. :)

      More on the labeling thing; I was thinking about making out an activity list too to post in miscellaneous places. For instance, just like the object labeling, put sticky note above my towel with something like “dry-off” and one by my dresser that says “get dressed” or “change clothes.” Anyways, you get the idea.

      I’m fortunate with the whole chopsticks spiel, in that, my friend has gone to Japan before and he bought me a pair. So, I have a nice pair of 100円 chopsticks to use. I’ve eaten just about everything with them. I remember when I would use them for things like chips and cereal too. (Too extreme?)

      Getting textbooks in Japanese for school might serve as a problem right now. Since I can only get store credit for selling my books back to the school store. I don’t even read them, so I don’t think it’s such a major problem.

      Anyways, I apologize for the *extremely* lengthy comment. If it bores you too much, you don’t have to read it.. Guess it’s too late for that. ;)

    28. David on September 20, 2008 at 00:01

      Oh, I must apologize. I just re-read a post of yours on here that mentions you using Heisig Kanji in your notes. I must have read over it quickly and it subconsciously rose up. ^^;

    29. khatzumoto on September 20, 2008 at 00:59

      >More on the labeling thing; I was thinking about making out an activity list too to post in miscellaneous places. For instance, just like the object labeling, put sticky note above my towel with something like “dry-off” and one by my dresser that says “get dressed” or “change clothes.” Anyways, you get the idea

      I think this is genius! The idea of labeling nouns has been around for a long time, but labelling the actions that go on in a place using those nouns — i.e. putting up short phrases — that’s news to me! This is a huge improvement on an already dope idea: after all, knowing a noun without the verbs that go with it is just annoying…

      And I don’t think the chopsticks action is too extreme by any means…I’ve been eating cake exclusively with ‘sticks for like 6 years now; it just tastes better. No cold metal interruption of my moist, rich, chocolate 祭り…

      Caaaaaaaaake…

    30. David on September 20, 2008 at 07:27

      Ah, I feel a bit flattered. — The only thing knowing only nouns really accomplishes is letting you speak like a [s]Japanese[/s] cave-man. “Me cookie crumbs belly.”

      I think, maybe an additional benefit to having phrases in places where they take place would be good for the inner monologue, too. I don’t know about you, but, I do think to myself things like: “I need to change my socks.” Maybe?

      Now, just to figure out a way to build Misaki into my little phrase notes. ^^;

      And, you certainly make a point with eating cake with chopsticks. Mmhm, cake.

    31. hrener on September 20, 2008 at 11:41

      Good ideas, but… as a native russian speaker i want to ask you – if you begin to learn russian language – you really need to drink vodka? :)

      • Kimura on October 27, 2011 at 08:37

        Food is a big part of culture, so probably yes. With Japanese, it’s a good idea to go beyond the stereotypical teriyaki and california roll. and go for real 和食. Including sake, unless you’re legally/physically too young to be able to drink alcohol.

    32. Bauglir on October 24, 2008 at 09:20

      Alright, firstly I’d like to thank you for your help via email and for this wonderful site!

      Secondly, I have a few more questions for you, this time involving Japanizing my environment:

      - I live in the DC area of the USA and have no idea where to get a zataku. How high are they generally? I have a table that I currently use for my computer desk that has hollow metal legs, I think I can cut them to proper height, which I read is about 10-14 inches, is this correct?

      - Are Japanese bookcases and dressers any lower than typical American ones? I have two bookcases that practically stretch to my ceiling and one fairly tall dresser, do I need to get smaller ones?

      - I own many statues of dragons that were quite expensive, should I get rid of these for the sake of my Japanese environment?

      - I also have a few Chinese goods that I can easily part with, get rid of these as well?

      - I have some old trophies and autographed stuff, should I part with these? By autographed stuff, I mean signed by bands and football players.

      - I’m just starting out kanji and I think that I’m using SRS incorrectly: it never asks me about older kanji, just the ones that I haven’t repped yet, help?

      Thanks for all of your help! I’m sorry if I’m being a bother, I know you’re a busy person.

    33. ジゼール さん on January 3, 2009 at 16:11

      I’m still a student in school and it would be hard for me to do everything Japanese.
      and I still live with my parents. So its even harder.but anyways..
      also, when I listen to a song, I usually go to google.ca and I find the English translation.
      it really helps cuz when u listen to the song your remembering the words and what they mean.
      also singing along helps your pronounciation.
      also when watching a movie or tv show on the net,
      is it alright to put the English subs?
      I mean when I watch the movie, I listen while reading and I do pick words and sentences.
      its good for remembering phrases.
      and another thing..=P
      I know you said only Japanese music but can I also listen to Korean?
      I’m actually very interested in Korean and I also want to learn that language as well.
      the kanji on the walls with the verbs to go with it.very smart.
      I will do that in my room.
      Also I don’t know if this helps at all but I have like Japanese figure things.
      like Japanese pots, and I don’t really have kanji posters…
      I have pictures of Japanese guys on my wall…
      LOL does that kinda work?
      some of the pics have kanji and hiragana(which I can read).
      also, where I’m from..there are no Japanese people in my school.
      There are only mostly Filipinos and Koreans which I’m good friends with.
      would it be okay since there all Asian?
      we all have the same taste in music and tv(Japanese/Korean music and tv)
      So anyways.
      I do lots of things that help me.
      anything that is in hiragana, kanji, katakana, I will try to read.
      I also of courselisten to j-rock 24/7
      I love watching dramas in Japanese also movies
      the thing is, I don’t have Japanese friends, I don’t watch alot of anime
      and I never tried Japanese food. I don’t like fish.
      I know japanese food is not all fish but there actually isn’t a good Japanese restaurant here.
      LOL I do eat Japanese cake tho.
      and I use chopsticks while eating instant noodle and macaroni.XD
      I enjoy writing in hiragana…haven’t really studied much kanji..
      but I have a Chinese friends to help me.
      and my brain and Internet…
      I don’t think I should go that far yet…
      I’m just a beginner.
      I’m also taking a Japanese class.1week/1hour
      it helps and its good cause I can actually talk in Japanese and someone can understand
      she always serves me Japanese green tea.^_^
      But yeah, I just want to know if all these things are acceptable to do
      on your extreme Japanese lifestyle challenge..(LOL not sure what to call it but its really extreme.)
      please write back to me.^_^
      ありがとう。

    34. パウ on January 14, 2009 at 23:43

      Hello~ =
      This website is very useful! Your site was mentioned on the Perfume City forums (yes, unofficial forums for Japanese group Perfume ;) ) and looked pretty interesting~ and it is!
      Okay.
      1- I only listen to Japanese music. Don’t really like the rest much anymore D: Don’t ask why. But that much I’ve done.
      2&3- Don’t watch movies much, but I guess I could always try YouTube etc., and watch maybe some programming?
      4- Radio’s more than a little hard. Practically everyone here’s American (except for those who work at Deere~ I’m actually not American, myself) and this is a pretty small town. So. But I do know of Internet radio~ if anybody’s interested in japanese Electronic this radio has great music.
      5- I changed Mac OS interface to all Japanese, except for sadly Photoshop which is not available in Japanese. I can’t purchase another version either >.< But, my homepage is the almost the default (apple.com/startpage) only I have the Japanese version (apple.com/jp/startpage). I even found capsule (favorite group .<

      Now, if I completely give up English, that would mean giving up my autism website, TAR. I’m not at all willing to do that, since my brother has autism and I’m completely dedicated to raising awareness. Should I translate the website into Japanese?

    35. Default2Black on January 20, 2009 at 15:26

      These look like great ideas on immersion…but I’m having trouble figuring out ways to effectively apply them to myself, a high school student with little to no control over several aspects of my environment…
      1 – ‘s good.
      2 – ‘s…well….wait…no, ‘s good too.
      3 – If I can get my hands on Jdubs, would it be ok to use english subtitles?
      4 – I only listen to the radio in family situations
      5 – Am I to assume that this one only applies to learners who are passed the kanji stage? ‘Cuz if I switch to a Japanese OS and everything, I won’t understand jack, Also, all the sites I need for school are in English.
      6 – I don’t know a single Japanese person, there are very few Asians at my school…somehow I’m friends with most of the Asians I’ve come in contact with at school, but they’re all Vietnamese or Korean.
      7 – I can’t put stuff up on my walls, but someone’s idea about putting the notes with associated kanji by the corresponding objects in a room is a good idea! I knew sticky notes would somehow come into play in this whole learning-Japanese-and-stuff thing
      8 – I have to eat whatever my mom puts in front of me…but the chopsticks thing will totally work. My family will say I’m obsessed but…well, screw their opinions :)
      9 – I have limited space, I’m a minor so I live w/ my parents and everything…so I guess this one’s out.
      10 – Intense! But I think an awful lot of thoughts…My nose’d be in the dictionary all day!….s’pose I could try it anyway… can you recommend a good dictionary for a total beginner in the kanji stage?

      Thank you for this site! It’s cooler than the instructor’s stare when I fall asleep in class, lol.
      Please respond! And thanks in advance:)

    36. Rhino on January 21, 2009 at 18:26

      Hey if anyone is having/had more luck than me at finding podcasts in japanese some links would be awesome. Do any videogame podcasts in japanese exist I wonder? But news/sports/comedy whatever would be awesome.

    37. Buri on February 6, 2009 at 12:30

      Just wanted to mention that a great resource to go along with the immersion process is downloading KeyHole TV. It streams television live from Japan to your computer. I always leave it on in the mornings when I’m getting ready for class. ^^

    38. Lolor on February 15, 2009 at 14:09

      I’m thinking about learning all of the basics or getting into a high-novice/low-intermediate level of speaking before I do this. Do you recommend I learn all of these things first? And, if you do, do you have any suggestions as to how I could go about doing that?

    39. Luai_lashire on February 25, 2009 at 12:00

      Hello,
      I was wondering if you could suggest any good Japanese music? My tastes are pretty wide ranging, but I don’t like most mainstream pop music and hip-hop, and I sometimes have trouble finding Japanese music that does not fall into either of those categories. Right now, I’m mostly listening to Perfume (electro-pop) and Oreskabando & Retro Honpo (Ska). I also have the soundtracks to several Miyazaki films and to Paprika, but being soundtracks, there’s not a lot of singing.
      I like the Yoshida Brothers, too, but again, there’s no singing. :/

    40. Andresito10 on March 28, 2009 at 07:34

      Brain/Thoughts: Japanese only, the “inner monologue”

      Death note has a fairly large amount of those “inner monologues”,
      for me it helps a lot.

    41. Galenskap « 捕まえて on April 10, 2009 at 09:48

      [...] khatzumoto, språk, vansinne, vett AJATT är galenskap. Jag har läst mer på Khatzumotos blogg, det här till exempel. Han är helt från vettet – men han kan sin japanska. Det blir trots allt svårt [...]

    42. Ben on May 28, 2009 at 22:23

      I’ve also noticed trouble aquiring tv shows and movies in japanese without english subtitles, and since it is reccommended to watch without subtitles, i’ve found i nice feature on VLC media player to crop the screen. Now some people will know about this but for those who don’t, you can rightclick a japanese movie with english subtitles, go to video->crop-> and choose the size that cuts off the subtitles. Sure, it looses some of the bottom of the movie, but its great to use when your watching it when doing other things.

    43. frank0105 on June 16, 2009 at 09:05

      Hello!
      I Just started my journey on learning japanese.

      Do you know where I can find japanese radio station and tv station on the internet? I live in Miami and yeah no japanese here. All spanish

    44. [...] they would give is to go and live in that country for some years or you will never be fluent! And the other that managed to master a secondary language without relocating are even more… [...]

    45. [...] in the simple English…sitting back and watching. Once you do set up and maintain the right environment, all that’s left is to show up…to [...]

    46. Algor on July 13, 2009 at 07:38

      Hi! This website is wonderful :) ! Said that, I was wondering where I can find TV, radio, and american tv-series on internet. I’m sure you can help me. Thanx :).

    47. Nolispe on July 15, 2009 at 22:01

      Hello Khatzumoto-san, thank you so much for this site it has been extremely usefull.
      While reading this post I have found most points quite informative, however I have a question to ask regarding point 5. Computer/Internet: Japanese only, I understand that it is an important part of the immersion process expecially for someone like me that uses a computer to a great extent, however when would you sugest this change is made? because at the moment I am still in the kanji phase of AJATT and even though I have attempted to use japanese websites and stay away from english ones, I just dont have the reading or understanding at this stage to be able to get anything done.
      Any other readers care to share your view on this subject.
      Thank you for any responces.

    48. kyoushou on September 10, 2009 at 12:26

      QUOTE:All Japanese All The Time Dot Com: How to Learn Japanese. On your own, having fun and to fluency » Are You a Three-Day Monk? said
      “…when you’re not actively playing (studying) Japanese, you have your environment backing you up”

      now,i know! if burn out occurs, the environment is there to back up,
      it will kinda tell you that you are a japanese, at look around you,

      thank khatzumoto-senpai!

    49. Erik on October 22, 2009 at 15:18

      Well I cut out my biggest link to the english language today… I had a comedy show I did on youtube in English every 1-2 weeks but instead of saying I was going on a long break I just deleted the account. It was SO hard to do and I feel kind of sad at the moment but I feel a little better in knowing thats a step closer to knowing Japanese.

    50. [...] isn’t going to happen by itself; you have to create the environment for it to happen. Push the [...]

    51. Chris N on November 28, 2009 at 12:22

      Hi Rhino and all those who are trying to find good radio sources – I’ve been listening to the www.nhk.or.jp/r-news/ programs. They’re not available as day-long streams, but it seems like they update a few hours a day so I just repeat it, which probably helps with comprehension. As far as my studies go, I’m up to about 750 kanji from RTK and have been going through the Pimsleur program (almost almost finished!) but really can’t understand more than a word here or there. Curiously, I found that listening in the background is mentally tiring since my brain is trying to figure out what it’s hearing even though it can’t, so it feels like I’m studying anyway! I’ve also been posting my transcripts from Pimsleur to my blog; I’m currently up to lesson 26 of Japanese III, and plan on making a PDF or single-page document in the future.

    52. honeyanddaisy on December 7, 2009 at 02:31

      Nolipse,
      >point 5. Computer/Internet: Japanese only, I understand that it is an important part of the immersion process expecially for someone like me that uses a computer to a great extent, however when would you sugest this change is made? because at the moment I am still in the kanji phase of AJATT and even though I have attempted to use japanese websites and stay away from english ones, I just dont have the reading or understanding at this stage to be able to get anything done.

      I’m at stage 1 (memorising kanji — after 3 years of “studying Japanese”!!), and it would make sense to have a working knowledge of kanji in order to get any use out of a Japanese website. I reckon the idea is to keep working on the kanji and perusing Japanese websites at the same time till stuff starts to click. You recognise one word, then maybe part of a phrase, maybe later a whole sentence, etc.

    53. Charlie on December 11, 2009 at 23:50

      Hey Khatz, I just have a suggestion to all the people out there reading this. Google has a translator that can take most websites and translate them into another language! I’ve been using it so I can check my regular sites in full blown Japanese.

      Here’s the link to it: translate.google.com/

      Thanks for your great blog!

    54. Dangerous Dan :P on December 23, 2009 at 10:22

      Hey Khatzumoto!

      Thank you for this awesome site and great info! I really like your learning techniques and have begun your program as of yesterday. I can see the influence which computer studies has had on your mindset and I applaud it :) I have started learning the Kanji, and I am busy japanesing the f*ck out of my environment. I currently no pretty much no Japanese, but seeing as I will be arriving in Japan in the next 8 months latest I am getting a head start on the culture, language and everything. I don’t wanna be another ex pat to arrive and find every way to avoid immersing myself in Japan, without even realizing thats what I’m doing.

      So, I have 2 questions which if you have time I would greatly appreciate being answered. I’m new to the site and haven’t been able find these answers, but easily could have overlooked them, so if my questions are retarded please feel free to insult me (along with an answer XD )
      1) if I’m learning the kanji with the program ANKI , how do i learn the pronunciation of each kanji? I have japanese films and such but they don’t have correlating japanese subtitles.
      2) When listening to japanese radio/music/films is it okay if i have NO IDEA wtf they are saying? Or should i start with watching stuff i know (like ghost in the shell) in Japanese? Of course i want to be moving towards understanding it, but I can’t even classify myself at the beginner level yet, so if it’s all gibberish to me at the moment will listening to a radio station (with no facial expressions for context) help? Will it slowly just start making sense? Or do i have to be listening to a repetitive audio initially rather than a radio station which is always fresh stuff.

      Thanks in advance for your time
      And keep up the humor and shameless chauvinism (Its awesome to have found such a brilliant source of info from someone with a sense of humor and down to earth attitude)

    55. アメド on December 25, 2009 at 14:03

      People shouldn’t worry really all too much on the sentences(Obviously this is very important). But the immersion factor for you’re Japanese WITH the addition of sentences to be SRSed is very powerful when it comes to understanding. I recently decided to delete one of my other decks(this was pre-mined one-that contained a lot of sentences around 8000 but i decided that i might as well take it down. Solely because i had so much other decks to review and it seriously felt like i’m doing work. So i decided to transfer+delete some decks to only 1 deck for sentences, one for kana, one for kanji and another for more kanji.) So 4 decks in total I will only have for my process learning Japanese(obviously to fluency and beyond if possible). Immersion makes the connections of the sentences you are studying. So i recommend people let’s say you’re watching a drama series. SRSing all those sentences. Listen to it before you SRSed everything and after you SRSed everything. And keep listening to that or watching it via subtitles in Japanese. And I’m sure you’ll notice some improvements towards understanding the drama. Although people might say “Yea i’ll understand the drama but not other Japanese stuff”. So then continue SRSing until you do. The thing about languages is that, you obviously will encounter similar words+sentences+structures of other sentences in Japanese. This is a solid way to improve understanding. Although if you want to even up the amp on this(amp? high frequency perhaps? you decide on that!). Trying going monolingual+search up the things you don’t understand in a monolingual dictionary and try to decode them. This intern forces you to think+use the language in context. This leads to high level Japanese if continued for long periods of time. But remember you must enjoy and to learn Japanese if you want to continue doing this(as everyone enjoyment of what to do in Japanese varies, but I’m sure everyone wants to get near fluent or fluent in maybe 1-2 years time? you decide on that by how much effort+time you’re willing to put into that.Using these techniques will definitely improve you’re Japanese listening+understanding+thinking in Japanese. That’s why immersion is sooooo powerfully effective ppl! So try to listen to it alot if possible(I know there’s so much debates on this on forums from the kanji koohli site(spelled that wrong). but at least majority of the day if possible).

    56. アメド on December 27, 2009 at 06:17

      面白いだね皆さん

      This surprised me just today. I have a habit of watching the same stuff over and over again. This includes anime,movies, dramas, games,etc. But what surprised me is that. I watched some scene in a game just today. And for some reason i actually understand more of the conversation out of nowhere. Obviously this is with the addition of subs but when I compare this from just 4 months ago, I was thinking “Wow so much kanji and i seriously don’t get what they are talking about at all”.Now when i watched the same conversation over again and again. I tend to look at it and I was surprised when I could understand what they were talking about. 75% of conversation i could understand. Even though i might not know all the readings to every kanji just yet(well for 2042 joyo kanji i mean). It still surprises me that for some reason i can understand it better. What I tend to do nowadays is massively listen to Japanese stuff i enjoy. But the things i enjoy vary a lot. Commercial,games,books,anime,manga, Japanese kimono’s,etc. This tends leads me to SRS a variety of sentences+structured grammar at times. I know ppl say not to focus on grammer all that much. I tend to agree there with people. I’m the type of person who loves to massively SRS stuff(i don’t really like doing reviews personally when they are at large amounts but that is usual linked to my energy at the time ). So my sentence deck says that i’m at 4.2 months of doing sentences+immersion factor. I’m at 4851 sentences as of today. To be honest the 10,000 sentences don’t really phase me all that much anymore. Since there is so many resources for japanese sentences+sites+archives to SRS out there. So I’m pretty confident within the next 14 months(or 13.8 months to be correct). I’ll be around 20,000-30,000. People might think I’m crazy for doing a lot of Japanese. But to be honest it doesn’t phase me the least. I love Japanese stuff, I’m sure my work i mean “enjoyment” will pay off. When i say enjoyment i ironically do like do work when it comes to Japanese learning. But enjoyment and work can be linked so well if you use it correctly.

    57. アメド on December 28, 2009 at 12:01

      For some reason the past 2 days and today. That adds up to 3 days. My understanding seems to be jumping a LOT. I don’t know why this is happening. Is it just me? or am i progressing faster than I thought? Two days ago my understanding was normal just like any other day. But for some reason next day I noticed a boost in understanding. Then the next day another boost. And today another boost! Seriously this is fuc…. awesome! lol. It’s only been around 4.2 months of this and I’m already improving pretty well. I still consider my self not good at Japanese at all but this is actually a good thing. That is my motto(some ppl might say, give yourself a congratulations? not yet!). For me if keep this up when I do eventually get good, I’ll still want to achieve way more. But I’m pretty sure once i’ve achieved a high-level fluency I’ll be happy and move onto mandarin.

    58. ニコラス on March 27, 2010 at 10:26

      Okay, AWESOME site and methodology! It can be applied to most parts of one’s life for most things. I just don’t understand what the “Kanji Stage” is. I’m in my second year of Japanese in Highschool. 六十かんじをよめますでも十かんじをきけます。 That took ages! Should I have learned more kanji before starting in with grammar(s) and things? Will knowing vacabulary that is completely diosconnected with the Kanji hurt me in the long run? My school’s third year class focuses nearly completely on kanji; slightly odd they’d start that late… Sorry if there’s a better place for these questions, but I don’t know where to put it. Thanks!

    59. Koneko on April 28, 2010 at 14:04

      Okay, this may never get read or responded to, but I have to ask anyways.
      I think I may have issues with the immersion. Its not that I dont want to, because I do, more than anything, but its that I just… cant. Well, I cant do all of it anyways. Music/TV are easy, those are fine because I can control all that. My ipod is only japanese, even if that means only my little 80 songs(as apposed to my previous thousand englsih songs), and I listen to those songs or watch subless anime in most of my spare time. Oops, correction, I listen to music CONSTANTLY. spare time or not. (homeschool)Schoolwork? Music. Chores? Music. Reading? Music. You get the pictutre.

      As for TV, anime is all I ever watched, besides NCIS, so that was an easy fix. (still looking for a japanese dub of NCIS though ;_;) Even with my own ‘TV’ I have trouble ignoring what ever my parents or siblings are watching. So, then I retreat to my room where Japanese can safely be the only thing I hear. But that leads to my parents yelling at me for spending too much time by myself. >..< And furniture… for the past year or so I have wanted nothing more than a room that had all japanese furniture. But NOOOOO my parents 'paid a lot for my very nice furniture' 5 years ago, (and, for the record, they surprised me with this bedroom set and I've ALWAYS hated it. All my bedroom furniture is so boring and plain, it makes me sad.) And wont let me change it.

      So, I guess my main question/issue is what should I do about the things I cant change? Should I just keep to doing what I can and leave the stuff I would love (japanese food and furniture) for when I controll that? Also, why throw all english stuff out? Once we start this are we supposed to never return to english? That confuses me a bit. It seems like the point of this is turning our backs on english, which I am more than ready to do, but not permanently. I still have american family and friends and will have to live here for many more years… (at least until I am old enough to move of my own free will) I dont want to live in a japanese bubble until I go to japan…. Because then my family wouldn't want to spend time with me, even if I was fluent in japanese (like they care, ha, they would be impressed, but they dont really care).

      Anyways, thank you for (hopefully) reading my long rambly comment. If you could help, or at least give me your oppinion, that would be epicly awesome~ So, yeah.

    60. Koneko on April 28, 2010 at 14:09

      Okay… The middle half of my post totally dissapeared. o.o I can retype that if I have to but that was a lot! A whole paragraph or so just dissapeared. D: Well. Its late, so I guess I can fix it later if I need to.

    61. Drewskie on April 29, 2010 at 01:40

      Just don’t let the things you can’t change stop you from trying. Do this anyway. Most people don’t have flawless immersion environments because there are just so many times we need English, sometimes exclusively.

      As for throwing your English stuff out, that’s optional. Khatz suggests it mainly to prevent yourself from falling back into it down the line. It’s a valid concern, but if you’re immersing correctly, there shouldn’t be any temptation.

    62. newguy on May 15, 2010 at 13:09

      Great site! I started ajatt about 3 weeks ago. So I haven’t even put a scratch in the RTK yet. I just have a few questions (to anyone):

      Where can I find some decent podcasts? i Tunes tried but failed (at least I didn’t see any decent ones).

      What are some of your anime favorites (shows/movies)?

      Lastly, what is your opinion on language learning software?

      • Han on April 11, 2011 at 23:50

        I’m not learning Japanese, but my girlfriend is, so we watch some anime in Japanese (with Russian subtitles for me, it’s what I’m learning). I like:
        イヴの時間, (Time of Eve) – Set in the future. Really good, but hard to explain without giving too much away. They only made six episodes, so easy enough to watch.
        カウボーイビバップ (Cowboy Bebop) – Huh, well, duh.
        フルーツバスケット (Fruits Basket) – Ridiculously cute. If you’ve not heard of it, it’s about a girl who lives with some members of a family who turn into the animals of the Chinese zodiac when hugged by the opposite sex.
        デュラララ!! (Dyurarara!!) – My girlfriend really likes this one, I’m not so big into it.

    63. 星空 on November 23, 2010 at 11:51

      you forgot how to do a seiza properly

      i’ve been practicing for months trying to figure out how to do it for extended periods of time w/o gettting numb feet. so far, no success

    64. dave on February 7, 2011 at 08:35

      I have searched and searched, there are many japanese radio stations I can find on the web, but they all screw it up by injecting english into it WHY? Are there ANY without this B.S?

      • Sarah on February 8, 2011 at 20:17

        I listen to Japanese radio stations using KeyHoleTV. :) You can watch japanese tv using it too, so two birds with one stone.

      • N/A on February 20, 2011 at 00:20

        A good one is looking for it in iTunes. Set your country to Japan and (hopefully) you’ll find Japanese Podcasts.

    65. N/A on February 20, 2011 at 00:10

      WHAT?! Throw away the English music?! I CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT CHOP CHOP ONION AND PARRAPA! Ok, maybe I can. I gotta suck it up and delete them.

      • 魔法少女☆かなたん on April 12, 2011 at 11:00

        Fish Fight! by 野猿

        Your problem is hereby solved

      • Kimura on October 18, 2011 at 13:45

        Or, if your entire music collection is made of stuff that you can’t download anymore (in my case, game soundtracks), just stick the whole shebang into a .rar file (64-bit edition of Windows and WinRAR required since the filesize WILL exceed the 32-bit OS limit of 2GB), and have a Japanese friend set the password. (And if you find out they make the password “aikotoba”, have them do it again.)

    66. [...] até você? (que filosófico, não?). Hoje começa uma série de posts, nos quais vou mostrar, como Katzumoto já fez muito bem, como você pode se “auto-cercar” com japonês, de modo que tudo, [...]

    67. Han on April 11, 2011 at 23:55

      I successfully banished English TV and movies from my life (well, apart from Arrested Development once a fortnight or so…), and music is gone. It’s just a pain finding good music in my target language, a lot of it these days is pop and dance. I’m making some headway, but bleurgh.

    68. Ehh... on May 18, 2011 at 20:22

      I’m a bit late ^_^ I’m in a bit of a predicament. I’m an aspiring author, you see…it’s been my passion for my entire life….so completely forsaking the English language would be forsaking my book, which would result in my death…but I really want to learn Japanese…so…can I hardcore on Japanese, and still write in English? Is that even possible?

      • RyanSharif on May 19, 2011 at 02:01

        I’m sure you’ll wait to hear Sensei’s answer but I’m learning Finnish and Czech while doing this. I give those two languages their time-boxed limits and it doesn’t seem to affect the rest of my day. Is it possible to timebox a few parts of your day and still finish your book? You can have Japanese playing in the bacgkround while you work, to boot.

      • Anne on May 19, 2011 at 16:33

        I think most people are forced to use their mother tongue (or foreign languages other than Japanese) in their daily life (e.g. at work, school, university, in family or with friends – or when reading and commenting this blog…). All these people manage to get along, so I dare say, you will, too.
        It’s fine, if you can just immerse in Japanese as often as possible in your daily life.

    69. [...] like the idea of creating a simulated environment to enhance the will to learn, fighting procrastination. It could have an even bigger [...]

    70. Anony Moose on October 18, 2011 at 04:17

      Definitely really good ideas that I would totally do if I could (and if TV Japan wasn’t so fcuking expensive with Comcast). But you need to add one caveat (besides 「お金があればならない」): “Do not attempt if you are unable to move out of your parents’ house.” It’s one thing to not have the support of the people you are legally obligated to live with until your 21st birthday; it’s another to feel like you have their active disapproval.

      • Miss Language Learning on October 24, 2011 at 00:57

        Wow, you’re weak. I mean, I did this whole immersion thing when I was 18, and I got laughed at a lot.
        Who cares? My parents disapproved too, at least at the beginning. Convince them it’s good for you. I did. I just kept going.

        • Anony Moose on December 10, 2011 at 14:30

          The problem is, Mom thinks that whatever I’m really doing on the internet is actually playing. Even if I show her what it really is, it seems to be hardwired in her mind that “I’m doing Japanese stuff” = “I’m gaming”.

          • Chagami on December 10, 2011 at 23:14

            It sounds like the issue isn’t that they disapprove of you learning Japanese, they just believe in the old fashioned “Text books are the only way you can learn” theory.

            Maybe you need to ease them in? Get your hands on RTK, sit down at the kitchen table, and start working on it. If your Mom asks what you’re doing, I’ve got a feeling that she’ll actually believe you’re doing Japanese.

            Then, later on, perhaps play Japanese tunes while you work. She may ask, “what kind of music is that?”, and you can tell her Japanese. She may or may not like the music, but she’ll probably believe you.

            Then, start SRSing, so when she sees you on the computer, you can show her the Kanji from the book on the screen. This may be the crossover thing that allows you to be seen on the computer, and to actually be thought of as doing Japanese.

            And hopefully it’ll just go from there. I’m fortunate that my parents are supportive of my Japanese interests, so by not experiencing your dilemma first hand, my advice may be useless, but still, I hope it at least leads you in the right direction!

    71. Learning Japanese « hiyoshinosaru on November 24, 2011 at 12:40

      [...] Ways to Immerse [...]

    72. Routine on December 29, 2011 at 00:47

      I’m a bit worried my love for Disney/Dreamworks animated movies and books is going to interfere with setting up a Japanese environment xD. Since I’m just a poor high school student, I can’t really afford to get those movies dubbed in Japanese and it doesn’t seem like they have any good torrent sites like TPB in Japan (poor guys), so I have to settle for the English versions. Well, I managed to find some movies in Japanese on Nico Nico, but it’s still a fraction of those I like to watch.  
      And books. As much as I’d like to get books in Japanese, a similar problem – lack of money.
      Well, for now, I’m off to look for a Japanese radio…  

    73. Suisei on December 29, 2011 at 03:51

      I told my family I have to get rid off all my english books movies ect and they think I don’t have to. :/ They aren’t really supporting this either. :(  Also…I have a ton of english translated manga x.X but luckily I’m a big fan of japanese dubbed anime with english subs that it’s easy to turn the subs off :3 I really wish I had money to replace my fave english movies with japanese dubbed. :(
       
      I did try NicoNicoDouga making an account on there but keep getting an error..that says This URL became invalid because of expiration(24 hours) or already completed registration.

      If you consider it is already expired (24 hours), please restart the procedure from the first page.
       
      Not sure what’s going on there. Also, I’d like to thank everyone for replying to me. I would love to reply back but not sure how. When I click reply it just sends me to the bottom of the page and no text box is shown. X.X

    74. Jessi on April 29, 2012 at 03:59

      Hello!!
      I love this, it’s great advice! I’ve followed this as much as I can.  My bedroom is my Japanese zone.  Everything Japanese down to the core.  Only Japanese spoken, listened, watched etc.  (I live with my mother, so I have to speak English to her or else she starts complaining the entire time and it just gets out of hand.)
      But my question is, do you think it’s a good idea to have ‘english’ hours?  Like, if you completely immerse yourself in a Japanese enviroment and you continue to do so for days-weeks-etc, is it alright if you ‘earn’ an hour of English whatever?  Like an hour of English music or English videogames, etc?  As long as the person goes straight back into Japanese after that complete 60 minutes(with a timer)? 
      I haven’t done that yet.  This is actually the only English I’ve spoken/typed all day.  I love Japanese too much to not do it unless the sentences I’m thinking of are way off my radar. 
       
      Any other advice would be great :) 
       
      PS- I do still have my English novels out (*Smacks hands in punishment*) but they’re taped off with off limits tape XD I’ve been good about not touching them. I have many Japanese novels that I bought while I was in Kobe, so I keep to those or my study books.

    75. asd on July 26, 2012 at 05:24

      How can you think in Japanese if you dont know it? Or is this after learning kanji and kana?

    76. ライトニング on December 26, 2012 at 04:26

      Does anybody know where I can get a Zataku and Seiza online for a decent price? I can’t find one anywhere.

      • Octonion on December 27, 2012 at 06:03

        In place of a proper zataku I’ve been planing to get a low coffee table (something like this: www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20135022/ ). The exact same model is available from the Ikea Japan website, which I guess makes this authentic in some sense :)

      • PinkStars on January 4, 2013 at 08:00

        I modded my current dining room table into the low Japanese style table. I just took the existing legs off, and went to my local hardware store and bought new legs. I painted them black to at least sort of match, and put them on the table. It was a really easy process. Then I bought some big “floor pillows” as I have seen them called in the US at least, at bed bath and beyond to use as my seats. :) Hope that helps! Not sure where you live, but I’m sure other stores may have big pillows you can use as well. Good luck!

      • Insiya on January 8, 2013 at 10:46

        Just get a low coffee table. It’s basically the same thing.

    77. PinkStars on January 4, 2013 at 08:06

      I’ve been trying to immerse my self since 2009. Movies – done. Music – done. Food – done. Furniture – done to the best of my ability. I have 4 kids though, ages now almost 2 – 13. Where I have been trying to teach them words and such in Japanese (e.g. いただきます!), I don’t think I can go “speak all in Japanese and nothing else!” or my kids aren’t going to understand anything I’m saying. Perhaps maybe say it in English and then also In Japanese? I don’t know enough to just spout off “PUT ON YOUR SHOES WE HAVE TO LEAVE RIGHT NOW THE BUS IS COMING YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE RAWWR!!” Hm.. so then maybe I should learn all my screaming ahead of time? Haha! Any suggestions? XD

    78. Insiya on January 8, 2013 at 10:45

      Hey, Full House is awesome!!!

    79. como japonesar a sua vida? | japonesando on July 3, 2013 at 09:35

      [...] o texto que inspirou este blog, numa tradução livre feita por mim. [...]

    80. […] I’ve recently gone over Khatzumoto’s post regarding turning your environment Japanese (or any of your target language). For those who want to check his post out, you can check it out here. […]

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