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QRG: Your Suggestions Wanted! I Mean, Humbly Requested!

Hey everyone.

All this consulting and FAQing and emailing and commenting have taught me a thing or two. A lot of people have a lot of questions, particularly fine, detailed, low-level questions.

My personal preference up until now has been to write at a more abstract level, both in order to stay more universal and also in order to not bog people down with minutiae. Moreover, I hate being told what to do, and a lot of AJATT comes down to “just go out there by yourself and play”.

However, those action-level techniques do have a place and do have value. And, as you might expect, I’ve definitely accumulated my fair share of these over time.

One other thing that I’ve observed is that some people (at least claim to 😉 ) read through all the articles indexed over at the Table of Contents, but still come out confused as to what to do: “OK, so where do I start?” And, to be fair, I would probably be in the exact same position as them. There is enough information now on this site to fill hundreds, maybe even a couple thousand, pages of a normal book. There’s a lot to go through.

So, in my boundless magnanimity, in my universal love for humanity, in my mother-like kindness, I have taken it upon myself to use these fingers and this computer, to create magic, to create…a QRG.

QRG: an action-oriented, technique-focussed Quick Reference Guide to AJATT in the form of an ebook. How do you do the hirigana and the sentances and kanjis? How do you do the emersion? [sic]. How do you do use monolingual dictionaries? How do you sentence-pick? It’s AJATT condensed into a single package for AJATTeers at virtually every stage of the process, from beginners, to phase-transitioners to high-flyers looking for new games and challenges.

The guide itself is basically written up and ready to go, but before releasing it, I would love to part-take of your wisdom, your advice, your experiences, your requests, your suggestions. What do you need to know? What do you wish someone had told you? What would/do you as a user-reader want out of a guide like this?

Comments are wide open. Let your voice be heard, and cetera!

  114 comments for “QRG: Your Suggestions Wanted! I Mean, Humbly Requested!

  1. igordesu
    June 9, 2009 at 23:48

    You should talk about techniques used when reading; like, how often is a person supposed to look up words, etc. It’s taken me a while to figure out a comfortable method, and not without the generous help of several others already further down the AJATT path. I think it would help beginning readers especially.

  2. June 9, 2009 at 23:49

    Nothing to add, but just want to say: LOL!

    Have been working on exactly the same for the past few weeks/months. Well, not exactly the same, I ‘limit’ myself to language learning in general and am trying to break down some myths in language learning, helping people in the right direction.

    I’m curious though; will you offer it for free or are you going to sell it? I’m sure people are willing to pay for it, I know I am.

    And one advice: try to be short. Although I love your articles they’re rather long at times. Try to get your point across a little bit faster in the ebook. On the site you can make things as long as you want, but you’re writing this thing (like you said) to give people a clear idea of what’s AJATT. So be clear!

  3. Adrian
    June 9, 2009 at 23:50

    Wow! Khatz you’re awesome! I feel the love…ahhh.

    Um I just feel like with the whole SRS thing I’m still kind of stuck as to the right way of doing it and what I should be doing it for, whether that be reading or meaning or whatever.

    When you get to that part, It would be great to have like maybe a couple more examples and explanations on what we’re using it for and the best way to use it.

    I’m really excited for this release and am really grateful for all that you’ve done so far. Adios–i mean Sayonara さようなら。


    P.S. Will the ebook be in PDF format? If so I wanted to know if it would be all or mostly text so that if I put it on my Sony Reader, I could change text sizes and zoom in. Thanks again!

  4. Enki
    June 10, 2009 at 00:06

    Just wanted to say that I think it’s a great idea! Motivational articles are good and all, but there’s only so many times you can write a “just have fun!” article then have other people still argue endlessly about the semantics of fun 😉

    action-level techniques is a great idea. You’ve made reference to thinks like chorusing and dictation in other articles, and it would be nice to have more ideas about the different techniques available.

  5. June 10, 2009 at 00:21

    Great idea! I think that with this you’re making a big step in solving the most common issue – “right, I know what to do, but what do I actually do next? What’s the next action?”

    When people don’t know what to do, or they’re not feeling comfortable in the situation they’re in, they revert to their safe ground – in this case to their mother language. However, when you know what to expect, it’s a lot easier to handle it and react to it (it’s all part of the plan, as the Joker would say).

    My general advice, from my own immersion experience (which has had instances of both gradual toe-dipping-in-pool and cold-turkey changes) is to also include what one can expect to feel while they are immersing themselves or doing a certain thing – e.g. when a beginner knows that he/she won’t understand a lot when they read something should go a long way in preserving their motivation i.e. in making them not feel discouraged and stop reading.

    I know that this example is a bit on the obvious side, but I also know that I would sometimes forget even such obvious things – so the QRG would be a great way of constantly putting your lanugage-learning-mind-frame on the right track, by not only having something like the 10 commandments of language learning (Thou shalt have fun etc.) but also the 100 pathways to right language learning, mental-wise (e.g. 1) when reading, read only what you like. 2) It is normal not to understand everything. Your goal is to enjoy reading it and improve your understanding, not to understand everything perfectly. 3) If you are frustrated with not understanding something, refer to 2)

    That’s it for now, I’ll add a bit more once other people write their own thoughts and perhaps Khatz gives a few more details!

  6. Miles
    June 10, 2009 at 00:44

    1. A few actual SRS example cards for sentences. What’s on the front, what’s on the back, how long is the sentence, what’s the “correct” answer.
    2. How to make the transition from Heisig to sentences. i.e. Do you do Heisig and sentences in parallel for a while, how do you know when you’re “finished” with Heisig, how long do you keep up the Heisig reviews.

  7. Jack Dietz
    June 10, 2009 at 01:10

    “You should talk about techniques used when reading…”
    Seconded. Something like “skip over words you don’t know” and “write down words you don’t know that occur twice [and the sentences they’re in] so you can look them up later.” The philosophical stuff needs to be kept too, because that’s important for motivation.

  8. Phizuol
    June 10, 2009 at 01:25

    A “Quick Start” would be really handy. When I first started reading the site I was a bit confused about where to begin and what materials I would need. I realized I needed to read a lot of the articles before I could be sure which foot to start on (which I did, of course.) Do I need to throw out my English material tonight? Do I wait until my immersion environment is well stocked before learning kanji? etc.. I just didn’t know for sure!

    I needed a quick start guide that can tell me how I can get started RIGHT NOW. Something like… Step #1: order RTK immediately and begin gathering stuff in Japanese. It’s frustrating to get going and find out you’re missing something, like if you have some sentences in your SRS but then find out you need to know the meanings of the kanji already! (Just hypothetical, I swear.)

    After reading most of the articles I’ve got a pretty good idea how to put this plan into action, but I would have loved to have had my RTK book earlier so that I could have used it to absorb the enthusiasm I was getting from reading the site. Then I could be knowing all the kanji I know right now… and more!

  9. Storm-Wolf
    June 10, 2009 at 01:28

    I Kathz. This (e)Book thing is a very good idea.
    I am a new member of the AJATT community, and so far, here is what i think you should consider:

    – Giving people a default program.
    I know you are very much into the “i don’t have authority uppon you, so i have no right to tell you what to do” thing, but it would be nice if you could make up a basic concrete program that you feel would fit most of the people. And for every part of the program, you would present some alternatives, so that people wouldn’t feel there is one and only way to achieve things.

    (I am not sure if i express myself super well, but english is not my primary language, sorry).

    Also i encourage you to really make that book. You have so much to say, and people are willing to pay for that. And i think it would really be worth it since your approach is so different compared to the rest of the books ( like “be fluent in japanese in only 5 minutes”, or books like that).

    As for prices, i would be willing to pay, up to 10€ for an ebook, and 20-30€ for a real paper book. I think ebooks reward authors with better revenue though, so maybe it is better (and easier) for you (and for buyers since it would be cheaper) to make an ebook.

    The book could be a nice secondary source of income that would reward your efforts, so go for it. I’m sure everyone supports you.

  10. Andrew
    June 10, 2009 at 01:48

    I agree on providing SRS examples. Also, once and for all if stories should be on the front of Kanji SRS cards and an example if so.

  11. daniel
    June 10, 2009 at 02:48

    The benefits of learning kanji meanings before readings etc. In particular, I know if I’m reading a non-copy/paste-able text, it makes it *way* easier to look up words than stroke count, radical lookup, etc.

    The other thing would probably more advice on where to find sources for materials. You’ve got some great suggestions on the site, but I find it’s one thing you can never get enough of. After all, many people are probably learning the language to enjoy such things.

    And yes, as the other readers have said, be sure to keep it simple. While I enjoy the informal nature of the site, a book should feel more condensed, more step-by-step.

  12. Squintox
    June 10, 2009 at 03:07

    I noticed many beginners see AJATT as a mere “10,000 sentence method”. They will go through long, tedious and boring lengths to get these sentences.

    At least that’s what it was like when I was a beginner. I did not let myself go to sleep until I mined 12 sentences that day, I forced myself to read the most boring wikipedia articles, newspapers, manga and JLPT lists to get those sentences. Regardless, it did not end up very well, I started watching my dramas with subs again, stopped reading manga. The only study I had was that I’d do iKnow once every two days.

    I blamed my lack of self-discipline and was trying to force myself back into the “12 sentences a day” regime. But my body outright refused to do any Japanese at all, because it was associated with boredom. Anyway, even iKnow was pretty tedious after Step 2, I realized I wasn’t exposing myself to Japan for weeks before starting again and not “studying” for weeks again. I started to blame my other problems in life such as lack of free time due to all the tests at school and my dad signing me up for so many private classes. But I was still spending my time away at English websites which I argued “I need my free time” – meaning that I associated Japanese with work.

    But thankfully, I started spending more time at Koohii. I stumbled upon blogs by certain users (alyks and mentat come to mind 😛 + many other blogless users), this was around the time you started the “Secrets to Smoother SRSing” series. I noticed how people who “study” Japanese, are much more likely to experience “burnout”, and people who just happen to do stuff in Japanese, have Japanese study itself.

    Then, through reading these blogs countless of times, my brain turned upside down. Fun is not a secondary requirement, with Japanese being the primary. You don’t study Japanese, which results in fun and giggly feelings. It’s the other way around. You have fun, in Japanese, and Japanese studies itself. Japanese is the byproduct of fun. Fun is NOT the byproduct of Japanese. Fun is the main course, Japanese being the side dish.

    From here on out, I went to d-addicts, under the “torrents” section and downloaded the first dorama I saw. Why did I pick dramas over manga or newspapers? Because I didn’t want myself rewinding, writing down the word, repeating the sentence etc. If I were to start reading as opposed to watching, I knew I was not going to continue reading the next sentence because I HAD to understand the sentence at hand.

    I sat and enjoyed the episode of アタシんちの男子 (shameless advertising :P), I had an excel file open while I was watching, I’d write down a word I wanted to hear, but I would not pause the video. By the end of the episode I realized I had 13 words in the excel file – I was shocked. All it took was sit your butt down, enjoy a good comedy drama for 60 minutes, and you’ve already surpassed your “12 sentence a day” wotsit + more without even trying? Not to mention, the drama was just damn FUNNY. That was the most fun 13 (example) sentences I ever collected.

    The second episode was funnier, and the next one was even more funny, my sentences were just a byproduct of the fun I was having. And now I’m following 3 dramas this season, not because I want to learn Japanese, but because these dramas are fun, screw Japanese. And this grew further, I’m following blogs of my favourite actors and reading online TV guides. I stopped iKnow completely (it was actually pretty fun for the first two steps, but it went downhill after that with all the political terms).

    I started deleting many of my old boring sentences, I started to have very low tolerance for boredom. In my Anki deck, I tried to “disguise” how many sentences I actually had in my deck by filling it in with fillers (imported my Heisig deck, put school stuff in etc.)., so when I had 300 sentences it would say I had 6,000 facts. This was to keep me away from being discouraged by a low number and reverting back to a “Sentence method” as opposed to a “fun method”.

    In the period between Oct ’08 – Apr ’09 (the time where I put Japanese ahead of fun), I collected 700 sentences. Now (Apr ’09 – Present) I collected 1,000 sentences (probably more like ~1,300 sentences, I just delete so damn many. I LOVE deleting, it gives me the “I’m the boss around here!” feeling xD) and I’m very eager to review – “:o I hope I didn’t forget any words! they might come up again in the new episode! I’ll never learn the truth about Mimi’s nightmare!” (made up). Japanese now does itself, with no butt power whatsoever – in fact it takes butt power to stop, “maan it’s 4 AM in the morning, the next episode can wait!”

    wow, sorry for the looong essay 😮 Well yeah, that is my advice to beginners, don’t hurt yourself. Sit down, watch a drama, relax, who cares about how much sentences you have, it doesn’t make you any less of a person. And even then, don’t FORCE yourself to watch a drama, if there is repulsion from your body, give in. Wait until the spark motivation comes back (and it will, so long as you haven’t associated Japanese with work yet, like some of you will have during the RtK phase, which is why I recommend taking a week or two break before starting sentences) to watch the dramas. Fun times are ahead 😀

  13. Diego
    June 10, 2009 at 03:33

    I agree with what Miles said, more examples as to how to do the SRS for sentences, and making that transition from Kanji, to the sentences.

    I finally managed to put all 2042 kanji in Anki, and nowadays I’m constantly reviewing just so that I can get my feet wet with the 10,000 sentences. I’ve slowly prepared myself by making a list of some anime I want to watch/re-watch in raw format as well as buying some raw manga. It’s really all there, but I need that little “push”(example/guide) to get me started.

    Looking forward to what’s to come in July!

  14. Upaya
    June 10, 2009 at 03:58

    Regarding SRS use: will the QRG discuss the kind of kana->kanji cards you described in your Chinese project notes? And while I’m at it, have you kept using pinyin->hanzi cards in your Cantonese studies? And the sample victory calendar you posted for Cantonese has now come to its end IIRC, do you consider yourself fluent in Cantonese? Have you continued using victory calendars?

    People aren’t just interested in detailed study methods, they want to read about your personal experiences. Things they can relate to. These kinds of things are motivational and make reading more memorable and interesting.

  15. Patrick
    June 10, 2009 at 04:14


    If you wrote the book you wish you had before your first Chinese attempt, it should be fine.

  16. June 10, 2009 at 04:28

    “My personal preference up until now has been to write at a more abstract level”
    I second that choice,
    however if you are interested in specific advice, take a look at this site. He writes specific advice and also allows plenty of room for abstractness.

    Cal Newport

  17. June 10, 2009 at 04:32

    sorry I can’t edit my previous comment.

    A great example of a well documented success story that may appeal you Khatz

    free manifesto by Chris Guillebeau (the art of nonconformity)×5/overnight-success/

  18. toadhjo
    June 10, 2009 at 05:39

    Alright, I have a question, maybe would be useful for the QRG, but otherwise perhaps some of the posters here can help me.

    Anyway, straight to the chase: I’ve started learning Korean. I haven’t really started using an SRS yet (I’ve mostly just been watching unsubbed TV), but I’m considering it. However, the SRS technique I see described generally suggests repeating the sentence out loud.

    Here is the problem: sure, I can “read” hangul (the Korean alphabet), but there’s no way I can accurately pronounce it at this stage. My ear/mouth aren’t adapted to the new sounds yet. Should I just go ahead and do my best hack job at it, or is there some other technique I should be using?

    I realize this doesn’t directly apply to Japanese, but I figure the same issue comes up when people are just starting to learn Japanese as well.

  19. Harry
    June 10, 2009 at 06:13

    Ah, this truly is a super special awesome moment. There really isn’t to much to add, a few little things though. When I first started out, I was really wondering how I would put the Kanji actually IN TO the SRS. I mean I didn’t even have a Japanese keyboard. So a quick litter reference to that would be very helpful. Try and get to the point with things (hence forth the “Quick”). Also A LOT of people are very, very, very annoyed about what to do for when they are learning the Kanji. Do they scrap everything then and there in English? Or do they wait until they are done with the Kanji? Can they watch Japanese in subs at that beginning point? What shows are enjoyable even if you can’t understand it? How do they play Region 2 DVDs? How do they play Japanese games? “I can’t watch Japanese TV on my home television, what do I do?!”
    “I’m in high school and don’t have a job or anything, how do I afford all these books, and Japanese media quickly???” “These Kanji are taking me forever! Sometimes I only do 1 a day, or none at all! What do I do??”
    “SRSing is so dang boring! All I want to do is finish these Kanji, but its becoming so dang boring!!! Now what?!?”

    All of those little things really, really bugged me, and a lot of other people. I find them to be MUSTS in answering them. Overall that’s it though.

    Thanks for the method and all the works Khats.

  20. Amphy
    June 10, 2009 at 06:22

    First I want to say thank you, I don’t think I would have dared start learning Japanese without your advice, and I think if I had I would have quickly got confused and given up. So, ありがとうございます.

    As a total beginner, I know it can be difficult to know where to start, so I guess that’s a problem people sometimes have, especially in regard to native media for those in the position of finishing the Kanji phase, and really knowing no, or very little, Japanese. I can’t yet read books, even if I look up all the words (I tried >_<), so I figured I’d start by going through Tae Kim’s guide, All About Particles, and reading some fairy stories aimed at beginners (since I love fairy stories, this is fun for me).

    I guess ideas for what to do in the Kanji phase to keep up motivation might be interesting. Self-bribery really does work very well, such as the involvement of chocolate/your addiction of choice (thanks for that one!). Also, I got myself a PS3 for when I finished, which I shall use to play Japanese games on, so maybe others could try promising themselves something they really want, especially if it benefits Japanese.

    Anything about laddering and learning two languages at once would be appreciated here. I’m in a somewhat awkward position, since I have to start learning Latin in September for my Masters, and don’t expect my Japanese will be good enough to ladder from (the languages don’t really match up well as is), and am scared of messing either/both up since I’m mainly learning the languages because of my interest in the Middle Ages/Heian period (reading the Genji is probably my (very) long-term goal. Might as well be ambitious…). I’ll work it out I guess (but any ideas very much appreciated!).

    Looking forward to reading it, and would definitely buy a paper book if you were to write one.

  21. Harry
    June 10, 2009 at 06:23

    Going back in to my post above. As you can see all of my suggestions were for the Kanji. I find this is a subject that is almost ignored a bit. The Kanji is when most people fail I find. We wanna get to actually LEARNING the language, not the alphabet, ya know? Plus with life problems, and things of that nature it really can stall the Kanji learning process, and then lead to the most deadly thing of all, boredom (since they have been doing it for so long), and in turn just drop out, only learning around 500 – 1000 Kanji (Give or take?). Seriously, I HIGHLY super special big red button suggest that you add tips, and information that just can smooth out getting through the Kanji as much as possible, and get people in to the even more awesome stuff: The language.

    (A lot of these things I’m relating to what I’m going through myself. Currently I’m finding the Kanji going much slower for when they were when I first started. Its now seems very hard and boring even to get 12 in. I myself as a very big fan of AJATT, and a very faithful follower of your method would be very thankful if you did add these tips. In fact I would most likely buy it if it had a price tag)

  22. Upaya
    June 10, 2009 at 06:24

    (For some reason my first comment didn’t get through, I’ll try again.)

    You should definitely discuss various kinds of SRS card formats. In addition to the “classic” kanji->kana&meaning, I would like to hear your thoughts on e.g. the kana->kanji format you have mentioned earlier – that is, have you continued using its Cantonese equivalent or switched back, and why?

    In case the QRG will discuss motivational tools, you should definitely mention the victory calendar. I have found it helpful to make one and hang it on the wall behind my computer.

    And while this is somewhat off-topic, I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s eager to hear about your recent experiences with Cantonese (probably not in the QRG though, I mean in a good-old-blog-post :D).

  23. Harry
    June 10, 2009 at 06:33

    Also Squintox,

    Thanks for the post! I just read it, and motivated me even more to finish the RtK phase! I wanna watch Japanese Drama’s all dayXD

  24. tryllid
    June 10, 2009 at 06:41

    Thank you! Looking forward to the ebook.

    Would it be possible to explain to us process-oriented folk whether we should go to RTK2, and 3? And if so, what do you recommend as an approach for RTK2?

    I have just started reading whatever looks interesting and listening to jdrama, news, tv, but I keep thinking that it would be easier if I went through RTK2 or 3.

  25. Rob
    June 10, 2009 at 06:55

    I don’t think you should make an AJATT for dummies. If people can’t get the simple point from the massive amount of easy to follow info already clearly laid out on this site, then they probably won’t get the even simpler points that you will clearly lay out in the QRG. This just dawned on me. You’re Bruce Lee Khatz! Bruce created his way of martial art Jeet Kune Do to oppose the rigid struture that traditional martial arts followed. He was simply saying, use any way as way, or more to the point, use whatever move necessary to apply some whup ass on someone. He didn’t even want to give his way a name as that would ultimately lead people to believe that under this name or system there is a defined set of rules or techniques that one should follow, which is of course what people did and still do today. I’m sure Bruce has rolled over in his grave several times by now. Anyway, the similarities to language learning are strikingly similar.

  26. Ernesto
    June 10, 2009 at 07:15

    I think someone mentioned this in a previous post, but start labeling everything in your house with Japanese. Kanji w/furigana is fine ( ローマ字はダメ). But instead of just labeling something with a word, label it with a sentence.

    For example:

    [Japanese phrase] – [Location]

    手を洗いましょう! – On the bathroom mirror

    そういう食べ方は体によくないよ。 – I put this on a bag of chips, LoL.

    宿題をやってしまいなさい。 – On my desk

  27. david
    June 10, 2009 at 09:03


    That was one of my suggestions! Haha, I remember saying that a while ago and Khatz liked the idea, and then I brought it up again with Khatz in a consulting session and, yeah!.. Haha..


    Suggestions suggestions suggestions.. Well, maybe, and I know this is supposed to be quick, but how about like a mini-guide on how one could handle different types of media? Like, if it’s a movie then the general guidelines could be “1. Watch Movie as much as you want. 2. Imitate Speech as desired 3. Pick out fun words to look up 4. Listen to movie on mp3 player” or for a book “1. Have crayola in hand 2. Mark parts you understand immediately 3. Mark interesting/fun words 4. Enter stuff to SRS” or whatever. I’ve found that, maybe the reason I don’t approach some sources is because I don’t feel ready or know how to go about approaching them.

    Be sure to utilize lists and techniques for making information scannable. Like, colorful headers, bulleted lists, and such.

    Um.. definitely something to point out how to use dictionaries. Some friends have asked me, and I’m sure have asked you, “where are the example sentences.” And, while it doesn’t take too long to figure out, sometimes it’s nice to just have it handed to you. 🙂

    Oh! And, how about, since it’s an eBook, I’m assuming links are possible. So, how about links back to related articles on the site that expand more on the general ideas outlined in the Quick Reference Guide.

    I’ll let you know if I think of anything else. 😀

  28. June 10, 2009 at 09:19

    One thing I’ve been recenly thinking I you would write about, Khatz is How to Troubleshoot Yourself. How to overcome the little roadblocks that seem big at the time, rather than going straignt to for the answer or sending Khatz a frustrated e-mail (lol, i know i’ve done that on more than one occasion 🙂 ) How to stay concientious about not only what you are doing, but how you are doing it, without getting bogged down in the details.

    More later,

  29. Tommy Newbhall
    June 10, 2009 at 09:24

    Also, By the way,
    Victory for the Horde! (=i think this QRG is a great idea!)

  30. Maya
    June 10, 2009 at 09:26

    I dunno if anyone has mentioned this – I’m too lazy to read everything everyone’s written… but anyway:

    I personally don’t have this problem, but from other people I’ve heard that when they listen to a lot of audio in Japanese (or other foreign languages), they get headaches quickly. Did you ever have this problem? I guess it’s an issue for a doctor to deal with more than “ordinary” people like us, but if you did have this problem, how did you deal with it? I guess people in this situation could take tylenol, but that there’s a limit to the amount you can take in a day, etc…

  31. Sarah
    June 10, 2009 at 09:34

    If you are supposed to get rid of as much of your native materials as possible, what to do for reading enjoyment when you are on the kanji phase. What should I do when I want to pick up a book, go to the park, lay out in the sun, and relax? How am I supposed to do that in Japanese especially if I’m supposed to finish Heisig before starting reading? (And please don’t just say, “bring Remembering the Kanji” ;P )

    Along the same lines; how to enjoy reading when you can’t actually read anything. There is a lot about listening without understadning anything and it basically comes down to “just listen and you will start to understand”. I know it’s the same for reading, but watching seems easier than reading because it is a passive activity. You really can just sit and watch. But, with reading you actually have to do stuff. Scanning over books without looking anything up won’t give you much benefit like having the TV on without looking anything up will.

    So, maybe
    1. How to start reading
    2. How to read furigana-less text (It takes a lot more time to look up the words)
    3. How to enjoy reading when you can’t actually read anything
    4. Should you look up every word? Only words you are interested in? Should you keep reading until you understand or just go through it once and move on?

    Also, how to phase out your native stuff when you are a total beginner. Watching TV that you understand absolutely nothing of for hours on end (no matter how fun it may actually be and even if it is the Japanese version of your favorite shows (i.e. CSI in Japanese)) or spending 2 hours on one page of a book because you can’t read one single word (no matter how intereting the book may actually be and even if it is the Japanese translation of your favorite book) is going to be BORING and WORK. I buy the Japanese version of my favorite American fashion magazine and while I enjoy it, it is certainly not nearly as enjoyable as the English one even though it is basically the same magazine.

    Also, as others have said, pointing us in the right direction of where to find free material would be nice. I know when I was still in America, by the time I actually hunted down the stuff to read or watch I was already tired ;p

  32. Maya
    June 10, 2009 at 09:48

    OK, now that I’ve gone back and read some stuff… I second/third/whatever giving advice on getting through the kanji. I’m at 1200ish kanji now (while flirting with spoken Japanese and Canto on the side) and I want to shoot myself in the head… not literally, but you know what I mean.

    I think the “issue” with kanji is this: either you can go at a slow-ish pace (say, 30/day or less) or at an accelerated pace (say, 50+/day). In the former case, getting through all the kanji takes light years and you just get bored. In the latter case, it becomes easy to burn out and just want to take breaks all the time… which is just as conter-productive (maybe even more so). That’s my experience, anyway…

  33. Mike
    June 10, 2009 at 10:02

    This has probably already been suggested, but I’m American, so there’s no way I’m reading through 33 comments to find out for sure.

    I think it would be a good idea to add all the testimonials/success stories. Everybody likes reading those because it adds a sense of concreteness to the method. Of course, you could of just wrote those stories to deceive the masses (just kidding khatz)

  34. Alistair
    June 10, 2009 at 10:28

    Khatz, the main thing I would like is for it to not go into too much detail. It needs to be to the point and very easy to follow. It needs to win people. This is what I think mostly happens when people come here for the first time.

    1. Read bits of the about page. Probably click on the link at the bottom to the TOC.
    2. Maybe get to the overview. (It’s the most important thing for them to read first, but it doesn’t jump out as “First time here? READ THIS!)
    3. Read “There you go, it’s that simple. Read on to find out more about each of these phases.” Go to the side bar read mental tools. Ok. Go to phase 1 and start opening the many links. Get bogged down in all this random stuff. Leave.


    Go back to table of contents, maybe read one entry, not really get it and leave.

    Also I think many people will glance at the about page, then go to latest stuff have a bit of a read and then leave.

    I have recommended many people to this site and when I ask them what they thought they say something like “Yeah I had a look” Or “Yeah there is some good stuff there” when what they should say is “OMG I wasted 2 years of my life learning Japanese at uni”.

    So I’m not quite sure if the QRG is for this. But there needs to be a process to get newbies. I would recommend just having the main page as the latest stuff and a big fat green button “First time here? Click here!”. This goes to an overview page. Which then follows onto the QRG.

    In regards to content, one thing I would like to see is some the differences between adding sentences from textbooks like Kanji Odyssy and iKnow (contextless) and from real native materials (contextful). I notice many people almost never get onto contextful sentences which I think is not optimal. (I also believe in using audio grabbed from real sources as much as possible, since the tone of voice strongly conveys the context, but anyway)

  35. June 10, 2009 at 12:49

    I don’t know if this has been mentioned yet, but I’d be interested in how you’d recommend someone to go about implementing it if they’re already fairly far along in their studies by traditional methods. I’d also be curious to know how to apply your approach while taking language classes. I know the ideal answer is “don’t take languages classes,” but I’m wanting to go the whole nine yards for the PhD in Asian Languages and Cultures, so I’ve got about 8-10 years of Chinese and Japanese classes ahead of me whether I want to take them or not. I’m intermediate-ish in Chinese and next to zero in Japanese.

    Looking forward to the QRG!

  36. Tony
    June 10, 2009 at 13:21

    May be you could include a few techniques that help people get rid/reduce their accent (especially for those who have already learnt to speak with an accent)

  37. Daniel
    June 10, 2009 at 14:35

    Firstly, I’d like to thank you for doing this blog. I’ve been first in my Japanese class two years in a row, so it was only when I read your blog and dipped my toe into the pool of Japanese that I realised how badly I sucked. I mean, I didn’t even know about plain forms. Anyway, I’d like you to answer two questions:

    1. Apart from SRS kanji/sentences and immersion environment, what else can you do to improve your Japanese/whatever language?

    2. If you get to go to the country that speaks your target language, what specific activities can you do to really super-charge your immersion?

  38. Nukemarine
    June 10, 2009 at 15:45

    I have to think back to the problems I had initiating the AJATT method. The biggest problem was the “sentence mining”. Like others, I thought this meant collecting 10,000 sentences first then going through them all. WRONG!

    Right now I honestly think there can be a pre-set SUSURU beginner deck that people can access and use. To prevent copyright problems, use sentences from beginning and essentence Tae Kim chapters and core 2k steps 1 and 2. That’s roughly 1000 items that’ll cover basic vocabulary and grammar.

    After that, provide a sample deck that exemplifies sentence mining. Highlight how certain sentences were picked: One had a new word. One didn’t have any new words, but this verb was used in a different way. Another sentence showed how a boss talked to an insubordinate employee. Another sentence showed a mother talking to her daughter. IE, make sure people understand you’re not mining just for new words. Sometimes you want sentences that have old words used in a new way for you.

    In the same vein, show how you deal with sentences. I think you can show that both J-E and J-J can be on the same cards. Use J-J for words that you know, and J-E for new words that J-J can’t explain to you.

    Anyway, I think that it’s the sentence mining beginning that was lacking in your blog. It was vague, and anyone attempting to follow your advice was going to hit snags and road blocks. Talking with others, it’s become apparent that pre-set beginner deck is best to get basic grammar and vocabulary. After that, showing low level sentence picking also helps.

    The rest of your guide, concerning setting up your environment, is equally important, but you were pretty detailed in that area. To sum up, beginner deck and a sample deck with explanation.

  39. AJ
    June 10, 2009 at 16:47

    Hey Khatz,

    So here’s the only suggestion I can give: please include a nice long article about how to overcome the “intermediate” struggle. That’s where my Japanese is right now, and I’m having the damnedest time moving past that. It seems like nothing I can do will increase my Japanese past my current level, and that is causing me to slow down and in some cases stop.

    Also, perhaps throw in a part about speaking Japanese. What’s the way you recommend going about it? I know you say input input input and output will come naturally, but that doesn’t seem to be working for me. I can listen and read pretty well, but when it comes down to speaking and writing, my vocabulary seems to shrink dramatically, and I end up sounding like a little kid trying to express himself.

  40. June 10, 2009 at 16:57

    I remember when pen and paper RPGs started to introduce a page offering an example of play (I think MERP might have been the first one). And some videogame manuals now include an ‘example of game flow’ or something similar. You could try something like that for reading/watching stuff in your target language (eg. ‘reading through a passage of Japanese you come to a word you don’t recognise. Cut and paste it into…’).

    I also reckon that keeping this document brief and concise would be a good thing.

  41. nacest
    June 10, 2009 at 17:12

    I’m not convinced by this idea. If you give “rules” and “procedures” to people, they will just follow them. The strong point in AJATT is not the method you use, it’s how you should figure things out yourself, albeit using some guidelines.
    A “tips and tricks book” would be a better idea imho. It would give people some nice ideas to work on, without constraining them.

    regarding the intermediate level,
    “That’s where my Japanese is right now, and I’m having the damnedest time moving past that.”
    The problem is you’re *waiting* for it to finish. Why? The intermediate level is great, you know tons of things and experience the thrill of learning every day. Just swim in it peacefully, the end will come when you’re least expecting it. 🙂

  42. Alistair
    June 10, 2009 at 20:16

    One more thing Katzu,

    I would really love the core concepts of the site (QRG) also detailed in Japanese with the slight modificaitons needed for English IE no RTK. I often want to recommend my friends study English differently without innundating them with explainations.

  43. km
    June 10, 2009 at 22:05

    I’ll second a request for updated advice on the srs pair formats – kana > written kanji, vice versa, both (what I do, but doubles my total SRS reps)… it’s a been a while since we heard from you on that. One thing I want to see addressed is: when you did “normal jp text > reading > copy by hand” (original sentence method), did you really learn the writing that way? I found it ineffective for being able to produce the kanji on the spot when I wanted to write on paper and often consulted my keitai or jisho to doublecheck. I want to know the most effective way with the minimum amount of effort – right now I suspect I’m doing the maximum amount of effort, and it’s not like popping bubble wrap when you have to produce the kanji from memory given only a kana sentence and write them down.

    次, some clarification regarding the overlap between geeky Evangelion-type learning vs. more practical everyday materials. Advice for negotiating a balance, pros-cons? Obviously the most important thing is to enjoy and let the rest come, but if you can enjoy first and be efficient too, that obviously rocks harder.


  44. June 10, 2009 at 22:55

    Wow, man, this sounds like an awesome idea.
    I’d love to get to know more about how to really create an immersion environment. It’d be cool if you focused on generall language learning, but al right, I guess if you focused on Japanese only people would still be able to convert it to other languages.
    And one more thing, I really hope it will be for free! I am a student with a limited amount of pocket money, and you know I would be better of spending it on some language material 😛

    Thank you very much for this eBook! Your work is greatly appreciated!


  45. igordesu
    June 11, 2009 at 01:00

    Oh yeah, and I also think you should talk about listening. We all know the “10,000 hours” thing, but how much should we be actively paying attention? Also, do you imitate the stuff that you can understand once in a while?

  46. Kristi
    June 11, 2009 at 01:26

    I agree with IIhan!

    As I was reading through all of the comments about paying money for the QRG I got a little nervous. I, too, am a student with limited amount of money that mostly goes towards paying for college and of course, textbooks! So, if there was a free version available, that would really be appreciated. 🙂 Maybe it could just be a plain, black and white version versus a fancy colored version? Although, now that I think of it, if it’s an eBook it really wouldn’t make a difference?

    As for what could be included in the QRG, it would be cool if you could somehow include what other people have done with your original idea and materials and made it their own. For example you could show your original plan for SRSing and then show a couple of other ways that people SRS that others may find helpful?

    I am really excited about a Quick Reference Guide eBook for AJATT, it sounds like it will be a super helpful tool for not only the new, but also experienced users of the AJATT method!

  47. Silas
    June 11, 2009 at 02:08

    i’d like to know quite a few things 😀
    1. When do you move on to starting reading, after know how much/many kanji/grammar structures.
    2. where do you find material to read, i can’t seem to find any good text or manga i could try reading (i’m in uk) on the internet, i have limited cash as a student aswell so buying a lot is out of the option.

  48. david
    June 11, 2009 at 02:29

    Just thought I’d throw this out there for people with Kanji problems, because I had them, too. I thought that, because the Heisig method is so effective and speedy that that meant that I could push the speed at which I got through it. I wanted it to end because I didn’t quite realize the importance until I had finished it and started in on monolingual dictionaries. It’s not a problem now because the SRS picked up the lack, but, my advice is to just take it slow. I remember how anxious I got back then to just start in on sentences, and even 30 a day is faster than I actually ended up finishing it at. Took me three months of bursts and breaks, and it proved to give me lesser results than just a steady 25 a day would have in the same amount of time. And, in the meantime, go watch a ton of Japanese TV, listen to a ton of Japanese music, and soak up all the sounds and such. I think that, if RTKers would actually immerse just as much as sentence-pickers, then they’ll find that they’re going to be learning a lot. Things that could happen, aside from getting used to the sounds of the language are numerous. If you’re watching lots of Japanese TV in the mean time, you’re likely to pick up a word or two, maybe a couple phrases, and maybe, if you take RTK really slow, you’ll gain an interesting amount of understanding of the language without realizing it. In fact, why not mix RTK with trying to imitate speech and such to mix it up? I’m certain that anyone that does that instead of trying to get RTK out of the way is going to have a much easier transition to sentence picking because you’ll already start off with something.

    I’m not Khatz, but I too have been through RTK, and it is a rough ride if you don’t have fun with it.

    And, I also wanted to address the issue with how to get started reading because that’s something that confused the heck out of me at first. I didn’t think you could actually just read like you would read normally. It doesn’t seem like you’ll catch that much just reading through without a dictionary, but just do it. Because, if you do, you’ll find that by the time you just finished reading that manga, that website, that book, that you just collected 50, 100, 1000 sentences all the while not really spending much time looking words up. And, I think this is a vital step in totally bypassing the need for any kind of transition to monolingual dictionaries, and indeed, a way to just jump right in to native sources paying no heed to beginner stuff that will just bore you.

    Think about this. You just finished RTK, and you’re dying to get into sentences and such, but it’s such a common belief that you must use beginner stuff or you’ll never make heads or tails of things. But, the truth is, you will. Instead of worrying about looking up words and working your way through page one of a book, how about just reading the whole book once through, get what you can, and read it again. On that second read, you’re going to get much more from it. And on the third read, maybe after reading a few other books, you’re going to get even more from it. Then, maybe after you pick up a good bit of it, maybe to the point where there’s just bits and pieces that could span a few pages in manga or a paragraph here and there in a book, then you go back in with the monolingual dictionary and pick up as many pieces as you can. And, in fact, the whole time you’re reading through it a few times without the dictionary, feel free to involve it with words you *do* understand so that you may be given the chance to understand even more words that have some relation to the word you just read and understood. (This is a good way to get a sentence for a word that is in a sentence that you don’t quite get, but you want to remember the word). And, I should also mention that, when you’re reading and there’s a word you know, but you can’t seem to get an example of it, because maybe the dictionary didn’t have anything fun or useful, then move on, because you’re going to remember that word anyways, and if you forget, you’ll learn it again even easier. So, it’s no big deal.

    See, the problem lies in that, people have this mentality that they need to get everything the first time. And, if they get passed that, then they feel they need to understand every last detail to enjoy something. But, you’ll never build momentum that way. What you need to do is just get reading, like you would normally, and just get as much as you can, and then go back through it again and again. One of those times you’ll understand it all.

    Another technique that’s good to apply, especially if you’re a beginner to sentence-picking and you just want to get into reading, is to apply “Narrow Reading.” There’s a Krashen article linked to somewhere on AJATT about this. And, it says to go read really fun stuff like comics and stick to the same story or author and expand to similar authors/stories because you’ll understand more words due to it being written by the same person/people.

    And, getting back to how one might just jump right into monolingual without worry about ever touching a beginner book/website, is to not worry about getting grammar, because it’s going to come to you naturally. You’ll make connections like 「昨日 ごちそうさまでした」, and you’ll know it’s past-tense because of the context. You’ll get a feel for politeness levels, tenses, and get really good at understanding really abstract words like the English word “set” in Japanese. Use the Kanji that you learned as your guide. And, always feel free to actually look up Japanese grammar in Japanese! Kanji can really help with this. I mean, you see in a guide in Japanese something like 過去形, and next to it is something like だった, then you can probably deduce what it all means (with just Kanji knowledge). If not, no worries! (If you don’t know what to search for Japanese grammar, try 日本語 and 文法 in Google, or 日本語の文法. But, I wouldn’t do this unless you really wanted to. Also, go make some Japanese friends and just ask them, and maybe have them explain it in Japanese with easy examples. And, you can always just opt for not looking any grammar up at all, in English or Japanese, and just let your brain get used to it and you’ll understand it on your own with out a need for explanation. And, the results are going to be much greater than that with an explanation.

    On reading without furigana, don’t even bother to look up all the readings. Just read the text as best you can, and even if you don’t know how it’s read, you’ll still understand words, and those ones are what you want to look up readings for.

    Anyways, I would like to hear what Khatz has to say on this, so being in the QRG would be cool. I’d definitely read it.

    And, I hope I helped guide anyone lost. 🙂

  49. Amphy
    June 11, 2009 at 03:59

    ^ Hmm, I think maybe you’re thinking of a more advanced beginner?
    I did try to read some of Natsume Soseki’s Kokoro, not so much because I thought I could (with almost no Japanese, and this is not an exaggeration), as because…well, just curiosity I guess, since I happened to come across it. Went like this: “私(わたくし)はその人を (hmm, that’s Ok, ‘As for me, that person’)…常に先生と呼んでいた (? *Looks up all the words in Japanese-English dictionary, but still doesn’t get it* ???)”. It made more sense once I found an English translation of the book: ‘I always called him “Sensei”‘, but, alas, all following sentences (at least, as far as I got) were a dead loss no matter how I looked at them. Awesome first sentence, but maybe not the most efficient way. Ideas for absolute beginners on what to read (fairy stories for me, but I know not everyone will like those) might be very useful. /Random story

  50. dbh2ppa
    June 11, 2009 at 04:19

    i’m only a beginner, but perhaps the most important thing i’ve learned so far, and wish someone had told me from the very beginning is: GET THE BEST f’ing PAIR OF HEADPHONES YOU CAN AFFORD. the pains i went before realizing my regular super-comfortable headphones will stop being so comfortable and will start hurting me after the first five hours! professional headphones are expensive, but they are so worth it.

  51. Clocks
    June 11, 2009 at 05:48

    Id like to know the general ratio between how many sentences you study a day and how fast before you learn the language to the level you were at when you first went to Japan as a fluent speaker. I am finding that somehow I only manage to do 10-20 sentences a day, even though I spend hours on it. I’m not sure if this picks up later?

    I’m kinda worried since I read 50 sentences a day is the goal. I must be falling short, or else its just because I started the sentence mining only a few weeks ago.

  52. david
    June 11, 2009 at 07:24


    I’m talking about the absolute beginner. From the sounds of it, you read the book that one time and expected to get it. But, you can’t do that. You can’t expect to get any of it. You just have to let your brain take it in and it’ll figure it out on its own without the need for explaination. But, you do have to give it what it needs (real Japanese text, audio, etc). And, a lot of it, multiple times, every day, for at least two years. Really, I don’t get why people are worried about efficiency, when, you’re going to be doing the same exact things in Japanese when you’re fluent as you do now; read books, play games, watch the news, whatever. So, best just get comfy and crank it out. You’ll understand close to nothing at first, but the more you do, the more you’ll understand, and this snowballs into fluency. And, quite frankly, I don’t believe in “advanced beginners” — I believe there are beginners and I believe there are those that are intermediate, and I believe there are those that are fluent, and that’s all.

  53. Ryan
    June 11, 2009 at 09:25

    I’m just starting the method with Chinese. Some mostly Chinese-specific things that could be useful to others and aren’t on the site or immediately obvious as far as I can tell..

    Gathering video:
    Most of the information is from user wenhailin in this post:

    Search or for “国语版” or “国语配音”, meaning “Mandarin version” or “Mandarin dub”. You’ll find massive playlists of American movies with Mandarin dubs and sometimes Mandarin subs as well.

    You can download videos or entire playlists with Youku breaks videos into 6-minute segments, so you can combine these with Movica ( and convert them to other formats with SUPER ( (I haven’t had much success with SUPER, but my computer is kinda crappy)

    You advised, but it took me a while to figure out how to tell if I was definitely getting something with Mandarin dubbing. But you just have to find the section with details and look for 語言發音: 中 (language pronunciation: Chinese).

    I recommend drawing out a visualization for each story, even if your artwork is a bit embarassing (you don’t have to show anyone). It adds time at the beginning, but it lets you quickly glance at something to remember the story instead of having to read through Heisig. Some people have recommended Tuttle Learning Chinese Characters over Heisig, but I haven’t gotten to look at it yet.

    QQ (
    Seriously, just install it and Chinese people will start adding you by the dozen. It may take a while to filter out all the people who don’t believe you aren’t Chinese, won’t talk to you unless you’re sending them pictures, aren’t patient enough to help you learn, etc. but it is really fun and rewarding if you find someone.

  54. June 11, 2009 at 10:00

    Continued motivation seems to be one of the biggest hurdles in learning a language.

    How about a language learning motivational phrase at the top or bottom of every page?

  55. Ryan
    June 11, 2009 at 10:27

    And, of course, I’m just a beginner, so more of your advice along those lines would be great.

  56. Anonymous
    June 11, 2009 at 12:05

    Contact a publisher and send them a written manuscript. Make sure they know of your large internet following. I believe you could make more money this way.

  57. Elliott
    June 11, 2009 at 15:53


    You’ve been a great inspiration on my journey of Japanese and an encouragement (often through my paraphrases/attempts to restate what you said) to my wife on her journey as well. I have been studying only about 2/3 of a year so far at all (and with this AJATT idea), and have 1550 of the RtK (man, I hate that I’m not done yet!!!), though I wanted to offer some tips for this project.

    First, imagine what can and can’t be explained in brief, and when something balloons into a bigger explanation you could include links (clickable? 😉 to a certain blogpost from your blog inside the eBook where you elaborate your points further. That way people who want more meat can get it, and people who want the action-step can take it and run (just like the “gist” kanji, ‘give it to me quick, so I can TAKE it and RUN with it’).

    Second, I’ve learned quite a few languages (mostly dead ones, so the point of fluency isn’t as hardcore, but I can read them like I read my native language), and one book that stands out is a recent version of “the Basics of Biblical Hebrew” by Practico and Van Belt. After each lesson, they would have about a 1-3 page encouragement of why the topics in that lesson were pertinent and how, though the language is well-dead, what was covered applies to real-world and modern topics/thought/etc. Directly, it provided pastoral examples (as most people taking biblical hebrew are studying to be ministers, or somehow involved in Christianity), which made the points real, rather than obtuse, ancient, dry and, well, dead.

    I think what they did was an extension of William Mounce’s insightful intros into lessons in his “Basics of Biblical Greek” (likely the originator of the “Basics of …” series by Zondervan), and one of the most useful bits of language learning was tucked into his intro discussion of the different cases for Greek and that was (again paraphrased) “You are now entering what is called ‘the fog,’ while you are in this lesson, things may seem hazy and unclear, but if you continue on, and keep going a couple more lessons, and feel the same amount of uncertainty at that less as this one, but if you look back at this lesson, you will probably imagine that this was easy and wonder why you even had difficulty with it.”

    One of the biggest struggles for anyone trying to learn a language beyond useful travel expressions (i.e. REALLY learn the language) is persistent motivation. If you could put short blurbs with either some of your personal struggles in the area, or some short tips on how to persevere in the different stages sprinkled through your QRG, that would be AWESOME.

    Thanks again for your great website =)

  58. Isharabash
    June 11, 2009 at 16:01

    How do I do Hesig properly? I have the book, he gives basic instructions, but I really can’t seem to grasp the kanji from a lesson in one sitting, it seems to take days before it really sinks in and I don’t fail it right off the bat… (I am using an srs, but I fail the first go)

    Should I make a list of the day’s lessons and carry it around with me? That worked for last minute school memorization…

    I can’t seem to ram it into short term memory.

  59. efeilliaid
    June 11, 2009 at 18:18

    Hi Khatzumoto,

    It would be appreciated if you could throw in some info on where to look for guidance concerning the pre-US occupation handwriting and elaborate on what sources you used for learning the kanji yourself (I once came across your words on this site saying that you went through the kanji with learning the Chinese writing later or at the same time (?) in mind – I can’t find it now…).

    Thanks for all your good work. Although I don’t always agree with you :D, I find your site VERY motivating and I really admire your love for the language and your use of English 😉

    Keep your pubes on and CONTINUE! Cheers!

  60. km
    June 12, 2009 at 00:06

    Comment again… yeah selfishly (perhaps it doesn’t belong in a QRG?) I also want to know about your adventure with pre-occupation kanji writings!

  61. efeilliaid
    June 12, 2009 at 00:18

    Me again… It just occurred to me that it would be brilliant if the visual overview of the phases was also presented in Japanese! It would look great against the colours and arrows. Off I go…

  62. June 12, 2009 at 01:53

    Further to my earlier point (about a sample ‘play-by-play’ overview of the method in practice), I’d like to add a couple of specific things I’d like clarified.

    When you first watched a film in Japanese, understanding no Japanese, what was the exact process? Did you just stop it as soon as you heard a word to look up that word/sentence? Or did you make a note of some words that kept coming up and look them up afterwards?

    When you’re reading something in Japanese and you come across a sentence you don’t understand, do you just look up the elements of that sentence and then add that sentence to your flashcards? Or do you go off and google some other sentences containing those components? (eg. imagine you didn’t understand a sentence like ‘watashi wa gakusei desu’, do you just add that sentence, or do you add a load of sentences containing the ‘watashi wa [something] desu’ form and a load of sentences containing ‘gakusei’ in different contexts?)

    Hope my points are clear enough to understand!

  63. Sarah
    June 12, 2009 at 08:36

    Another thing that I think should be addressed is how you studied grammar. You say in some places that you didn’t study grammar or use textbooks but then you did (I think) “Japanese in Mangaland” which is a grammar textbook and Tae Kim’s guide which is another grammar guide. Maybe you could talk about what grammar guides should have, why you chose those, how far to go with them, when to leave the textbooks behind and move on to native stuff.

  64. Harry
    June 12, 2009 at 10:43

    I just read David’s comment about RtK. Pretty sweet, I needed that:P I’ve been doing better these last few days. So, thanks^^

    I like the idea of right when you get out of RtK, when reading something… basically just jump right in to the water if you will, and keep reading that book or whatever over and over, don’t expect to get it the first time, but after awhile you will get it, and start to understand everything more over time.

  65. Ed
    June 12, 2009 at 22:05

    I know other people have said it already, but what I think would really help would be a bit on progressing from RtK on to listening to native material.

    The thing is, although being able to read loads of Japanese characters is a good motivator, it’s next to useless at trying to get me to watch something in Japanese if I can’t understand it. Reading the little manga strips in something like Japanese in Mangland is completely different; although I won’t understand all of it, I normally get the gist of it. I think one good thing to put in the QRG would be a few steps to get over the hump of getting to listen to stuff and understand it.

  66. Mark
    June 13, 2009 at 10:31

    Sweet, I’m really looking forward to this! And when you’re done with this, you can start talking about how your Cantonese is going!!

    Hahaaa, but seriously, you should.

  67. Richie
    June 13, 2009 at 10:47

    Hi Khatzumoto

    I guess the only thing I would say is make the QRF a reflective learning exercise.
    You have been there and done it and posted your experiences here to encourage other people to achieve what you have achieved.

    So, with saying that, just look back into the distant murky past and think what information you would like to have been told or to have easy at hand that could have speeded up the initial learning phases post RTK. (personally I think there is enough easily to hand on RTK on this site, ReviewingTK and in the book).

    Thanks for all the hard work you have done so far!

  68. June 14, 2009 at 11:30

    Nice idea.
    To be honest I havnt thought of your website as anything that could fit into a straight “Guide” for a long time dude. Yours is the jut kun do (spelling :D) of language learning. You take it where you need it and move forward. I’m always improving and changing the way I study. Recently I just got over a huge block ive been having with the SRS stuff and it feels great.

    On the other hand just reading through briefly I see ALOT of comments of people asking for stuff that actually exists on the site. I have pretty much consumed the site from top to bottom so…

    More 日本語で stuff would be nice but now im just getting picky. I can find japanese everywhere.

    Keep up the good work, I look forward to flicking through the guide and taking anything useful away with me ^_^.

  69. david
    June 15, 2009 at 03:05


    I’m glad I helped someone out. 😀 haha

    Just take your time, and when your burnt for the day, watch some anime. 😀 (That rhymes).

  70. beneficii
    June 15, 2009 at 11:59

    Slightly off topic, but it seems supportive of Khatz’s general idea:

  71. Dan
    June 15, 2009 at 18:19

    It would defitinley be interesting to get more detail.

    I know I’m learning, and getting better – it’s just such a slow movement it’s sometimes hard to see.

    Daily I wake up, do some morning reps, some times play a DVD or ripped audio or music. Sometimes browse Japanese news (with great help from rikaichan) Then I go to work and listen to no Japanese. I come home for lunch do more reps. Perhaps a little more background Japanese.

    Then I come home finish up my reps. Maybe watched a one or two episodes or drama. If I have time I work my way through a Japanese book – looking up nealy everything I don’t understand (no more than a page at the moment but I’m hoping this will increase). I ignore any sentences I can’t work out. (sometimes I meet friends and pretty much miss all study for the night – like tonight probably.)

    Now and again I’ll watch some TV in my first language, some days I’ll missed my reps and spend a while catching up on them. I probably don’t get very much listening input. I have about 6500 cards (200ish kanji ones).

    I was out with some Japanese friends a few weekends ago and I’d say I understood less than 30%. A lot of the time with my reps I get the reading but I’m not thinking about the underlying meaning of the sentence. I get the jist of most dramas but not the subtlies there’s lots of words I don’t know.

    I like the idea of going for walks with my ipod and Japaese material but find I tend to tune out the audio. (This might because I live in city and I have to be on the look out for bikers and cars and various other collision possibilities.)

  72. vgambit
    June 16, 2009 at 04:38

    I need to know how to get through RTK without gouging my eyes out. I’m already using Anki and RevTK.

  73. Caomei513
    June 16, 2009 at 06:17

    (I dont feel like reading the last billion comments so this has probably been said but….) Try to include things like:

    -what EXACTLY do you do when you do reps? Read it out loud first? Write it out from memory? Grade yourself on how ‘fluidly’ you could pronounce the words or loud or how well you could understand the sentence? etc.

    -what EXACTLY do you do when reading or watching a movie? When reading, Do you just read over the words or actually try to slow down and understand it? Is it good to read through an entire book without understanding a single word, or should you go page by page and actually LEARN it?

    – When learning a new word, how many sentences should you get with that word? Is one enough? Is ten too much?

    – How important is it to have SOME idea of whats going on when you’re listening to audio? If you have no idea whatsoever as to what the topic is, is it still as benificial? How often should you try to listen activley and how much is passive?

    -We know that until you are good enough to speak, you should avoid it and instead practice imitating TV shows and stuff out loud but… how important is this to learning to actually speak? Is it a vital step? If I never try to imitate a movie out loud, will I still be able to speak as well when the time comes? And for that matter, if it IS vital, how often is enough? Is just muttering random words going to cut it? Should I try to replay scences until I can repeat long phrases (even if I dont understand it)?

    -You should also include random “keep-up-the-immersion tips”. For example, keep a novel or two in the bathroom for when you have some time to kill 😉 , label items and words used with them around your house (like on the ovenhave a label that says: “oven. where i cook food”), set your homepage and programs to the L2 version, set things like iPods and digital cameras to L2 menus, buy L2 versions of the sacred texts of of whatever your religion is, etc.

    thats all I can think of for now. 加油!

  74. Alistair
    June 16, 2009 at 08:35

    vgambit, the trick is to go fast. When you only have a month left, it isn’t so hard to keep it up.

  75. kanjis rock
    June 16, 2009 at 15:58

    Just my 2 cents about using monolingual dictionaries: I was a bit hesitant to start using them, I felt I just don’t know enough words to get me going. But a couple of days ago, I just tried out of curiosity. I went to Sanseido and looked up some words that were new to me.. and what happened that I actually understood the definitions! Then I tried some other words and sometimes I didn’t get the meaning.

    The idea is though there isn’t need to be a single point in time when one switches to monolingual dics for all their benefits but one can do it gradually, looking up a word every now and then. If the definition is comprehensible (kanji meanings from RTK also help even without knowing the pronounciation) then I include that if not I stick with the English translation for the time being.

  76. DJ
    June 16, 2009 at 18:03

    So I think addressing the Kanji is important. There’s a lot of them and they seem to get glossed over here. Like “go learn the Kanji and then come back.” Sut it’s not that easy, and learning them can be extremely unfun, which is very not AJATT. So it’d be nice to have that addressed.

    Also, don’t worry about giving structure. So many people need that kind of thing, I admit I need it some. And my friends need it even more, everyone who I tell about AJATT or the methods thinks it’s crazy and usually says things along the lines of, “well, that’s good for you but I’ll do it but I’ll learn the normal way.”

    The whole abstract thing is key too, so I think the difficult part for you will be to balance both the abstract and the concrete while keeping it concise.

  77. Renee
    June 17, 2009 at 01:06

    I’m having trouble with translation and well thinking in Japanese.
    when i hear something read something I always translated in my head in English or if I speak to someone in Japanese I first think about what I’m going to say in English. I hope I am not confusing you too much. It would help to have a section on how to break away from thinking in English because I am really having trouble with that. How can one possibly think in another language?

  78. TokyoRetardu
    June 17, 2009 at 18:57

    I suggest you carry on using diagrams to explain things, like your directionally prop/injection graph in your video.
    It’s insanely powerful and simple.

  79. Ninku
    June 17, 2009 at 21:37

    Nice idea ^^ keep up the hard work !

    My questions are well..
    lets see…first one that comes to mind is about reading mangas..i read yotsubato and i understood like 90% of the material and i found it very enjoyable. Kanji’s helped me understand the meaning’s of the words as well. Then i picked up another series to read.. a bit more challenging but never the less enjoyable… but then i noticed some kanji’s that i recognized but i couldn’t recall the meaning even if i got it correct every time when doing my RTK reviews. Do i just need more exposure to those kanji’s that i can’t seem to recall their meanings ? This same thing happens to me on kanji readings… when doing sentences i would get it correct but when i try reading a blog or something… i can’t seem to recognize it. Or sometimes i would try guessing but then i would end up being wrong. It took me a while to get used to seeing and be able to recall words like these > 問題 質問  i remember i used to get confused with these words and read them incorrectly. But now no matter where i see them …blogs, twitter, manga… i am able to recall their readings without confusing them with another reading.
    The other thing is when reading manga’s when i find words in a sentence that i don’t understand, i look it up and then i am able to guess the meaning of the sentence as a whole. So is it okay to guess like that and then later add them to srs/ anki etc ?.. Also is it worth it to say spend more time srs-ing or read stuff in general ? I also find that in some sentences i would know the vocabularies but i wouldn’t be able to understand the sentence properly and i don’t actually wanna miss guess it…an example of what i mean ” まさか おまえ学校にまでついて来る気じゃ ねえだろうな!?” so over here i don’t really understand ついて and perhaps 気じゃ. My guess for the meaning of the sentence would be “Your not actually coming to school are you ! no right !? ” I know i am kind of on the mark bc i know what’s going on in the story and the characters… so would guessing the meaning of the sentence like this still be alright ??
    I found that light novels are a big jump for me as they don’t have furigana readings.. well not for every word that is. So in this case is it okay to say learn vocabs through iknow or anki till you can actually start reading kanji’s without the aid of kana readings ?? As i stated earlier i find sometimes i would miss read the kanji’s, so that’s another hurdle i would like to be clarified on as to how to get over this … is it exposure ? just try reading anyways ?

    Thanks for the help ^^

  80. Alexkx3
    June 18, 2009 at 16:57

    A forum would be great

  81. axxman
    June 18, 2009 at 19:04

    One thing that has really helped me be faster looking up kanji compounds is to look up words by the RTK keyword (I’m through the first RTK). For me getting the kanji into the dictionary to look things up is the slowest part. Using sqlite, it is easy to extract the keyword/kanji pairs from your RTK anki deck. After some work I was able to get a program that would let me enter multiple keywords and get a compound kind of like this:

    “horse|deer” to get 馬鹿

    I’m not very proud of the code or anything, but hacking this onto an open source dictionary really helped me spend less time screwing around with radical lookups when I knew the kanji. For me typing is a lot faster and easier ergonomically that pointing at stuff with the mouse. So if you’re a programmer type, this idea might help you.

  82. Amphy
    June 19, 2009 at 00:59

    @ David:
    It was more that I looked at the opening that one time and DIDN’T expect to get it, not with less than a month’s worth of Japanese (almost all of which was Kanji, I probably knew about 25 words at most…including numbers ichi to juu). : ) Thanks for the clarification.
    I think I’d prefer to continue using a Japanese – English dictionary for now, since with nothing more than Heisig keywords to go on it’s probably simpler to look up ‘sun’ + ‘book’ and discover it means Nihon – Japan (I have a Japanese-Japanese dictionary all ready to switch to, though). With efficiency, I guess it’s because, at this point, I could read and slowly come to understand a fairy story (which is fun) once and learn a lot of new words, while I would probably have to look at Kokoro lots of times (which isn’t much fun, from trying it again) to pick up anything, if all I had was a monolingual dictionary (none of the definitions make any sense at this point). Good for you if your way suits you though. : )


  83. Ryan Layman
    June 19, 2009 at 07:54

    One thing I did as I was making the switch to monolingual dictionaries was to copy and paste the Japanese, and then put the English in parentheses at the very end. As I got better and remembered the meaning of the word, I quickly edited out the English the next time the word came up in my SRS. This way it saves time editing, and you slowly eradicate the English from your decks as you get better (I actually did this right in the beginning, too).

  84. June 19, 2009 at 16:25

    I’m anticipating this with such eagerness that I visit this one post like 10 times a day. I’m glad that so many people are giving you ideas for the QRG and hope that all of these suggestions are really helping to make it complete in every sense.

    Gosh can July come any quicker?? I hope he releases it 11:59 P.M. June 30th. Eastern Std. Time Zone of course 🙂 Thank you Khatz for all that you do.


  85. Grophrane
    June 19, 2009 at 23:20

    Something that has helped me immensely at the start of the sentence phase (I’m still there), has been the anki premade card decks. Not the huge encyclopedic collection of flash cards, but simply tae kim’s grammar guide sentences compiled into a deck. I don’t find it boring at all to do sentences and I can keep going for an hour straight without boring myself. Acually I always stop before I become bored, I don’t know how boring Japanese feels anymore, I’ve forgotten that Japanese Kanji drilling was boring, now it’s fun for me too. Perhaps what helped me get started with sentences was really the FUN factor. Khatz, you already talk about this, but people still seem to miss the point. Hands on experience will do the trick, not long scholarly texts about the metaphysical aspects of teh ancient art of having fun. I know you know it, but I didn’t know this from reading articles because the knowing by doing aspect is overshadowed a bit by methodology or talking about the importance of A and B. It certainly has its place! No doubt about it, but this site, as you said, certainly has a lot of posts. I have acually read them all, but if you just go and read a few random articles it’s hard to get the point. The QRG could emphasize the African way ‘Just do it’ style a bit more.

    What I really needed in the start of the kanji phase was not motivation, you can do it, kinda stuff. I had already read it, but still something was lacking. Jumping into the lake and collecting the pearls simply didn’t happen until I actually jumped into the lake! This took awhile to figure out when I did Kanji but It has really helped me immensely. I might not know every single fuckin’ thing about methodology and the neurological workings of my brain etc etc, but heck, that’s not going to help me learn Japanese NOW. It might help in the future when I have done Japanese and am doing Japanese regularly all the time. Then perhaps it’s good to know about neuro-science and cetera. The thing I was missing was the kick in the butt, which you ultimately have to do yourself. Perhaps reading your fantastic articles created an illusion that by reading articles I’ll be able to learn Japanese faster (WHEN I START DOING JAPANESE). But I wasn’t doing Japanese, so I missed the basic point of the whole thing you were trying to get across. It’s hilariously funny when I think about it, but at the same time, I know many people have missed it.

    It all boils down to:”Don’t think so much about it, if it’s going to be good, bad what if I learn something wrong”. Just go out there and do it. You can’t go wrong with sentences from Tae Kim’s guide or any native source, but I just find it immensely funny and I am surprised I already understand some sentences in Japanese anime/TV etc which I have never learned. But my brain automatically remixed the sentences and grammar points I learned when I did the sentences. I’m at about 200 sentences and I tell you, I don’t dare dream of when I get to 2000 or above, how nice the remixes will be. We’ll simply have to see it once it gets there.

    I want to bring this approach out there. You may know all the AJATT articles, but it does you no good if it is not backed up by actual experience. This is true to everything in life. You can write a PHD about honey without having tasted honey, but unless you taste the honey, you can’t say you know honey, even if your PHD says so. This kind of insight was missing for me. Perhaps if someone had really outlined it clearly, the path would have been more easily approachable. You need guts to just jump out into it, simple as that. Get guts and start learning Japanese right away, articles are fine but they are a supplement. As soon as you know what to do, jump out there and do it. That’s why such a QRG would be magically awesome for many people. Especially those who don’t have time for reading all your articles and witnessing the process within themselves and observing it. (That’s how I learn).

    Thanks for all your work mate, it has helped me immensely in the process of understanding language learning in general, but also in getting my feet wet. I cannot thank you enough Khatzu.

  86. Kura
    June 20, 2009 at 10:34

    I also think a forum here would be great!

  87. Ernesto
    June 20, 2009 at 12:17


    From Khatz:

    “Why is there no forum on this site?
    Because my Mum won’t let me have one. Also, because while you do get wonderful nuggets of wisdom and insight in fora, the petty arguments and general pomposity of certain forum posters tend to ruin the average. On balance, I’ve found that the benefits of a language forum are outweighed (sometimes only very slightly so, but still outweighed) by the detriments. Too often — again, not always, but too often — fora are merely a distraction, a place to talk about language and kid ourselves that we were doing language, and a place for arrogant know-it-alls to undermine other people’s confidence. The plague of arrogant know-it-alls part is particularly virulent when it comes to Chinese and Japanese; some people say some pretty soul-crushing stuff. You are far better off getting (correctly punctuated) information from actual books and websites and then subjecting it to your own personalized processes of testing, tweaking and experimentation, than asking some orthographically impaired forum alpha male for his perls of wizdim. Thus therefore ergo there is no forum on this site and their won’t be until it seems worth it. There — I probably just saved you reading and/or participating in hours of fruitless arguments.”

  88. kanjis rock
    June 20, 2009 at 16:38

    @ Ryan Layman

    I’m doing the exact same thing. It seems like a good idea to think about one’s SRS deck as an evolving one, using English meaning in the beginning and then replacing them with Japanese (or erasing the English part) as the sentences and phrases are becoming familiar. Then later with enough Japanese vocab, English can be left out completely.

  89. Alistair
    June 21, 2009 at 10:18

    Re forum:

    What about a Japanese only and Chinese only forum?

  90. StrongArm
    June 22, 2009 at 06:05

    Stop worrying about the details people. Just look at this:
    Look at the Table of Contents and/or FAQ.
    The hard part is having fun all the time.

  91. Brian
    June 22, 2009 at 18:48

    I think a forum would be horrible for this site.
    The whole concept of this site (in my opinion) is to take away a QUICK lesson from Katz here and spread your own wings to the wonderful world that is “self-teaching”. The idea of constantly coming back here or anywhere else for that matter to figure out what’s going on seems to defeat the whole purpose.

    I think there are plenty of those silly little forums on other sites. I think it would contaminate the very core of this website. Call me strict or whatever, but I’ll just repeat what Katz always says himself. His method is not amazing gypsy magic. It works, I’m doing it and seeing the same results. So, just take his advice, adapt it to your own life and have fun. A forum would just inundate the website with clueless babbering of people talking about thinking about starting to try AJATT instead of actually doing it.

    I really think the last thing this site needs is a forum. And most of you are thinking way too hard about it. Just stick with the name of the website “All Japanese All The Time.” It’s really actually THAT simple…a forums in fact would defeat the whole meaning of this site. Hopefully you can all see that.

  92. Alistair
    June 22, 2009 at 19:55

    I would also like to hear about your opinion on listening to L2 whilst doing things in L1. I personally get a bit of a headache this way and so try to avoid it, unless I am not really using L1 so much (coding and checking references). I wonder what dangers there are if you do this from the start. Do you think L1 and L2 might get mixed?

  93. C
    June 22, 2009 at 21:58

    Hi Khatz.

    I know It may seem like an obvious matter, but some clarification on the idea of how one might best structure one’s learning around the minimum information principle. Say you want to learn the lyrics to a song (eg: 椎名林檎–ありあまる富) when you barely understand them. In that case, my initial response would be to find a few dictionary examples for each word I didn’t know, learn those, and then the entire phrase from the song.

    However, it might be considered preferable to provide some spacing between the dictionary examples and the phrases from the song. Or you might even choose to only learn those lines from the song that contain a few new items at that time, deferring the rest until you have a better understanding.

    Yours gratefully,


  94. Dan
    June 22, 2009 at 23:36

    >Do you think L1 and L2 might get mixed?

    Are you insane? L1 is your fluent mother tongue. I hope you’d know when you speaking in your own native language as oppose to when you weren’t. It’s impossible for you to mix these up.

  95. Alistair
    June 23, 2009 at 11:21

    Not so much it would negatively influence your L1, but your L2 would be adversely affected by your L1. So you would be more prone to making L2 sentences that are L1 like. I think eventually you develop a kind of L2 mode where you just naturally express yourself and think in L2 without any thought. I am wondering if L2 and L1 will be kept bound if you are doing a lot of immersion whilst using/receiving L1. They start off quite bound as most people start by reading translations of L2 in L1 and go from there, to eventually not using L1 in the study of L2 at all.

  96. muflax
    June 23, 2009 at 13:41

    >>Do you think L1 and L2 might get mixed?
    >Are you insane? L1 is your fluent mother tongue. I hope you’d know when you speaking in >your own native language as oppose to when you weren’t. It’s impossible for you to mix >these up.

    Haha, I wish this were true. 😀 It happens quite a lot that when I try to chat in my native language (German), but just can’t find the right words and default to L2 (English) in the middle of the sentence. Over 10 years of doing everything of interest in English leave their mark. 😉 This has not yet happened to L3 (Japanese), but I’m kinda expecting it soon. It already affects my pronunciation, as my accent slowly, but surely turns into a Japanese one.

    Anyway, I agree that it’s very distracting to mix languages at the same time. I can’t listen to an English podcast and do Japanese reps, for example, but アニメ on the side is fine.


    The one thing that I wish someone told me (maybe only more often and louder) is the importance of constant fun. Understand why you are learning L2 in the first place and just do what you would do in it as if you were already fluent. I made the mistake of reading Japanese sites and watching shows out of a sense of duty, just because they were Japanese and not because I liked them. Nobody has to tell a WoW addict that he must reach level 70 asap and he better start grinding now, after all. 😉

    If you have to force yourself to do something, it’s most likely not worth the effort.

  97. Daniel
    June 23, 2009 at 16:16

    To Dan and Alistair: I learned Esperanto and am learning Japanese, and I can tell you that although I don’t mix them up with English I quite often mix them up with each other. Also, this happened far more when my Esperanto ability was equal to my Japanese ability, so maybe when you get really fluent in L2 you might mix it up with L1. And I can tell you from experience that it’s pretty cool when you can understand L2 without using L1, and I would try to accelerate that by lots of immersion.

  98. Richard V
    June 23, 2009 at 19:00

    Ha, do estas aliaj parolantoj cxi tie 😀

  99. Maya
    June 24, 2009 at 00:08

    Guys, I found Tom and Jerry in Japanese 🙂


  100. Daniel
    June 24, 2009 at 15:51

    Jes. In fact (moving back to english), I think that Esperanto really helped me with motivation for Japanese, because I can see that at one point, I will definitely be able to watch movies, understand song lyrics, etc. Given that it only took me ~3 months to get conversationally fluent, not a bad investment of time *end Eo plug*

  101. batty
    July 1, 2009 at 17:29


    If you could write some more about your reading method, that’d be good. Your description is good, but still too ambiguous to be any real help, if you get what I mean.

    Example, you just finished RTK and you know no readings and only English meaning, yeah? So how would you pick up anything when you’re reading without a dictionary to give you the kanji’s reading? And how would that kanji make any sense in a sentence, as the sentence is the foundation of this method?

    So yeah, any further clarifications you can give would be a big help!

  102. celsius
    July 1, 2009 at 19:35

    Today 1julyXD
    We all are waiting for your masterpieceXD

  103. triplej
    July 2, 2009 at 01:53

    just rite it for urself 5 years ago and it should be perfect

  104. batty
    July 2, 2009 at 10:12


  105. batty
    July 2, 2009 at 10:16

    Ok, sorry, you can delete that comment, the AHH’s got out of control.

  106. Smile
    July 2, 2009 at 18:54

    Countdown for three weeks…

  107. Joshua
    July 2, 2009 at 22:47

    Hey Khatz, one thing I would like to know is how you transitioned from the print writing of kanji as used in Heisig, into the running writing style that most Japanese people use. This is a result of me having to constantly ask my Japanese friends to clarify their handwriting and having trouble to write it myself.


  108. Rochella
    July 17, 2009 at 10:29

    I’m too lazy to read over 100 comments to make sure this isn’t a repeat, but oh well, haha.

    1) a short concise clear steps kinda guide would be nice. I can follow the table of contents but the continuity isn’t really felt, I had to do a lot more reading just to get a better idea of what you were talking about. Though I love your humor and encouragement, it would be nice to see more bulletin type steps.

    2)Explain how you’re getting from complete noob (no kanji/kana) to using kanji and kana and English, to kanji/kana no English in srs/dictionary/media. I either can’t find the articles explaining this better (specifically srs/dictionary), or it doesn’t exist :D.

    3)Adding in voice and sounds to srs, you say to do this, just not exactly how. I’m resourceful and use Audacity so I’m fine, but more noobish people might need help here.

    4) I’m poor. I don’t allow this to be my excuse and find all sorts of free and fun jp stuff out there, but maybe other’s in this boat (like younger kids and/or such) need help with how to find free things without it being scams. The way to immerse the environment without spending the G

    5) Looking for things when you don’t know how. I often get more experienced JP speakers tell me to go search such and such up, but I don’t know what the JP current world usage for it is. I cannot type in “free online video games” or “home cooking recipes” because I don’t know how someone would say it, and short of annoying the Heck outta my friends continually for stuff like this, maybe there is something out there to help with this sort of thing. It seems this sorta beginner to middle ground step is a bit hard to cross. I know enough to know that I can find English equivalents, but not enough to use terminology/lingo that internet users use. I don’t even know if you’ve talked about this any either, but to me I love to be a web surfer (its my fun) but I don’t know how to “surf” in Japanese. XD

    6)I know it isn’t your job, but maybe helping people with setting up your computer to allow asisan language packs (or mac’s way), inputing, changing the os (some don’t know how to even install a jp os much less read it), ect. Programs aren’t always set up for easiness to some people, and it’d be nice to get more information on some of this stuff you talk about with automation of desktop environment, ect.

    That’s about all I can really think about for now. Honestly to me the hardest step of all is getting through heising. I do a lot of media and talking to friends as much as possible in jp, but to me the heising method is rather boring. is there something else out there to get kanji down with the heising method that doesn’t feel like teeth pulling at the same time? (and no the knuckles game isn’t exactly fun to me either lol)

    Regardless what you do Kaz I love your site!

  109. Rochella
    July 17, 2009 at 10:38

    @ Brain, I totally agree. Forum = Horrible Horrible Things!

  110. Rochella
    July 17, 2009 at 11:18

    For those having trouble reading kanji stuff without furigana, manga has a lot of it. In fact, Vampire Knight never has a single kanji without it. I find this helpful because I notice that I can read even if i don’t understand anything at all (i learned kana first).

  111. Daz
    July 26, 2009 at 14:40

    I have a question: I’ve got to the stage where I have over 7,000 flashcards in SRS. I have about 200-400 cards daily due for repition it usually takes me about 2 hours to get through, which is the majority of my daily study time. Now I feel I’d rather spend the time reading books or comics.

    So my question is: do you reach a phase where you outgrow SRS? or should you keep with it and let the card volume naturally disperse over time?

  112. Becca
    July 27, 2009 at 14:33

    I can already see ur ebook turnin into a real book deal…becomin a bestseller and changin da way ppl learn languages……

    “the best thing that has happened to language learners since Lorayne”

  113. Tony
    July 29, 2010 at 18:22

    One thing you might want to add are places to go chat with native speakers such as or, a place to not only sit and read what native speakers genearlly say, but also get a feel for the ‘shortened’ online versions of them, such as こん or おか, etc.

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