Secrets to Smoother SRSing, Part 1: The SRS Is a Servant, Not a Master

This entry is part 1 of 11 in the series Secrets to Smoother SRSing

This is part 1 of a multi-part series on smoother SRSing.

Word! Alliteration, son! It’s in the air and the power is yours!

…That was awkward.

So, anyway, a lot of people have been going insane in the membrane with SRS stress. Some have even gone on to write weird introductions to blog posts (go figure, eh?)…And some people (including me) even get tense when they study.

I know what you’re thinking: “Khatzumoto gets tense?! Dag, yo, I thought that only happened to pretty white kids with problems“. Me, too man. Me, too.

So, yeah, I had this tension, and I know other people have it as well. Thus, I wrote up some tips for you to help SRSing go more smoothly and happilyly. Checkerachyo!!

The SRS is a servant not a master. That’s right; SRS were developed to serve you. To help you. To free you from the burden of relearning forgotten things, and scheduling your own reviews.

Unfortunately, however, most of us have been to school, which means we’re used to being slaves. That’s right, I said it: school is a form of slavery — a very lite form, low in calories and sodium — but a form nonetheless. People tell you what to wear, what to read, where to be, when to talk, what to talk about, what words to use, when to shut up, when to eat, when to stand, when to sit down, when to move, when to sit still, when to pee, when to pooh, and can enforce their will through physical violence, emotional battery and even legal measures: it’s slavery…or at the very least prison. “Slavery” might be a bit hyperbolic, but it’s not far off the mark (?).

Anyway! The thing about slavery is that, like the elephant in this oft-repeated anecdote, the real enslaving is not physical but mental. You can unlock someone’s handcuffs but if her mind is still in chains you might as well not bother…type thing. You can take a man out of the ghetto but you can’t take the trackers out of a BitTorrent file yada yada. The same thing happens with a lot of prison inmates: these men, and they are often men, would do anything to bust out of that prison while they were in it, but once they get out, they’re so unused to their freedom that many consciously or unconsciously choose to return to jail — I don’t know whether this is actually true or not, but it was in Shawshank Redemption, so it’s gotta be true. Wow, I love blogging…no one to dock you points for not quoting proper sources.

Mmm, and so, many AJATTeers put themselves in the position of slave to their SRS. They try to turn AJATT into school all over again. And it’s not just their fault, nor even school’s fault, nor is it the fault of “society”. No, kids, the culprit here is Khatzumoto. I’m the one who started AJATT off in the direction of 10,000 sentences, so much so that some sites even call this the “10,000 sentences method[1]. Having said that, there are at least two good (?) reasons why I did it:

(i) Sentences, even 10,000 of them, are a clear, concise, quantifiable thing to aim for. It’s something you can sort of “see”; it’s a tangible goal; it’s all nice and pre-reified; the SRS even records stats and crap for you. In short, it’s almost everything that our current education system sets up as valuable.

(ii) Before writing AJATT, I had shared the methods I was using for learning Japanese; whenever someone was interested I would just tell them what I was doing, or maybe shoot them a quick email. One thing I noticed was that people seemed very reticent about adopting the SRS. I felt then and continue to feel now that the SRS was key, in terms of allowing me to acquire and sustain literacy in Japanese in such a relatively short time with so relatively little effort. So, I purposely went in strong on SRS promotion.

And the people loved it. And they went collecting sentences like their lives depended on it. At the time, this didn’t bother me at all. There were hints that something bad was going on, but at the time it just seemed like healthy enthusiasm. I didn’t even begin to realize a tragedy was underway until I was myself suffering emotionally in my Chinese Project — despite apparently using the same methods as I had in Japanese — methods that had given me so much success and joy. [The truth is that I was trying to ram Mandarin Chinese into my brain through massive, deliberate, dry, joyless sentence collection; I just bought books full of Japanese-Chinese sentences and tried to cram then in. While this is probably physically possible, it is also more boring than Baroque music…yeah, I said it: Baroque music is boring and your mother was a woman! Wanna fight, stitch?]. What really brought the situation front and center to my attention, though, was the extensive, lucid and inspiring writing about this that’s been going on at the blog of Feed Me Japanese (especially this article). That site is the reason I’m writing this today, and in a sense I am re-appropriating Khalid’s message, which is Swahili for “stealing his ideas in broad daylight but it’s all good coz the words are different”…hehe. Khalid really hits the metal object on the head with this one:

“The implication for people who are searching for these sentence collections is that there is an ‘ideal’ set of sentences and if you drill those in your head, you’ll know Japanese. […] But, unless I’m missing something, Khatzumoto didn’t have sentence collections, he collected sentences from everything he saw and read in Japanese[2]. 10,000 sentences was a natural product of what he did, not the purpose.”

OK, so one root cause of the sentence-collection-binging phenomenon was my own initial focus on sentences[3]. Nevertheless, there is still a clue as to what AJATT is truly all about, and it lies in the title of the site: “all Japanese all the time”. At its core, this method was and is about a mental change of identity and a physical change of lifestyle. Everything else was merely to aid that and perhaps increase efficiency without killing fun.

You probably think I’m insane anyway so this shouldn’t weird you out too much — I very frequently imagined myself as a Japanese-raised child. Not “haha, it’s like being a Japanese child”. No, I pretended to BE Japanese. Metaphor, not simile. BUT, this wasn’t about wanting to find a new identity for myself — a place to “belong”, nyah nyah nyah nyah touchy-feely California stuff — too many people confuse it for that; they worry that are or they will somehow “lose themselves”[4]. No. There was a very real, very hardcore, very un-touchy, un-feely reason for all this role-playing. It is something we all know intuitively but which only relatively recently came to me in the form of words. And the cheat code to R.L. iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis:

Adults act according to their identity rather than their ability.

In the vernacular — people achieve what they think they can achieve rather than what they are actually capable of achieving. Now, a Japanese child is expected to achieve fluency in written and spoken Japanese as a matter of course, no matter how much she may currently suck at it. It is for this reason that I chose the identity of a Japanese child when learning Japanese hardcore. Japanese language skill is expected of Japanese people the way boyish humor is expected of Adam Sandler. I merely availed myself of a hearty piece of this Pygmalion Effect-type phenomenon. I turned myself and my life into a self-fulfilling prophecy of Japanese fluency.

Which is all well and good, but imagine if that had been front-and-center when AJATT was first launched. I don’t think it would have worked; it’s just a little too ethereal, I think. Too…esoteric? Too abstract? Or maybe I’m not giving myself and other people enough credit. I dunno…concrete methods just seem more comforting, more obvious, more ripe for action. But, this idea of “don’t learn Japanese — become Japanese — be Japanese[5]”; this is central to the method/methods discussed on this site. The target language is no longer something you do, it is something you are; it’s practically the air you breathe. There is no spoon. I’m sure there are more efficient/effective ways out there, but I haven’t really seen them yet.

Anyway, don’t be taken in by any hints you may get (even from me) about discipline and consistency and commitment and all those other lame-a$$ abstract nouns[6]. When you get down to it, this method is all about having fun and just being…just chilling. I didn’t “work hard”; I didn’t really “sacrifice” to learn Japanese; I made a lifestyle choice and let the consequences of that choice run their natural course, because Japanese fluency is an inevitable result of a real and sustained Japanese environment; once you get your ducks in a row most of it is simply coasting. Dude, most of the time all I did was listen to Rip Slyme, shop on Amazon.jp and download stuff online; you’re not supposed to spend 24 hours a day attached to your SRS deck like unto an umbilical chord. No…What, do you want to be bored to tears? Do you think you’re supposed to be bored to tears? Well let me lay it down here once and for all:

If it is not fun, then it is not of AJATT.

I know. I know it’s hard to let go of work and pain and struggling. But you need to let go. For your own good — for the good of your Japanese — you must let go. I want you to go out and get an addiction. Get several. Get addicted to an artist or show or video game or chat site or book series or movie in Japanese/whatever your target language is. Momoko’s Japanese really started booming when she got hooked on Trick and Gintama. She does them aaaaalll the time; she’s got the anime of the drama of the manga of the website of the book; the jokes she tells are Trick jokes; the food she eats is stuff she’s seen the characters on Trick eat; and the other day she even had the temerity to tell me to go dye my hair silver since: “you already have a natural perm”. Hmm…

Back in the day, I, too, was “hooked” on all sorts of things — Stargate SG-1, Star Trek, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Dragon Ash, Rip Slyme — all in Japanese of course. Go get hooked. So hooked that your enjoyment of what you do understand (however little that may be) eclipses all your anxiety about “ohhh, this is so hard”, “ohhhh, but there’s so much I don’t know yet”, “ohhh, will I ever get done?”, “ohhhh, but I’m too old and not Asian enough!”, “and so on and so forth!”.

You’re Japanese, remember? Act like it, この(mother)野郎(lover)!

 

Of course continue to use your SRS. I mean, duh, who wants to forget stuff, right? Just be sure to use it rather than be used by it. Rule of thumb: it’s like watching TV — when it gets bahrin’, yah change th’ channel.

Thanks for reading. Check back soon for the next installment: part 2!


[1]I don’t have a problem with that as such…collecting sentences is a major “active activity” of the process, but the major “passive-activity” (and the primary activity in terms of total time) is not sentence collection but merely being in and enjoying a location-independent immersion environment — i.e. making a little Japan/whatever, wherever you are. One simply can’t be in sentence-collecting mode 24/7 or even 18/7 or even 12/7: 1/7 or 2/7 (3+/7 on a really, really good day and) is probably tops in terms of many people’s ability to concentrate and give active attention to something, at least it is for me.

[2] Yeah! Of course, as long as I felt like it…:)

[3] A more fundamental root cause may lie in the fact that I don’t actually know why AJATT works. Not really. Like I kind of have these ideas — a bit of Krashen here, a bit of AntiMoon there, my own childhood experiences of both loss and acquisition of language, intense casual observation of other people’s children before the parents get weirded out — but it’s all very vague, and I’m not going to sit here and pretend to you that I know it all and have it all figured out. And then again, I don’t really care thaaat much why it all works, like, it’d be cool to know, but mostly I just care how I can best go about doing this. I figure my peepz Pinker, Krashen and Chomsky can go work out the whys for me while I sit here eating peanuts and watching Evangelion…gotta get my geli on, you know. Yeah…so…not knowing why…

[4] Which is goofy! You are not who you are just because of the nationality and location of the uterus you grew in, nor because of the media you watch and listen to. You’re you, and if all those things were to disappear tomorrow, you would still be you. Put another way — what’s to stop being a native-level user of Japanese from being just as much a part of your identity as your liking Green Day [it’s always kids you who like Green Day that have this identity fetish]? The fact that you were over the age of 12 when you started it? Come on, man…

[5] And if someone comes and accuses you of being Blasian or Wasian or Asian-but-too-Asian, tell him his mother’s a woman!

[6] You know, for a while, this site used to bug me. What I mean is, it felt like it was two sites in one. One site was happy and friendly, and the other site was violently macho and in-your-face and people would be all “This is madness!”, and then I’d be all: “This is AJAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATT!”). I had trouble reconciling these two sides. Fortunately, I have realized the magic glue. And it is this: fun. I guess I knew it all along, but at the same time, I didn’t know.

Have fun. In Japanese. If you’re having fun, the dedication will take care of itself. Notice when you’re bored and act quickly to get back to fun.

Series NavigationSecrets to Smoother SRSing, Part 2: Fun >>

  42 comments for “Secrets to Smoother SRSing, Part 1: The SRS Is a Servant, Not a Master

  1. Jonathan
    August 24, 2008 at 13:18

    Excellent post, really. You touched on a lot of things that have been swirling around in the back of my mind for a while now, that I had never really been able to put into words. I think I first became aware that something had gone horribly wrong when I saw people talking about how learning Japanese would be a good way to help make it all the way through RTK1. It was like a transmission from Bizarro World. Somehow, somewhere, people started mixing up Japanese with the tools for learning Japanese, and decided that the tools should be goals in and of themselves.

    I mean, tools have their place, don’t get me wrong. I’m working my way through Understanding Basic Japanese Grammar right now, on account of the fact that all I had to do to put the sentences into my SRS was import them from a spreadsheet. Easy. But, the thing is, it doesn’t feel like work, and I don’t think it should. For me, each new sentence is a joy, since it reveals new shades and nuances of the Japanese language, how things tick, what the underlying thought process is. If a sentence doesn’t give me that, I get rid of it plain and simple.

    And, of course, while it might take me an entire day to get through all my SRS reps, it tends to be what I spend the least time doing. I usually just do whatever catches my interest, whether it be watching ブリーチ or playing ファイナルファンタジー or rocking out to some マキシマムザホルモン. Sure, I don’t understand much right now, but I can feel the little Japanese seed in me growing every day, since I’m continually understanding more and more little bits and pieces. It’s like, stuff from one thing shows up in another thing, and everything I do with the language feeds into the other things. It’s all connected, and seeing the same material repeated in so many different contexts has a profound effect where things that seemed hard just a few days before, or words I had trouble remembering, suddenly become easy.

    I know, I know, I’m rambling, but I’m trying to consolidate my own thoughts as much as I’m trying to write them down. I’m sure you know how that is, being a blogger and all. 😛

  2. Nathanael
    August 24, 2008 at 14:02

    The link to “Feed Me Japanese” points to www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/category/chinese-project instead of the Feed Me Japanese website.

    まー、それはさておき。 いったいどうで「Adults act according to their identity rather than their ability」なんていう言葉を仕入れてくるんだか。俺が知ってる人のほとんどはまだそれが分からん。そう言えば、一般的に人々も大体そういうことが分からない。みんなはそれだれを心を基づくと、世界ががらっと変わるに違いない。

    先週、友達との会話で、彼女は「いくら頑張っても、料理も上手にならないものね」と言っちゃったけど、俺がその信念自体は原因だと説明するとき、壁と話すみたいになった。お世辞で相槌を打ってばっかりいた。

    ちょっと好きな本からなんだけど、

    二十九
    ある学位取得試験する。――「すべての高等教育制度の持つ使命は何だと思いますか?」――人間を機械にすることだと思います。――「そのための手段は何ですか?」――退屈の学習を必修とすることです。――「それはどんな風にして達成するのですか?」――義務の概念によってです。――「誰がそれの規範であるといえますか?」――文献学者が規範です。ガリ勉することを教えてくれますから。・・・

  3. Rob
    August 24, 2008 at 14:24

    I have to admit, I fell into the numbers trap big time and only recently realized something was amiss. I’ve commented on other posts on this site about how I was worried that after 7 or so months after starting the “sentence step” of this method that I only had around 450 sentences in my SRS. I truly thought I must be doing something wrong.

    The thing was though, I was watching Japanese shows or movies all the time – doing what I enjoyed. It would annoy me to stop and enter a sentence into the SRS. The first hint of something fishy came when I realized I purposefully would not watch the shows I wanted to watch so that I could do more SRSing or sentence additions. I was sacrificing fun for the SRS. I’m really glad you wrote this post now because it hits on a lot of things I’ve been concerned about.

    The catch is though, if watching Japanese TV shows or dubbed movies is the funnest thing for me and I focus on that, how will I ever learn to read or write fluently?

    I keep a daily chart (like your victory calendar) of how I do each day in terms of SRS, listening and reading. Without a doubt, reading is failed nearly everyday. I often think to myself, “Don’t worry about it, once your level is higher, then you’ll read more.” But that isn’t the problem.

    I figured out the problem is my reading material. It was too advanced. I would never read because it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t fun stopping 2 or 3 times a sentence to look something up and then question myself as to whether I should be taking the time to add it to the SRS. Somehow I missed an earlier post on this site regarding Stephen Krashen’s advice about narrowing and dumbing down your reading material. It is a great article and has really changed my reading approach.

    www.alljapaneseallthetime.com/blog/stephen-krashen-on-reading

    Taking his advice, I’ve ordered some Chronicles of Narnia books at the 小学生5-6 level. I loved reading those as a kid so hopefully it’ll be as much fun reading them in Japanese.

    Thanks again for this post; it couldn’t have come at a better time. Perhaps you could reword the title of this site to AFATT. All Fun All The Time. (In Japanese, of course!)

  4. Jen
    August 24, 2008 at 16:06

    I’m glad you wrote a post about this! I’ve been seeing lots of people on various forums or blogs saying that their lives seem to consist solely of sentence collecting, which has been making me want to bang my head against a wall every time I see it.

    I have to say, I haven’t been following your methods entirely (I have skipped out on doing RTK, because I already knew a lot of higher level kanji and don’t currently have time to concentrate on it – I can recognise when reading almost all of the kanji in RTK, and I have no need currently to be able to write them, so I’m not bothered about it at the moment), but I have been following your advice to go out and do as many fun things in Japanese as possible. Although my Japanese was already good (upper intermediate level, maybe) when I started doing this, I have found that putting sentences into my SRS that I really want to remember, or which include words that I am having huge problems remembering, I have remembered so much more than I would have done otherwise. I think that the key to the whole thing is definitely immersing yourself in Japanese, because you can’t just rely on the SRS to get you to fluency. Sometimes you really don’t need one to remember something. If I’m reading and come across a word that I don’t know, if I can still make sense of the sentence, I tend to ignore it, because who wants to break the flow of a story just to look something up? I would never do that in English, even though there are still English words that I don’t understand. Sometimes, of course, I really want to know what it means, and so I look it up then and there. Even if I don’t look it up, I will probably come across it later anyway, so I can always have another opportunity to find out what it means. And if I do come across it a few times, I will definitely look it up, find out what it means, but then will be able to retain the information without an SRS, because I will undoubtedly come across it later in the novel as well.

    I think an important message to get across is that learning does not rely on using an SRS. An SRS will certainly make it more efficient, but I managed to learn English without using one at all, and it seems stupid that people are becoming so reliant on them and so insistent on finishing their sentence collection.

    Also, I know that you’re not a fan of JLPT stuff, but I have to take it, and so have been using my SRS to try to learn 1級 grammar, and it has been a revalation. By using the example sentences in my textbook, and entering them in, Plus entering any sentences that I find out there in the real world which include the grammar, I have been able to learn and retain about half of the grammar points that I need to know so far, and am well on my way to JLPT success! (hopefully – I have to say, I really do not want to take it in the first place, and feel that it is a complete waste of time, but I’m trying to make the best out of something that’s not so great – since I started studying for it, I have been finding it easier to understand Japanese in general, which is definitely a good thing)

    I am going to Japan in a week, which is awesome because I will be able to go back into AJATT mode properly – There are no Japanese people at all living anywhere near me here, which makes it a bit difficult. During that time I will not be using an SRS at all, but I will be extremely surprised if I don’t make a dramatic improvement whilst I’m over there.

    Anyway, I guess what I was trying to say is that: SRSing is good, but it’s really not the most important thing. So I am very glad that you wrote this!! The message needs to get out there!!!

  5. Jen
    August 24, 2008 at 16:15

    追加 – I think that all of this information was already on your site, by the way, because I got all of that without ever thinking that it was about how many sentences I could collect – I think that we have definitely been made to think that we should be able to measure our ability – and the most obvious way to do that here is to measure it on how many sentences you have. But, the way that I do it, and it is definitely hard once you get past a certain level to see how much you are improving, is by going back and doing the same things that I did in Japanese a year or 6 months ago, and then compare that with how I’m doing now. So I’ve been rereading books which I read whilst I was in Japan, and have been extremely pleased by the improvements that I have seen in my Japanese – When I first got to Japan I bought my first Japanese book, Norwegian Wood by Murakami (something which I had already read in English, so I knew the basic structure of the story, which definitely helped me to persevere!), and I can remember struggling through the first few pages, looking up every other word – and it took me 3 months to finish reading it, with me reading for at least an hour every day – but when I read it a couple of months ago, I breezed through it, finishing it within 10 days.

    In my opinion, that is the kind of thing that you should be using to measure your ability, not how many sentences you have, or your success rate on your SRS. I think there is a slight problem with SRSing in that sometimes you will associate a certain word just with the sentence in your SRS, and then have severe problems identifying it again outside of this – so in my opinion measuring your success rate on that is pretty meaningless.

    I am going to stop rambling now 🙂

  6. Nuke-Marine
    August 24, 2008 at 16:47

    Khatzumoto, your process is organic. As more and more people try it out, they begin to see what is working for them and post their opinions on it. I think what we saw over the last year was growing pains. Even you noticed that there was chaff that needed removal, some polishing of the process, and even the addition of some things.

    Some mistakes persons are making from SRS sentences:

    1. Just importing straight from a spreadsheet. BIG mistake. I like the shared spreadsheets that have been popping up (KO2001, UBJG, Particles, Making Out in Japanese, Etc.). You can reference the book to the sentences. Usually there’s a +1 concept attached. However, remember to vet each and every sentence that you are putting into the SRS. Make the sentence short, define the word or concept that’s new to you from that sentence. Understand it. Basically, LEARN THE SENTENCE FIRST. The SRS is there to pound that learning into long term memory.

    2. Not doing the +1. I think when Kanji.Odyssey.2001 came out, many of us began to realize these sentences were dense at times. Five new words and maybe a grammar concept that’s new all in one sentence is hard to digest. Like a 12 ounce steak, cut it up in bite size pieces. Don’t be afraid to take only part of it and put the rest away for later. Man, I’m getting hungry.

    3. Not doing the basics first: Some may disagree, but I think UBJG (or equivalent) should be the first set of sentences you do. Want more meat (food metaphor again), take the UBJG table of contents which list the grammar aspects in a definate order of progress, go to the Kodansha books, and pull out the sentences from those books. In 1000 sentences you set the base for you to jump anywhere. Many of us may go KO2001, but others may go to the script of their favorite video game or movie.

    Here’s what I notice, the more I put into the SRS (at a reasonable pace), the more I begin to understand the mangas and shows I’m watching. So, it’s kind of the opposite motivation that I think Khatz subscribed to (find a sentence from what you liked, and learn that). The results I hope are the same.

    Like Khatzumoto says, counting your sentences helps you see your progress. Hell, I use Anki, so it tells you how many unique kanji you’re using. I’ve gone and tossed each and every word into Trinity (on RevTK site) to give me an idea of my Onyomi and Kunyomi coverage. For me, having results helps remove the doubt that I’m not really learning anything.

  7. nacest
    August 24, 2008 at 17:13

    「この(mother)野郎(lover)」
    Wait, I’m gonna add that to my SRS now.

  8. Nivaldo(changing name to NDN)
    August 24, 2008 at 18:04

    Nice Post! It came at a time when my Anki is saying I have 269(or more?) senteces to review and 4xx new sentences to study and my Mnemosyne is saying I have 488 kanji to review!! I was already feeling like “hmmm…I’ll spend the first 6 hours on Anki, the next 4 hours on Mnemosyne and then…”. In short, 55.5% of my time studying japanese. I HAD COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN THE MAIN MAIN MAIN IDEA OF YOUR METHOD :(. Now I think “YAAAAAAAAAY!! PROBABLY I’ll spend 2 hours on Mnemosyne and 2 hours on Anki. Then…楽しみ”. 有り難う 😀

    Also, about the name change, if anyone already has this name, please say something and I’ll get back to my original one.

  9. Ivan the Terrible
    August 24, 2008 at 18:39

    Becoming a slave to the SRS…I’ve definitely been guilty of this. There’s a certain soul-crushing sensation when you open up your SRS after you’ve been delayed in doing some serious repetitions only to discover 800 something cards awaiting review. So you sit down and want to clear them out and find yourself obsessing over how many cards you do each day because my god my god how am I ever gonna get all the thousands of sentences I need if only do X number of cards per day yadda yadda etc. etc.

    As far as I’m concerned, laying on the stress and guilt is the LAST thing that’s going to result in fluency.

    Really, even though I’ll probably feel reaaallly good when I reach 10,000, to some extent I almost hope people stop seeing this web site as a sacred and holy ‘method’, which (IF followed to the letter!) results in fluency in 18 months. There are a lot of great tips and advice here for how to study a language, but transcending it all I take away two simple messages:

    1) Language learning is better when it’s fun than when it’s painful, and better when it’s unrelenting than when it’s focused into a few hours a week.

    2) Do you enjoy it? Does it work? Then DO IT, regardless of what anyone says, and regardless of any method that’s been outlined here or elsewhere. If not, throw it away, again regardless of what others say, and let your mind be at peace.

    Call it the Dao of Japanese. Or Mandarin.

  10. Chiro-kun
    August 24, 2008 at 22:53

    I’ve never said this but this post is gonna make me say it.
    I’ve given up on the SRS for a while now. Only recently have I started using the FeedMe SRS, that too not regularly (it has an option to limit the number of reviews per day). I felt guilty that I wasn’t using Heisig’s method for new kanji anymore even though I KNEW they were sticking (I picked up the kanji for 此れ by just glancing at an article Khatzumoto-sensei had written….TWICE). I picked up 龍 after writing it out….TWICE. I picked up 燕 from スバメ in ポケモン…ONCE! Till date I have NEVER forgotten these kanji. No SRS. No Heisig.)

    But it all bugged me you know? I had that haunting voice of Dr. Piotr Wozniak (and I don’t even know what he sounds like…) telling me “Don’t put it in the SRS and you WILL forget. Mwahahahaha” (OK that was weird). I kept asking myself: “I’ve given up on the SRS for over 4 months now. Yet there’s not much I forgot. Actually hardly anything at all. For stuff that I TRULY learnt that is…..

    So yeah I’ve started using an SRS: a maximum of 5 entries per day and a minimum of zero. I don’t see that hampering my reading comprehension one bit. I think it’s better if we just let go of remembering all the words all the time. You may forget a word but so what? You do it in your native language all the time. At least I know I do. I most certainly do NOT remember EACH and EVERY new word I come across in a new novel or a new Wikipedia article.

    Whenever I get frustrated over forgetting a word, I remember Pokemon. Yeah Pokemon. How is it that EVERY fan of the game remembers 386 (and now a lot more) totally UNRELATED names and their types? Their attacks? The various items and what they do? OMG no SRS! OMG no mnemonics! That is enough to keep me going.

  11. Rob
    August 24, 2008 at 23:26

    Good point Ivan. It’s interesting how the points of this site mirror Bruce Lee’s philosophy about martial art. Retain what is useful, throw away the rest.

  12. Zarxrax
    August 25, 2008 at 01:27

    As far as the sentences go, I love these spreadsheet projects that contain all the sentences. The reason is because I am lazy. I don’t want to stop doing something in Japanese and spend a few minutes trying to mine a single sentence from it. That’s boring! But at the same time, you definitely just can’t import some spreadsheet into your SRS and expect to automagically learn it all. That’s basically how I started out when I was doing Understanding Basic Japanese Grammar. It didn’t take me more than about 2 weeks to realize that wasn’t working though.
    Last night I finally completed UBJG. I imported the last few sentences into Anki, and then put my book away. This time, I’ve only collected about 250 sentences from the entire book. Each time I would come across a sentence, I would think hard about whether it was “SRS worthy”. I came to the conclusion that most of the sentences were not. At least, for me.
    By being selective in what I used, I got about 250 really good sentences, added them at a pace that wasn’t overwhelming, and have learned and retained quite a bit from them. And all of this without the boring “mining” part.
    I’m currently spending usually less than 30 minutes a day doing sentences in Anki. I’ve kept the rate down to a level which doesn’t get annoying. Much of my actual learning comes from reading. I really really love this series of Japanese Graded Readers ( www.thejapanshop.com/home.php?cat=344 ). I’m reading from them just about every day, and learning so much. They have a lot of good sentences for mining too… but… I haven’t mined many since I *really* hate typing them up into my SRS. Like I said, it’s boring :p

  13. phauna
    August 25, 2008 at 08:45

    I really hope all you guys do less and less SRSing, maybe give up all together. I’ll be plugging away at it, as much as possible every day. What a load of bollocks that fun is the key. I don’t suppose people doing PhDs consider fun to be a major element in the learning process. I can’t see med students chucking their books and saying to themselves, “You know, I just don’t feel this pharmaceutical effects on physiognomy gig, I think I’ll go watch House MD.”

    Another, better key, is variety. Sentences in your SRS is just a way to revise previously learned material efficiently. I would even say an SRS filled with boring sentences is better, as these words and phrases are probably ones you won’t get much revision of in real world materials that are fun to use. Variety of sources is power. Read, watch, listen to, speak. Don’t just do sentences, do a bit of everything. Movies, dramas, books, comics, music, etc. When you get bored do something else, but not everything needs to be a lark. There is room for discipline and serious, yet dry, materials.

    I do believe I’ve learned lots of stuff without an SRS, and without fun also.

  14. nest0r
    August 25, 2008 at 09:48

    Everyone, simply embrace your SRS and form a symbiotic relationship and you’ll be fine.

  15. Jason Reaves
    August 25, 2008 at 11:21

    This post was timely! I believe the SRS is a powerful tool, and I have used one for various subjects for 6 years. However, too much of a good thing isn’t a good thing. Lately I’ve found myself sacrificing other things, like reading actual Japanese books, just to keep up with my reps. Skip a day and there’s hell to pay, in the form of >100 sentences to review. This is not fun.

    Material that is truly “n+1” may not need to be mined at all. I recently started on the graded readers that Zarxrax mentioned above, and although my Japanese is still at a fairly basic level, I can read the level 1 books easily, and it’s fun! This has given me the hope of progressing to adult level Japanese by reading books of gradually increasing difficulty. What is evolving as my ideal method is to spend most of my time listening to or reading n+1 material (and not mining it into an SRS) and spending 30-60 minutes daily with the SRS (using the various sentence collections that are being developed) to stretch my knowledge. I’m beginning to see the SRS as a sort of mental treadmill: it’s good to get on it for 30 minutes per day, but it should not be confused with an actual mode of transportation nor should it substitute for a walk in the park!

  16. August 25, 2008 at 11:29

    I’m with phauna—if you’all are going to be that much of pansies about the greatest learning technology introduced in the past 100 years, basically spitting in the face of Wozniak, you get what you deserve. Why dontcha’ll just go back to watching your little anime’s 24/7 Tofugu-style and while you’re at it looking up stuff in the dictionary is boring too—burn your dictionaries and just learn through osmosis.

    Everything in moderation folks. I was reading a huge novel in Chinese and got bored of looking stuff up and punching stuff into the old SRS and just finished the thing without looking anything up or studying anything. Yeah—I enjoyed the story, but that’s it. I didn’t see any growth in my knowledge whatsoever. Sure, you can make the case that if I read 1,000 books that same way I would UNDOUBTEDLY see vocabulary growth as encountering some words so many times you finally guess them right—but if I could bring the 1,000 book figure down to just 100 by simply entering the odd word into my SRS (say every 20th new word encountered) it just would make a LOT MORE SENSE to do so. And no—my 1,000 novel number does not apply to watching 1,000 or even 10,000 of your little animes if you are only understanding around 5% in the first place as I’m sure many SRSphobics are.

  17. August 25, 2008 at 11:44

    Speaking of fun…

    …is there anyone on here who is not stealing but actually still finding a way to get so many hours and hours of “fun” in Japanese everyday?

    I mean I’m asking this as a serious question, the level of *fun* you guys seem to be talking about isn’t even an option for me. 電車男 is really a pleasure for me to watch, but if I was “fun” focused I would watch it one time only (I *loath* to watch or read anything a second time.) and burn through $200 in less than a week. Even if I were filthy rich, I doubt I could consistently find such entertaining material without investing a ton of time ‘searching’. Of course books are way cheaper on the cost per unit of entertainment, but if I were having “fun” doing what I want exactly, I would watch 75% video and read only 25% of the time. So—given the insane cost in time searching and money to purchase, I just watch 電車男 over and over, study the script trying to increase the number of words I understand as they are spoken, read books 75% of the time, and spend oodles of hours doing “boring” SRSing.

  18. Rob
    August 25, 2008 at 12:29

    Phauna makes a good point here. I think it ultimately comes down to what the definition of “fun” is, and how one goes about finding it. But at some point though, to attain a high level of fluency, I think you have to put your head down and plow through certain things you initially may not consider to be fun.

    An example would be the news. Khatzumoto wrote a post about how in order to understand the news, he would loop the audio of a newscast and listen to it all day. He continued on to say that this process would takes weeks or months. I doubt even Khatz would say that listening to the same newscast over and over all day was fun. I’m sure he would have rather been reading, listening to or watching something else. He could have easily said, this really sucks, I’m going to watch Star Trek. But had he done that, would he have achieved success in fully understanding the news?

    I think there is a way to find fun in things that on the surface may seem boring. Like in the news example, and Khatz touches on this in his post, the little victories of catching more and more phrases as you listen over and over – the increased comprehension is fun. The satisfaction of aiming for a goal, monitoring your daily progress and ultimately reaching it is fun.

    When I played basketball, had I asked my teammates if they thought running suicides were fun, they probably would have laughed and then kicked my ass. But we all understood their purpose, which was to prepare our bodies to last longer in the game, which would make us better, which would ultimately translate into more fun.

    I don’t think throwing out the SRS is the answer and probably doing only the one thing you find the most fun all the time is not the answer, but perhaps trying to find fun (whether it be now or in the later results) in whatever you do is the key.

  19. Ivan the Terrible
    August 25, 2008 at 15:18

    ‘Funner’ may be more appropriate than ‘fun.’ Strictly speaking, if I were just trying to have fun, no language involved, I would not be listening or watching the same movies dozens of times over, and I could think of more entertaining ways to spend a day than looping through an SRS. These things are mainly fun because you have the end-goal clearly in mind.

  20. uberstuber
    August 25, 2008 at 16:43

    @Justin:
    www.v2p.jp/video/
    www.tvunetworks.com/

    Both are apps which let you watch Japanese tv in real time for free.
    While tv is…tv and you can’t really rewatch stuff unless you record it, it can still be entertaining enough to tide you over until you can take more 電車男.

  21. nacest
    August 25, 2008 at 16:47

    Phauna,
    I disagree with you. Fun is indeed the key for me. I’m sure of this in the case of someone trying to learn a language by self-study, because no-one wants to torture oneself with something that’s not interesting. But I also think it SHOULD (not saying it always is) be the key for any other type of learning.
    “I don’t suppose people doing PhDs consider fun to be a major element in the learning process. I can’t see med students chucking their books and saying to themselves, “You know, I just don’t feel this pharmaceutical effects on physiognomy gig, I think I’ll go watch House MD.”

    If a student does not have fun while studying what he himself chose to study, isn’t it a little sad? The example above does not apply because it’s pushed into the context of language learning, where “going to watch a TV show” is still good for learning the language. It does not teach things like university subjects.

    To be clear: what I define as fun in this case is not “something that makes you laugh” or “something that feels like playing a game”. It’s “something that attracts your interest and stimulates your mind”. This can apply even to the most serious of subjects.
    Variety is indeed good, when it’s made of things fun in the way defined above. However I’m never gonna study law, because I personally find it uninteresting, and even reading a huge variety of laws is not gonna take away the boredom.

    Justin,
    it may be just me, but it almost feels like hatred when you say “your little anime”. Why so much intensity? The way the brain works differs so much from person to person, that worrying about how the others do their things is totally not worth the time. We are just expressing our views in case someone else finds them useful, but in the end we are all independent, no?

  22. August 25, 2008 at 18:31

    I guess it all depends on how you approach your Japanese studies. Some people have a “do or die” mentality, ZOMG I must learn teh japneez kind of thing so it’s easier for them to stress out about it. I’ve been learning (or trying to learn) Japanese for almost 7 years so I’ve settled into my stride. It’s about being able to do read the things I want to read and say the things I want to say in Japaneese, and it will come when it comes. I don’t let the 18-month “deadline” and the 10,000 sentence “goal” get to me at all. I’ll get there when I get there, until then I’m just enjoying the journey.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have 60 reps to do.

  23. QuackingShoe
    August 25, 2008 at 20:16

    Delighted to see this post, as I’m one of those individuals skulking around the RevtK forums, which are absolutely poisoned with this mentality and it drives me wild. I think my SRS is helping me at the moment, but I’ve actually been playing with the idea of abandoning it altogether or at least revising how I use it, as it’s becoming a real chore and very heavily distracting me from actually reading manga etc (also the mining-worship thing is just associating the whole thing vaguely with the taste of bile). It’s also occurred to me that, when an appropriate phrase for a situation pops into my head, it’s invariably a manga(/anime/podcast/whatever) that my mind flashes to – and never the SRS itself (and they’re frequently non-SRSed sentences). Still, I need the practice writing, so I guess I’ll just have to see how I can manage to work it out.
    Anyway, thanks for this post, and the site in general.

  24. Chiro-kun
    August 25, 2008 at 23:11

    @Phauna –
    Come on tell that to the millions of Japanese kids being born everyday. Stop watching Pokemon! Go do your SRS reps Naoko-tan and mommy will give you a cookie.

    “I don’t suppose people doing PhDs consider fun to be a major element in the learning process. I can’t see med students chucking their books and saying to themselves, “You know, I just don’t feel this pharmaceutical effects on physiognomy gig, I think I’ll go watch House MD.”
    I second nacest on this one. If researching on your subject is SO bad that you practically want to get away from it to watch House, why’re you even doing it in the first place?!?

    @Justin –
    I understand 60-70% of most anime (non-shounen) and atleast 40% of comedy shows. Oh yeah, throw Kansaiben into the mix. I have not used an SRS for over 4 months. And I have most certainly not watched 1000 episodes (70ish at best).

    Please take note of the fact that hundreds of Japanese children have a basic command of the language after 2 years using the most inefficent, unscientific and ‘dumbest’ method there is. Yet they somehow manage to breeze through Pokemon (intended for ages 3 and up), remember the names of 400+ Pokemon, their strengths, their weaknesses, their attacks, their natures, their abilities, etc. (without using a SRS) which I’m VERY sure MOST SRSholics can’t do, even though its all kana. I’m not trying to criticize the SRS here. Just thinking out loud, why does learning Japanese have to be some SRS cult. Do or be treated as a pansy.

    And to all you SRS addicts and lovers, I have a question (I think nacest brought this up a while back):

    One of your beginner sentences:
    此れは本です
    So you’re saying if you don’t review this sentence by next year (or next to next) you’re going to *gasp* forget it? That’s just sad. Really sad. My brain must be made of Spicebush Swallowtail poop.

    (Please note that I’m not criticizing SRSing in general. It’s just a question that popped up in my mind. I don’t like how some people convert Khatzumoto’s “All Fun All The Time” to “All BDSM All The Time” with a SRS 跳び箱. I mean sure, it’s great if it works for you but what’s with all the “Ha! You suck! You don’t use THE BEST, THE most l337 learning system on Earth which Einstein and all the little Japanese midgets sucked for not using!” )

  25. parasitius
    August 25, 2008 at 23:42

    @Chiro-kun: I hate to tell you, but if you actually research the “children watching Pokemon” example, you’ll realize you just made a case for *my* argument, not yours. Children do NOT learn the language by watching TV. In fact, if you were to leave one in front of the TV enough, he could be at risk for not even learning his mother tongue to his age level. The kids learning comes very much through interactions—so many thousands of hours which it would not only be financially impossible for any adult to achieve, but totally impractical for the meager progress made in proportion of hours interacting required.

    And for not using SRS? Your “perception” that you will not forget that sentence in a year is totally absolutely unreliable. Dr. Wozniak has shown that memory DURABILITY and memory fluency (can’t remember his exact term) are quite unrelated. Durability can only be proven over time. You may feel you can remember a piece of info for the rest of your life no problem at this moment because it comes to the mind with so much ease — but let me tell you after a full YEAR of using the words 誘う and 着く on a daily basis in Japan, and then abandoning the language for 3 years, I managed to forget them utterly. (Of course there were 1,000 LESS COMMON WORDS I didn’t forget in that time, but that’s exactly my point, almost any item is susceptible to being lost if you aren’t repeating it. Your example is one which you repeat if you use the language at all, regardless if you put it in your SRS or not.)

  26. Nuke-Marine
    August 26, 2008 at 01:09

    For me, the SRS is fun. It was typing in that gods damned sentences that wasn’t fun. For others, they got a rush typing in stuff all on their own, getting out the dictionary. For others, SRS is work and watching Tiger & Dragon is fun.

    If you haven’t figured it out, we’re each going to have our own reason and take our own way to doing this. I’m not Khatzumoto, so I’m not going to watch Gokusen over and over again nor will I look fetching in a speedo. I’m Charles, and I get a thrill out of learning new things, so for me every new sentence that adds something is a little thrill. Khatzumoto liked Evangelion (did I get that right), so that’s his thrill to improve Japanese. I love to sing Japanese songs at public Karaoke bars, and I’m using that enjoyment to get better at it (practice with printouts, overlisten to the songs, put the verses in an SRS). For someone else that would be idiotic, and they’d be right.

    Yeah, I put off studying to go out drinking and Karaoke and hopefully pick up a lady. But at least I did it in Japan and tried to use Japanese when I could. Know what, that flies in the face of advice (given here and at antimoon) to not to try to speak Japanese till you’re ready. Bollocks to that too. If you (as an individual) actually get a thrill of using even the currently rusty Japanese, then go for it. Have some dessert prior to that main course.

    So yeah, keep it fun. Don’t degrade how others approach it if it is working for them. Caution them if you think they’re heading in the wrong direction (putting the process as the only purpose being a good sign). Just realize that what may not work for you is the driving force behind another. Yeah, even those guys you think are wasting their time at a Japanese class.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have 70 sentences built up in my SRS and a five hour night watch filled with nothing but free time to get it done.

  27. hyij
    August 26, 2008 at 03:26

    @Chiro-kun: “Yeah Pokemon. How is it that EVERY fan of the game remembers 386 (and now a lot more) totally UNRELATED names and their types? Their attacks? The various items and what they do? OMG no SRS! OMG no mnemonics!”

    Don’t you realize that a deck of pokemons basically works like an SRS? As you encounter the same 386 cards over and over they will start to stick to your mind.
    So that’s a very strange argument.

  28. NDN
    August 26, 2008 at 03:42

    @Phauna
    I’m with nacest, too.
    By my own experience, I’d say that fun is the key to learning anything UNLESS one is addicted to pain, suffering, boredom, etc. In my university course (computer engineering), in the first year, I became one of the best students, BUT I found it was due to extra-effortful exercises. I love what I do but “extra” doesn’t fit well sometimes and after finding this site, I realized I could put even more fun to what I love thus reducing the amount of exercises. So now, instead of making TOO MANY exercises, I simply play with the themes(once ONLY) using my imagination. When I need to code something, I don’t go anymore for “x becomes y and z goes for b, etc…”, I picture them using “ANIME ULTRA-EXCITING EFFECTS”. This brings REAL FUN to my learning process and the code just gets out naturally. That’s why I trully believe that if one likes fun then fun is the key to his/her learning.

  29. Kaba
    August 26, 2008 at 03:50

    QuackingShoe-
    The deal with phrases popping into your head being un-SRS-derived, I got the same thing going on. (the current one that seems to float around in my head a lot is 「朝っぱらから」probably because the gardeners and their loudness come around pretty early and I’m not such a morning person.) I think it’s because there’s not much “attitude” in just an SRS entry without audio added. And I’m guessing it’s a common thing to be in a “OK done, NEXT!” sort of mindset when doing reps. Occasionally there’s a funny sentence that’s read with laughter as I recall what scene it came from in a drama though.

    I think the most useful part of SRSing is the kanji reading acquisition. Over time, the SRS seems to put your mind in a state where you can guess which reading 場 might have in a given word. It becomes easier to automatically pick the reading 「じょう」over 「ば」and vice versa. And you don’t even have to be conscious of whether it’s an onyomi or kunyomi, really.
    It’s saving me time since these “guesses” are enabling me to keep away from a dictionary more and more. An example would be the word 微妙。By knowing the readings of each kanji, I found it was the word びみょう,
    which I’m quite familiar with hearing-wise. The SRS is, in this sort of way, preparation for the mind. I think the people who are hesitant to try an SRS are the ones who think you’re supposed to completely rely on it for learning, when what it really does is allow the mind to apply knowledge elsewhere.

  30. beneficii
    August 26, 2008 at 05:46

    私はkabaに賛成です。漢字の読みの練習以外、SRSに便利がなさそうです。

  31. phauna
    August 26, 2008 at 08:15

    About the ‘fun is bollocks’ comment, I just meant that I could think of about ten other things more important than fun in the AJATT learning method, and indeed many other methods. Here are some; amount of input, repetition / SRS, more listening practice than regular language learning methods, input before output, immersion, intensity/ drive/ motivation. comprehensible input / i+1, variety, etc.

    Fun is way down the list, IMHO.

    About the cost of fun, I live in Japan so the TV is available. At second hand stores you can buy a DVD for 750 yen which is really cheap, manga and books are also a bargain, and of course I also acquire material through other means. Buy some stuff, acquire some stuff, karma will be appeased.

  32. alyks
    August 26, 2008 at 13:28

    I’m with Phauna on this one. But I also think doing the whole sentence “hunting” and studying and reps fun. It’s lots of fun for me. But I also disagree with what people thing the idea of AJATT is.

    When you have total immersion, sentence mining really becomes the type of thing to happen naturally. Sentences in an SRS is just a tool. It’s an effective and efficient way to study and retain knowledge as an alternative to vocab/grammar flashcards. Repetition is a necessary evil no matter what path you take. Even total and complete immersion with natives gives intense repetition. SRS is just an effective way to satisfy that need and sentences are the optimal format. The real learning is in the constant Japanese practice you get.

    With that said, I also agree with what Nukemarine. One thing he points out is that until you get to a certain point, mass-mined community sentence projects (UBJG, JFE, Handbook of Japanese Verbs) are all perfect for the beginner and necessary to get their feet wet. At that point you don’t know enough grammar to truly benefit from full blown Japanese sources like manga or anime.

  33. alyks
    August 26, 2008 at 14:01

    Oh man, excuse the typos in my post.

  34. Chiro-kun
    August 26, 2008 at 16:27

    “In fact, if you were to leave one in front of the TV enough, he could be at risk for not even learning his mother tongue to his age level.”
    That wasn’t my point. I mean, sure, those who read books are obviously able to express themselves better in the language than those who watch TV. More words, more context and natural spaced repetition.

    “so many thousands of hours which it would not only be financially impossible for any adult to achieve, but totally impractical for the meager progress made in proportion of hours interacting required.”
    You’re you and I’m me. I never said I had anything against an SRS. I’ve (seriously) not had enough audio input (a maximum of 3 hours a day, I could never be Khatzumoto-sensei). I skipped a whole month. But I understand much more than I ever did through regular SRSing.

    “Your “perception” that you will not forget that sentence in a year is totally absolutely unreliable.”
    and
    “You may feel you can remember a piece of info for the rest of your life no problem at this moment because it comes to the mind with so much ease — but let me tell you after a full YEAR of using the words 誘う and 着く on a daily basis in Japan, and then abandoning the language for 3 years, I managed to forget them utterly.”

    I believe we can do better than use the language once in 3 years. If not, why’re we even learning it in the first place? I might as well put my name in my SRS in case I become a drug addict and get life imprisonment.

    I forgive myself for forgetting. Simply put, I want to function as a Japanese person who can read, write and speak in Japanese. If I don’t know the word and it hasn’t come up all my life then I don’t need to know it. If I do, it’ll catch my attention again. If Japanese is SO unimportant that I won’t be using it more than once in 3 years….I’ll forgive myself for self-torture in the first place.

    Many people seemed to have misunderstood my comment as an attack on SRSing and repetition itself. Sorry if I made it seem that way. It’s just as Alyks says –
    “When you have total immersion, sentence mining really becomes the type of thing to happen naturally.”

    I wouldn’t have even started learning Japanese if it wasn’t for having fun (by reading manga). Khatzumoto inspired me to actually get on my butt and start doing it. But I became an SRS addict instead of being completely immersed. I won’t make that mistake again. I don’t want to learn isolated sentences and keep them in my memory till the day that I die so I may use the language in my afterlife. I don’t want to make a colloquial expressions deck in Anki, I want to read manga. I don’t want to TTS every page I see to throw into my SRS, I just want to listen to music. I don’t want to analyze, nitpick and learn Japanese, I want to BE Japanese.

    I’m not going to be posting anymore on this, I think I’ve made my self clear on this issue. We can spend hours boiling our heads over spaced repetition, sincerity and discipline. Or we can just turn on that TV or read that book or play that game.

  35. Homebound
    August 27, 2008 at 07:43

    The whole point of this site is NOT (at least IMO), that the SRS is a super leet Japanese-ifying tool, which if you use you will become fluent. People seem to have reduced the whole method down to “Collect 10000 sentences. Plug in SRS. Repeat ad nauseum for 18 months. Become fluent.”

    The point of this site is to stop trying to learn and have fun BEING a Japanese baby. “Calm down and Hurry up” as it were.
    People forgot the fun. People forgot to just sit and watch, read and listen to the things they enjoy. For instance, I’m really interested in law and so I read that stuff like yesterday’s pizza. Yep, that fast. But reading it might ONLY be fun for me. And because I enjoy it more of it sticks more easily anyway. And then when the sentences come up in the SRS, I know exactly where they come from and why I picked them. And the SRS isn’t a chore, coz I’m reading sentences about topics I enjoy. It’s fun – but only for so long – eventually I close Anki and go back to the next Death Note/law report. And fluency should begin (or should I say, IS very slowly) flowing out of that.

    Quick metaphor: Driving three hours in the car as a kid was boring right? Even now, probably…But it goes so much faster with I-spy, radio, PSP, DS, sing-a-longs, portable DVD players and other things you have fun doing. Only difference with AJATT is that the fun stuff actually helps you get there; the SRS just helps maintain the pace, whatever pace you prefer.

    Enough of the self-righteous “I use my SRS for 30 hours a day and have 10000 sentences I am holier than thou who only does it for 30 minutes and has 2000” Everyone works differently. Science now estimates that there are over 6 BILLION kinds of intelligence. That’s right – one for every single person. One person’s Rip Slyme is another person’s Arashi. One person’s Pokemon is another person’s Cowboy Bebop. The roads and the tools (including the SRS) are not important. It’s the goal.

  36. Yuna
    August 29, 2008 at 07:31

    Hey Khatzumoto! Thank you for your site. It really helps.
    And I’m starting to live japanese life as soon as I’ll get all essential materials ;).
    I’ve read your “no speak english” (well, for me it would be “no speak polish ;)) entry and I would like to ask you a question; how often did you speak english while using this method?
    Because I’ve already decided to do this but I guess my friends and family wouldn’t be happy if I would talk to them in japanese 😉 Maybe that’s a stupid question but you know, sometimes you just have to use your mother tongue ^^’.
    Heh and maybe I’ll use this method for brushing up my english because it’s not as good as it could be even if I live in England :D.

  37. acute
    June 16, 2009 at 04:53

    Im curious Khatz. From figures you have shown its shows you where still adding on average 20 sentences per day, which means you would’ve spent considerable time on SRS’ing right? atleast for a few months? Did you always get your deck down to zero at the end of the day?. I just spent 3 hours on 132 reps.. Didnt feel like i slacked off too much during that time.. Is something wrong with what im doing ya think?

  38. wordz_5th
    November 22, 2009 at 12:25

    Ok, first off I did not read this post, yet.. I will but I have been reading you post all day, except the break I took to go see 2012 and chat with my wife on Windows Live.. but I have read your other posts on SRS and quitle frankly it’s frustrating (did I misspell that?) me. I am still confused on this SRSing thing. I’m sorry I love your website I really do and I love your philosophy, but I have a headache now. Maybe I’m just slow… I just hope that these next posts will clear up my confusion, I really do. On that note, keep up the good work, you are my hero.. and you make me proud to be black-ish (as my friends call me becuse of my lack of “ghetto-ness”… sorry I just think after a cetain age you should pull up your pants and take off that jersey if you are not going or participating in a game or watching it on tv…). Anyway, I’m glad I found your sight, sir. May we converse in the native tongue of Nippon one day.

  39. wordz_5th
    November 22, 2009 at 12:27

    Ok, I meant “site” as in “website”… sorry.

  40. Ness
    June 4, 2011 at 11:36

    Just had to say this:
    I was listening to Rip Slyme while reading this (have been pretty much nonstop for a week or two, actually… Rip slyme and AJATT posts :P) and was all “KYAAAAA RIP SLYME!!! IM AN OBSESSIVE NERD!!! AND KHATZ (the amazing average-genius who made life awesomer just by making a website :P) MENTIONED LISTENING TO RIP SLYME IN A POST ON AJATT IT’S TWO AWESOME THINGS IN ONE WHEE KYA!
    Except it ended up actually coming out as “…woh, cool :D” but same thing…

  41. Kimura
    October 17, 2011 at 02:25

    So, the reason I’ve been slacking on my Anki reviews (currently averaging two “Oh くそ I’ve got 300 cards due!” marathons a week) is because I’ve been thinking of it as 勉強/宿題?

Leave a Reply

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