- Social Resistance
- Reading and Respectability
- Flame Less + Journal More = Win
- Turn Yourself Into A Monster: What To Do When People Around You Are Not Encouraging Or Supportive
- Don’t Be A Hero
- Their Freedom To Hate → Your Freedom To Become Great
- The Righteousness of Selfishness
- Whose Team Are You On?
- Don’t Debate: Experiment
- Shadowing: No One Will Ever Love You Again
So, I’m there on the Internet, minding my own business, when BAM! The series of tubes conspires to hit me with this:
Hey Khatz, your website has really inspired me. I’m 15 years old, and I love Japanese culture. I’ve always wanted to be fluent in Japanese, but felt that it was impossible. However, one day I came across your site. At first I was like, “Whoa, this guy must be some kind of genius! Fluency in 18 months? Wow!” But then I got to thinking. I realized that you are just a normal guy who found a great (wait no, the only) way to achieve fluency, which is by the immersion process.
So I thought, “What the heck, I’ll buy Heisig’s books and try my best to live the life of a Japanese child.” I hadn’t gotten far when people began to notice what I was doing. My friends told me I was “crazy”, my teacher’s said this method had never been “scientifically tested”, and even my own parents said that what I was doing was “absolutely worthless”. I need some encouragement, Khatz. How did you overcome what other people thought about “all japanese all the time?” Can you give me any tips?
WARNING: I am about to go all New Agey on you. I will snap out of it. Actually, I’m not really going New Agey,at all, it’s just going to sound like I am.
The words people say and things people do to you…could be thought of as having a numerically quantifiable emotional content. Just to sound New Age, let’s call this quantity “energy” (said in my best Southern California accent: “ENerrrgy”).
Keep in mind that I am not saying any of this actually exists. It doesn’t. Not to my knowledge. It’s just a thought model…a way of representing an idea. It has no real physical existence (except, I guess, at the level of electrochemical action in the brain, but…anyway, whatever…)
So let’s call this “energy” (*cringe*), E for short, to give this essay the appearance of mathematical rigor. Pseudoscience for the win, baby!
- E = emotional “energy”.
- -E = Resistance
- +E = Encouragement.
- 0E = Indifference
Now, it would seem that the answer is to shut out all the -E and overwhelm it with +E. Or, even force people who are giving you -E to change sign. Unfortunately, contemporary society as a whole is unlikely to start actively giving you positive encouragement, because it’s far too cool for that. As it happens, though, it’s cheaper and easier to change yourself than to wait for the whole society to change for you. Thus, rather than go all Transformers, expending oodles of priceless time and effort on the acquisition of +E (energon cubes!), we need only realize that:
All that matters is the absolute value of E, |E|.
So let’s say “you’re crazy and you suck and it’ll never work” is -100 E, and “you were born to be Japanese; you have preternaturally large reproductive organs; Japanese is your destiny“, is +100 E. Either way, |E| = 100.
So you need to turn into a monster; a monster that only gets stronger the more it is attacked. Become an omnivore. Even if you eat a plant-based diet :D. Eat all forms of “energy” (say it with me: “ENerrrgy”).
Let resistance fuel you — funnel that rage and despair into the productive accumulation of more Japanese knowledge. Let encouragement fuel you — grow yourself into the positive vision people have of you.
Either way, it’s all good. It’s all usable. You’re like a plant. People give you B.S., you use it as fertilizer; people give you sunshine, you photosynthesize. All you care about is |E|, and in fact, you may even get to the point where the only thing that bothers you is |E|=0. This point is called “being an attention whore, like Khatzumoto”.
Whatever you do, don’t argue. You will not win. And even if you do win, you won’t win. “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still” and all that. Besides, what honor is there in out-talking a retard? Yes, I said it: “women and minorities”! Every moment spent arguing with some schmuck, is a moment that would be far better spent on Japanese.
To be fair to your detractors, you are not exactly a shining example of success in your chosen language acquisition method…yet. But then again, how could you be — you’re just a “baby”. Unable to directly demonstrate the validity of what you’re saying, the typical instinct might be to go pull up some articles and shove them in everyone’s face with a triumphant “SEE?!!”. Resist the urge. You will still lose the argument. And your time. The same people who now bait with: “there’s no research to support your claims”, when shown good research, will then switch to: “So what? That research is bogus anyway! If this crap works so well, why isn’t everyone doing it?” [because they’re too busy arguing?…痴線！] . This arguing thing is not a winnable game.
Let your Japanese skill do all the talking, which it eventually will, thank you very much, because you’re doing some Japanese right now, right? Whatever trouble you may be facing now, it’s all just fuel. Any obstacles you face exist only to add dramatic flavor to a legend that has already been written — The Legend of How You Learned Japanese To Native-Level Fluency On Your Own.
One day your friends will be begging you to translate Japanese for them. Until that day, shut them out with your headphones 🙂 and drown them out with Japanese music, if and when they get too rowdy. Besides, it’s not like you understand English anyway.
Anyway, that’s all from me.
How do you other AJATTeers deal with social resistance? Share!
Energy…now that I think about it, “intensity” would probably have been far more appropriate. Oh, well.