Okay so curiosity killed this cat! Not haha, anyhow, I kept seeing a few posts from AJATT’s twitter feed that talked about a new card format. After a twitter to him asking what MCD stood for (and no its not McDonalds) and not getting a reply made my curiosity buttons get pushed more.
If you’ve not heard of AJATT then you probably haven’t heard of it’s projects either. There are quite a few now, and I myself have three now. Two were a Christmas gift (qrg and mfsp) and then now I just subscribed to AJATT+.
Here’s a little rantathon: When I first went on the web I tried to find some reviews about this product. AJATT sums it up really well, however that doesn’t really tell you the feel of things, or if its really hit it off. I also noticed, no one online that I’ve found really goes on about it either, except one forum that bashes it for costing money.
My feeling is this, people only bash things for three reasons: 1)hate it (really, they just don’t dig it), 2)Jealous (I wish I could make money farting around!), or 3)They just don’t know anything and are assuming what it is (so and so hates it so I will too).
So, since I don’t follow hate bashing of those who’ve not tried, I decided to finally shed some light on the AJATT+ situation. For starters, I have nothing against a person doing work and getting paid for it. If you spent a good portion of your free time helping out others, after a while it will get old and you’ll want something in return. That’s natural. Even my honey do gets paid food or the like for fixing someone’s a/c on the down low. I think people are starting to feel anything online should be free, but if you think about it in real life, if you came to him in person and asked advice, you’d be paying more money than what he’s asking for. All in all, don’t complain because you don’t want to pay. Complain only if you pay and it sucks balls (but he’ll refund it anyways, so what’s the risk?). Okay I’ll step off meh soap box.
So I paid, only the one month (about $10). I’ll mostly likely sap this resource for a month then wait a long time and do it again (unless maybe I get addicted?).
Getting through the start up was really easy. I was glad when it didn’t make me go to my inbox and click on this link and do that and do this. I hate long registrations and that just turns me off, but this was fairy simple and fast. The registration page opens into another page that basically says, go here for guidelines or introduce yourself on the forum page. It gives links to both. So being the rebel I am, I passed the whole guidelines section (because that’s for goody two shoes and squares yo!) and went to the forums. I posted a little snit saying I’m here.
I spent a few minutes just doing a lightening by look at the forums. In fact, my curiosity about what MCDs might be made me overlook a lot of stuff at first, but I did see a lot of fun threads and the community is currently right over 250. Not a lot, but definably not a small amount either. Khatz even had a thread for bombarding him with questions, living up to his word.
The main AJATT+ site looks a lot like AJATT’s free blog newest layout. You see the newest article up top larger, and the older ones in smaller boxes down below. I must say that I was kinda shocked at the number of articles already made considering it hasn’t been around for that long. A lot of them had audio and what not. I didn’t go into them further due to my MCD obsession.
I did notice that on the left side was a few sections, recent posts, recent comments, and tweets. I love that. In the forums you can also follow threads and get notifications, send people messages, you know, the normal stuff. So after finding what I thought was the first post on MCD’s it was actually a second post, but you know Khatz, he’s good about linking previous articles that apply, so off I went on a reading frenzy that lasted about 20 minutes before I realized I had to go feed my daughter.
Over all, good layout, easy to find anything. I like simple and straight to the point without the added craziness of fluff that’s unnecessary. Maybe the only thing I could see proving useful is a category list. [edit addition- not sure if I didn't see this before but now there is a category list. Either Khatz read this and thought, hey yeah, makes sense, or I'm a complete idiot for not seeing it to begin with! haha but its there now!]
Forums pretty much are the same everywhere, but maybe you’re curious as to what a paying forum might give you that’s different. I’m sure there are lots of forums out there that do swapping of materials, advice, links, techniques, and somewhat moderation, however with the +forums you get all that plus better moderation (weed out trolls/haters mad fast), be able to bug Khatz for attention (some people want to talk to the lion’s mouth, so to speak), and specifics on the AJATT method from Khatz and other users that for some reason people don’t get through the websites. Really its a forum to specifically get those who’re like minded about the method used in AJATT. Like minded is the key here. In AJATT+ you’re not going to get people who like to bash the AJATT method/Heisig, but still talk about sentence mining.
It being a smaller community probably is annoying to some, but I don’t see threads being inactive. After popping around I can see that people are generally good about responding to people, or reading posts that just have info on it. I don’t enjoy forums that are inactive, but I also don’t enjoy forums that are so big and active that so much gets re-posted and re-posted and then lost in the onslaught of activity. I see that as the benefit of smaller active communities. A comparable forum that’s pretty similar would be Koohi’s forum (lots of good info too), however the trolls there are many, and I don’t really care for the arguments and constant hating. Oh well .
Currently there are 5 pages of articles each with varying amounts on them, and I’m to lazy to count. I know its enough information though to last me at least a week or more of reading (I can plow through some material!). I can see audio too, yay! There is also full Japanese articles, as promised, and English ones too. On a side note, there is a lot of Japanese integration into the website itself. Not everything shows as English and I think that’s awesome. Back on track. There are lots of articles about his newest techniques that he doesn’t talk about on the main site. When Doug played WOW he always gave people a version old macro. It makes me think of that. You’re getting an older version of his studying habits on the main AJATT, and AJATT+ has the newest version. Of course, the newer version doesn’t seem to be as well studied and tested (yet), but that is where the fun is at, I think. Of course, all this info, at least in passing browsing could be found else where, its conveniently wrapped up here.
To clarify, his newest version doesn’t change the traditional steps really at all (unless you want to try out the lazy kanji cards which could technically be applied in the RTK step), its the same. However, with the onslaught of his MCD articles talking about replacing the 10k sentences, this to me is a step to take once you’ve sorta mastered that. It to me is a more advanced monolingual study method to retain and maintain your language as well as add a few vocabulary.
I do like the real e mail series, as its just as a real Japanese person is doing. I guess what I mean to say is its not fake dialogue, they’re emails that he’s actually reading and writing. I also like that he actively replies to comments made on posts. I noticed in the regular AJATT site he was starting to get really bad about leaving people hanging (not ever responding), but here it seems with monetary motivation, he answers often.
I of course cannot divulge the information on the site, that’s cheating, sorry. I can say though that its a nice bundle of information that is at least worth the one paid subscription to read them alone (plus you could save them and read them later outside the browser of course).
Where it Might Go
Really there are only three things that could happen. One – it dies out. Two – it stays the same. Three – it gets really large! I don’t see this forum getting crazy large, but the articles could really get to racking a great deal in size. I like to follow the works of intellectuals who I feel are similar minded, so to me, as long as he’s actively posting, I don’t see it as a waste of money. I could eat $10 bucks of food and not be the richer for it . I can see a lot of the forum side does have other language sections, which is neat if you plan on using the method for another language. You’ll have others in the same method that’ve tried out other things and what not.
I would ultimately like to see more actual interaction of Japanese. Though there is a thread for Japanese only, It’d be nice if there were maybe a chatting service that fluent native/native-like speakers could speak to those not quite as good as a form of practice. Like one big chat room or maybe even more one on one. A lot of people out there get really shy about on the spot interaction or even feel to shy to go out and make a friend through skype. I think AJATT+ would really set itself apart from its basic site if it did something like that.
Anyhow, I hope that let you know more about the feel of AJATT+. If you have any questions specifically about content, just as me and I’ll let you know if its covered or what not. I don’t want you to waste money if you really feel it isn’t something that will benefit you. I still think it primarily speaks to learners in the intermediate and beginner stage, with a few dabs of advanced here and there. I think it also speaks to those who do need guidance and some motivation to keep at it. In the world of self learning or autodidacticisim, people tend to think asking for help/advice is pretty lame, but I think that it has its place. It’s not as though you learn physics on your own, you usually follow someone’s discoveries and formulas until you’re able to do enough of it to explore new things on your own.