Method Review: 2- AJATT

All Japanese All The Time: AJATT method by Khatzumoto

One faithful day a fellow smart.fm user told me that I’d want to check out a “cool happening website” about learning Japanese. Since I never turn down any new outlooks on life and learning I decided to give it a read. As Ka-san put out on his about page it is:

“This site is about how you can learn Japanese without taking classes, by having fun and doing things you enjoy—watching movies, playing video games, reading comic books—you know: fun stuff! Stuff that you feel guilty about doing because you should be doing “serious things”.

I am your host, Khatzumoto. ..I learned Japanese in 18 months by having fun. In June 2004, at the ripe old age of 21… I started learning Japanese. By September 2005, I had learned enough to read technical material, conduct business correspondence and job interviews in Japanese. By the next month, I landed a job as a software engineer at a large Japanese company in Tokyo (yay!).I didn’t take classes…I didn’t read textbooks and I had never lived in Japan.

So how did I do it? Well, by spending 18-24 hours a day doing something, anything in Japanese (”all Japanese, all the time”)…

…I’m [not] better than you or smarter than you. I am not. I am not special—in fact, I have an embarrassing history of making incredibly dumb mistakes that other people just never make. But I achieved some good results and there were reasons for that, namely:

1. The belief that I could become fluent in Japanese
2. Constantly doing fun stuff in Japanese

… So this site exists for 2 reasons:

1. To tell you how I learned Japanese by having fun, so that you can do it, too.
2. To give you some new cool tools that I did not have, and that would have made things much faster and easier for me.

… I am telling you that if you start giving your life to Japanese every-single-day-24/7/365, then you will not just learn Japanese, you will become Japanese. And I am telling you that the way to do that is to do fun things and only fun things: boring classes, boring textbooks and whiny classmates are out! Despite what you may have been raised to believe, boredom is not the same as learning; it’s the opposite; it is by enjoying ourselves that we truly learn.”

What a selling pitch eh? So what is his method? Here is a super fast rundown in picture form!

Basically Ka-san says, go get the RTK (Remembering the Kanji) by Mr. James W. Heisig book and begin learning kanji. While you begin inputing these into an SRS (like anki, http://kanji.koohii.com/learnmore, ect.) you should be destroying all things English in your life. Complete Immersion! He tries to impart the idea that you should become Japanese, pretend, act, and totally be Japanese. You should also only do fun things during this time. He has lots of little advice for motivation and switching out your stuff, but that’s all on the site.

Once you’re through with the RTK book 1, go through RTKana really quick before starting up the wonderful world of Sentence Mining. Basically you learn grammar, usage, and pronunciation through srs’ing sentences you encounter in your Japanese environment. He also recommends a whole 10k of them, tells you to focus on input over output, on monolingual, no subtitled things, ect. Once you accrue 10k sentences, 1mil words and over 10k listening hours, he deems that your Japanese will be awesome sauce, and from there its just gravy.

Of course, this review is pretty short and leaves out a lot of super fine details and great motivational speeches Ka-san likes to give, I figured since the website is still up and very much well maintained, it wont kill you to go read his site yourself! Ka-san has also released three wonderful products along side his FREE website. (If you read everything, you don’t need these things, he even says this himself) It is the QRG book, movie, and First Sentence Pack. The QRG means Quick Reference Guide and its exactly that: a straight to the point reference guide that sums up all of his site in a concise manner with a few more tips. The movie goes into a lot more detail as well. The sentence pack is an “electronic book in PDF format, clocking in at just over 200 pages, containing more than 560 Japanese sentences, with English translations and brief explanations where necessary”.

PROS:

*Flexibility to be as cheap or as expensive as you want it to be

*immersion environment

*learns usage/sounds of kanji and grammar through natural use versus grammar points

*never fall into the romaji trap, thank god

*Addresses all language learning needs

*variety

*detailed instructions that fit Japanese, as well as generalities to encompass any language

*fun witty humor alongside lots of motivational speeches

*great site recommendations, resources, and large following to talk to

*Sounding native is more natural due to the immersion of “real” Japanese versus outdated books or proper stale language usage.

CONS:

*You get accused of being in an occult!

*This method is sooo immersion that some feel you abandon your “real life” or that it conflicts with spouses/kids/job/ect.

*requires a lot of reading through a very giant site to get the full picture (time consuming unless you skip to the QRG)

*Beginning sometimes feels slow, drawn out, without progression (Going through RTK stops  a lot of people due to its length)

*Some accuse its lack of learning through grammar points bad!

*if you hate SRS then this is just not for you, mostly

All in all, AJATT has captured many language learner’s attention. I’d dare say that Ka-san is a bit of an internet fame when it comes to Japanese language learning. Does it work? Yea, lots of people go on and on about how successful they’ve been with the method, and tweaking it to fit their needs is really easy! Not many tend to banish AJATT altogether, though some will say that the method just wasn’t for them (completely reasonable).

Are AJATT followers truly occultists? Nah! Though those of us who are currently following the method (or at least most of it) will never hesitate to talk about its goodness, we are all very sane people with normal lives. None of us (at least I hope so) go around tattooing Ka-san’s face on our shoulders while saying the language learner’s prayer! I think its just great smarts to share something that works.

I must say that I do disagree with only one major stepping stone in the whole process. I believe that one should learn the kana before learning the kanji. My reason for this is: I just happened to have done Kana before Kanji and I found when watching dramas, tv, ect, I was able to hear the sounds of the language far easier because I knew what the basic building blocks of their sounds were. My ability then to innately understand more improved vastly compared to some I have met that didn’t. Just my feeling anyways, plus the kana is short and simple to get through and it feels like I learned something fast before I went through a period where I felt I learned slower.

While AJATT does provide a lot of sources for you to go through, it does not do the footwork (WTH! refund!) for you. You will still have to go through and find all the 10k sentences and you’ll have to enter them all in yourself! You’ll have to find all your own dramas, music, ect. But hey, Ka-san isn’t God, now is he? 😛

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  • Read More or Die! 2011

    _2011 End Results_
    Total read for Tadoku:
    __433.3 pages!__
    Placement: 115/188
    ___________________
    October 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 97/120
    End Tally: 59.2
    ___________________
    July 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 86/142
    End Tally: 195.6
    ___________________
    April 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 62/106
    End Tally: 154.5
    ___________________
    January 2011 Contest:
    Placement: 84/99
    End Tally: 24
    ___________________
    August 2010 Contest:
    Placement: 20/41
    End Tally: 160

  • Read Or Die 2013

    **************
    June:
    Goal: 600
    Total: 906.26
    blew my goal outta the water!

    **************
    March 2-Week:
    Goal: 125
    Total:302.75

    **************
    January:
    Goal: 250
    Total: 314

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