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All Japanese All The Time

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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby NocturnalOcean » Wed 01.28.2009 3:18 pm

I read on his page that he said is not smart and just like everybody else, but I still think that it is pretty clear that he is a smart guy and that Japanese that was something that came pretty easily for him. Getting a work in Japan as a software engineer after learning Japanese just for one year or so clearly is a notable feature. With this in mind, I think that no matter how good his method is, I believe that if 100 people did the same thing, those 100 wouldn't reach the same level of fluency. That is something I noted just from being in class at university as well. There was a pretty big gap between the different students. Not only those who worked hard and those who didn't, but also among those working about equally hard.

This is simply because some people have easier to learn certain things than others. Those things can of course vary from person to person, one person can be good at learning one thing but bad at the other, and another person can again be the opposite. And to me at least, this guy seems to have a pretty good ear for Japanese, especially getting a pronunciation and a grip of the language like that.

That's why I think people should be careful carrying expectations that this way of studying is a miracle cure that will teach any person to be equally good in Japanese. This of course not saying that this is not a good method.
We all know hard studying usually leads to good progress.

Keep it up
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby furrykef » Wed 01.28.2009 5:12 pm

As for Khatzumoto's overuse of kanji, he does it deliberately in order to maximize practice with kanji. I don't know if he'd normally overuse kanji that way.

I'm using a similar approach in my own studies, but not quite as overboard (not going so far as using 有る, 居る, etc.). For example I may write the suffix くらい/ぐらい as 位 in order to be familiar with that usage, but I wouldn't normally write it that way.

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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby jcdietz03 » Wed 01.28.2009 6:04 pm

In this thread, titled "Did you learn Japanese in a short amount of time" http://www.thejapanesepage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=11794 No one seems to want to answer that question, instead choosing to say how long they have been studying. But user TwoHeadsTalking says he learned "basic conversation in 1 year and fluent in 2 years" which seems pretty close to Khatsu's story (he learned in 18 months). It seems plausible that he really did this, and I would say that's quite amazing.

Someone in that other thread mentioned that you should probably take a primer course or something to see if you even like the language before deciding to study it more heavily. I think a lot of people learn Hiragana first because it's easier than Kanji. There might be merit to learning Kanji first but seriously, how many people (other than Chinese) do you think really do that? How bad would it be to complete the Heisig course only to learn you hate Japanese?
I read on his page that he said is not smart and just like everybody else, but I still think that it is pretty clear that he is a smart guy and that Japanese that was something that came pretty easily for him.
I don't know. I bet there are an awfully large number of smart people who failed at learning foreign language. Being smart probably doesn't have too much to do with success in learning foreign language. I'm not a teacher though, I don't really know.
With this in mind, I think that no matter how good his method is, I believe that if 100 people did the same thing, those 100 wouldn't reach the same level of fluency.
I know three people have (the testimonials he posted). Maybe he is lying and wrote the testimonials though. However, the website has been up for around 1.5 years now, so it's not too surprising that there are some testimonials. Basically all I'm trying to say is, success is possible using the AJATT method.

And slightly offtopic, the hiragana/katakana primer courses on TJP are great. I'm proud to say that's how I learned them.
Last edited by jcdietz03 on Wed 01.28.2009 6:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 01.28.2009 6:06 pm

I don't think it makes sense to practice usage that you aren't going to actually be using. This is especially true with things like 此れ -- not only is これ hardly ever written like that, but the kanji 此 is hardly ever used. I suppose there's no harm in learning it, but you don't really need to waste time on it either.

I know three people have (the testimonials he posted). Maybe he is lying and wrote the testimonials though.


3 people is not that many. I doubt he faked the testimonials. I have no doubt that this method worked well for him and that some people will find it very good, it just won't work for everyone. That doesn't mean it's a bad method or that people shouldn't try it, just that they may not find it to work as well as he did.
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby richvh » Wed 01.28.2009 6:55 pm

jcdietz03 wrote:In this thread, titled "Did you learn Japanese in a short amount of time" http://www.thejapanesepage.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=11794 No one seems to want to answer that question, instead choosing to say how long they have been studying. But user TwoHeadsTalking says he learned "basic conversation in 1 year and fluent in 2 years" which seems pretty close to Khatsu's story (he learned in 18 months). It seems plausible that he really did this, and I would say that's quite amazing.

The reason why I, at least, didn't answer it, is that the question is ill defined. What, exactly, does "learn Japanese" mean? What, exactly, is a short amount of time? There are so many variables that it's essentially impossible to answer in a meaningful manner. Besides, people who have lived in Japan and studied Japanese for decades will tell you they're still learning. Now change the question to give a landmark, and it's easier to answer. "How long did it take you to reach a level where you could (read a (novel/newspaper/manga)/pass the JLPT1/hold a coherent conversation)?" would be a template for a much better question.
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby nukemarine » Wed 01.28.2009 8:00 pm

Yudan, ultimately the "method" boils down to always listening and watching fun stuff in Japanese. Reading translated Manga doesn't count, watching anime with English sub-titles doesn't count, living in Japan does not count. I'm sorry Yudan, but watching tons of Japanese is going to work for everybody if they do it. The hard part is doing it (which is hard only because it's easy not do). No matter what study method you choose, tossing on thousands of hours of real Japanese is going to make you outstanding at Japanese.

As for the method of study, he advocates the sentence method. I tend to agree with this method. There's just different ways to approach it.

Rich, yes, he did try doing that with comics. He mentions in the videos linked above that the comics, well, sucked. The instant you try to use Japanese specifically for teaching, it begins to suck (paraphrasing). However, I agree that if it's not natural to use kanji in certain case then it should naturally be avoided. Again, above my pay grade.

Nocturnal Ocean, in this "case study" of 100 people, they are all walking around with an iPod listening to audio rips of a cool Japanese show they saw recently? They have their computer set up to play Japanese channel of KeyHole TV? They play Japanese music or audio close to 24 hours a day? They're watching American shows dubbed and subbed in Japanese? They're watching Japanese shows? All this for a year? On top of that, they're building 20 to 30 sentences on average into their SRS and keep up with reviews (about 2 hours of study time) per day? Sorry, that much effort is going to net you one proficient Japanese speaker. That's the thing you're not going to notice in University: who's watching the most real Japanese. Not sure how you qualify who's working the hardest though.
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 01.28.2009 8:16 pm

nukemarine wrote:Yudan, ultimately the "method" boils down to always listening and watching fun stuff in Japanese. Reading translated Manga doesn't count, watching anime with English sub-titles doesn't count, living in Japan does not count. I'm sorry Yudan, but watching tons of Japanese is going to work for everybody if they do it.


If they do it. 18-24 hours a day spending time with Japanese is unrealistic for the majority of the population, thus it's not going to work for many people.

I disagree with many parts of his approach (which isn't the same thing as saying it won't work for anybody), but I'm too tired to have a long pedagogy debate right now.
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby nukemarine » Wed 01.28.2009 9:05 pm

Yudan Taiteki wrote:
nukemarine wrote:Yudan, ultimately the "method" boils down to always listening and watching fun stuff in Japanese. Reading translated Manga doesn't count, watching anime with English sub-titles doesn't count, living in Japan does not count. I'm sorry Yudan, but watching tons of Japanese is going to work for everybody if they do it.


If they do it. 18-24 hours a day spending time with Japanese is unrealistic for the majority of the population, thus it's not going to work for many people.

I disagree with many parts of his approach (which isn't the same thing as saying it won't work for anybody), but I'm too tired to have a long pedagogy debate right now.


For a working adult, I'd have to agree about the time involved. My job (being military and all) does not want its people walking around with an iPod in their ear in uniform. I'm positive most jobs will take this same stance. However, that's 40 to 60 hours out of a 168 week. Even in that time, you could be playing it on breaks or at your desk. For a college student, outside the 15 to 20 hours of class time (which you could listen to it even then), you have 148 hours left in that week to use.

If you have time to visit an English website, you have time to visit a Japanese one. If you have time to watch an English show or movie, you have time to watch a Japanese show or movie. If you have time to read an English book, you can have time to read Japanese. It's easy to do, it's just easier not to do it.

So, even if 18-24 hours is not realistic, is 2 to 4 hours? How about 4 to 6? 12 to 14? What number of hours a day is realistic? The point is to do it within the limits your life places on you.
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby astaroth » Wed 01.28.2009 9:42 pm

I have a mixed feeling on the so-called AJATT method.
What it proposes is basically to apply how a child learns a language to an adult. Or slightly different, what Pimsleur proposes, that is to "absorb" the language rather than learning.
This is the juice of the method as far as I understand.
On my own experience, I'd say that the method is partly correct. I studied English in school, and was never good at it, then I moved to US six+ years ago and I had to speak and understand the language. After years here, what happened was like turning a switch from not understanding to understanding. Now I can watch a movie or read a book understanding roughly 95% of the content (in recent years, the hardest time I had with a movie was when I watched Snatch ...). The sentence structures I use probably doesn't sound native -- well I ain't no native -- and still I have an Italian accent, but I understand and am understood pretty much.
The same happened to a friend of mine, Italian as well, who moved to Berlin and learned German from scratch. After five years living there, he now speaks the language fluently.
So technically it's possible to achieve some degree of fluency using this kind of a method.
What bothers me with the method, and here is my mixed feeling is whether it's practical without any traditional learning, that is starting and absorbing the language really from zero. After all I studied English at school, and my friend took an intensive class the first year he was in Berlin.

Btw, what the method reminds me is a scene of the movie The 13th Warrior ...
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby Yudan Taiteki » Wed 01.28.2009 9:58 pm

I think that's my main problem; I can see his method working after a small amount (1-2 years) of basic classes or self-study through a basic textbook. But I don't quite understand how to take it from zero -- I must admit that I have not read his method in great detail so he may explain this better.
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby NocturnalOcean » Thu 01.29.2009 12:54 am

I haven't read anything about it, and I don't know anything about him so I am not discrediting what he did at all.
I just don't believe he was learning Japanese passively or actively for up to 18-24 hours. First of all he sleeps, secondly he does mention he works and studies computer science, so some time must have gone to that. That's why saying if you do this method for 18-24 hours it will all give same result. Cause even he didn't do that.
Plus I still stand with my argument that even if 100, or 1000 people do the same approach they won't reach the same level of fluency. People are different, some will take it slower, some will not. I referring to my classes at university was merely that I know persons who did pretty much same stuff as I did, but got a much weaker result, and I know people who didn't do much and got close to same result as me.

Another side note is that I noticed his video is probably from around 2008 somewhere, so that means he has been learning Japanese for 4 years, so obviously his Japanese has gotten a bit better from just after 1 year. Still not discrediting him at all, just pointing out some points. I just think hoping, or advocating that this form of study(no matter how good it is) will be something that can raise any person to the same level of fluency is a bit naive.
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby nukemarine » Thu 01.29.2009 3:01 am

Nocturnal, you have to look at your post. You say that Japanese must have come "easy" to him. Now think about that. He states he spent hours a day, every day, for 18 months doing stuff in Japanese. There was the active studying part (finding sentences, figuring out parts of the sentences using a J-J dictionary, reviewing those over time). This probably accounted for 2 hours of his day. There was the active watching/listening (rap music, TV shows like "Star Trek-Voyager" and "Tiger and Dragon" and "Evangelion (spelling?)"). Not sure, but maybe was 4 hours of his day. There was the passive listening (iPod on almost all the time, even in his sleep). That was a majority of his day. That was A LOT of time. To try to downplay it by saying it was easy for him can be viewed as insulting. The guy just put in his time, even going so far as trying to do programming guides for his work in both English and Japanese.

Yeah, on a day to day thing, what he did was not difficult. He studied a bit via the sentence method. He watched a bit of TV and listened to a lot of music and dialogue via an iPod. Heck, that's what I'm doing. He just did it consistently day after day. After 500 days, the hours just added up. Anyone here with 1000 hours of active studying (equivalent of 20 credit hours) in Japanese? Anyone here with 3000 hours of Japanese viewing? Anyone here that listened to 10,000 hours of Japanese even in your sleep? Anyone here that's read 100 books? Of those that claim that, who does not consider themselves fluent now? Of those, who thinks they were fluent when they started watching, listening or reading?

Put it in a physical analogy - I ran 1000 miles in 2006. Running wasn't "easy", I just built up the mileage. For Michael Jordan, he spend THOUSANDS of hours practicing and improving his game, it wasn't "easy" for him. Maybe on a day to day look it seems simple, but doing all that over time adds up.

Also, yes that video is from 2008. However, that guy did in 2006 get a job with Sony in Japan. He did that using a face to face interview in the US in Japanese. He did not even take a JLPT. Again, not to downplay the accomplishment.
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby Sairana » Thu 01.29.2009 8:59 am

nukemarine wrote:Also, yes that video is from 2008. However, that guy did in 2006 get a job with Sony in Japan. He did that using a face to face interview in the US in Japanese. He did not even take a JLPT. Again, not to downplay the accomplishment.


Do you happen to have a link to a bio for Khatzumoto? I scoured the AJATT site and I can't find one that describes his experiences, it's all focused around his method.

There's questions I have involving his experience with Japanese prior to developing his method. Did he take classes? If so, how can he expect beginners to accomplish the same things that he did, where he had a background and they didn't? Etc etc.

Like for instance, he says grammar does not exist, and one should not learn grammar. Later in his method, he claims you must be able to understand (not translate) every word in a sentence, or else you have not LEARNED it. The only way to accomplish that mandate is to learn grammar. If your sentence uses the word こと, you are required, by the AJATT method, to understand it. In order to understand it, you must comprehend its function. If you comprehend it, you know some grammar. You may not be giving it technical terms like "progressive" &c, but that doesn't change what it is.

I'd be very curious in how his background affected the positive outcome of what has now become a mini-franchise for him, and why he doesn't seem to acknowledge it in any of his extensive articles (I spent several hours yesterday and today reading his site.) Would his results have been the same if he did not have any previous study time in Japanese? No one can really say for certain, but it's ponderable. :P
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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby furrykef » Thu 01.29.2009 9:59 am

Sairana wrote:Like for instance, he says grammar does not exist, and one should not learn grammar. Later in his method, he claims you must be able to understand (not translate) every word in a sentence, or else you have not LEARNED it. The only way to accomplish that mandate is to learn grammar. If your sentence uses the word こと, you are required, by the AJATT method, to understand it. In order to understand it, you must comprehend its function. If you comprehend it, you know some grammar. You may not be giving it technical terms like "progressive" &c, but that doesn't change what it is.


I think what Khatz was getting at is that, in his view, you shouldn't memorize things like "こと turns the preceding clause into a noun". Instead, he would have you see how こと turns clauses into nouns, in context, and memorize that. Note that I say "memorize"; I imagine he has no problem with looking up こと and reading an explanation like that, but what you add to your flash cards is the usage in context, not the description of こと.

By the way, my main problem with Khatz's method is the heavy emphasis on studying recognition and on avoiding translation in your flash cards. Instead I think you should focus on production and that translation is perfectly fine. The thing to avoid is having to use English as a crutch to think in Japanese, which keeps you from internalizing Japanese grammar and using it naturally, but my experience has shown that using translations in flash cards does not cause that problem, nor does avoiding them do anything to prevent it.

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Re: All Japanese All The Time

Postby Tommyclaw » Thu 01.29.2009 11:09 am

Yudan Taiteki wrote:I think that's my main problem; I can see his method working after a small amount (1-2 years) of basic classes or self-study through a basic textbook. But I don't quite understand how to take it from zero -- I must admit that I have not read his method in great detail so he may explain this better.

It is possible to learn a language from zero using this method. I know it works, because that's how i learned english. Actually, not with the exact same method: i learned it "accidentally". I have never taken any classes and i have never read any textbooks (that's why my grammar sucks :lol: ), i was just surfing on the internet. That's everything i've done. I never wanted to learn English, it just happened. Now i can watch movies, read books and webpages, and i understand most of the song lyrics. I have lot of problems with pronunciation, but i never really need to speak in english, and if someone doesn't understand what i'm trying to say i can just write it down.
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