AJATT and Wanikani timelines


I’ve been watching the BritVsJapan YouTube channel and have become really motivated. He’s a young British student in England using the AJATT method which I have chosen to follow given my circumstances.

He hasn’t made many videos, just updates on his progression in Japanese. He seems to have kept very faithful to the AJATT method as prescribed by khatzumoto and I’m actually quite impressed. By month 12 he says he can read 95% of whatever you show him and understand pretty much everything he listens to. However his output is suffering.

His 18 month update video was made a year ago but he just posted an update last month with him speaking.

Considering the WK method says it can take 18 month to 2 years to complete, I find this guy’s progression really motivating. Given what this guy has acheived, is the WK timeline a little dragged out? Is there a way to combine the two, WK and AJATT with Anki, to arrive at the same level in half the time WK says.


WK and the AJATT method are fairly opposite. WK is about comfort, AJATT is about discomfort. WK is about translating from Japanese to English, AJATT puts you in the middle from the beginning. You will not be able to combine the two philosophies.

I’m sure it’s possible to learn very quickly if you engage in the language for many many hours every day. A lot of people will tell you it’s not possible, but they’re just salty that they didn’t do it / over confident in their own way of learning.

Me, I enjoy taking it slow. I am not in a hurry to learn Japanese, and I don’t feel like subjecting myself to hours upon hours of content I do not understand. You’ll just have to determine for yourself how you want to go about learning.

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Anyone can say anything.

I just read the Nihon Shoki in the original text and perfectly understood everything.


True anyone can say anything, but that doesn’t mean everyone is lying. Plus, he’s not the only one.

In the many years now I’ve spent learning Japanese I’ve found out two things:

1.) Many people overestimate their abilities.

  • Especially when asked if they understood something, but without having any kind of feedback as to whether or not they’re wrong. I could read a whole book, think I understood everything, but understood absolutely zero of it, yet I’d never know. If you don’t live in Japan or have to use Japanese to live, you don’t often get that “Oh shit, I fucked up” type feedback when you obviously misunderstood something.

For all the faults of the JLPT, if what he said is true, simply taking N1 and passing it with flying colors would go a long way to objectively show he knows what is going on.

Not to mention, not all content is the same, saying you understand 95% of a Visual Novel does not mean you’re going to understand 95% of 吾輩は猫である or 沈黙.

2.) If it sounds to good to be true, it probably is.


Honestly, I find the AJATT really bs. All I hear is “this method is the best”, and they can’t even argue why. Sure, any method that forces you to study will somehow work, not because of how innovative it is, but because of your hard work.

Matt VS Japan is really pushing the method lately, but has yet to say anything specific about it. When he mentioned WaniKani, he just said “Oh I tried and it’s not that good” (something like this). He clearly didn’t even give it a try.

Just because people know Japanese better than you, it doesn’t mean they can argue anything without explaining why.


I went to the AJATT website and read about it. I have no idea what it is and they just wanted me to “sign up” so they could share the details with me.

Can someone explain what this is? It seems like a scam.


It’s basically some site that says “Read and listen to a lot of Japanese”. Which is fine, but that’s not actually groundbreaking news. The problem is that its adherents take it to some ridiculous level where the say “Never explicitly learn grammar, just read a lot and you’ll be fluent.”

That’s my two sentence summary.


AJATT and the visceral responses you get just be just mention it it’s always a good change in pace from the “WK it’s not good enough, but maybe they could adjust it a bit more to make it painless” kind of post.

Probably a good way to see it it’s how finnra put’s it, WK been about a tailor made suit, and AJATT pieces of clothes, a couple of scissors and the best wishes to get a perfect fit :sweat_smile: (sorry I’m watching Atelier this weekend).

I’m getting the idea (I’ve actually read the AJATT table of content and some more AJATT related sites) that it’s just another way to make it, not necesarily excluding anyother method your can already be doing.
The JALUP site explains it better IMO than the old AJATT site, on how to actually make it, and they lunched JalupNEXT last year, which it’s their method made a product. A good product actually (you can read about it in Tofugu if you want WK creator’s opinion).

To each it’s own. But don’t disregard any material you come across just because it’s marked by the “AJATT stamp”, there are nice tools to add to any japanese study journey in some of those websites.

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Firstly AJATT is free, you don’t have to sign up. Basically the method as described by Syphus is how most people interpret it. “It’s basically some site that says “Read and listen to a lot of Japanese.” My understanding is a little different but I think closer to what Khatzumoto’s original intention was. Don’t forget however that AJATT is basically the Japanese version of Antimoon, a website describing how two Polish guys learned English quickly through total immersion whilst still in Poland.

And that’s the key, total immersion. You basically change as much as your environment as possible into Japanese. Your mobile phone - change to the target language. Your laptop - change to your target language. If there is a TV streaming service in your target language, subscribe and stop watching your own country’s TV. Make your earphones your best friend and whenever you are not at home have them plugged in and listen to Japanese. Etc, Etc, rinse and repeat.

So its not just “listen and read a lot”, its about changing your life to fill as much of your day with your target language as if, and this is important, as if you were in that country. When you are at home for example, an environment where you have most control over, its basically no different from being in the country itself.

Obviously the above is the pure AJATT. Most of us have family that wouldn’t appreciate changing our TV subscription or laptop language. But still we have to fill our day with as much of the target language as possible.

My situation fits very well with AJATT and hence my interest. My home is basically Japanese. My wife is Japanese and talks to our son all the time in Japanese. We have 75 Japanese TV channels streamed to our home and only watch those as I’m not a big TV watcher. We listen to the Japanese radio channels on Radio Garden. Our kitchen is full of Japanese food products etc. And to top it off, I work from home. So creating a Japanese environment is not a problem and as I’m sat at home everyday I’m totally immersed everyday. The problem with me is that I never used my environment to learn Japanese. I’m only just starting now.

We are also buying a second home in Japan in a few months and hope to move there permanently in a year or 18 months. Hence my interest in a method that gets you functionally capable in all aspects of the language, in the shortest time.

I do also like WK as well though and wondered if the two could combine.


Yeah, because WK completely tells you not to expose yourself to the language.


So, what have all those years of exposure done to your Japanese learning? :slight_smile:

Exposure is good when in context, but just because you get in contact with the language, 100x0 is still 0.


It’s also not, and if you’ve been to Japan you should know that. Me seeing the words ファイル、ユーザー、ヘルプ and all the other Katakana shit on my computer is not the same as going to a restaurant and trying to decipher ”禁煙席または喫煙席どちらがよろしいですか?” and if I get it wrong having to live with the shame of being sent to the smoking section and dying of cancer. Also, things like 振込, 現金, and other words that permeate daily Japanese life while rarely or never come up.

In fact, the remainder of your post, how you’re basically immersed in a fully Japanese environment, and don’t know Japanese is the perfect explanation of how it is not a method. If AJATT was remotely correct you’d be fluent now.


I get your point, but I’ve never tried to learn. Especially since living in this environment. I learnt a bit when we were first married, 14 years ago and could get by when we made the annual pilgrimage, but it took a long time. After our son was born, 9 years ago, we brought him up bilingual and I stopped using and learning Japanese (though I’d really stopped bothering to learn long before as there was no need, we lived in England). It was only after his birth and moving to a new home a few years back that we have the house we do. It was only last year that we signed up to the Japanese TV subscription.

So I’ve never really tried to learn Japanese. Its only now that we will be moving their and because we are buying a house in the country that I have decided to learn the language and AJATT sounded interesting and a good match.

I suppose that’s the difference. Yes you can be immersed fully in a language, exposed to it 24 hours a day, but if you don’t want to learn, you won’t. However if you do and you are actively listening and questioning and speaking all day everyday, using the environment and your lack of understanding to motivate you to learn more, I’m sorry but logic says you are going to learn quicker than someone who studies a few minutes or an hour or two a day and then is completely in their own language environment.

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It looks you’re in a position that most people doing AJATT, or any other japanese method are lacking, so should be fairly easy to use it to your advantage no matter what.

As for reducing WK time, you could find some of the decks created by members here and adjust to your own schedule.
Seems the best way to go if 18 months for around 2000 kanjis seem like much anyway (myself I’m not sure I would like to do it, or could, any faster without getting burn).

Whatever method you choose, you have to spend a lot of effort to work towards fluency. Sure some methods might be less efficient than others but WK (and Anki for that matter) are SRS so it’s already pretty efficient. I don’t believe there are more shortcuts to cheat retention.
If I was spending as much time doing WK, hitting the books and doing other learning materials as someone living and breathing AJATT, I don’t think they’d be faster. To me, AJATT sounds really tedious to find those +1 sentences tailored to your knowledge. Takes a lot of determination to assemble all that yourself. WK and textbooks work great for me because someone has prepared the material in a structured manner.

Yeah I agree eefi. I’m not looking for fluency but functional competency. In other words I can operate in different situations when over there. That includes reading. I’m not looking in 12 or 18 months to be able to read everything, but enough to give me a general sense so I can function. I think thats doable.

For sentences it is a lot of work. I’m using the Assimil course and besides listening to the recorded dialogues, I’m separating each sentence into its own recording and putting that on shuffle. For sentence mining in Anki, I’m using the core 6000 deck and separating the sentences into their own deck.

This is very true. You don’t know what you don’t know, so often times I get worried that I am missing some nuance or meaning even when I think I completely understand something.

I’d even take a J-Cat score, tbh. At least that is something that he can sign up and take in a couple days and will give us an idea where hes at.

??? I think I understand what you are tying to say, but honestly its just a guess at this point.

So how exactly is this different than me playing visual novels in japanese? Watching anime with japanese subtitles? Listening to music in japanese? You can expose yourself to a language alongside your studies on WK, and they even encourage you to do it. Furthermore, how can you really compare the two when you have no idea how much work he has put in. Did I miss something that said how many hours he pours into the language? Lastly, surrounding yourself with the language is really just adding to that, so he may be putting in more effort to reach the same level for all we know. Theres no way to actually gauge how effective this method is just based off of “12 months in I can read 95% of what you give to me”.

EDIT: Hold up…95 percent of whatever you show him, you say… @Leebo after a phone call, I may finally get that dissertation translated.


If your circumstances are what you say they are then WK will be doable in about 1.25 years. The 18-24 month timespan is for people who can’t drop what they’re doing to hit the reviews ASAP. In any case, WK goes through about 8000 (2000 kanji, 6000 vocab) items. I highly doubt you’ll be getting through it much faster with AJAAT, especially considering that you’ll have to spend time not learning Japanese to create your own materials. There’s nothing stopping you from going the extra mile and doing both though.

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I’m not… entirely sure I understand this thread, but you essentially seem to be suggesting that WK’s timeline is too dragged out, because it’s possible to reach fluency much faster than it ‘allows’, right? But then the method you showcase, if I am understanding correctly, is total immersion in Japanese? And appears to involve studying Japanese for hours every single day?

I mean… yes, that will, obviously, help you reach fluency faster. It’s also not something most people want or are able to do. Why would WK’s timeline be designed to cater to reaching total fluency in Japanese within a year, when that’s not remotely compatible with the learning desires of the vast majority of their user base?

Nearly everybody seems to struggle with burning out at some point already, without speeding it up even further.

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