IATIJ Sprint! Who's With Me?

IATIJ = An Integrated Approach to Intermediate Japanese
A little over two years ago I posted a Genki Sprint which turned out to be one of the most useful exercises I put myself through. A lot of other people also seemed to enjoy it. I proceeded to get lazy with my Japanese, despite going on to spend two years in the country, but now I’m aiming to turn that around, and I’d like you to join me!

Here’s how it works: We’re going to start one week from now on Monday, April 1. You start with lesson one and read one lesson every day for 15 days straight. You don’t do anything else. Just read the material and listen to the audio if you can. Even if it doesn’t seem to be sticking, just plow ahead.

Then, at the end of 15 days, we start again at the beginning, this time highlighting our texts, or writing notes. Optional: Create Anki cards from notes.

When this is done, I’ll probably move on to repeat this with Tobira.

Every day, starting Monday, I’ll make a post summarizing the chapter and offering thoughts, and I hope you’ll come and comment and think through this stuff with me.


I don’t own IATIJ, but Tobira has been gathering dust on my shelf for a while now. I’ll probably join you when you get to it.

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I‘m currently at chapter 5 (or was it 6 already?) of IATIJ and could definitely need some motivation to go faster. I also want to do Tobira afterwards so this sounds great :+1: :slightly_smiling_face:

I‘m currently in Japan and when I come back home in April, I have to travel for work right afterwards so I‘ll have to see how consistent I can be but I‘ll try and keep up with you.

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Chapter One

I’ve read through this chapter before, so it was less of a challenge than it otherwise might have been. That said, despite being somewhat familiar with the grammar, the dialogues were really difficult to listen to. Reading them was fine, but trying to follow along just by listening was… oof. I know everyone passes through this point, but from here I can’t imagine what it will be like to look back and think, “Jeez, this is practically baby-talk. What was I having such a hard time with??” That’ll be a nice day…

Okay, a summary of the challenging parts:


’have just done something; have just finished doing something


"about to do something"


"am in the process of doing something"


"have just done something"

I found this resource for more details. They offer this elaboration:

Let’s compare ところ and ばかり when they are used with the past tense. One point to note is that ところ is far more time-specific—emphasising that the action has taken place that moment.

あのデパートができたばかりです。( OK )
That department store has just been completed.

あのデパートができたところです。( )
That department store has just been completed.

The sentence with ところ implies that you’ve just seen the final brick being put in place. Because we probably mean that the building has been built recently rather than literally just now we need to use ばかり. In other cases, they can be used interchangeably because either sentence sounds reasonable.

改札機かいさつきを出でたばかりです。( OK )
I’ve just come out of the ticket gates.

改札機かいさつきを出でたところです。( OK )
I’ve just come out of the ticket gates.

Finally, ばかり is often used to imply a reason or explanation for something.

I’ve just bought these shoes [factual emphasis on the time].

I’ve just bought these shoes [that’s why they look new].

This post on stackexchange was also helpful:

~たところ and ~たばかり both mean “just did X”. I was always taught that ~たところ means “I just did X and haven’t done anything else”, whereas ~たばかり means “I just did X (but could’ve been a little while ago).” The “scope” of the event can determine the recentness.


  • 昼食を食べたところだ。 → I just ate lunch (right now).

  • (午後3:00) 昼食食べたばかりなんで、眠たい。 → (At 3:00pm) I just ate lunch (even though it was several hours ago), so now I’m sleepy.

  • (隣の人に車を見せながら) 新しい車買ったところやで! → (Show his neighbor) I just bought this new car (as in just came home from the dealership)!

  • (電車の改札口で) 森内さん、回数券多いね。新しい車買ったばかりじゃない? → (At the ticket gate for the train) Moriuchi, you sure do have a lot of commuter (train) tickets. Didn’t you just buy a new car? (could have been several days or even a few weeks ago).

V(plain) ことになっている

“be expected/supposed to”

it is a rule/custom that…

V(plain) ことになった

“it’s been decided/arranged that…”

Does anyone understand why the example sentence “日本で英語を教えることになっています” gets translated as “I am to teach English in Japan”? Why isn’t it なった? Wouldn’t it be that it was “arranged/decided” for them to teach in Japan?

V(plain)+ ようになる

indicates a change which has taken place or will take place

N (or sentence + の) は初めてです

Expresses the first time encountering something

V(stem) にくい

something is difficult to Verb

vice versa: V(stem) やすい

V(plain) ことにする

‘decide to do’

S1たら、S2(past tense)

“when”. S2 usually describes an event you didn’t expect

Vたら+S(present tense)

conditional use. “If you blah blah blah


“can’t possibly”


evidently; seemingly


“the first N after V-ing”


Day Two, Chapter Two

Get this: I somehow got roped into catering an event on Thursday. For 20+ people. Making ramen. Uh, I’m not a caterer. I’m not even a cook, beyond a hobby. How I got roped in… is a long story. So, that’s a humble-brag way of saying: Holy crap I’ve been busy.

I wasn’t able to get into the nitty-gritty today, but I’m holding strong and true and I read the dialogues, skimmed the longer text, and am going through the grammar. Here we go.

V ないで

Without V-ing; instead of V-ing

  • Carries a connotation that one didn’t do what was expected of them

It’s not good to come to school without having done your homework.

V ばいいのに

You should~

  • Usually used to suggest the opposite of what someone is doing

You should go to bed earlier.

{Skipping the それで stuff. Most of it I know, and the deeper details I’m too half-asleep to deal with right now}


‘not easily’

  • either something is not easily done, or it takes time to do

I had coffee, so I had a hard time falling asleep.

Question word + か分からない

Embeds a wh-question in another sentence

  • Make question sentence into plain form

I don’t know when I will be going to Japan (lit. “When will I got to Japan? I don’t know.”)


'only; no more than

  • Implies a lack



‘in other words’

  • pretty self-explanatory


“That means”; “It follows that…”; “That is to say…”

  • Shows a logicial conclusion drawns from previous statement(s)
  • Often gives a summary of previous statements

A: スミスさんは日本に十年も住んでいたんですよ。
B: だから、日本語はペラペラなわけですね。

N によって

“depending on”

Opinions vary from person to person.
What greeting you use may vary depending on the weather of the day.

N に当たる

“correspond to~”

日本語の「こんにちは」は、英語の “Hello” に当たる。

~(の)ような N

“N, like~”; “N, such as~”



I had not listened to the audio yet (CDs are not something I still use regularly and I somehow have to get the content on my laptop) but since you mentioned it, I’m planning on listening to it on the weekend.

Looking forward to your next summaries! This sprint comes just at the right time for me. Still so much to do before the July N3…

As someone who completed a Tobira sprint last time, good luck to you all! It was a real slog by the end but I felt like I learned a lot. I’d consider joining again if it weren’t for finals. Maybe after…

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How are you doing @jomteon ? I‘m guessing life is keeping you busy and I can certainly relate. Just came back from Japan, quite jetlaggy, have to leave on a business trip tomorrow. But otherwise still motivated to keep going with IATIJ, so I hope you will be back and continue with the sprint.

One chapter per day is really an intense pace if you still have life going on at the same time, at least for me…

I’m still here. This last week was crazy so I fell behind. I’m catching up, though. I’ll make my next post tonight or tomorrow morning.

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Life had been challenging the last week+. Working on catching up now. No surrender!

Glass of 米焼酎の水割り in hand, ready to tackle the night!

Chapter Three


Contracted form of Vないでください

Please don’t forget to bring it tomorrow, okay?

V(causative) ていただけないでしょうか

Causative is the one that goes させる
This is a very polite way to ask for permission to do something.

*NB: Should you use the plain form of the verb, you will be asking the person you’re speaking to to do something.

For example:


The first one ask if the person asking can speaking in English, the second asks the other person to do so.


“The more/less~, the more/less ~”

Some notes: The first part is the ば conditional form.
The second part changes depending on what precedes.
V & い-adj = ば
N & な-adj = であれば

I think the more you study Japanese the more interesting you will find it.
The less you study Japanese, the less you will begin to understand it.

Better restaurants are more expensive.

I don’t really understand this grammar point, so any help would be appreciated.


other than~; besides~

At the beginning of the semester, there are so many things to buy besides textbooks.


“it doesn’t necessarily mean that ~”

NB: Imabi notes that 必ずしも often is paired with ~とは限らない as well

Power, in itself, doesn’t necessarily bring happiness.

It’s not necessarily the case that expensive things are good.


"Nothing but ~

Expressing the idea that there’s so much X, it’s like X is all there is.

When I went to Japan, in the beginning I had nothing but interesting experiences.


as~as possible

If possible, please hand in the homework the next day.

It will be better if you speak Japanese as much as possible even outside the classroom.


should; ought to

NB: Following する it can become simply すべき
Negative form is べきではない




Chapter Four

別に (~ない)

“not particularly”



“if I remember correctly; if I’m not mistaken”



“to decide on N; to have/take N”

  • Used when you’re deciding on one among menu, such as food on a menu



  • usually follows a noun (or sentence+こと), and focuses on an unusual of least expected case






“before you know it”



“be used to”

  • follows a noun, or a sentence+の


  • Describes how a change relates to the speaker.
  • てくる = indicates a V has been taking place up to now
  • ていく = indicates a V will take place from now on
    I have come to speak Japanese a lot better.


“it doesn’t meant that…; it doesn’t follow that…”

  • negates when you’d usually conclude from a previous statement/situation
    I don’t speak English much, but that doesn’t mean I can’t.


one manages to get by without V-ing



“each; at a time”

  • used after a number or limited quantity (少し), indicating a quantity is equally distributed


“it seems that; it looks like~”・“like; as if it were”

Looks like tofu, hunh?

Japanese people seem to like white cars.

Differences between よう and らしい:

  • Both offer conjecture. よう typically offers first-hand info, らしい second-hand
    The exam seemed difficult. (I felt it was difficult)
    It seems the exam was difficult. (I heard it was difficult)

N1のようなN2 = N1 looks/acts like N2. If we add らしい, it changes a bit.

Mr. Tanaka looks like a woman.
Ms. Tanaka is very feminine.

It’s a summer-like day. (i.e. It’s hot like summer, though it’s not summer.)
It’s a very summery day. (It’s hot like summer’s supposed to be)

Nのように = N is like someone/thing else


そうだ VS. ようだ

  • both based on visual evidence
  • そうだ is more of an immediate impression
  • ようだ involves more reasoning and the speaker is typically more certain of their conclusion.
    This test looks difficult.
    It seems this test is difficult.

そうだ VS. らしい

  • both may be based on what one has heard
  • そうだ is hearsay, based on what one has heard
  • らしい is more of a conjecture from what one has heard
    I hear Mr. Smith is sick.
    It seems Mr. Smith is sick.

Good to see that you are back!

I’m currently also working through the book with my italki teacher at a slower pace (last 2 lessons were chapter 1). It is nice being a bit prepared for the grammar that we are going to discuss because I read through it a couple of times but it makes me realize how badly I internalized the grammar on my first read through.

It always feel like everything makes sense while I read it and I can soak up the easier concepts that way. But the more complex ones need more repetition and ideally an explanation by my teacher before I can really remember them. Well… as long as we are making progress… :woman_shrugging:

A while back someone asked about this grammar, so I wrote this:

ほど roughly means “to the extent of…” or “as”

So for the first example:

時間がたつほど価値が上がる roughly means, “as the time goes by, the price goes up”

On the other hand,

物が増えればふえるほど整理が大変になる roughly means, “If the things increase, to the extent of the increase, it will become that difficult”

In essence, they are like the book says the same thing in English, but I’ve asked a friend of mine about ~ば~ほど, and he told me that that form is not often used in conversation because people to tend to rephrase their thoughts differently using fewer words. Which form is better? I couldn’t tell you, but after finding out about just using ほど in that way, I prefer not to use the ~ば~ほど form. To kind of answer your question, you could convert all of those examples to one form or the other. I believe the grammar text just wanted to show you how to use them both just using a couple of examples. I believe for the sake of clarity you would probably need to use ~ば~ほど in its entirety, but I am not fully confident about that though.

As you can see from the explanation, the ~ば part isn’t essential all the time. Hopefully that helps. Here’s the original thread.

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