How to use Free Software to learn Japanese, and more.

Plumbing for language learners

September 30, 2022 — Tatsumoto

In this article let's talk about passing text between applications Usually people simply select and copy-paste text from one window to the other, but there's a way to make it faster by using the concept of plumbing.

Plumbing is something that can make using a computer so much more convenient and fast. I think everybody should use it.


Mass immersion

August 31, 2022 — Tatsumoto

AJATT targets people who want to reach a high level in the language and truly become fluent. One of the most important parts of AJATT is immersing yourself in Japanese as close to 24 hours a day as possible, combining that with spaced repetition and other technology.

Immersion is quite important, we already know that. Let's figure out how much immersion is necessary.


Japanese locale

July 13, 2022 — Tatsumoto

A Locale is a set of information that most programs use for determining country and language specific settings. Since you're learning Japanese, generate and enable the Japanese locale on your system.


Condensing active immersion

June 24, 2022 — Tatsumoto

Watching movies and TV shows counts towards active immersion and requires full attention to the content. We can apply a little optimization to condense active immersion. This small trick helps if you're watching something boring or if you're tight on time.


How Anki works

June 13, 2022 — Tatsumoto

Since in this guide we are going to use Anki to study our target language, let's talk about how it works.


Spaced repetition

June 12, 2022 — Tatsumoto

To study efficiently and help you keep track of the learning process one of the first things you're going to want to do is obtain a spaced repetition system. In this article let's cover the theory behind spaced repetition, why you need it and what system to use.


Learning grammar

March 31, 2022 — Tatsumoto

What's grammar? Should you learn grammar? How to learn grammar? Let's answer these question in this article.


Immersion with YouTube

March 20, 2022 — Tatsumoto

YouTube is a popular website where people can upload and watch videos. Through watching YouTube you can immerse with native Japanese content. Such content can be of particular interest to people who want to understand colloquial Japanese, speech with a lot of mumbling, slurs and slang. There are many language-dense streams and podcasts on YouTube that can be used for background listening. You can also find news channels with more formal speech.


How to type in Japanese

December 28, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Japanese keyboard

Ever wondered how Japanese people type? No one knows the answer. Some people say that they use huge keyboards with hundreds of keys like on the picture. Luckily for us, we don't have to imitate Japanese people and buy a keyboard like that. There are programs called Input Method Editors (IMEs) that help us do the same thing on a regular computer keyboard. With an IME you type Latin letters and the software automatically converts them to Japanese characters.

Typing words in a dictionary, searching the web or talking to people who pretend to be Japanese on the Internet all require being able to input Japanese characters. If you're serious about learning Japanese, you need to learn how to do it.


Sentence mining

November 30, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Sentence mining is a process of extracting sentences that contain unknown words from the content you read, watch or listen to in your target language and adding them to Anki in a form of targeted sentence cards (TSCs). You put an example sentence in the question field and the definitions, pictures and pronunciations in the answer field.

Sentence mining and immersion are the two most important components of our method. Immersion provides you with new vocabulary to be mined, and mined sentences become fuel that advances your language learning.

Finding your own sentences is much more fun than learning from a premade deck, or, god forbid, a textbook. Because you're creating Anki cards out of vocabulary found in your immersion, you're always learning what is relevant to you. Once you reach this stage, it is way harder to quit Japanese, as the foundation is already in place.


Retiming subtitles

October 13, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Japanese subtitles can be found in many places. Often after downloading an archive with subtitles for your show you find that the subtitles are not in sync with the video files you have on your computer. In this article let's discuss what you can do to sync them.


One target sentences

September 10, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Let's define a "target" as any unknown piece of information in a given sentence in a foreign language. It can be either a word or a grammar structure. We can divide all sentences we encounter while immersing in our target language into three groups:

  1. 0T, zero-target. Sentences that don't contain anything you don't already know.
  2. 1T, one-target. Sentences that contain one unknown piece of information.
  3. 2T+, MT, multi-target. Sentences that contain multiple unknown pieces of information.



June 17, 2021 — Tatsumoto

This is Tatsumoto's AJATT FAQ. You can search questions you're interested in if you press Ctrl+f. I'm going to update this article as I receive more questions. If your question hasn't been answered, ask it in our chat.


Mining from movies and TV-shows

June 05, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Sentence mining is the process of picking sentences from your immersion and making Anki cards. Each sentence has one unknown piece of information, which is referred to as target word.

To mine sentences from movies and TV-shows you are going to need the mpv video player, and a plugin for mpv called mpvacious.


Learning Kanji

May 25, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Unlike kana which you can learn in a matter of few days no matter what method you pick, learning kanji is apparently more difficult, and there are many methods of doing it.



May 17, 2021 — Tatsumoto

This is the Ajatt-Tools Resources List. With the help of our community we've gathered the links to help you in your Japanese studies. We prioritize libre software and content that you can download for free. Everyone is welcome to suggest more resources in our chat.

The third party resources below may contain what Tatsumoto considers to be ineffective language learning advice. If you find something that contradicts what's written in this guide, assume it's wrong or verify by asking people in our chat.



May 03, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Congratulations! You've taken your first step towards learning Japanese!

This is Tatsumoto's Guide to Learning Japanese. I'm Tatsumoto. This guide is for people who want to learn Japanese solely through self-study. Do you want to teach yourself Japanese? Do you want to reach a high level of fluency fast? Then this site is right for you.


Setting up Yomichan

April 24, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Yomichan is a browser extension with a pop-up dictionary that allows you to look up unknown words with the hover of a mouse. On top of that Yomichan can be set up to create Anki cards from the words which you look up.

The process of picking sentences from your immersion and making Anki cards is called sentence-mining or sentence-picking. Each mined sentence has to contain one unknown piece of information, which is referred to as target word.

You don't necessarily have to pick an entire sentence, but if you're a TSC user it is not necessary to keep mined items short. When you're out in the wild picking sentences, select the ones that are interesting to you. Your goal is not to mine every word.


Passive listening

April 13, 2021 — Tatsumoto

When we talk about immersion, we usually divide it into active and passive. Active immersion requires full attention to the content and can be practiced through reading and watching content in the target language. Passive immersion means listening to the language while in idle activities. When listening passively you're not fully focused on the content, instead you're doing something else while having the speech in your target language play in the background.

We do passive immersion during times in a day when we can't actively engage with the language, such as when cooking, cleaning or commuting. Although your attention is divided during passive immersion, because you're left with no other choice, it is still better compared to no immersion at all.

As noted in one of the previous articles, there are countless opportunities to do passive listening throughout the day. Make passive listening a habit. Every moment of your life has to be spent interacting with Japanese.

Passive listening is one of the key components of the AJATT method, so it is important to make it as convenient as possible. If preparing immersion content is tedious, you are not going to do it.


Mining from manga

April 01, 2021 — Tatsumoto

When we read manga, sometimes there's a need to quickly OCR a portion of the screen to look up new words and add sentences to Anki. To do so, you're going to use an optical character recognition program and a few helper tools.


Table of Contents

March 22, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Tags: guide

Writing Japanese

March 16, 2021 — Tatsumoto

After you've got a few thousand hours of input and can read content made for natives relatively effortlessly it makes sense to start practicing writing Japanese by hand. Bear in mind that being able to do so is not necessary unless you plan to live in Japan. Nowadays writing is done on a keyboard and doesn't require recalling characters from memory. However, writing practice has the potential to improve your overall reading ability.

write japanese


Introduction to learning Japanese

March 10, 2021 — Tatsumoto

Below is a quick rundown of a typical Japanese learning journey that should get you to basic fluency in less than two years. We've designed the method for people who want to learn Japanese efficiently through self-study and are interested in Japanese media such as movies, TV shows or novels.

If you have any questions, you can ask them in the Starting Lounge of the Matrix space, and people will help you. There are over 3,000 people learning Japanese, and you should be part of it.


Learning kana in two days

December 07, 2020 — Tatsumoto

Learning kana is usually taken as one of the first steps to learn Japanese. As you know, Japanese has three different writing systems: hiragana, katakana, and kanji. Hiragana and katakana are two phonetic writing systems, together they are referred to as "kana". Unlike kanji, kana characters don't represent unique meanings. All you need to do is to learn how they sound.