JALUP Adventurers, Coco’s Journey 1: Embarkment


Welcome to the new “JALUP Adventurer Series.” This is an experimental series following those who are interested in using the JALUP method and reporting on their full journey. Coco (ここ) first presented the idea to me, and after discussing many of the fine points together, I found three powerful contributions to this site that a series like this will have.

1. Putting someone who is going through exactly what you are at this moment in the spotlight.

While I felt I’ve tried to be there for all of you to get you past what I have been through so we can eventually stand as level equals, it’s been a long time since I’ve experienced the earlier levels. So having adventurers who are right there on the same battlefield with you acting as a guide can provide assistance in ways that I may not be able to.

2. Being directly featured on JALUP for an extended period of time will be a constant infusion of motivation and will hopefully make it hard for Coco to fail.

Coco is setting out on an adventure with quite a difficult start as he will explain below. However, every week he will be chronicling various points of his travels that will be beneficial to you. He will be watched by the JALUP community and there will be pressure. Pressure that will make it difficult for him to act lazy, feel like taking it easy, or just dropping out. Japanese learners will be following him, cheering him on to succeed, and be working virtually side by side with him.

I’ve mentioned on the JALUP alliance recruitment page that there is a lot of competition out there with the abundance of Japanese language learning blogs. Since most of these “Japanese language experience diary” blogs have difficulty to ever really work up enough steam to get a real following, it is easy to close up shop, not update for weeks, months, or years, and just get out of the Japanese business all together, turning Japanese studies into something that you’ll do “every once in a while for fun.” I know this is most of your worst nightmare. You came here to topple the Japanese language with a fervent intensity never seen before. So my question is what would happen to those Japanese diary bloggers if they had hundreds or thousands of visitors a week following them?

3. This acts as a real-time testimonial to the JALUP method

While I don’t think I need to prove to you that the JALUP method works, if you have any lingering doubts in your mind (probably caused by web forums bashing the immersion method), seeing someone quickly level up right before your eyes is the best proof anyone could possibly offer.

Remember, this is all still experimental.

This means depending on how well you the readers enjoy the series and find it useful, it will be continued. To be fair to both Coco and JALUP, there is also no guarantee that things will work out. The appropriate quote here to sum up what I want to say is “life happens while you are making plans.” Anything serious could happen that could prevent Coco from continuing, so please don’t hold this against him, or the JALUP method.

As with all experimental ideas, being generous with leaving comments on his posts is important. Tell Coco what you want him to include and what you don’t care about. Make sure that he knows that people are counting on him to continue. Don’t let him give up.

Finally, as I mentioned that this is a new series, I may consider taking on another adventurer if there is anyone else who is interested in joining and doing the same thing. However this is quite different from being an alliance member and requires a powerful commitment. This is someone who is going to dedicate everything in his power to accomplish something great.

Now that I’ve almost taken up half the post here, I should probably let him talk. From the next post on it will be just him.  Let’s let Coco introduce his journey himself. And juts an interesting side note, but all photos posted in the series are taken personally by Coco, and he’s got some real skills, so it’s a little added bonus to look forward to.

Welcome to my journey. This is a new series where I will fully use Adshap’s method until I reach “fluency” and will write here once a week, every Sunday, keeping you posted on my progress. I will do this for as long as it takes.

I am 53 years old, married, my wife is 28 years old and I have a 3 year old son. I am a freelance musician and photographer, travel a lot, work odd hours, take care of my son 50% of the time, suffer from a chronic lack of sleep, live in a rather small place with my family, work at home when I’m not traveling, don’t live in Japan, and am always short of money.

This makes me the worst candidate imaginable to learn a new language.

In other words – if I can do it, you can do it – and if I can do it, then the JALUP method really works.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Japanese for years. My pattern was: study – frustration – stop – s-f-s-s-f-s in an endless loop. This lovely pattern has brought me to level 15 where I’ve been stuck ever since. How about that.

This is going to change as of today. I am sick and tired of not understanding and feeling low about my Japanese, so I decided to do something about it and follow Adshap’s walkthrough, adapting it to my lifestyle and style of learning, and using material that interests me.

The first step was preparing my gear for immersion. I’ve read most of JALUP, which I discovered 2 weeks ago, so I am fairly familiar with his concept. I’ve chosen the Japanese material to start my sentence input phase, and I am now well acquainted with Anki.

The gear I will be using for now:

1. Four ipod shuffles in different colors (red, yellow, green and blue)
2. Three pairs of different headphones (for different situations)
3. Adshap’s modified RTK deck in Anki, slightly modified by me
4. Graded sentence input material
5. A hooded sweatshirt
6. Great Teacher Onizuka (GTO) in Quicktime format, recommended in Adshap’s
drama guide, and a few Japanese DVDs
7. Different timeboxing gadgets, from cheap kitchen timers to apps for the iPhone
8. WorkLog, an app for the iPhone, that is for keeping track of my efforts so I can provide you with exact study times
9. Audacity for simple and straightforward audio editing

I feel something exciting is about to happen. It feels like moving to a new country, getting a new apartment, or starting a new relationship or a new job.


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Musician and Japanese lover. Will not give up until both dreams are fully reached.


JALUP Adventurers, Coco’s Journey 1: Embarkment — 16 Comments

  1. 頑張ってください。毎週読むつもりです。質問を持っています。

  2. イエムピさん、コメント、ありがとう。
    I’ll respond in English, if that’s OK with you.
    Glad to hear that you’ll be back and thanks for your wishes – 頑張ります。
    You’ll find out about the colors and the reason why I use four iPods next week, it will be subject of my next post – so please come back.

  3. Looking forward to following this! 頑張れココさん!

    “Four ipod shuffles in different colors” – that’s somehow amazing ^o^

  4. I am look forward to this all well. I feel that I am around this level and I don’t know what to do. I am glad I am not the only one. I would like to know where are you getting your sentences from? I KNOW that the both of us can get pass this level. I can’t wait to read your posts. 一緒に頑張ります


    • ジョーダン-san. Thanks. We’re all in this together.

      I think the source of your sentences doesn’t really matter, as long as you enjoy it. Right now I’m having fun with Jpod 101. I’m really tired of my textbooks, and I just don’t feel like starting all over again with the same material, which used to be Japanese for Busy People.

  5. I am really looking forward to your blog. I found this website not too long ago and I am really excited by what I have found. Heavens know that I have done tons of research into how to study Japanese. I am a recent convert and self assessed level 18、 頑張りましょう!

    • Hi Amy and thanks for dropping by. We’re more or less at the same level, so I’m looking forward to your comments – we can push each other to new levels!

      Good luck for your journey!

  6. >5. A hooded sweatshirt

    Glad to see you didn’t forget the most important thing!

    Jokes aside, I’m really excited to see how you do on your Japanese journey, especially with all of your lifestyle factors and challenges. Have lots of fun every step of the way!

    • Heather, thanks – the hoodie is extremely important, you’ll soon find out why! Thanks for your wishes and see you around – I wish you loads of fun, too.

  7. I’m so excited for this! 頑張ってくださいね!It inspired me to take things up a notch as well. I’m sure this will inspire a lot of people.

    The four colored ipod shuffles is sure to start a trend. Six months from now, we’ll easily be able to spot any immersion method learner, 笑.

    • Hi Saori, thanks for visiting – I’ve read many of your posts here as I was exploring this wonderful site, happy to see you here…

      Yeah – lets go wild with the shuffles, this is just the beginning 笑.

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