Has Jalup Actually Produced any Fluent People? — 28 Comments

  1. Jalup graduate reporting in!

    Sorry for not stopping by more often. But fwiw I constantly get asked “how did you do it?!”, and always send them here. Hopefully some of those people become the next generation of Jalup success stories =)

    • No worries Matt, you’re a busy guy, and you’ve helped countless other people here with your insightful wisdom over the years. Thanks for continuing to send people here. I promise to make every last one fluent :)

  2. I’d like to consider myself fluent thanks to JALUP.

    Pre-mades get a lot of hate on the internet. But I’d like to reiterate that the JALUP series is literally one of a kind. JALUP intermediate makes going monolingual a comparative breeze compared to the hellish nature of low level, solo dictionary branching. A lot of the downsides of pre-mades are offset by the fact that the JALUP 5000 is the only deck I know of that is designed AND transitions to monolingual. I don’t think there is another pre-made on the internet that does the transition, and it is absolutely essential you make this change in your study. You can make this transition alone, but it’s a lot more inefficient, brutal and demotivating. It’s nigh on impossible you’d be able to curate i+1 sentences combined with an i+1 definition (even using a concise or simplified dictionary) with only 1000 J-E sentences and minimal immersion under your belt. And trust me, branching is extremely tedious and taxing at lower levels, feel free to try it after 1K J-E sentences.

    That said, the biggest downside of JALUP pre-mades is people may tend to neglect immersion. This may result in over-analysing J-J sentences, unnecessary translation, self-doubt and the subsequent reliance on English. That said, these problems will resolve themselves naturally, as long as you are doing SOME immersion (your confidence in your ‘rough feeling’ will grow, resulting in reduced self-doubt). I made these mistakes myself for a long time.

    However, you can mitigate these issues early by accepting that language acquisition is fundamentally a subconscious process; a rough, imprecise ‘feeling’ of a J-J sentence is more than adequate for all intents and purposes. You do NOT need a concrete understanding, and you do NOT need to be able to translate it to English, trust your gut feeling. Monolingual Anki is very different to J-E, you aren’t memorising vocab, but rather building an intuitive(inexplicable) understanding of Japanese IN Japanese. Subsequently, don’t over-think things, don’t dwell on cards. The main role of the monolingual transition isn’t vocabulary acquisition, it’s to understand pure Japanese subconsciously. As this understanding naturally strengthens over time (subsequent reviews and mass immersion) this understanding will slowly become consciously explicable.

    Instead, use this freed up study time to bolster this subconscious understanding with immersion. It’s counter-intuitive, and some blind faith will be needed. But I guarantee it’ll pay off in the long-run. The less you dwell on J-J anki cards and accept a rough feeling, the more time you can dedicate to immersion, and you’ll progress more efficiently in the long run (you’ll progress either way though). This isn’t an overnight process, it will take thousands of hours and dedication, overcoming fluctuations in motivation and self-doubt.

    How much time in Anki did it take me?:

    Been studying for approximately 4 years. I was one of the first users of the JALUP 5000 series, like Matt above (started buying when only JALUP beginner was being developed).

    I’ve completed the JALUP 5000 (through to expert), 2000 from other pre-mades (Manan’s deck, The One deck, Grammar decks). Precisely 5000 monolingual self-made cards using the automatic card creation tool in Firefox’s add-on Rikaisama with other synergistic add-ons (Rikai-sama-using 三省堂大辞林 EPWING(old CD dictionary format+Clipboard+texthooker -used for sentences in visual novels- +kindle highlights parsed with Rikaisama).

    Anki stats: Approx 2,000 kanji using RTK 1 (wanting to complete RTK 3 still), approx 12,000 sentences.
    1655 hours of kanji+sentence anki reviews (does not include card creation, learning, and a 2 minute cap on review time). I feel like the figure would be closer to 3000 hours in active anki study time (not including immersion and other general dictionary use)

    Difficult to describe how much immersion it took to get to where I am today. But as you progress towards the 10,000 sentence mark, immersion time must increase exponentially.

    • Thanks James for sharing your expanded views on the process here. This is some really useful information for a lot of people on the journey to fluency now.

      I’m glad I’m not the only one who continues to emphasize the importance of immersion!

      And yes I remember you telling me to hurry up and finish a next stage faster because you were going through it faster than I could make it :P

      You, Matt, and Jonathon are Jalup: First Class

    • Thanks a lot for sharing, I needed to hear that! I try very hard to understand completely and it leads to overanalyzing like you said. A few time I’ve caved to checking with English. Most of those times I was correct, though there were a couple words I was far off lol. I need to listen to this advice! Thanks again.

    • Can confirm on the trap of trying to understand EVERYTHING. A lot of stuff comes so much easier with immersion, but I still find myself doubting my understanding of a JALUP sentence – when in reality if I saw the same sentence in context in a drama or novel I would understand it.

      Thanks for your story!!

  3. Been lurking for years since finding and using the Heisig Japup Anki deck. Jalup has really helped me stay on track and trust the method though the years even though I’m not really able to spend the kind of time I’d like due to work. I don’t really know how but I somehow read 20+ novels last year and I’m on track for 50+ this year. Thank you Adam!

    • I was just wondering, do you stop and look up all the words you don’t understand or just very frequent words and just keep reading quickly?

      • I’m reading on kindle with the Japanese-Japanese dictionary so any word is only a tap away. I try to understand as much as possible but if I can’t figure it out without leaving the couch, I’ll just let it go. The kindle saves all my words for later review and addition to Anki.

    • Andreas that’s awesome to hear about your novel count for the year! That’s extremely impressive and you’ve come a long way from RTK to get to that :)

  4. I’m far from fluent, but when I get there I’ll be proud to share that Jalup helped me on my journey ;)

  5. Another Jalup graduate here to praise Adam’s work

    Learning Japanese to the level that from what I’ve seen only Jalup can get you has changed my life so much. From my career prospects, outlook on life, and even my girlfriend I wouldn’t have had any of it if it weren’t for this site and I can’t thank Adam enough.

    • I think I definitely need to add that to the tagline of this site:

      “Jalup: Learn Japanese and find true love”

      I’m happy to hear things are going great in life! I’m continuing to wish you the best. 陰ながら応援しています!

  6. I’m not there yet, but I recieved some of best advices from here. From balancing active and passive learning to stop using subtitles. I’ll truly recommend this site (and Jalup NEXT) to anyone who’s interested in studying Japanese.

  7. I mostly just lurk these days, but I’ve been visiting since the beginning, and implemented an approach kinda a mix between this and AJATT (they are really similar, so I consider myself a graduate of both) It was before the premade stuff, so I made my own Anki decks.

    I’ve since gotten a job in Japan, moved here, became management, broke off and started my own company, and have gotten married –> all of this using only Japanese in Japan, so I consider myself fluent.

    So I really appreciate the advice shared here, as it helped me achieve what I have thus far.

    • Wow, congrats on starting your own company, your marriage and all the things Japanese has enabled you to do! I’m glad this site could even be a small part of all that.

  8. I’m not fluent yet (~lvl 45) but I 100% believe that this method has produced fluent people because I now see a clear path to fluency – and it wouldn’t have been without this method. My guess is that I can get to a “fluent” level in another 1.5-2 years or so based on my progress, which would be in-line with the level guide timeline.

    Actually, without JALUP I wouldn’t be changing my career trajectory and wouldn’t have the same outlook on life. It’s nice to feel empowered by the fact that you are able to tackle your dream and work towards it, and I have seen the self-confidence I’ve gotten from my Japanese gains affect other parts of my life.

    I am excited to graduate…!

    • Seeing the end in sight (even if it is still another year or so away) feels great :) Congrats on making it this far, and I will be super excited when you get there!

  9. I mostly just lurk these days, but I think I’ll come out of the woodwork for this one :D

    I’m not fluent (yet!), but I’ve gone from a near-total beginner to a guy who’s taking the N1 this year since I discovered Jalup. (Sometime in 2014, I think?)

    Obviously Jalup was not the only tool in my arsenal, but I would say — with no exaggeration — that it was the thing with the single biggest impact on my Japanese ability to date. Both in terms of effectiveness of the method and (maybe even more importantly?) in terms of inspiration to keep powering through. I’ve always had a vague desire to send Adam a thank-you note or fruit basket or something, haha.

    And for what it’s worth, though I comment way less frequently now, I still read every word that gets published on Jalup :D

    • I love a good fruit-basket :P

      Thanks for continuing to read even if you’ve mostly moved on! I’m looking forward to when you take the final steps from where you are now to fluency.

  10. I found Jalup pretty much right after starting the study Japanese in September 2014 (lucky me). I used to check into Jalup multiple times a day and read pretty much every article. Many articles multiple times. I highly doubt I would have studied Japanese for too long without Jalup fanning the flames. I also wrote a couple articles here myself. Nowadays though I only come back every few weeks or so when I remember this site exists.

    I wish I could say I’m fluent now, but I’m probably around level 35 or something. It’s my own fault for not being more consistant with immersion and neglecting to improve my studying time. You’d think that since I spend all this time studying that I would strive to make it as effective as I can, silly me. Still, Jalup is the reason that I’m currently in rural Japan teaching English. I really wish I studied more since when you live in Japan every level up greatly enhances the whole experience.

    I know one thing though, this site will produce another fluent person through me. Just wait ;)

    • The site still exists :P

      Level 35 is still a respectable level, and just because it has taken you longer than you thought doesn’t mean you won’t get there. Use your current Japan experience to keep you continually motivated.

  11. I’m not by any means fluent, but JALUP has turned me from a confused student unsure how to get from an upper beginner level to intermediate, to a solid intermediate level student who can get the gist of a ton of media and just needs to improve vocabulary to be conversational.

    All this, despite multiple periods of life upheaval, stress, and (reasonably) serious illness. Now that’s something special! If I can make it, just about anyone can, imo.

    It’s so so motivating to have a clear path through intermediate and advanced levels. I do other things than just the JALUP method – rather than just being a Japanese nerd, I’m a linguistics nerd, so I do more deep-dive analysis and reading about grammar than is recommended, just because I enjoy it.

    I’m a sporadic commenter but I’ll keep coming back to update you on how I’m doing. I’m quite certain of being fluent one day and it’s getting closer.

  12. I’m a fan of the site although I found the site after I had already gotten to low intermediate level Japanese. While I have faith that the monolingual process works well I don’t use it personally if only because Midori for iOS is so easy and convenient to make lists and export them to Flashcards Deluxe without even leaving my phone. If I’m not fluent then I’m damn close to it (seven years of hard work)I am trying to read as much as I can to get better – I really like the Voice Dream app for my iPhone to read ebooks. Although I’m not using the monolingual approach here, I think my approach is really similar. I use a lot of SRS to learn vocabulary in addition to reading, audio books, and watching anime. Although I don’t have mono lingual cards in my SRS deck, I use pictures and I try to absorb the feeling of the word not the English I also happen to have on the card. Absorbing the word comes from tons of repetition and good monolingual cards would facilitate that but making them takes a lot of time. If I had found this site earlier in my studies I would have jumped on it although the price is a little off putting compared to the free decks on Anki. But I’m positive these decks are better thought out and I’ve never heard of anyone regretting getting these decks – just people that balk and go for cheaper alternatives.

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