Why Do You Keep Asking For Advice From People Who Have No Business Giving It?

Here’s a couple of life tips for ya. Free of charge.

  1. Don’t ask non-thin people how to get thin.
  2. Don’t ask non-rich people how to get rich.
  3. Don’t ask illiterate people how to learn to read.

Because they will give you advice and it will suck. It’s always flattering to be asked for advice and few can resist 1 the temptation to wax philosophical in areas far outside those of their expertise.

By asking English speakers who have not yet learned how to read Japanese…how to read Japanese, you’re essentially asking Paula Deen how to cook without butter and sugar. You’re asking Lindsay Lohan how to control your drinking. You’re asking that guy who can’t read good…how to read well. You’re asking Eeyore how to be charismatic — how to be happy and not talk in a monotone.

For your own sake, try not to do that. Just…try. For me. Do it for me. Try not to ask Patrick Stewart how to be a successful YouTuber. Because, he’s a great guy, but he doesn’t duck hen know.

If you want to know how to succeed at something, ask people who’ve succeeded at it. You wouldn’t deliberately choose an incompetent doctor to heal you. So why do you choose obviously, demonstrably incompetent people to help you solve problems they themselves have clearly failed to solve?

I mean, come on. You realize your chances at throwing a question on a free forum on the Internet and having a cool, competent, well-adjusted person answer it are painfully slim, right? Slimmer on some subjects than others. You wouldn’t just pick up a free couch on the street because, well, it might contain bed bugs. Maybe it got peed on. Maybe ugly people had sex on it. But you’ll pick up free, pee-soaked ideas and put them into your mind, just like that?


Let me tell you something about human beings. When they get good at something, they like to get compensated for it. Doctors don’t spend their youth reading thick books and not sleeping and buying state-of-the-art gear for their practices just so they can not get paid. So, simply by riding the free advice train, you’re already putting yourself at great risk. You’ve saved a buck or two on buying a book, but you’re paying through the nose for the privilege. To be fair, though, there aren’t that many good books on how to get used to Japanese, so…


You wouldn’t seriously try to diagnose and treat an illness using Wikipedia and WebMD, would you? Just because you’re sick, doesn’t mean any medicine will do. You could hurt yourself, put yourself in a worse position by just ingesting pills and FUD willy-nilly. Sort of a reverse Hippocratic oath.

Bad advice can and will hurt you as badly as any chemical you could ingest. Bad advice is a killer of dreams, of progress and even of bodies. Bad advice will take you from the stars to the gutter. So…stop swallowing mental pills from random strangers.

Including me. Don’t listen to me. Give me the finger. Mutter cursewords at me. I would rather you did that — I would rather you retreat into your own mind and listen to yourself — than just go taking free Internet advice. I would rather you go wrong in freedom than go wrong in thrall to conventional wisdom 2. If that’s what it takes, I will take one for the team: Team You.

Because, dayom. 3

PS: Here’s how you ask the Internet for advice in such a way that you don’t get damaged.


  1. I certainly can’t…won’t…don’t; if you ask me advice, I’ll give ya some — competence be damned.
  2. AKA stupid (but reasonable-sounding) advice from stupid (but reasonable-sounding) people
  3. Lambs to the far Ken slaughter, man.
    (1) Learning Languages: Is learning Japanese worth it ? Or should I prefer a European language? – Quora
    DON’T ASK THE INTERNET THAT!!!!! It doesn’t know, and even if it did, it can’t be bothered to sit down and give you a proper answer. Here’s how you ask the Internet for advice in such a way that you don’t get damaged.

  11 comments for “Why Do You Keep Asking For Advice From People Who Have No Business Giving It?

  1. juxz90
    March 1, 2014 at 14:47

    Hey, Khatzumoto. I’ve been reading your posts for awhile now, and just felt like stopping by here (in the comments section) to let you know that you have gained my respects (not to say that you should really care, but anyway).
    You know, there is a sea -I mean, an ocean- of BS flooding all over the internet with regards to the understanding of this thing called language. It is awfully frustrating. So it is quite relieving to have a regular dosis of non-BS, non-nonse thoughts about the issue, all presented in such clever and creative ways.

    Keep rocking Khatzumoto!

    • juxz90
      March 1, 2014 at 14:53


  2. 眠い
    March 1, 2014 at 16:42

    This will probably sound racist, but meh.

    I have learned alot from AJATT as well and I keep coming back here because of that and to review what I know.

    It is sad, because I’m a White person and a Black person is teaching me what I probably SHOULD have known from school as an adult. To rub salt in the wound, so to say, EVERY Black person I’ve meet in all my school days ranged from simply a ******* to an outright criminal and EVERY black person on the Internet long ago when I had a Youtube account was a piece of ****, so to say.

    It’s enough to make a White person massively racist and have little tolerance towards anyone else of any race(It is how we Americans are I believe).

    AJATT makes me feel like we Americans are the BSer’s(most of the time I think of 馬鹿アメリカ人 nowadays, it’s to a White person, this is from experience in both Internet and IRL). Fun fact, most in my town are not capable of telling the difference between Chinese and Japanese, I’m serious.

    Keep up the good work, Khatzumoto!

    • March 2, 2014 at 03:32

      The post is, as you say racist. And it is racist because you’ve have come to associate certain behaviors and attributes to a person’s race and/or skin.

      Now bear with me a little. Ajatt is an amazing place(site) that constantly challenges the way we think, be it mainly about japanese but it’s given me far more than that. And so i would like to try and convince you otherwise so that other people who reads this might be challenged in the way they perceive themselves and others. I also hope this can relive you of some of the hate and frustration you seem to bear, much like ajatt relieves me of my self-hatred replacing it with confidence to have fun.

      You are (probably) not as American or as much as an English speaker or as white as you think. Ajatt might have made you aware that being an English-speaker is more a variable than something you simply are. If you remove the constant feedback you won’t even be able to speak it after some 60 years. The same with your nationality, people have changed nationalities when allowed to, and it didn’t change their personalities like one would believe if one hold true to the school of thought that people are defined by their nationalities, that it’s somehow a core part of their existence. “you ARE american” is perceived to be as much of a truth as “you ARE a human”.

      The truth is the opposite.
      People are’NT defined by their nationalities, they DEFINE nationalities, and race, and grammar(which we know doesn’t exist :D).

      And you know what, grammar is a shitty way to deal with languages, and i have (as an individual (me mother f**er! :D)) decided to not use it to learn Japanese. And sure it put me at ends with my teachers and my dad of all people (whom for some reason upon hearing me, decided to defend grammar with a fiery zealousy o.O ). But it’s all cause and effect and Japanese is so fun when you stop the self-flagellation. ヽ(*´∀`)ノ

      And i just want to propose to you that trying to measure and judge people you haven’t met by methods that doesn’t involve meeting them (speaking for myself, i can say from personal experience being me that, if you (imaginary person) haven’t met me then you simply don’t know shit about me :) )
      that doing the opposite of just accepting them as another human that might, or might not be, a richard-head(douche).

      THAT IT IS A SHITTY WAY OF DEALING WITH HUMANS. Just like getting a grammar book might seem like a good step towards learning Japanese, it is really just you shooting yourself in the foot before you even had a chance to have fun seeing a good anime.

      What people really want is to be surrounded by nice and wonderful people, excluding the richard-heads that makes you feel bad (i’m a weak person. just one richard-head can make me wonder if learning another language was worth it). And, on a surface level, i guess racism might seem like a good tool to do the weeding-out for you.

      “after all, how can you possibly individually judge each person, there’s like a million of them, right?” not too unlike “3000 kanji? yeah that is impossible to learn in 20 minutes! Plus i’m a foreigner and my teacher said that it’s ok to only learn the basic 500″.

      But what’s so horrible with judging people beforehand is that firstly, it doesn’t get rid of the richard-heads, which comes in every shape and flavor you can imagine. And secondly you never give the awesome people a chance to show their awesomeness to you! Infact, using this tool/mindset means that people invariably never gets to be recognized as the individuals they are. This, when preached by a lot of people, is what leads to real segregation and differences. If you take the stereotyping for granted, then of course you aren’t gonna “hire a black man over a white man” etc. because “They are all cumbersome criminals” ad. nauseum. It it turns into this ugly self-fulfilling prophecy fast. But it only exists because of the people reinforcing it.

      To draw a parallel to Japanese would be to look to the JLPT-style testing industry. It is an ugly beast that forces people to struggle through textbooks and booring courses and it invites competition and comparing yourself to others which is always unsatisfying and eats at your soul. But it’s big and a lot of people buy into it so it has to be good right? BUT this huge industry bubble can only exists as long as people take for granted that it is what one MUST do to learn Japanese.

      Just because people around you insists that something is, doesn’t mean that it is. If it was there would be a thousand mad Gods tearing the world apart this moment, so be grateful for that fact ;)

      Instead do the only thing you can do, try for yourself and trust your results. Race as a scale of people isn’t a fact, it’s a tool, and idea. You aren’t something just because other people says so. You, and every other person on this planet is an human (or dolphin) individual first, other things is just ways of saying.

      On a personal note; The wonder for me learning Japanese as my 3 language (and my first one where i roughly know what the heck i’m doing xD ) is the realization that even here, on the other side of the planet, people still talk about the same boring stuff. And it says something wonderful about people i think :D

      But seriously though, my friends mother is like a carbon copy of my mother when it comes to niceness and sheer goodwill and understanding. It’s so weird knowing that they would be great friends if they met, excluding the fact that they don’t share a common language (>_<)

      Thanks for reading! You (yes, you!) are awesome! No reason, you simply are! (・∀・)

      勝元 お前がもう立派な死ガ– 先生だ

      • mark95427
        March 3, 2014 at 16:38

        Are you really American? Do you believe you’re white?

        “And i just want to propose to you that trying to measure and judge people you haven’t met by methods that doesn’t involve meeting them… THAT IT IS A SHITTY WAY OF DEALING WITH HUMANS”

        Er. Sure, I agree.
        ‘Society’ is weird.

        Random article,
        Reducing Verbal Redundancy in Multimedia Learning:
        An Undesired Desirable Difficulty?

        • Livonor
          March 5, 2014 at 14:07

          Tha`s isn`t a big deal, I do that you the time, you know I`m not Jesus, if someone is obviously apparent drugdealer, beggar or drunk I won`t talk with them, but I guess that by 「human」you mean 「socially acceptable and safe person」

    • what
      March 2, 2014 at 05:17

      what the hell

    • Erik
      March 2, 2014 at 09:06

      “It is how we Americans are I believe.”

      Don’t throw us all in there. I’ve never had a problem with peoples race. That’s why I’ve had no problem immersing in another culture and learning another language these past 18 months.

    • March 4, 2014 at 09:33

      If you start out a comment saying “This will be racist…” then there’s a 99% chance it will be racist. Khatzumoto being black has nothing to do with it. Here he is fluent in Japanese, working a job in which he can use Japanese and living Japan, while giving priceless information for FREE. And you? Writing racist comments on the internet. Sorry that you have to step down from your psuedo-superiority as a white person to do what a black (He is actually Kenyan, much different from being an American black person, but I digress) man advises you to do.

      -A black person from the internet

      • 眠い
        March 4, 2014 at 16:45

        Hey look, flame vaur!

        Now now, I am not your eating disorder, “Amanda”.

  3. Livonor
    March 5, 2014 at 13:54

    Following Khat`s advice about asking advice, there`s anyone here who knows how to get Tudou working? I tried a lot of proxys and none of them works, and I can`t buy one of those proxy services cause my paypal account is messed up

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