So, today is my one year anniversary on WaniKani What a year it has been
- Some stats
- My Japanese learning background
Ok so i’m very fortunate that my mother is Japanese - makes learning Japanese much much easier
I was born in London but my mother began teaching me hiragana/katakana at home when i was 2/3 years old, before i even learnt the english alphabet I then attended a Japanese Saturday school from ages 4-11 where we learnt the 1006 Kanji taught in Japanese primary schools. At this point my Japanese was pretty good… but i always took it for granted and never studied after this, which led to me losing a lot of my Japanese ability. Aside from my listening ability (which i managed to maintain from my mother/family in Japan speaking to me, as well as from Japanese tv, anime, etc), i pretty much had no speaking ability and my reading/writing was non-existent
Fast forward to university, i took some Japanese modules thinking i would get some easy marks… boy was i wrong the two modules i took ended up being my lowest marks for the year again it was my own fault, i just assumed i would get good marks so i didn’t study and didn’t attend any classes. I’m very grateful for this experience because it is what led me to take my Japanese studies seriously for once…finally!
Now i am 23 and have been studying Japanese everyday since i graduated university a year and a half ago. I have learnt a lot over these last 18 months and now having reached the milestone of level 60 i thought i’d share some of these things - hopefully it helps some of you out there
Ok so pretty obvious but the most important thing when learning a language (or anything) is to study/practice it every single day. Think about how we learnt our native languages.
I’ve researched and tried many methods for learning kanji. In Japanese school we used to just write them out hundreds of times and then have a quiz the week after, effective at first but you just forget them a few weeks later i’m a big believer in the SRS approach to learning Kanji and so i think we’re fortunate to have found WaniKani.
That being said, WaniKani alone isn’t enough to know thousands of Kanji off by heart. It’s really important to combine WaniKani with regular reading and listening. For example, who is going to remember the kanji for 島 better - the person who only learnt it on WaniKani, or the person who learnt it on WaniKani, read the kanji in one piece manga and also heard the reading used in the anime?
Exposure is the most important thing - hence why studying/practising every day is so important. Learning a Kanji on WaniKani is not enough, we have to expose ourselves to Kanji as much as possible - if you don’t use it you lose it (literally what happened to me). So find books/shows to read/watch alongside WaniKani.
There are so many great resources out there. Here are a few that i used and recommend.
Tae Kim’s guide
Genki I & II + ToKini Andy on Youtube
Tobira: Gateway to Advanced Japanese
Shin Kanzen Master series
I’ll come back to update this post with more advice and resources. In the meantime, feel free to ask any questions