100 days on Wanikani

I was checking my stats just now and realised I have been on Wanikani for 100 days. A drop of water in the bigger scale of the ‘level 60’ celebrations, but I thought it was time for a little check in -

Where I started - a holiday, travelling in Japan for almost 2 months, having never spoken a word of Japanese. I was in love with the idea of the country (food, culture, spirituality, landscape), and had grown up playing video games from Japan, but I had never considered learning the language before.
I did some Duolingo while I was there, I needed enough to get by because that length of time in one place is a long time to not speak a language. I focused on learning katakana and hiragana so that I could read signs and menus, as well as the most basic and useful phrases and words. I mostly used Duolingo, but also just googled things as they came up.
I don’t remember how I found Wanikani, but it sounded cool. I gave the trial period a go, and started to get the hang of this spaced repetition thing. I went through the first “wow this sucks, I want to learn faster”, but I trusted those people who said to trust the process.
After a few weeks I was amazed to find that it was working - the mnemonics and spaced repetition meant that I was genuinely remembering things. For an attention-poor brain with incredibly poor memory, this was an inspiration.
I got through the first free levels, and was convinced enough to start paying and work forward along the journey. I don’t know if I’m going all the way to 60 yet, but I’m enjoying the ride so far.

So where am I now?
I’m starting level 9 now. Because I can read several hundred Kanji, my Japanese reading has come along immensely. I’m using LinQ to expose myself to native material, and I am now able to read basic stories with a pretty good general understanding.
It’s mad to go back to stories that I read, having had further time on Wanikani, to find old kanji that I just know now.
I’m using YouTube to get further exposure, with my main focus to just listen to ordinary people speaking Japanese. Miku Real Japanese podcast has been particularly good for this.
I’m learning grammar by osmosis through the native reading as well as lessons such as CureDolly’s basics, predominantly on YouTube but also Tofugu’s website.
I’m also trying to speak out loud to myself when I’m learning new words or reading material. My mouth is getting more accustomed to the way Japanese feels. I’m also speaking and typing Japanese to my friends who speak the language.

The above - exposure, spaced repetition vocab, finding grammar, putting into practice - make me realise that if I had the time and resources I really could probably learn any language. The next step is to learn the language of someone close to me. I just wish there was such a good mnemonic/SRS vocab/reading platform for that language as there is here on Wanikani.

Through Wanikani I have also learned the power of spaced repetition - my job requires large amounts of factual, remembered knowledge, and I have now made my way through several thousand Anki cards. At last, 10 years into this profession, I have found an alternative to last minute cramming.
I am also using it to remember sheet music for my choir, and again I have gone from shady-at-best memory to being the person to correct others because my knowledge of the music is that good.

I have no idea at the beginning of this year that I would be learning Japanese, with tangible evidence that if I just keep going I will be able to speak and read fluently. I had no idea that spaced repetition would change my entire life. Wanikani has genuinely changed my life, and it’s only been 100 days.

Here’s hoping my next anniversaries are as celebratory.


Nice post, glad to hear your studies are working out!

I agree!!! Japanese is the first language I’ve seriously tried learning. Before I started I thought language learning was super hard. Now I realize it’s pretty simple and I can apply what I’ve learned here the next time I start a language. :slightly_smiling_face:


I’m very excited to learn a new language.
I feel like the next time it could be very streamlined and easy.
I know what mistakes I made and the time sinks.
But only after I become fluent in japanese.

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Every level is worth celebrating. Only a very small percentage of users complete WaniKani. The higher you get in levels the more and more you are breaking the “average” path, which is to have already quick by now.


Congratulations ! I think it’s great that you are already seeing the progress. Japanese is such a long grind to learn - I also find it motivating to rediscover previous contents and notice the step up in understanding.
Keep it up!