2004 Days Later

I got the Level 60 congratulations email a couple of weeks ago, but Guru’d all of the Level 60 kanji just last night, so here I am. It’s been a journey.


As you can see, there were 3 long gaps in my progress. The first gap was because I was actually in Japan for a cultural exchange program, didn’t have time to study during the day, and had a weak wifi signal, even with a pocket wifi. The second and third gaps were due to unexpected family crises (and resultant mental health challenges, which seems to be a common thread in this topic), which seriously derailed me. I contemplated starting over, but that seemed too daunting, so I decided to just suck it up, turn off vacation mode, and start where I left off at Level 32. As of today, I have 6415(!) reviews, and will tackle those starting now.

If I hadn’t taken those long breaks, it looks like I would have completed all the levels in about 2 years. I did end up purchasing a Lifetime account after the 2nd year, when I saw that I wasn’t close to finishing. I wasn’t expecting it to take 5 years, though.


When I first started, I would power through all the lessons and reviews every day. This was fine in the earlier levels, but I knew it was probably not going to be sustainable in the long term. And especially when I returned after the long break to see 4000+ reviews waiting for me, that was not going to work. To keep things manageable, I did 50-100 reviews every day, and did the lessons as they appeared.

I did most of my Wanikani study on my phone, at first on my subway commute to work, and then in the evenings at home during the pandemic and when I changed jobs. I started out with Flaming Durtles on an Android, and now have Tsurukame on my iPhone. After my return, I set my review order with the current level first in order to get to Level 60. Now that I’ve reached it, I’m going to set the order to lowest level first so that I can burn through the leeches and remaining items.

I have to admit that I like studying with the phone app better than on the computer. It’s nice to be able to just toggle my preferences (reveal full answer, minimize review penalty, allow cheating (I was good-- I only used this if it was a real typo-- stupid thumbs)) instead of having to find and install scripts.

Also, I rarely bothered with the suggested mnemonics. For continued study, I plan to get The Kanji Code, because I think that’s closer to how I worked out meanings and readings.

Background and Motivation

I’ve taken several Japanese courses in college, and did a summer immersion program at Middlebury College a long time ago. I’ve only been to Japan a few times-- I’m planning on going next year, if everything works out. My parents are Japanese-- my elderly mom converses and writes in that language, and I need to keep up my language skills for her. (My dad passed away a couple of years ago-- see Stats, above)

I have a few books on my shelf that I would like to read. At some point, I would like to take the JLPT N2 test-- another motivation for working on Wanikani was that I was having problems reading exercises in Bunpro because I didn’t have the kanji under my belt. (That app is currently still sleeping in vacation mode.) For now, I’m content with my progress in being able to read stuff on the Internet. :smile:

Final Thoughts

Studying kanji with Wanikani and sticking it out was definitely worth it for me. As I mentioned in my very first post, I was having a hard time staying motivated. The gamification of the app helped me to keep going. I’m going to keep on keeping on and go through my reviews until I get them down to at least double digits.

Thanks for reading. For all of you who are continuing to 現実, keep at it-- you can do it!



Congratulations! Level 60 is nothing to turn your nose up at no matter how long it took - if anything, I think it’s even more impressive that you came back every time through those challenges and eventually finished.

Are you planning to go for a full burn, or is full guru enough for you?


Thanks very much! I’m definitely going for the full burn. I hope it doesn’t take me another 5 years, though!

1 Like

No matter how long it took, you got to the top of kanji mountain…and mountains are old, they’ll wait for you! Congrats!

-Nick at WK

1 Like