365 Days since I started, 365 days I have studied

365 days ago, after finding out about WK from a Facebook group, I started my WaniKani journey.

I had no idea what I was getting into. All I knew was I had been trying to learn Japanese for 20 years and each time I started trying to learn kanji, I would give up. My longest haul was 60 days straight and I ended that knowing the definitions but mostly not the readings of about 100 kanji.

When I started WK last year, mid pandemic lock down, I was devoting a lot of time to WK. Part of my problem today is… I dedicated a LOT of time to WK during pandemic lock down, which means I get a barrage of items to burn every couple of days now, so I have to keep dedicated to the process even when all I want to do is relax and watch Anime or a J-Drama instead.

I am not at level 60. I have made it to Level 38, when my goal by now was 45. I am not finished my learning journey. I may not make my goal of Level 60 by end of calendar year 2021, and I am OK with this.

My advice to anyone starting WaniKani - it is NOT a sprint! This thing is a grueling marathon that lasts 60 levels.

Do not get wrapped up in being the fastest at WK and try to speed through levels, unless this works for you! If you have the time, dedication, and memory to blast through this, then do it. I can’t.

7-day level up worked for me on about 10 levels, but what I am finding from 7-day level ups is that kanji aren’t sticking as well; some of which I am STILL struggling with getting even to Enlightened. Of course, this is me and everyone learns differently. I am 42 years old at this point and I am sure younger brains than mine would be able to keep that pace.

Advice? Figure out your pace. Remember that anything you learn today will be back. Remember that whatever you Enlighten today will bubble back up in a couple of months - at times when it may not be convenient or conducive to continuing the journey because you just knocked out a block of 40 new lessons.

I have gone from 7-day Level up down to 21 days between some levels. 36 and 37 were especially brutal and grueling for me and while not moving forward in WK is a little discouraging, I always remember, and encourage you to do the same, that my LEARNING is still moving forward.

One reason for 21 days between levels though, is we finally can go places. My wife and I have taken a week long trip, a long weekend trip, and another 5 day trip (all local, but all away from home). When I am traveling, I avoid doing lessons. I do, however, do my reviews every single day. I have had maybe 4 days in the last 365 where I had 2-5 kanji in review at midnight, and I only avoided them because they would pop after I went to bed (I’m old and in bed no later than 10:30 PM these days). To me, these don’t count.

Many days, especially lately, I want to stop. I want to give up. I want to take a break. The problem is, I know myself. Those 20 years of trying to learn? LITTERED with good intentions, quick starts, and hard work…which I gave up on because it got too hard and/or I wanted to do something else and that something else ALWAYS won.

I am tired. I am tired of 90+ reviews in the evenings. But what I am more tired of? Giving up. Not succeeding. Not getting to properly understand the many books and games I have purchased over the years because I can’t read Japanese. Tired of giving up.

I decided 365 days ago to give up. I gave up on giving up. I will get to the end of this ******* WaniKani journey! I will keep ploughing through BunPro. I will keep up with Genki. I will keep practicing speaking with Pimsleur.

I don’t expect my words to mean much to many people. In fact, I assume most people give no crap about what I have to say. I just need to say this; I need to put it on paper so that I don’t give up on myself learning this. Again.

My other advice? It’s the immortal words of Bob Ross:

Believe that you can do it because you can do it.

For fun, here are my WK stats.



I’ve used this here before but it’s one of my favourite quotes on quitting:

"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all.

Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach.

The world you desire can be won. It exists…it is real…it is possible…(it has cake)…it’s yours.

Ayn Rand ( I have taken liberties with the ending).

So I’ve taken note of your name and am holding you accountable. I will see you at the top of the mountain. It is irrelevant how long it takes.

Now before I get attacked, I want to point out that I don’t consider it quitting if you have been on this site and have for whatever personal reasons decided that the amount of effort you are putting in is not worth your time or is clashing with your personal goals. I am ALL for time management and kicking time leeches to the curb. If level 30 meets your needs and you want more time with family, work, watching TV, staring at the sky; that is not quitting. That is realizing you’ve fulfilled a goal and deciding to change focus.
Quitting is really wanting the outcome and then stopping simply because it got hard or was momentarily seemingly pointless (Fugu comes to mind).

I think a lot of people on here give a crap about what you have to say and putting your intentions to paper to hold yourself accountable is a smart move towards achieving your goal. Also Bob Ross is pure genius.

I look forward to your level 60 post.


I gave a crap about what you said. Damn it I needed this. Everyone needs to see this once in a while. This is a reminder for me not to stop because giving up this would mean giving up a whole world of cool things and for what? JUST BECAUSE I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE. See you at 60 :slight_smile:


haha, just took your name down as well for the accountability list…


If it helps any, I’ve been starting and stopping for so long, by now I could have been done at just a few lessons per day. Don’t worry about the levels. They’re arbitrary anyway. Just learn one or more things a day, and keep doing that until you run out of things.

Spoiler: you never run out of things. When WK is over, you’re just starting.


Dear slerched,

you are an inspiration!
Also, think of what you have achieved: More than 1200 Kanji - that takes a Japanese kid years and years. I’m just a WaniKani baby and I love reading these succes stories, they give me hope for myself, so please, do keep going!


it is real…it is possible…(it has cake)
It dang well BETTER have this mythical cake! :smiley:

So I’ve taken note of your name and am holding you accountable. I will see you at the top of the mountain. It is irrelevant how long it takes.

I will take note of your name as well. Given you are on Level 16 now, I may make it before you but I will keep checking in from time to time until I see that “I made it to 60” post, or the post, as you say “decided you met your goal and are moving on to other things.”

I think a lot of people on here give a crap about what you have to say and putting your intentions to paper to hold yourself accountable is a smart move towards achieving your goal. Also Bob Ross is pure genius.

I always make sure to post check ins on Facebook as well. While most of the people who are on my “friends” list, and the posts see the same 10-15 people who care, I do it more for the public shaming to help keep me moving. Shaming others; not cool. Shaming yourself if that’s what it takes to keep moving? Still not cool but it helps! :smiley:

And yes, Bob was a genius. Still pop on an episode from time to time to just chill and enjoy his calming voice.

See you for the cake party, whichever of us makes it first!



I gave a crap about what you said. Damn it I needed this. Everyone needs to see this once in a while. This is a reminder for me not to stop because giving up this would mean giving up a whole world of cool things and for what? JUST BECAUSE I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND THE LANGUAGE. See you at 60

Sometimes you just need a little reminder. I check in here sporadically. Stopping in every day for 2 or 3 weeks, then I disappear, nose to the grindstone trying to keep from losing myself in replying to all the awsome that can be found on the forums.

If my posting helps someone, even just one person, keep on moving then I can at least feel like I’ve given back something to the folks who have done the same for me here in the past.

See you at the top of that mountain, cake in hand!

Welcome to the wonderful world of WaniKani @Anabee!

Level 2, you have a way to go but you’ve taken the hardest step already; you started. Doesn’t matter if it is WK or anything else, that first step is always the most important and always the most difficult in my experience!

The second hardest step is restarting. That’s why I don’t let myself stop. I know from experience that if I take a day off, if I skip a review session, if decide to take a short break, that break will not be a short one by any stretch and I risk not starting up again. “Know thyself” and I know myself well in this regard.

Don’t give up. As I said in my original post, “You can do it, because you can do it.” Just don’t give up. If you ever feel like giving up, ever have frustrations, ever want to cry on a collective shoulder, stop into the WK forums and someone will always help get you back on the path, no matter how lost you may feel. Someone has almost certainly been there and can help.

Good luck!


Thank you so much <3


Congrats and keep on going :slight_smile: I also started with quite fast level-up times, but see it rapidly going down in level 11 and 12 to now around 21 days. Calculated yesterday that this would mean approx. 3 years of Wanikani.

From your post I understand that you’re around 100 reviews per day? That would be a cheer-up for me. I’m trying to keep daily reviews around 100, which means some days its only reviews, some days I can do 5, 10 or 20 lessons. But I still have to reach the burning phase (end of July it starts ^_^), so reviews still piling up.


Just want to say: Much respect to ploughing through the difficult phases every single day :+1: Speaking for myself, the problem isn’t just taking one day off, it’s getting back on track the day after, and not taking another day off very soon, so that taking days off would become a habit.


I wasn’t looking for motivation but I like this A LOT. I’ll keep these words in mind whenever I think about whether trudging along is worth it or just a hassle at this point


dym0c – Don’t focus on how long it will take (I am not saying you are focused on that, just giving advice :wink: ).

As others have said in this thread, if you are learning, you are moving forward. You will get there if you just keep going and anytime you don’t feel like “keep on keeping on,” stop on in here and someone will kick you in the… er, push you in the right direction to get you back on track!

I love this forum! Full of amazing, upbeat, genuine people that want to see us all grow!

As for how many reviews in a day, that 90 block I am talking about is just one new block of reviews. In general, I do roughly 180-220 reviews on any given day. The 90 block I meant was, as an example, when my wife and I were vacationing. I couldn’t hit reviews at noon like I would normally, so when I got back to the room, I would have the afternoon set of 40 or so, plus an evening set of 50+ on top of that. Seeing there are 90+ reviews waiting, I ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS, feel the desire to just step away and stop. I can’t imagine the folks who take time off and return to 1000s of reviews!

The days I hate are when my fast push levels come back for burning. One of my vacation days I returned to the hotel room having left with 0 reviews, to 140 to work through. It was a plough, but I did it. I just hated it :smiley:

plasticlove24 – it sounds like you suffer from the same thing I do! I know if I take the day off today, I will enjoy it, it will feel good and so, a couple days from now I will do it again. Eventually it will become a new habit of just skipping a day until I stop entirely. I have been doing this Japanese thing long enough to know myself in that way.

Being at Level 1, I don’t know if you have looked into strategies to not burn out, but I would recommend trying to stick to no more than 100 Apprentice items at any given time. I learned this way too long into my journey and couldn’t figure out why WaniKani felt like it hurt so much. :smiley: If you figure out you can handle more than that, by all means do it, but for me, 100 seems to fit the sweet spot now that I see Burns popping into my daily routine.

Just remember, whatever you Enlighten “today,” will come back in 4 months. Pushing out 80-100 lessons in one day means, if every single one of them goes smoothly, you will get a huge block of 80-100 extra items in a day.

Hope that helps and I didn’t come off as preachy.


I learn a set of Kanji similar to WaniKani, but I don’t actually use WK, which is why I’m level 1. But thank you for sharing the advice :slightly_smiling_face: I agree that it’s valuable to get to know one’s motivation, what a good pace is etc.

Maybe slightly unrelated, but if you’re at level 38, the later WK levels have a lot of kanji that seem very “specific” (“why should I learn this?”), such as (Mulberry) or (Wood Block). I’ve only read 2 Japanese books so far, and those kanji do come up. In one book there were mulberry plants. 梓 is useful for reading people’s names, not so we can have an eloquent conversation about wood blocks :smiley:


Wait. What!? You aren’t learning kanji to read about mulberry wood blocks!? That’s my life’s dream, to speak to every Japanese person about mulberry wood blocks! :smiley:

That could be a demotivator. Learning too many kanji that don’t do anything for me personally. Just learning the 2000 Joyo for newspaper reading (cause that’s another of my goals; read esoteric media delivery… I know, new sites are the same as newspaper reading :smiley: ) isn’t a goal. I mean it IS a goal but not a GOOD goal.

That’s probably another reason I have given up previously. There was no light at the end of the tunnel and I had no clear goal. My current goal is taking the JLPT this year, just for myself and not because I need it for anything else. Not sure if I will go for 3 or 4. Thinking to do 4 as I am more likely to pass and it will make it feel like I’ve accomplished SOMETHING these past 20 years of lazy learning at least. Then next year, focus on 3 or maybe 2. I don’t think I care about hitting N1 but maybe that will be a later goal?

Right now, I just want to be able to pick up the multitude of books, Manga, video games, and pamphlets I have laying about and know 70% of what it says. I am probably 100% of some easier content and maybe 10% of say, books with interviews with game devs or musical artists if I am lucky.

Anyway, sorry for rambling.

Even though you aren’t using WK, if you ever feel like you are struggling, the folks here are awesome and will help keep you moving… though you probably already know that too!

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You’re 42, but you make it sound like you’re 70. Also wouldn’t recommend doing all review throughout the day in one sitting, you’ll get bored, lose focus and make stupid mistakes that you would’ve caught if you didn’t do them all together. I believe the meta is spreading it out as much as possible throughout the day and doing them on the phone when you have some time to kill, but setting up a time where all the reviews ought to be finished.

Also a bit sceptical about the young brain being that much more susceptible to new language, I believe most of it is due to time (children have all the time in the world) and are constantly in the environment where the language is. Adults I’d vager have some real benefits over children in learning languages, such as abstract thinking, can read and write and therefore can shortcut alot of the learning by simply being able to translate some concepts without learning them all over again.

Just look at Kaufmann, he’s as old as earth and yet are doing great with languages still. Point being, don’t focus on age, It’s highly overrated, while children have some benefits over adults I believe the adults have some serious advantages over children when it comes to learning languages.

Yes, speed is overrated. People need to find a routine that works great both on paper and in reality and just believe in the process. The progress you make now doesn’t matter if it will pay dividends in the future. People need to believe in the process, trust in it, see if your routine is in order, what you can improve every once in a while.

Yeah, I’m rambling, sorry.


Some days I wake up feeling 70. :smiley:

I understand what you are saying, but when I say I am 42 it is more to remind myself that I’ve been at this, poorly, for 20+ years. I have to keep on this kanji thing for the next 365 days because if I stop for a day, it’ll be too easy to stop for another, and another. It’s how and who I am.

I generally do my reviews in 3 blocks. One in the morning between 6-8 AM, the second at noon or 1 PM, and in the evening I try to hit it at 6-7 PM. The only time I don’t, or haven’t done it this way, is when I am not near a computer or I would piss off my wife if I did them. Example, 2 weeks ago we were vacationing and walking around a state park from 10 AM until almost 3 PM. Had I had a signal and tried doing lessons on my phone, I am pretty sure my wife would have been annoyed. In these cases, the only option is to let them pile up for the evening sessions. If my earliest time to be able to sit down is 8 PM, I don’t have a ton of choice but to sit down and “get it over with.” I hate doing that and as you say, losing focus and making stupid mistakes happens more often then, which in turn means anything I flub up comes back the next day or 2, which adds more to the list of things that pop, which gets me closer to wanting to stop.

I think a younger mind is better at some things. Hand eye coordination for sure but learning a language doesn’t have any connection to that. :smiley: When I was younger, not married, employed full time but not able to work at home, I had more time to devote to all of this, which is maybe where a younger person (not necessarily mind). Now that I am married, have social obligations, and have the ability to check email/work messages at home, I don’t have that same amount of free time. My wife is pretty cool about letting me do what I need to, however, so I do make a lot of time in a day for learning Japanese.


By the way, you can do reviews offline with apps on both Android (Flaming Durtles) and iOS (Tsurukame) and sync later.
I wouldn’t know what to do without Flaming Durtles! Especially in Anki mode, where you don’t have to type, though that’s a matter of preference. But it enables you to do reviews with one hand while stroking a cat, for example :smiley:


Holy crap, what are the odds. We had the exact same goal on nearly the exact same day. And somehow, you beat me to the post.


I also started exactly 365 days ago with a plan to NEVER GIVE UP and do reviews every single day. I had extremely little prior Japanese knowledge other than hiragana and katakana when I started, so breezing by on 7-day levelups was pretty much impossible for me from the start. When the new year came around, a ton of other things started going on in my life and I just purchased a lifetime subscription, which mentally meant that I didn’t need to race for any reason at all and decided to coast by and focus as much as I can on leeches, and my terrible low accuracy from poor decision making in lessons. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I’m ready to get back to maybe a level a month or so if I focus hard. Of course, there were a few days where all I did was bust out my phone for 10 minutes and do 10-20 reviews total (Flaming Durtles saves the day), but that was good enough for me to continue the streak, especially when I was extremely busy around March and early April.

Also with the theme of the thread right now, I’m 23 and even I have the thought of “I should have done this when I was in high school” but I know I’m still in a good place right now. Maybe my progression is ridiculously slow for some people here, but focusing on what I can keep up with allows me to never feel too overwhelmed with Wanikani, so I can also spend time with other learning tools. I feel like I’ve tried nearly all of them, but I’m using Genki, Bunpro, and Kitsun (with Genki vocab cards) right now, which I don’t keep up with nearly as well, even though I try to push myself to learn just as much from them as I do with Wanikani. But my main goal has always been 365 days of nonstop Wanikani once I fell in love with the service. Now that I completed that goal, I suppose I can take a break, but at this point why would I? With my slow pacing it’ll apparently take me 3 more years to hit level 60. Maybe I’ll go for the world record of “Longest Wanikani Daily Streak”. Does anyone know what that would be?


Same boat here, I’d have finished a long time ago except I’d keep resetting, telling myself that this time I’ll stick to clearing out lessons every day. That just doesn’t work for me or my life. The last time I reset I told myself to just take it slow and enjoy the journey, and while I can take a month per level easily, it’s been a lot more fun and I’ve seen more overall progress in my ability to use the language.

To OP, it’s always inspiring to hear other people who’ve struggled but are finding that spark again. 頑張ってください!。

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