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.