A Post-Level 60 Update Thread

So, you know those copypastas that are like “1939 is closer to 1980 than 2022, feel old yet?”

That was basically me today when I rediscovered my Level 60 celebration thread (which is now archived) and realized that it’s been longer since I reached level 60 than it took me to get there. This did, in fact, make me feel old (at least as a Japanese studier), and also made me feel nostalgic for the wholesome vibes of the WK forums, so I decided to make a post about it! I’m not sure I really have anything to say, but we’ll see how this goes.

So, what have I been doing since Level 60?

I think I originally planned to burn every item, but I kind of gave up on that after awhile. I got close though!
Right now I have 8882 burns, 18 items in review stages, and 119 newly-added lessons that I’ve been carefully ignoring for the past two years. Here’s an image of my slowly-fading review heatmap, a combination of burning most items and giving up on the last few…


That “Days Studied” stat used to be 99%… hard to believe it’s been 6 months since I did any reviews, and almost a year since I did them consistently. Writing this has given me some motivation back though, maybe I’ll finally tackle those last reviews (or even check out the new lessons?)

Well then, since I clearly haven’t been doing WaniKani, what have I been up to? I’m glad you asked! To put it simply, I have been:

CONSUMING

Most of my Japanese “studying” time since finishing WK has been gaining exposure through all kind of media. In particular I’ve found that I really, really like reading books.


As you can see, the majority of my shelf has been taken over by Japanese books now. And I’ve read most of them! Last year I challenged myself to read a novel by a different author every single month, and I got a ton of experience through that. Giving book recommendations is basically my favorite thing to do, so I’ll drop a couple here:

Novels

ビブリア古書堂の事件手帖

This is a mystery series all about the stories of books— Not the stories written in them, but rather the stories of to the people who own them. The protagonist plays Watson to the incredibly knowledgeable bookstore owner, and together they unravel whatever mystery finds it’s way to them. Each volume is made up of 3 to 4 shorter stories, and I’ve been impressed at the intricacy of many of them. There’s also some occasionally corny but not entirely unenjoyable romantic tension between the two main characters, and a strong sense of overarching development between stories.

窓ぎわのトットちゃん

From what I’ve heard, this is an absolute classic that’s often read in Japanese schools, and I can see why. It’s a true story of 黒柳徹子’s primary school education in Japan just before the height of World War 2, but that’s probably the most boring way I could possibly describe it. Basically It’s a series of mostly wholesome episodes in the titular Totto-chan’s young life, including her education at a very unusual and progressive private school. This is one I occasionally open back up to read a chapter or two just for fun. The language used is also quite simple, and I would highly recommend this as a first book for anyone who wants to get into reading Japanese.

坊っちゃん

This is the hardest book I’ve ever read. Someone should really remind Soseki that he can add a period every now and then. Despite that, this was a really fun story about a hotheaded city-slicker working as a teacher in Middle-of-Nowhere, Shikoku. I’d recommend it to anyone who has a bit of reading experience and wants to try out some ‘classic’ Japanese literature. Also, if you do decide to try it yourself, this blog is an absolute lifesaver for understanding the confusing grammar and early 1900s references.

Manga

少女終末旅行

This is a super atmospheric series about two girls traveling through a nearly abandoned, post-apocalyptic industrial cityscape. There’s not a lot of text, so it’s good for when you want to feel like you’re making a lot of progress quickly. The art style is fantastic. I’ve also just started reading the author’s next series, シメジシミュレーション, and it’s a lot of fun so far if you’re looking for more.

らんま 1/2

When you splash cold water on this protagonist, he turns into a girl! But don’t worry, one of the three girls he’s rooming with with bring some hot water to change him back soon. Also, there’s martial arts fighting, high school drama, and a giant panda. I’m underselling it here to make a joke but it’s a very cute series with great comedic timing.

本好きの下剋上

I love this series as a whole, but especially the Part 1 and 2 manga illustrated by 鈴華. Her art style is just WAY too cute, I can’t get over it! As for the story, I once heard someone describe it as “the best nonviolent medieval fantasy since Spice and Wolf,” and I couldn’t agree more. The protagonist has been isekai’d and slowly uses her knowledge to create books in the fantasy world, accidentally disrupting the societal and economic status quo in the process. It’s a a slow-paced, character-focused series, which is exactly what I like :smiley:

風の谷のナウシカ

This is an original manga by Hayao Miyazaki, and was the original work on which the 1984 animated film was based. The books tell a much different and more in-depth story than the movie, and it’s all hand drawn by Miyazaki himself so it looks beautiful. It’s published as a full-size comic, and the paneling is designed with that in mind, so there’s a lot of content on each page and plenty of interesting layouts. Definitely worth checking out if you like his other works.

But that’s not all! I also watch anime, read lots of Japanese twitter (it’s almost a problem), watch LOTS of Japanese youtube videos (it’s definitely a problem), and occasionally find interesting livestreams or news articles. I really felt like I’d made it when Youtube started recommending me English learning videos instead of Japanese tips! As long as I’m giving recommendations, here are a couple really good Japanese Youtube channels:

Youtube Channels

ことラボ

This channel is amazing. They make VSauce-style videos about language, and I’ve probably watched through their whole backlog at least twice. If you only take one recommendation from this post, make it this one.

koichitv

This guy makes short, occasionally unintelligible comedy videos. A personal favorite of mine is マジカルドーナツカスタマセンター, which I think took me like 20 minutes to understand the first time, but is 100% worth it. I’ve been watching for over a year now and I’m pretty sure my ability to understand casual language comes primarily from Koichi’s very fast, lazy way of speaking in videos.

モノづくり面白いよ《 くらひと 》

Lately, this channel has been making all kinds of things out of springs cut from solid wood. It’s a 100% subtitle (no voiceover) channel that does short videos of interesting useless creations, it’s a lot of fun.

夜ふかしおっちょ
大神ミオ
Whoops, are those VTubers? How did they get in here?

I also play lots of games in Japanese, and do stuff like set my phone and computer language to Japanese just for fun (yeah, I’m that person). I also have a custom Anki deck with words I find on my own, but that’s often under 40 reviews a day and I cheat like crazy so I’m not sure it really counts haha.

Oh, I’ve also been trying to get into audiobooks and podcasts lately! I just found the podcast JJ’s Bar, which seems promising, and I have the first two 本好きの下剋上 audiobooks on Audible, but I’d love to get some recommendations if anyone has any!

So, uh…

I guess that’s about it. I didn’t really have a plan for this post and it looks like it mostly turned into me talking about some things I enjoy. If anything, I hope this post shows everyone who’s still on the journey that life after WaniKani can be lots of fun, and you won’t be stuck doing SRS forever. You’ll never be finished learning, but the line between learning and just having fun can blur faster than you might think! =D
yotsuba-koiwai

xoxo,
Athakaspen

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Do you feel like you’ve learnt much by continuing using WK since achieving Level 60?
Just asking because my subscription runs out soon and am considering not renewing but switching to focus entirely on other stuff from now on :sweat_smile: But actually, maybe WaniKani / KameSame might be worth doing to keep practising the kanji readings :thinking:

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Congrats on continuing to study past level 60!

Thanks for the book recommendations! The bookstore one sounds really interesting, and I’ve always meant to read 坊ちゃんwhen my level got high enough…
If you have any other recs, I’d love to hear them! I really love non-romance mysteries and supernatural-themed stories. (currently obsessed with the 准教授高槻彰良の推察 series)

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Belated congrats on reaching level 60! :tada:

Thanks for making this post, I think it’s very helpful for people to see what they can expect beyond WaniKani, and thanks for all the lovely recommendations for books and youtube channels. I’ll make sure to check some of these myself.

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Do you feel like you’ve learnt much by continuing using WK since achieving Level 60?

For the first 5-6 months after reaching L60, I still used WK consistently and I think it helped a lot. After all, I still needed to learn the new items I’d just unlocked, and all the ones that were still in my reviews! But as you can see from the heatmap, I stopped using it much afterwards, so if burning every item isn’t a goal for you I think it makes sense to just get a couple monthly subscriptions until you don’t have reviews every day.

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Congratulations :slight_smile:

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I’m glad you appreciated the recommendations!! One downside of reading books in a language no one around me can read is that I can’t recommend them to any of my friends, so I’m more than happy to vent my opinions here lol. Speaking of which…

I really love non-romance mysteries

One could argue there’s romance involved in 容疑者Xの献身, but probably not the kind you’re thinking of. This story is a reverse Columbo-style mystery where you see the crime at the beginning, and then follow along as the murderer and an accomplice try to hide what happened. It’s really interesting seeing a mystery from this perspective, and even though you know what happened there’s still an amazing twist at the end.

and supernatural-themed stories

If you mean classic ‘supernatural’ stories, like ones with ghost hauntings or demons or vampires and themes of horror, I don’t think I’ve read anything in quite that genre. But, there are a couple books with supernatural elements I’ve really enjoyed.

神様 is a collection of short stories by 川上弘美 about all sorts of supernatural phenomenon. The titular story is about going on a walk with a bear, and it was popularized when she wrote a new version of it right after the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster. Reading the original and then the 2011 version side by side is a really strange experience. The other stories are great too, and I actually read this whole book in about 2 weeks because every time I started a new story, I couldn’t stop until I finished it! This book sits closer to the acid trip side of supernatural stories, but if you can get into that it’s a wild ride.

世界から猫が消えたなら is a book about a man who makes a deal with the devil to extend his life by one day, at the cost of removing one item from the world permanently. He actually does this a few times, getting a whole week out of the deal before his regrets catch up to him. It’s a straightforward and fairly campy story with some romance involved, but generally well written imo.

Lastly, I hesitate recommending this one a bit, but the manga チェンソーマン (Chainsaw Man) is a crazy supernatural spectacle about a man who has a chainsaw demon living inside his body. It’s not the type of series I’d normally recommend to someone who says they’ve been meaning to read 坊っちゃん, but if you can let out your inner middle schooler and appreciate crazy chainsaw vs demon battles in vivid gory detail, Chainsaw Man might also surprise you with pointed societal commentary and emotionally relatable characters. If that sounds interesting maybe find the first chapter online somewhere and see if it’s for you.

Hopefully some of those catch your fancy!

(P.S. Here's a list of most of the novels I've read and liked, feel free to ask about any of these if they sound interesting)

image

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Oh it’s a story in the parallel text https://www.amazon.co.jp/Read-Real-Japanese-Fiction-Contemporary/dp/1568365292 where I read it. Probably the old version? It’s strange but I liked it too and its quite accesible to boot.

I will remember your name and ask for your recommendations in the future. Be prepared!

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I got 60 fairly recently. I’m now reading Bamboo Blade manga, and when that’s done I plan to read Kimetsu no yaiba.

I also frequently watch movies from Netflix or TV. Most of them subtitled, but I do my best to follow the speech as much as I can.

Need to check those youtube channels you mention.

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This is a great post, thanks @Athakaspen! It’s nice to get perspective from someone further along the journey, and what that possibly could look like for myself. Thanks for sharing proper novels, that’s the dream, baby. Will definitely check out those YouTube links.

Edit: Diggin’ your turtle-duck profile picture. :smiley:

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Brilliant post. We tend to just fade into other things after WK so it’s great to see how you’ve approached that.

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From where can I get the calendar review thing?

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