I finally reached level 60 after about 2 ½ years! It wasn’t easy. For one thing, I’m a 70 year old man, and although I think my brain is still functioning okay, memorizing thousands of kanji can be a little taxing.
When I was 55. I knew one language – English. I decided to teach myself another language. I picked Spanish, since it’s a good one to know if you live in the US. I completed numerous courses that I bought, or did online. I started watching telenovelas. I read the Harry Potter series in Spanish (book 1 took a year, book 7 only a month). After about 5 years, I was finally reasonably fluent. So I decided to learn other languages. Portuguese, Italian, French and German were learned much more quickly than Spanish, because they’re so similar (German is actually somewhat similar to English). I also tried other languages, with less success. I gave up on Russian, Hindi and Arabic (part of the problem was the new alphabets).
But when I retired at the age of 67, I decided to go all in, and learn Japanese, which has different “alphabets”, plus is very different from English in its grammar. Hindi was a little like Japanese in that the verb goes at the end, but that didn’t really help much.
So why am I studying Japanese? For the intellectual challenge! Yes, I might want to go to Japan someday, and yes, I sort of like anime, but the main reason was to exercise my brain. And you can see from my stats, it got a lot of exercise.
|Typical Level-up:||15 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes|
|Time on Level:||1 day , 2 hours, 11 minutes|
|Level-up In:||14 days, 20 hours, 8 minutes|
|Start Date:||2019-04-04 (929 days ago)|
|Items Learned (Guru+):||484部首 2013漢字 6165単語|
I couldn’t figure out how to copy the heatmap, but I can tell you that I’ve had 2,378 sessions, 201,781 reviews and I’ve spent 1,780 hours on WK. Wow!
I’m way slower than the phenoms who do WK in a year. I really have no idea how they do it, probably do more review sessions than I do each day. My daily routine is reviews after breakfast, followed by 10 lessons, and reviews after dinner. As I’ve progressed through the levels, the number of reviews just keeps creeping up. Early on, I had about 100 reviews each morning and evening, but now it’s often 150 or more, which is really hard. I know two ways to cut down on the reviews. First, do less lessons per day. Yes, but then it takes forever to get through each level! Second, get more things right. I have noticed that while I used to routinely get about 60-65% right, I’m often in the mid 70’s now. I don’t fully understand the stats I printed out above, since they have higher percentages. I guess they track my total correct answers, whereas during the review sessions, I have to get both the meaning and the reading right to be credited with success.
When I started Japanese, I was doing 10 different programs or courses each day, but that grew too burdensome. These days, in addition to WK, I do Duolingo, Fluent U and Memrise (sometimes Lingodeer). I really haven’t been able to do much reading. I also watch Terrace House on TV, but with English subtitles.
I use a few scripts, my favorite being Visually Similar Kanji, which is really helpful. I sometimes use Reorder to do kanjis before vocab, especially when I only have five kanjis left on a level. And then there’s the Override script, which I can’t help using a few times each session, mainly for typos, occasionally when I got the reading right, but the meaning is a tiny bit off, or the other way around. I make sure not to use Override if I didn’t really know the answer. Early on, I used it a lot, and ended up not learning many kanji. It seems as if I have to get a kanji or vocab wrong 5 or 6 times before I really learn it. Often if I get it right from the start, I forget it later. But as for the ones I get wrong over and over, I eventually learn them the best.
I often use my own mnemonics, and I have several that relate to people I know, such as Meg, Maya, Nora and others, or famous people like Kiri (an opera singer). I also use mnemonics from Spanish words that remind me of the kanji’s reading, such as casa.
What’s in the future? My goal has been the same for each language: 1) to be able to read books in the language, and 2) to be able to watch TV shows without subtitles. I can do this in all my previous languages, but I’m still far from this goal in Japanese. I have a number of books, and various shows dubbed in Japanese (or originally in Japanese) on bluray, so that’s what I’ll be concentrating on now.
When I started Japanese in January, 2019 (didn’t know about WK until April of that year), I told myself it would be a five year plan. I’m almost finished year 3, but I’m still just an advanced beginner. Hopefully, in 2 more years I’ll reach my goal.
Thanks to Wanikani for being a great program, and also I’ve enjoyed reading and learning from posts in the WK community, although I’m not much of a poster myself.