I just got back from three weeks in Japan…my fourth trip in five years. Every time I go back, I notice that I know a little bit more Japanese than I did the time before, but THIS time was truly revelatory. I was absolutely STUNNED to see how much all of my hard work in WaniKani has paid off, because I was recognizing and reading ALL SORT OF THINGS!
For instance, just before I left I learned 株式会社. Seriously? How often am I going to see that in real life?
Answer: All the time! I even ran into an office building where literally EVERY company had that kanji in their name. I couldn’t believe it!
And it happened all day long. Look, a dental college! That’s a middle school! Danger, do not enter! No smoking! Every where I looked I could see kanji all around me, and for the first time in four trips, I WAS UNDERSTANDING IT.
Now, it wasn’t a total success (I’m not even to Level 30 yet); I can’t tell you how many times I saw a whole bunch of kanji, and I thought to myself: “I recognize every one of those, but what do they mean together? I have no idea.”
But the sheer volume of “I don’t know” was easily trumped by the little things that I recognized here, there and everywhere. It’s amazingly satisfying to know what train stop is coming up before the English announcement, or to see that it’s raining heavily in Kyoto…all thanks to WaniKani.
So, if you’re feeling frustrated…of course! We’re all frustrated. But keep on keeping on, because I saw first-hand evidence that all the hard work that you put into WaniKani absolutely pays off in very real and very concrete ways. I don’t know what level I’ll be at the next time I travel to Japan, but I can guarantee that even more words and signs will suddenly be available to me. And it WILL happen for you, too!