I can’t quite believe I’m writing this post, there were times it felt like this day would never come but…I’ve finally made it to level 60!
So, in the time honoured tradition (?) of Wanikani, here’s my level 60 post.
I love looking at other people’s level graphs and heat map statistics so let’s start with those. I did reset my account once from level 23 (I think) back down to level 1. I had started a new job and had various other things going on and the reviews piled up. Eventually I just decided to reset and start from the beginning again, which I think was the right move for me.
I took the below screenshot the moment I levelled up.
You can tell I didn’t have the most consistent levelling times, and it’s quite obvious looking at my graph where work became busy for me or something else happened and I was just about keeping up with reviews, never mind doing lots of new lessons.
My Japanese Learning Journey So Far
I always wanted to learn Japanese, I’ve loved Japan and Japanese culture for a long time and it seemed natural to learn the language at some point. However, the thought of learning kanji always scared me. I have a pretty rubbish memory for all but the most random of facts and trying to learn 2000 odd different combinations of lines on a page seemed daunting to say the least. So I never really started learning Japanese other than picking up some common vocabulary and basic phrases from my anime watching.
I randomly stumbled upon WK one day and I was intrigued by the whole idea. I didn’t even know hiragana or katakana at this point but I wanted to give WK a go to see if what they claimed was actually possible, because, in my head, if kanji weren’t an issue any more there was no reason I couldn’t learn Japanese. So I used the Tofugu guides and learnt hiragana and katakana over a couple of days, made a WK account and well, here we are.
In addition to WK my other main resources have mostly been textbooks in combination with the various book clubs here on the forums since my main interest is reading. I’ve used the Try! N4 textbook and another lesser know textbook, Japanese for Everyone, not to be confused with みんなの日本語, to get my grammar to a reasonably solid N4.
Other books I’ve used are the Tadoku Graded readers which I found really useful both for the fact that the different levels meant I wasn’t diving in at the deep end and the confidence boost from reading a story and realising that I had understood it.
My Plan Going Forward
In terms of WK I do want to try and burn everything, I am a bit of a completionist. However my main focus now is on making sure my grammar is well fixed in my head so I started using Bunpro at the start of last month so that will be my main focus SRS wise now. I’m also considering getting Kitsun to SRS vocab that I encounter during reading.
I had intended to maybe sit the N4 in December this year but now the plan is to try for N3 next year instead. I have a mixture of books to use for this including some of the Shin Kanzen Master books, the TRY! N3 book and the Nihongo Sou Matome listening book. Plus I want to keep reading books with the book clubs in addition to starting to read some on my own as well.
From a JLPT perspective my listening skills are definitely my weakest area and something I will need to work on. I don’t really do anything at the moment beyond listening to music or watching anime and having the odd ‘oh I know that word/phrase’ moment. Although I do consider watching anime as leisure time so I don’t even use Japanese subs. I plan to use a few different podcast series to listen to while I’m working during the day and build from there.
I don’t think I’m saying anything that hasn’t already been said before but remember that WK is very individual for each person, if you want to (and can manage) going fast, then do so. If you want to take it slow, take it slow. Just remember that at the end of the day it’s a learning experience, it isn’t always easy and it takes time but with a bit of work you will get there in the end. And don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re doing great.
The key for me was to keep my Apprentice count around 100 so I never felt too overwhelmed with reviews, this kept WK from becoming too stressful and time consuming. This left me time to start learning grammar and then reading books, which helped reinforce what I was learning on WK. It also made the process so much more enjoyable, it was (and still is) rewarding to see the kanji and grammar I was learning in books and understanding it.
This is getting a bit long so just to finish off, a massive thanks to the WaniKani team for such a great product, without it I don’t know if I ever would have been brave enough to start learning Japanese.
Thanks also all of you who made the scripts that made WK that bit nicer to use, to @jprspereira for the always useful guide and to everyone in the Luminaries thread, the motivation I got was much needed. Also thanks to @truandissimo, our race to level 30 before the end of 2019 really helped me, getting over the halfway mark gave me the motivation I needed to get to level 60.
If you managed to make it to the end of this rather long post, thanks for reading.
P.S. It’s true, there’s cake…