I assume it’s obligatory to brag about ones golden badge once it has been acquired so here I go. In all seriousness though, I find it really inspiring and motivating to read about the endeavours of others so if anyone can gain anything from my journey, why not share it?
Levelling and Speed
After the 3rd level of WaniKani I was absolutely addicted to the system and I decided that I would try to reach level 60 as fast as possible, preferably in a year. I managed to do it all in 383 days total.
I must say that going quick is absolutely not necessary! It is only something that I did because I was extremely impatient and motivated to finally break the mystery of kanji.
There where some bumps along the road though. Some due to dating which totally ruined my flow, and that “16 days” eyesore came about since I went for a 2 week holiday with my friends. During that period I would not do any new lessons but I still reviewed everyday since I don’t believe in skipping days (you’ve read the horror stories).
I must say that I really enjoyed the fast levels towards the end when it came to rapid studying the kanji. However I lost a bit of motivation when it came to vocabulary since I encountered more and more words that I didn’t even know in English and it all became a bit of a chore.
It might sound silly but I have realized that “Death Note” has motivated me so much throughout this journey. I wouldn’t say that being able to read or watch “Death Note” is my reason for learning Japanese, but there is something about the story, the sountrack, the voice acting and the beautiful artwork that I just completely resonate with.
I found an old manga raw of the first volume in my closet around the same time as I started WaniKani and I would flip through the pages and think to myself “It would be so cool to be able to read this”. I tried, but it was just absolutely horrible and took way too long to get through a page.
My point is that if I would ever lose motivation or start to feel like Japanese became a chore, I could just listen to the voice actors or flip through the manga to find my way back into thinking “Wait, I actually really like this language…”.
Nowadays, so many different things motivate me to continue so it rarely becomes difficult to go on but I believe that if you find just one really strong motivational trigger you can go a long way.
The Present/What’s Next
Thanks to WaniKani I now have somewhat of an understanding of 2000+ kanji which I still sort of can’t fathom but I guess it’s true. It’s now possible for me to read manga without pain and suffering and I can finally enjoy Persona 5 in Japanese. It’s just absolutely thrilling to see results and look back at what was one year ago. To go from 私は犬が好きです。 to this.
From here on out I really want to try to distance myself from WaniKani as soon as possible since I don’t want to get stuck in the “Let’s burn everything” mentality. I just truly don’t see myself going down that road since I believe that it’s more beneficial for me to just read and listen to Japanese as much as possible. “In context” learning is absolutely the way to go in my opinion.
I’d like to thank the whole WaniKani team for creating an exceptional kanji teaching system and I’d like to express my gratitude to the incredible community here. It’s amazing to be in contact with all of you beautiful Japanese learners. I find it so frustrating sometimes to not have anyone to vent with who can relate to my Japanese struggles but having you all has made the experience much more enjoyable to say the least.