Well, I never thought I’d ever reach this point when I started learning Japanese in December 2017. Definitely thought I’d have given up long before now. Hours of fumbling through kanji and vocab on early mornings at my PC, late night commutes home, grinding through excess vocab on my phone… I’d be very curious to see how much time I’ve expended up to now (especially when it comes to my leeches hooo boy).
I remember how motivating these posts were when I first started out on Wanikani. So I’ll try and keep this (somewhat) concise and list how Wanikani has helped me in my Japanese studies and ways in which my kanji knowledge has benefitted me
While playing video games, I tend to only need a dictionary for vocab and don’t run into kanji I don’t recognise that often (at least, in the kind of games I play). Pokemon Sword and Animal Crossing New Horizons are examples of games I have very little trouble with now. I find myself consulting a dictionary or the internet primarily because there can be various slang, game-specific terms and cutesy katakana words I don’t understand.
I don’t watch anime too often, but I’ve had little trouble with the Ghibli films I’ve watched recently. Subtitles on, of course. My listening is horrific compared to my kanji comprehension. Spirited Away is my favourite movie so being able to watch it with Japanese audio and Japanese subtitles and understand the great majority of it is incredible!
I mainly read NHK Easy News whilst in the first 20-30 levels of Wanikani but then moved on to native Japanese content when the kanji I was learning became more advanced. Surprising just how many Wanikani vocab words you can find in an article, even the more obscure terms. I rarely have to look up kanji in a news article, moreso I find myself looking up vocab because it uses some alternate reading of the kanji I’ve not yet encountered.
Wanikani has helped me a great deal with my Chinese Mandarin too! I’m still very much a beginner, but whenever we’d learn new vocab I’d often be able to guess what it meant based on my Japanese knowledge. Useful also for words like 警察 which appear the same in both Japanese and Chinese.
During my first holiday to Tokyo, I found myself becoming a translator for my friend who did not know any Japanese. At one point I was translating all the text for him while he attempted to navigate through the menus of an arcade machine.
Similarly, while watching TV in the hotel room I was translating the Japanese subtitles of a K-Drama into English for him, on the fly! Come every ad break I was exhausted, but it was still quite a good exercise. The Crabigator prepared me for this!
Two days after returning from Tokyo in December 2018, I took the JLPT N5. I was level 20 or so at this point and I was taking the easiest level, so it was naturally all very easy. A lot of WK vocab made appearances! Listening section kicked my ass. Nevertheless, I passed!
2 years into studying Japanese I discovered a conversation group that was being held in my city. It was very intimidating attending for the first time as I had very little experience in speaking. Most of the people there had some experience of living and/or teaching in Japan… Some Japanese natives were there too so that was extra intimidating. We did a lot of group reading so while my speaking was terrible in conversations, it was pretty decent in general reading-out-loud. I actually ended up teaching a few of the more advanced people in the group the meaning of some kanji.
I plan on doing the JLPT N3 in July next year. Thanks to Wanikani, the kanji will probably be about as much of a cakewalk as the N5 was.
I have immense gratitude towards the Wanikani team for somehow creating a service that has made one of the most difficult parts of learning Japanese, also one of the funnest! There are still so many more kanji I have yet to learn outside of Wanikani and the thought of continuing my kanji studies outside of the realm of the Crabigator feels very strange. Nevertheless, I’m excited.
I’ll still stick around here for at least another few months so I can get a good amount of my reviews burned and sealed away. I’ll continue to lurk around these forums too.
To finish with, another thank you to Wanikani and uhhh…
Congratulations! I liked reading all of your success stories. Here is one of mine: just last night my boyfriend and I were watching a Chinese movie with Japanese subtitles on Netflix, and we could follow the whole story. There were a couple kanji we wanted to look up, but we’re both N2 level, and we were pretty much able to just sit back and relax.
Well done! I enjoyed reading through your various bullet points. Especially excited about the various things you can do: video games, movies, even doing play by play for a non-speaker! This may probably motivate me to diligently pick up Genki again no promises though
Would that be okay to share your story on Tofugu podcast? I’ve been sharing testimonials from level 60 users with our listeners like ones you’d see at the bottom of the level up emails. I think the list of what you could do with the kanji knowledge you acquired from WK is very inspiring for WK users and JP learners out there!
Congratulations! And thanks for the note. You’re right: I find these level 60 notes extremely motivating, too.
Old guy writing here, fair warning: I’ve grown accustomed to seeing folks here talk about games and anime, but those things are pretty alien to me despite many years of all things Japan.
It caught me by surprised to see Studio Ghibli mentioned in a sentence about anime, though. It makes no sense at all, but for some reason my brain never put Ghibli films in the “anime” bucket. (Kinda like how I don’t think of Snow White as a cartoon.)
I honestly can’t imagine studying Mandarin at the same time as Japanese. That’s incredible. I’ve no idea how you keep it all straight. Very impressive.
I plan on using Anki to learn the remainder. I believe Wkstats lists the last batch so I might create my own deck and mnemonics based on the most common readings/words I can find on Jisho. Thanks to Wanikani, I will have a very easy job making mnemonics for こう、ちょう、しょう、かん、etc.
As MegaZeroX mentioned. The other aspects of the test can be a bit of a struggle compared to kanji
Even when I did the N5, my grammar and vocab knowledge probably could have passed me the N4. My listening comprehension was holding me back big time. Even when I passed, it was still a bit of a narrow pass due to how much I had been neglecting listening in favour of studying kanji, grammar and vocab.
That’d be amazing! Please do!
I used to think the same in regards to Ghibli movies. Honestly, my Mandarin studies have become quite staggered due to how much I focus on Japanese. With the JLPT being cancelled until July next year and my Wanikani load only on the down from here on out I would hope I could focus on that a bit more.