Better late than never, my journey to Lv60

This post is a year later than expected as I reached Lv60 around this time last year. It’s been on my mind to do the customary post and say big thank you to WK and everyone who sails on her. By the tardy response you can probably tell that I’m not a natural to the community writing side, however, I do love reading peoples posts and this has also been a source of motivation for me. So here we go…………………………

I first visited Japan in 1989, as a backpacker, ended up working at Interac and snagging a husband. At this time, I had no interest in studying Japanese, however, I did complete Japanese for Busy people 1 and 2 and could use Japanese to some degree. Since 1992 we lived in the UK until 2019 when for a strange set of reasons my husband needed to move back to Japan. Then the zombie apocalypse struck, which prompted the company I was working at to make me redundant, and Japan shut its borders. However, there was a window of opportunity for me to apply for spouse visa which I did, and I actually spent the next couple of years between the two countries. However, this life was unsustainable, so with a heavy heart I had to sell my precious horse and move to the horse (eating) loving nation of Japan. At the age of 58 quite honestly, I could do without this malarky.

During the time of separation during the ZA, I decided to study Japanese with a 26 year gap my brain had filed everything under BIN so I had to start from scratch. The one of the things which kept me going was WK, it just became a habit, when I first tried it, I was, at first, OK this isn’t going to work, but by level 11 I became hooked, and it was suddenly a big part of my life. From then on, I don’t think I have missed a day, other than when I was in BC in Canada on a riding pack trip to see Grizzly bears. Most of my additional Japanese study through 2020 and 2021 was from the app Japanese pod101, started with the basics and just worked through, until one day I thought I’ve done this, however, at that time the app really worked for me, I especially liked the listening to yourself in Japanese feature. I also read as much as a could mainly from NHK and a few Manga, such as Itoshi no Muco and Shirokuma Café. On reaching level 60 I did then start Renshuu and Satori Reader, both which I think are fab and worth the payment. I have also taken some kind of free talk regular lessons. Although my husband is Japanese, he is definitely not my teacher and we never use Japanese at home unless we are around people who only speak Japanese, then I just have to get on with it. (so many epic failures, on a regular basis, it used to bother me, now I just think I’m a giant TWAT and laugh about it, I always feel sorry for the person on the receiving end trying to work out what I’m banging on about).

When I was made redundant apparently due to the “ZA”, I had to look for work and the one area of interest that I had was to return to teaching English as a second language. At that time I had no idea that teaching online was a thing, but it is and I started taking then lessons in Japanese straight away mainly to find out what it was like to be a teacher, once I then had got my TEFL I started teaching, (or guiding as I like to refer to it) the one thing that really struck me about the students that I was meeting was that those who could read relatively well also spoke well. It was really this discovery that was one of my motivations for reading, plus I love reading. On my language journey I don’t worry about the grammar or to some extent the comprehension, I kind of go for gist, I do not sweat the small stuff, because I kind of feel that things somehow will fall into place, that if I overthink then shit happens. I’m not a fast learner by any stretch, but this approach is a conscious decision I took at the start of my language journey. However, once I get to a reasonable level in reading then I will start the process to improve and will sweat the details and dig into comprehension etc etc., which is just about happening for me now. So, it’s quite timely that I’m living here, I now just must find Japanese people to speak to! I have started to use Engoo, the Japanese discussion material with my teachers, as I’m at the point to stop the slacking with free talk and start asking them more about grammar, vocab etc.

I’m also a technophobe I can’t manage simple computer tasks without a display of tears I am someone who thinks that belonging to a WhatsApp group is high tech. So, when I read in the community about add on’s I honestly to this day have no idea what lots of you talk about, therefore, as a consequence, I just did WK in its natural state. I still do my reviews everyday as it is an ingrained habit and I annoyingly I forget a lot, it’s such a pisser! I also rarely cheat, but I still have vocab/kanji which just hates me. – those Kanji know who they are!

I can’t really offer any different advice other than what has already circulated around, you have to follow your own path, it probably won’t be the same as everyone else’s but it’s your thing. I bloody love the fact that at the age of 58 (don’t look a day over 35 btw) that I can read Kanji, and it’s functional, it is so worthwhile I love that sometimes I can work stuff out but cannot say one word of the text but totally get it! I went horse racing in Tokyo and was reading the form about the horses in the equivalent of the racing times, if that is not cool, I honestly don’t know what is.

Again, thank you WK I do love you, and the community, I genuinely did not know that the internet could be such a great place.

PS (I hope I’m posting this in the right place)


you’re my hero, your post is just so fun and I can totally identify with it. There’s just a great mix of something so practical and lighthearted about how you dealt with everything that happened, I find it inspiring! Stay on in the community and be friends :slight_smile:

I lived in England for ages and for reasons moved with my German husband back to Germany. Lucky for me German is soooo much easier than Japanese, but that whole - your spouse shouldn’t be your teacher is so true.

thanks for telling your story :sparkles:


Thanks for the kind reply. Yep I’m sticking around not going anywhere soon.


Hey Tanyaf65! Thank you for sharing your journey with us!! It sounds like it is just beginning, and already getting to the good parts. Congratulations on making it to level 60! It is a great achievement. Now, the work begins to get to fluency! You’ve got this!

-Nick at WK

Wonderful read and a super congratulations on making it to level 60! What I find super cool is that you used no mods. That’s what I’m doing as well. Just plain ol’ vanilla WaniKani and it’s working great. :smiley:

Best wishes as you continue being a Japanese learner.

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