Coming into the WaniKani race late. (AKA What is WaniKani like for you?)

(AKA AKA Making a post at level 10 like people do when they hit level 60 ;D)

Hi guuuuuuuuuuuys. I was away for a long time sorting things out on why I was even studying Japanese in the first place. Played around with learning some Mandarin (though I actually plan on continuing to study this, just slowly), and even took a quick look at Thai, when I realized that I have just fallen too deeply in love with the Japanese language to let any outside thing stop me from learning—that at this point I can learn purely because I enjoy learning Japanese.

I came to WaniKani pretty late, being more or less around the N3 level, but with a pretty bad grasp on vocab. I found that I enjoyed learning grammar much more and focused on that so much that, while I could say fairly complicated things, I usually had to use explanations for things that I know have names. You know when you have to explain something because you don’t know what a word is (“metal bird” instead of “airplane”, for example. lol)? Yeah, that.

When I first found WaniKani, I thought that I would probably have a hard time keeping up with it since I’d been studying Japanese for so long. When I had already learned a nice little bit of new vocabulary before hitting level 5, I really started to enjoy myself and became pretty damn envious of people who started their Japanese journey here with such a great system to learn vocabulary. Now that I’m back and going through things again, I’ve found myself thinking about people who are at levels 40+ and seem to be struggling with grammar, and how jumbled some of the words get, like the differences between 生物 and 生き物, which while I’m sure I’m not always on the money, I’ve been able to start more accurately guessing when certain words will be used. Part of me thinks that people who come in after N5 or N4 might truly be getting the most out of WaniKani, as it drills in certain vocab while you already have a fair grasp on the rudiments of the language.

At any rate, it feels good to be back into the swing of things, doing reviews (mostly) daily and getting even better. :]

With that being said, when, in your Japanese journey, did you come to WaniKani? Around what level do you feel your grammar is? Etc etc.


I came to wanikani probably pretty early and late at the same time and was in an opposite situation as you were in.

By the time I started wanikani, I had consumed so much content, that I had learned a lot of vocab and standard phrases/expressions by myself, but without any learning method, like memrise, anki decks or whatever. I almost didn’t know a single kanji, though. If I started with Wanikani earlier, I would’ve known so much more. But on the other side, my knowledge was limited to vocab, so I practically didn’t know any grammar, apart from deductions from consumed content. So I couldn’t utter a sentence. (still can’t, really…)

At level 8 and below I basically knew 80% of vocab without ever ‘learning’ the word via some method, which has now gone down to maybe 40% per level.

I recently did a J-CAT test, to see where I stand, and apparently I’m somewhere between N4 and N3. Grammar is still my biggest weakness. This summer I’ll be taking N4.

Good luck! :wink:


Thanks for sharing! I think it’s fun to see how WaniKani helps people in different stages.

Where are you taking the test? I was trying to find out when summer testing was, but everything I read said that America won’t have a summer test this year, which bummed me out.

I came from all over the place lol. I learned a bit of Mandarin and a few hundred Kanji from Heisig’s book in preparation for a training course in Shenzhen, but I’ve forgotten at least half of that. I then had a friend with an upcoming trip to Japan and so started learning Japanese through a variety of methods, mostly through apps on my phone.

So far, Wanikani has been great, although I was a bit frustrated with the slow pace initially.

In Leiden, the Netherlands. There’s only a test in summer here, for some reason.

It’s like everyone says. That changes big time after a few levels. lol

I’m envious you got to go to Shenzhen! I’ve been wanting to travel there for a while now. It looks like a gorgeous city.

Strange. lol. Well, good luck on the test!


If it wasn’t for Wanikani, I’d have learned Hiragana, a bit of katakana and gave up, look at those bunch of drawings what the hell you learn 2000 and you’re considered “not a potato” ? screw that noise !
Grammar wise, I’m maybe half N5, I don’t know :stuck_out_tongue:

So yeah WK is a god send, along with it’s community !


What are you?!

To actually answer your question, I had completed Japanese From Zero 1-3. I tried to read Yotsubato, and decided that it was too hard because I didn’t know enough kanji or vocab, but that my grammar was fine. Oh how naive I was, since my grammar knowledge from the Japanese From Zero books was probably barely N5. Regardless, that’s how and when I got to WaniKani, and I’m pretty happy that I had basic grammar and vocab under my belt before coming here.


About 10 months in. Kinda wish I’d started sooner, but at the same time it made it easier clicking through the first few levels already having some feel for the language.

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Not with Japanese, but I’m the same. I’ve studied French, German, Italian, Esperanto and a touch of Spanish, Scotts and Welsh. Really, just a touch. I always soak up the grammar and pronunciation like a sponge, make myself sound mighty impressive to my teachers…but then I hit a wall because I just CANNOT get the vocab to stick! I studied three years of French in HS, then took the placement test for college and got placed back at the beginning!

I just never learned how to study. And SHAME on all my teachers for not making that lesson #1! I’m realizing now that I could probably become conversant in those first three languages in a few MONTHS at this point if I applied WaniKani’s methods to them. (I know this site didn’t invent SRS and mnemonics, but it finally made them make sense to me.) I definitely plan to go back to them at some point.


It’s a really cool city, but it’s also kind of strange depending on how you view China in general. It’s a relatively new city that grew out of a fishing village, so a lot of the attractions are mostly like theme parks. Window of the World was really cool for example, but you don’t get to see a lot of the great historical places in China without a bit of travel.

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This is how I learn as well. Rather than learning grammar rules, I listen and watch and eventually you start to hear how it’s supposed to sound and internalize the rules.

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That’s what I did with english, though I didn’t do it on purpose, I watched a swedish man scream at horror games and I became good, somehow, but for japanese, just listening and watching will only get you so far as すごい and かわいい…
Which is why you actually need to study and work for it, also the fact that there’s no similarity to our languages, doesn’t help either

For me, it helped to recognize parts of the sentence structure. For instance, after a while your ear picks out whenever they say を or が and you start to realize how these denote something even if you don’t understand what they’re saying. And after you learn a bit about Japanese grammar, it really starts to throw off english subtitles because the order of thing in what you hear is different from what they’re saying.

Except for all the times they never say it, which is in most media. xD
I’ve had so many conversations at this point that I pretty much know how it goes, but oh man, for a while I was like WHAT PART OF THE SENTENCE IS THIS?!

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I guess it depends on the media, but yeah, it confused me for a while. I remember when I actually felt like I understood what の really meant.

I started WK after about 5 months of Japanese study elsewhere. I liked having learned some vocabulary and grammar first because when I’d come across the Kanji for words I already knew, it stuck better than for words I didn’t know.

I started WK about four months after I started studying Japanese. I felt it was instrumental in accelerating my learning because the writing became less of an issue. Since starting, I’ve passed the N2 (two years ago) and have become conversational.

I don’t think one can blame WK for users who get to high levels but struggle significantly in other areas of their language. Yes, the system itself can be quite time consuming, which make it easier to not leave time for grammar study, reading, speaking, etc., but time management is definitely up to the user.

In your case, I don’t think you came in late. I think having previous knowledge coming into WK helps to eliminate issues in the greater scheme of things when learning the kanji and vocabulary.

I wasn’t going to reply, but since no one is standing up for us “I barely knew hiragana when I started” folks, I’ll chime in.

I was bored and out of challenges in my life, and fell in love with Naomi Osaka. When I heard she was learning Japanese in her spare time, I started to learn Japanese in my spare time. I had a fantasy I could learn a foreign language entirely from phone apps. Yeah.

So I did hiragana drills, and some of the basic free vocab apps, then got LindoDeer (looked at the other ones like DuoLingo, Busuu, Mango, Mondly, etc) and at some point, my phone just kind of told me I was being an idiot to not do WaniKani.

I thought I would stop learning Japanese in a month or two like I give up all my other interests, so I figured “one month free trial will essentially get me through until I grow bored, and it will be pretty cool to know 85 kanji”.

Then I got into Pimsleur (audio only course) and picked up a copy of Genki. So I’m basically learning everything simultaneously. Starting from about level 3 in WaniKani, I figured out how to do google searches in Japanese, and have been trying to read news articles about tennis. (with much help from and google translate)

I did my 1 month free trial of bunpro but didn’t subscribe afterwards. I started putting together a list of tennis vocab, and drilling that.

So I’m doing listening, speaking, Kanji, reading, and a very little bit of grammar. It’s weird how exciting it is when I learn something on one method (like in Pimsleur), and then just the next week the kanji comes up on WaniKani, and then a week later, it shows up in a news article on tennis.

Grammar is definitely my weak point, but that’s kind of on purpose, since every other language I’ve tried to learn I’ve gone gung ho on grammar and ended up not understanding the language at all. Hence the “don’t sweat the grammar and learn it like a six year old” scattershot approach.

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今日は!!! あの~ I heard about Wanikani through my reintroduction to learning the language via Tofugo’s blog at the very begining on my journey.

I originally started my Japanese learning experience in a middle school morning class but it was cut after a few sessions because the school did not want to fund the professor. I picked Japanese back up 17 years later on Christmas 2018!

My grammer is tragically basic because Tofugo has advised me to study my Kanji until I reach level 10 and then go to study grammer via their program. Im currently at level 4 and its a bit slow so I do wonder if I should be using Genki becaus I feel like I should be studying more grammar. :disappointed_relieved: