Cool (A Level 60 Post)

Long post so TLDR at the bottom

Five years and one week ago (about) I decided to check out a kanji-learning website that Tofugu was advertising in their newsletter email. At the time I had technically been studying Japanese for close to a year and a half, but my studies lacked direction. I was comfortable with N5 grammar and I already knew about 50 kanji after using both Human Japanese and Human Japanese Intermediate (which I highly recommend for N5 grammar). But most of the Japanese I saw completely eluded me. Trying to read Japanese I found online would be a task of trying to pick out the radicals I knew and guessing the meaning. Needless to say, this didn’t go well. I needed to study kanji properly, but I was scared (okay not like where I was having nightmares filled with complex kanji, that’d be weird).

So I was relieved going to wanikani.com for the first time to see a very friendly looking page. Everything was very simple and easy to understand (if you read the FAQ). The first few levels were free, so I might as well try them out. If I gave up, I wouldn’t lose any money (which I desperately needed as a student). I remember having the expectation of giving up on it after a short while. I knew it’s incredibly hard to stick to things, and while I had been casually studying Japanese and Swedish (ja, också svenska) for over a year, trying out new things should always come with an awareness that you may decide to quit it.

I don’t know what it was though, maybe it was the bright colors sending happy juice to my brain, maybe it was some crabby providence, but I kept coming back, day after day, and doing my lessons and reviews. And the forums I discovered at the bottom of the page after the first day or two were also great. I was too afraid to talk at first, but I loved seeing the activity and the community that had been built around this. It was the first platform I had come across full of other Japanese learners. I could relate to the things others were saying about their experiences, and there was a lot of useful resources and advice. Soon enough, I had reached level 3 and finished all my lessons, and as a poor student, I had to wait some time before I was able to afford a subscription.

In my time as a grey level 3 I hung out on the forums a lot, beginning to post and talk with people, getting to know the big posters at the time, a lot of whom have sadly gone inactive. But many of them stuck around even until today, and so did I. Eventually I was able to afford the subscription and I subscribed, continuing onto level 4 and beyond. That is, until I reached level 37.

At this time I had recently graduated from college and I had just started working nights stacking shelves in order to save money. My goal wasn’t out of the ordinary for Japanese learners. I wanted to join the JET program and move to Japan. Well, I had to wait a few months to apply and after that, I had to wait even longer to get to Japan if I was successful, so I worked. But that, combined with severe burn out from pushing myself an unhealthy amount lead to my reviews suffering. And it wasn’t long before they had built up to over a thousand. And after that, over 2000. I didn’t have the time or energy to do them, so I stopped. A few times I tried to get the reviews down, but it never worked out. I didn’t have the energy or time to keep at it. But it was fine, because I was applying to the JET program and I even got an interview. I had been waiting for that day for years, but, I choked the interview due to nerves and got a rejection letter a few weeks later in the mail.

This was perhaps my lowest point. Standing by the door reading the words “we regret to inform you-”. I had dreamt of applying to JET for 3 years at that point. I had done so much research into the application process, my application was as perfect as it could get. I had staked so many months of my life on that and I was back to square one. But, that moment only lasted for a few seconds. Although I had given up on my reviews, I had not given up on WaniKani entirely. I still regularly visited the forums (and I actually was a regular for a while), and I had made quite a few friends from it. And along with that, I had met many people who inspired me, both in studying Japanese, and real life (you heard it, studying Japanese isn’t real). I couldn’t give up everything. I couldn’t do that to myself. I may have not had the energy for the longest time, but I had the ambition. So not an even hour after opening that letter, I applied to another company like JET, and I applied to take the JLPT N4. I needed the motivation to study, and I felt like if I pushed myself, I could manage N4.

I slowly began to study again. Not too much, but enough to actually be something. And I got through the interview stages with the company. I still hadn’t touched my reviews, but that was fine, because I had actually passed N4. And only a few weeks later, I had gotten an email from the company telling me there was a place for me! I had completely turned around my situation in a few months. Okay I know it wasn’t like I had gotten into Harvard with a scholarship coming from rural Burundi, but this was a huge deal to me! My ambitions and my studies in Japanese had finally led to something tangible, and at the core of it was this site, and the friends I had made from it.

After booking flights, organising everything, and waiting a painfully long few months, I arrived in Japan on March 12th 2020. Yeah, I know, what a time to arrive. I’ll skip over my impressions arriving and my experiences living here since it’s not really relevant to the story. Perhaps the one thing that had remained consistent though, funnily enough, was the fact that I was still not doing my reviews. I was no longer level 37 at least though. After putting it off for ages, I had finally decided to reset… 2 levels… Yeah that didn’t help at all. But I had the energy once again, and my motivation was higher than ever, actually needing to improve my abilities for once. So in October, I finally bit the bullet and decided to reset properly… to level 15- okay yes I know 1 may have been better but like that’s a lot time time okay? Also, big props to you for actually reading all this. I know 95% of people are going to see this massive wall of text and nope out to the next sections, so thank you. It really means a lot. Give me a treat in the replies to reward yourself for taking the time to read this.

Restarting my reviews and lessons was a weird experience. It had been so long since I had done them, and I was so used to being ‘the guy stuck on level 37’. I began to make my way through the levels again, reaching my despised level 37 after a few months, and passing it, entering into new material for the first time in over 2 years. I was also taking physical lessons for some time, although I stopped those because they were expensive. And from there I continued into the 40s, albeit losing speed. I was still doing my reviews at least, but the lessons slowed down as I began to experience burnout. This time however, I knew what to do, and I took it easy. Oh yeah, and I also passed N3 around this time. I studied quite hard so I guess that also contributed to the burnout, but you know, N3, nice.

If there’s one thing that could be said about summer last year in regards to WK, would be that I reaaally slowed down. Take a look at my heatmap below and you’ll see exactly what I mean. But, I was productive in other ways, climbing Mt Fuji and working on my photography. I also applied to take the N2. Not to pass it, just to get an idea of what areas I’d have to focus on. And because I didn’t expect to pass and I was pretty burned out and taking it easy, I never did any studying for it. Well, December came around and while I had made some progress in making it to the late 40s, I still hadn’t done any grammar, reading, or listening, outside of the exposure I got from living in Japan. Well, I passed it. Somehow. I’m still in shock to this day to be honest, I had no right passing that, but okay I guess??

The new year comes, and my two main goals for 2022 were to pass N2 (this is before I got my results), and reach level 60. And since my burnout had begun to wear off, I decided to go back into levelling up. Slowly at first, but picking up speed to truly do the fast levels fast. And that brings us to today, when my guru reviews for level 59 came up, doing them to finally make it to level 60. Is this the greatest achievement ever? Yes No, but I’ve waited for this day for 5 years now. And I have put so much of my time into this site. Both in doing reviews and lessons, and making friends (and polls) on here. This website isn’t my entire life, but I owe so much of who I am today to it and the people on it. From the staff, to the friends I’ve made, to whatever the heck goes on in the POLL thread these days (sometimes I’m afraid to look). From the soko of my shin, thank you everyone.

Stats

Heatmap

  • The max reviews in a single day is 1136, the bright red square.
  • The average review session size is 40.1 reviews.
  • The dark blues are around 150-200 reviews. More is more purple, less is lighter blue.

Overall level progress bar (at the time of levelling up)

Statistics site current status
image

Statistics site accuracy
image

Statistics site level up graph (doesn’t show levels pre-reset)

SRS distribution

Scripts and tools

It’s hard to remember all the scripts and tools I’ve used over the years. It’s not as many as some people though, I tend to be quite minimal. Here’s what I’m currently using:

  • Rfindley’s Statistics Site - This has unquestionably been one of the most useful tools I’ve used throughout my time. I couldn’t imagine WK without it.
  • Kumirei’s Wanikani Heatmap Script - I have looked at this more than I’ve looked at the back of my own hand. Bless this script.
  • Kumirei’s Overall Progress Bar - This was created in response to a request I made, so you bet I’m gonna like it and use it. I may have only had it for like a week, but I can’t imagine going back now.
  • Dani2’s Dashboard Leech Tables - Okay I’ll admit I haven’t been the most proactive when it’s come to leech squashing, but this is still very useful when you want to identify those items that you hate more than anything.
  • Gth99’s Level-Up Celebrator - I never changed the original image or message. This one is so nice to have just to make your level ups a little more exciting. It’s nice to see every level up, and it’s sad I won’t be getting to see it again (until I reset to level 1, but that won’t be for a while).
  • Flaming Durtles App - I do a large portion of my reviews and lessons while commuting, so having a good tool to do those on my phone is invaluable. This is it for me. I can say with certainty, I would not be even level 50 now if not for this app.

That’s all the scripts and tools I’m currently using as far as I know. If any of these are old and have been updated by someone else, please tell me because I didn’t check. Bless every single person that has made a tool/script for WK, you have done so much for this site and its users and I can’t thank you enough.

Thanks

I’ve already said thank you to you all, but there are so many people in particular I have to thank.

  • @Leebo You have not only been invaluable over the years in your knowledge and help, but you have also been a huge inspiration to me and many others. This may be the only part of this post you read, so thank you.
  • @Kumirei Your scripts have been invaluable. I’ve always looked up to you since around when I started on here, so thanks for your posts. Och tack for din hjälp med svenska! I swear one day I’ll get back to studying it.
  • @jprspereira There was a time when we were around the same level. I remember thinking that I had to race you to level 60. Well, good thing I didn’t, because you beat me by 4 years. It was never about racing though, it was about getting to where we are, and I’m proud of both of us <3.
  • @alexbeldan You’ve been inactive for a while, so I don’t know when you’ll see this, but thank you for being one of the people who helped me hang around here when I first joined. The profile picture was always nice to see.
  • @Ryouki Thank you, and sorry, for creating the poll thread. Today’s POLLers may not remember us, but we had some great times back in those first few.
  • @trunklayer Thanks for all the Nyaaaaaans <3
  • @MissMisc Come back, we miss you <3
  • @MichaelCharles I’ve only had a single interaction with you, but thank you for recommending freecodecamp. I’ve been using it since you recommended it and I’ve already learnt so much. It’s really helped give me direction and motivation for my future, so thank you.
  • @TomatoSalad Thank you.

If your name isn’t here, I still thank you for reading this. And you, as a user of this site, have already done your part.

There were about 3 million things I wanted to say in this post, but I think I’ll cut it off at 2.9 million. I could have made a whole advice section, and I almost did, but you get enough of that from other level 60 posts. If I was to give any advice, it’d be this: Aspire to be like the people you look up to most. But don’t aspire to be them. You are your own person. You have your own abilities and your own limits. And just because you may not have the energy of someone who got to level 60 in under a year, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure. I took 5 years. Others have taken longer. The most important thing is to understand what you’re capable of, and that often not being who you aspire to be is completely out of your control. I’ve burnt out many times over the years, and the times I was closest to quitting were when I didn’t understand my limits. I used to blame myself for not studying hard every day. I considered myself a failure if I didn’t work hard and push myself, even when I didn’t have the energy. I tried to be someone I wasn’t, and I paid the price. Don’t be like that. Everyone is incredible, but in order to be the best version of yourself, you need to understand yourself, limits and all. If you haven’t reached level 60 yet, work hard. But work at what hard means to you, not what it means to the 60 in under a years (unless you are one of those nutters).

Don’t give up.

tldr; Hit level 60, cool.

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H-Huh? This is…Wantitled’s…wha–already?! I don’t have anything prepared yet! Oh no, oh gosh…oh geez… I-I guess I’m gonna have to say this all spontaneously…

nisekoi-kosaki-onodera

Wantitled-くん,
I’ve known you for so long and more often than not…you were always working so hard on your goals. Whether it was Japanese, Swedish, Geography, or just being a good person…you always did your best. I think of you as one of the best people I’ve ever met because seeing you get to where you are now–I’m grateful for it every day.

RingedJealousBackswimmer-size_restricted

Though you say you’re always lazy and do show some it at times, you’re still more hardworking than most of the people I know. Even me. You were always so cool like that.

Ah! That reminds me!!

LimpSilverFly-max-1mb

I hope you’re still taking care of your health no matter what!!! You might be sleeping super late and waking up really early! Or just eating fast food most of the time! That’s really bad for you, isn’t it? Oh gosh, please always be well, Wantitled-くん! If not, I-I’ll come over with some porridge o-or…! Or…I-I don’t know! I just want you to always be okay or else I’ll worry like crazy!
Huh?
Why wouldn’t I worry?
After all, you’re–…you’re…

kosaki-onodera-nisekoi

You’re the most important person to me and…I really care about you…


OH NO WHAT DID I JUST SAY WHATDIDIJUSTSAY OH MY–

animesher.com_nisekoi-onodera-kosaki-gif-blush-753444

A-A-A-Anyway!!! Congratulations on Level 60, Wantitled-くん!!! I-I’ll get you some freshly baked cookies to celebrate soon! I-I-I-I just have to go right now b-because they need me at the store so–uhm–I’ll see you later!!

Later, after turning the corner

PinkTartBetafish-size_restricted

Aaggghhhh what did I saaaayyy! why did I say thaaaaaaat! I sounded so…so…aaaaagghh!

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I approve of this post.

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We both know that the bond between you and me has grown to be so siblings-who-had-to-share-a-room-for-10-years that no matter how hard we try to be emotional with our words unprompted, it just comes out like an awkward back pat. So let me just try.

stares at it
is silent
starts full-on crying, loud and a snotfest
I owe you a Level 60 Celebration Pizza. \ :sob: /
I’ve always been grateful that we met while we were both in our early WK days. In these forums, being in the lower 10s always felt like being a kid to me. We’d just be walking around having fun learning and drowning in kanji as if it’s some sort of pseudo-childhood. And now that we’ve both “grown-up”…I couldn’t have imagined a better, kinder, and, more importantly, goodester pseudo-childhood best friend to have along with me.

I’m so, so proud of you and I can’t wait to see the next milestone you achieve. Hopefully, it’s to finally stop smelling like a butt. :heart:

In 2 - 3 years, I’ll hopefully convince you with the help of enough treat bribes to reset to level 1 with me and we’ll race to level 60 all over again.

bfa

still no

P.S. whoever made that onodera post sure has a lot of time on their hands. geez.
they don’t. they have very little time. they did it anyway.

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Congratulations! :champagne:

No, thank you for being so ワンderful! :dog2:

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Congratulations! Loved your post.

I actually thought that the link would go to this video: Matsuoka Shuzo [松岡修造 ] - あきらめかけているあなた (NEVER GIVE UP!!) [English] - YouTube

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Is This What You Meant by Treat
giphy

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Well, that hurts, somehow. (Well timed cat :cat2: though).

Anyway, congrats!

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Thanks! I was considering that one, but the opportunity was too good to pass up.

As long as I can eat it and it tastes good, yes, thank you.

I should have tagged you too, but I couldn’t think of anything in particular to say. But don’t worry, you’re definitely up there on my list of top WKers. I hope you never ditch your icon.

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Congats, wan. I am so happy to see you achieve this. :slight_smile:

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You’re also on my imaginary list of people I should have tagged <3

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Maybe as an April Fool thing, complete with a username change. You know, something that has never been done before.
(But probably not)

I can give you book/manga recommendations, if you need any! Impulsive buying on ebook apps has lead me to read weeeeird things (that doesn’t sound appealing, but some are good!)

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I don’t usually read the celebration posts, but I read this one. I’m so happy you finally made it! There aren’t a lot of us left from the early days of the forum migration, but I am very glad that you are one of them

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You know, as I was reading that post I was sure it was you, it just seemed like a very you thing to do. But then I saw your post and I start to doubt myself. Why would they write two long posts? Granted, it wasn’t that long, but I didn’t see the end yet and I expected it to be at least twice as long. Then I got to the end and realized that I had been bamboozled pout

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congratulations.!!! Have an extremely tiny cake my friend made…

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Wantitled.

Congrats :partying_face: :bangbang: :bangbang:

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[✓] Get revenge on Kumi after rickrolling me at 3am with that fake JLPT results link all those years ago.

5HhN

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I should have expected it… :rofl:

Congratulations!!

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Yeah, about that… I literally just got a text to speech program, copy, paste, play. Literally my bedtime story. I loved your story, it’s like a story book.

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omg thanks Subaru

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