Hey, I just reached lv60 two days ago and wanted to thank the WK team and share some of my personal experiences! I suck at writing so sorry if it’s all a jumbled train of thought, gonna try to keep it manageably concise
Since I haven’t been too active on the forums, this will be a somewhat late introductory post as well x)
Some background info about me:
- mid-20s, born and living in Central Europe
- studying and working in STEM fields (but I’ve always been somewhat fond of linguistics)
- lived in Japan for about 1 year during my time in secondary school (with no prior Japanese knowledge)
The stay in Japan gave me a solid foundation with kana, and since I’d listen to a LOT of real-life conversations during that time, I acquired some intuition about the spoken language – I learned a bunch of common words and phrases, could take part in basic everyday conversations, and got used to rendaku and some other language quirks.
I didn’t put any major effort into studying kanji back then, so there were only a few dozen kanji I could recognize out of context; there were also some words (like locations, people’s names, or some school-related terms) that I could also technically read (as a jukugo), but I’d have no idea about the meanings of the constituent kanji.
A few years after I came back to Europe I decided to work on my reading skills, but I felt like I bumped into a massive roadblock related to kanji and wasn’t getting anywhere…
Learning through the ‘traditional’ method would’ve taken a huge time investment before I’d be able to read anything remotely interesting; and I didn’t have enough existing kanji groundwork to learn the new ones organically… so I put it off again for a few more years.
Fast-forward to 2019 winter break, I remembered there was this stuff called SRS and thought that maybe I could apply it to Japanese. I grabbed the RTK Anki deck and (being an extremely impatient person when it comes to learning) burnt out in a week
There were also some other issues I had with RTK, namely:
- the keywords were often too far off
- no reading mnemonics whatsoever (I know there’s a separate RTK for that, but it didn’t make much sense considering I was already more used to speaking/listening than reading)
- it just felt too chaotic (but that might’ve been the deck I used)
After some snooping around on the net I found WK, made a trial account… and haven’t looked back x)
It took me about 30 levels to get used to the pacing and I had two small burn-outs during that time – but these issues came mostly from my irregular schedule, since I was trying to plow through WK, university classes, and a few part-time jobs at the same time.
My stats (still working on the lv60 items):
And the 3 things I loved the most about WK:
- probably my first such voluntary long-term commitment that I’ve actually gone through till the end (and hopefully not the last)
- now I can look up words in a dictionary without resorting to handwriting or stroke-counting IME (sounds minor, but holy **** it’s such a great quality of life change)
- the sheer ratio of knowledge gained to time spent learning
So yeah, never imagined that learning the kanji would actually be an easy part of the journey And I’ll definitely be checking out new Tofugu products and advocating WK to anyone who asks me about learning Japanese!
Thank you! xo