Feeling 100% seen

Saw this on my dashboard this morning:

川柳 #1

レッスンを

(つい)()くした

不思議(ふしぎ)だね

川柳 #2

還暦(かんれき)

六十(ろくじゅう)()えて

ケーキどこ?

As usual, I cheated a bit, and I’ve probably made an error or three. As is also the norm, translations will be left to the readers of the daily senryu thread.

I’ll forgo my normal reticence and shyness (:roll_eyes:) and include a few thoughts below.

I’ve written much of this on the forums in various places. I still plan to participate in the forums pretty regularly. I doubt I’ll try to burn everything, but I do plan to continue my daily WK reviews for at least several more months (as long as I feel like I’m still learning).

My journey

It took me almost exactly three years. This was the perfect pace for me.



I’ll still have a fair number of daily reviews for a while yet:

It wasn’t hard, but persistence is the least common human virtue. Not one I’m particularly known for, either. I’m proud of the accomplishment, of course, but even more surprised by it.

I did pretty much all my reviews in a single session every day. I didn’t always get the number down to zero, and I did miss a day or two here and there. Until last November when some travel created a painful backlog for me, I don’t think I ever missed more than two days in a row (and that VERY rarely).

One session per day isn’t the most efficient way to get to the end, but it worked well for me. Coffee was my reward. :smile:

I did use a fair number of dashboard scripts, but never installed any reordering or redo scripts. Nothing wrong with those, but I never felt the need. (About the only time I’d think about the latter was when I surprised myself burning something that I wasn’t absolutely confident in.)

Like everyone, whether they admit it or not, I did “cheat” myself on occasion (mostly looking up rendaku!). I always felt bad about it, though. :smile:

Even though I started WK with a reasonably large vocabulary, I truly didn’t feel AT ALL comfortable reading until I was around level 45.

I was intimidated by the book threads, it seemed like everyone could read better than me. (I now realize that many others struggled just as much, it just wasn’t always visible.)

It was around that time that I started using monolingual dictionaries more (including with Yomichan). I started spending more and more time trying to puzzle out those definitions. It’s rarely easy, still, but quite rewarding every time. In hindsight, this was some of the best advice I received.

I also found more things to read that interested me: senryu and woodworking books mostly (not as many pictures as manga!). It is still an absolute struggle, but, oddly, the difficulty eased exponentially as I finished more and more levels. Vocabulary that had been giving me difficulty during reviews kept coming up more and more often, or “similar” words would clue me in on what another word really meant. The reviews helped my reading and vice-versa.

My reading confidence kinda snowballed over the last ten or fifteen levels: it no longer feels nearly as difficult as it did (but I’ve still got a long way to go, of course).

Specific advice

There’s a ton of great advice in these level 60 posts.

Not much more can be said, but here are a few thoughts on how to learn to read kanji with Wanikani.

They aren’t in any particular order except for the first:

  • Rule #1: Do your reviews. Every day. Seriously, that is all it takes. Do lessons at a pace that works for you, and feel free to slack off if things start to get tough, but reviews aren’t negotiable. It can be hard to recover if you miss more than a day or two of completing all available reviews – and you’ll pay for it every single time.

  • Make it a habit, but not a chore. If you grow to dread your reviews, you won’t do them. Anything you can do to make it at least a little pleasant/rewarding helps: streak trackers, little self-rewards for doing at least a few reviews any given day, any other motivation hacks you come across.

  • Environment and mental state also matter. Pick times of day that work for you. Find a pleasant place to do your reviews. Tweak your dashboard to make it as pleasant as possible (unsubtle hint: pay attention to this thread there is neat stuff coming). Scripts aren’t mandatory, but they can make things a little more personalized and pleasant.

  • Don’t be me: don’t put off learning to read Japanese as you attempt to build vocabulary and understand the grammar. I spent decades stupidly just accepting that reading the language would impossible for me forever.

    TRUST ME Learning Japanese is infinitely easier if you can read the language. Get the worst of the kanji hurdle out of the way as early as possible. I can’t express how much I wish WK existed back in the seventies and eighties when I was first learning Japanese!

    There is plenty of other stuff to learn about the language, and it’s wise to augment your time with WK learning very basic grammar and common sentence structure, but putting off the memorization task is, in my STRONG opinion, an absolute mistake. Get over the hump before you get too serious with grammar/sentence-structure and vocabulary building.

  • When (not if) reviews start getting hard and your accuracy drops signifcantly:

    • Slow down or stop doing lessons for a while.

    • Counterintuitively, the solution to difficult reviews is: MORE REVIEWS. Memorization is just a process of repetitive cycles. See a flashcard enough times, and I guarantee you’ll memorize it eventually.

    I strongly, STRONGLY recommend using the extra study feature (or, better, IMO, the self-study quiz script) to get in several extra, repetive review cycles in between your “formal” reviews. They are free and won’t count against you.

    I particularly recommend several, repetitive iterations of self-study for items in stages 1-2 (or 1-4). Self-study is better than the built-in extra study, IMO because among other things it lets you re-quiz just the items you missed in the first iteration.

    Three or four super-quick repetitions of successively fewer and fewer missed items is about a zillion times better than a single tortuous “formal” review where you “try harder” to recall every item. Not everyone agrees (it’s okay to be wrong) but, IMO, you shouldn’t spend more than a few seconds on any individual item during your reviews. This is even easier with extra study / self-study because the quizzes don’t count for scheduling purposes.

    “Extra” quizzes for stuff still in apprentice stages is totally legit, by the way. You aren’t cheating yourself (you’re actually helping yourself by getting more reps in). Reviews for later stage items are basically recall quizzes to optimize the scheduling for the next review, so “extra” study of them immediately before a formal review is a bad idea, but stuff in early stages should get as many review repetitions as possible.

  • If speed is your jam, go for it – just be careful not to burn out. Three years to complete seemed more than fast enough to me (but years don’t mean quite the same thing to me as they did when I was in my twenties).

  • At a certain point (certainly by the time you reach level 30) I’d also strongly recommend trying to find opportunities to actually speak the language. It’s hard, but the whole point is communication, and speaking exercises parts of your brain that help form even more connections for recall. I’m fortunate enough to have plenty of Japanese friends and family to speak with, and realize it isn’t always this easy, but seriously: find opportunities to have conversations (even if you have to pay someone!).

  • SIlly things it took me a long time to realize:

    • Track WaniKani Announcements by clicking the alarm bell icon (at least notify on first post)

    • Work your way through the ridiculously complete guide

    • Also bookmark the Ultimate Japanese Resources list

    • UI things that weren’t obvious to me for the longest time:

      • Use the F key and spacebar during reviews

      • Click on the clock icon to wrap up on review pages (ty @seanblue)

      • Notice the black and white stripes for meaning/reading!

  • Always look at all meanings, try to understand the concept rather than memorizing the specific English words. If there are multiple, different meanings, try to answer with each on different reviews.

  • Try to think/recall in Japanese. IMO, readings should come to mind first, then the concept, only then translate meanings into English. Reading/writing/speaking/understanding Japanese is VERY different from translating Japanese. It’s HARDER to translate than it is to “think in Japanese”!

  • To me, vocabulary is the entire point. Just memorizing one debatable “meaning” and reading for an individual kanji is little more than a party trick. I enjoy challenges and amazing top-of-the-hill accomplishments as much as anyone, but skipping vocabulary just to get through WK levels faster seems pretty silly to me.

  • Language is opinionated: WK primary meaning choices are good, but what matters is your vocabulary to express concepts. That said, I was far more reticent to add user synonyms for vocabulary than kanji (or especially, radicals). It’s harder and more damaging to “unmemorize” an incorrect synonym than to just memorize the perhaps odder words that WK provides.

Thoughts about WK itself
  • I wish WK also taught the most common Japanese names for radicals/部首 (see The 214 traditional kanji radicals and their meanings). It would help when asking natives about things.

  • I want the Japanese radical names “in addition to”, not “in place of” the WK meanings. Admittedly, though, some of the WK names did give me grief (looking at you oneself, bed, snake, bow, beggar).

  • One particular gripe: the Japanese distinguish between the bushu 月 meaning moon (つきへん) and the visually identical radical meaning meat/body/flesh (にくづきへん). About a million characters make infinitely more sense once you realize both exist: 腕 (arm), 膝 (knee), …

  • I also wish that WK would act on someone’s suggestion from long ago: Radicals should burn more quickly than kanji/vocab. I haven’t even bothered with mnemonics for the past many levels, but still miss reviews for radicals from the earliest levels (I may never burn the radical for “sock”)

  • I still find it incredibly annoying that WK doesn’t distinguish “meaning explanations” from “mnemonic suggestions”. Meaning explanations are necessary to disambiguate conceptual English word meanings.

    It would also help with words like 革ジャン where does “jan” come from? (Ans.: Jumper)

  • WK really makes you realize you how ambiguous English words can be, e.g.:

    • “row” as in “in a row” (列) vs. rowing an oar
    • “atmosphere”: 雰囲気 (as in mood or ambiance) vs 大気 (the literal air around us)
    • I wonder if anyone thinks 議会 has something to do with losing weight?
    • “examination”: a test or inspection (審査)
    • so many “criticisms” 非難、批判、酷評、。。。
      • “use” (soft “s” or “z”? Does 使用 mean application our apply?)
      • 利息 is “interest” but like a bank, not a hobby (not 興味)
  • The hardest meaning questions are sometimes words I know perfectly well what they mean in Japanese. Coming up with the specific English translation that WK wants can be challenging. E.g.:

    • 都合
    • 不思議 (wonder?!)
      • 一体 (“the heck” is close, but jeez that one is hard to translate)
  • Then there are words that I sorta new, but have a whole new appreciation for now (this was cool):

    • 大統領 (the big ruler over a domain)
    • 実験 (an experiment is a “truth verification” – if find this sublime)
      • Also sublime: 好奇心 (inquisitiveness: “pleasant curiosity heart”)
  • 外務大臣 “Minister of Foreign Affairs” but not “Foreign Affairs Minister”? Really?

  • EVIL: 部室 and 部屋 / 関心 and 感心 / 改める and 攻める / 探 and 深

  • I get the point: 翌日 翌月 翌年 翌朝

  • Some of us old people don’t play video games: Jourm, “Katamari Damacy”, went right over my head.

Scripts and plugins
  • First, go install yomichan if you haven’t already. Install a few dictionaries (including monolingual ones once you’ve reached a certain level). Seriously, I consider this tool indispensable and can’t imagine studying Japanese without it. i

    Just don’t use it to cheat on your reviews!

  • Weblio is a good online Japanese only resource (the sentence database is quite helpful in addition to the dictionary.

  • Deepl (AI translation) can be helpful in a pinch.

  • I do use my own scripts:

  • I only use three non-dashboard scripts:

    • The Confusion guesser is amazingly helpful whenever I miss a question. I like to turn OFF “show overlay” so it’s more in-my-face. Be sure to configure/enable the smart stuff.

    • Niai Visually Similar Kanji. This one also helped me keep track of kanji that I kept confusing.

    • Hide Context Sentence Translation. Stupid simple, but useful during lessons to get in more reading practice.

  • Recommended dashboard scripts:

    • The truly fantastic Heatmap.

    • Ultimate Timeline, also a fantastic tool. I find it quite helpful to configure it to show out to 120 days by srs stage (see above for an example).

    • The Wanikani Item inspector. This one is a swiss army knife. It has a complex and potentially confusing UI, but there’s almost nothing it can’t do. I use only a tiny fraction of it’s abilities. I mostly use it as a launcher for the highly recommended self-study script with preconfigured lists of items.

    • Jitai (randomized fonts). I recommend this one highly, too. Some characters in some fonts are sufficiently stylized that you might not even realize it’s the same character.

  • One forum script

    • ime2furigana makes it easy to add furigana when posting to the community pages.
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Awesome job and thanks for the great read.
You earned a cake.

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Congrats on hitting level 60 and seeing 100% of everything! that’s awesome :partying_face: :blush:

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Congratulations and thanks for the advise regarding Yomichan and Item Inspector. I wasn’t using either.

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Yomichan will change your online life. I’m attempting to read a number of dead-tree variety books as well. Yomichan is less useful there (AR mode, where are you?) but I still can’t imagine being without.

The item inspector is confusing, but you might find this table I created a long while ago useful. I used it regularly to launch self-study for “current level apprentice radicals/kanji” when I was still in the early days of a level with lots of new kanji:


This is what it looks like on my dashboard (breeze dark theme):

(I’ve still got another couple hours until I guru these final six, hopefully forever, then the table will no longer be of any use to me. :cry:)

You may have to click on the concentric circle icon to make it look like this rather than a list.

To launch self-study, click the calendar looking icon on the right (or the icon right next to it which does something almost identical but apparently different).

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My online life has involved a lot of cutting and pasting to jisho.org. I think Yomichan will eliminate that need? Will have a good look tomorrow.

I really like the export to csv feature of item inspector. That is gonna get used! :slight_smile:

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Lot of great ideas, tips, and insights, Rrwrex! Thanks for the post, and congrats!!

My interpretation/mnemonic (though it may not be an entirely accurate translation, I have no idea): When one is in a ‘state of wonder’, one is just experiencing the phenomenon with some sense of ‘understanding’, but without necessarily being able to ‘put words to it’. Hence, one is ‘deliberating’ or ‘considering’ (議), but ‘without thought’ (不思). Or, more ‘literally’, one is “no-thought-deliberating”.


Now that you’ve brought it up, I did a bit of Jisho-fu and discovered that there’s already a word 思議, meaning “conjecture; guess​”. With this context, then you could also interpret/remember 不思議 as: When one is in a state of wonder, one is experiencing something which one could not have conjectured or guessed could even exist. One is experiencing “Not(-even)-guessable-ness”, or “Not(-even)-conjecturable-ness”.

Again, no idea if it’s an accurate ‘translation’ of the concept, but works as a mnemonic for which kanji are involved, as long as you also know that 思議 means conjecture/guess.

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Re: Yomichan. I’m using another very similar plugin called “10ten Japanese Reader”, formerly known as RikaiChamp (and possibly also RikaiKun, I believe).

I’m not 100% sure why I picked 10ten instead of YomiChan, but I think it had something to do with 1) simplicity (I think Yomichan does more, like making cards for Anki), and 2) availability (I use Firefox, and I’m not 100% sure, but I think either Yomichan or the previous versions of 10ten (Rikai-x) were not as available on FF – or something or other).

Anyway, just wanted to point out that at least one other Yomi-chan-like tool exists, and I use it and like it. Cheers!

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Yomichan is a bit more complicated, but the upshot is you can load more dictionaries into it than the standard jmdict that everything else is based off of, and also of course anki cards. Yomichan is also 100% available on firefox, that’s where I use it every day.

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I think 思議(しぎ) more commonly means pondering, thinking about something (考えること。思いはかること) though it can also mean conjecture/guess.

The opposite, of course, is 不思議(ふしぎ), which I’ve only heard to mean something like strange or mysterious, closer to curious than wonderful. “Wonderful” in English only has overwhelmingly positive connotations, unlike 不思議 which feels more … not negative, but strange. “Wondrous” seems a little closer, but “wonderful” feels off to me.

I think it’s better not to confuse it with the verb “to wonder”. “Imponderable” or “unguessable” aren’t far off, though.


WK appears to be down at the moment. First time I’ve ever seen that maintenance page.

I think I broke it when I finished my lessons. :astonished:

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Congrats on level 60! :partying_face: :partying_face:

adding a thanks for creating/maintaining the senryuu thread. It has been a wealth of good reading and translation practice. I’ve really enjoyed our discussions there, even though i simply lurk most of the time. (also reading the backlog was a good time-sink on dull days at work when i came into the thread late :sweat_smile:)

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Did I miss understand your post or is Jourm a reference to an old video game

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You’re asking me? :laughing:

I found this via google: https://worldofwarcraft.com/en-us/character/us/zuljin/Jourm

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Uhh… Wanikani went down at almost the exact instant that my final 6 apprentice kanji on level 60 were scheduled for their final review before progressing to guru …

Apologies in advance if I somehow broke it, everyone! :bowing_man:

(Kidding of course. I hope)


Haha! It’s back up now, and clearly not my fault at all. Turns out only five were due for review. (けん) (thrifty) isn’t up until tomorrow.

Viet should get some sleep now, things may get hectic again in 23 hours…


Wait a minute!

My celebrations were premature:


Okay, that’s better:

I think one item was retired, but I can’t remember what it was.

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Really enjoy the write-up. Watch out for the WK purists who can’t stand suggestions for the silly (and outright STUPID mnemonics). I feel like the WK creator tried to be edgy with some things and funny (see Nic Cage…this wasn’t funny nor will it ever be). Your suggestions were absolutely great. Your advice was my favorite part to read.

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Heh. I’m all for mnemonic suggestions.[1]

But I enjoyed Nic Cage!


  1. Mine was “Eric Cartman” for “authoriteh” I mean “authority”. ↩︎

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Great going on completing all your lessons! ^>^ That’s the real lv 60 post! :tada: :hammer: :wood: :partying_face:

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Aww. That’s awesome. Thank you!!

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well, I don’t smell any smoke, so maybe Viet can get some rest tonight:

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Ah! Thx!

Just for reference, 10ten Reader can also load up various dictionaries (I believe it’s using the same interface/standard that YomiChan uses to access the dictionaries, but don’t quote me on that :sweat_smile:). However, I have not looked much into that feature yet, as I only started using it maybe a month or two ago, so I can’t really comment on that feature.

I guess maybe the major distinguishing feature then is the ability to make/import Anki cards, which, AFAIK, 10ten Reader doesn’t do.