I got a message the other day from my old pal, Feels Goodman
Finished: I guru’d the kanji in level 59, did the login/logout dance, and here I am! You can tell from the timing on the level-up chart I haven’t guru’d all the required level 60 items, and I’ve got about 400 vocab to catch up on from the last five levels, but this feels like as good a moment as any to pause and reflect.
Almost Halfway: I’m on the verge of 4,200 burned items. I’m not done with WK until the crabigator is eternally satiated.
Just Beginning: I feel like I’ve switched modes from “learning to read” into “reading to learn”. With the groundwork laid the real work can begin!
Single most useful technique I converged on: I did almost all of it with the iOS app Tsurukame. The killer feature for me was the ability to toggle “current level” on and off for new lessons. Maybe this is cheating? (please don’t hurt me Koichi). But there were two huge benefits to this.
- I found that new kanji and new vocab seemed to use different parts of my brain, so it was WAY easier for me to advance taking 5 kanji and 10 vocab in a day, vs 15 of each.
- Taking on newly unlocked vocab was incredibly powerful for reinforcing the kanji I had just learned.
If you’re early on and haven’t found a reordering script, I really do recommend it for this particular purpose.
What I’d do differently: I ran Levels 7 through 34 about as quick as I could. Then … things slowed down considerably. I hit the wall of burn-resistant items, and I would have been drowning in reviews if I had tried to keep up the pace. Looking back, I think I would have been better off taking an extra day or two on average through Painful and Death. I have a feeling it would have enabled better retention and faster progress overall.
What happened with level 35?: I took a one-week vacation and added a month to my completion time I’m honestly glad I did it though because it really reinforced the power of the SRS system. I took the advice from the “ultimate cheat guide” post and stopped doing new lessons a week before vacation, so I only had guru+ items when I returned. What surprised me was how many recent guru-level items I couldn’t remember because of the extra week of time between reviews. I stayed super-disciplined about letting in new lessons only when I had space in my apprentice count (targeting ~115). I’m glad I didn’t do a vacation much earlier, because I think it would have been hard to have the same patience with 20 levels to go instead of 5.
Most unexpected fun thing I did the first few levels and the last few levels with my son. (He sorta lost interest/patience in the middle). It was an incredible bonding experience and reading the mnemonics aloud and creating the memories of laughing about them was remarkable reinforcement. And having Mary (my wife/his mom) overhear “Woman with a Big Mouth is Mary” was a moment for the family album for sure
- Wrap up the lessons (targeting my birthday in late September)
- Burn 'em all!
- Increased attention on kaniwani and bunpro
- More reading! Stock up on manga, short story collections, and maybe a carefully chosen novel or two (probably either something by Murakami (Norwegian Wood?) or start the bakemonogatari light novel series).
- Maybe start listening to some podcasts?
Thank you! A seriously heartfelt thank you to everyone who has contributed to wanikani over the years. You’ve made a “maybe, someday, when I have time, but probably realistically never” goal into my reality!