From 落第(Zero) To 英雄(Hero) - The WaniKani Level 60 Journey eBook

What’s this スーパーサイヤ人 mode?

As I mentioned in the post(super saiyan). Long story short, it comes from an extremely popular anime(Dragon Ball Z) where characters turn “super saiyan”(hair goes from black to yellow) to get stronger.

I added a couple of examples from anime in my post like the “let’s start, Aizen” which comes from one of the most notorious fights in the anime Bleach.

So if you don’t watch anime you won’t be able to get all the references that I added in my post :cry:

Lol no I got the reference. I meant like… is there a mode that lets you progress through levels faster? I saw that you got through level 49 in less than 4 days which is crazy fast. Each level usually takes me 20 or so days and I try to do reviews pretty regularly

49 is a fast level where over 90% of the kanji are unlocked from the start, so you can do that in half the time than normal levels.

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Like @morteasd said. If you check all the graphs of level 60 people you will always see them leveling up extremely fast in the last levels. That’s not a coincidence. It’s just that you can level up faster.

In the low levels, you have to guru the first set of Kanji then you unlock the second set of Kanji and guru that as well to level up. In the last levels, you only have one set of Kanji(no second one) so you can level up in a shorter period of time, hence the “fast level” name.

What I meant with “super saiyan” is spending more time on WaniKani overall so that I can level up faster. I started to level up faster because I started to spend more time on WaniKani, not because I used a special script or something :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the post! I have just completely reevaluated how I am studying and what I should fix in my studies. I actually found my 3DS and restarted Pokemon X in japanese and I understand alot more than I thought I would! Cheers buddy and congrats on 60!

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A little late to the party here. Not sure how I missed this as I have been looking forward to your post.

I’m curious how you would relate your experience learning English and Japanese? Did you find yourself mostly immersing in that time? I would not have known you weren’t a native speaker had you not mentioned it, so clearly you know a thing or two about language acquisition!

Congratulations and best of luck on your continued studies!

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A couple of people told me they were waiting for my post but when I released it I didn’t see anyone :joy:


Very similar, almost. The keyword here is always “immersion”. There is no solution that will ever be as effective as native material. Textbooks and apps are good for some motivation but that’s about it. I can read JLPT N2 text even though I never trained for it(unless you count skimming through Genki).

Now the question is “then, why don’t people use native material straight away?”. It’s very simple, Kanji, or in better words the writing system. That’s why I advise people to go all-in on Kanji in the first months. You can start reading manga and struggle if you have like 1000 Kanji that you “kind of” know. Meanwhile, people are still trying to finish N5-N4 grammar. So the goal is to get “kind of” familiar with the writing system then dive into native material. However, that’s not exactly what I did.

Before I talk about what I did, let’s talk very quickly about English. Like many people, I achieved fluency by playing video games and watching anime. However, I was just fluent. What I mean is my speaking skills weren’t very good and I still did grammatical mistakes(I still do but way less). Two years ago, I started entrepreneurship and I decided to move to the US within 5 years. So I started doing everything in English. All my devices were in English and I was watching American entrepreneurs all the time. I also spent the last 2 years writing a book completely in English. On top of all of that, I started doing a 1-hour practice every day by imagining myself doing public speaking(you can’t lead people without knowing how to speak). In other words, I feel more American than French now.

I tried to replicate all of that with Japanese but I did it partially. I started playing Pokemon games very early in my journey but I kept watching anime with subtitles. The time I spent on Japanese was also limited so I couldn’t do much. Because WaniKani was my main “Japanese resource”, I had barely any time to do something else after it. That’s why I hate the fact that there is so much useless vocab—it drags the discovery of the 2000 Kanji way too much. Anyways, that’s just my opinion. Overall, I would do WaniKani, then, if I have some extra time, I would play Pokemon or check another resource. Whenever I went out I used like an app or something just to be like “hey, I am practicing Japanese”. My Japanese improved a lot but it was still average.

When I reached like level 50 on WaniKani, I got tired of my situation and decided to increase my Japanese time and take things more seriously. When you reach the intermediate phase(at least the lower part of it) you start to understand a little bit more but you still don’t understand anything. It’s like you don’t suck but you also suck haha. That’s why it’s so frustrating. I posted the method that I was planning to use and someone said that it was similar to what AJATT(all japanese all the time)/MIA(mass immersion approach) was preaching.

Here is the post:

I didn’t believe it at first, I was like “Is MIA really similar?” so I went through absolutely everything that I can find related to it. It confirmed what I was thinking and since then I didn’t watch any anime/drama with subtitles. Basically, I am now replicating exactly what I did with English, slowly but surely. Now my laptop is also in Japanese. To sum up, all my fun time is in Japanese. I call this “blended fun”—having fun with something that can benefit you(e.g. playing a game in a different language) to be more productive. Within 3 months, you and your friend both finished game of thrones but one of you improved his Spanish, for example.

All of this to say that my experiences with both languages are very similar. It’s just that the writing system of Japanese slowed me down. However, I am trying to add more and more Japanese every once in a while. After one month of “better” immersion, I can already feel the difference. My listening skills improved a lot and my reading speed is starting to be acceptable. I am currently playing “Monster Hunter” on PS4 and being able to read some paragraphs entirely feels amazing(a bit taxing on my brain though lol).

If things keep going like this, I will reach a decent reading speed within 6 months-1 year and after that I might invest more time in speaking. So yes, fluency within 1-2 years seems possible and I can’t wait for it. After that, maybe a trip to Japan and it’s gg—mission accomplished. I can start doing everything in French again.

Awesome! I wish I knew all of this when I was level 8. I am almost jealous :smiley:

Good boy! Some Kanji knowledge and basic grammar are enough to start enjoying Pokemon games. Have fun!

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Check when I signed up and compare it with my current level and you will find out this is ME!

I read your post word by word and I can’t thank you enough, it feels for the first time I know what to do, The reason why I studied Japanese is to achieve one goal, to continue my postgraduate studies in Japan. I failed to get Employee Scholarship from my workplace and I lost the passion to study the Japanese language. After years, I find out that something deeper is connecting me to Japanese, I have never traveled to Japan, I don’t watch Anime or ever played Pokemon games, but the language itself sounds pleasing to my ears and the omotenashi culture has caught my interest. I’m a native Arabic speaker and found that Japanese is deep and rich as my own language. Like you, I have faced the same difficulties while learning in Wanikani, It felt like I’m learning two languages EN&JP at the same time which is great! This post is going to be my main reference to learn the language and hopefully one day, with better skills I will write a comment here in a full Japanese paragraph.

Best regards.
أطيب التحيات

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Now the question is “then, why don’t people use native material straight away?”. It’s very simple, Kanji, or in better words the writing system. That’s why I advise people to go all-in on Kanji in the first months.

Wow, this never really occurred to me. English is my native language, so I’ve never had to deal with acquiring it later in life. But I see an awful lot of folks here who speak it as a second language and I think to myself “Wow, their NL, English, and Japanese? I wonder why they aren’t applying the same success with English to Japanese”

Kanji is absolutely that huge road-block to getting started. English, despite it’s many, MANY inconsistencies, only has 26 letters in the alphabet. And also doesn’t hurt that a lot of media is produced in English. So it would totally make sense how English is, at the very least, more accessible from the get go compared to Japanese. Thanks a lot for that perspective!

Also, I think I recall mentioning the AJATT/MIA method in another post that you were in. Currently I’m following MIA as much as I can manage (read: not super intensively) and kanji is a huge roadblock to reading, which is something I put a lot of stock in when it comes to language acquisition. I plan on continuing my immersion and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

Cheers, and best of luck in your future entrepreneurial ventures

I mean, think about it. How many people become fluent without using a single textbook? You will never hear someone mentioning a textbook when it comes to “English” fluency. Yet, in the Japanese community, everyone is “this” or “that” textbook.

Yeah, that’s why achieving fluency in English is nowhere near achieving fluency in Japanese. Not only the language is way easier, it’s also omnipresent. Like who didn’t watch a Hollywood movie? Heck, even to get my software engineering degree I had to get the TOEIC. English is part of our life now versus Japanese that is NEVER needed in your life. I think the only thing that can be impressive with English is having a great accent.

This is the biggest problem. It’s better to hate yourself for a couple of months than hate yourself for years. The first year is always awful anyway. People don’t prioritize Kanji enough so they can never consume native material. Therefore, they postpone doing it and they never end up being fluent. All of this makes them stuck in the “textbook” loop that they never get out of, hoping that someday they will magically understand native material.

Thanks mate!

@Conako I am so glad to see this and that’s why I wrote all of this. I am not trying to criticize anyone here but unfortunately, most of the level 60 posts are the same. It’s either a short post or a long one talking about how to optimize WaniKani and level up as fast as possible. I wish this post had more exposure as many people(especially beginners) could benefit from it. Every time I pour my soul into a post I get low engagement and vice versa. It’s pretty much a curse now.

I really respect people who learn the language without any interest in anime/manga/video games, etc…that makes the language even more difficult. I don’t even want to imagine it.

I never thought I would see Arabic here haha.


I’m sad to hear this. I knew only one of your posts before now “Wanikani vs JLPT” which was really on point. I think they should find a way to promote the precious posts here to reach a larger audience. I will share this post with all my friends interested in learning Japanese, It’s a guideline for every Japanese learner not only Wanikani members.

I come back again to hear your opinion about learning how to write Kanji? and is it important or it’s a waste of time for beginners/intermediate? Besides Wanikani I’m learning Kanji with “Basic Kanji Book” Vol.1 & 2 and found myself processing easily and writing helps me to memorize Kanji better. Could you share with us how did you improve your writing in Japanese?

Haha, that was gentle support after I read you have been learning Arabic, I’m sure I’m the first Arabian user here and maybe the only one. Arabic is hard to learn due to limited resources and learning tools, therefore I would be happy to help in this matter. :blush:

Best regards,
تقبل التحية والتقدير

Actually, I should have talked about that in my post but I forgot about it. Don’t spend time on writing, it’s useless. Let me explain.

Learning Japanese is EXTREMELY hard and let’s be honest here, most people will never be fluent, it’s just how it is. Reaching fluency takes forever, and if you add writing on top of that, that period will be even longer. Just to put things into perspective, even Japanese people don’t know how to write all the Kanji they know. Smartphones and laptops are advanced enough to give you all the suggestions you need when you type, all you need is to be able to read the different Kanji.

Even in your own language, when was the last time you have written something? You probably do that a couple of times a year when you have papers to fill(and now you can do most of the stuff online as well). You can simply memorize the few Kanji you need for that case(e.g. your address) or just ask someone for help. If you are fluent in speaking you will never have a problem with writing.

People always say that writing helps with memory and that might be true to a certain extent, however, it increases the workload tremendously. Using an SRS is enough to remember the Kanji in most cases, after that you need to see them more often in the right contexts. The ultimate goal is consuming native material, everything else will slow you down.

As a bonus, I will add that Japanese people don’t use SRS to learn Kanji. They consume a ridiculous amount of manga and by the time they start studying Kanji they already know most of them. If you want to learn absolutely every aspect of Japanese you will have to spend like 10 years on it. If you become fluent and you feel like you want to add writing go ahead. That being said, doing that as a beginner or even intermediate is so counterproductive. How will writing some Kanji help you when you can’t even read a basic Japanese dialogue properly?

One thing that you need to know is that your brain gets better at recognizing Kanji. If you use WaniKani long enough, or even any SRS you will notice that you can pick up new Kanji way faster. Because you know a lot of radicals, the on’yomi/kun’yomi readings, etc…things will click faster than before. At that point, you just need to spam Japanese content until Kanji become second nature to you. As I said previously, learning Kanji individually is useless. You do that so that you can parse sentences, but eventually you want to learn vocabulary. If you can write those Kanji 土 and 産, can you apply the rules you learned and guess the compound Kanji お土産? No, because the reading is an exception and you have to see it in context many times before you can read it instantly.

Anyways, I hope what I said was clear enough.

I say that I am French because I was born in France and I spent most of my life there. However, I have Arabic origins and I spent around 10 years in my homecountry Tunisia. So yes, I am fluent in Arabic. Even if I wasn’t, don’t worry. When I learn a language I always go for fluency(so one language at a time). I am not trying to be a polyglot who can do some fancy introductions in 10 languages :stuck_out_tongue:


I think your post has changed dramatically since I first saw it… There’s so much body here now.
Anyway found your audio samples and gave them a listen. Just wanted to say that your accent is pretty damn good! I swear only your cough sounded french (lol). I’ve been playing apex legends in japanese and honestly my first thought was how similar some of the characters’ voice lines sounded with yours. エーペックスレジェンズ | ブラッドハウンド 日本語セリフ集 イントロ・キル - EAA - YouTube Or perhaps it’s just the echo. Give it a little more oomph and I think you’ll sound the same!

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What?! I think you are confusing this with another one. I wrote the whole thing before getting to level 60 so as soon as I reached 60 I uploaded the whole thing. It was already edited properly so I didn’t change anything since then.

Glad to see that there are people who listened to it so I didn’t record for anything :joy:

LMAO french cough, I mean thanks.

I checked your video and the voices are really cool. Maybe if I work a little bit more on my accent I can get close to that. I mean, adding a better mic + some sound effects can make it sound better as well :smiley:

Congratulations on level 60! I’m hoping to finish by the end of the year.

I have actually been doing something similar. I’ve invested the large majority of my studying into wanikani. I’ve completed Genki 1 and 2 and have been holding off a bit on Tobira. Recently I’ve started trying to use more native material to increase my reading ability and listening comprehension.

However, something I have found with Wanikani is that despite having “learned” over 3000 vocabulary words I can’t actually remember a lot of them. When reading articles I can easily recognise and read them, but end up having to look up the meaning for a large portion of the reading.

I find this is the same with production of words when speaking. If you asked me how to say “hero” in Japanese, I couldn’t actually remember how to say it, but if I saw it I would recognise it.

It’s weird that you mention JP-JP Anki decks. It appears that this is universally agreed upon as the best way to learn Japanese, yet the majority of vocabulary I can recall, (how do you say x in JP) was from my time studying Genki when I created Eng - JP flash cards. Part of me feels that if Jp-Jp was the optimum method for my brain, then I would remember a great deal more of the Wanikani vocab from the amount of time I have invested into it.

I really enjoyed reading your post, and I would be interested in hearing your opinion on this.

Congrats again!

If you go at full speed, you should be fine :smiley:

I also checked Tobira very quickly but I already used all the willpower I had for textbooks on Genki so I didn’t do much. It’s too long and full of boring stuff(e.g. starting with geography, not my thing). At that level, it would be better to read some manga lol. The only good thing about Tobira is that it’s almost 100% Japanese so it forces you to think in Japanese. Honestly, a JLPT N4 level is enough to start playing some Pokemon games :smiley:

That’s completely normal(and one of the reasons why I hate all the useless vocab). Even I forgot a lot of vocab from the beginning(e.g. 従う). As I already said, WaniKani is just a tool to get used to Kanji, nothing more. The reason why you use an SRS(whether it’s WK or Anki) it’s just to get your brain used to all the necessary Kanji faster.

I mean you can pick up Kanji by reading stuff with furigana but it’s just inefficient. Yet, that’s what Japanese people do. However, they have at least a decade while growing up to learn Kanji slowly. I don’t think it works for us haha. So the SRS is just there to make you “used to” Kanji so that you can decrypt a sentence like “Kanji1, particle, Kanji2(compound), particle, verb”.

The reason why a lot of things don’t stick is that most of the things we learn are out of context. Learning “馬鹿(baka/idiot)” on an SRS won’t do much. However, watch a couple of anime and you will hear it so much to the point where you can’t forget it even if you wanted to.

WaniKani does offer some context with example sentences but the problem is that they are hard to understand even for level 60 people so there is no hope you can benefit from them, especially not as a beginner.

JP-JP Anki decks do work because of the “context” aspect. It’s easier to retain the vocab when you see it in a sentence. You will retain it even better if the sentence is “special” to you, or had an impact on you(like my Yu-Gi-Oh sentence). Also the JP-JP aspect makes you better at understanding Japanese because you think 100% in Japanese whereas when you do Eng-JP stuff you will always revert back to thinking in English. Honestly, it’s just a way to stay comfortable.

If you are at a restaurant and the waiter asks you what do you want you can answer “私は水です(watashi wa mizu desu)”. If you use English here, you will be confused because you will get “I am water” versus “As for me, I will take water”.

It’s expected. Wanikani teaches recognition, not recalling. Meaning that when you see something you can read it. If that happens, then your WK journey was useful. For recalling, you will need more exposure to native material and eventually more output.

Most people want to do everything(reading, writing, listening, speaking, etc…) at once, and that never works. This is not Spanish, this is Japanese, arguably the hardest language in the world. Take your time and make sure your reading/listening is decent. That’s all you need. Everything else becomes easy after that.

So to go back to the passive vocab thing, it’ll be fixed, don’t worry about it now. Also words like “hero” are very easy because they are very common. If you do things 100% in Japanese you will see it everywhere. How many anime have it in their title? My goodness! Speaking of titles, can you read the title of my post once again? I think your magical word is right there :stuck_out_tongue:

Ok, I am gonna be brutal here. Like most people, you are using your own knowledge coming from a feeling vs knowledge coming from experience. This is one of the things where you need to trust the process. The reason why I paid attention to it is that people who have 10 times my level said that it works.

Most people are like “I am a visual learner”, “a textbook learner”, or whatever other BS. That’s true to some extent but there are things that work and things that don’t. The only variable here is which one would you like to use? It’s like WK. You just trust the process and it works. You could have used Anki as well, it doesn’t matter. There is no way you won’t retain anything if you have like 10k sentences in your deck, unless you didn’t respect the SRS timings at all(e.g. doing reviews once per month).

Always glad to see this. I hope my answer will help you :slight_smile:

PS: This is completely irrelevant but I turned 27 as I was typing this.

Yeah I must’ve, maybe another level 60 post.

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Do you think I need text books eventually to understand grammar? I’ve tried to dip into grammar text books (genki 1) and sites/ podcasts before I even passed level 4 and I just couldn’t press through it it felt really difficult and clunky… I’m hoping things click later on and I can have another try at it… people are saying level 20 is the time to do grammar learning, should I do genki 1 at that point? I’m just impatient, want to make more progress and be able to read stuff that interests me by myself like you did. Also it takes me forever to level up even though I complete all my reviews every day, level 4 took like over 3 weeks, I actually got an email from WaniKani asking if I’m okay? Am I doing something wrong?

Dont stress too much about doing everything in the exact way someone else does. If you enjoy the language and want to learn more, then engage with the language regularly and learn more. If you want to understand more grammar, study grammar. There is nothing wrong with using books to get a clear articulation of how something works, just balance it out with real-world context of how its used.

If you are really going for fluency, impatience will just make the journey stressful. You’ll get there eventually. Again, if you’re truly going for fluency and want to use the skill for a long time, you’ll be learning until you die, so dont stress about if this method is the 100% maximum-efficiency-proven-by-science-and-some-dude-posted-about-it method. Just keep learning. <3