From Level 60 to Japan: Burning Out and Restarting with Anki & RTK

Hello there,

The Past

I technically finished my “vrooming” journey in January, where I completed all the kanji lessons up to level 60. Yay! I treated myself to a small cake that day :slight_smile: (though I didn’t make a post about it). I say “technically” because I stopped doing vocab after level 52. I had plans to restart and even considered resetting to level 52 to do them properly, but life happened :melting_face: Instead, I immersed myself in VNs, manga, audiobooks, and anime. Then, with a new job and increased workload, I paused my Japanese studies. That was back in February!

Now, I have 3,000 reviews pending, but I don’t intend to tackle them now that I’m in Japan.


The Present

Indeed, three weeks ago, I moved to Japan for my final year of studies. I’ve had mixed feelings about my Japanese proficiency. On one hand, I can manage most conversations and readings due to my vocab/kanji knowledge. On the other, while I grasp intricate grammar nuances, I sometimes struggle with basic questions.

Of the 2,000 kanji I learned through WK in a year, I mainly recall the ones I’ve burned, leaving me with around 1,000 familiar kanji.


The Plan

I’m now determined to achieve fluency. Immersion (Refold/MIA, etc.) has worked best for me, and I aim to start sentence-mining. But first, I want to revisit my kanji. Restarting WK doesn’t appeal to me, as I feel it might not align with my current knowledge level.

I crave a fresh challenge, so I’ve decided that I wanted to learn to write the kanji’s I revisit.

Hence, I’ve embarked on an unconventional path: RTK, but leveraging my radical knowledge from WK. (For those unfamiliar, RTK stands for “Remember the Kanji” by Heisig). I began five days ago and have covered 200 kanji, 40 kanjis a day. When I don’t recall a kanji, I refer to WK’s radicals, occasionally creating my own. For instance, I often use 肖 as “Resemblance” rather than the triceratops and moon combo. Writing kanji has been instrumental in distinguishing radicals !

Mnemonics are incredible, and I’m grateful to WK for their radical system. It’s exhilarating to revisit kanji, recall the mnemonics, and anticipate using them in the future.


The Phuture

If I maintain my pace, I’ll complete RTK in about 50 days. My current accuracy rate is 95%, impressive given the volume of new material daily.

Post-RTK, I’ll dive into mangas and VNs (on my Steam deck) and sentence-mine content from Netflix and YouTube. I’m considering joining a language-exchange cafe, though I’m wary of reinforcing mediocre grammar.

I might update you on my progress. In the meantime, keep grinding!

19 Likes

Edit : I went almost full speed, I think I didn’t know about the proper way to speed up leveling until level 10, after which I installed the reoder script and other useful addons (font randomizer ftw !)
Here is my level up chart, I’m sad that the part until level 60 was cut :frowning:
As you can see, I took a break at level 30 to explore other ways of learning Japanese, breathing a little with lessons and reviews, and enjoying my vacation. I went full speed in the fast levels, but decided to take one at half speed to catch up on vocab lessons. After that I stopped doing vocab at around level 52 and did only reviews and kanji lessons until level 60.
In the end, I reached level 60 in 397 days !

Here is my heatmap calendar :

And here are my stats :

2 Likes

Grats, great achievement!

1 Like

I’m a little late to the party, but a huge おめでとう on making it to level 60!! Enjoy your cake!

cakechop

Also, awesome accuracy! Really impressive! :sunglasses:

-Nick at WK

2 Likes

January 2024 Update

Hey everyone,

I recently realized that my Wanikani subscription has expired, and it’s left me feeling nostalgic about the platform. Since my last update, I’ve completed RTK and have dived deep into immersion.

RTK Progress:
I finished RTK 6 in just 61 days. I started with 20 new kanji daily, then ramped up to 40, which explains how I managed to cover all 2200 kanji so quickly. It was challenging, especially learning to write kanji, which is quite different from merely recognizing them. Thankfully, I didn’t need to relearn their pronunciations, though I occasionally noted them on the front of my flashcards to aid in production, especially for kanji with similar meanings. This routine typically consumed over an hour each day, but never exceeded two hours. Sometimes, I completed my sessions in one go with multiple cups of coffee, or spread them throughout the day. Revisiting Wanikani’s mnemonics was a delightful part of this journey. I adhered to Wanikani’s radical system throughout and steered clear of RTK-style stories. Excitingly, I now know how to write all 2200 kanji, including 200 new ones compared to WK!

Immersion Efforts:
I’ve renewed my Migaku subscription, got some new games for Christmas and my birthday, and have started sentence mining on my Steam Deck and Netflix. While my Steam Deck setup for learning isn’t perfect, it’s functional. (I can share pictures if anyone’s interested.) Sentence mining has been a lighter load in terms of reviews, and thus, less mentally taxing. Thanks to my kanji studies and my time with Wanikani, I’m finding myself in an ideal spot for immersion. Currently, I’m spending 2-4 hours daily on Japanese media, including watching shows and playing games. I’m considering expanding this to include listening to Japanese audiobooks and J-pop. Ideally, I’d like to immerse myself even more, but I need to balance this with other life commitments.

5 Likes

Update on My Japanese Efforts

So far, I’m fully committed to my immersion efforts. I log my time on the TheMoeWay Discord server, which I saw recommended in a now-deleted post by Jazzy. It’s very cool to see how many people are doing the same or more immersion than me every day, and everyone is making progress.

How I Do Immersion

I averaged 2 hours a day of immersion in January. And so far, I’m at around slightly more than 2 hours and 30 minutes in February. I almost only watch anime for now, and I divide my time between Freeflow and Interactive immersion (with lookups for each word I don’t know and sentence mining), as the people from Refold describe it. And I also do my daily reviews with the SRS from Migaku.

I try to watch more than 6 episodes of anime per day, switching between multiple series. The choice of doing interactive or freeflow immersion is very much decided in the moment and on the day, depending on how much time I have and what I want.

For freeflow, I watch One Piece; it’s my first time discovering the series :slight_smile:
For interactive, I watch Classroom of the Elite, FMA: Brotherhood, and The Angel Next Door.

I decided to watch One Piece in freeflow not because it’s easy (I sentence mine from it sometimes, and there’s so much I miss if I don’t do it) but because the series is very long and it’s enjoyable to watch. So I feel like it was a prime choice for freeflow. I’m 100 episodes in so far, and I love it :slight_smile:

Interactive immersion takes 2 to 3 times as long, usually. Twice as long for the easy episodes of slice of life, 3 (rarely 4) times for the hard episodes or for FMA.

So, my immersion time varies between 2 hours and 7 hours on the days when I reach my goal of 6 episodes.

I also mine a lot of words, sometimes up to 120 per day. But I only learn 30 new words per day, so there’s quite a bit of backlog.

For the type of show, it really depends on the anime how many new words I’ll mine. For FMA, it’s still around 60 words I can mine each episode.
For the other shows, sometimes it’s as low as 20 new words.

It’s been a month and 10 days, so there’s not much progress apart from the fact that I am more comfortable with my routine and my setup in general. I feel like I can relax more when watching something (like One Piece) in freeflow. I feel like my slice-of-life shows are easier to understand, and I could almost watch them in freeflow.

For now, I’ve stopped playing games in Japanese because the setup to sentence mine is a bit too bothersome. But I hope to try visual novels (VNs) again very soon. Last year, I read an entire route of Summer Pockets (around 70 hours of reading, I believe, at that time!) and I remember making so much progress :slight_smile:

7 Likes