Gratitude - An Ode to the Wonderful Durtles

Nothing like a delicious leech that tastes like chocolate, though in your case it is vanilla flavored :stuck_out_tongue:



A loooooooooooooooooooooong time ago there was world whose name was lost to the ages. It was referred to as Neko no kuni. It was a haven for cats as they lived without a worry in a life filled with endless joy. Alas, the good days did not last forever. The land was struck by an eerie weather which made the cats fight amongst themselves. The distress reached the ears of the Kashikoi Neko, a sage among the cats whose wisdom was unrivaled. Kashikoi performed divinations and understood the source of distress. Kashikoi revealed the truth. The breakout of the fights was related to a Kanashi Seishin whose sadness was wrapping the world of cats in a web of distress. The only solution to this problem is to purify the Kanashi Seishin with love.

The news spread to all four corners of the kingdom and countless cats lined up before the Kanashi Seishin to show the strength of their love. Alas, the strength of their love was still not sufficient to rid the spirit of its sadness. Soon the cats began to despair, even the wise Kashikoi Neko had a frown on its face. The cats began to go back to their homes with heavy hearts. One such sad cat was passing through a village called Poru no mura. The cats in the village welcomed the sad cat and tried to cheer it up. The sad cat explained the predicament to the villagers and was surprised to see that the cats in this village were not fighting. The village cats heard the sad cat’s tale and a radiant smile bloomed on their face. The Village cats said this can be solved by one of their kittens. The konekos ran away and returned in a short time with a youthful looking cat in tow.

The sad cat took one look at the young cat and all its sadness was washed away. The bashful konekos started purring in excitement and started singing a Haiku:

“If anyone is down
with a frown on their crown
neko chan will croon
and worries will be gone”

The youth stepped forward and was introduced as “Mikiso”. Mikiso, popularly known as neko chan among the cats of Poru no mura was a gentle cat filled with love and warmth, and all your worries disappear the moment you look at them. Mikiso heard the story of the Kanashi Seishin and determined to visit it to save all the cats from distress. The sad cat, who is no longer sad, guided Mikiso to the location of Kanashi Seishin. The sage cat Kashikoi gave a wry chuckle, even it has lost the hope of ever recovering from this disaster. Yet, the moment Kashikoi looked at Mikiso all its worries disappeared and hope blossomed anew in its heart. In that moment Kashikoi believed that their savior has arrived and tears of joy ran across its cheeks.

Mikiso gave the sage cat a gentle smile and a nod before moving closer to Kanashi Seishin. The spirit looked at Mikiso and there was a clap of thunder and a raging storm filled with malice and other unsavory emotions rose from the spirit. The storm lasted only a moment but that one moment was enough to darken the spirits of all the cats in the vicinity. In the place of the Kanashi Seishin floated a new spirit full of vigor radiating happiness. The happy cat (formerly know as the sad cat) let out an almighty purr of joy and all the cats looked at the happy cat and Mikiso who was standing next to it. In that moment the darkness that has been cast on their souls during that brief storm was purified which lead all of them to purr in joy.

The Spirit looked at Mikiso and bowed. It said " My dear friend, thank you for saving me. My name is Shiawase Seishin and I come from a land far away known as Earth. The constant negative emotions from the citizens of earth affected me and turned me from a Shiwase Seishin to Kanashi Seishin. In my restless state I wandered across the space for a long time without hope before entering the Neko no Kuni. Please come with me and save our land. We need you to spread love and joy on Earth." The gentle Mikiso nodded in response without a second’s delay. He thought to himsefl “All the cats are happy and I need to make these citizens of earth happy too.” The Spirit gave a radiant smile and thanked Mikiso multiple times and started the spell to teleport. All the cats understood the import of Mikiso’s decision and fell to their knees and bowed their heads in unison. The purrs of cats reverberated across the land of cats.

Mikiso gave all of them a gentle smile before disappearing from Neko no kuni along with the Shiawase Seishin. The spirit smiled at Mikiso and said “Mikiso, my friend, I cannot convey my gratitude at your magnanimous actions. As a token of my appreciation, when you enter the earth you will retain your memories of Neko no kuni.” Mikiso gave a gentle smile of appreciation at the spirit’s gift. The spirit said “you will gain the knowledge of earth and its language. Your name will be converted to earth’s language as well. The citizens of earth are called durtles, so please take care of the durtles Mikiso.” The Spirit laughed at itself and gave itself a knock on its head as a show of contrition and said “Where are my manners, I should start calling you with your earth name. Please take care of the durtles, Trunklayer”. Trunklayer, formerly known as Mikiso, raised its head a little, looked at the spirit with a gentle smile and a glint of mischief in its eyes and said “Sounds like fun.”

And thus began the story of a durtle known as @trunklayer


Trunklayer san is known as the Cat Whisperer. They are one of the Top 3 cats of the POLL family. They are known for their legendary cat speak which is only beaten by their glorious kindness. Whether it is the cat speak or the cat pics or their kind words, Trunk san is a soothing balm for our souls. Simply put, they are a perfect durtle. Thank you for spreading the kindness and joy among the durtles Trunk san :slight_smile:

I bestow upon you the title of PURRfect Durtle


This is going to be good.


Where Durtles and Dreams Begin

Vivillon is a pokemon with many different patterns and are found all over the world. These patterns are affected by the climate of their habitat. Vivillon has a wonderful ability called “Friend Guard” which reduces the damage received by allies. Vivillon may be a combination of vivid and papillon (French for butterfly). At this point of time you may be wondering “Thank you for the Pokemon X and Y lesson. What does this have to do with the post?” Psssssst, I will let you in on a secret. This year one of the Spewpa durtles has bloomed into a Vivillon :grin: and the name of that beautiful durtle is @Jamuko san.

I met Jamuko san on “Level 21 before 2021” thread. Jamuko san is like a butterfly. Despite the incredible strength of the kanji cocoon, they broke out it with all their strength and blossomed into a wonderful butterfly. Jamuko san paused their WK journey at Level 11 and after a break they have reset and persevered to break through the previous barrier and reach new heights :clap: Similar to a Vivillon they support their friends through thick and thin of the WK journey and reduce the stress on their friends with their kind words. It is truly worthy of the name “Friend Guard”.

Thank you for showering us your kindness and thank you for showing us the strength of breaking through the barriers. We believe in you and your strength :slight_smile: I bestow upon you the title of Vivillon Durtle


What a very nyaaaaaaaaaaaice and meowgnificient story! :cat2:
I’m very honored! :cat2:
Doumeow arigatou gozaimeows! :cat2:


You overestimate my pawers, but thank you! :cat2:
That’s not who I am yet, but that is certainly who I want to be! I will do my best to get there, thank you a lot for your meowgnificient encouragemeownt! :cat2:


The Law of Equivalent Exchange

“Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return.”

This durtle just wants to be able to draw circles in the ground and do cool alchemy stuff. Since that is still not possible in real life, this durtle came up with a different type of magic. A magic that can convert your sadness and boredom into joy and rip-roaring laughter. This durtle’s name is @IgorTheGreat san :grin:

I met Igor san mostly on the meme threads. They have a knack for making killer memes that can turn grumpy cats to happy cats :slight_smile: A tarantula loving durtle, grooving to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”, they are a sucker for the big beams shooting out of “normal people”. And I am a sucker for Igor san’s memes :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for all the wonderful memes and laughs Igor san :raised_hands: Your humor is a truly potent alchemy :wink: I bestow upon you the title of Alchemist Durtle


Err Mah Burrdah

Do cats make Clicky-Clicky polls?
Do cats get mad at you?
Do cats die out of curiosity?
Do cats watch anime?

So many questions and few answers. What should you do when you meet a being and you are not sure whether they are a hooman or a meow… Today’s durtle is one of those beings and the durtle’s name is @saibaneko san :grin:

I met Saiba sama when they gate crashed my new thread BiriBiri beats and spammed filled it with cat pics. They had me at “Kyoka Kitty” pic :stuck_out_tongue: I soon jumped into the deep end of the pool that is POLL family and get to know Saiba sama better. There are an embodiment of cat energy and there is never a dull moment when they are around. They poke you, scratch you, nuzzle you until you shower them with the love and attention we know they deserve :smile:

To call Saiba sama a bundle of energy is an understatement. They are a multilingual, International, Suave Coder cat we are blessed to have on the forum with us. My admiration for them is similar to that of Nakiri Erina’s for Saiba Jouichirou from Shokugeki no Soma - hence the moniker “Saiba sama”. They complete the Top 3 cats from POLL family :slight_smile:

After interacting with them on a daily basis and looking at Iris (the cat in their profile pic) every time I look at a black and white cat, my mind says “Iris is here” :stuck_out_tongue: Saiba sama is a force of nature to be reckoned with and you know your life will change forever because once you experience “Awesomeness” it is near impossible to go back to “Ordinary” :metal:

Thanks for making our lives interesting Saiba sama :slight_smile: あなたはカッコイ猫です I bestow upon you the title of Iris Durtle

Note: If you didn’t understand the title of the post, it is cat speak for “Oh My Buddha” :wink:


Omg @KyokaJiro-san I actually cried reading this.
After the JLPT I took 10 days away from WK to just focus on university finals papers/ new computer set up/ mental health and I come back to this lovely lovely post
I feel so so grateful for you and everyone in the Level 21 before 2021 forum T-T
Actually crying

Thank you for just being you!!! Just an overall warm and comforting person in this generally spiky internet world.
I don’t even know how to react right now



I am so touched and honored! Thank you!!


:sob::sob::sob: @KyokaJiro -san… Thank you… You are so sweet, this really brought a tear to my eye. I honestly don’t expect to be remembered for my minor presence on these forums, but here you’ve kept my own personal journey in your heart and wrote about it in such a cute and poetic way.

You always go above and beyond to remember everyone’s names, experiences, and likes, and go out of your way to make each person feel loved and listened to. I’ve seen it over in our beloved 21 by 2021 and Skytree threads, and again we see it with this great and precious thread here. You’re so good at this that I’ve wondered if you keep a spreadsheet of notes on everyone you’ve met on the forums! You are just such a lovely person to have around. From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much! :pray::two_hearts:

P.S. Edit: After reading some of the other responses here, I wanted to add a little story. The fact that you used a Pokemon reference for me really made me smile. It may be that you remembered me saying once that I liked it, but what I haven’t told you is that Pokemon was actually my introduction to the language so many years ago. As a young teen, I got my hands on some of the original Pokemon music CDs, which came with lyrics books that I couldn’t read at the time. I became filled with passion to understand, and taught myself kana using nothing but those lyrics books and a Japanese-English dictionary. The first word I learned to write was ピカチュウ, and I felt so proud of myself when I figured out how to take that and turn it into ピチュウ. I think I was about 13 or 14 years old.

In that sense, Pokemon has a special place in my heart not only for its entertainment value, but in its connection to the beginnings of my Japanese journey. It’s quite special that you picked such a title for me even without knowing this. I’ll treasure my Vivillon Durtle. :grin:


Tofugu’s Seaside

Today’s durtle is one of the Rockstars of our community. They love to eat Cod and can make a mouth-watering Okonomiyaki waffle. Their 創造 (creations) have had a positive impact on most of the WK users whether through wonderful articles on the Tofugu blog, heartfelt and handwritten letters for users, writing awesome code running in the background to make your life easier, making podcast episodes to improve your Japanese skills, sending replies to curious durtles or packing store orders with love. They do all of this and more and yet have more patience and love to spread in the community. It is none other than @TofuguKanae san :slight_smile:

I had a few interactions with Kanae san over the last few months and much more in the recent past. They are as kind and awesome as they appear to be. They may no longer be the “Official Happiness Officer” at WK but they still are the “Resident Happiness Officer” for all of us because when it comes to making people happy there are few people in this world who can measure up to Kanae san :grin:

Thanks for showering us with love in the same way you grow plants or make crafts :smile: We love your designs, coding, writing etc. and we love you too :smiley: Our 食欲 (appepite) for all things Kanae will never end :slight_smile: I bestow upon you the title of Megumi Durtle

Note: I hope you have sharpened your Ruby skills Kanae san. I am still waiting for your game where one can talk to the Crabigator and listen to his lessons :stuck_out_tongue:


I am happy you are back Panda san :slight_smile:

We missed you around the forum.

1 Like

How can we ever forget you Jamuko san :slight_smile:

Thanks for your kind words :grin:

Hahaha. Thanks :smiley: No I don’t have a spreadsheet :stuck_out_tongue:

I love people and their stories. They are so much more than what they appear to be. So, I take my time to learn about them and remember :slight_smile: (Which I hopefully do most of the time)

There is a song called “Wake Up” by Hilary Duff.

There’s people talking
They talk about me
They know my name, they think they know everything
But they don’t know anything about me

For some reason that was a kind of epiphany moment for me. Ever since I have paid extra attention to people when they talk to understand them better :slight_smile:

That’s awesome :grin: It is similar to a Marvel Super Hero Origin story :smile: I love it :slight_smile:

You hit the correct point! There are two parts of every story. This is not just about me saying thank you. This is about my end of the interactions and also the interests of the person I am thanking. There may be a few changes here and there but this is how the process works at the moment.

  1. Decide on a person to thank. Initially I started out chronologically, but now I vary between multiple things. (Level 21 thread, Gif thread, Poll family etc.)
  2. Once the person is decided in my mind, I want to focus on a quality or two to have a general sense of how I want to thank.
  3. I read a lot of posts on the forum by that person, understand their likes, the things close to their heart etc.
  4. By this time, I have at least 3-4 points that the person loves. I put down the qualities I want to emphasize based on our interactions. Try to merge what the other person likes and what I like about them into a coherent theme/narrative.
  5. Come up with a cool durtle name.

That is approximately the process I go through for each person.

The most important thing I learned over and over is, it has to a balance of what the other person likes and what I want to say. If it lacks any one of those, it might come across as perfunctory.

It is not a coincidence that I picked out Pokemon. I went through your past posts and the found the Pokemon X and Y post from 2013 where you were talking about trading Vivillon. I felt your words were some of the happiest in that thread, so I looked up Vivillon and felt it suited your personality and built the narrative around it :slight_smile: I leave a lot of Easter Eggs in the names, references, sentences etc. If they look close enough they will find a lot of them in each person’s post :wink: Did you find the ones hidden in yours? I will tell you one :stuck_out_tongue: Spewpa changes into Vivillon after it crosses Level 11, the place where you stopped first time. This year you crossed Level 11, hence the bloomed from Spewpa into Vivillon reference :grin:

If I can’t talk about what feels closest to your heart, I might be saying irrelevant stuff. I am not sure If I succeed or not, but I try my best to make it closest to the person’s heart :slight_smile:


How should we like it were stars to burn

With a passion for us we could not return?

If equal affection cannot be,

Let the more loving one be me.

- W.H. Auden

When I think of this durtle, I can’t think of anything but this masterpiece from W.H.Auden. It conveys the essence of every action of this selfless Love Durtle. Some of their beliefs include:

  • People and situations are too complex to fit inside a black and white framework.
  • Teamwork makes the dream work.
  • Love is both a positive and destructive force.

This durtle is none other than @sansarret san :blush:

Generally, Sansarret san supports others in the background :slight_smile: And when they speak out loud it is going to be epic, like that heart tingling love letter to Wanikani titled “Hello WaniKani, I love you! Open letter to WK team” or the “Naruto Appreciation Thread”. You can feel every word bursting with love :grin: And when they make you cry, it is out of pure unbridled joy :wink:

They are also a wonderful durtle with impeccable taste in Manga/Anime. When someone loves Naruto, FMA Brotherhood, HxH, Haikyuu, Run with the wind, My Hero Academia etc., you know for a fact that you have met a bonafide awesome durtle and you are going to hit it off :grin: You are as cool as Shoto Todoroki’s right half and as passionate as his left half :sunglasses:

Thanks for all your support in the community Sansarret san. We are truly lucky to have someone as understanding and loving as you in the community :slight_smile: I bestow upon you the title of Ed Durtle

Note 1: This Ed reference is to the Edward Elric from Full Metal Alchemist.
Note 2: Yes, Kakeru looks like Kageyama :stuck_out_tongue: and also Haiji looks like Ushiwaka :wink:


In this spirit, I’d like to share a few words of gratitude to some lovely folks! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

@Omun :robot: I remember still being relatively new in the forums and watching all the commotion on that thread people made specifically to express how much they missed you. Now I have an idea of how they were feeling! I hope you and your wife are well. Thank you for kindly encouraging this lurker to come out of her shell more often, it meant a lot. :see_no_evil:

@trunklayer You often talk about how you’re “just a small and clumsy cat”, and I relate to that feeling a lot. But, let us remember that

In an “all-or-nothing” world, we tend to forget the power of something. The mightiest tree sprouts from a vulnerable seed.
— Ryder Carroll

Thank you for being your meowgnificent (and meowschievous :wink:) cat self! :cat2:

@ekg You are like a force of nature, always interacting with people and creating new threads, POLLs, durtles :durtle_noice: and interesting conversations! :smiley: Thanks for bringing so much fun! :fireworks: :tada: :sparkles:

@inspectatoro I love seeing you happily chug along in your Japanese journey! :steam_locomotive: Thanks for being so enthusiastic and inspiring! :nerd_face:

@KyokaJiro You created this beautiful gratitude thread! :heart: You also went out of your way to surprise a bunch of lucky people, and that was so sweet :heart_eyes: (though, I must admit, when I saw that poll I was like :eyes: and suspected you might be up to something :rofl:)! Thank you for being so kind and thoughtful! :blush:



Why do durtles ride trains?

As I was about to step on the crabigator train that just stopped at the durtle station, I heard a loud voice “I’m not gonna run away and I never go back on my word, that is my durdō! My durtle way!” A durtle raiding golden splendor welcomed me aboard the durtle ride “Welcome aboard Choo Choo Express. You are in for the ride of your life” . It is none other than our resident train lover @inspectatoro san :slight_smile:

One of the most prominent presences on the forum during my early days was Tatoro san :grin: Whether it is the lovely “UP” welcome or the catchy “Aone Bow” welcome, they spread warmth far and wide among the durtles like the sound of a train horn spreads in the air. They are also a humble and wise durtle trying to help others avoid major mistakes in their lives.

There is a lot I can say about Tatoro san and If I can say only one thing, it would be their love for “All Things Trains” :grin: They are an encyclopedia of trains and reminds me of Sheldon Cooper from show “The Big Bang Theory”. Their number two would be food. They have mastered the special language of food to unlock the secrets of cross-cultural bonding through their love for food. Their number three would be all the languages they learnt: English, Filipino, Spanish, Korean, German, Portuguese, Indonesian (Bahasa), Hawaiian, and High Valyrian. Who knows? They might even prepare High Durtlian language :wink:

Tatoro san loves Rice, Haikyuu and Naruto truly, madly, deeply. We have multiple versions of Tatoro san based on goals: aspirational, nostalgic, doable and lazy. No matter which version they are, somethings do not change “Ride the trains, enjoy the food and learn as much as possible”

Coincidentally, today is also the day they reached the promised heaven that is “Level 42” :grin: Thanks for the love, sincerity and gratitude you showered on the durtles. We hope you celebrate countless milestones on your beautiful journey. I bestow upon you the title of ChooChoo Durtle

Note: The answer to the rhetorical title question is because “They are FUN”


Thanks for sharing your gratitude Midori san :slight_smile: I hope you don’t mind me using that name for you. I use it because your name has “Green”, your avatar is “green” colored and you are as cool and strong as “Midori Sakurazawa” - One of the my favorite characters from “Chihayafuru” (one of my top 10 manga) :grin:

Thanks for your kind words Midori san :smiley: I am the lucky one to have met wonderful people as you in this otherwise forgettable year :slight_smile: This community is one of the rare bright spots for me this year :bowing_man: :bowing_woman:


Thank you for your kind words! I’ve really enjoyed our conversations in the POLLs throughout this year and always look forward to seeing your comments in the thread. See you in the POLLs but until then: Happy Holidays and take care of yourself and the family! ^>^ :heart: :green_heart: :heart:


This is so wonderful!
I love how much work you are putting into these, @KyokaJiro. I don’t think we have ever really communicated here, but you are such a great force in the community.
I love that the community is so large and active that there are totally great people here that I have never even ran into before.
Keeping doing kindness!


I hope everyone is having a lovely day!

I’m just making some gingerbread ^-^