Halfway Time Capsule ⏲️

Okay, so hi there :high_touch: I don’t know how I should start this. Basically, I like being able to look back on my progress way later and see how far I’ve gotten (also to compare the way of thinking). So that’s why I wanted to make a post outlining my current Japanese abilities and being able to see way later how horrible I was (maybe when I get to level 60). If you want you can leave your own time capsule here as well! You’re also free to just leave if you don’t want to waste your time with my senseless ramblings :smile:

The reason I made this post is because I just passed WaniKani’s halfway point (level 30) and I had to take a long pause (kind of since October last year). It’s because I had a lot to do with exams but I will slowly start back up again now with WK and Japanese learning in general. So I want to cement the ideas I have floating in my head here and compare them to when I reached level 60 (if I even ever do)!


Soo, first I maybe want to make a timeline of what happened until now:

  • November 27, 2020: Started Japanese Duolingo (oof)
  • January 27, 2022: Started WaniKani (a one year gap, huh)
  • March 9, 2022: Stopped Duolingo after a 100 day streak :sleepy:
  • March 12, 2022: First native manga read (“Happiness” with WK book club)
  • May 12, 2022: Started Bunpro
  • June 12, 2022: Stopped Bunpro, bruh
  • September 16, 2022: First physical Japanese manga (耳をすませば)
  • October 9, 2022: Used “Slowly” language exchange for a short time
  • December 2, 2022 WaniKani 291 day streak broke :sob: (~200 hours at that point)
  • January 5, 2023: Found a language partner (shout-outs to Alain)
  • January 27, 2023: First physical Japanese manga from overseas, well Spain (still counts, right??), One Punch Man, Promised Wonderland, Berserk, Chainsaw Man, sry for the bad collection, I wasn’t sure what to get
  • July 2, 2023: JLPT N4 Exam (I finally signed up!! didn’t take it yet but am very excited)

Learning Languages

My thoughts on learning languages, and specifically Japanese. So, in the beginning I was pretty easily influenced by what other people told me was “the best/fastest/most efficient way to learn”. I often switched between thinking grammar, vocab, immersion, input, output, or whatever else was the most important. Then I noticed though that finding your own way of learning that you can actually stick to is way more important than anything else. It may be that Anki (used in the right way) is a more efficient tool for learning kanji/vocab than WaniKani, but I always got demotivated from using Anki in comparison to WK, so I stayed here and learned way more than if I’d have tried to stick to Anki and given up on learning Japanese soon after. So basically, time spent studying (whatever kind it is) is very important, as well as the comprehensibility of learned stuff (e.g. timely feedback on mistakes, for example through a tutor or looking up words that one is unsure about).

Reasons for Studying Japanese

I kind of started learning on a whim around two years ago (it seems like it’s two and a half now :scream:). I think it started when my friend randomly told me he was learning Japanese and I read the light novel “Classroom of the Elite” at that time because of him too, so I thought why not also try it (he stopped like two weeks after though haha).

Either way, I just kept going but never really had a true reason to learn the language like I’ve heard other people say. Yeah, Japan is very intriguing as a travel destination and I kinda watch anime but I didn’t need Japanese for that because I was satisfied just watching with Eng Sub. I also don’t think I like the process of learning that much, I mean reviews on WK feel kinda dull. I do like the feeling though of starting to read a text and noticing you can understand it even though it’s written in Japanese. It’s sad when you notice that reading and hearing Japanese becomes normal or habitual so you can’t enjoy the crazy feeling of seemingly doing the impossible (seeing the invisible, row row fight the power sry for the inapt reference). I knew that beforehand, so I still cherish every moment where I can flip a switch in my brain that makes kanji seem like squiggles again — squiggles that I can read.

Another aspect I liked is the recognition I imagined I’d get from other people. This somehow conflicts deeply with my fear of talking to people about me learning Japanese because I don’t want them to think I’m a weeb. The feeling of ignominy when people that don’t speak it ask me to say something in Japanese. So basically the best thing would be to go to Japan and talk to people in Japanese: I could show my skills while at the same time they would know that I’ve put a lot of work into it without judging too harshly (at least I hope so). Before learning Japanese I wanted to go to Japan some day, but it wasn’t a very strong desire. Now I feel like being able to use the language in Japan has become a bigger incentive for me to go there than the country itself (which kinda feels insincere idk). Taking the JLPT N4 is also just for fun, to have that sense of accomplishment, ya know? When writing stuff like “I don’t have a reason for learning Japanese” I always think of the video @Vanilla made on how he managed to become fluent because he had a strong drive to do it (that is to read light novels in Japanese haha, which I respect though :saluting_face:). He said you give up on it in atmost a year if you don’t have a real reason to do it (just a ballpark figure, I know); the honeymoon phase only gets you so far after all… I’m still looking for my reason after 2.5 years, I wonder if I’ll ever even reach level 60 to be able to look back on this post or if I’ll continue learning forever.

Maybe I got this part about myself wrong though, because I do seem to develop a desire for learning Spanish as the “next” language when I’m proficient enough in Japanese to be able to just rely on immersion. Self-reflection is not easy…

Actual Japanese

Now I want to get to the meat and bones of such a time capsule: actual Japanese text written by me… don’t be too harsh, it’s probably got a lot of mistakes :bowing_man:


Other examples I found

Here is a 自己紹介 from February 2022 (great mixture between formal and informal :neutral_face:):

These are hand-written sentences using some vocab I learned from WK that day back from July 2022 (a little cringe ngl):

It may be a little out of context, but this is a letter I wrote on “Slowly” in December of 2022:

Current Level

So for comparison, what do I already understand? I am able to understand the podcast “Sakura Tips” fairly well although I do have to look at the transcription when I’m not very familiar with vocabulary used. Same with the Youtube channel “Comprehensible Japanese”, I can understand the beginner videos quite well, the intermediate ones can still be quite tricky. It often takes me a while to parse a sentence so I can’t really get immediate emotions from reading something in Japanese which makes it less enjoyable, of course. I am about upper N4 level I think and know 1100 kanji and 3600 words according to WaniKani but it’s probably closer to 1300 and 4500 considering that I know ~10% of the kanji and vocab items that come up in WK already (this random kanji level check website says it’s 1300-1400, don’t know how accurate that is though). It’d be embarrassing if I didn’t pass the N4 now; in my mind it could go either way, really good or really bad. Well, I’ll see. On natively, I think about level 25 is where I can still comfortably read without having to look up too much, and level 15 is easy for me I think. I often struggle with grammar, especially when listening because it’s so fast. The NHK easy news are sometimes pretty easy, sometimes a little harder; main NHK articles are still way too hard though. Sometimes there are Japanese songs that I can understand quite well (e.g. 明日も by SHISHAMO) and others I can’t (e.g. 狂犬夜行譚 by 真壁寂室, some difficult kanji). Talking to people in Japanese is very hard; it takes long for me to form a coherent sentence and the vocabulary I choose is often not ideal, to put it nicely. I’ll definitely have to improve on that. One thing I picked up on just through a lot of hearing is pitch accent: sometimes it just feels right to pronounce a word with a certain pitch. In the beginning that concept went way over my head and I thought I had to learn a lot of rules, but immersion pretty much covers it for me I think (although I haven’t gotten any native speaker to confirm that right now, maybe I should try an italki teacher; I also want to go to a language school for the first time, in about half a year from now).

Some Stats

Ugh, these past few levels have been slooow…

Will I actually make it by Dec 1, 2023? I sure hope so.

Currently about 3000 burned items, hope that increases a lot!

In total around 230 hours, sounds good. Plus another 45 for lessons.

Concluding Remarks

I don’t really know why I made this time capsule public, I just thought I’d remember it better that way. Sorry for the long post that probably doesn’t really interest anyone but me :sweat_smile: I hope to be able to compare each of these aspects to my future self. So, if I’m reading this after getting to level 60: Hi, how’s it been, have you managed to pass N4? Have you already enjoyed your time in Japan (and read all the road signs there and talked to Japanese people)? I hope I’ve put everything in here that interests you!

Either way thanks for reading and hope your Japanese journey is going well too! 頑張ってね、また60級に!


Congratz reaching level 30! I hope I will get there before summer as well, but I’m also super busy with real life right now. Thanks for the write-up, I enjoyed reading it. Good luck with the further studies!

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Thank you!! Before summer seems really strict (at least if it starts at the same time as it does for me, in like 2 months), but as you know it’s not a race :smile: I’ll definitely root for you. I didn’t think anyone would read the whole thing, I’m glad you actually enjoyed it. And good luck to you too!

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Congratulations! You just reached a point I’m currently aiming at. I also like the time capsule idea, I love reading other users ramblings towards language learning, they usually contain insights that somehow motivates me. I hope you can start using what you’ve acquired so far in order to not loose it. Let’s strive together! :smiley:


It seems like you’re really going strong with WaniKani, so fast! :dizzy_face: I’m sure you’ll make it, maybe even sooner than me :D Thanks for reading the wall of text and I’ll wait for your time capsule as well! 頑張りましょう!


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