So, I’ve finally arrived what the hell am I wearing.
I’m at level 60! I did it! I do believe I now know every kanji ever conceived that’s how this works, right??? As someone who was active on the forums for a bit (and still pops in here and there) I do believe it’s obligatory for me to do a level 60 post to
brag about it share my experiences and wisdom with the community. But also I feel accomplished, but the accomplishment is too niche to share with anyone IRL… and so here I am.
So what did it take to get here? Was it worth it? Answers to these questions
and more will be answered in this post.
Disclaimer: I actually hit level 60 this morning but I couldn’t post about it until now. I had work and then went to a soccer game. We kicked Portugal’s ass. Don’t tell JP.
Wow level 60? You’re so cool
Yes, and don’t you forget it.
Here lie the secrets
Do your reviews. Always. ASAP. I often end up suggesting: don’t get motivated, get disciplined. Reviews should not be an option. They should be mandatory. Granted, I did my reviews basically every hour on the hour. To a near-psychotic degree. Not everyone can manage that. Some people actually have a life. That’s cool. But at least do all your reviews for the day before you go to sleep. The second they start piling up, most people (including me) start to lose the drive to finish them.
Beyond that, go at your own pace, and don’t get sucked into the gamification aspect. Getting reviews wrong is not a failure… it’s more learning. You’re not trying to get 100% on your reveiws so much as you’re trying to learn everything as well as possible. It’s a subtle difference but can totally alter your mindset. Use the gamification to make you want to do it, but don’t let yourself feel bad when you “screw up”. I have tons of reviews sessions with like… 70% accuracy. It’s okay. If I need to see them again I will.
Also don’t do all your lessons at once. I did that until level 20 or so, when I started coming to the forums and learning tips on using WK effectively. And learning good scripts to use.
Scripts??? What is the deal with scripts?
There are userscripts for all sorts of things (learn all about them here!). Some help you go as fast as possible, some give you a more complete learning experience… I’d prioritize the latter but I of course used the former as well.
Thoughts on a few scripts
abused the Ignore script and Reorder script a lot. The latter is nice if you’re trying to go full speed, otherwise I wouldn’t bother. Basically I’d use it to do my current-level kanji/radical reviews first, since they were the ones that affected my level-up speed, then everything else I’d often let shuffle. You don’t want to associate kanji characters with certain levels, because that association can lead to not recognizing the kanji in normal Japanese text. I’ll be honest, that’s something I’m still gonna struggle with a bit for a while. Gaming the system only really helps you win the game, not the cause. At this point I’m removing the Reorder script and letting the reviews come as they will.
As for the Ignore script, please don’t abuse that one. Use it for typos and typos alone (or on the occasion that you enter a valid synonym that WK doesn’t accept by default…). Don’t use it for “oh I knew that one after all” because… no. No you didn’t. You recognized it after the fact, but you didn’t know it on sight. Again, WK is a learning tool. Don’t cheat to win. Learn. Actually learn. Reviewing stuff again is always a good thing in the long run, even if it feels like a bummer at the time.
I’ll post a screenshot below with all my scripts that I used, among other screenshots. I’d especially recommend the Keisei Phonetic-Semantic Composition script, as well as the Pitch Info script. The former you might pick up on intuitively but will still help you get a good grasp on many kanji pronunciations. The latter is an aspect of Japanese not often taught (except by Dogen on Youtube) but extremely useful if you want to speak properly. That script is hardly a complete learning tool for that purpose, but you might pick up on some patterns and such.
Was it all worth it?
TLDR: Yeah... you think I did something voluntary for over a year thinking it was worthless?
I have done an average of 200ish reviews per day across the last year and ~2 months. Every new hour my instinct shouts “DID YOU DO YOUR REVIEWS” like I’m Pavlov’s new pet. My life has, in a non-trivial way, revolved around WK. …Which is fine by me. I don’t have a life anyway.
I started learning Japanese on Duolingo. So I had a basic vocab base, as well as a general knowledge of how the grammar worked. I was supplementing that with jisho (Duo doesn’t teach that many kanji and I didn’t like that) as well as Youtube videos (Misa, Japanese From Zero, CureDolly, Nihongonomori, and more many have suggested across the forums). I started WK to fill the gamification-shaped hole in my heart after I finished Duolingo, plus I didn’t like not knowing kanji, and WK seem like a good solution to that. Point is, I wasn’t starting WK from scratch.
And WK has still given a lot in return. Granted I haven’t done nearly as much non-WK Japanese learning as I should the past year. My vocab has jumped (WK is a kanji learning site, not vocab learning, but it doesn’t not teach vocab…). My understanding of what on’yomi and kun’yomi are and how they work is basically instinctual by now. Plus, you know, I recognize most kanji I’ll ever see, so now it’s just a game of reading more, and learning vocab/grammar points. The writing system is finally (almost) not an obstacle. After a year and a half. Probably the single hardest part of learning Japanese is largely behind me. Even for that reason alone it was absolutely worth it.
Can I see screenshots of your level progress and scripts???
Fine, twist my arm.
Level-up bar chart (from wkstats.com/v2)incredibly influential lv 60 post (seriously, check out that top “Ultimate Guide” comment).
And god, did those fast levels at the end get intense…
Scripts (I used Tampermonkey to apply them)
So what now? Well I’m not actually done - I was kinda abusing the reorder script toward the end and have 219 lessons I’ll be slowly knocking down listen, I wanted to hit lv 60 before my vacation. And then reviews will still be coming in for basically the next year. But I’m running out of spoon-fed learning. I’ll have to read more (you should read ASAP, don’t follow my example on this one) on my own. I’ll have to *gasp* put forth my own effort. Though I also still have Bunpro going. If you don’t know, they do the same thing as WK but with grammar points. If you do know… they still do that.
I also haven’t been around on the forums all too much since those 2 or 3 months where I was everywhere back in the (northern-hemisphere) winter. I don’t know that I’ll be more active now, since it was an affect of life and not WK progress. But I’ll still be visiting and saying hi and all that.
Again, this was mostly just me bragging about doing a thing. But by this point you read all that, so 冗談’s on you (just a little something for all you level 16+ers out there).