It took me 493 days - and a few more days to make this post - but I finally made it to Level 60 on June 26, 2020!
It feels a bit surreal to think about where my language ability was back in February 2019 - and how far I’ve come and how far I still want to go.
Thank you so, so much to everyone on the forums who supported and encouraged me along the way , and the Olympians for being such an amazing, motivational group of people.
A handful of lessons learned.
During times I felt unmotivated or lazy, I found it helped to even just open up wanikani.com or my Flaming Durtles phone app. Then, I would tell myself “Okay, I’ll just do ten reviews. That’s not so bad.” And knowing myself, that usually would push me into continuing and finishing a bigger batch. That being said…
It’s okay to occasionally take a breather and step away from WK and learning kanji if there is something more important to you in the moment, Japanese learning-related or otherwise. For example, during times of high stress in life or work, it was even more difficult to retain new words and vocabulary. Forcing myself to learn new kanji, only to forget them in the Apprentice I or II stages, was frustrating and demoralizing.
However, during times of just plain laziness or low motivation, for me it also helped to remember my original goal and why I wanted to learn kanji in the first place - or even exploring and finding new goals! This could mean reading the latest chapter of your favorite novel / manga, checking in with a WK Book Club or WK Level Up Group, practicing your Japanese writing / speaking / listening / grammar, or any number of possibilities tailored to your specific desires and goals.
- In the ~last third of the levels, I decided to ration my new lessons in groups of 25~30 per day instead of doing all of them at once like I used to. This resulted from the realization that I had so. many. reviews that kept accumulating, especially in the fast levels, and I just could not keep up with them all. But on top of that, I feel as if it helped not only my sanity, but my retention.
Level up chart.
In the beginning, I really did want to try and go at full speed - and I think I was able to maintain that speed pretty well for ~33 levels. Then life started getting extremely busy in October, and throw in some winter holidays, and my meticulously planned leveling up schedule took a spectacular nosedive off a cliff.
Ultimately, I was able to come to terms with the fact that it doesn’t really matter to me how long it took or didn’t take. I’m amazed at how much I’ve been able to learn regardless along the way.
My goals have not changed from what they were in the beginning - but rather, they’ve evolved and grown! I started off really wanting to read, and WK and learning kanji was an absolute must for me to be able to accomplish that.
But as I began to be able to read more and more material, I realized I couldn’t communicate verbally very well in Japanese - and that really began weighing on my mind. In the new year, I started spending more time practicing and improving my speaking ability, and that - along with my neglected grammar - is my next main goal!
Honestly, I feel I still have so much to learn… like I can’t possibly already be “done” and Level 60 on WK (though technically there are still quite a few kanji and vocab left to go, along with the new material the WK team is adding).
But I think to be able to feel that way, in and of itself, is a fantastic thing! I’m excited to take my 493 days of kanji learning to read things I never could before, to keep learning material outside of kanji like speaking and grammar, and to keep growing and pushing forward in this language learning journey.
No matter what life has in store, and no matter how slowly or quickly it takes all of us, I’m happy I took this Japanese learning journey along with all the amazing people here at WK. Thank you all, and the WK team, so much!