I'm all aboard the Japanese Language / Kanji Learning train!

Hello! I’m new, as you might notice, to the WaniKani Community. I found you via Google, of course, but that doesn’t diminish how grateful I am to have stumbled upon the many Tofugu teaching guides that led me to WaniKani!

Before I go on I should say this - I’ve always loathed foreign language courses. I failed 7th grade French, barely passed it the next year, and that ended my grade school language days. In undergraduate studies I had to take 2 semesters of a language course, so I chose Spanish, and barely passed both semesters. I heard someone say one time that you need a “mathematical mind” to learn foreign languages, and I think I took that person too literally because my mind is not mathematical in the least… (probably why I turned out to be a social worker). Either way, I decided to go for it on my own with Japanese and what amazes me is I’m actually learning and I’m excited about it!

When I became proficient enough in Hiragana and the Tofugu guide recommended I move on to Kanji and Katakana immediately, I did just that! Katakana went quickly, although some of the combinations still trip me up when I quiz myself. WaniKani Kanji learning is what really got me going. The slow start for level 1 and the first half of level 2 was tough because I wanted to be quizzed all the time! But I took to valuing, for the first time in my life, the mnemonic based spaced repetition method of learning. I’m a perfectionist of sorts, and when I can’t remember something my immediate reaction is to look it up so I can get it right and move ahead. But I’ve learned that I won’t actually hold onto the valued information that way. All I can say is, I’m super impressed and now proud to be a full member of the community.

I am using the Pimsleur app to learn speaking, which has been going pretty okay! I also love books, as you can see from my picture, and I couldn’t resist researching some of the good books out there for even more delving into this new endeavor to learn the Japanese language.

My ultimate goal is to travel to Japan when COVID travel restrictions are lifted and ideally obtain a working Visa to move there. For now, I’m content with learning the Japanese language and culture from afar and dreaming of the day I get to travel there myself

So, my question for you is - what got YOU interested in Japanese language learning? I remember a few of my high school friends that were really interested in Manga that were learning Kanji, and now that interests me a lot too but I’d have no idea where to even begin at my low level of understanding. Thanks for taking the time to read! - Daniel


I loved languages at school - I did French, German, Russian, Spanish and Latin. But that was 40 years ago. My son started learning Japanese, as he’s really into anime, and I thought I would learn too, to keep him company. Of course, he gave up after a couple of weeks, but I have continued (for 4 months now.) I’ve been spurred into keeping up with Japanese by discovering Ningen Isu - the best band in the world (probably) - who are Japanese. I’d love to be able to understand their lyrics one day.

I’m loving the language, and my small achievements, but I’m finding wanikani massively stressful so far, as I hate getting things wrong. I’m trying to let go of my perfectionism - we’ll see how well that goes!


Hello and welcome, @Da-ni-e-ru and @dashdashdot!

I started learning for the intellectual challenge, and the social aspect of going to Japanese class. Also, I watched a movie (君の名は。) that ignited my interest in this language specifically. I already had a bunch of linguistics and etymology books in my bookcase.


Yes! I totally know the feeling. I always try and remind myself that “good enough” is sometimes more suitable than perfect. I hate seeing it go red when I get it wrong or just can’t remember it, but for me it’s proving to work well.

That’s really cool that you kept up even though your son didn’t. I will have to check out that band as well!!

Ah, you sound very much like an academic! I see people who are level 33 or 60 and I can’t even imagine… My interest in Japan came from the 1999 video game Shenmue (シェンムー) - and yes I had to Google that just to make sure it was Katakana! When I was a teenager it was a revolutionary game created by Yu Suzuki that attempted to mimic “ordinary” life in Japan during the 1980’s. As the years passed I just seemed to latch on to other parts of East Asian culture like decorating/antiques and spirituality. But, I know it’s from a very naive American perspective. So… that’s why I’m undergoing immersion as best I can at this point. We’ll see where it takes me!

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