I'm in Hell and It's Wonderful

I hit Level 31 today!

I never thought this would happen based on my rocky start:

As far as I can tell, I tried out WaniKani in August 2018. I had just started Duolingo and thought it might be a good way to learn some Kanji while I got through some basics. I didn’t really get it and thought it was too hard/slow and left.

In April 2019, I was ready. I had gone through a bunch of introductory things. I felt really stuck without Kanji. I committed myself to WK. I needed to be able to read.

Well, I still didn’t really understand how WK was giving me lessons or level-ups or anything. I did lessons willy-nilly and reviews whenever I felt like it. I had no idea there was a more efficient way to be doing things. At Level 7, I quit.

It took way too long (around a month per level) and I figured I’d be much better off just plowing through all the Kanji in 6 months with something like RTK and immersing to get the readings of vocab in context.

Around February of 2020, I came crawling back. Brute forcing was not going to work for me. I needed the systematic approach of WK. I still came to the forums here and there during the break, and I had finally stumbled upon a bunch of people talking about how WK worked. Keeping Apprentice under 100. Reorder scripts. Ignore scripts.

Reviewing at the same time each day and then 4 hours later and then 8 hours after that.

It changed my world:

I did 2 days without screens, so I missed 2 days in June. I then lost power for 6 days due to Hurricane Isaias and so missed some days in August. Other than that, perfect attendance.

A little over a year later, I feel like I’m finally in a good groove of 2 levels per month (the early 20’s almost killed me in leeches and burns). Over 2600 burns!

If you’re out there and considering quitting, don’t do it. There’s a good chance you’ll regret it and come crawling back. I hate thinking about where I’d be right now if I’d just stuck with it all that time. I probably could have been Level 60 by now.

In my opinion, WK is one of the most efficient ways to learn Kanji. Anything that claims to go much faster is going to leave you in rough shape and you’ll end up needing to take just as much time refilling in the knowledge you’ve forgotten anyway.

In the meantime:


地獄へようこそ don’t forget to do your reviews. Or . You will not ascend to 天国


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