Introduction / Level 60 / Everything Burned

What a genuinely nice post. :blush:

I really like your point that trying to min max and refine a process to perfection doesn’t mean it can’t be done the default way. That is to say, why as a people do we strive to do things to an extreme. Like you I also don’t stay up super late to catch reviews (I’m a very early riser naturally). It’s working out quite well so far, so I’ll see how it goes going forward.

I was curious how you went about reading at the start, when you had to look up every word. Did you take a page and really spend the time to google grammar and vocab to piece things together until you were confident you were right (but probably a little wrong) or just enough that your gut was telling you that you understood enough and then moved on? Or was it a much lighter read, looking up words and just going through things happy with whatever you could just figure out? I’m always curious how people in the early levels deal with reading.

I have to look up most words at my current level, like your advice I’ve decided to join a book club and am super happy with their provided word list and breakdown discussion of each weeks reading. It does make the process smoother, more accessible and fun.

You said your work somehow has a lot of downtime or affords you a lot of free time, do you have any plans to use your new language skills for profits, or to engage in fan translation etc? Or is it just a means to access more fun content? All are good, just curious!


Woohoo, congratulations! :confetti_ball:

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What I’ve done since moving earnestly into reading (which was post level 60 and a lot of graded readers and things like that for me), is use the dictionary app Takoboto on my phone, and add words I look up to word lists.

I think the goal of look-ups while reading should just be to be as unobtrusive as possible, and make the reading feel like, well like you’re reading! Because reading is fun! And if you enjoy reading it you’ll do more of it.

So I like the word list approach because in the moment I can just go “ah ok” and move on, but any “oh no! I should learn that word better!” worries are quelled with the knowledge that it’s safely in a word list and will be exported to anki some day, so somewhere down the line I’ll study it properly.
I also like that the word lists let me know immediately if I’ve seen the word before! And it makes finding new ones feel a little like catching pokemon!

So I guess for me it’s always “a lot of lookups, but lightweight ones, with any work postponed to a later date”!

Not any specific plans no, it’s just for fun!


Congratulations on your accomplishments!

I really enjoyed your write-up. I don’t know if you have a background in writing, but I felt it all flowed in a compelling and engaging way. I also appreciated your section acknowledging some of the advantages you’ve had such as time and ready access to materials suited towards your interests. I think providing that context helps keep things in realistic perspective.

I wish you many more fulfilling opportunities to engage with Japanese.


I’m starting to think there may be one or two more people interested in プロレス than just @fallynleaf

We do have a few other people stopping by the pro wrestling thread, but rodan and I still make the vast majority of the posts there, haha :sweat_smile:. But if any other fans are reading this, well, you know where to find us!


I just don’t talk about it quite as frequently. :wink:

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This is so incredibly comprehensive. Thank you for sharing your journey and tips. Congrats!

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Certainly not the sort of tag I usually expect, but much appreciated! I’m honored I am part of the good of this community for you. :blush:

It was really nice to read about your experiences this way. We seem to have started on our learning journeys at around the same time! I started learning in late summer '17 and later joined Wanikani in December of 2018. My first reading experiences were also with the WK bookclubs. I feel that this community has been a big part of what made my learning journey so fun and sustainable.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to hijack your thread. Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Here’s to the next 5 years of WK bookclubs. :wink:


Inspiring! Much of how you describe your motivations and approach resonates with me; we sound like very similar people, which I hope isn’t weird to say. Congratulations on learning to read, and I will remember your tips about synonyms because I’ve so far been avoiding doing that. As my accuracy starts to creep down, often due to not remembering the exact way to phrase vocabulary, that sounds helpful.


Hey rodan! Thank you for sharing your Japanese language learning journey so far! This was such an in-depth and personal insight into your thinking and I enjoyed reading all of it. It feels like there is a lot of gratitude in your words, and a deep appreciation that this journey takes a long time. Although, like you mentioned, as long as you have enthusiasm, you’ll never want to quit, even when the inevitable frustration that comes from learning Japanese (or any language for that matter) creeps in!

Thanks again for sharing this, and for helping others with your insights! :slight_smile:

-Nick at WK


Mate, that’s a great read, and Congratulations!

I have just started my journey and was seeking stories from those that have gone the journey - just perfect!

Interested to hear about how you fare with your next adventure. Cheers.

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Really interesting write up, congratulations.

Can I please ask when you are making your way through the review pile, into the final 100 or so items left to burn, how long is the interval if you get the item wrong one more time? Do you need to wait months for it to return again?

It’s the same interval for any item no matter if it’s the first item you burn or the very last, and checking the wanikani info site:

How are the SRS stage decrement calculated? The following formula is used:
new_srs_stage = current_srs_stage - (incorrect_adjustment_count * srs_penalty_factor)
incorrect_adjustment_count is the number of incorrect times you have answered divided by two and rounded up. srs_penalty_factor is 2 if the current_srs_stage is at or above 5. Otherwise it is 1.
Apprentice 1 → 4 hours → Apprentice 2
Apprentice 2 → 8 hours → Apprentice 3
Apprentice 3 → 1 day → Apprentice 4
Apprentice 4 → 2 days → Guru 1
Guru 1 → 1 week → Guru 2
Guru 2 → 2 weeks → Master
Master → 1 month → Enlightened
Enlightened → 4 months → Burned

If I’m reading that right, it sounds like getting a burn review wrong once would mean you would drop two stages down from Enlightened to Guru 2, and so you’d have reviews at 2 weeks, 1 month, and 4 months for a total of about 5.5 months before you had a burn review for that item again.
(Which sounds right I think – you’d think I would remember better from experience, but after all it’s been about 6 months since that happened to me :sweat_smile:).

In normal circumstances, missing a burn review is slightly frustrating but I would definitely say it’s nothing to worry about - either you didn’t really know it so the few extra scattered reviews will be good, or you did and just forgot wanikani’s specific phrasing (which does happen a lot, probably most of my synonyms were added from missing burn reviews), in which case the few extra scattered reviews will be no big deal anyway.

… For the very very last handful though I sure would have felt bad if I drafted a huge post specifically for the occasion of burning everything, and then whiffed the last one a week before they added new items!


Perfect, thank you! I now understand the pressure you must have felt on the final few if it meant another half year of waiting.

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For completeness’ sake, another milestone from right around when I was making this thread:

JLPT score

(I was a lot more stressed for my last Wanikani review than the test itself funnily enough, but I had no idea what to expect from the score - pretty happy to have it all wrapped up in a nice neat 5-year bow!)

Also, @valkow rightly pointed out I neglected to thank Bri, the other friend we both read out loud with, because Bri isn’t a member of the forum so it would be a little weird to do so in a forum post, and insisted I rectify the mistake.
Thank you Bri!! And @valkow again for that matter. All that reading aloud came together completely from happenstance (I never in a million years would have though to suggest it myself, and wouldn’t have volunteered if it weren’t a series I knew I wanted to read from a magazine I already loved), and I’m really glad it did! I certainly wasn’t expecting to make new friends foes from it! The language help is difficult to measure, but surely very very helpful, in upped confidence and additional practice, and in drumming in points I still think “wait no, val’s corrected me, it’s X!” about. So thank you both!! But especially Bri!!


Congratulations on N1, all your achievements on and off WK and for finding so much pleasure in the journey. Well done!


Hooray, hooray! You did it! And you can hold your head high in terms of your paid debt to Bri as well. :blush:

Let’s keep reading together on the road to N0!

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