It's happening this time - Maddy's study log

Starting today I will be doing a study log! I’m doing this in hopes to hold accountability to make sure I am keeping up to date with my Japanese.
This year I will be going through my final year of high school studies, so I will be busy with schoolwork but I’m not going to let that be an excuse to fall behind on Japanese! (though I may cut back come exam period!)

As you may have seen me previously say, I have had many ‘attempts’ of learning Japanese but end up getting lazy and falling out of routine. But this time will be different!

Here a few things I should mention!

2024 goals
  • Doing some form of Japanese every single day
  • Level 20 WaniKani (hopefully higher but setting my expectation low!)
  • Be able to message my Japanese friends in Japanese
  • Improve my pronunciation
  • Read a book in Japanese!
  • Be able to watch 今際の国のアリス (one of my fav shows) and be able to understand a solid 25% no subtitles
  • Complete Genki 1
Why Japanese?

I was drawn to the Japanese language after I learnt it for 6 months in high schools (before then choosing Spanish to do for 2 years before dropping it), as I loved the way the language is structured and it’s also just a beautiful sounding language.

I have always wanted to learn a language and I know that if I don’t now, I am going to regret it in 10 years’ time… big time.

I also have a few Japanese friends that I have met when they came for a 3 month exchange at my high school, and I want to be able to talk to them in Japanese and break the language barrier a bit more.
I hope to surprise them when I meet them again in 2025 with my Japanese level - as when they came here I barely spoke much at all!

How am I studying?

As of January 2024 I am doing a my WaniKani lessons and reviews each day, but I want to implement more to improve at a faster pace. I am planning to:

  • Use Genki 1 and 2 to learn grammar
  • Use supernative tv to practice my pronunciation
  • Reading some Japanese books or manga
  • possibly having a few lessons with an iTalki teacher to practice conversation

I will also be enrolling in a language school for 4 weeks in Fukuoka mid 2025 - and want to see how much I can learn before getting there! At the moment I would be considered a ‘beginner’ despite knowing a lot of vocab and Kanji purely because of my lack of grammar, so hopefully I can get on top of grammar this year.

I’m excited to see how much progress I make in a year - I really hope I will be proud of myself this time next year!

Also I have no idea how frequently I will post updates on here - we’ll see how the cookie crumbles.


I feel like the main thing I’ve learnt so far from WaniKani is Kanji isn’t all that bad.
I used to think Kanji was useless and “why don’t they just use the two alphabets of hiragana and katakana… it would make so much more sense!! :rage:
But - the more I learn vocab like 天気, 平気 and 人気, and start to see the patterns, the more I’m understanding the formation behind the words with Kanji!

It makes me go “huh, heaven and energy makes sense being weather… flat and energy makes sense making the word calm… this is cool!”

I also find it very ironic, as I used to always say I would never bother learning Kanji and would rather just learn to speak the language haha

As for my progress, I feel like I am going on a pretty decent pace with my lessons and reviews!
I am trying to reach a new level every 12-14 days, so I should hopefully be leveling up in a week!


Hi, saw it a bit late, but still want to wish you the best for achieving your goals! cat_writing

Indeed! I also really enjoy Kanji, and I’m pretty sure the main reason for that is WK :slight_smile:


Definitely! I genuinely don’t think I would’ve ever gotten into kanji (or even learning any Japanese properly) if it wasn’t for WK
The crabigator motivation is real :muscle:


Haha, yeah, it’s kind of funny how that works! As a beginner, it’s like “man, I wish Japanese didn’t have kanji. It would be so much easier to learn :smiling_face_with_tear:” and then once you’re intermediate, it becomes “I wish this sentence had more kanji. It would be so much easier to read :sob:.”

I’ve frequently found myself wishing that Spanish had kanji, because I often find it easier to memorize new Japanese vocab once I see the kanji, but with Spanish, I don’t have a nice visual hook for my brain to latch onto when learning a new word. I have to just remember the sounds :smiling_face_with_tear:.


First week complete!


I’m struggled a bit today with my reviews - I feel like a lot of the lessons I have done recently aren’t quite sticking in my brain and I am making a lot more errors and struggling to remember readings or meanings more than usual (doesn’t help that I’m doing them at night after work when I’m tired lol)

I have a feeling that during the year I might slow down because of school and may not make it to level 20… but I should be optimistic! When times get busy I assume leveling up may increase to every 15-20 days but you know what, as long as I am learning some Japanese and making my way through it, it shouldn’t matter too much. I’ll get there in the end even if it takes longer than anticipated.

On another note I did my first Genki 1 lesson yesterday following the Tokini Andy which was good! Finally starting some grammar.

I’m averaging roughly 60-80 apprentice items so I’m curious to see how much that changes over the year


Leveling up


Reached Level 6 today! :tada: Super excited because my goal was to get to level 5 before the end of my summer break - but now I’ve reached level 6… still with a week left!

I’m going to smash through as many lessons and reviews as I can (while still making sure that I’m pacing myself so future reviews don’t absolutely kill me), and hopefully get through another one or two Genki lessons before going back to school

but I also still need to do some homework…


Australian spotted. :eyes:


If you are Australian, I would recommend the Wakatta text book for grammar, at least I felt that it explained the sometimes abstract concepts in an easy way.


I’m assuming you’re also aussie… hello fellow aussie :muscle:


No. :disguised_face: I’m PST. :yum:


I feel betrayed :smiling_face_with_tear:


Leveling the lesson scales


ughhhh hitting a bit of a wall since leveling up. I think I pushed way too many lessons and now I’m not remembering anything in the reviews, and I think I need to take a step back and focus on the learning rather than the leveling up.

I am going to start pacing myself from now on - maybe doing like 5 kanji and 5-10 vocab a day?
I need to make sure I’m not overwhelming myself with too many lessons or my brain will start to fry. As much as I wanna go as fast as possible I need to avoid burnout and overloading myself or else I could lose motivation.

It’s definitely gonna take some time to balance how many lessons I should be doing and find the right balance - which could be a bit messy but I’m sure it’ll work out.

Here’s my first stats update too:

The reason behind level 3 taking that long is because I was dragging out the last free level as long as I could before Christmas, where I got the subscription as a gift LMAO

Question for you guys! How long did it take you to find your perfect balance of lessons per day? And how has that reflected in your learning/retention/pace? I’m curious to see the different balances that work for everyone :slight_smile:


I went through a few iterations of workload management on Wanikani:

  1. Full speed ahead for the first 10 levels or so
  2. 150 items in apprentice cap ~ level 10
  3. 120 items in apprentice cap ~ level 18
  4. 100 items in apprentice cap, unless I was feeling confident ~ level 25
  5. My current system where I try and keep less than 10 kanji items “learning” (not reliably staying above apprentice 3) but do allow myself more vocab lessons to space them throughout the level.

The reason I moved to the current system is twofold. First I find vocab reviews easier than kanji reviews, because you have things where the meaning is the same or closely connected to the already studied kanji so it’s the second (or third if the radical is given a similar name, or fourth if it’s a Xする vocab and I’ve already done X) time learning that idea. Secondly vocab reviews being completed do not themselves unlock more lessons, unlike kanji, so I won’t accidentally add to my workload by learning them more quickly, so I may as well pace them throughout the level.

Generally the direction for my Wanikani workload is down though, and that’s a conscious decision as WK has moved from my primary tool to just one of many, including much more immersion.


Interesting! Seems like a good way to do it


Random update of the day:

I realised I haven’t really attempted writing in Japanese in a long while - the last time I did was writing こんにちは on a goodbye letter to an exchange student - before that it was way back when I was 13 in my year 7 class leaning hiragana

anyways I gave it a go and my god… it was shocking :sob: Good news - I don’t think I will need to write in Japanese all that much with the goals I set to achieve. However I should probably tidy up my hiragana and katakana LMAO

But, I’m concerned that when I go to Japan next year and show up at the language school, that I will have to write a lot and that the teachers will be reading the equivalent of an elementary school student learning to writes’ handwriting


Leveling up and slowing down

The school year began, and the lessons and reviews have slowed
Who knew final year of HS would have so much homework.
I think it’s gonna take me like 3-4 weeks to level up now but as long as I’m doing something!

Sitting at:
Apprentice: 73
Guru: 150
Master: 278
Enlightened: 260

Haven’t had the chance to do any more Genki lessons, but if I’m not too tired after work tomorrow I may try to.

Additional study:
My friends who take Japanese as a subject at school had Vocab and Kanji tests so I’ve been helping them to study, which ironically has been helping me!
Some of the Kanji and Vocab they are doing is what I have learned, and honestly it’s always cool to see what you’ve learned elsewhere off of WK.
though when I go through the process of how I remember the readings out loud of things like 広げる they get completely confused LMAO

And it was also quite awkward when in my study period, I was doing my reviews, and the supervising teacher happened to be the Japanese teacher and she walked past and looked at my screen as the review for 生ビール came up…uhhhhh


At least it wasn’t 金玉


I think I would move schools :sob:


I’m so glad that my parents can’t read Japanese :joy: