Just a Brit, whose Japanese is... Less than satisfactory! (Study log)

Introduction

Hello there! I've been here a while. This is my third attempt to get myself kanji literate and get at least somewhere near an N2 level in speaking/comprehension. I have been in Japan for 5 years, but as an English teacher, and with other commitments, I had not found the time to study so much, and find myself always using English. Most of my Japanese knowledge is from exposure, and a little studying.

Anyway, there was a big change in my life at the beginning of this year, and now I feel I have the drive and time to finally get my head down.

It seems that it’s okay to write out my progress here!

Anyway, today I just got back into WaniKani having just paid for the lifetime membership. I have had an on/off relationship with WaniKani over the years, because, excuses.

No more excuses!

WaniKani was really helping me learn Kanji, so I need to get my backside back into action!

Today I did my new lessons and two reviews. It’s slow going, but I’ll keep going! I reset back to level 1 because I needed a fresh start. I’m not sure what level I got to before (something below 10 I think), but I can only remember some of it.

Ganbarimasu! :exploding_head:

Current Study Sources

Playing, Listening, Watching and Reading

Games In Japanese

  • Undertale - currently on hold.
  • Persona 4 - 0.05% complete :sweat_smile:

Books & Manga

  • Slam Dunk Vol. 1. - not yet started.

Userscripts

Heatmap - Gives you a visual breakdown of your past progress, and future reviews.

Double-Check - This lets you undo during a review. I know not everyone agrees with the use of this kind of tool, and consider it “cheating”, however, consider this situation. You wake up, and stub your toe, you go to make coffee and accidentally drop the coffee container on the floor, you get into work and find out that there’s a special occasion that day and you need to wear a tie (which you didn’t bring), you also forgot to bring your lunch, then on your way home your car breaks down. When you finally do get home and start to do your kanji review, you fat finger 川 (かわ) as じゃわ, it makes your day just that little bit worse, and you start to wonder why even bother! Of course not every day is like this, but it just helps to reduce stress! If I know that undoing the previous mistake will hinder my ability to remember a kanji/vocabulary/radical, then I don’t undo. Simple as that!

WaniKani Later Crabigator - A userscript that lets you push a review item to the end of the queue. This is really useful if you want to maximise your time when reviewing.

Websites & Links

WaniKani Stats - For stats on your WK progress.

Jisho - Dictionary

Natively - For knowing the language proficiency required for Japanese media.

Zenshin - A progress chart for past and projected progress.

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I wish you the best of luck at learning Japanese! :smiley: And I absolutely agree, WaniKani is a really great tool for learning Kanji, even if it seems slow at the beginning! :crabigator:

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Thank you! Yeah, it’s great! :grinning:

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So today I managed to get through my first lot of kanji.

Most of them I can remember from before and daily exposure, so it wasn’t a big deal, though I am less familiar with some of the on’yomi readings, so じょ(女)and りょく(力).

So far, no mistakes!

I have also written down each into a spreadsheet, with readings and kana.

It’s not so much an issue now, because of the winter break, but I need to be careful about when I do my reviews and lessons, because my next review is at midnight!

Overall though, I’m well on my way! :slightly_smiling_face:

Question though, is the Extra Study area relatively new? I don’t remember it being there :sweat_smile:

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I did the same, but I only put in one reading to keep it simple. After all, I’m using WaniKani to learn all the readings, not my sheets :wink: I only created it to practice typing Japanese.

I personally would advice you to not think too much about always doing the reviews when they’re available, because that will probably lead into a burnout sooner or later. I, for example, have new reviews almost every hour on some days and also during the night. The only reviews I really do as soon as possible are the reviews with items that are important for levelling up. But other than that, I really just do them two or three times a day :wink: (sometimes also five, but that happened only two times so far :eyes:)

I would love to answer you this question, but, unfortunately, I’m pretty new here myself. I can only confirm that it has been here at least since Dec 1st, 2023 :sweat_smile:

I agree, that sounds like a great start :smiley:

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Thanks for the advice! :grin:

Ah yeah similarly, it was mainly to practice typing them out, but I thought it was a good opportunity to help ingrain them into my noggin too, so writing out the kana helps a bit. I also like to over organise things :sweat_smile:

Agreed! I’ve been there before (this is my third run on WaniKani, my first was pretty bad in that way!)

I only plan on doing lessons/reviews 3 times a day, at 8am, 12~1pm and 8~9pm once I’m back at work in January. For now though, I have some time, so I don’t mind trying to break out of the first few levels to get me going.

The most important thing for me, is that I get into a good lesson/review rhythm.

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I’m just waiting on my next review in a few hours, so I also decided to get a fresh start on Rocket Japanese (which I’ve had for years now!)

The first couple of lessons are very simple introductory Japanese vocabulary, and I’m breezing through the hiragana and speaking/reading parts, but some of the kanji I am completely unfamilliar with. I know it’s not important to learn many of these kanji now, but I’m writing them down in my spreadsheet all the same. :slight_smile:

It has improved a lot since I last used it though. I got through the first 2 lessons and learned a few new kanji. I didn’t know that 箸 had the bamboo radical at the top! It makes sense though, and makes it easier to remember. I love how I can disable romaji in the settings too!
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However, in the quizzes, it still shows the romaji :cry:

I also learned how a scholar called Wani was the person who introduced Chinese writing system to Japan. (How I didn’t know this is beyond me! :joy:) It brings a whole new light and appreciation to the WaniKani name. :slight_smile:

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Must be this one.

https://community.wanikani.com/t/i-found-the-secret-wk-hq-in-japan/63829

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I started off bad! :joy:

Today I should have made it to level two, but on my final kanji review I flat fingered two of my review items (I was rushing too). So extra long level 1 for me!

I kept going with Rocket Japanese too! They introduce kanji in almost every piece of vocabulary, so I’m wondering if I should keep noting down the kanji, or just try to remember the phrases and vocabulary instead. I think the latter may be a better option, otherwise I am going to be swimming in Kanji without a lifejacket!

Tomorrow - level 2! :sweat_smile:

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So I made it to level 2! :tada:

Now, I have noticed a problem though. The lesson filter userscript doesn’t work anymore. I wanted to do radicals first, and then kanji with vocabulary being last, and try to pace things. However, I think I will need to do things differently. I will just limit the number of future lessons to 15 or less a day, regardless of whether it’s a radical/kanji/vocab.

Today I didn’t do that though, and will have 50 review items in an hour, and another 30 in 3 hours. :sweat_smile:

It’s okay today, but will be limiting things once I’ve got through these ones.

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If you’d like to pick specific items for your lessons, there is now an official feature (though it hasn’t been announced yet) that’ll let you do it! Try this: https://www.wanikani.com/subject-lessons/picker

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Oh! I need to give it a try! I have no lessons remaining right now, so it just says “You don’t have any lessons available right now”, but I will try it again with my next lessons.

Thank you!

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I use it myself, too, that’s the reason I am still able to do WaniKani at full speed :wink: It’s a really great and useful tool, but you might start like feeling to skip vocab lessons at one point, so make sure that you don’t do that, otherwise, you’ll be good to go :wink:

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I was able to try this out just now! Works great! I love how you can actually select the items you want to study too. I can choose some kanji and some related vocabulary. I decided to do 10 kanji and 5 vocabulary today.

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Making nice progress!

10 kanji and 5 vocabulary seems like a pretty balanced amount for me. I’m still going through kanji I have already learned in the past. I think in my last run on WK, I made my way to level 5.

For lessons, I’m thinking that I will swap kanji and vocabulary for radicals, if I have them available. I may also bump up my 15 lessons a day to 20 when I have radicals.

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Happy to see that you’re making nice progress :slight_smile: However, later on then, I think you’ll have to do more vocab lessons, because there’s going to be more than 100 vocab per lessons. However, since you bought lifetime, this is absolutely nothing were you have to rush, so you could continue doing 15 lessons a day as well, just make sure that you don’t skip the vocab lessons :wink:

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Ah, I didn’t know that!

I guess I will need to do more vocab as I progress!

I’m hoping it will be a plus, because I should be using, and thus reinforcing my knowledge of kanji, but let’s see!

It’s good to know though, because I had started planning to try and divide each level’s kanji lessons between three days, and then add on vocabulary/radicals, but it may become difficult to do if I’m flooded with a lot of vocab.

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Yes, that’s exactly why you shouldn’t skip them :slight_smile: Also, in many cases, the vocab teach you a reading for the kanji you haven’t learned yet (most likely the Kun’yomi, but sometimes also On’yomi and alternate readings), which is, in my opinion, important to know to be able to read vocabulary outside of WaniKani as well :slight_smile:

I am doing WaniKani at the fastest speed possible, which is one level per week from level 3 onwards. To keep up with my vocabulary lessons, I have to do about 30 lessons per day (not just vocab, but alltogether). To be sure that I do the items that are important for leveling up, I use the lesson picker.

So, I think this is the best organization at my speed. However, I think every pace needs a different organization, regarding the lessons. The best thing to do is to make a schedule (don’t forget that SRS spacing are different for level 1 and 2, so you’ll have to work with different time spacings when creating a schedule) where you first decide how long you want to stay at one level. Then, the best thing to do in my opinion is to split the lessons up evenly along all these days.

For example, let’s say you have 200 lessons in total (which is, I think, as high as it can get, but these 200 are never unlocked at the same time because you have to guru the radicals first before you unlock the kanji for the level) and you decide to take 10 days for one level, you’ll be perfectly fine when doing 20 lessons a day.

But, as I said, the best thing is to make up the schedule yourself :wink:

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Very true! The other readings are what’s going to get me if I’m not careful! :slight_smile:

Also agreed! I started trying to write out a schedule of sorts. Everything has to consider my work schedule, which is a bit higgledy-piggledy, so lessons/reviews in the morning at 7ish, reviews at noonish, and more reviews at 8ish-9ish is basically the only way I can do things (sometimes I also work until 11pm, so on those days the reviews will be later). I sometimes have only 30 or so minutes at lunchtime, so I need to make sure I have enough time for reviews, so I don’t think I can do too many lessons a day.

I dunno. I’m gonna keep going through level 2 (tomorrow will be the last of the lessons), and then I may try out things a bit differently in level 3 to test out some other approaches.

Thanks for all of your input so far! It’s great to have another perspective! :smiley:

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No problem at all, I’m always happy to help :heart:

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