Level... 56? Introduction | Thoughts On WaniKani

Hello all you wonderful people of the WaniKani forums!

Long time lurker, first time posting. I’ve always had a great time looking through the forums and seeing the WaniKani Community Summary emails, scrolling through what everyone has been talking about, but I had never been able to muster the courage to post something myself. Recently though, I’ve had a lot of thoughts about WaniKani that I’ve wanted to get off my chest and hear what other people might think, so here I am. Hi!

WaniKani changed my life, and turned what was just a slight interest I had at the beginning of high school, into something that I love so much I’m majoring in it in college. I had originally done it only spottily, but after setting my sights on taking the JLPT N4 level at the start of my junior year of high school, I got into it daily, and I really loved it. I loved it so much that In the beginning of my senior year, I switched courses from CS and decided I wanted to major in Japanese in college, and even wrote my college essay about WaniKani and how getting into good daily habits changed me for the better.

Unfortunately, my habit of keeping up with WaniKani didn’t last forever. By the end of my senior year of HS, worrying about AP exams, final exams, and applying for the MEXT scholarship [I was rejected after the test/interview :’ ( ] all around the same time, one day I broke the habit. And from then on, I could never quite get back into it. The reviews piled sky high and seemed to only get more and more daunting. I’ve been sitting at level 56 since…

It’s not like I stopped studying Japanese though. I of course started college, and with that actual Japanese classes (up to then I had never taken an actual class on it). It really improved my ability to speak Japanese way beyond what it was before. I also started reading a few Japanese light novels of a some anime I loved to watch a long time ago. Though I usually had to check a dictionary after every sentence, with every one I finished reading, I found the next one a bit easier. I even started making an Anki deck for terms I had seen showing up multiple times.

It feels like I’ve moved on from WaniKani… but I also feel like I don’t want to. How can I move on without getting that golden level 60 badge! But seriously… I do occasionally see words in the novels I read, and when I look them up in jisho I realize “wait, that’s from WaniKani! I should know this already!” or “if only I finished those last few levels I would know this!”. When I was using WaniKani daily, I made the mistake of not using a site like KameSame or KaniWani in parallel, and so even back then I wasn’t quite remembering the terms the best, much less now after over a year has passed since I stopped. I want to get back into WaniKani and reach level 60, but I feel it’s too late.

I’ve been considering delving into the Danger Zone, and pressing that reset button. But it’s so scary. All the time I spent, all the turtles I burnt, disappearing. I tried getting back into WaniKani this past summer, but I failed. I would like to think that that was simply because I had a hard time trying to push all the terms I forgot back into my brain all at once. But what if even after resetting I fail to keep up with it? I want to try again, to build up my figurative tower of knowledge from level 0 once again, but with a sturdier foundation. But I keep doubting myself, and whether I’ll even be able to make time for it every day.

Sorry this is so long, I’ve really just ended up pouring out my heart on here. Even if no one ends up reading this, I think that at least my putting down all my thoughts in one place has helped me figure some stuff out. If you do end up reading all of this, thanks. If I do end up getting back into turtle-burning maybe you’ll see me more around here.


Hi @Anachu :wave: Getting to level 56 is still quite an achievement :clap:

I noticed you haven’t tried resetting yet. You don’t have to reset all the way down to level 1. How about resetting just down a few levels or to where you think you’re comfortable with, and re-attempting it from there? All the work you’ve put into WaniKani so far doesn’t just disappear out of thin air and put you back to the beginning! If you’re able to find a level where you’re more successful in the reviews, I think it’ll be an easier transition coming back. Have you tried skimming through the level pages to see what you remember?

I would also try writing out some goals you have, if you really want to get back into studying on WaniKani. Do you want to take a higher level JLPT in the future? Be able to read even more comfortably?

I don’t think it’s ever too late to jump back in, but it does take time and effort to do so (as you already know), so I would think of specific reasons for why you think coming back to WaniKani will help you in reaching those goals. Maybe once your motivations are clearer, you’ll be ready to take the plunge. Hopefully others in the Community will also have some wise advice.

The Level 60 category also has a lot of advice too from users who’ve gotten that gold badge!


Just a few thoughts:

First, congrats on reaching level 57! Several people on the forums say that the return on investment for the last few levels is low and that they could have moved on to studying kanji through immersion/anki before level 60 (some even decide to do that), so that’s an option. See a kanji often enough in the wild and and it’ll stick, probably:)

Second, you don’t have to reset to level 1 to use KameSame/KaniWani so why not try starting at level 1 over there and see if reinforcing your kanji knowledge that way will be productive for you?

And finally, welcome to the forums! Feel free to join the book clubs, reading/listeing challenge threads, etc. and/or make a study log regardless of whether or not you end up burning any more turtles.


Just wanted to say that this feels immensely relatable - I’ve been on level 59 for 1483 days now :joy: I did reviews twice daily for a couple years, but at one point, I fell out of the habit of WK because of life circumstances and just never really started again. I keep bumming around the forums because I like it here, but I haven’t done a review in…a while xD I used to think that one day I would get back on the horse and get that golden badge, but at this point it feels like it’s been too long and I’ve sort of moved on to other things. I don’t feel like completing that last level would really give me that much more, or give me anything that I couldn’t just get naturally through exposure to native materials (I use reading as my primary learning tool now - perhaps not quite as efficient as WK but imo more fun).

If you’ve reached a level of Japanese where you’re able to consume native content/use that as a tool for learning, it’s perfectly understandable that you might feel less motivated to go through WK again. WK is a great and wonderful learning tool, but in the end, the purpose of WK is to get you to a point where you can move on to learning from native materials/through exposure, so to me, it sounds like maybe you’ve just “left the nest” a little early :slight_smile: Not to say that you shouldn’t get back into WK if you really feel like it would add value for you, but I also think it’s possible you may be pressuring yourself unnecessarily to complete it. (I may be totally off base here or projecting a bit too much, but I just wanted to share my thoughts and perspective as someone who also stopped a couple steps from the “finish line” :slight_smile:) Golden badges are nice, but in the end, I think the difference between level 56 and level 60 in terms of useful/practical knowledge is not really all that much, and there are other ways to close that gap outside of WK. Having to look things up repeatedly is its own way of reinforcing your learning (I cannot tell you how many times I have had to look up certain things that I “should” have known from WK, but you know what, I remembered them eventually, no formal SRS tool required :joy:) Anyway, I wish you the best as you figure out the next step in your Japanese learning journey - and whether you start burning those turtles again or not, definitely feel free to come bum around the forums with us :smile:

Jeez, this is so long, as usual, I’m sorry, I am not a concise human being, I hope this is in any way interesting or helpful :joy:


I’m seconding the advice to try KaniWani/KameSame now, if you regret not doing them when you were going through WK in the first place. You can start at level 1 there and just do the lessons as you please. You could even set it to burned items only if you want!

If you do try KaniWani/KameSame, it would probably help you recover a lot of your lost knowledge, and would help your review backlog on WaniKani be less painful. You could always start with that and see how you feel about diving back into WK afterward?

As others have said, you probably don’t “need” WK, at this point, but I understand wanting to complete it, or just missing doing reviews. If you do want to tackle the review pile but feel too intimidated, you could try downloading a reorder script and working through your backlog level by level again, or by restricting them by SRS level. The script should help you have a more “normal” WK experience without needing to reset, though if you truly don’t remember most of the items from the last few levels, resetting back a few levels would be easier than trying to relearn dozens of items all at once.


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