Level 60 celebratory post

Oh boy! How much have I waited for this moment!! It has finally come true! I finally did it!

Here are my graphs:

My Journey:
Unlike most people here, my journey started after coming to Japan. I initially had no interest in learning Japanese language, I was happy living in the gaijin bubble. However, as most story goes, I met this girl and she didn’t speak a word of English. I used to message her in Japanese and she would message me back in her broken English. This was the beginning of my Japanese language journey.

I don’t know where the girl disappeared, but I kept learning the language and started meeting new people. I realized the power of speaking the language of Japan and how I could meet new people so much easily and even explore the part of culture that was hidden from me. Even at that point my only motivation was to learn to speak and listen Japanese, I still had no interest in Reading/Writing.

Then I started working at this game company called Square Enix. My job there was to build an AI related software for QA department but as you would expect, no one in the whole QA department spoke any English. So I asked my (French) Senpai to help me communicating with them as he spoke much better Japanese, but soon I realized that he is not only translating for me but also taking away the credit for my work claiming that I only helped him and he did most of the work. In fact, he even went so far as to pretend to stay in office after I have left just so he can prove that he is working harder than me and fixing bugs in my code(which don’t even exist).

I realized that the only way to survive in this country is to go all in on Japanese, while I was looking for ways to improve my reading, I was recommended WaniKani by a coworker. I was immediately hooked.
After exploring the first three levels, I bought the lifetime pack of WaniKani.

I left Square Enix but continued working on my Kanji. In the year of 2019, I was offered a freelance position to advise a startup, which I took. However, working on two full time position was too heavy for me to focus on WaniKani and hence I took an year long break to focus on freelancing the company. To my amazement, I was able to have decent conversation with the founders of startup and deep down I knew the only way to improve is to get back to WaniKani. I realized that if I spoke good Japanese it will open so many doors that I can’t even imagine at the moment, so I resigned from my advisory position at the startup and come back to WaniKani.

Was it worth it?
Yes. Yes!. Yess!!!

I am now able to chat with my coworker in Japanese on message applications and of course with friends. I am able to attend meetings that are completely in Japanese. I am able to read emails and notification letter I get in the mail etc.
Basically my life is now 10x easier living here. And of course, the cake was the most delicious I have ever had. It was chocolate cheese cake for me.

How hard is learning Japanese?
Hard. Very Hard. But that should not demotivate you. Here’s why:
I am a Software Engineer, I always took pride in being able to solve complex problem and being decent at math. However, learning a language isn’t about solving a complex equation or wiring a system, it is about being able to recall words. It is about memory and not so much computation and I suck with my memory, so it was super hard for me. However, if you’re someone with good memory, it might come easy to you. I always wished for learning a language to be like installing a new software and we could just click “Next” and it is done. Reality is much different, it takes years to master a language. There are no shortcuts. There is no overnight magic to learn languages. You have to put in the hours.

As I am now able to have decent conversation and read simple books, I am starting to realize WaniKani is just a checkpoint but the actual mountain is much taller.
When I first came to Japan, I often heard that even having JLPT N1 is not enough to be good in Japanese, I always thought “pff…I see them talking! That couldn’t be true.” But now that I am getting better with the language, I am starting to realize the difference between being fluent and being native is huge.

The tricky thing about Japanese is that although it seems like one language but there are a lot of languages that come under this umbrella. For example, the Japanese you speak with your boss is totally different from what you’ll speak with your friend. Not like English but completely different like even the words, the grammar everything changes. This is something I still struggle with.

What’s my plan now?
Here are a list of goals:

  • Burn all items on WaniKani
  • Maybe give JLPT N1?
  • Start watching a lot of Anime with only Japanese subtitles.
  • Start reading books in Japanese.
  • Learn other languages like Chinese and Spanish.

One of my biggest worry is that although I want to be really good with this language, I don’t want to live here forever. So, I want to be so good at Japanese that I can watch Japanese movies/anime and read manga to stay in touch with the culture and language.
Oh and the reason I want to give N1 is so that I can know what I don’t know. At the moment I feel I don’t even know what I don’t know. Any pointers on that would be helpful!

What did I learn?
One of the most important thing that I learn from WaniKani is the power of consistency. Coming back to this application day after day and practicing Kanji made me realize that consistency is the most important thing to have in order to achieve our goals. Without consistency, I would have never reached here and WaniKani made it super easy for me to consistent.
This has made me realize that I should be consistently working towards any goal I want to achieve, it will take years but it will be worth it.

Advise to others?
Keep going ahead. There were times when I would see post of others completing WaniKani in a year and I would always judge myself as stupid for not being able to complete it within an year. But the truth is, everyone is on their own journey and so there’s no reason to be feel upset. Everyday I would just think, “I just need to complete all reviews for today and someday I will be there.” My whole schedule sometimes revolved around this. Sometimes I even questioned myself if this is worth it or why am I wasting 1-2 hours of my life everyday on this but those were just negative thoughts I needed to get over in order to achieve this goal. So, my advise would be the same to others: Don’t look too far ahead into the future, don’t compare yourself with others, just make the goal to finish the reviews for the day and unlock new Kanji/Radicals that come by. That’s it. Live by the day.

I will forever be indebted to this community for keeping me motivated!


Congrats!!! You made it!! :tada:


Congratulations! This is such a huge achievement and it’s so inspiring when people reach level 60 to read about their journey and recommendations. Now you can talk to your Japanese co-worker and understand things, it sounds like the hard work has more than paid off!

Best of luck for the N1 exam and your future studies and thanks for inspiring us all to push forward! :relaxed:


Nice work!
I love reading the stories of how other people’s lives are intertwined with Japan, and Japanese.
Best of luck to you. :slight_smile:


Congratulations! :partying_face: Sounds like it was a well-rewarded journey for you, and I hope to get there someday in the future myself.

Wonderful way of thinking!


Congrats! I have a terrible memory also so it’s good to hear someone with a similar problem was able to complete it! I was absolutely terrible at language classes in high school and college (dropped out of French, Spanish twice, and I think German before barely scraping through Latin) so I am worried about being able to do this successfully but I’m just gonna take it one day at a time!


Good Luck!

I will be waiting for your post! :wink:

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Congratulations! :crabigator: :cake:

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Oh my god…

Well congrats on getting here now!


Man, I love level 60 celebratory posts.

Yours has a particular viking nuance to it - especially the bit about your asshole co-worker taking credit for your code due to the language advantage. Feels like getting better at Japanese is a form of retribution, somehow.

So well done, you! Welcome to Walhalla. :trophy:


Thanks! It definitely was a trigger. :smile:

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Great job, especially coming back from such a long break and following through. Glad to hear you took some unfair situations and used them as motivation for your studies as well.


Congratulation! :partying_face: Please have some more chocolatey-cheesy goodness! You’ve deserved it! ^>^


Congrats! :tada:

How did you find the software engineering jobs without any Japanese? Or were you with an existing company overseas and they transferred you to Japan? (I’m a software engineer too).

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Congratulations! It’s always satisfying to finish a long journey but it’s also exciting to see where you go next. :wink:

That’s a helluva name drop, my friend. :joy:

But I’m glad to see you got out of a toxic situation.

Best of luck in the future.



Actually there a lot of companies hiring engineers without any Japanese skills these days. You can do a quick search on LinkedIn and I am sure a lot of them will show up. I can also connect you with recruiters who might be able to help you.

For me, I was hired right out of university. The Japanese company came looking to hire students in my university.

Thanks! :slight_smile:

They pretty much asked for it! I even told my manager’s manager(department head) multiple times about his behavior but they took no action whatsoever and eventually blamed me for everything.

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Wow! Thank you so much @ekg !

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Thank you so much @Ashelia! And best of luck to you too!
I look forward to also reading your journey someday. :slight_smile: