Level 60 gameing


I never really have anything to make a post about, so figured I’d do the obligatory lv60 post that a lot of people seem to do lol. Today is the day that I guru’d the first 33 kanji in level 60, so technically I reached lv60 a bit before Christmas! I don’t have the best insight or optimal use tips for WaniKani/learning Japanese, but it’s been very fun and useful nonetheless and I’ll share my process of that. Also I don’t talk on forums ever, so if this post is really ugly or hard to read then sorry ahead of time lol. I’m just dumping whatever comes out of my brain

Nick starts his Japanese journey

It’s been a little over a year since I spontaneously acted upon my interest of learning Japanese! Shoutouts to the Trash Taste Podcast for randomly mentioning Tofugu’s mnemonics for kana in one of their episodes, as well as that one friend from work who mentioned that their uncle started learning Japanese on their own from home and was able to read native manga within a couple years-ish for inspiring me to take the dive :slight_smile:

As soon as I heard the Trash Taste folks talk about how well pictorial mnemonics helped them with reading Japanese kana, I thought back to how in high school I would use silly self-made verbal mnemonics to help me with the vocabulary in my mandatory Spanish classes.

Once I realized this was the same concept with a different hat (a chef’s hat even, badumtss), I was suddenly very hopeful and excited to try this with Japanese because I’m hopelessly a weeb for anime/manga and wanted to understand as much I could without any handholding

I would also like to note that I would do anything for the lil ク cook person

(ᴛʜᴇʏ ᴀʀᴇ ᴍʏ ʙᴀʙʏ ᴀɴᴅ ɪ ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ᴋɪʟʟ ғᴏʀ ᴛʜᴇᴍ.)

I spent one day each on hiragana and katakana and found it extremely fun and useful, I was able to (slowly but surely) read anything that only had kana. From anime titles, to random products at any Asian grocery stores in like Brooklyn or K-Town

Nick discovers kanji Is fun

Immediately the day after I finished katakana, I looked to WaniKani for continuing to learn Kanji. As I got through the first few levels, reading the testimonials and emails from WaniKani gave me a lot of motivation and made me physically jump with excitement for the road ahead of me!

(As a marketing major, I feel like I fell into a trap by my own kind, but hey it worked I guess lol)

I also really enjoyed the level up emails and the absurd gifs that came with them. I also tended to check WKStats and the email “Oh The Kanji You’ll Learn” to see where I was at compared to certain parameters or the expected level of Japanese students at certain grades all the time

Anyhow, at first I didn’t know how the system for leveling up worked, so I did things naturally, taking the L on any typos I made (especially on mobile, that sucked). And I leveled up probably like most people did

I would complete levels around 9-11 days while completing all the vocabulary lessons before I reached a new level. I would basically grind all my lessons in one day which eventually started to wear me down. But learning Kanji itself was the fun part for me, and I wanted to learn more as fast as I could.

Another fun thing for me about kanji was talking to my mom and other family members (except my grandparents. I don’t think they would forgive me if they knew I learned Japanese of all things but didn’t spend any time learning Cantonese >.> (tones are so annoying, why can I ask for a “cha” in a restaurant and have to gamble between getting a fork or tea???)) about the meanings of Chinese hanzi (My family is from Hong Kong, but uh I never learned Cantonese since my dad thought I would come out speaking Chinglish.)

So it was a cool way to reinforce what I already learned, and kind of absorb my own culture at the same time. Sometimes the meanings of kanji were 100% the same, sometimes the nuance was like 90% there, and occasionally it was completely off, but it was fun to learn and show off what I learned

Nick's complicated relationship with grammar

As for learning grammar, due to the fact that I really was focused on WaniKani I only learned grammar casually and sporadically. For me personally, just being able to recognize kanji, and be able to infer meaning of compound words and verbs was enough for me. Some days I would try to get through Genki I, others I used videos from ToKini Andy, Japanese Ammo with Misa, everyone’s favorite Cure Dolly (Rest in peace) and many more.




All of their videos helped so much, but I’m still not at a point where I’m confident in most grammatical structures at all. Since I focused on WK, I didn’t feel comfortable spending any time on other resources when I still had reviews leftover.

This resulted in me having a better time absorbing grammar lessons when I came across something I couldn’t understand, which then gave me the motivation and a relevant context to learn a new piece of grammar for.

I also got into BunPro since I heard it was WK but for grammar.

Which it basically is, and it’s a neat review/learning tool, which I continue to use, and will probably be able to invest more time into now than before.

Nick practices reading

To put my new gained knowledge to use, I figured I would start collecting Japanese manga along side my existing English collection. I don’t have much to say other than the fact that at first I read really slow, and I didn’t focus too much on figuring out what things meant, while also enjoying understanding what I did know.

I started this around 3 months into WK, and got a bunch of manga without even knowing which had furigana or not. I only ever bought manga of anime that I’ve already watched so I could especially not worry about having to understand everything, since I knew the story already. Also pictures help a lot with deciphering meaning which can help you learn new vocabulary or help you solidify your existing vocabulary

I would mainly struggle with grammar to which as I mentioned earlier, these kinds of scenarios would motivate me to look for answers to why certain particles are used where they are, or how certain shortenings of conjugations were used, etc.

Despite my lack of grammar skills, with purely furigana I started reading manga aloud in order to get some speaking practice in. It was a nice way to kill two birds with one stone.

I also got speaking/reading practice in the form of learning anime OP/ED song lyrics. In the past I would learn them by memorizing the romaji. Slowly but surely through my time with WK, I was able to just use the original Japanese lyrics to learn songs. Even after just learning a kanji on WK, if it was in a lyric, it made it 10x easier to remember, both the reading/the meaning which helped me memorize songs to sing on my own

Anyhow my personal favorite manga that I started off with (and still enjoy reading the most to this day) was “お兄ちゃんはおしまい”/“Oniichan ha Oshimai!” (The pun was very mindblowing for me when I learned it)

I enjoyed the anime for the wholesome SOL elements, but was kinda bothered by the ecchi bits.

I’m happy to note that the manga is like nowhere near as ecchi (very few bits still remain, but it’s nowhere near as exaggerated as what Studio Bind did), and the art style is very cute!


Also here’s some random pictures from the later volumes that I took because they were cute

I definitely recommend picking shonen manga since those are meant for a younger audience and will definitely have furigana in it. But also explore manga without furigana occasionally and try to see what you can recognize without the training wheels, it’s fun to see your progress now vs a month+ from then!

Here’s most of my collection

Currently I’m able to enjoy manga way more comfortably that I could have imagined one year back. This is honestly way more progress than I would ever expect from myself, that’s been pretty awesome!

Nick tries to listen and comprehend Japanese

My listening comprehension is pretty weak. I focus too much on individual words until the sentence is already over and I basically gained nothing except one word lol. I try not to do that anymore, instead just trying to get the whole flow of a sentence, and if I recognize something that I would need to focus on to remember it, I just tune it out as best as I can. Using this method kinda shows off which vocab you just know by heart which is cool

With anime that I watch with ENG subs or that one time I played Steins;Gate, I would sometimes try to read ahead super fast then listen to the rest of the sentence and try to predict/understand what I would hear. This was a fun way to review, but it isn’t the best for actual listening comprehension practice (probably).

Though I began noticing differences between the sub and what I actually heard which was very interesting, and made me feel like I was getting an inside scoop that others wouldn’t get. Or sometimes I would just be a little frustrated with the incorrect translation/nuance lol.

One thing I found funny about guessing ahead of the actual audio was that sometimes I would get a verb right, but it would be formally conjugated but in my head I predicted dictionary form or something. I gave myself partial credit since I basically got the general idea down

To practice listening comprehension, one of my favorite methods is using the Japanese Peppa Pig channel (even as an adult, I will unironically enjoy watching Peppa Pig because she is such a brat and it’s really funny, also George is cute). Since it’s made for kids, it’s a fun way to review any basic grammar and vocab you learned as a beginner.

I also enjoy trying to watch anime that I’ve already watched but this time with Japanese subs or raw. My choices weren’t necessarily the best, but I did this with Bakuman, Haikyuu, and Usagi Drop.

Sometimes I alternate between starting with JP subs or without, either way I haven’t dove too deep into finetuning my listening comprehension.

I tried doing a raw first-time watch of Takagi-san early on in 2023 but ended up doing a Japanese subbed watch through of it like 1/4 of the way in. Eventually I would rewatch the same episode with English subs to see if I missed anything.

I also put on some youtube videos on the side from Japanese youtubers who play games. I find that this is really useful for finding uses for certain vocabulary. Whether you already know it and were struggling to find out how to use it, or you literally learn new vocab from them.

Like maybe they’re saying one word repeatedly as a reaction to something shocking/funny/cute, or maybe you understand almost a whole sentence but didn’t know 1 word so you look it up and now you know what it means in that context (like the n+1 learning theory thing)

I also really love listening particularly to the LycoReco Radio YT videos that were produced to advertise the Lycoris Recoil anime. The seiyuus are so cute and funny. Chisato’s VA will just start some episodes singing Happy Birthday in English, I love it so much. My favorite is from episode 4 right after the radio jingle


Nick learns to cheat the system

Eventually I figured out userscript plugins were a thing, as well as the Flaming Durtles app for mobile. I used these to avoid any typos, and to reorder my lessons to give me kanji ASAP. For a while I still had an approach of tackling all the lessons on the same day, but eventually throughout the year I started spreading the lessons out more and more, from 2 days, to 3, to the 4 days it took for me to level up all the Kanji in a level and gain the new lessons. Then the cycle continued from there.

As for getting through the levels as soon as I could, I am ashamed to say that in the case of kanji (until I had already guru’d them once) even if I forgot what the answer was, I would undo and put the correct one instead. Once I hit guru for that item, I would then accept any incorrect answers I made, I just wanted to go as fast as I could through the levels. This happened for maybe 1 to 5 kanji per level occasionally. Most of them stuck for the most part

The way I went about this is definitely too quick for a lot of people, and my memory of all this vocab and kanji definitely isn’t perfect, but for me personally it was more fun to take this approach. The way I think about it is that if I have fun with all the initial learning for the kanji provided on WaniKani, even if I forget later on, when I look up the meaning, I’ll remember the lessons I took on WK and be able to jump right back into action since the memories will come flooding back (which has been the case for me so far at least)

Nick's WK review methods

Throughout my whole time on WaniKani, I tended to do reviews every day. For the first couple months I would say I got to 0/0 most of the time, but didn’t mind leaving some reviews at night if I was dead tired. But later a bit into 2023, I got into the habit of going 0/0 every day no matter what. This was very tiring some days, especially if I just left it until the end of the day before going to bed.

(I didn’t realize that doing reviews SOLELY on a different client (Flaming Durtles) wouldn’t track on the heatmap, so just know that after around December or January, any gray days are days I actually did reviews, but they just were solely on my phone)

A few months into 2023, I realized I found it more digestible if I broke review sessions into smaller ones. Using the wrap up feature in base WK + Flaming Durtles’ customizable session sizes, I liked to do sets of 10 reviews very often throughout the day. From when I was at work (I have ADHD and used WaniKani as a distraction lol), to stuff like when I was playing games like Valorant.

(Pro tip from a non-pro: playing any games where you have a lil bit of downtime for me personally was the best for grinding reviews. In Valorant, when you die and your team is still alive, there’s maybe 1 or 2 minutes of downtime before you get right back into the action in the next round. This made it feel less dry to do my reviews, I did similar things with other games like when I played SF6 and the round was over, I’d do literally 1 review and get back into the next round lol)


Eventually I was doing reviews all the time, like on the bus/train, while playing games as mentioned earlier, and during silent moments at gatherings with friends and family, in-between watching episodes of anime or during the OP and ED songs of the show.

Nick is unhealthily obsessed with clearing reviews

Near the last few months of WK, I began doing all of the reviews that refreshed each hour, since I wanted to be at 0/0 every day but wanted to do everything as fast as possible so it didnt pile up and look more intimidating later in the day.

This made me do reviews to an unhealthy degree, to where sometimes I even started doing reviews during conversations with friends and family if I had too many reviews that would pile up that day due to my aggressive approach to taking on lessons. I felt bad doing this even though it didn’t really bother anyone, but since I was so close to getting level 60 at the pace I was going, I just kept up with it.

Other kinda unhealthy habits included when messaging friends online via Discord, sometimes I would only let myself respond after every 10 reviews, or sometimes if I needed to do something like go to the bathroom (if it wasn’t urgent) I would try to get 10 reviews in before doing so.

Nick's thoughts at lv60

Well after all that, here I am at level 60, spending like 3 hours writing this post and realizing how much this all was for me to go through in just 1 year. Overall, despite the unhealthy obsession in the end I’m really happy with where WaniKani has been able to take me.

Just last week was right when I hit a personal burnout in my motivation for WK, but I was so close to level 60 that I figured it would at least be worth while to continue a tiny bit to hit that benchmark.

I realized the lv60 email was kinda spitting, I think it’s time for me to leave the nest of WK. I realized that some of the vocab, while it was a good showcase of what kanji I was learning, I don’t think I’d ever use or come across some of those words lol. I also noticed some people in the forums saying they get questionable looks based on how they use some vocab and the misunderstanding of nuances. With how much time I would end up spending on reviews if I tried to burn everything, I would probably be learning some of it for nothing (unless I just add an easy synonym to bypass them or something)

Nick didn't have any goals, but he was happy about:

Being able to enjoy native manga at my current level has been the biggest thing for me and is probably enough of a stepping off point to move on from WK, giving me more time to enjoy the things I was learning Japanese for in the first place and also be more present in moments where I was doing reviews in front of peoples faces lol

Another more recent unexpected benchmark of mine was realizing I could mostly play through Ace Attorney 1’s case 1 in Japanese without looking anything up a few weeks ago. Granted my understanding of the grammar and some words weren’t perfect, and I had played the first game like 5 times with different friend groups and on my own. (Also some character’s speech quirks are so weird, sometimes it’s tough to realize what they’re saying)

But earlier this August, when I learned 停電 from WK, I was like “oh hey there was a power outage in the first case of AA1, let me go through the whole case just to find it!”

And I tried to read as much as I could along the way and struggled a lot. So this served as very motivating evidence (hehe like in court) that I made a lot of progress and can enjoy even more of the things I love as they were originally created.

(Also fun fact for English speaking AA fans, the passport used in the Japanese version of the game uses the Japanese passport as a whole different sprite, and Cindy Stone returns from a trip in New York instead of France to create the time zone difference, as I assume the game takes place in Japan for the Japanese audience. Which is a fun showcase of how eventually as the games go on, the setting of the game becomes a blend of LA x Japan in terms of cultural representation and inspiration)

I still continue to play through it here and there while reading it aloud to friends for more speaking practice. It gets a decent bit more difficult since I don’t have a solid footing with anything other than basic grammar. I also find that a lot of vocabulary I know tends to be written in kana only which I’ll not know at first then be like “oh wow, I wish they just used the kanji.” I feel like at this point, even though most people say Kanji is one of the hardest parts of learning Japanese, it’s become a crutch for me when reading! One common term in Ace Attorney you’ll come across in English and Japanese is “contradiction”/“矛盾” which will tend to be written as “むじゅん”

While I’ll probably just set my WK account to vacation mode after guru’ing the last kanji: “湧,” I’ll probably still check here since I like to see whats going on in the forums and mostly lurk!

Here’s to 2024 Nick hopefully being able to do da grammar good :slight_smile:

Also here’s my stats for anyone interested


Hopefully I didn’t forget anything and feel bad that I missed later


Congratulations on making it to level 60! Also nice name! :sunglasses:

Have fun wit da grammar, it does be fun sometimes!

-Nick at WK


Thank you fellow Nick :saluting_face:


Congrats! Love the format of the post with all the pictures :smile:
Enjoy your new super powers by playing and reading a lot of things in Japanese :star_struck:


Congrats ! :partying_face:
Very nice post, the three hours making it were worth it ! (for us, at least ^^).
I like how enjoying your WK learning was always at the center of your journey. I want that too :grin:


I don’t know how I forgot to mention for grammar that sometimes I would either browse Tofugu or look up stuff I was struggling with, but the articles and podcasts they provide are pretty hype

I also just tried a little bit of Genki and みんなの日本語 and I realized I know too much to go through the beginning without feeling like I’m repeating myself, yet I still want to make sure I know the material. Getting through it on my own feels really sluggish and I start skimming once I notice I know something already

I mentioned that problem to a few friends and said it might be easier for me if I was working through the textbook trying to teach someone the material in it. That way I have a reason to look through everything and try to understand it. It also works as a way for me to reinforce the lessons by making sure I’m able to teach it and answer any questions. Also I’ll have some people to do the practice problems without just sounding like a crazy person talking to myself lol

Anyhow I’ll be trying that out today with Genki since it’s easier to just use one textbook. I also crossed out all the romaji because it’s kinda cursed and the least experienced friend had recently picked up kana anyways, so nobody needs to see “Ohayoo”