Level 60 in 525 days

Hi guys,
here I am, standing on a mountain of burned turtles.


I don’t know what to say. We’re crazy people. Why are we doing this? Get a life! xD
Just kidding, all of us here have a reason to learn Japanese!
Be it for work opportunity, enjoying native content to the fullest or just a party trick.

Here’s obligatory something about my journey:

About myself and my environment

I’m a 26 years old, working in IT and living alone. It has it’s perks, not being disturbed by family members or roommates, but cooking, cleaning, shopping take lots of time too.

In January this year I changed jobs from a state company to a private company to get a new perspective of what working in private sector is like. It is demanding, I don’t have 3 hours of free time during my workday anymore, but more like half an hour… still enough to do kanji on Flaming Durtles :japanese_goblin:

Progress in time

Before 2023

  • I only watched a few anime, but got gradually more interested in Japanese culture. I didn’t know any Japanese that time and what I heard was gibberish.
  • I was planning a trip to Japan with my friend

January 2023

  • ordered Genki I+II books
  • learned Hiragana and Katakana
  • read mainly Tofugu articles and made my own study plan

February 2023

  • started learning kanji at Wanikani, no browser plugins, vanilla
  • took grammar lessons very slowly
  • watched Dogen’s pitch accent videos to at least recognize them
  • passively immersed every now and then

August 2023

  • my first trip to Japan, amazing experience, my broken Japanese made locals loosen up and try use their broken English!
  • only doing reviews for 2-3 months, short vacation mode too

December 2023

  • after getting accustomed to doing lessons and reviews regularly, I decided to go full-speed
  • to go full-speed I needed to cheat on apprentice level items (mainly the radicals), I used an “undo” button plugin for that
  • I joined the “0|0 challenge” here on the forums

March 2024

  • I was around level 33 when I read my first visual novel, Aokana. It was a pain at first, lots of kana-only words I didn’t know, but I noted down EVERYTHING. I couldn’t get a Textractor working during the first chapter and searched for kanji by radicals :hear_no_evil: stupid me. I fixed Textractor later with advice online. It took me 180 hours to read, but it was worth it. It really pushed me forward a lot.
  • when I finished reading Aokana I got to “fast” levels

My opinion on Wanikani

Cons:

  • lack of improvement, we still have to rely on browser plugins to make our experience better
  • many non-standard radicals and weird mnemonics (If the kanji have known etymology, it should be available next to meaning, reading tabs…)

Pros:

  • works out of the box
  • teaches you discipline and forces you to be consistent
  • ah what the heck, some mnemonics were good, we enjoye learning more about Koichi lore
  • friendly community here on the forums, Reddit is hell in comparison
What now?

My main learning material will be visual novels. I have much reading to do. ISLAND, Kanon, Little Busters!, Muv-Luv, Ayakashibito… and many more.

I borrowed an old CRT screen from my parent’s basement. Older titles looks way, way better than on LCD displays with upscaling!

CRT picture - Ayakashibito

CRT picture - Touhou 11

Advice for new learners
  • race towards the hell levels (31-40), learn basic grammar in the meantime and then start reading fun native content you enjoy… it will reinforce the kanji you had learned and teach you some ahead of time!
  • fast levels are not worth doing fast unless you’re a little crazy or really bored
  • get the undo button plugin, but don’t misuse it

I’m tired, but relieved at the same time.
I’m getting emotional.
Alexa, play Angel Beats credits song.

39 Likes

That’s a cool idea! I agree that it looks much better that way!
Congrats on level 60 and enjoy all the VNs now :partying_face:

5 Likes

Congratulations on reaching level 60 :tada:

Thanks for the idea, I’ll probably do the exact same thing at some point:)

3 Likes

Congrats! Reminds me of how I handled Wanikani and started up visual novels around then as well.

Did you enjoy Aokana? I’ve thought about reading it someday.

4 Likes

I loved it!

Concept of flying shoes and the sport around it is very interesting a enough explained to be “believable”. The visuals are beautiful, the voice acting is great, character development is “mostly” there… depending on the a few choices you can make!

You can expect a typical high school humor and teasing, but it’s not really a harem visual novel. It can have romance in second half of the game, but unless R18 patch is applied, the Steam version is mostly “family friendly”.

3 Likes