Its not something morbid or scary: I’m 35 years old, spending more than 2 years in the “Kanji portion” of the “learning japanese” goal would make everything else fall apart. My native language is Spanish, and the whole concept of understanding the Kanji characters was alien for me, so I created an aggressive (but doable) plan.
No, that’s for Wanikani only. I study 1.5 hour before work each day, and 1-2 hours before bed. Every single day (even weekends, even when I’m traveling overseas for work, etc.)
That is the average per week, for my past 4 months.
You bring a good point though. Since this takes so much time, grammar and any other study is paused. I had to decide what area to focus on, so my plan is to reach level 40 before resuming everything else (with the benefit of recognizing a lot of Kanji and vocabulary already)
Wow!! I hope I have at least half the motivation you have, when I am at your age.
Keep going mate. Let me tell you, you are an inspiration for me now. I will keep checking every now and then to see how you doing and see if I can catch up to you.
Okay, well I just want to provide my input on this. Keep in mind that I’ve only been studying for about 75 days now in Japanese, so you can take my advice with a grain of salt if you would like.
I’m spending the exact same amount of time of studying as you are (25-35 hours a week). In 23 days I spent 2 hours a day doing kanji (with two 4-6 hour study sessions at the end to finish learning the last of the kanji), and I learned 1000 of the most common kanji. I stopped doing WK because of certain reasons, so I didn’t learn the readings of these kanji because I’m using a different learning method. However, I really don’t think you need to be spending so much time doing WK. I know this also includes in vocab, but I think you only need to spend 2 hours a day maximum. The rest you should probably devote to other things like grammar and immersion, which is super important no matter what method you are using to learn Japanese (the immersion part). Anyways, you don’t have to listen to what I have to say, I just thought I’d bring my outside opinion on what you’re doing. No matter what you’re still learning and getting better at Japanese, so there’s no harm in that, it just doesn’t seem that efficient what you’re doing.
Thanks for your time and recommendations. I’m aware that my approach is probably not very efficient, but I do want to cover “most” kanji before I continue with grammar and the rest.
Why? Because every single time I see a Kanji, I need to know what it means, and I cannot simply learn them without an explanation behind them.
It happened in 3 different apps/books for grammar, as soon as I saw a Kanji, for example: “友達” with the reading “friend”, I wanted to know why. It wouldn’t stick otherwise. I need context.
Wanikani is giving me that.
I don’t think the first 3 levels are representative of the WK journey.
I think the real WK experience only starts from level 8 or so, when you start to get complex kanji, lots of vocabulary, and 200+ reviews if you are going full speed.
So, i don’t think WK is for absolute beginners only, far from it.
Here’s a thread of an advanced learner with prior Kanji experience starting WK, and recommending others to do the same:
I think if you enjoying it and can afford it, I see no harm in taking any kind of subscription to continue. And since you doing it so leisurely (1 review per week, really? ) it might be good idea to get lifetime.
I’m also doing this for fun tbh, I don’t need Japanese for my line of work and I don’t plan to live there in the future. I just want to be able to read/watch since my other hobbies just happen to be mostly coming from Japan. I’m enjoying the process of learning also. It becomes one of sources of atmosphere of growth in my life.
But then again, you do you. Hope you can figure it out and be happy with whatever decision you make <3
1 review per week, really?
Ya, with the amount of things I am currently doing, and with work, that’s about as much time I am currently able to manage for Japanese. Hopefully, more time frees up on the future. Also, currently doing 1 review everyday is boring, as I get like 10 words. Over a week or accumulates to around 60-80, which is a decent number
I’m referring more to the concept than the workload. I’ve seen people say this all over the site since I started, and I’ve definitely seen the pictures of people with reviews and lessons piled up. But I think the way that the program is structured is more receptive to learning for people starting out (and others of varying experience, of course) than, say, using Anki’s integrity system.
I’ve seen the thread from the advanced learner, but I’ve also seen plenty of successful people on the site who started from pretty much zero. Even people who’re still with the program but haven’t reached level 60 (and might not for awhile) are taking away a decent amount more in the time they invest.
I guess I just worded it poorly in my original post
well, it can be said both “yes” and “no” here.
the overall concept looks to be related to workload and it is designed in the way which is possible to handle, for an average person of average age and average time to allocate to learning process.
this means that someone may go even faster (like an advanced learner), or spend more time (like a student without much of lessons to do), or anything else (being a neet, or the like), but at the same time, the full amount of workload cannot be felt until you start to burn items - that is, at least half of a year should pass from the start of some lesson session with sustained amount of items learnt regularly for that half of a year.
some may want to throttle this workload or spread it more evenly, just in order not to get into such situation - when there are days with literally nothing to do (and the time can be spent actually on other things, like reading, or attempts to grasp things which felt out of memory, and so on)…
and then there can be days with 300+ reviews and with level-up events… such events add ~100 items and, if those items are learnt immediately, then with extra 2+ reviews per item on the same day. and it is still not the very limit of the workload to handle.
any extra knowledge just helps here and there.
surely anyone sould be successful, given that the amount of kanji remaining in memory increases faster than amount of forgotten ones. (yet, SRS is a tool to help with that.)
the only point is that having prior knowledge is somewhat needed for WK - that is, kana is not covered by lessons, and learning it here would be an overkill. (just imagine SRS-ing kana… )
This is the main point that I missed when I used “absolute beginners” (which I realized after I wrote it, but just didn’t change it). I probably should’ve been more clear about this part since knowing the basic kana alphabet is pretty much a necessity before you start on kanji, regardless of where you’re learning it.
I feel like this is true of most SRS-type learning methods. My experience is more with Anki, and between that and WK, I feel as though WK is a lot more beginner friendly in the sense that their lessons are pre-structured to guide you through the kanji learning process. Sure, you’re not going to feel the full weight of WK until you’re at a much later level, but I honestly feel this way about Anki too.
What I intended to say for WK when I said “beginner-friendly” was based more heavily on the way the site and the method are constructed. There’s a community here that’s willing to help newcomers (even beyond just kanji), and the whole thing has a very step-by-step feel to it that, even if you were to quit at level 3, you’ve probably gotten a decent foundation with some kanji that you might just forget with another method (this, of course, varies based on the person).
I can’t really claim to know anything in-depth about SRS learning or the “best” way to study Japanese/kanji, but in my mind, if I handed WK, Anki, and a textbook to someone I knew who wanted to jump into learning kanji, I suspect many of them would stick a little longer with WK (unless they couldn’t afford it).
That’s perfectly fair, I completely understand that. Learning more than one thing at once is difficult and makes learning something new harder. I see where you are coming from now, but one thing I still want to recommend immersion. Even if you don’t understand much it really helps to just do immersion paired with whatever you’re studying at the time because you really aren’t learning anything new, but you can notice things that you are learning in it. This not only trains the ear, but it also helps speed up your learning in the vocab portion because you will hear the words you are learning every so often and that will cause your brain to remember them better.
Anyways, good luck!
Glad to hear other people are doing this as sort of a hobby or for fun because they like Japanese media or just have it as a life long quest. I am 34 and not looking for complete fluency, just to be able to enjoy the language without having to look up everything.
For the price of one lifetime right now you get 2,3 yearly. And since I am probably going to be at it for a long time it makes sense for me. Have not bought it yet, it is a lot of money though.
Once again, thank you! Can you recommend how I could add a bit of “immersion sessions” every day? Are there any particular links or steps I could try?
Yeah of course no problem.
So from what I’ve learned from looking into immersion, it’s highly recommended that you pick out content that you are going to enjoy. Obviously if you are getting bored, or zoning out, then it’s pretty much pointless to be active listening. With that said, you don’t need to be engaged in everything the people are saying (although this is going to help you improve faster), you just need to be present and paying attention to what is going on. If you want you can check out my weekly study log in the resources tab. Keep in mind that immersion is done without subtitles. But, this is the stuff I use at the moment for listening:
- Active listening: I watch the news here
- Active listening: I watch anime on crunchyroll (once again I pick out content I enjoy and stay focused on)
- Active listening: I watch Terrace House (this is a non-scripted reality show so it actually brings in more realistic language that is used in daily life which is good immersion) - this is on Netflix
- Passively active listening: Throughout the day when I get the chance I have downloaded audio files from shows I’ve watched and just put them on while I’m doing something
If you want to look more into immersion and what you should be doing while doing it here is a link to MIA and what they say to do while immersing. Just read the immersion part, don’t look into the other stuff because that whole thing there is their full guide to learning Japanese. Keep in mind that MIA is very biased when it comes to learning a language, they think their approach is the only way you should learn. Just ignore that, take away what sticks and you can look up immersion tactics or something on google if you don’t like what they say. I really like a lot of the stuff they talk about because it fits with my learning style, but there are also things I don’t agree with. For the most part, their guide for immersion is pretty good, and I’ve already seen results with only 45 hours of active listening.
One more thing I do want to mention about their immersion guide is that they say you should be listening A TON, like 3-5 hours a day. Ignore that, and do what you can. 1-2 hours of immersion a day beats none at all, and you are still going to see results in the long run. They also mention you can learn Japanese by just listening, which sounds pretty far fetched to me (5 hours of active listening, 5 hours of passively active listening for 2 years). If you have any questions about it feel free to ask me and I can try and clarify. I’m just following their guide to a certain extent and incorporating my own things with stuff that doesn’t sit well with me.
I subscribed to TV Japan. I watch an hour at least every day. I’m noticing new vocabulary and grammar constructions I’ve learned, as well as intonations in the spoken language. One great thing is that they have the Japanese “subtitles” as well, so I also get reading practice. I absolutely love the children’s programs and pick up quite a bit of understanding from those, since they are more on my level. I’m learning about Japanese history, food, travel, etc. as a bonus.
Thank you for this very detailed response. I will attempt to follow some of your recommendations during the week. My time is limited but slowing down WK a bit could help with that. Maybe it will stick, maybe I will need more vocabulary for it to work, I will try.
No problem, one other thing is that you don’t need to understand anything they are saying for it to help you. I’ve been doing it for close to a month now for 2 hours+ a day and haven’t understood close to 98% of what has been said. But, during that time I’ve been able to subconciously start breaking down the language and I’ve noticed I’m able to pick out words now. Anyways, good luck! You can probably find other people on here that use immersion that are a lot farther in than I am who can help you out a lot better. They’ll know more about it than I do too.
Okay guys, I got suckered in by all of you. Got my lifetime subscription today
Thanks for all the input, all of you.
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