It surprised me that it only took a year and couple of months time to reach level 60 - because it felt longer. The early levels took longer because of time spent learning how the system works. After I got a feel for it I averaged 7 days and 8 hours per level after I hit my stride. My chart may look fairly steady and routine, on the fast side but not the fastest that can be seen on the Forums.
The Forums almost scared me away in the early stages when I learned about user scripts and the technicalities associated with their installation. The techie talk struck me as a foreign language which I didn’t understand. So I decided to plow forward and got this far without them. Hope others can be inspired that these are not de riguer for a successful WK experience. After all, the WK Team members advise us just to do the reviews every day and they promise that will get us there. This advice really works!
Maybe it will also inspire others that I have reached this level in a little over a year without having been to Japan and without extensive or advanced Japanese language training in college as some on the Forum posesessed. I had merely four semesters at two universities which offered elementary and intermediate Japanese, sans Kanji. Testing was on basic oral proficiency only. They didn’t have grad level Japanese. For good measure, I did complete a Japanese course via Mango Languages. But that was also a strictly oral approach with no Kanji exposure and transcriptions offered in Hiragana - if one even cared to read them. So I could not draw from this material to assist me with my daily WK tasks. Still, the experience attuned my ears to hearing Japanese words on a daily basis and kept my commute to work interesting for a year.
After my introductory experience to Japanese I was open to learning about the writing system and when I spotted WK I recognized it as a wonderful opportunity to learn Kanji. Before that I had briefly tried the Heisig system but it did not give feedback and required too much discipline for me to stay with it. The more interactive, systematic and multilevel approach of WK did better fit my learning style.
Still, the WK approach is not an easy one for most and requires motivation to stay on task on a daily basis while working steadily toward each level up. Surely each successful level 60 striver had their own motivation as they kept up the daily grind toward rising in levels. Motivation enough for me was my love of languages. European born and traveling annually to Europe, I get around in five of them (German, Ukrainian, French, Spanish, English) and therefore have a good stock of cognates to match up with Japanese vocabulary, if I need to create mnemonics when WK doesn’t satisfy. So I suggest that other bi- or multilinguals may have a good foundation from which to embark on a potentially successful WK journey.
After I reached level 60 I learned from a WK Team email reminder that the game is not over yet. They invited me to stay on and burn out my remaining items. So that is my current mission and at the same time I am using this as a transition phase to begin reading Japanese books. I estimate that a number of my 3000 remaining items could be burned out within four months but not any sooner because they are served up at intervals conforming to the SRS waiting period. Others in the Forums I understand are exercising their option to reset to earlier levels. Besides reading and resetting I had not seen a lot of other suggestions about what one might do after reaching level 60. For those able to do so a Japan visit, I imagine should provide some inspiration about how to further develop the skills honed by WK and other language learning systems.That would be my preference if given the opportunity.
Finally, my own example might become an inspiration or motivation to some who think of themselves as too old to learn another language, after they see that this 74 year old has reached WK level 60! While lurking about in the Forums, my take on the typical WK aspirant is that he/she is more or less around college age. But would be interesting to know if there are many fellow learners further past this age marker who are involved in the WK daily grind working toward level 60. At my age, lest I may be suspected of having all the time in the world for WK, I volunteer that I was working full time for the first six months of my Kanji quest. After retirement I did not find myself with extra time for WK because of SRS and the fact that my release from work gave me more time to enjoy reading French, German and Spanish writers in the original, without dictionary usage. Certainly other priorities in life do come along and must be attended to as well. These are similar to small fires that need to be extinguished so I can quickly return to feeding my obsession for language learning. Maybe this is the kind of mindset it takes to help one persevere to finally reaching level 60!