What’s up WaniKani community
Roughly a month a go I booked a 3 month trip to Japan for next year I have been intrigued by Japan for the better part of 2 decades now and it has been a dream of mine to visit there for a long time.
A few years back I set a goal to learn Japanese to fluent proficiency by the end of 2023.
Funny that… I never started actively learning until a month ago due to other responsibilities
As my trip will start May next year, I have challenged myself to learn Japanese to a “speaking proficiency”. Important distinction. This is not “fluent”.
You might be aware that this is quite ambitious, but I’m confident I can make it work.
In this little post I will go into what I have done so far, my approach, and what may plan is for the coming 5 months. I’m also tracking the actual time spent on learning Japanese with a time tracker to update this thread from time to time with progress reports.
Here is what I have done so far since starting a month ago and my plan going forward:
- Learned Hiragana
- Learned Katakana
- Researched various ways on how to learn Kanji, vocab, grammar and actual conversation to find a way that works for me
- Reached level 2 in WaniKani (took 6 days)
- Learned numbers + a few time descriptions + a few vocabs (Genki)
Hiragana & Katakana took me 18 days to get down perfectly. Since then it has only been repetition. I had various approaches towards learning Kanji + vocab and ultimately landed on doing it with WaniKani plus another program I get to later on. All approaches besides the Radicals + Mnenomics weren’t for me.
How I do it and my plan:
- Time commitment: I study every day for about 2 - 3 hours. 1.5 hours right after I get up and then 2-5 sessions of repetition throughout the day. The repetition sessions vary depending on how much WaniKani let’s me study and when, but usually it’s around 1-2 around lunch time and 1-3 in the evening. I also use “Anki” which is essentially the same, except you can decide what and at what speed want to learn with it.
- What I learn: I learn everything starting with radicals, Kanji, vocab and speaking exercises. The focus will change throughout the 6 months. Currently it’s mostly learning all written stuff + a tiny bit of speaking. At the 3 month mark I will gradually shift my focus towards speaking, which will be paid lessons from Japanese teachers through “italki.com” twice a week.
- How I learn: As mentioned above I use a combination of different tools to learn everything. One of them is WaniKani to learn radicals, Kanji and vocab. As I need to learn roughly 1700 vocabs to get to a decent speaking proficiency, I fear WaniKani might be too restrictive, which is why I added another tool called “Anki” (spaced repetition flash card app). In Anki I have a few decks with Kani and all vocabs from Genki 1 and Genki 2.
What’s good about using WaniKani and my Anki decks in conjunction is the slight overlap in radicals, vocabs and Kanji. E.g. there will be around 10-20 new words every day, regardless of WaniKani restrictions, but because both start with “beginner stuff” the words and characters usually slightly overlap. For example I learned “fire” through Anki, and then just knew it in WaniKani, but learned “person” in WaniKani and then just knew it in my Anki sessions.
Additionally, I focus on watching and listening to the Japanese voice in my spare time. E.g. audio (learning) books and anime. This is more casual though, just to get used to the language. ALSO, I have done this for 20 years, so it doesn’t really feel like “learning”. However, I now focus more on reading the characters in the anime, or pause and try to understand what they said without subtitles.
I plan to post somwhat regular updates in this thread on how far I have come in WaniKani and how it’s going in general.
If you have any questions or suggestions and tips let me know