My Level 60 Journey

This is a personal post, and while I don’t expect anyone to have much interest in it, I will post it here for everyone to see on the off chance that it might inspire someone who is in the same position as I was.

It finally happened.

In 2013, i started using Wanikani, back when it was still a closed beta. I made quick progress - from knowing nothing at all about Japanese to reading several hundred kanji in a few months, I was instantly hooked. However, around the early 20s levels, I stagnated for some reason, and as doubts about the feasibility of getting my Japanese to a useful level appeared, I suddenly lost my motivation.

It took years before I decided to reset and give Wanikani a new shot. However, I underestimated the burden of starting again, and the dedication which is needed to maintain a habit every day. Again, my progress slowed and ground to a halt at level 7.

Then, my friend landed a job in Japan and asked me about advice for learning Japanese. Of course, I recommended Wanikani, and as he begun to churn through the levels, quickly surpassing me, my competitive instinct kicked in. And that is what saved me. Working my way through a pile of hundreds of reviews, this time I had made up my mind to put this Wanikani project to rest. Although my friend easily finished in little over a year, completely outclassing me in that regard, the motivation of catching up with him, together with the knowledge that I will return to Japan (hopefully) this year allowed me to build a strong habit and go from level 7 to 60 in around a year and a half.

Although I can’t help but feel resentment about the fact that I didn’t pull myself together and finish Wanikani much earlier - where would my Japanese abilities be now, if I had done that? - I am very pleased that I finally pulled through with it.

To anyone who has fallen out of the Wanikani habit or recently had to reset: don’t be paralyzed by the daunting prospect of finishing - just simply do your reviews from day to day and know that there is no better time to do what you’re doing than right now.

To sum up my Wanikani experience:
“The best time to finish Wanikani was 9 years ago, the next best time is now.”






Thank you for this post. I’m in a position myself where i studied Japanese for a few years previously then burnt out and stopped for 11 years. I’m now beginning to study again with the help of WaniKani and its reassuring to see a post such as this. Congratulations on all your hard work. I hope it is okay if I ask a question. My question is what did you do to begin putting all these Kanji into practice in sentences? I’m alright at learning the mnemonics and remembering the Kanji, but honestly I’m horrible at sentences and utilising my knowledge.

Congratulations again!!


Congrats! As someone who is engaged on their 3rd attempt (grateful for having bought lifetime), it’s great to hear about different approaches, angles and stories. All the best!

@skollu ありがとう! skolluも未来の予定に頑張って!

@chesterbr Thank you! I’m sure you will pull through this time. Believe me, it is worth it! Best of luck(:

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I’m glad to hear you’ve decided to continue learning!

That’s a good question. I recommend finding someone to speak with, once you’re at a point where you feel comfortable with the basic (N5-N4) grammar. Until then, maybe writing posts on lang-8 or hinative can help you getting used to forming Japanese sentences?

Personally, I didn’t use those websites as much as I could have, but now I am enrolled in a Japanese language school, which has been a tremendous help in boosting confidence and giving me opportunities to apply what I know. I also speak with Japanese friends on an app called Tandem, which I can really recommend.

My baptism by fire was a partly Japanese interview, before which I had basically no speaking experience. I recommend conquering any anxiety about speaking Japanese before you find yourself in a situation like that! When you find the right friend to talk to, it really doesn’t matter how bad your Japanese is

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Congrats on making it to 60. That’s awesome. I have shirts much (much) older, but I honestly had no idea Wanikani was around back then.

Persistence is the least common human virtue.

Hahah yeah, I have no excuses as to why I didn’t finish it sooner, but motivation is really key, I think.

I’ve come to value persistence really highly, more than talent or intelligence. For me, it’s been helpful to remind myself of the fact that the day-to-day tasks I need to accomplish in order to improve my Japanese are really trivial - finish wanikani, study grammar, read or listen to something I’m interested in. While persistence does not come easily, it doesn’t require anything else than things anyone is capable of - it’s just a matter of sticking with those things.

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