My thoughts, tips, and ramblings after reaching level 60 — long post

This was a very good read, especially since I just started, gave me an insight in what is to come


I agree with some replies here, my own mnemonic for 私 is an extension of the katakana I learned from tofugu.
" 私 " looks like a person standing next to a pile of poop! Wait… I’m a person, and I have poop!

So… now whenever I hear watashi or read it, I think “full of crap!”

I like to write a lot of notes, because I come up with really silly stories. 悪 is “oh goodness, not this again, bad boy Wadu hek is creepily grinning at Shroud and running away!”

These two are from another Kanji app I could barely keep up with unless I did my own mnemonics.

Hmm if 禾 already looks like a person to you many things will :slight_smile:

Edit: and Buddha 仏 is an actual person standing next to a pile … Probably poops harder than everyone else :smile:

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I didn’t do it for too long! Replacing 私 with 人 as “person” only took a little bit of time… thankfully, English has many words for the simpler things, sometimes several.

Eventually I’ll find out which language develops that simplicity into sophistication more often. All in good time

I’ve never been terribly consistent with my mnemonics, which probably has slowed me down. But I have a hard time keeping a mnemonic and a kanji straight when something feels contrived, so I often make mnemonics off the gestalt of the kanji (like if I see a face) rather than the parts, like you did with “imitate,” or with a “splash” + “water” = “swimming” association. Where the mnemonics really struggle is when a kanji has one meaning as a kanji and another as a vocabulary by itself, and they are too similar, or the stand-alone vocabulary meaning isn’t used for anything but that stand-alone…

My spoken/written Japanese was pretty good in college but it’s, to my own eyes and ears, awful now. (I can get what I want to across pretty quickly usually, it’s just not super grammatical or on-point vocabulary-wise, and I’m speaking out of instinct…) Instead I’ve been doing a lot more reading through subtitles and books/manga and passive listening to work conversations… It’s hard to focus on everything at once! What you are able to take in isn’t equal to what you can produce, like you said. We’ll see how things go. I want to become a professional but the closer I get the farther off that goal seems. An illusion, I guess. :stuck_out_tongue:

My struggle so far (and keep in mind, I’m at all of level 3) is when the kanji and even the meanings “rhyme”, but the readings don’t. For example, 上手 and 下手 were on my naughty list for a while…

My first forum read and what a great one it was. Thank you for this informative post.


Someone should collect all these “I reached level 60” posts and make a list. They’re full of valuable advice.


y-you’re full of valuable advice!

you really are :o


Thank you for taking the time to write that @pandersail :blush:

It feels good to know you found some of what I wrote useful. I wish you the best of luck in learning kanji!

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Congrats and thank you for this post! :slight_smile: I just got started (lvl.1) and I was already feeling a bit confused about how I should use the mnemonics as an ESL learner. The inconsistency of English spelling+pronunciation never stops making me feel frustrated as a native speaker of super phonetic Finnish. This was very helpful, I think consistency will be very useful with the readings! And the “personification” method seems great too, I already see に as the knights who say “Ni!” from Monty Python rather than the word knee.


oooh this is such a nice post. I’m so motivated to learn now :3


Thanks for detailed information. I just found this page. And will give it a try.

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congrats! I am just starting my journey and hopefully will continue to learn up until your level :slight_smile:

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Go for it! If you want to learn kanji this is amazingly well spent time. You can do this! :high_touch:

I just started my first lesson and I think this resource is actually genius!!

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It is interesting that you managed to do 60 lessons in under 2 years. I am on lesson 50, and i spent 3 and the half years. Maybe I missed something in your description, but how long did you study per day? Since I study between 1 to 3 hours very day, between 300-330 days a year. It looks to me that some people memorize faster (if you are 20 years old you will probably memorize faster than if you are 40) It looks you have time for Japanese computer games, manga etc beside studying kanji, which I don’t have. Doing 60 lessons in 2 years looks to me like mission impossible if you have a job, family etc. More realistic 4 years.


Totally depends on all the variables in your life including how much time you wish to devote to this study, how much time you are willing or able to do this when you’re supposed to be working (I would never!), and how much you’re willing to ignore your family’s needs.

I will say that’s it’s possible to progress pretty quickly without totally disrupting your day if you do WK efficiently (e.g. concentrating in particular on those radicals / kanji that are necessary for levelling up, and taking a more relaxed approach to the remaining kanji / vocabulary). Certainly you could still do 60 levels within two years if you studied 1-3 hours a day that way, assuming you were able to be quite accurate on those necessary-to-level-up radicals and kanji.

That’s not a criticism of your methods, but I did want to let any beginners here know that it’s not impossible. Ultimately whatever time it takes is the time it takes. The main thing is the accomplishment of learning all these words. I’m very certain that even at four years, that’s still way faster than any normal textbook method of learning Japanese kanji and vocabulary.

@Sezme I realized that you signed up in January 2018?!! :open_mouth:May I ask, besides WK are you doing anything else regarding to japanese?

After following the 7-8 days per level routine for quite some time I’ve settle now for a more gentle pace, but I get that with constant effort and strictly managing each day’s schedule it’s something very achievable, though highly prone to cause burn out :sweat: … as I felt it was ocurring to me.

After getting a lot of burned items with the sensation that the last review could have gone either way I desisted in mantaining the 7-8 days rythm in WK and decided on spending time on reading and immersing more and more, while gradually learning new kanji, but without the time consumption that WK was ended up been.

I would love to know what are you doing to mantain that rythm. I’m still trying to find a healthy balance without stretching kanji learning for too long. :sweat_smile:

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Thank you for this post. It’s given me lots to think about. I have already learned that some mnemonics work better for me than others so I’ve been creating a few of my own. It’s amazing to me that WaniKani seems to work so well, at least for me, because I’ve always considered my memory to be quite weak. I’m glad it also worked well for you. Good luck in your post-level-60 life.

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