My turn to write a level 60 post

Exactly a year ago I accidentally came across a mention of Wanikani and decided to give it a try. I immediately fell in love with its humour, its crazy mnemonics, its absurd example sentences, its game-like feel. For the year that followed, Wanikani has been my trusty, constant companion, accompanying me nearly every minute of my waking day. There are even kanji I remember in connection with the place or circumstances where I reviewed them. Wherever I went, whatever I did, Wanikani was there. 363 days later, I reached level 60 and the time to say goodbye to daily lessons and reviews is drawing near. It’s a bittersweet feeling for sure.

My background in Japanese and how Wanikani made a difference

I had been a perpetual beginner in Japanese for nearly 20 years. I first started learning the language on a whim (I love learning new things), and while the love never faded, my commitment to learning came and went. I would start with enthusiasm, hit a roadblock in learning or life, then pause for long enough that the next time I had to more or less restart from scratch. I must have relearned the kana four or five times. When I started Wanikani I knew about 150 kanji and basic grammar, but could not see how to progress from there. All learning material seemed either too basic or too advanced, and I wasn’t sure where even to focus in order to proceed.

Wanikani took care of that. Kanji always fascinated me, but also scared me because there were so many, and the more I learnt, the easier they got to confuse. The greatest boost Wanikani gave to my learning wasn’t even that it taught me all those kanji - it was that it showed me that there’s no point worrying about getting perfect in all aspects at once. Yes I can do new lessons even if I’m not yet completely confident in my knowledge of all the kanji previously learnt. Yes, it’s okay that I can’t perfectly recall them or write them down - recognizing them is a skill in and of itself. And repeated exposure will do wonders - the more I learn, the more I keep running into stuff I’ve learnt, reinforcing them in my memory.

The amazing power of book clubs

My main goal with Japanese has always been to read. I was hoping I would be able to do that by the end of Wanikani. It turned out, I was almost ready to do that already and never realized. On a whim again, and feeling very much not confident at all, I joined my first ABBC at level 5. Sure enough, in the first couple of weeks I felt like an impostor, only pretending to be able to read. It was only a few weeks later that I surprised myself by being able to answer other people’s questions. I can’t thank the members of the Takagi-san book club enough :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:. With your questions, answers, even just the fact that you were there to keep me accountable, you helped me see the fastest, and greatest progress I’ve ever had in my Japanese learning. After that first manga, armed with my new-found confidence and the tools to tackle unknown grammar, I immediately jumped into my first novel. I would never have believed it possible a few short months before.

On my speed and how I used Wanikani

I speed ran because I couldn’t stop myself. My initial enthusiasm for Wanikani never waned. The first levels felt too slow, yes, but even later, when my daily reviews were routinely in the two and three hundreds, I still couldn’t get enough. Sure, some days it was harder to keep up than others. On those days I still pushed through as well as I could though, because given my past history with Japanese, I knew that relaxing my pace could very well lead to me pausing indefinitely again.

I did use “cheats”, if you want to call them that. I reordered to get to new level radicals and kanji first. I used the double-check script for typos, for correct meanings worded differently, for mindless mistakes I realized as I was pressing enter, and for meanings I couldn’t tell apart in any language, like baseball terms and military ranks (that said, I absolutely love the breadth of vocabulary Wanikani covers). After the mid-50s, when my reviews started feeling a little too many to handle comfortably, I tried out Anki mode and back to back reading and meaning. I can say I loved it, and should probably have used it sooner. Type in the reading (no flexibility there), think of the meaning, tap to see if I was correct. It cut my review time in half, and also solidified reading/meaning connection by making me recall them both at once.

What the future holds

I will continue with Wanikani until my subscription runs out at the end of the month. I am close to guruing the level 60 kanji, and I will make sure to do all the lessons as they become available. After that, I’m looking forward to dedicating the time freed up by Wanikani to even more reading (so many books waiting for me!). :books: :smiley:
I’m looking up unknown grammar as I go, but I might also try and study some a little more formally. I also want to keep solidifying my kanji knowledge - practice recall and handwriting, reorganize similar kanji in my mind and map their relationships even better. I’ve been loading vocabulary I look up while reading onto Anki, so at some point I may restart with srs in my life, but not at Wanikani intensity. Reading a lot is its own natural srs anyway.
After that, or in parallel, I’ll work on my listening, which is severely lacking in all languages, including my own. I do notice it getting better just by reading though, so I’m hopeful. I don’t care about output at this point. I’m one of those people who are too shy to speak when they don’t feel confident they can express themselves fluently - I know, silly. This too will come if I keep working at the rest, I’m sure, but that’s for much later.
And of course, I’ll keep frequenting the forums and reading with book clubs. :slightly_smiling_face:



I’d like to sincerely thank Koichi and the whole Wanikani team for such an amazing tool. Also thanks to the whole of the Wanikani community, and in particular the script writers, the book club runners, and all those asking and answering questions, and making the community the positive, helpful place that it is.


Now to find (or make?) some mochi to celebrate…


Congratulations! <3


Wow, your consistency is super impressive! Congratulations on reaching level 60! :tada: :birthday:


Congratulations! :partying_face:


Phew, I was worried for a second there!

Congrats on making it to the end! =D


Oh no no, I meant say goodbye to lessons and reviews, definitely not the forum! You’re not getting rid of me that easily :grin:
I’m planning to stay around and try to pay forward at least some of the help I got, both in book clubs and out of them. And if I may, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you again for your amazingly helpful and patient answers in the ABBC - they really made a difference for me when I was just starting out, and I’m sure many others as well.


Big congratulations on making it to lv 60! :partying_face: :tada::confetti_ball:

Cake time!


I love it :heart_eyes:
Does it taste like mochi?


Probably if it’s for you! :wink:




Congratulation now your level is golden…
It getting easier reading native material like manga or stuff, right?
do you have confident reading without furigana?

at my current level (23) i try read manga with furigana because still can’t read most of the kanji especially when it kinda blurry. and i still depend on jisho a lot

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I have already read a couple of novels without furigana but they were ebooks, so reading and meaning was always an easy click away. I could read many words without looking up, but then I also tended to look up familiar kanji sometimes, either because I couldn’t be bothered to break my reading flow to try and recall them, or just to double-check.
I started a no-furigana manga just today, both to celebrate level 60 and to check how I would fare. At first it was very slow going, because I was constantly doubting myself. After a few pages it’s already feeling much more natural. I still use the dictionary a lot of course and I don’t expect to stop any time soon. For one, there’s always bound to be unknown vocabulary however much you’ve learned. But I also just really like looking up words and confirming nuances. :slight_smile:


Congratulations!!! :cake: :fish_cake: :birthday: :cupcake:
The workload chart scared me a little because i’m starting to notice my own going up but like you my enthusiasm hasn’t really waned, I enjoy my reviews and actually see them as a welcome break from my regular work and I think that makes it A LOT easier to get through it all.
Well done…impressive stats.
See you up there soon!

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Yeah, if you take the fast levels fast, workload nearly doubles. My highest review day was the day I reached level 60 actually (616 reviews) but that was because I also did all the remaining level 59 vocabulary lessons in one go and then reviewed them twice. The second highest was 577 reviews on the day I reached level 53, and that’s also easily explained because it came after a very lazy day when I only finished 120 of my reviews. Other than that, most days were around 300 reviews towards the end, some higher and some lower, as I never maintained an especially even pace in lessons.
Continue enjoying your learning! I look forward to your own level 60 post when the time comes :smiley:


A little late, but congratulations!! :mochi: :cake: :confetti_ball:

Man, that speed… I could never fit that many reviews consistently into my days… (on top of all the book clubs :smiley:).


My reaction was the same.

I’m very glad you’re sticking around @omk3, and congrats on the amazing progress!

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That’s inspiring. Only lvl 7 but still speedrunning too by doing the kanji lessons first and doing the reviews multiple times per day. Afraid of the burn-out that seems to happen sooner or later, but you showed that it can be done. That Anki mode sounds like a great idea, will check that out.
Big congrats!

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So impressive! Congrats!

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