My way to level 60 - progress notes

Today I have finished level 2. I thought I will document my way to level (hopefully) 60 from a point of view of absolute beginner (I spent month of learning japanese before, now: not able to read hiragana fluently, don’t know lot of katakana characters). Maybe it will help other people who start and it will help to motivate me on my journey for sure.

So here we go:
Completion level 1 (I think 06-17-2019):
I was absolutely fascinated by wanikani, the way it uses mnemotechnics, meaningful learning way, great community. I suppose because of this WOW effect I was able to complete almost all excercises without problems.

Completion level 2 (06-22-2019):
Because I have vacation I could focus on wanikani more, so I have have been checking wanikani sometimes like 10 times a day. Sometimes I had to develop my own mnemotechnic-notes (btw it is great, that I can write it right into WaniKani away from translation of english words I don’t understand from original mnemotechnic-notes). With vocabulary it is a little harder than I thought originally - like for one symbol there are sometimes quite a few readings, but so far so good. Still really excited and planning to achieve level 6 until 7th of July.

Completion level 3 (07-02-2019):
I have the feeling that at the start of new level there is quite a large amount of additional vocabulary to learn. Then, the second half of level is much more calm. So I could focus myself on additional sources. I have chosen Human Japanese App for grammar which I have found here.
Level 3 took like 11 days and I suppose next levels will take even more time, so maybe I will finish one level each 11-20 days, it is much more realistic then my estimation from “Completion level 2” I think.
It is harder than previous 2 levels but still a lot of fun and effectivity is quite high: with first repetition I have maybe 60% of vocabulary right but with next repetitions its often like 90%, so I am really satisfied.

Completion level 4 (07-17-2019):
There is a wonderful world, which is starting to form itself, almost better than any game, there are bamboo shrubs with lollipop, mean Mrs. Choo, wonderful journey to Tokyo to show the world I am the best swordmaster and many mamy more adventures.
Like Alice in Wonderland, and yeah, there is one pleasant side effect too - learing Japaneese on the way.
Famous czech teacher John Amos Comenius has written “School by Play” 400 years ago and I think he had just this style of education in mind :slight_smile:
Anyway, I am still not able to read most of examples but hopefully it will change with time.
And I am quite comfortable right now with my pace - like 2 lessons each month.

Completion level 5 (07-29-2019)
I have been thinking about reading of japaneese texts - it will be so much fun because of all those mnemotechnic notes. And also with all those symbols - much better then abcde, it is kind of monotonous :slight_smile: Does have japaneese people more fun by reading with all those Kanji? I suppose so!
I can’t wait to read japaneese books, each symbol has its character, its own story, it will be such a pleasure to read japaneese books I think, like adventure within adventure.
It is really important for me to study grammar too, to see those words which I learn in praxis - for example I can perfectly recognize some verb inside of wanikani platform but when I see it all of the sudden in the sentence when I am concentrating myself at some grammar concept and not on the verbs itself it is bigger challenge. And I think the more situations I will see those words occuring, the better.
I am using 4 grammar sources now (german Japanisch Schritt fuer Schritt, Genki Japanese, Easy Japanese and Human Japanese) it is really helpful, and it will also be helpful for that I could at last read those examples at wakinaki (now learning grammar like 1 hour each week).
And in Mail I have got the info that now more useful words are comming! Hurray! Can’t wait, I have to do at least a bunch or review before going to sleep :slight_smile:

Completion level 6 (08-20-2019)
At the start of the level I have make all new items (± 100) at the start of the level and it was a big mistake. I went to holiday later and although I have made like 100 reviews per day I have still like 300 of items to be reviewed for more than one week because of high percentage of errors (sometime only 50% of items were correct). I have thought that wanikani just don’t work right but after feedback from the community I have seen that the problem was on my side. Thank you all!

Completion level 7 (09-09-2019)
First time I have used the script for sorting items, so that I could obtain radicals first. I have thought about it and I think that I will use it only for learning radicals at the start of the level and then I will turn it off completely so that I interfere with the way I am supposed to learn as little as possible.
Sometimes I have like one or two days pauses between sessions and the following sessions are then much less accurate and I need also much more time for each item. But on the other hand is it also a good thing is some way because when I spend more time with thinking about vocab then I will create more paths in my brain and in the end I can remember it maybe more easily in the next review.
Sometimes number of reviews is little daunting but then I will look at the number of items which I had done through this far (over 1000 items! wow) and I am motivated to learn more.
Recently I have neglected a grammar a little bit so I hope I will find more time for it in the future.

Completion level 8 (10-10-2019)
This level took more than one month to complete, but nevertheless I am quite happy with the progress. It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow I am progressing. The main thing is that I am enjoying that progress. In last month I have started to use Jitai script for different Japanese fonts and I think it will help me not to focus to much on one particular script and I have installed some recommended script which are really crazy… and I love them!!! Then I started to use couple of different japanese applications like Drops, LingoDeer, FluentU and Busuu - they are quite rewarding on the start but until now I didn’t find any good app to learn Kanji so effective as WaniKani. Thank you one more time for this great platform!

Somewhere in the middle of level 12 (12-30-2019)
Have I said already that I love wanikani? Oh man, I am so grateful for it!!
Anyway… I have done one or two levels with speed of one month for each of them and sometimes I have had a pause for 3 or even more days. I have needed really a lot of time to get me back on track again and again - to finish all the reviews (sometimes with success rate 50% or less). There I could really see clearly how much time I will “save” when I work with wanikani each day.
I have set a goal of doing at least 2 hours of japan each day (+ some not so relevant constraints) for next 500 days on 16. december. So far so good, by the end of this period I should be able to have something like level 50+, should be able to speak ± fluently but let’s see.
I have found some inspiration here in forum (what a great source of information) for some new tools which I want to try in next days, namely: and
Right now I am on chapter 10 (out of 12) in Genki Japanese, I am still not able to read fluently all the examples in that textbook (and sometimes having problems with reading katakana) but it makes me happy everytime when I am learning vocabs there and I find out, that I have already learned them here in wanikani and it happens more and more often, what a great feeling!
All in all right now I am quite motivated to push my japanese skills to the next level! (also because I have work vacation now so I can invest quite a lot of time for learning without neglecting all the other stuffs and even have time to write some stuff here at the forum :slight_smile: ).

Completion level 15 (01-25-2019)
I have started to cheat a little with new radicals and kanji to be able to do the levels more faster. I have completed last three levels in 7-9 days. I have spent incredible amount of time with reviews. For me it is like 60 reviews in one hour and approximately 350 reviews daily in the last week. I really love the progress that I have made so far but I know I will probably not be able to maintain that pace. But you know what? It is the good thing! I like when my learning isn’t monotonous, sometimes learning more, sometimes less and above all maintaining the equilibrium in my live. I have focused really a lot on Japan and neglected a lot of other things in my live and I am sure that I don’t want to continue with that for a long time. I love that diversity! It makes things to be more interesting and unpredictable. Where I will be in one year? Let’s wait and see :slight_smile:

Somewhere in the middle of level 17 (02-04-2020)
Today I have decided to go to wanikani vacation mode for some time (probably 3-4 months).
Here are the reasons:
Reason 1: I had a few lessons with native Japanese where I wanted to improve my spoken Japanese and it was horrible, like I wasn’t able to create almost any sentences and wasn’t able to understand almost nothing what she said.
Reason 2: I have seen, that my ability to understand the simplest grammar in written Japanese texts is quite bad despite the fact, that I have finished Genki Japanese I, I suppose I need more praxis.
Reason 3: I have the feeling, that to use wanikani effectively I should do one level each week, that way I have the feeling, that I learned a lot and that I didn’t lose time with not remembering lot of things when using wanikani irregularly, the problem is that after that I don’t have time to do anything else in my Japanese learning.
Reason 4: I want to go to Japan in 70 days and want to learn Japanese in a way that will have a biggest impact on this trip.
So to sum up: I don’t have enough time to improve myself in grammar, conversation and vocabulary simultaneously and because my vocabulary is far better than my grammar and conversation skills I will invest time to bring them in equilibrium (by the way I love that word “equilibrium”, my most favourite word in English language :slight_smile: ).

Somewhere in the middle of level 19 (06-02-2020)
Current situation:
Because of Corona-Virus I didn’t went on a trip to Japan on April and I also canceled Wanikani Vacation mode approximately 2 months ago.
At first I tried to keep up with a way how Wanikani “is supposed to be used”, but it was quite demanding and I started to think about a way how to use Wanikani in other way to learn Japanese - for me there are no fix time objectives - I want to learn in a highly dynamic pace: sometimes doing a lot and sometimes taking pauses as long as I want.
My way of learning japanese:
My level of Japanese is somewhere between A1 - A2. I am using LingoDeer, Busuu, FluentU and iKnow! to improve both my grammar and my vocabulary and this is where Wanikani is really helping me out. When I find some unknown Kanji I will look at it in and then, if needed in Wanikani if it is below my current Wanikani level - and I can tell you this is really great way to learn (review) Radicals, Kanjis and Vocabulary in general: sometimes I will spent 5 or more minutes with one single word and I have the feeling that I am learning those most important words more than less important ones.
Simultaneously I am continuing with my lessons in Wanikani: mostly doing all lessons and primarily reviews of new Radicals/Kanjis (using Wanikani Reorder Ultimate 2 addon). In that way my level in Wanikani will increase and I will look up more and more vocabularies in the future.

Somewhere in the middle of level 28 (10-27-2020)
Right now there are like 3200 items waiting for the review and 750 new items to be learnt (vocabulary) and I am perfectly OK with this. Let me explain:
Currently I am learning only Radicals/Kanjis and I always use Wanikani when I encounter a japanese word that I didn’t know. With recommended way of using Wanikani I am giving the same amount of attention to really common words as well as to words which I will probably never use in my life or use very rarely. It is much easier for me if I have the feeling that the word is important. And I have that feeling when I am looking for a word that I encounter elsewhere eg. when learning with LingoDeer, Busuu, Memrise or iKnow.
I also probably really need a lot of context which will help me to remember the word and quite frankly there are lots of burned words that I couldn’t recall when I encountered them later and I had to learn them again: Sometimes I had the feeling, that I learned like a robot when I used Wanikani alone - like reading the dictionary (I don’t read example sentences in wanikani because they are too hard for me), now I have the feeling that I am investing the time where it really makes the most sense.
That being said Wanikani is still my most used source to learning Japanese because of great mnemotechnical Notes.

Somewhere in the middle of level 43 (06-03-2021)
I have seen, that in lots of kanjis there are too many simple radicals used instead of more complex ones. For example in 節 Kanji it is bamboo, root, stamp instead of bamboo and instant. It is quite contraproductive in teaching imho because more complex radicals become less chance it has to appear in another kanji - so they should be used as much as possible to have chance to remember it better.
That is also a reason why I am using lot of my own mnemotechnic notes right now. And btw I am still soooo happy with my decision to learn only Kanjis, really enjoying the journey and having great feeling about it :slight_smile:


Good luck on your journey to 60! :muscle: Hope to see you go all the way!

One note about this: level 1 and 2 have increased level-up speeds. There are so few items in rotation at that point that beginners thought it was far too slow. So the SRS interval are shortened for the first two levels.

You should now be on the regular SRS intervals, which makes the fastest possible level-up 6 days and 20 hours - though keeping up that schedule means you sacrifice a lot of sleep. If you do lessons at same time every day, you can do 7 days flat, which is generally advised by most people.

Edit: let me amend that, because I don’t want to be unclear. I don’t mean to say general advise is to level every 7 days - everyone knows what their own right pace is. Just that it is usually more sustainable to consider 7 days the top speed, rather than the very demanding 6 days and 20 hours.

So don’t be distraught if you can’t get to 6 by the 7th of July, everything is working as it should. ^^


Ah, I didn’t know that, thank you for the info. In that case I suppose one level each 10 days or so for me.


I didn’t know that either - neither the top potential speed nor the 1-2 levels having a speed-up effect in place. Really interesting.

1 Like

Once every ten days or so would still be quite a fast pace, imo. The amount of vocab words you have to learn gets pretty huge pretty quick; I seem to remember it being lower at the start. If you manage a level every ten days consistently you’ll be doing great.

My only advice is don’t put yourself under too much pressure and burn out. You’re here for the long haul, so figure out a pace that works that you can keep up indefinitely ^^ None of that is meant to dissuade you if ten days / level is your goal. Best of luck!


Level 3 finished. Main post edited. I have finished it 5 days ago, but there were a lot of things to do, so I have posted it a little late.

1 Like

Level 4 finished am main post edited, it is still a lot of fun :slight_smile:


Reading your update made me smile. I start to tear up when I literally misspell an English word or use the wrong case trying to answer a definition, and it takes even longer to get terms I haven’t used yet. At this point kanji like 書 are easily recognizable because of how frustrating it was for me to hand write. I started about two weeks ago, I’ll try my best to keep up with you!

PS: Kamesame essentially lets u do reviews again and lets u reset progress to do them again with no limit. It’s a nice little tool, doesn’t check correct furigana spelling tho.

1 Like

I think I have felt just like you in the first 2 levels: impatiently waiting for the next review and then misspelling some words and waiting again for the next try. But don’t worry, with next levels there will be more and more stuff to do. And also: those misspelled words have teached me to write them right next time so it was kind of worth it :slight_smile:

Level 5 finished, main thread updated, and now new radicals are waiting, how I love them!

1 Like

I like your mnemonic stories, they’re enjoyable hah! I just started a “progress notes” blog myself and wondering how I should set it up. We’re both level 5 too so good luck and may we both reach 60!

Hey, I wish you lot of persistence on your way but most importantly a lot of fun :slight_smile:


The jump from like doing 80 reviews spread across a day to having 137 new lessons in level 5 and now like 150 reviews after a few hours felt a bit sudden ^^;

For grammar reference I really like “A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar,” though it sounds like you already have so many. Setting my phone to 日本語 also means I’m constantly exposed to compound words like 完了, instead of just 了,

1 Like

New level and new update of main thread, 53 levels to go!


New level, new update, new Vocabs!


New level, new kanjjis and vocabs learned and new challenges are waiting. Two more levels and then PAINFUL PATH will start, let’s see, I hope I will be ready :slight_smile:

1 Like

Somewhere in the middle of level 12:
Update of main thread. I will not update this thread after each level but only when I have something interesting to say or when I am in the mood of saying something - that way I will not bore everybody to death and also not push myself to write something when there is nothing to write about. Have a wonderful day! :slight_smile:


Phew! What a crazy ride :slight_smile: why am I enjoying learning new things so much? No idea :slight_smile: Anyways I have just updated the main post. Nice day to you all!

1 Like

Main post updated. This journey to learn Japanese language is not as straightforward as I originally thought, but maybe that is exactly the thing which I need to bring it to the next level :slight_smile:

1 Like

My first one year break was level 17. My second break of 3 years was at 27. When you come back and read this, know that you can keep going. That the journey isn’t measured in levels or weeks or Months. It’s a lifetime commitment to be able to function in Japanese. Take your time and don’t be discouraged when you need a break.