Random Thoughts After 2 Years on WaniKani

Heyo again!

As I continue my journey on WaniKani, I thought it would be fun to have these yearly check-ins of what I’m thinking / feeling so here we are. If you missed last years’ and are curious, you can find that here.

Things I’m grateful for in regards to WaniKani

  • During the 2 years I’ve been on WaniKani, the site has changed visually numerous times. However, not once have I ever felt upset by it or like it’s suddenly made learning Japanese harder. I continue to be grateful that the site has a clean and easy to use UI. Furthermore, I’m grateful at how color blind friendly the site is. As someone who’s terribly color blind, I often find some sites incredibly difficult to use - but not so for WaniKani.
  • The community for all of their awesome add-ons and scripts that people have made. My list hasn’t really changed much over the past year - but to still shout out my favorite tools:
    • The heatmap tool that allows you to see your progress in a nice graph and get useful stats about any particular day.
    • The Tsurukame app that allows you to do reviews and lessons on a mobile phone in a nice and clean way.
    • The lesson ordering script script that allows you to re-order your lessons. I found it annoying “finishing” a level and then having 100+ vocab items to do before starting the next level. I’ve used this to make it so I do my vocab first so that when I’m done with a level, I’m really done with it.
    • The self-study quiz which allows me to focus on particularly hard to remember pieces over time. I sometimes find that even after doing a review or a lesson that things didn’t really stick - and being able to selectively quiz myself outside of the SRS system has been helpful for me.
    • The open framework that makes so many of these scripts possible.
  • The fact that I’m always making progress. Every day I learn something new or get better at remembering something. It’s nice to be able to look back and say I absolutely know I’m better than the me of last year - and that’s really swell.
  • How kind and welcoming people are. I’ve only posted a few things over the years - but, in every thread, I’ve always been treated well. It’s fun hearing about people’s experiences and suggestions and thoughts
  • The great API that WaniKani has. I’ve been a professional dev for just over 10 years now and worked with hundreds of different APIs over the years. WaniKani remains up there with the best. Their docs are clean and easy to understand. The things I want to do are available in the API and changes are communicated clearly.

Things that are rough

  • Grammar. Urgh this is such a difficult topic. I don’t even know English grammar that well to begin with (and I’m a native English speaker :scream:). People have suggested a variety of things to look into - but none have really felt like WaniKani does. I’ll keep working on it regardless - but dang I wish there was something that I could use that would jive better with me.
  • The mnemonics for the Kanji. As the Kanji get even more complex, I’m finding it harder and harder to “see” the radicals in the Kanji and then remember the story that goes with them. Especially with how distorted some of these radicals become and with how terrible my spacial reasoning is - it’s been challenging.
  • The thinking you know something only to get introduced to a new piece of Kanji and realizing you now don’t know 2 things instead of thinking you knew 1 thing :joy:
  • Recognizing and coming to terms with the fact that I’m going to get more and more things wrong as I progress to the harder levels. The Kanji or vocab that clicks with me gets burned really quickly - whereas the ones that don’t make sense to me stick around for a long time. This can be challenging when I look at my stats and see the accuracy going down over time. I do recognize, though, that if I wasn’t getting things wrong that I wouldn’t be learning so I just have to keep on keeping on.

How I’m feeling overall

This year has certainly been a difficult one - but I’ve tried to double down on my health and hobbies where I can. I’ve started learning piano, been doing yoga, and taking daily walks on top of learning Japanese (and on top of a very difficult job lol). Because of the range of stuff I’ve been working on, each thing doesn’t get an incredible amount of time - but I’m ok with that.

As you can see from the section below, I’m going very slowly. I expect it’ll take me 6-10 years or so to complete WaniKani. Right now, though, that doesn’t bother me. In a way, it’s nice to know there’s something that will be there for me for years and that I can make progress if I just keep working at it.

Personal Stats

Even though I’m going slowly, I am proud at how consistent (752 / 753 days studied) I am with my reviews.

Here’s my heatmap chart for my time on WaniKani.

And here are my wkstats :
WKStats

Goals for the upcoming year

  • I’d like to slightly increase the pace next year. Maybe 6 or 7 levels? I know that it tends to get harder as one progresses - so we’ll see how this goes!
  • I’d like to find more ways to work on grammar. I’ve tried a variety of sites / tools over the past year - and none have really had that magic that WaniKani has. That being said, I have done quite a bit on BunPro and did achieve my goal from last year of working a bit on grammar (been doing that daily for a few months now).

Closing remarks

Wow if you made it here you’re certainly an amazing person. Thanks for reading this long post! Also thanks so much to the incredible people who work on this wonderful site and continue to support it over the years. And thanks to those people who make scripts / tools to help improve on this experience even more. I really appreciate y’all <3

28 Likes

Hi,

No trouble at all reaching the end of your post ;-).
I recognize a lot of what you are saying! I’m also going sloooowww, and try not to read too many of the stories of people that finish WK in < 2 years or something.

Like you say: there is progress, and I just keep working on it. I just blame my age for not remembering things easily, but that should not stop anyone from learning something new.

Wrt to doing grammar: I have started this year on Nativ Shark as well, next to WK, to do just that. I’m sure it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like it. Also there, I’m going slow, but I do keep up with it on a daily basis, and that counts.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, keep up and we’ll al get there in the end!

4 Likes

Thanks for the kind words and glad to hear someone else is in my slow boat ^.^

I haven’t heard of Nativ Shark before but will check that out - cheers and good luck :slight_smile:

Hello!

Impressive consistency! I am also going at a slower pace, and I’ve found that consistency is definitely the most important thing!

I also had trouble with finding something that worked for me with grammar. Something that I like about WaniKani is that all of the lessons are planned out, and I was looking for something like that. I had trouble with motivating myself to study grammar without someone telling me what to study. Recently I found this Genki N5 Playlist on YouTube and I was impressed with the quality and how easy it was to work into my schedule! Even though YouTube series are quite different from WaniKani’s style, it helped me with having someone plan everything out for me!

Good luck and Happy New Year’s!

1 Like

Yay consistent slower folks :smiley:

Also thanks for the Genki N5 Playlist suggestion - don’t think I’ve seen that one either so I’ll definitely check that out. And ya I feel you re the planned out things. It’s nice to know exactly what I should be doing each day vs. figuring out what exercises to do or where I should be looking.

Good luck to you, too and happy new years as well :slight_smile:

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Nice. Great post. Keep on keeping on!!!

I think people need to stop referring to ones own pace as being as slow.

It is only slow when you compare to others and since, for me, my learning Japanese is about me, I’m in a race only against myself. So there is nothing to measure my rate against since there is only me. I’m always first place. Haha.

And I have a day job as a corporate, commercial and securities lawyer as well as a full time job as a spouse and parent to a child who is disabled. I consider this my downtime. If I get reviews wrong, oh well. Maybe next time.

One day I’ll do more grammer. But I suxk at grammer.

Appreciate random and helpful thoughts.

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And my measure of progress is, when I see a sign or some subtitles, that I can now read, I ask myself, was I able to do that last year? If not, then that’s good for me!

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Ya - it is pretty exciting being able to recognize things here and there. Was playing cyberpunk recently and recognized something that said it was open 24/7 in Japanese and I could read it and was so pleased.

Glad the random thoughts were helpful and thanks for your thoughts as well :slight_smile: