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.
- Random shameless plug - but I did write a Zapier integration for WaniKani that allows you to get notified in various ways about lessons / reviews / level ups if you’ve ever had an interest in something like that: Get notifications (emails, text, Twitter, Slack, Discord, etc) whenever you have new reviews, lessons or you level up
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 ). 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
- 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.
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 :
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).
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