Reasons why I love WaniKani: The testimonials thread

I wanted to make a thread where we can celebrate little milestones thanks to the WaniKani system, and also because I think I shouldn’t make a separate thread for every time I think I’ve reached a new milestone.

Alternate thread name: the milestones thread! Post about something you’ve been able to do thanks to WaniKani. I’ve only been here since February and I already know a couple hundred more Kanji now than I did in the last three years of individual study. Here’s some positive things I’ve gained thanks to this website (and the people here!)

Studies:

  1. I know so much more Kanji now in the short six months that I’ve been here. Having a mnemonics system really helps me remember new kanji/words. I used to try to memorize things by writing kanji over and over again, but it didn’t click for me. Now I’m learning 30+ Kanji in a single week, and while it isn’t easy it’s a hell of a lot faster than I would have gone on my own.

  2. When I first started WaniKani, I knew some Kanji but not nearly enough to even be able to play a child’s game, like Pokemon. Now, at level 20, not only have I beaten Pokemon Moon in Kanji mode (with some help from my dictionary, of course), but I’m also able to play the Ace Attorney series!

  3. I can read YouTube comments in Japanese! Finally, I can understand what people are saying in the comments of Japanese music videos!

Bonus: The community brings a little light into my gloomier days. Even though I don’t always share my paintings, thank you to all of you positive and amazing people on the Daily Sketch Group. I love going on there to see people encouraging each other, and seeing everyone’s art!

Long post, but I wanted to share my positive experience with the WaniKani system. I feel like maybe this will help encourage others in continuing their journey through the levels.

If anyone else has some positive experiences to share, please do! I’d love to read it.

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I’m very thankful for WaniKani for:

  1. Targeted Study - Learning Japanese in university meant everything was spread thin. A little bit of everything, here and there. This meant that I didn’t know how bad my Kanji was until I came to Japan and felt overwhelmed by how much I couldn’t understand at a glance. I’m thankful for WaniKani having potentially years worth of targeted studying and review.

  2. Access to Other Resources - I’m so thankful for the community here, because there are all kinds of studying resources I never knew about. Online and self study is more my thing, and I’m so happy WK’s community has introduced them to me.

  3. JLPT Confidence - I never took the JLPT seriously until now. WK a gave me the reading and recognition skills to finally take the test head-on, in a 100% Japanese environment. After taking N3, I am motivated more than ever to take N2 and someday, N1.

  4. Community Support and Motivation to Study - WK’s community is a beautiful thing. I have never felt so much positivity for learning Japanese, on such a large community scale. Everyone here is so kind, thoughtful, and concerned for everyone’s studying progress, it is truly unreal. I love seeing everyone sharing their ideas on studying Japanese, asking questions, telling jokes and stories, and working together to support each other. It’s thanks to seeing everyone here doing their best that I have the motivation to keep going.

WK opened a lot of doors for my self improvement, and I feel glad I don’t need to do it all alone. The community is also a great place to browse during deskwarming slumps. :blush:

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I live in Japan and WaniKani has been an essential part of my studies!

Now, people are always telling me:

  • 日本語上手!

  • 漢字は難しなー

  • 私より漢字を知っているかもしれない

And without these compliments, how would I be certain that I’m actually making any progress?!

But seriously

With WaniKani I’ve gotten to the point that in general I can read without much trouble, which is a huge deal for the simplicity of my day-to-day life.

I also switch subtitles on Japanese shows/movies to Japanese now when I’m watching with the intent of listening practice. I can read well enough thanks to WaniKani that when I don’t understand/hear something that’s said, that’s better than the English because I can actually see what Japanese was used, and not just what it meant.

Lastly, when I took the N2 recently, kanji was far and away from being even a slight issue when taking the test. Grammar and Listening weren’t where I wanted them, but if I don’t pass it 100% won’t be because I didn’t know enough kanji. There were only a few that I came across and didn’t know immediately.

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Something I’m thankful to Wanikani for is opening my eyes to new ways of learning that I hadn’t ever used before. While I have lost my dedication to learning Japanese (for the moment), what I have learned has really made a difference with the other languages I know. I got up to level 15 a couple years ago, but couldn’t balance reviews with the rest of my life and let them sit. This year, I came back and reset my account to relearn the basics again, but found I remembered most of it! I’m more dedicated to French and Cantonese, as I’ve been studying those much longer, but without Wanikani, I wouldn’t have been nearly as successful with them.

I’m also thankful for the community here! This is one of the only places I feel comfortable connecting with people online. Everyone is wonderful here and I love being able to share my silly and sometimes terrible sketches with others, and see their art in return. I always feel inspired by the people in this community. Even though I’m not currently using the program itself, and I don’t use Japanese in any of my posts, I don’t feel unwelcome here. I’m so happy I found Wanikani!

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My top reason for loving WaniKani: how it made SRS way of learning kanji enjoyable. I’ve known SRS way of learning since years ago, using Anki decks of RTK and other apps, but it doesn’t really worked for me. It cannot “enforce” me to study, probably due to dull interface, and it doesn’t clearly tell what was the endgoal of completing the deck (yeah, and my lack of discipline at this point in time).

And even though I am familiar with some compound kanji words, it was not until both kanji had appeared in my WK study list that each on’yomi actually stuck in my mind. I’ve become more aware of the reading of such vocab words, rather than just knowing their readings through massive exposure or rote memorization.

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I think for me are the mnemonics ;), even though they have softened them… I still enjoy that deer hit by a car…

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@bleet I agree! The community has helped me not only with learning Kanji but with grammar and vocabulary too. Shout out to all the people who have answered my possibly silly sounding questions!

@Houndstooth It’s always nice to get compliments haha Hearing about your experience with the N2 is encouraging. I’m registering for my first JLPT (I’m taking it in December!). It always gives me a bit of hope for myself when I see other people saying the Kanji portion wasn’t as scary as they thought it would be thanks to WaniKani x3

@Feolkieer It’s good to see you coming back to it! Even if the going is slow, the fact that you remember so much from two years ago gives me confidence that I won’t forget everything in two years either haha It makes me so happy to hear that you get joy from the art threads too!

@ren_grantz Same! I used Anki for a little while a couple years back, but nothing ever stuck. I think I mostly zoned out while using it haha The mnemonics (for me, at least) helps keep me entertained enough to remember a lot of meanings.

@emucat I’m not sure I’ve encountered that one haha But I do agree, the mnemonics are funny and help me to pay attention during lessons.

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Level 36:

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I’m very new to WK, but I know that I will be paying for it once I pass the free levels. A little over a week in, and I’ve already learned 15 kanji and dozens of radicals!?

I took a couple of years of Japanese in college, but it had been a few years since I’d studied and I felt like I lost a lot. I’m planning to take my honeymoon in Japan and I’m working up to being able to take the N4 test. I’ve been using Memrise and Bunpo since January, but I felt like I was making very slow progress.

The SRS system in WK makes me want to study in a way none of those other systems have! I’m super motivated now. I don’t think I’ll have the grammar skills to take the N4 in December, but I’m not discouraged as I was a few weeks ago.

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WaniKani improved my reading of course (from practically 0 Kanji/vocabulary to quite a few), but also improved my speaking.

Now when I hear a word I don’t know, I can often ask a question about the kanji like "Is that word the 'こう’ in ’効果’ the same ‘こう’ in 効率?

This has helped me improve my level so many times when talking to native speakers. WaniKani has been such a great resource for my Japanese learning!

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Also after using WaniKani and realizing how useful mnemonics are, I sometimes use mnemonics to remember other things I study unrelated to Kanji!

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I had absolutely 0 knowledge of kanji before I started. Wanikani has been immensely useful and has made what I thought would be the most daunting and horrifying part of Japanese… fun!

  • I went to Japan for the first time in November last year. I was around level 18 at the time. I couldn’t believe how much Wanikani helped. It was exciting being able to read and understand so much of what was around me. Earlier that year, all of those signs would have just been blocks of intimidating, unreadable squiggles.

  • Also while in Japan, I acted as a translator for my friend. Thanks to Wanikani, I was able to guide my friend through the menu interfaces and instructions of various arcade machines.

  • Wanikani has also been a big help in jump starting my Chinese. I just started very recently. I was considerably less intimidated than the others in my class due to the 1000 or so kanji already soldered into my mind by Crabigatorさま.

  • A BAD thing about Wanikani… I am way ahead of kanji compared to all other areas of my studies. I did the N5 a few days after I got back from Japan last year. It was mind numbing trying to parse so much kana-only vocab through my mind when I was so used to being exposed to kanji. I’m looking forward to doing the N4/N3 in July next year thanks to Wanikani, however!

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@Gabymonsterr Welcome to WaniKani! Oh wow, a honeymoon in Japan sounds amazing. Congratulations! I agree, the SRS system helps keep me motivated too, especially since I can see what’s coming up in the items pages. Good luck with the N4!

@nightsquid That’s great! If you don’t mind my asking, can you tell me how to say that in Japanese? I’m sure it’ll come in handy for me eventually! I’m impressed that you started from scratch all the way to level 53. That’s awesome! I also started making up my own nemonics for Japanese words outside of WaniKani that I come across, and thanks to the radicals I’ve learned here it really helps me out.

@Yhrite It’s aesome that you’ve been to Japan and were able to navigate around the signs. Really cool!. I haven’t been yet, but hopefully I’ll be able to do the same next year when I visit with my sister. It’s awesome that you’re learning Chinese too. At least you know a lot of onyomi! Good luck with the JLPT next year!

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Yeah definitely! So for example if I didn’t remember what 吸血鬼 きゅうけつき(vampire) meant, but we were talking about related things I might ask "吸血鬼 の ”けつ” は 血液 の ”けつ” (ですか)?”. Then if you were correct, you could ask again: "じゃ、吸血鬼の ”き” は 何(なに)?”… if the answer is "おに”/”鬼”(demon) then you can just follow the same process to ask for kyuu, and then you’ll have gotten “sucking blood demon”. Even if you don’t think vampire, you’ll get the gist right!

It’s really as simple as saying the “unknown word” の ”possible kanji reading" は? Obviously be prepared for when your guess is wrong, but even then they might say some other word you know (and may have learned from WaniKani!)

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