Reflecting on WaniKani at Level 4

Hey there to whoever might be reading this! I just leveled up to lvl 4 yesterday and I’ve been wanting to spill my excitement and love for WaniKani since lvl 2. So if you’re a newbie who’s trying to gauge if this is the right learning tool, this might be the post for you (though it’s a bit long and personal so if you’re looking for a quick answer: YES USE IT!!) Otherwise this is just me saying hello to the community, gushing about how thankful I am I found this site, and reflecting on how I got here and where I’m going (maybe for posterity reasons to reflect on later when I’m lvl 60 idk). :sunflower:

So I started WaniKani almost a month ago, May 27th. I was a little put off by how I had to wait three days to do any kanji, but luckily I was prepared to wait because I read that ahead of time. It wasn’t hard to wait since I started at a pretty busy time in my personal life so that helped keep my mind off the waiting. While I waited, I read a lot of the introductory articles, like this one which is what got me started on WaniKani in the first place. I loved that even though WaniKani was mentioned a bunch during the article, pushing the reader to join WaniKani wasn’t the focus - giving a detailed path to learning Japanese was. I was also hooked on giving WaniKani a solid chance when I read up on how the mnemonics thing worked and learned that the kanji for “pregnancy” was just “woman” and “landslide” mashed together into one. That was the funniest thing I had ever read from a Japanese language learning tool. And WaniKani just does NOT disappoint!

I’ve been trying to learn Japanese probably since middle school. I think I learned hiragana and katakana by myself in 7th or 8th grade. But I started seriously trying to learn my freshman year in highschool, which was back in 2008/9. I was so in love with Japanese culture beyond just the entertainment and it was my dream to learn Japanese so I could travel there one day. I even petitioned for Japanese class and got a ton of signatures from kids who wanted the class (I was successful, but only AFTER I graduated did Japanese come to my school :sweat:). I took one college class, which was at 8am and I learned nothing from. And then life got chaotic and learning Japanese slipped to the back burner. I kept trying here and there, but my community college only offered Japanese on a campus in another city almost an hour’s drive away, and my arts focused college didn’t offer Japanese. I would try apps like DuoLingo, YouTube videos, and all that, but nothing ever stuck or kept my interest. And on top of that, it was so hard for me to find resources for learning that didn’t start with “ohAyOu gOzAimaSu”, “aRigAtOu”, “waTaShi nO nAmAe Wa ____ dEsu, DouZo yOroSHiKu”… (lol sorry, I know those are crucial words but I’m obviously a little salty about learning the same basics over and over and never getting to anything beyond that. :blossom:)

Well, on June 2nd I turned 28. And in the days leading up to my birthday, I started to realize that of all the major dreams I had as a kid (finishing college, working in videogames, and getting married with a dog and a house, all of which I’m proud of myself for accomplishing these past few years! :unicorn:) learning Japanese was the one that I still eluded me. So I went on a desperate hunt for something that would actually work for me, and found WaniKani. And I’m seriously so thankful I did.

This site is so funny. And that’s exactly what works. I am so tired of boring text books that have no personality. There are some I’ve found that have tried to be funny, but they fall flat since it’s that corny PG type comedy where you see what they were going for, but you just roll your eyes and wish they didn’t try at all. This site is ACTUALLY funny. Some of the mnemonics can get a little odd or farfetch’d 8926cb08077c893ae3ae17f7c62cc630 but even when I’m shaking my head, I’m still laughing and sending screen shots about meat geese to my friends. This is exactly the type of learning environment I’ve been needing.

And THEN there’s the structure of it all! I love knowing exactly what I need to do in order to progress. I love that I can look ahead and see that the last word I’ll learn is kitsune (which I think is funny considering how common it is to see a Japanese language learner also in love with foxes). I love that the leveling system and the expectations are clear. And I love that I don’t have to wonder anymore if what I’m learning is in the most effective and efficient order. I’ve spent so much time wondering what to learn, but now I don’t have to worry about it. I mean heck, one of the biggest points of WaniKani is skipping stroke order and how to write in Japanese because it’s not something that’s used all the time - and that makes TOTAL sense!! And then the whole idea of relating radicals to letters of the alphabet - words are just kanji guys!!! Ahhh getting a little carried away here. :cherry_blossom:

Anyway. Another thing I love about WaniKani is the community. Everyone is SO nice in the forums! I’ve been reading here and there - and I don’t usually participate in forums - but here, I actually might. It reminds me of gaiaonline back in the day. Even then I wasn’t a huge forums person, but I did at least feel like I belonged. The internet nowadays is so full of people answering questions with a sarcastic “did you even try to google it??”, but not here. Yes I’ve seen a handful of unhappy people, but at large it’s a supportive group of people just trying to learn and support each other. That’s so refreshing!!! :cherries: :strawberry: :kiwi_fruit:

I think I’m starting to lose my train of thought, not that I really intended to put too much thought into this anyway, was just kinda letting the train run its course. :train: :train: :train: :train: :train: … anway thanks for reading if you have. I’m really looking forward to participating more in WaniKani as a whole and will probably do a book club sometime when I get a little farther and learn a bit more. Speaking of reading, can I just say how STOKED I’ve been to recognize kanji in the few Japanese manga that I have?? I’ve read “目玉” twice now in the wild (who knew “eyeball” would be such a common word!) and saw “大切” in my Animal Crossing manga the day before I learned it on WaniKani. Also heard and understood “天才” when watching Kaguya-Sama and almost lost my mind. I seriously haven’t felt this motivated and excited to learn Japanese since high school. :fire: :fire: :fire:

ANYWAY thanks for reading if you read my ramblings. I’m excited for what the future holds for me. I know WaniKani isn’t going to teach me Japanese alone and that I’ll eventually need to find a resource for grammar and verb conjugation and what not, but with the tons of vocab and kanji, plus the wonderful community full of resources and support, I finally feel like learning Japanese is within my grasp and I couldn’t be happier. :sparkling_heart: :four_leaf_clover: :star2: :rainbow: :sparkles: :tada: :sunny: :sunflower:

47 Likes

Fantastic post, I very much enjoyed reading it :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

I’m glad you’re here, and I hope to see you around more! The very best of luck completing WaniKani! Perhaps I’ll see you at Level 60…? :eyes::crossed_fingers:t2::joy::joy:

2 Likes

early level mnemonics are great, later they became bad and I had to start creating my own, I thought when I read this around here it was because some users were stubborn not to use wk mnemonics.

But yes, I really had to start creating my own because I remembered words of the huge story but nothing about the actual wod for the reading or meaning. :joy:

other than that I feel really happy with srs used by WK in those 6 months I am into it.

5 Likes

Oh just you wait :eyes:

0F701AEE-977D-4FCA-8492-2C00FC68B913

2 Likes

Thanks for reading it! And yes I certainly intend to get to lvl 60 so I will for sure see you there!! Getting the permanent sub as soon as it goes on sale again (hopefully in the winter again like I’ve read!). Good luck on your journey there too!! :sparkles:

2 Likes

I’ve also had to make my own mnemonics for a few of them. Most recent one is for “past”, I’d much rather thing of Kyo’s tragic past to remember the reading than whatever it is they made up. They certainly don’t all work, but I’m happy for the ones that do, and now I’ve seen how they can be used effectively so I know how to make good quality ones of my own! :sunflower:

1 Like

Hehe except for a few I’ve seen definitely :stuck_out_tongue:. You get your cocky know-it-alls and sarcastic jerks everywhere, but it’s much better here than I’ve seen other places for sure.

Welcome and good luck on your journey!
If you haven’t stumbled across it yet, I recommend reading this guide. It contains a lot of useful information and advice. It’s great for figuring out how to make WaniKani work for you. Keep at it every day an you’ll reach your goal one day.

頑張て!\(^o^)/

2 Likes

English isn’t my mother tongue, so even at the early levels I end up having to create my own mnemonics because the English explanations confuse me sometimes. :sweat_smile: But part of what’s great about WK is it that introduces you to this technique, so it’s easier to eventually make your own, simpler mnemonics.

1 Like

Welcome! Have fun and be sure to check the userscripts if you haven’t! There are so many great ones that enhance WK even more. Regarding mnemonic aids in particular, since as you noticed everyone’s going to have mnemonics that do not work for them, the Semantic-Phonetic Composition script can be particularly useful (and a nice shortcut at times). :slight_smile:

2 Likes

Ah! Great, I’m planning to get the lifetime too this Christmas!

I hope they do the discount again this time around, or we would both be very unlucky :crossed_fingers:t2::rofl:

1 Like

Careful there chief. That article was just giving examples of how WaniKani uses custom radicals to build mnemonics. 娠 is indeed comprised of the Kanji 女 and 辰. But 辰 doesn’t mean “landslide”. It’s the kanji for the Chinese dragon zodiac. So what does that have to do with pregnancy? Absolutely nothing. It’s there for phonetic purposes. 辰 震 振 唇 娠 are all read with シン as the on’yomi. The Kanji itself isn’t that useful so WanKani doesn’t teach it, but it does make it into a radical that it calls “landslide.”

5 Likes

Thanks, and you as well! And yes! I did see that guide a couple days ago, I definitely need to finish reading it because there’s tons of good info in it from what I’ve read so far. It especially helped to know about the timed schedule WaniKani uses and that I can easily do a 9am/1pm/9pm schedule to keep on track with reviews. I’m certainly not trying to speed run to lvl 60, but I don’t want it to take me 40 years either!

2 Likes

I’m impressed by all the people on here who are using this through a second language. I’d love to get to that point some day! If it makes you feel any better, some of them confuse me too and I’m a native English speaker. :joy:

2 Likes

I’ll definitely be looking into scripts soon! It sounds like there are a ton out there I need to try out (once I have time to sit down and actually learn how to get them working :sweat_smile:). Thanks for the suggestion!

Good to know! Haven’t gotten that far to find that out myself of course since I’m just lvl 4 still, but yeah, guess I more meant the radicals being put together that way were what got me hooked. Gotta make sure I separate the concept of radicals and kanji better in my head. I do kinda wish all the radicals were just what the kanji meant to make it easier, but eh, they do a pretty good job otherwise. :sunflower:

It was really nice to read couldn’t help but to nod at every point you made :slight_smile: I dropped studying japanese quite a few times in the past, I suppose just like you, but this time will be different for sure. It will be an amazing ride so let’s do our best and enjoy it!

Also idk really but let me just share some of my current feelings here. Right now already I can see myself staying too focused on my current progress with wanikani lol. I believe over-hyping myself like that is a bad thing but oh-well. Having a chill-out button would be quite handy :stuck_out_tongue:.

2 Likes

This site is so funny. And that’s exactly what works.

Some of the mnemonics can get a little odd

can attest to this
every time i see the word 予め an image of a raw nic cage never ceases to come to mind

1 Like

I feel that! If I weren’t exhaustingly busy all the time right now I’d also be focusing too hard on my progress. Having to focus on other life things ends up being my chill-out button I guess. :joy:

1 Like

I think of Ricky Ricardo singing sweet love songs as his monster body pulverizes the Power Rangers in low budget TV FX glory. It’s delightful. :sparkles: