Sharing my experience of Wanikani from self-taught Japanese veteran

Hi, I would like to share my experience here so far from my perspective.

I never have any proper Japanese language education before. I only finished Minna no Nihongo book 1 and read Try JLPT 5-3 for exam. Most of my Japanese came from watching subtitled Anime and reading Japanese tweets. I skipped most of N5-N3 vocabulary but manage to pass it somehow. After failing N2 twice, I feel that my kanji and vocabulary are still very weak and need improvement. This is my fifth year of knowing Japanese and I haven’t actively study them for a while.

So yeah, I stumbled upon Wanikani and give it a shot since there is a lot of free time during quarantine. The first 4-5 levels was a breeze but I still miss something up once in a while. I guess there’s a lot of tricks to know like, verbs start with “to”. Most of the words/kanjis I already know meaning and reading. Some of onyomi readings of the kanji, I also reverse-engineered from the word I know (like, 聞(bun) from 新聞(shin bun) or 切 from 大切/親切). I think the mnemonic really helps a lot for some words you struggle to remember. The first 10 levels was me learning the the basics I skipped XD.

Upon hitting level 10, I started to feel that my experience wears off and I started learning new kanji. I think my real journey begins here. Doing 100-300 reviews everyday has become my daily routine now. The most useful plugin so far is Ignore Answer button, but I still go to quickly and mess them up.
Looking back on what I learned, I can read most of the things I often read (like, anime news/ announcement/ live show announcements/ synopsis) and quite proud of it.

If you have any more tips, feel free to tell me :smiley:


Tips: don’t abuse ignore script :grin:


If you do abuse it, remember you get what you deserve. :smiley: :japanese_goblin:

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I also started Wanikani after some years of Japanese study (mostly classroom for me, though, not self-taught) and feeling that kanji/vocab knowledge was the main thing holding me back from N2 (and I also failed it twice!).

A few things that helped me:

  1. Once you get to the point where most of the kanji are new to you, if you find you are getting lower percentages on reviews and the reviews are piling up, slow down the number of lessons you do. It’s okay to leave lessons piling up while you try to get through those reviews. This helps keep you from burning out.
  2. Add your own synonyms where necessary, as long as they are correct. For example, for the level 10 vocabulary “~向け” meaning “aimed at” or “made for” I added “geared towards” because that is how I think of it after my years of studying Japanese.
  3. Use scripts to help you along! These are the ones I use and highly recommend:
  • “Wanikani Niai Similar Kanji”
  • “ConfusionGuesser”
  • “WaniKani Keisei Phonetic-Semantic Composition”
    I do not personally use any “undo answer” or “detect wrong answer” type scripts because I would be too tempted to abuse them, though I am very tempted to install “Do You Even Kana?” because I have a habit of typing “たすける” for “助かる” and similar okurigana mistakes because I type too fast.

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