So long, and Thanks for all the Kanji!

I reached level 60 a few months ago, but didn’t want to write my celebratory post until I felt the time was right. Anyway, my WaniKani subscription is going to expire soon, and I don’t intend to renew it. So I thought, as I fully conclude my current WaniKani journey, that now would be a good time to reflect and pass on the wisdom! (I will still be checking in on the forums every now and then though.)

Stats stats stats :)))

First of all, here’s my levelling chart:


The time spent on level 4 was just me being away and not having the time to purchase a subscription, and I was also away during level 32. I started getting burned out on level 58, but managed to recover (although that added time to level 59 as well).

Here are some more stats (keeping in mind I sorta stopped WK a month or 2 after completing level 60), starting with my item counts:

And… my current review count :sob:

The Journey

For year 8, I had to pick a language to study out of 4 options:

  1. German (seemed too similar to English for me)
  2. French (heard about the nightmare that was speaking)
  3. Chinese (which I had taken for 5 years in primary school and learned nothing); and,
  4. Japanese (which I knew really nothing about, but heard it was difficult so thought I would give it a try)

I immediately fell in love with Japanese, and studied for the next few years contently… but school is slow.

Eventually I wanted to start learning to read properly, and only knew about 50 kanji after 3 years so I knew that was what my starting point would be. I did some research into kanji learning platforms, weighed the pros and cons, and landed on WaniKani because 2000 seemed like a good number for what the average person would need to know, plus, first 3 levels are free, may as well give it a shot!

I spedran it, completing it in a bit over a year, and could feel my comprehension levels starting to improve almost immediately. So I kept at it and started reading (albeit simple) actual books.

So I kept at it, reading, school, and WK seemed like a good balance, and I finally managed to go to Japan for a short homestay at the end of 2023! My host family didn’t speak much English, but I could speak enough Japanese to hold more basic conversations. (They were also impressed at my ability to actually read kanji so there’s that too :P) That trip was genuinely the most fun I have had in my whole life and I recommend going to Japan at some point to just about anyone learning Japanese!

What did I do? What would I change?

My tactic for getting through WK was to do every available lesson and review as soon as possible!

(This soon turned out to be unreasonable)

My second tactic for getting through the regular levels quickly, while maintaining balance, was to break up kanji and vocab lessons over a few days, with only radicals (which are really quick) being all in one clump immediately (you don’t have to complete the first batch of kanji on a regular level immediately for max speed, only the second batch. So, you have twice as long for the first batch!)

This was critical to surviving the later regular levels, but immediately broke down once I hit the fast levels, at which point “a few days” broke down into “3 hours” in the morning. Due to the timing of the later review spacing, these would all end up being pushed to the same time by the end of Apprentice.

Meanwhile, I still completed almost every review session as it became available. Surprisingly, doing 30 reviews every hour feels a lot more manageable and fun than 200 reviews once. But as long as I went to be with 0 reviews available, I knew I would be fine.

I would probably just take it a bit slower next time and use holiday mode a bit more if I was busy with other commitments.

A confession

Okay yes I cheated.

I abused the hell out of undo scripts in the 50-60 level range, and am fully for it never being made a vanilla feature ever.

I survived using it, getting kanji cleared as quickly as possible and letting the vocab carry the readings and meanings (although I usually had meanings memorised by the 4th review anyway), and then let it drop back to apprentice to properly relearn it.

I advise no one else try this, biggest mistake I ever made and I should have just taken it a bit slower. It worked for me, but I have a very good memory.

So… what now?

I survive my last year of high school and graduate, hopefully! I cannot understate how much WaniKani has helped me in Japanese (pretty much a skip to GO! and collect 200 for reading, and a massive skip ahead for the other skills as well). I would not be where I am today without this.

I’m also planning on taking the N4 in December, well after school is over and I have had time to recover and properly start focusing and extending my Japanese study beyond the (frankly quite simple) school curriculum.

I had so much fun using WK, and maybe I’ll return one day when preparing for the N2.

See y’all around!

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Congrats! How’s the view from Level 60?

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All things considered, it’s quite nice!

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Congrats!

いいなあ~

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I’m a little jealous about that homestay too! Congratulations on reaching level 60! Keep up the great work!!

-Nick at WK

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