I considered not writing a celebration thread at all- I started in Wanikani 2016, and I just made it to level 60 now. But here goes.
I took it slow for many reasons. I have kids. I have a job. I’m doing this as a hobby- an attempt to resuscitate the Japanese I studied in college and learned when I lived in Japan in my 20’s. At one point (level ~30), I realized that 1) my kanji reading ability was rapidly returning but everything else wasn’t and 2) Wanikani was taking over my free time.
So- I hired a home tutor to work on spoken Japanese and polish up my grammar. I decided to take the JLPT exams to give myself a sense of accomplishment beyond my Wanijani level. And I realized I should engage with the fun parts of Japanese culture too and involve my family- not just cram kanji on my own in a dark corner.
And here’s the thing- that new strategy took the pressure off and it’s been fun. I’ve watched a lot of anime with my kids (the entire Naruto series!!), I’ve read books and news, I’ve been grabbing every opportunity to speak Japanese, and I now regularly go to Japanese grocery stores and book stores with my family.
My reading and listening comprehension are now better than when I was living in Japan, and I think it’s mainly due to Wanikani- learning kanji/words first in Wanikani, but then hearing them, seeing them, understanding them and hopefully, eventually, being able to use them correctly myself. That last one is the real challenge for me. 私は漢字より言葉づかいが難しい…
Anyway- here’s to keeping going in an enjoyable, sustainable way. And a huge thank you to Wanikani- I am so much more literate. I wish this had existed when I lived in Japan!
Have fun out there, and stop and smell the flowers!