Super late level 60 post

Firstly, for those beginning with wanikani and struggling with routine I highly urge you to read Jprspereira’s level 60 post first as that helped me with my mindset going forward and pretty much set me up for success in completing wanikani. With that out of the way here’s mine.

I actually got to level 60 back in June 2021, so almost three years ago. It took me about 1.5 years as I started at the very end of 2019. I still kept doing my reviews daily but after a while they dwindled to some days not having any reviews so I just stopped. After finishing wanikani I had planned to write all of wanikani’s kanji 10 times each and then make a level 60 post, just so it would be a little different. I thought the writing practice would greatly improve my japanese proficiency. I figured it would take about a year as I wanted to go at a pace of one level a week, approximately the same as when I was levelling up in wanikani. I think it took me on average 2 hours to complete a level with 35 kanji? Well a year went by and I had written all of the kanji up to level ~59 and then stopped. Talk about giving up right before the finish line. I had genuinely lost steam as I no longer believed writing out each kanji was improving my level of japanese. I noticed it really wasn’t doing anything to improve my reading or listening from when I started writing at level 1 and wanted to spend my time elsewhere as I planned to take the JLPT N2 at the end of 2022 (so it was only a few months away). I picked up Torii doing 10-20 words a day and started doing drills in my nihongo soumatome N2 grammar and reading books that I had bought 2 years earlier and hardly used. I like Torii because it’s free (I still donated to Rakantor to get premium) and has example sentences which I would say is crucial to developing an understanding of the vocab and I hope wanikani now has example sentences for all its vocab? I wouldn’t say I was very focused and found the books (and perhaps just studying this way) really boring and only finished less than half of the content by the time the JLPT rolled around. I did finish most of the N2 vocab in Torii though and pretty much blitzed through the N5 to N3 vocab as I recognised and so just archived most of them.

Still I failed the N2, by one point in the reading section mind you, and realised that my reading was super weak. If you were to ask how I felt about not passing the JLPT by 1 point (out of 60 for the reading) I would just say that while disappointing, I really couldn’t complain as I felt the passing thresholds were really lenient. Overall you only needed 90/180 points (50%) to pass and for each of the three sections only 19/60 points (~32%) so I felt the bar was set really low. I can’t remember exactly how it played out but to practice my reading I only read what I wanted to read from that point on, starting with picking up and finishing Yotsubato and Vagabond. At some point I stumbled across Jazzy’s insane reddit post on how he went from zero to N1 in 9 months. For some reason it was deleted hence why I linked it through the wayback machine but I believe this to be a must read for anyone looking to seriously improve their japanese as it really shows how important reading (and reading a lot) helps. One thing that post helped with was introduce me to TheMoeWay which led me to finding mokuro which combined with Yomichan (now being supported as Yomitan by the folks at themoeway) allowed me to read every manga from then on with a pop up dictionary. If I had to say what is the best of all the language learning tools available it would have to be the pop up dictionary as it is an absolute gamechanger in being able to instantly lookup words you don’t know right then and there and go on your merry way. I have since read Ajin, I Am A Hero, and am currently reading Berserk and have noticed leaps and bounds in my reading ability. I also played the visual novel Summer Pockets early last year due to Jazzy really liking and recommending the medium of visual novels and me never having tried it decided to give it a shot. I never really finished it as after getting five bad endings and not wanting to use a guide, at that point I wanted to go back to reading manga instead. I can definitely see the appeal though and would recommend people try it out if you have a VN you want to read. I personally would like to read Stein’s Gate in the future but at the moment the stories I want to read are in manga format so I’ll continue that for now.

When it comes to reading I would just say get in as soon as you can. Don’t wait until you’re 60 in wanikani or finished a 10k deck as it’ll be just as jarring when you finally start reading. I found it’s one thing to recognise a word when it’s in an SRS but almost another thing entirely when encountering it in the wild. I’ve realised that at best SRS can act as a primer for when you do encounter it in the wild and at worst a waste of time when you could have spent that immersing, and that’s with me still having read most of the example sentences provided in wanikani and Torii. I understand it’s really difficult/tiring in the beginning as you’ll constantly be looking up words and confused with the grammar (you’ll constantly be questioning yourself. Is this what the author means here? Am I interpreting this correctly?) but nothing improves reading like reading. Reading content you like is such a key factor in motivation to keep you going that the only other thing I could recommend if it’s really too much is to then choose something more your level. Whatever makes you keep going.

The only other study I’ve been doing currently is getting through the Torii 10k deck. I continued with Torii after failing the JLPT, albeit only at a pace of 5 lessons a day, first finishing off N2 and then completing the N1 vocab which from memory took about half a year I think? At that point I decided to just finish the whole 10k deck and roughly guessing I think I have about a year’s worth of lessons to go now? It’ll be done when it’s done though as I like the sustainable pace I’m keeping and after that I think I’ll be done with SRS and will just purely focus on immersion, reading and listening to what I want. I don’t have any plans on retaking the JLPT yet but if I do it would be for N1 now as I feel like there’d be little point in retaking the N2 other than to see how far I’ve come, to which I would rather just aim to pass N1.

Anyway, what made me finally come back to do the last few hours needed to finish off writing out all of wanikani’s kanji was cleaning up my desk and really not wanting to pack away my writing book until I had finished the last 1-2 levels. Hence here we are in all its glory, 2000+ kanji with 10-20 repetitions depending on when I hit the margin:

Going back to writing to improve your japanese, I think it’s best to sprinkle it in your studies rather than make it a focus unless you’re doing something creative such as journaling or poetry. I would highly advise against writing out individual kanji like I did and would suggest to write out words or sentences instead if you really want to do writing or think it would help with your recognition. Sprinkle an exercise in such as picking out 10 words from your last review set and writing them out a couple of times or making sentences out of them. Maybe choose only words you got wrong? Or words that only have kanji? Up to you, just don’t do what I did. Looking back over the pages it seems I’ve at least improved my handwriting a little?

Here’s some more stats from my wanikani journey for those interested. I actually made my account back in 2016 but don’t remember really doing anything until I bought lifetime on the christmas/new year sale at the end of 2019. For what reason I can’t remember but I found it better to make the levelup time 8 days instead of 7 as it was easier to manage.

To finish off this post, there’s a Hayao Miyazaki quote at the bottom.
Also remember:
“Le mieux est l’ennemi du bien.” / “Perfect is the enemy of good.”
Otherwise I would have never written this level 60 post.

“Most important things in life are a hassle. If life’s hassles disappeared, you’d want them back.”


An amazing achievement. Well done


Oh wow. Epic. :flushed:

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I think I love this quote! Very prescient for me on a personal note.

On a general note, congratulations on making it to level 60!! You’re a rock star. Good luck on the rest of your journey!

-Nick at WK