That moment when you realize the value of WaniKani

I’ve been using WaniKani alongside JapanesePod101 (because my listening comprehension is abysmal). Just five minutes ago, I was listening to an Absolute Beginner early lesson, which happened to, as banter, bring up the phrase "引き分け”. Just two weeks ago, I was introduced to this phrase via WaniKani. My mind exploded. The fact that I knew this phrase because of WaniKani–knew the pronunciation–knew the kanji–and knew the meaning already blew my mind. And the fact that right off the bat, my ears recognized the phrase.

I’m a new subscriber to WaniKani, but this moment couldn’t have solidified my happiness with this website anymore than it had. Sorry, I’m feeling sentimental and wanted to share.

I don’t get much time to study, because of work and the holidays. But moments like this are extremely precious to me and revitalize my ambition to continue studying Japanese.


It’s a pretty great feeling, isn’t it?

Even at level 14, I’m regularly coming across things I couldn’t dream of being able to read just a few months ago. It gives me so much excitement to imagine where I’ll be a few months from now!


Whats 引け分け?

Do you mean 引き分け?

HAH! Yes, that’s totally what I meant. :smiley:

I will admit I was typing with my keyboard about a foot away from me.

LOL, ok that makes sense. I was really confused for a few seconds there.

Yeah, people give WK a hard time for not teaching “useful” vocab, whatever that means. The truth is that despite not claiming to be for learning vocab, your comprehension will increase pretty dramatically if you start as a beginner. Even in the VN I am currently playing, the words I commonly look up are found on only ~level 35. While you will have to learn most of your vocab outside of WK/go more in depth on the nuance of words, it still enables you to read quite a bit.


Even at level 4 (just beginning level 4, even) I’ve been listening to a lot of new vocab via other websites (such as the one mentioned in my initial post) and I’ll hear on-yomi readings said for a word, and I have a realization of “OH MY GOSH” I know the first/second kanji in that word… I might not know the both kanji, but even just knowing one of them has this crazy mind-blowing experience that makes learning kanji worth-while. I’ve found that it makes the vocab taught sink in that much more. Suddenly it’s impossible to forget, whereas before I had retention issues.

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A nice moment for me came from a game I was playing recently. I’d done one route back before I started Wanikani, and while I got through it okay, I picked it back up for another route, and this time and it was noticeably easier. A couple months ago I also picked a manga back up that I’d only read two chapters of pre-Wanikani, and the second time around I got all the way through and understood more. And yeah, those moments feel pretty good.


I’m half-Japanese and you could see learning Nihongo is important for my identity. The hardest part of learning Nihongo is mastering Kanji. WaniKani is helping me with that difficulty and easing my anxiety of learning the language bit by bit.


I think it’s amazing that you’re embracing more than one part of your heritage! Even as someone that doesn’t have that heritage/cultural connection, I find WaniKani to ease a huge part of language learning anxiety similarly to you. It definitely offers the ease-of-access that a lot of language learning platforms are missing or don’t quite hit right.

Moments like that are how I’m able to keep putting time and effort into learning this stuff every day. If I didn’t have an occasional “ah-ha” moment, I’d probably give up because I’d feel like I was just wasting my time. It’s definitely a great feeling when you’re able to recognize words and/or phrases like that.


It makes me so weirdly happy to hear this !

I take beginner lessons on a tuesday night - and last week my teacher wrote a kanji on the board and speculatively asked if anyone knew what it meant - and to my surprise I FLIPPING DID. Along with reading - people actually gasped with shock :joy:

It is truly those little victories that leep the motivation up !


Which one?!

Around July when I only had around 1 month of WK/Kanji learning, I had a friend tell me she was going to get a tattoo with a Kanji. She showed me the image and it was 母! I immediately answered back with the meaning and she got totally surprised. The thing is that she lost her mother around when she was a baby, and she felt that I totally understood her reason behind the tattoo. That connection felt good :slight_smile:


I’ve been loving and benefiting from WK since the early levels, but the most immediate confirmation of value for me was this past Friday. It recently started snowing and getting cold where I live in Japan and my supervisor was trying to explain the word for frostbite in Japanese. She said ‘しもやけ,’ and I had literally learned the 焼 kanji the night before. So I quickly wrote down what I assumed the kanji was, 下焼け, since I’d heard 下 read as しも before. Turns out it was 霜焼け, but they were impressed that I could write 焼け.

It also reinforced the benefits of learning the radicals and the kanji. I remembered the left half as fire easily enough, but spaced on the construction of the right side for a second before I remembered ‘ah, cross->blackjack-legs.’ Without the radical breakdowns, it’s so much harder to remember the more complex ones. Thanks, WK!

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Just today, I was able to understand the following tweet from an ice dancer following a skating competition in Japan:
応援してくれてありがとうございます。 日本でいる間に楽しかったです。 これからも頑張ります!

Simple enough, but I definitely only knew 応援 from Wanikani. :slight_smile: Feels good not to hit the translate button!


前 - front


For me, it was the other way around. I watched 四月は君の嘘 before I got to the kanji for “friend” and when I did, it was easy to remember because in the anime there is this whole thing about 友人A that I’m not gonna expand upon because spoilers. So I guess just like WK is good to understand Japanese from other sources, so are other sources good for a faster progression on WK.

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