The Joy of First Steps and Little Wins

I started learning Japanese as a hobby a little less than a month ago. I memorized kana using a game (“You Can Kana” on Steam… highly recommended for complete beginners) and a flashcard app on my phone. After that, I started learning basic grammar and quickly found WaniKani when searching for recommended ways to learn kanji. I struggled at first. It felt like I hit a wall when I encountered the first kun’yomi vs on’yomi, standalone kanji vs vocabulary readings. But, just when I was beginning to think that maybe WaniKani wasn’t the method that would work for me… a switch flipped in my head and things started sticking.

Fast forward a bit and I’m making my way through Level 2. (I’m still taking things at a slow/steady pace… plus I’m in my 30’s with a career… so racing through the levels isn’t for me.) To further support my learning process, I downloaded an ‘Easy Japanese News’ app onto my phone and have been looking at articles occasionally. I still can’t read 99% of it without the help of translation, with the “easiest” words being those borrowed from English and written in katakana.

But, this morning, I hit a word (comprised entirely of kanji) that I had never seen before… but I instantly knew what it meant: 火山 … I was so physically startled when I read it with no effort that I ended up saying “volcano!” out loud before I realized what I was doing. Then I tapped on it to make sure I wasn’t wrong:

I know it’s a simple word made of two basic kanji and some people might think it’s silly to be so happy about it… but as someone who (regrettably) didn’t appreciate the benefits of learning a foreign language when they were younger… I’m over the moon.

Thanks WaniKani!


Just think how much fun you have ahead of you with so many kanji to learn :grin: