Wanikani for olds

I recently installed a heat map addon and saw my ebbs and flows with this app. I’m in my mid-40s, work full time, married with children. I started out with this grand idea of being level 60 in a year and I crashed hard. I’ve come back from queues of 2000+ three or four times now. I have days where I’m so tired after work I can barely eat and make it to the bed, and things can snowball out of control quickly.

I won’t give up though. Four years in and I’m not sure I’m ever going to learn Japanese. I see people blow past me in progress with the language in 1/4 of the time…but somehow I’m still here.

Thought it might be fun to share a different story than the typical level in 8 days I read all the time. That ain’t me obviously!


Good luck!

Resilience is key. :wink:


Yeah, there are a lot of people (me included) who are also going slower than expected. But don’t give up, you’re still making progress, and that’s what counts.

As the old proverb goes:
“Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid of standing still”

So just keep at it, whatever speed works for you. We’re cheering for you!


I second this :point_up_2:- We’re rooting for you! Someone out there is rooting for me too, right? RIGHT?! :rofl:

But in all seriousness, I’m very impressed at the amount of backed up reviews you’ve pushed through… having over 100 scares me enough to make time for them.

Just a curiosity neoemonk, are you currently/have been using anything in addition to WK?


Yes!! I am like this too. I might never make it to 60 but every tiny step forwards is still going in the right direction. Keep it up!!! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:


I admire you. I also am in the same boat. I should check out this heat map for myself to force myself to study harder :stuck_out_tongue:


I’m a bit more ‘olds’ than you and started about the same time. We’re doing just fine.

Don’t compare yourself to speed runners or even to me; each learner here has their own unique set of attributes and challenges. The only fair comparison is to previous versions of you - do you know a little more, are you making more connections, is the picture just a little bit clearer?

You’ve got a lifetime sub, so just keep swimming :tropical_fish:


Here’s to lifetime subs like us!! :smiley: Born in 79 so I’m …uhhhh, early forties and having a blast with WK! With Trunklayer’s encouragement to do 100 reviews/day, I was able to beat my way back to new lessons from a 1200+ review queue from the stresses of this past year, and I’m feeling great about working my way into the Death levels! We can do it! :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:



I started in January and am only Level 8. When I started I was hoping to get to level 30 by December, which is when I plan on visiting Japan (travel allowed). I quickly realized there was no way that was happening and I probably won’t even make level 20 by then.

I’m going slow because I know I can’t handle more in my life right now. I have cleared my reviews everyday since I started though. I add lessons each day but sometimes it’s as few as three.

It’s become a lifestyle routine for me though, so as long as it doesn’t get too brutal when the enlighteneds start returning I’ll be able to keep it up indefinitely.

I do about 30 min of Anki per day as well. I do iTalki lessons once per week. I try to either read one NHK easy or an episode of a Japanese show each day for immersion.

Do I feel like I’m making progress though? It’s quite frustrating sometimes. I feel like for all the time and effort I should be able to understand better. If it’s not the simplest, slowest, speaking, I can’t follow it. And I can only read about 50% of NHK easy, on a good article.

Even though it doesn’t feel like it, I can’t deny I have gotten better though. I can read enough NHK easy to make it worth it. When I first started I tried NHK easy and it was just impossible. It wasn’t worth my time to struggle though it. I still can’t understand it without leaning on google translate, but at least it’s not so painful anymore. I also can pick out more words and understand more snippets of dialog from the shows I watch than when I first started. Even if I can’t follow any entire sentence or complicated dialog.

I think I’m on track to take the JLPT 5 in December. That’s become my goal.

Good luck to you.


I believe in you, man. You can learn the language in your own pace, as long as you don’t give up. Giving up is the only way it can conquer you. :slight_smile:


I’m another one of the old timers here: 43.

Married, full time job, four kids including a one year old.



Haha I love this. Way better than the English version : D


Thanks for posting. You are very similar to me in terms of situation and learning speed. It’s always disheartening seeing a bunch of posts about doing 2 levels in a month, whereas I’m happy doing a level in 2 months!


I watch this every time I need a little encouragement. :wink:

Hits harder when you can understand him, too. :smiley:


goodness, I’m 59 in two weeks and feel very old now…
going really slow, but enjoying myself. In the past five years I have been to Japan four times (yes, on my own, yes, fat old woman in Japan) and substantial progress has been made. but kanji is a means and not a goal…と思います
(btw I reset twice, no problem, it’s not the olympics)


I’m 42.
Wife, 4yr old and twin 1yr olds. Been on level 10 for 258 days. :flushed:
A lot of days lately where I don’t do reviews or I’ll do very few. Thinking to reset to a lower level. I’ll get there eventually too.
Good luck to you all.


Consider aiming higher in JLPT levels - level 5 requires very low proficiency. I know it feels like you’re lagging behind the others, but 30 minutes a day is a good investment.

Remember that SRS is more about logging in at regular intervals than raw time spent. I will probably pass you as well, but I have a schedule that allows me to log in 3+ times a day. That means I hit guru on radicals and kanji asap and level every week even without a fast level. It doesn’t really mean I’m learning faster than you. You are still spending more time studying than me, and I think you will have more to show for it.

You don’t have to start at the bottom, and I imagine JLPT5 will put you to sleep. Especially if you’ve been at it for 4 years

As much time as you spend studying, I would like to think that level 3 would be doable by December. You might not ace it, but I bet that you’d have a good shot at passing.


Just a small correction, the OP has been studying for 4 years. I’ve only been studying for 6 months (wanikani for about 4 months).

But you’ve given me something to think about. My iTalki 先生 gives me japanese audio clips to transcribe as homework. I think they are JLPT practice clips. It’s a short conversation followed by a question. If I listen to the clips once straight through I can mostly guess the answer (though not always) though I never understand every word. Then I go back and repeat them a bunch of times as I get the transcription right for every word. I assume those are JLPT 5 level clips. I feel like by December those would be no problem for me.

I think registration opens in August. Before that I’ll dig up some Level 4 practice tests and see how I do. Thanks for the advice.


As long as you don’t stop you’re doing perfect :wink: 頑張って!

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Never too old to do something you want to do! (Early 50’s here :wink:) You have great determination and tenacity to smash that amount of reviews that many times, awesome stuff! Are you getting somewhere? Absolutely! I knew I wasn’t going to be a fast leveller, needed to balance life, work and WK. Will I finish, I hope so in a few years. Pop your vacation mode on if life needs to take front & centre, it’ll stop those reviews from blowing out.

Check out a couple of the slow lanes here if you want a bit of a boost along. You got this! :muscle: