When did you realize

I had a moment just now. I realized I was learning japanese. Not trying to learn but actually learning. It is becoming familiar to me. It is becoming a part of who I am. Don’t get me wrong, I still know very little, but it was an… interesting feeling. When did it dawn upon you that japanese was… taking root in you?


Good question, now that I think about it I don’t really remember exactly.

I would say WaniKani is a good example that shows you that you are actually learning Japanese because it’s not something that you can afford to avoid for a while or your reviews will pile up like crazy.

Once you reach like level 10 that’s when you realize you have been learning Japanese in my opinion. You know you have been on WaniKani for a while and you start recognizing some Kanji which feels insanely good.

The main difficulty in learning Japanese is reading Kanji. It’s usually what scares people, I remember how it felt like something impossible for me in the past. Once you start to be able to read some of them, you realize that your work is paying off and that learning Kanji isn’t as impossible as you thought.


Probably the first time someone in my class didn’t recognise a word and I got confused on how they didn’t know, and then I realised - it was a japanese word, and I knew it bc I was Learning Japanese. It kinda bashed me over the head at that point.


For me it’s the moments I engage with Japanese without having to think about it.

My wife checking a Japanese cutscene for a game while I’m doing something completely different, and I commented on what the character said.

Reading and understanding simple lines of dialogue in a VN at the same speed as I would Dutch or English.

Laughing at jokes in a Japanese LPs I’m watching.

Essential reminders that I’m progressing at least some, amidst the periodic horror of thinking about how much more there is to learn and master. :slight_smile:


I mean, check my level, I know jack shit.
But after using WK for a month, and I was lvl 3-4 and just happened to check that I had gone through 80 kanji in what was like the blink of an eye was kinda crazy.
Kanji literally seemed impossible and that I just couldn’t make the time to really get into them, and with just a little effort I already knew 80+? That really was an interesting and motivating feeling that I could learn the language if I wanted


I don’t mean an intellectual knowing, I mean a feeling of familiarity. Like… it’s no longer a “foreign” language, but now feels like a piece of home. It’s about the feeling it has, not how well you can score on a test.


hearing somethimg reading the subtitles and thinking… Aaaaahhhh i did understand that.

Also finding random 漢字 and thinking ah I know that!

Reading hiragana at a “normal” speed…

Or the best one writing your own very basic likely full of erros sentheses 今朝、僕は七時に起きます! 友達と山へ行きます


This probably started years ago when I think I was one of those weabs and think by myself in Japanese. It was during those sad moments of my life where I was muttering 「独りだ、さみしいよ」as if I trying to imitate those from anime.

Then later on, when I’m actively learning Japanese: when I can actually understand Japanese puns, when I get frustrated seeing romaji when searching for Japanese song lyrics and such…


Reading that sentence at the end and was like… wow! I didn’t need Google Translate.


Everyone is going to have a different answer here because the question is a bit vague. As for me, I’ve been learning Japanese for over 12 years now – reading is just my worst skill so I’m working on that now.

I’d say that for me it would be when the language actually “gelled” in my brain, it became a mass of knowledge that is just passively there for me to call upon when I speak Japanese, without thinking about it. In other words, かたことがないような日本語が持っていた。Now when I learn new things it’s not much different than learning new things in English - I don’t have to do exercises or try too hard to remember them.

However, there wasn’t a moment where I realized this, because I took a long break from Japanese after learning it for about 4-5 years including a study abroad in Japan. When I came back to it after several years it was already like this.

I think one thing that really bridged the gap for me was taking an Advanced Japanese course I was totally not ready for, where English was not allowed and really high level Japanese conversation was happening. I had the “never again” feeling when I graduated that class, but it really helped me off a plateau.

Edit: I should add that English is a second language for me, and there, too, I never had any one moment I can pinpoint to and say “that’s when I ‘got’ it”.


I was in the kitchen just doing stuff whilst my little sister was watching something on youtube. I could hear what they were saying in the background, “hello, welcome, thank you, see you soon” (basic stuff for a two year old). It was only after looking at the screen did a realise it was Japanese (some weird kids show).

It wasn’t anything high level (or wanikani level for that matter) but I did realise that Japanese was becoming a normal thing for me.


Every time I do a review, I get hit with the feeling… I know more Japanese than I think.
Look at all the vocabulary I learned, Look at this text filled with symbols that is gibberish to everyone in my family, except me.
It’s kinda like being able to read a code.

I don’t remember when I first got that feeling though. I just have it every time I do something Japanese. I know more than I think I do. Just because I have difficulty producing spoken Japanese, doesn’t mean I don’t understand what’s being said to me. That’s just a weakness I have due to anxiety, introversion, lack of experience, not lack of knowledge.

Every time I work on my little document of grammar points I’m needing to learn, adding more example sentences, suddenly being able to read all kanji without issue (that used to be a severe weak point) that’s a great feeling.
It keeps me going.


So much this. I hate romaji. It makes it so hard to read for some reason.
I also got to the point where a sentence written in full hiragana makes no sense to me until I carefully read it. I need the kanji to be able to understand it quick.


Many people are at a loss for a response when someone says, “You don’t know Jack Schitt.” Now you can intellectually handle the situation.
Jack is the only son of Awe Schitt and O. Schitt. Awe Schitt, the fertilizer magnate, married O. Schitt, a partner of Kneedeep &. Schitt Inc. In turn, Jack Schitt married Noe Schitt, and the deeply religious couple produced 6 children: Holie Schitt, Fulla Schitt, Giva Schitt, Bull Schitt, and the twins: Deep Schitt and Dip Schitt.
Against her parents’ objections, Deep Schitt married Dumb Schitt, a high school drop out. After being married 15 years, Jack and Noe Schitt divorced.
Noe Schitt later married Mr. Sherlock, and because her kids were living with them she wanted to keep her previous name. She was known as Noe Schitt-Sherlock.
Dip Schitt married Loda Schitt and they produced a nervous son, Chicken Schitt. Fulla Schitt and Giva Schitt were inseparable throughout childhood and subsequently married the Happens brothers in a dual ceremony.
The wedding announcement in the newspaper announced the Schitt-Happens wedding.
The Schitt-Happens children were Dawg, Byrd, and Hoarse. Bull Schitt, the prodigal son, left home to tour the world. He recently returned from Italy with his new bride, Piza Schitt.
So now if someone says, “You don’t know Jack Schitt”, you can correct them. Not only do you know Jack, you know his whole family!




And now let’s translate that to Japanese. Then you know you’re learning Japanese.

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To off-top further: great avatar. :ok_hand: I’ve only seen the anime, but I love rewatching it with JP subs. The very rapid dialogue makes for great listening practice.


Few anime have made me laugh as much as that one episode.


I think I “realized” I was learning Japanese was when I registered for Japanese 102, after validating 101. The number of students had dramatically decreased as well. A lot of people registered for 101 but quickly dropped out. As one of those who made it through to the next level, I felt that yes, indeed, I am learning Japanese for real. Well, that, plus the content. I remember we started having more “complex” grammar, like ~なければならない, and it felt like we were getting into the deeper end of the pool. (We were supposed to reach N5 at the end of that class too).


This may sound silly, but it was a few years ago when I could read along to the little lyric subtitles in anime. I didn’t understand all of the lyrics, but I was able to read along without any issues and it clicked. I could read that!

I stagnated for a long time in reading, even though I’ve been able to understand and speak N5-N4 level Japanese for a while. But I could never read a whole book, or finish a game entirely in Japanese because of all the kanji. I’m having another “realization” now that I’ve been doing WaniKani for over half a year at this point, because I can read all kinds of things and actually understand what people are saying on the internet! Again, I still commit a lot of grammar mistakes but it’s such a rush being able to comprehend a stranger’s comments on the Japanese side of Youtube.