Yet another "Finally Level 60!" Post

So it seems to be a tradition here that when you get to Level 60 you have to write a post. Ok, I’ll admit, I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time and you’d think I would have thought about what I wanted to write sometime before actually getting the notification “You’ve reached Level 60”.

I’ve taken a long time getting here and to be fair, it isn’t my first time trying to master Kanji. So it has taken me about 4 and a half years on Wanikani. But, I took a long break of a year and a half in the middle of my Wanikani journey. It was really hard getting back into the rhythm after that break. I was motivated as I knew I’d be going back to Japan for a month-long trip — so I dropped down a few levels instead of resetting completely. I also suffered through a few weeks of 400+ review days. But for a while, probably the last year, I’ve just chugged along doing my reviews in the morning and evening with roughly 200 kanjis a day to review. Breaking them up into small chunks I found to be useful. And don’t skip a day, if you need a break, don’t forget to use your vacation setting.

As for learning Japanese, my story is even longer. I first started studying Japanese in College over 20 years ago. I majored in Linguistics and ended up going to graduate school specializing in Sanskrit and Tamil studies. I ended up dropping Japanese for many years. About ten years ago, my interest in Japanese came back and I starting studying it again with private tutors both in-person and on-line. You’d think speaking several languages, would help, but Japanese is odd and very hard. And Kanji has, is and probably always be one of its major difficulties. I first attacked Kanji the traditional method of copy and hope it sticks…I didn’t last too long that way. I then pushed through Heisig’s method “Remembering the Kanji” and finished all the Joyo Kanji. I had a decent recognition of the kanji, but I didn’t know the readings. And in the end, it is all about vocabulary and usage. I did find Heisig useful for showing me how to use my imagination to memorize Kanji. I went to Japan for a six-month stay including intensive classes so my spoken Japanese improved. But I got tired of studying and was disappointed in my progress, so I plateaued and then ending up losing interest in continuing.

A few years later, I discovered Wanikani and decided ok, I want to keep pushing through. I’d love to be able to read Japanese like I can read Spanish or French (ie read a novel without a dictionary). It’s a high standard I know, but I want to get there. I’ve found Wanikani very good at helping me remember both the meanings and the various yomikata and some of the vocabulary. Now, it is all practice. I’m finally reading a real book with my online Japanese teacher. I’m over 150 pages in, and every day I try to read one chapter on my own to prepare my kanji. Actually it really isn’t a kanji problem, and rarely a grammar problem — I’m surprised about all the onomatopoeia and wasei-eigo (Japanese made up or twisted English words)…

I sat the JLPT 2 last year and failed by only a few points. Kanji definitely isn’t the main problem. And grammar as hard and weird as it is, wasn’t too hard. Fast reading comprehension and listening are my problems. So I will work on those this year. I have no pressure on passing the JLPT, I’d just like to have some external recognition of my level.

I live in Paris, so I don’t really have much of a need for Japanese, other than my personal interest. Most of the Japanese I use and come in contact is because I study Tea Ceremony — which also means I’m pretty good at understanding convoluted keigo expressions. But this also means, that my Japanese and my vocabulary is very specialized. I’m not a fan of anime or pop culture…and prefer reading news, politics, history or classical literature – all stuff that is extremely complicated in Japanese…

I hope this inspires others to continue their kanji and Japanese studies. Also, I think more than speed, just find topics you enjoy in Japanese….it’s a very long road ahead. 頑張ってね。


Congratulations, you made it! :tada:


Bravo !
merci d’avoir partagé ton expérience, et c’est assez perso, mais ça me fait plaisir de voir que tu as fini tes niveaux en plus de 10 jours, je me reconnais dans ce rythme, héhéhé ^^
Bonne chance pour la suite, amuse-toi bien ^^


Congratulations! Your journey is so similar to mine: study Japanese, major in linguistics, drop Japanese, find it again 10 years after, go through RTK… I could have written all of that too. Reading your storu gives me so much motivation for the journey ahead. Congrats again!


Thank you for sharing your journey, it is interesting indeed! Congratulations on level 60, at lvl 13 myself and the distance to 60 seems almost insurmountable…


Merci. J’ai déjà essayé la méthode tout apprendre le plus vite possible quand j’avais étudié avec la méthode Heisig…mais j’ai compris que à long terme je ne me souvenais pas du tout même avec un SRS. Et ne vivant pas au Japon, il est très difficile de maintenir son niveau. Cette fois-ci, je voulais les apprendre pour du bien. Donc, sans être pressé et sans utiliser des scripts.


Congratulations! Good for you for digging yourself out of a hole and sticking it out. Thanks for sharing your interesting journey.

I agree! I’ve found that the more interested I am in a book or show, the better my comprehension and the more I’m able to learn and retain new words.

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Congratulations! :partying_face:

Now, seeing your WK break of 558 days, I wonder if anyone here got a higher break than mine: image|362x300
Although I got my AVG down to 9 days now, lol


Congratulations!! :confetti_ball: :cake:

Your story is so inspiring!! Rooting for you and your continued progress in novel-reading and enjoyment of this language :smile:


This is a really great story to share overall, and this tidbit reflects a lot of my own history with the language. It is such a long road and having lots of work with Western languages really doesn’t get you very far. Thanks for your forthrightness and sharing this, it is very heartening to read.


Congratulations!! :tada: :partying_face: :tada:

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Congrats! :confetti_ball: :confetti_ball: :confetti_ball: For your 6 month stay in Japan, were the intensive classes the main reason for your stay? And were the classes part of your job or purely personal interest? I am looking into doing something similar for personal interest in the next 5 years or so (if I reach my financial/career goals by then).

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Hi. I had taken a break in between jobs and was able to spend some time traveling. I decided to go to Japan and spend 6 months studying Japanese intensively. When I first came to France, I learned French by taking three months of intensive courses at the Alliance Française. I then passed the DALF and enrolled in a Master’s degree at a French school here. So I thought, why not try to find something similar in Japan…I did three months in an intensive school, which I really did not like but that has a lot to do with how Japanese is taught to foreigners in Japan. It is extremely by the book and should you use a word or a kanji that you aren’t supposed to know it is バツ-- My interests are ecletic and like I mentioned before I had studied linguistics and several languages so while I like to study grammar I also like to try to decipher real life. It was the opposite of my experience at the Alliance Française, where yes there was a curriculum but the teachers would ask us everyday what did you see in Paris, was there a word or a phrase you heard or saw somewhere that you didn’t understand. They would then use that to explain some point of usage even if it was colloquial or vulgar. The last three months I only took private lessons and I’ve found that that works better with me. It takes a bit of effort to find a Japanese teacher that is open to doing some grammar but then being more free in the lesson plans. I’d ask to read poetry or articles about tea, ie things I’m interested in…and get them help me understand those texts regardless of the difficulty. Getting good conversation practice in Japan I found to be hard. It isn’t as easy to make friends as in France or in Latin countries…people are shy. Sometimes when they realize you can say more than the weather is fine they’d freak out and not want to have a conversation anymore…but that experience was over 10 years ago. When I went back a year or so ago, I noticed attitudes had changed and I had some very fun and interesting conversations in Japanese with total strangers.


You have so many abilities in language… what an interesting background to read. I’m sure failing N2 gave you mixed feelings, but I would go pretty easy on myself if I had all those other things going for me. Really impressive that you’re going to keep improving.

Even without the long break in the middle, the amount of time you stuck with the program is really cool.


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Felicitations ! Ca redonne un peu de baume au coeur de voir un compatriote ( je suppose ) achever ce long process.

Champion du monde

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Merci. Courage. Je suis naturalisé français :wink: Les ressources pour apprendre le japonais en français sont très limitées et à mon avis pas très bonnes…Wanikani a été de très loin l’outil le plus utile pour moi pour faire progresser ma compréhension et retention de kanji et par extension de la lecture en japonais.

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Congratulations @clydede-先輩!
bow hinata haikyu

Yeah! This is what I am keep talking about 先輩. If we all just keep chugging along, we will eventually get there. Thank you for being a testament to this! All the best on your future goals for the language


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