Your Japanese Adventure!

My latest topic “Your WaniKani Level VS Your JLPT Level” did better than I expected and people seemed to love it. So I thought about making another one that is quite similar.

Again, we start with a false belief. I thought like 90%+ of Japanese learners wanted to learn the language because of video games/anime—at least that’s how I started. However, it’s not the case for a lot of people here in the forum. Which means, it’s time for a poll…actually two polls.

As usual, I will define the format to follow from the beginning so that we all have the same one. Here is an example.

  • Why You Started: I wanted to be able to play video games in Japanese and watch anime without subtitles.
  • Why You Are Still Doing It: Because it’s a challenge. If I can be fluent in Japanese, I can probably achieve any goal I want. It also makes me original compared to other people.
  • Your Funniest Moment/Experience: I re-played some old Pokemon games. The first time I did it, I was literally stuck for like 3 hours in the first village. I couldn’t understand anything and the dialogues felt endless.
  • Your Most Memorable Moment/Experience: Being able to do challenges like this Jaden Yuki VS Yugi Muto Transcript(Part 1) - 100% Done
  • External Help: I live in France and I have no Japanese classes so 100% alone in my adventure so far.
  • Your Final Goal: Being able to consume content/media in Japanese without looking up a dictionary every 5 seconds.

EDIT: There is a cake beside my name, someone tell Koichi I am not LVL 60 yet :joy:



  • Anime/Manga/Games
  • Other

0 voters


  • Self-Taught 100%
  • I Have Japanese Classes
  • I Live In Japan
  • All Together

0 voters


The :cake: is for your WaniKaniversary! Wee! :confetti_ball:

  • Why You Started: To prepare myself for a trip to Japan so that I wouldn’t be completely lost, just mostly lost. (The trip was about 2.5 years ago during hanami, it was amazeballs.)
  • Why You Are Still Doing It: Learning kanji with Wanikani is fun, and it fills up some down time at work in a productive way, as opposed to playing mobile games, or something. I feel like less of a slacker.
  • Your Funniest Moment/Experience: When I was first starting to learn grammar, I wrote something ending with ~ますです。:woman_facepalming:
  • Your Most Memorable Moment/Experience: mamimumason told me that something I wrote in Japanese sounded poetic. :blush:
  • External Help: A few years ago I managed to acquire a pen pal for several months via HiNative. She was a Japanese teacher in Japan learning English, but ended up losing opportunities to write to me, being so busy working with her students or at cram school, especially during finals. Otherwise, nada.
  • Your Final Goal: Keep having fun ~ Weee!
  • Why You Started: Main reason was because i had like 4-5 months worth of free time and learning a new language would certainly shave some time off of that (it did!). Also anime and video games (though i pretty much stopped watching/playing), especially japanese news (mostly twitter).
  • Why You Are Still Doing It: Because it somehow became an addiction - studying Kanji most of all! It´s really funny. The thing that held me back from learning japanese in particular has always been its writing/reading system, but now it has become my main motivation!
  • Your Funniest Moment/Experience: Don´t have one yet, only pain and suffering. (jk)
  • Your Most Memorable Moment/Experience: I´m still at the beginning of my journey to fluency city, but my most memorable moment up until now would be me recognizing 東京 as the city Tokyo just after i learned both of those Kanji individually. I thought to myself: " ´Tou´ and ´Kyou´, what could that possibly mean… ´East´ and ´Capital´, hmm… WAIT A SEC!".
  • External Help: Self-Study because of effiency, though i recently made friends with a half-japanese person at work who is fluent in, well, japanese! So the moment i get to intermediate level i´ll be bombarding him with annoying questions for sure :stuck_out_tongue: .
  • Your Final Goal: Being “fluent” in reading and understanding spoken Japanese just like i am in english (i´m german btw). Watching anime without subs obviously, playing chrono trigger, ff6 and suikoden 2 all in japanese and getting the quickest japanese entertainment news from twitter. Going to Japan on vacation and being able to communicate effectively is a nice bonus as well! I don´t really care all that much for great speaking skills and handwriting might be a nice skill to impress (or even shock!) your friends with but i neglect it personally.
1 Like

I barely play now as well. However, playing a Japanese game once in a while is cool!

Good luck, neighbor!

  • Why You Started: Had some free time, decided I wanted to learn a language, chose to learn Sign, ended up with Japanese.
  • Why You Are Still Doing It: It’s fun?
  • Your Funniest Moment/Experience: Understanding jokes in Japanese
  • Your Most Memorable Moment/Experience: Yes!
  • External Help: Started off with a year full time of Japanese classes, then two years later I took a quarter of a semester’s worth of Japanese, and now I am taking full time online classes again. My full time classes have always been accompanied by full time classes in other subjects as well, though, and I do work extra, so I’m not studying as much as I should.
  • Your Final Goal: I want to be able to read books in Japanese without looking up a single word.

Is it even possible? In English, when you don’t know a word, you can skip it and you don’t care. In Japanese, when you find a new Kanji you don’t know you get triggered and you feel the need to translate it.

1 Like

I learned English as a second language and I never have to look up words when reading in English, so I would assume so


I do not understand the question :thinking: or, more specifically, I do not understand the choices. What does the all together mean, when 100% self-taught and classes are mutually exclusive? How would studying (by yourself or not) speed up your study?
Writing that, I am know wondering if the intended question should read “what sped up your progress?” instead.


I have the same problem. I live in Japan, so should I tick that option despite the fact that living here contributes exactly zero to my studies? I live and work in an all-English-environment and, until I decided to start studying by myself, spent the first few years literaly unable to say "my name is… " in Japanese. Just living in a country doesn’t help at all. I lived in Thailand for 7 years but couldn’t count to ten in Thai if I had a million dollars for each digit!


Why You Started:
I moved to Japan this year and started learning before we came.
Why You Are Still Doing It:
Independence. Not being able to speak or read a language makes me feel super reliant on other people and I hate that. Also, I can sense that I’m making progress and I’m keen to be able to join in on everyday conversations in Japanese.
Your Funniest Moment/Experience:
When I accidentally explained to someone on the phone that I can’t speak English and they did this massive EHHHH???
External Help:
I discovered I can take university papers from my home country extramurally. I have one tutorial a week plus assignments and tests.
Your Final Goal:
To be able to speak Japanese pretty comfortably with friends and read my favorite Japanese writers in the original Japanese.

To be honest, I didn’t know how to phrase it so I will explain here, chère demoiselle. The poll is just to see the different kinds of Japanese learners.

Self-taught 100% like me—those who didn’t start anything serious yet I would guess, they need that leap of faith(taking classes, using italki, going to Japan, etc…).

Japanese classes—those who decided to learn Japanese because they had the possibility to have Japanese classes or those who decided to have Japanese classes because they were willing to do more and invest a little bit more time/money in the language.

Living in Japan—those who decided to learn Japanese because they live in Japan.

It’s basically to know the environment of each person because it does make a difference. For example, it’ll be way easier for someone who lives in Japan to practice his listening skills because he gets more exposure. Obviously, the poll isn’t that complicated and doesn’t take into consideration the fact that the person isn’t using that advantage, like what @marcusp said.

I get it, I spent 6 months in Malaysia and I barely know 5 words of their language. The poll is very simple so if you think that living in Japan doesn’t make a difference you can choose “Self-taught”. I am not looking for 100% accuracy here, this is just a fun project.

@lucyk really? Your English looks good, what is your native language then?


Considering that this is about Japanese and they said ‘accidentally’, I assume they didn’t mean to say this, and that it happened in Japanese. :smiley:

  • Why You Started: I wanted to be able to play video games in Japanese, particularly those that are part of a series that didn’t make it over to the west when the rest of the series did. :frowning:
  • Why You Are Still Doing It: I still want to play those games, but I’ve gained lots of other reasons that motivate me along the way. :slight_smile: I want to be able to have more meaningful dialogue with the natives who are not confident in their English. I really like a lot of the books I’ve read so far - I guess it remains to be seen if this is only that ‘I’m reading Japanese’ high or something to stay :smiley: No reason not to enjoy it while it lasts. :slight_smile: Also I want to pass that JLPT, which is something that motivates to keep at it at the pace I’m currently going (particularly the grammar side), even though it is not why I’m learning Japanese.
  • Your Funniest Moment/Experience: I dunno. I guess when my coworker demonstrated his katana skills, and then we spent an evening shooting with his air guns (is that what you call those?). A lot of (semi)fake weapons that evening.
  • Your Most Memorable Moment/Experience: Secret. :slight_smile: But also very memorable: A very international izakaya night where 4 languages were spoken, only 3 of which I have a passable understanding xD
  • External Help: Equally unsure what you mean by this as I am about your poll, though your explanation helped a little. I visited language school for 6 weeks and spent 1 year in Japan, but before that as well as right now I’m 100% self studying. :shrug: I guess language related forums such as WK could count as external help as well?
  • Your Final Goal: Feeling fluent :slight_smile: Guess I should define what that means to me, since it’s such a fluid term? :stuck_out_tongue: Being able to comfortably converse in Japanese - and by comfortably I mean for me and the other person! Haha… Being able to comfortably read new text, while being able to glean terms and expressions I’m not sure about largely from context. Becoming comfortable with not 100% ‘understanding’ things. So, becoming comfortable with the language I guess. :smile:
  • Why You Started: I passed GCSE Maths a number of years ago, a topic I should have passed at school but had great difficulty retaining and keeping with. Two years of study and I finally managed it. After that, I figured, If I can pass a topic like that which I found so impossible, why not study the mountain of a language I have always had some interest in. Japanese!
  • Why You Are Still Doing It: It has become somewhat of a hobby now. I started with some incentive to be able to play games like Pokemon, Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy and such in Japanese, but quite quickly it just became a matter of finding the learning process quite interesting and worthwhile. Wanikani is a BIG part of this. Never thought I’d find learning kanji to be the most enjoyable part of studying Japanese.
  • Your Funniest Moment/Experience: Messed up passive form while talking in a Japanese conversation group (natives were present) and said something like ‘my dog was eaten by my passport’.
  • Your Most Memorable Moment/Experience: My first full spoken conversation in Japanese! Exactly one year from starting studying the language I went on a 2 week holiday to Tokyo. I conversed with a young shopkeeper in a jacket store and told him of how I found the language and how excited I was to be visiting the country. He was very enthusastic and friendly and a real motivator for me to continue on. It’s now almost exactly two years on from when I started studying Japanese and I’m due to go again to Tokyo in a few weeks. Excited to see what new experiences comes of that!
  • External Help: I attend a Japanese conversation group once every two weeks. There are a few Japanese natives there usually and I typically get to learn new phrases and idioms from them. Also, getting grammar explanations from the other British Japanese learners that are way ahead of me in proficiency can be useful.
  • Your Final Goal: I yearn for the day where I can sit through a Studio Ghibli movie without feeling the need to constantly rewind. I’m almost at the point I can do that with a Pokemon game so I’m excited to see what new goals I’ll strive for once I’ve reached that point
  • Why You Started: I was 14, was watching a loot of anime with subs, so I decided to learn Japanese. My dream at that time was to learn a buuunch of languages, and some games that were never translated triggered me even more :eyes:
  • Why You Are Still Doing It: Learning a language is a journey for a whole life, I’m not stopping
  • Your Funniest Moment/Experience: The one I can recall now is when I was just starting and I was telling my classmates the difference between いえ and いいえ and I was sooo confused :joy: Or when I taught my grandmother how to say 飲みましょう xD
  • Your Most Memorable Moment/Experience: There’re a lot of little moments, one of those is when I spent 2 hours reading Yakusoku no Neverland’s first chapter and I couldn’t stop even though it was sooo hard back then
  • External Help: Well, I guess asking help with some short grammar/vocab questions on the forums counts?xD
  • Your Final Goal: I know everyone has different understanding of the word “fluent”, so I’m gonna say that I want to read comfortably and play games without looking up words too often
  • Why You Started: A little less than a year ago I was working and traveling a bit. One night I decided it would be cool to live in Japan for a while. Two months later I was in Tokyo for a 6 month stay, attending a Japanese school.

  • Why You Are Still Doing It: I’m a programmer, and I’ve come across a lot of stuff that is exclusively in Japanese or Chinese (another language I want to eventually start learning). I also find learning the language fun, and I’d like to start reading things in the language.

  • Your Funniest Moment/Experience: I was in 犬山市 (Inuyama) to see the castle there, and I decided to try some 牛たこ焼き (fried beef dumpling things) at one of the street stalls. Ten minutes later I got them, hot and fresh, and bit in. Big mistake - I scalded the roof of my mouth and bit back tears. A 4 year-old walking past then started flaming me (in Japanese of course), saying something like “暑かったね。バカだよ” while his mother burst into (for Japanese people) uncharacteristically uncontrollable laughter.

  • Your Most Memorable Moment/Experience: When leaving Japan after my six month stay, I was actually able to check into my flight and talk to the security guy who checks your ticket in (mostly) Japanese. That was a big moment for me. I also had a layover in China, and I was able to understand the meaning of a lot of the signs, which was cool, and made me excited about the prospect of maybe learning Chinese someday. (But don’t take that as “if you learn Japanese you can read Chinese”, haha).

  • External Help: I lived in Japan for the first 6 months of my language journey, which obviously helped a ton. Even in Tokyo, it’s a necessity that you use at least a bit of Japanese basics - English will only get you so far outside of the heavy tourist areas. If you want to improve your speaking abilities, a visit to Japan will definitely give you a bit of a boost.

  • Your Final Goal: I’d love to be able to read research papers written in Japanese, and communicate with Japanese computing and AI professionals. Japanese industry and academia is a very closed community, and having some functional Japanese under your belt can help you break into that (although nothing trumps being Japanese and having Japanese connections). The more people you can communicate with though, the more opportunities you have to learn from others. =)

  • Why You Started: Well, I knew native and heritage speakers, so I had a mild interest in the language early on, but I didn’t learn anything beyond この野郎 and the like (I do not count that time when I mention how long I have been learning Japanese). Then, mid-way through my bachelor degree, I learned my university had an exchange program with the University of Tokyo, aimed at Master students. It sounded like a nice opportunity, so it caught my interest. Basics in the Japanese language were required, so I decided to just enroll in Japanese classes that semester, so that I would have the required level by the time I am eligible :stuck_out_tongue:. It all worked out.
  • Why You Are Still Doing It: Well, I am a permanent resident in Japan, with Japanese friends and family.
  • Your Funniest Moment/Experience: Well, I told that story before on the forum, but anyway:
  • Your Most Memorable Moment/Experience: I guess, the first time I manage to read a manga cover to cover, then the first time I could finish a JRPG, then the first time I could read a novel without feeling overwhelmed. Every time, I got a sudden realization that “wow, this is happening”.
  • External Help: Well, I’ve been learning Japanese for 12+ years, so my situation has evolved quite a bit over that time span. At the moment, the fact I live in Japan does help a lot.
  • Your Final Goal: Not sure. As I mentioned in your other thread, I have managed to reach all goals I had so far, so now it’s more about reaping the benefits of all those years of efforts, I guess? :sweat_smile:
  • Why You Started: I was bored out of my mind being stuck at home all day long with a debilitating illness. Games were part of what made me lowkey want to try it, but once I started, I got really hooked on the amazing mental stimulation. When you’re housebound, that sort of stimulation is monumentally important.
  • Why You Are Still Doing It: It makes me truly happy. I still get this childlike enjoyment out of learning new words and phrases and seeing my skills improve in the language. It also helps a lot with keeping me grounded and stable.
  • Your Funniest Moment/Experience: I love lame jokes and puns that involve knowledge of both Japanese and English so that they only make sense to people familiar with both.
  • Your Most Memorable Moment/Experience: Playing an Ace Attorney game in Japanese for the first time. I teared up a little. Those games got me through some of the hardest times in my life and I could finally play them in their original language. It didn’t matter that I was slow as heck and had to look up a ton of words. I was finally doing it.
  • External Help: Pretty much entirely self-taught but I’m fortunate to live within commuting distance of a decently large Japanese community for occasional language exchanges.
  • Your Final Goal: My final goal? I don’t like to think of this having an end point tbh. I sometimes worry about getting to a point where I don’t have enough to learn anymore, but I take solace in the fact that that’s still a long long ways away. My current goal is to be able to comfortably manage normal conversations and to be able to better understand a few niche youtube channels.

[quote=“Noursaidana, post:1, topic:39952”]
Your Funniest Moment/Experience: When I speak some Japanese to a Japanese person and they are surprised first, then they are pleased that I am trying.

[quote=“Noursaidana, post:1, topic:39952”]
Your Most Memorable Moment/Experience: I LOVE it when I watch something on TV Japan and can actually read some of the Japanese subtitles. Sometimes I surprise myself. Also I have noticed that I seem to be internalizing Japanese better because I catch myself thinking in Japanese when I see a sentence or Kanji. That’s a great feeling.