Early Stages of WaniKani Addiction

Addiction. These are the early stages. Constantly checking for new lessons and reviews. Happy whether I got all the items right or wrong, as long as I am progressing. What am I learning? Kanji. Wait… what? Kanji… can be addicting?!

Most of you probably have no idea what I’m talking about, unless you follow the Tofugu blog that is. And even if you do, you may have no access to the online kanji learning website by the makers of Textfugu. After purchasing Tofugu’s E-book of Japnese study tips, I received an email granting me access to be a user during WaniKani’s Alpha testing period. I am currently a beta user. Oh get ready, fellow Kanjiphobics. Because this is going to be good.

What is WaniKani? Well, let me ask if you remember iKnow. The go-to website for learning anything from kana to kanji and vocabulary. It was fun and addictive and… it is now not so affordable or even worth the cost. The best quality of the iKnow site was the fact that it simulated a game. You got instant feedback. And yes, it was very addicting.

Of course, WaniKani is still in its testing stages, but I am convinced that it has surpassed iKnow in every aspect. WaniKani uses an SRS system, which is similar to Anki’s. SRS targets your weaknesses and focuses on retaining information. If you think you learned something, an SRS system will keep you on your toes by bringing old information back to make sure you’ve recalled it over time. Not to mention, it’s a good looking website with a simple interface and vibrant colors. The site also relies heavily on mnemonics in order to have you recall the kanji on your own, rather than giving you multiple choices. At first they seemed a bit ridiculous to me, but they have actually been working so far.

I also really like the fact that vocabulary is integrated with the character memorization so you can see the kanji in action. For example, I learned the kanji for mountain, which is “山”. The program proceeded to teach me the most common readings, which are “やま” and “さん”.  As soon as I had mastered those, “ふじ山”, or the Japanese word for Mt. Fuji, had appeared as a vocabulary word. What’s most important to me than being able to recognize a kanji and recite all of its readings is to actually be able to use it in real context!

What I haven’t been so sure about are the Kanji radicals I first learned, but this may just be a personal thing. Most of the kanji being shown to me at this stage are kanji I have seen before, but didn’t know how to read or knew one of the readings of. So I haven’t relied too much on the radicals. And there are a few glitches such as the site freezing during a review. But again, the site is still in its testing stages. It would be nice to get some audio for the vocabulary during lessons or reviews. I haven’t been able to access audio on the site, but I probably haven’t looked hard enough, since it seems like such an essential component.

This won’t be the last I write about WaniKani! I will be updating here with my future progress and if I decided to purchase a subscription or not. Until then, hold on tight for the release of Wanikani! I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

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About L

Interested in Japanese language and culture, J-Pop, K-Pop and Asian Dramas.
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5 Responses to Early Stages of WaniKani Addiction

  1. Thanks for this review it’s precisely what I was looking for! Having tried Heisig’s Remembering the Kanji in combination with Anki, I got quite far (about 800 kanji in) before I gave up because I was too upset at not being able to actually *READ* anything I knew!

    I think WaniKani’s going to be interesting..

  2. Pingback: Month-long Kanji Challenge! | nihonamor

  3. Rosie94427 says:

    Hi, I know this is really late (4 yrs late XD) but I was wondering how did you find the rest of it, I want to try it but I don’t know what the learning style is like, is it best for visual, audio or tactile(actually doing stuff so kinda a combination of both). Personally it sounds good to me, plenty of colours etc.which can be helpful for memorising things and the mnemonics. Thanks

    • L says:

      Hey! So I kind of have an update to this and basically did a post about why WaniKani eventually didn’t do it for me https://nihonamor.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/month-long-kanji-challenge-update-anki-re-visited/ TLDR: I made it to Level 7 (out of 50 or so levels?) While the site itself is great to look at, I wasn’t crazy about the content nor the fact that it pummels you with hundreds of reviews at a time. I also didn’t find most of the mnemonics they provided helpful, since it wasn’t personalized to me.They do have audio now, but you have to click on it. I now use Anki for vocabulary. But WaniKani’s first 3 levels are free to try, so I would just go ahead and sign up and see if it works for you!

      • Rosie94427 says:

        Thanks for replying, okay good to know, I will definitely use the free first three levels and see if it suits me and if it does maybe sign up for a month and see if as the levels progress I still find it useful, it’s good to know a couple of opinions before setting off onto a language site! Again thanks!

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