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Japanese Golden Owl Hall of Fame

I got this idea from the thread Polish Golden Owl of Fame and I think, Japanese may be worth the same. I hope, it is ok for the user alukasiak, that I use his idea and his first words for this thread also (if not, please tell).

Finishing a skill tree takes a lot of work... especially when you're learning Japanese, because it is very hard to master and read the complex writing system.

Few have managed to achieve the extraordinary feat of getting the Japanese Golden Owl. Are you one of them? This is the place to brag about it!

Just leave a comment in this thread to let me know that I should add you.

Japanese Golden Owl holders (27):

July 26, 2017



I finished the tree! The Japanese language is fantastic!


Damn and got Japanese to level 25. I am jealous. I need to start getting my act together.


Ora ora se não é o mito do aprendizado das línguas xD


Sure, why not? Owl captured about 2 weeks ago. Quite the slog.


Indeed - not so much getting the owl itself, but keeping the }#%^ tree golden. If duolingo defines 50xp / day as "insane", getting and maintaining the golden tree required triple and quadruple levels of insanity. Things have calmed down some but 50 xp / day still isn't enough.


Yeah, the "insane" moniker is unfortunate. I count it along with the "fluency" meter as things that are wantonly misnamed for marketing and retention of beginner purposes.

I'm pretty certain there are test groups with different word strength decay rates. I'm probably in one of the lower-rate groups, but here also appears one possible "benefit" of being a total Japanese newbie: the (considerable) number of times I have to go through / do review for a lesson to even kind of learn the content seems to actually be enough to keep the degilding pretty manageable.


I was thinking of this post today because, with my Japanese tree not demanding that much attention anymore, I'm now putting some time into French. You know what? Even knowing that "fluency" is completely arbitrary, I get this wonderful sense of accomplishment any time the number goes up. (Have moved from 3 to 13 %, yo!)

In other words: even though I feel like a tool, it works for me.


In my case, it is easy to keep the tree gold. I only need one exercise (10 xp) all few days. Sometimes one or two circles decay, so I need one or two exercises more, but that´s all.

In the beginning I rushed through the tree (as I described), so that all circles were gold, when I achieved the owl. Then I only worked on the decayed circles and after some time, the circles decay very slowly, so that I don´t have much work to keep the tree gold. The reason may be, that I still can rush through an strengthen exercise and I don´t make much errors during my exercises.


Bruh and I'm also trying to get 50xp per day on Spanish as well as Japanese. This is going to take a while.


A nice idea. I have a cute japanese golden owl as a pet for four weeks now. But it only lets me pet it if the tree is completely gold. So I do 50 xp a day to keep my cutie happy


Congrats! Are you the famous Rhabarberbarbara? :D


Of course! You should try my delicious Rhabarberkuchen and meet my friend the Rhabarberbarbarabarbarbarenbartbarbierbierbarbärbel


Pet? How so?


Figuratively speaking^^ I see the golden owl not as a trophy but as a pet I need to feed and care for. So if I don't do my daily xps my poor golden owls are unhappy and hungry


そうですか… (Then I better not mention that I spent some time since your post prodding my poor owl, trying to get some sort of response!)


I'm sorry to disappoint you. But do try some more, maybe one day it will react!


I achieved my Japanese Golden Owl several month ago directly after the course was available in a very short time, where I could use the Japanese course on the web. This possibility was taken away by the Duolingo team, since then I keep the tree completely and instantly gold with the app version. I posted my story here.

In the meanwhile I am on my way to finish the reverse tree also, I am now halfway of the last section, but in this tree only the first 3 1/2 sections are gold, because I am working only less time on this tree and I also use the shortcuts to finish the circles. Maybe I´ll try to get and keep this tree gold in the future also, we will see.


I reached the end of the Japanese tree on the 14th May (four days before it released on iOS)... However, they hadn't actually added the owl to the bottom of the tree at that time!

I eventually received a notification on 24th May (ten days after I'd completed the tree), congratulating me on having finished the tree as if it had only just happened... :P

But the owl I got was a green owl. Is the golden owl something different?

I didn't use the placement test feature (which wasn't working on web for me anyway), so it's been hard to keep up with the rapidly decaying parts of the tree. I haven't managed to have the whole tree gold at the same time yet. Do you have to turn your whole tree gold to get the golden owl?

** Edit **
Is there a way to make embedded images smaller, like a thumbnail to the full size thing? -.-


I could only begin the tree on the web version and I took the placement test, If I remember myself correctly. But I had to finish the Japanese tree on my mobile device, because the the web version suddenly disappeared from my account. The golden owl on my mobile device looks like all the other ones.

I turned the whole tree gold since the beginning and keep the whole tree gold over the wohle time as I described before. Actually there are three circles decayed (after some lazy days ;-) ) and it´ll need 3 or 4 strengthen exercises (15-20 minutes) to get them and the whole tree gold again. So not much work for me.

Btw: How did you took a screenshot of your whole tree?

Edit: It needed 3 strengthen exercises and 10 Minutes ;-)


To screenshot entire scrollable pages I use a Chrome browser extension called Web Screen Capture. It is very basic but does its job perfectly without any nonsense. ^^

I think my problem with constant decaying is also partly due to these other things:

  • I'm from England. So many of my natural English spellings and words (esp. for clothing, dates, school "years") are marked as being incorrect.

  • As I'm not using the app, it's far easier for Duolingo to not like my Japanese answers. Often it marks answers wrong when I type the correct kanji where it wants kana only. Sometimes it even marks correct kana wrong where it only wants kanji or numerals (like when writing なのか instead of 7日).

  • I'm using a ridiculous kana input keyboard layout for Japanese called "NICOLA 親指シフト". You have to sync thumb and finger key presses together, where if I miss the 30ms sync window it will output the wrong character. Normally I can spot miss-sync typos when I convert the sentence to kanji, but on this course we currently have to answer mostly in kana for any hope of being marked correct. So it's very easy to not notice these typos, especially as I'm also mostly doing Timed Practice. ^^;

  • I like testing things. I like varying my answers to see what it will accept and submitting reports.

(As for your not being able to access the course on web anymore, I'm certain you would be able to get back on it with my more recent instructions, here. I've not yet heard anyone who tried it say it didn't work.) ^^


Ok moogle, your instruction works! Thank you very much! :-) And my App golden Owl turned into green on the web, although my tree is completely gold.

Now I can try to reach level 25 more quickly using the timed practise :-) And perhaps I could report some issues with more details?


How do you see Japanese in your browser? I only have it on my phone and I hate it. I want to be able to use it on my laptop : )


Great! Glad you got it working without any problems this time. ^^

Good luck with timed practice. It's can be quite a challenge on this course. :P


For the multiple languages, it's helpful to group all the Latin-based ones together (in my case I have English-US, English-Intl, Hungarian, and Turkish all as keyboards for English; as well as three different Cyrillic layouts grouped together). Basically you go into "English" or "German" or whatever, then add the Latin-based keyboards you need there rather than adding them as languages in Windows Language Preferences. Then Alt-Shift shifts between e.g. Japanese and whichever Latin-based keyboard you were using last. Ctrl-Shift shifts between the Latin-based ones (which you presumably need to do less often).


Yes, the timed practice is a challenge. Alone the necessary to switch the input method takes some time. Another one: I tried to report errors and the time didn't stop for that!

And using the normal strengthen exercise has no advantages against the app version.


@ InuzukaShino - I think people tend to view the greater challenge of not having the word bubble suggestions there as a notable advantage.


@InuzukaShino, For switching between English and Hiragana, I simply press a single key on my keyboard: 英数, which is the "Caps Lock" key. (For the normal Caps Lock function, I have to press Shift+CapsLock at the same time.)

Even without a physical Japanese keyboard or without setting an English keyboard to a Japanese driver (106/109 key), you still only need to press a two key combination to switch between English and Hiragana. (Alt + the key to the left of "1" on the number row; or Shift+CapsLock, Ctrl+CapsLock, Alt+CapsLock.)

Just trying to suggest keyboard shortcuts in case you are instead taking your hand of the keyboard to use your mouse to switch input methods. Using the keyboard shortcuts to switch input methods is a lot quicker and less hassle.

As for reporting errors, yeah, the timer doesn't stop. xD

What I did is make a userscript to automate clicking the "Report a problem" button, ticking the "My answer should be accepted" checkbox, and clicking "Submit". I made it so I can just press a single keyboard shortcut (Ctrl+/) and it performs that whole process almost instantaneously.

I was still reporting problems in timed practice before I made the userscript, but it's much easier now and have more time to make sure I don't tick wrong options.. ^^


the problem in toggling the IMEs is, that I actually have 5 IMEs installed, so that I have to press shift+ALT several times during the time runs. I know, I can configure special shortcuts to switch directly, but I was too lazy ;-)

Because of the way, IME works (enter syllables to get hiragana, conversion by pressing space to get some kanji, proof all conversions to not have '変換ミス', sometimes convert back if the system does not accept kanji amd vice versa)I need more time to enter the sentences as for other 'western' languages.

As for your userscript to report, that your answer dhould be accepted: Great solution! :-)

I didn't remark a great difference aside from the difficulty to use different IMEs. The sentences were nearly the same and I already know the vocabulary and grammar.

How do you all enter the sentences there (especially in timed practice)? Maybe completely in Hiragana? This would save many time...


@ InuzukaShina - Yeah, the sentences should be the same, but if you're a lower-level learner, the difference becomes apparent quickly. Of course, one can work on the app just not looking at the boxes, but few seem to chose this course (or, frankly, even seem to have it cross their minds).


@InuzukaShino, Sorry I shouldn't have used the word "method", since this could get confused with "input method editor". I didn't mean to suggest switching IME, keyboards, or input languages. Far from it.

What I should have said was switching input "mode" (hiragana, half-width alphanumeric, full-width katakana, direct input,...).

On my computer, I always have my input language/keyboard/IME set to Japanese Microsoft IME. I have it set to this in all programs, even when I know I'll only be typing English.

I think you may have submitted your reply before I had added the list of keyboard shortcuts to my post. Those keyboard shortcuts I mentioned don't have to be set up; those keyboard shortcuts are the defaults.

When doing Duolingo on web, keep your IME/keyboard/language set to your Japanese IME. Simply toggle the input mode between hiragana and half-width alphanumeric (i.e. English). This is what I always do. ^^

* Edit *
Oh yeah. For that other question, a lot of the time I submit answers completely in hiragana. It even accepts hiragana for any katakana word, like パン (bread) written as ぱん.

However, hiragana doesn't always work out well, especially if you type hiragana for numbers. Writing things like 七日 as なのか will often be marked wrong. You can probably write 7か though.

On the other hand, if you try to write 一人 as 1り (instead of ひとり), I assume something like this wouldn't be accepted. :P

Not all sentences accept kanji for words they should be accepted for. So if I'm doing timed practice and don't want my answer to be marked wrong (such as when my timer is low and I can't afford to get a wrong answer), I just answer in all hiragana sentences instead.


First let me thank you for your advices regarding the answer possibilities. Sadly this is also far from perfect, but I know, how much work it must be due to the many variants Japanese have.

Additionally they should accept the rōmaji input or they should provide a bit more time for the timed practice in Japanese. It is really difficult, because you have to figure out in short time, which of the variants is accepted by the program. Normally I write as quick as I speak (I´m using touch typing) also in Japanese, but here it seems to be useless. So again, thanks for your tipps, I´ll try to figure out how it could work with the timed practice.

Regarding the shortcuts in short: As I wrote, I already know all important shortcuts (Windows, Office, IME and some more) and I already know, how to switch to the input modes, but my problem is, that I have more than one language installed (actually German, English, Polish, Japanese, Spanish) and toggling through them using the ALT-SHIFT shortcut is time consuming. I could indeed configure IME to swich directly to another IME at least in Windows 7, but in Windows 10 they seemingly removed this option (I can´t find it anymore) :-/ The other method in Win10 using the Windows key and the spacebar toggles so you have to use the mouse to switch directly to another IME - but this is also time consuming (I only want to use the keyboard). So this is an example where Win10 has gone bad compared to Win7. If you have a solution for that, your help would be very appreciated :-)


@InuzukaShino, Yeah, Windows 10 has made the settings for input language switch hotkeys stupidly hard to find.

Here is the command line path to the exact settings window you are looking for:

control input.dll,,{C07337D3-DB2C-4D0B-9A93-B722A6C106E2}{HOTKEYS}

Just press Win+R and copy-paste the whole of that line into the run dialog, then click OK.

I know it's probably hard to trust such dangerous sounding instructions though, and I really don't want to be encouraging people to trust things like this...... but... it's just way too long winded for me to explain all the clicking you have to do to eventually reach the exact same thing through Windows 10 control panel... Even getting to "Control Panel" itself isn't completely straightforward in Windows 10 anymore.. ^^;


@testmoogle and piguy3
Thank you for your hints, I´ll check them soon, but I am actually very busy, so I´ll need some time to do that.


Oh yes..I know your first, second and your last point. I am German and my English isn´t good as it should be, at least my Grammar knowledge is something bad. So most of my errors are errors in the translations from Japanese into English ("a" instead of "an" and so on).

Additionally the course is far from perfect and I when I know, that something should be correct, I test it out till I know, how the program works. Especially for Japanese it must be very difficult to program. For example: You could write a sentence in that way: コレヲクダサイ。 It is perfect Japanese indeed, so it should be accepted, no matter if it in Katakana, Hiragana (これをください), using kanji (これを下さい) or mixed (コレを下さい). Actually it seems, that they simply add the variants to a list and if an answer don´t match any entry in the list, it is marked as wrong. And if someone thinks, that using Katakana may be wrong: Look at commercials in Japan, and you will see really many Katakana. This writing system looks modern and cool and is also used to emphazise something or as an eye-catcher, like our bold or italic.


they simply add the variants to a list and if an answer don´t match any entry in the list, it is marked as wrong.

Yep, that's what happens. In the English-from-Japanese course they also had some add-ons for converting common synonyms and converting kanji to hiragana to reduce the number of necessary translations (b.c. the system is capped at 3000).

I don't know that I agree that everything should be accepted in e.g. katakana. I see your point about emphasis à la bold or italics, but this is at least intended as a course for beginners. The phrase "you've got to crawl before you can walk" comes to mind: those of us just starting out probably benefit more from having to comply with the more standard script choices (obviously there is the proviso that there's a lot of hiragana in the course that I am thinking would usually be kanji) rather than being "let loose" to have everything in katakana, when the use of that in authentic Japanese is much more limited. Also, assuming the translation cap remains an issue, then katakana automatically more or less doubles the number of translations, and that's obviously a quite low value-added selection of translations to be worrying about, when they might be coming at the expense of much more ordinary ones.


Random question: how do US and UK dates differ (when there are words involved, i.e. not 31/12 vs. 12/31)?

  • US: "December 31"
  • UK: "31 December", "31st December", "the 31st of December".

(I prefer the ordinal number version as that's what I was taught in school, but I've heard cardinal is the current standard.)

  • US: "on the weekend"
  • UK: "at the weekend"

I don't know for sure what these US versions are. I've just assumed this is how it is from what I've encountered in Duolingo. If my English gets wrongly marked as being incorrect, I assume the correction shown must be the American version. ^^


Yeah, we certainly don't use "at the weekend." "On the weekend" can work, but I think it might show up in the tree more than is actually natural; I prefer "over" (or just "this week-end" or "last week-end" which is what I think I understand "at the week-end" to usually mean) when it comes to week-ends. Interesting about the dates, the only one I wouldn't use is "31st December," and the last seems completely normal for ordinary conversation as well as formal dating of things.


I did everything on the iOS app. There was no placement test, I didn't opt out of anything, and I worked like a dawg to try to get / keep everything golden (I'm Level 16 for a reason).

Right now, it would still take about 80 XP / day but I'm taking it a bit slower at the moment.

But you can add me to the list - got my golden owl about two or three weeks ago. (Edit: just saw that I was bragging on WhatsApp July 4, the first time I had the tree golden in its entirety, so Gold Owl must have been before that.)


Congrats and done. There is nothing to opt out. If you take a placement test and test out the rest, you can finish the tree more quickly - assumed, you have the abilities. This is nice, but you won´t get extra xp for your exercises.

But from my experience the circles decay at least same as if you exercised the tree normally. It depends on how many errors you make and how often you have to peek, if the circles decay more quickly or not.

So がんばってくださいね!It will getting better after a while, I promise you.


On my Android app account, droidmoogle, I did the placement test and it turned 3/4 of my tree gold—all the skills up to the 3rd checkpoint. It also did give me XP (over 1700 XP) instantly putting me at level 9, just for spending a couple of minutes answering a small number of questions.

That was over a month ago. I don't think I've used the Japanese course on it at all since doing the placement test. Now, after all that time not using it, all those skills are still gold and don't seem to have decayed at all!! o.O

Would be easy to keep that tree gold if the first 3/4 never decay... It's more gold than on this account I've been using every day for the last three months! ><;


I think, this is reasonable, because Duolingo assumes, that you already know the topics and the vocabulary well, which you successfully passed through the placement test. That´s why they may not decay anymore.

In my case, I turned also 3/4 or even 4/5 gold and only the ones, I tested out decay from time to time.


When I tested out of a good chunk of the Portuguese tree, the skills above the last checkpoint pretty much didn't degild until the experiment increasing word strength for many users ended maybe nine months later. Ones below the last checkpoint decayed a lot faster, though. I can still see the effects. I regilded my Portuguese tree maybe a month ago, and everything above the last checkpoint has remained gold, the top skills below it (i.e. ones I quizzed out of initially) are down a bar or two, and a good portion of the ones I quizzed out of skill by skill (i.e. all the rest, the skills at the bottom of the tree) are down to a single bar.

I agree with InuzukaShino that this makes some sense. If you quiz out of things, you probably know them for the duration. However, it only makes so much sense. As you mentioned, the quiz-out is hardly very long. There's probably a smattering of things one could use review on unless one is at a really, really advanced and just did the quiz-out completely for fun.


But the owl I got was a green owl. Is the golden owl something different?

I'm sure there will be a much more trophy-looking like owl (the one from the app, presumably) when the course is at long last fully accessible on the web. For the moment, on the web mine is green, too.


Oh! I just checked my main account to see what my owl at the bottom of the JA→EN course looks like. That owl is a golden one!

I'm not sure but don't think I've ever turned the whole of that tree gold at the same time either. Maybe it's an old site code vs new site code thing. The EN→JA course on web is still on the old site code, which might be why the owl hasn't been changed.

I assume that if I were to reinstall the Android app on my phone and log into it with this account, then on there my owl would be a golden one for this course without even having to do anything ?

I kind of liked the idea that a golden owl might have been for a reward for having a 100% golden tree though. Kind of a shame... ^^


All the trees I've finished, even before the new website rollout, had some sort of golden owl trophy at the end, so I think the green one for En-Ja on the web is just a fluke that will undoubtedly be corrected.

Yes, I'm sure you're right about what would show up in the Android app.

I kind of liked the idea that a golden owl might have been for a reward for having a 100% golden tree though.

I guess the 100% golden tree ("topped" by ever-golden owl) can serve as its own reward for those who go for that sort of thing :)


I just got mine today!


I've done it


I got the owl, but I was very disappointed... I hoped there will be more after olympics, but that was it. I hope more will come soon!


I finished the tree in about 30 minutes...

disclaimer: I am not a beginner and the placement test put me all but about 5 skills from the end after which I then tested out of each remaining skill.

Feels a bit cheap, but hey it's a golden owl!

[deactivated user]

    Yup, took me about 15 minutes. I was surprised too. Haven't studied Japanese in a while and tested out of almost every skill.


    I finished it yesterday :D The tree isn't that long yet compared to other languages, but hopefully it'll evolve.


    Got it, but I'm not sure its that impressive for me seen as I've been studying Japanese for a year beforehand. Still enjoyed the course though. Its nice having lots of example sentences to work through.


    Just got there. If you like, you can add me to the list ^^






    Just finished the Japanese tree today, with everything golden. It was really difficult for me to do, I started with no knowledge of Japanese.


    Today I finished the Japanese course... I can't believe it! I am so happy!

    私は たくさん 日本語を 学びました! :)




    I got my japanese owl a few weeks ago, and it was the one I enjoyed the most so far.

    I must say that you Duolingo users are a wonderful community and always very helpful in the comment section.

    However, Japanese course users are the most helpful I have seen, posting the kanji of every sentence and explaining grammar issues. Thank you all!


    I finished the Japanese tree last year. Now I'm working on the Gold Crown Japanese tree!


    Not sure if this is being updated, but I've had my Japanese Golden Owl since last December. Currently regilding a few colored apples on my tree before Crowns brings an end to that particular way of measuring one's fluency.


    I finished the tree! Thank you for doing this!


    I just reached level 25 in Japanese!






    Hello! I finished the Japanese tree a few months ago and have ever since then met Duo and Japanese Golden Owl every day. Studying Japanese with Duolingo is fun!


    I finished the Gold Crown tree in Japanese, today! (May 21, 2018) Now everything has returned to gold, again. I'm so happy.


    Got mine 2 weeks ago, but it's been decaying ever since lol.

    Stopped learning Japanese years ago, so I mainly saw it as a review, and It isn't on my list of priorities at the moment. Every now and then though when I am bored, I will re-golden the 1st part of the tree before I lose interest again.


    I've completed the tree!

    [deactivated user]

      I got mine about a week after the app release, I hadn't done much on duolingo, but I thought I might as well use my Japanese classes for something lol. Kinda wish there was more Kanji practice.


      I am led to believe kanji runs free in the English from Japanese tree :)


      For the most part that is true. On web, however, I still get caught out even on the JA→EN course. For example: it will usually accept 林檎; but on some other questions it will mark this as being incorrect, accepting either りんご or リンゴ only. ^^;


      No where near close - 15 lessons of 40 complete. I focus too much time on practicing rather than actually learning.


      日本語のコースを終えました。 それから、英語を日本語から始めました。それはとても難しいです ! 私の名前を書いてもらえますか? どもありがとう〜!


      おめでとう、がんばってね!(^_^)/ あなたの名前を日本語で書くのはちょっと難しいだと思う。発音を教えてもらえませんか。たぶん、そう「セリリオン」でしょうかなぁ.


      Hi, I would rather go with 「セリヨン」. Thanks a lot! :)

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