In my early days of training, ranking began at 6th kyu. It took me six or seven months to take that first test. From there I advanced pretty quickly. I actually tested for shodan as a 2nd kyu. I guess being an uchideshi didn't hurt. I trained four to six hours per day during my first two years. As funny as it may sound I felt deprived that I was never a 1st kyu; I always felt they had an admirable position in the dojo.
I also like brown belt, 2nd or 1st kyu ranks. The catalog is pretty much installed, details and martial effectiveness are the aims (at least in my dojo) but the pressure of dan ranks isn't there. It is like getting your learners permit to drive. And, there's all that lovely brown belt syndrome.