A question to the fast learners ~8 days per level

It’s a common practice for speed levelers, we don’t hide it and no shame in it =)

If I assume it takes five seconds to write a kanji (an assumption on the higher end), that’s 90 seconds per kanji. Doing thirty kanji (the average amount right now at my level range excluding the radical-locked kanji), that’s 45 minutes under the assumed time. Thankfully, as I’m teaching in Japan as an ALT, I can freely do this at work with no problems, so that’s a lifestyle advantage I have. Although, I was a teacher in the states too, so I managed to do reviews at work all the same since I had my own classroom. :grin:

As for if the time sink is worth it? Definitely. As I live in Japan, I have a need to know how to write (making New Years cards for friends and acquaintances, filling out forms, etc), so writing drills increase my speed so I don’t make employees at stores or people behind me in line wait when I have to write something out. Secondly, my visual memory is absolutely terrible, so attempting to connect the phonetic pairs (my strong aural learning makes remembering readings for meanings easy) to the visual character itself is incredibly difficult. Pairs like 返 and 仮 would easily mess me up if I didn’t write, so I’d end up wasting more time on those kanji than by writing them.

I can understand the living with others sentiment. I’ve been a sticky-noter since I got to college and had half a dorm room to myself. Before then, I simply set timers for myself for review, forcing myself to stop whatever I was doing and reviewing before returning to whatever it was. Another alternative is the Japanese student methodology of flash card “keychains,” simply making a review pack and carrying it with you to use whenever you have idle time.

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Thanks for answering my questions! I find details like these on the learning process absolutely fascinating.

I haven’t really been prioritizing writing myself, because I don’t live in Japan so right now my main reason for learning Japanese is mostly reading/listening purposes- if I ever need to write, it’ll be through a computer. On the other hand, in the long term I’d love to live in Japan so perhaps I should start…

In any case, thanks for the response!

what script are you using mate?

Regarding writing, I don’t go quite that hardcore (writing 18x each time a kanji comes for review) but I do two things to help my English -> Japanese translation and writing skills.

  1. Have an Anki deck that I add to every time I get a new lesson which tests Meaning/Reading -> Kanji. Also has stroke order diagrams on there so I’m not writing it wrong. I have it set so I have to write it ~7 times right after I add it to the deck, and then gets longer and longer after (e.g. 2d, 7d, 2w, 1m, and onwards)

  2. I simply physically write out all the answers to KaniWani before typing them in. It makes KW take way more time than usual, but I find it worth it.

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I drill Level+1 on Anki, so that I can do all Radicals and Kanji (but not vocabularies) once the lessons appear. You might also be able to drill Level+1 on [Userscript] Self-Study - Quiz Edition with Listening Quiz

I did around 15 vocabs per sitting for lesson. For fast levels, I did around 25 vocab lessons per day.

I don’t really finish the review, but I keep the review below 100. However, I broke around Lv 46-60, where it was 3.5 days per level. I cleared the reviews after reaching Lv60, though.

At that time, I prioritized vocabulary only on Anki Core 10k breakdown, but not on WaniKani; always finishing level-appropriate vocabularies on Anki only.

My vocab Anki focuses on EN->JP and looking up in dictionary (http://dictionary.goo.ne.jp). My Kanji Anki is a derivative of [Version 1.05 | 2016-01-31] Anki deck for kanji writing practice

Apprentice count can be maintained by WaniKani SRS Reorder Button – once in control, it was around 150.

Guru count went skyrocket high. It was as high as 1200. I believe if it is under control, it should be around/below 500. (Currently 300). Don’t control Guru, though. Control Leeches – Leech training script

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I take on lessons as soon as I can, and that usually leaves me with an average of about 150 reviews per day. Rarely as I approach a new level it will dip down to as low as 80 (although anything less than 110 is pretty rare), and sometimes it’ll go above 200.

My apprentice count hovers right around 100 pretty consistently, and Guru is usually somewhere between 550 and 600.

I work from home and my work is all computer based, so I can do the reviews pretty much as soon as they come up. That and I live on an island, so what travel I do is usually dependent on a ferry - whenever I’m waiting for the boat (or on the boat waiting for it to get to the other side), I have a set of flash cards with me that I used for practice (usually on non-Wanikani stuff, like grammar, but if a particular kanji/piece of vocab is giving me grief, it’ll sometimes warrant a card getting made).

My biggest question is how can people be new to kanji and still remember everything with such ease as to have 98-99% correct every level xD (Blows my mind, while I’m here forgetting kanjis left and right… I guess I can blame my memory.)

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I do it by adding each kanji I learn to an Anki deck that makes me write 7 times immediately, and then growing intervals starting at 2 days. Also I write out every KaniWani answer by hand.

Also I take my time with lessons; usually takes me close to an hour to learn 25 kanji through lessons. For each one I’ll look up common words on Jisho, and hopefully find one I’ve heard in anime etc. I’ll say the mnemonics out loud a few times. If the mnemonic doesn’t work for me, I’ll spend time to make my own and ensure it helps me remember the exact writing method etc.

Here are my accuracy stats up till now:


How do you study Kanji? What’s your procedure?

Same here. Unless people are re-studying all the words between quizzes (or know the words ahead of time), I don’t know how to reach 98%+.

Well, that sounds like a really great way to do it (Even though i can’t write kanji by hand, and I’m pretty useless at making decks with anki). As another note I struggle to keep up with WK and have time to study anything else, puting down an hour for every lesson batch + using anki and KW after that and still have time to study other parts of Japanese just seems like an impossible task for me. Balancing work + life and study is a hard task as it is, and some days I just have time for my WK reviews (That’s usually around 130+ each day) and my memrise daily goal.

Have also heard that quizzing yourself too much in other areas might mess up the SRS system, and the long term meomory. So I’m scared to get into that habit (Even though I have no idea how not to do that, when you need to start reading material with kanji). Guess I’m not puting enough time into it, but It’s tough.

I use WaniKani + Memrise course with kanji words, and KaniWani for my burned items. I try read a little bit on HelloTalk but I’m mainly scouting for kanjis that I know and try to read the word in question (since my reading is still terrible) I havn’t started reading anything too serious yet. That’s pretty much it. I try to go over the lessons as well, and take my time with it but I still tend to forget randomly.

My biggest obstacle right now is to keep pushing forward, even though I feel like I havn’t learned as much as should have during this period of time that I have been studying. I have hit the point as to where I find more things that demotivates me rather than motivates me (At the start of WK and the time I learned Hiragana/Katakana everything motivated me to push on). I also know that I’m around the level where most people quit WK and it scares me a bit.

I think the messing up the SRS argument is overall kinda BS… You practice vocabulary with already learnt Kanji in between Kanji SRS levels, but does that hurt your long term retention of individual Kanji?

I think what people mean when they say that is doing naughty things like intentionally looking up words/kanji right before a Master/Enlighten/Burn review so you’ll get it right. That’s obvious just a waste and you’re only cheating yourself.

Regarding time, I’ve come to realize that there is always time in the world. It is just a matter of prioritization. When I started working I would work 12 hour days, then play WoW, and complain how I had no time to work out or do anything. Now I simply have decided that working out and WK (+KW, Anki) is more important than other stuff and I won’t watch my beloved anime etc. till I’ve paid my dues to the Crabigator.

I heard a fitness coach once say you “need to be obsessed” to achieve anything, and I’ve found this to be true in nearly every aspect of life. Promotions at work? Gotta beat out the rest. Social life? Obsessed sounds bad, but put more positively, you need to take the initiative to keep relationships going. Gains at the gym? Gotta keep up the grind! Learning Japanese? Same as the above!

Good luck in your Japanese studies! At the end of the day, it’s a marathon, so take your time. We’re all on the same path of learning Japanese, but are just at different places along said path :slight_smile:

#deeperthanexpected #canyouevenseeme

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Yeah I have questioned this argument too, but it doesn’t change that I’m me and I forget kanji’s that I thought I had glued to my brain, and it blows my mind everytime I check the answer if I get something wrong (Kanjis up for burning comes to mind).

I agree that It’s all about prioritization, but It’s harder said than done to puzzle together your every day life (at least for some people - me included.) Now, don’t get me wrong I feel like Japanese is all I think about, and it feels (at least to me) that I put down as much energy as I possibly can to study everyday, I am consistent and practice Japanese every day but It’s still not enough. I don’t play games anymore (if I do It’s mostly on the weekend, and It’s on the weekend it feels that I have some time over to do something else.) My weekdays is basically work - eat - study Japanese - go to bed, at least that’s how it feels in my head. Feeling like you actually put down a lot of energy in your studies and then realize that you are probably 10 (maybe more) steps behind of what people usually knows at the time that I’m at (In some months I’m on my first year of studying Japanese) - It’s devestating.

I’m trying to look positive at everything, and just keep on grinding and pushing forward, but I just feel really stupid.
Especially when I’m reminded of how far off I am in the light of so many other students on here. I mean look at you for instance, you have already passed my level in 3 months :rofl:

I’m really glad that you have so much ethusiasm, and I wish I could be on your side of the fence. But being in my head is not too fun at the moment, and I wish I could pick myself up because I’m NOT gonna give up!

It’s even more scary to think about, that I’m struggling now and feel like I should just quit, when it will get 100x worse later down the road…

I’m sorry for rambling on, but you know there is a:

#ComplainingIsaMust thread! so it seems I fit right in! :smiley:

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Ok, I’ve said this before, but do NOT judge your speed based on the fast learners.There’s a lot of people who post really fast times, they are not necessarily the norm. These people may be those that went over and above and write the kanji out constantly, like Sidcaiyar and Eiri. They may be people that had a strong base in kanji already, like Leebo. They may simply be better at memorization than you. Whatever. These people exist, and that’s inevitable. They are not, necessarily, the rule. (That said, mad respects to the people who can pull it off!)

The fact is, this forum attracts the people who are the most into it. And people who have successes are more likely to post about it, and this is normal. If you have a big success, then you’re likely to talk about it if nothing else than the fact that it’s self-motivating, and motivation is important in learning. There’s not the same draw to talk about how slow you are (and, of course, this IS a fast learner topic). So when you see people who are doing really great in accuracy and/or speed, don’t beat yourself up over the difference between them and you. I’d wager you’re on par with a lot of people doing wanikani. If not doing better. If you manage to avoid burnout by going slow and steady, you’ll be ahead of the vast majority of people who use wanikani.

Time is valuable, but it’s a significantly larger waste of time to fail to learn the language than it is to take a bit longer time than some random people on the internet. I’m two weeks per level and that’s fine with me.

That said, there’s probably ways to make your studying more efficient. Searching for those is great. Just, don’t beat yourself up if you can’t find them. Stay the course.


I can definitely confirm that going the absolutely fastest isn’t always the best. I used to check WaniKani at every moment of my free time. By level 11 I already burnt myself out, I tried to come back a few times but the massive amount of reviews that had piled up kept discouraging me.

I finally bit the bullet and just went ahead and reset myself back to level 1 a bit over a month ago. I’m trying to give myself other things to do and focus more on grammar and reading native material in my free time more than constantly checking WaniKani all the time so as to not burn myself out again. I’m still going pretty fast (7-8 days) for now since my brain kind of remembers the stuff I’m going through again, but I don’t expect to keep the same speed for long.


@Pkdragon Great stuff! :slightly_smiling_face: In my case, studying Japanese is without question my dominant activity aside work (with is based in a Japanese school, so I’m utilizing it to read documents, make lesson plans, communicate with coworkers, etc). My daily life typically consists of biking in the morning before work, working, coming home and either playing Poke’mon (in Japanese) while listening to Japanese radio, studying Japanese (whether it be writing drills, WaniKani, Kaniwani, other kanji, or grammar), and reading (translating Japanese books). So I definitely can’t be used as a valid comparison. xD

@Metamorphosis One thing I’d definitely recommend changing is your KaniWani usage. While it may feel like “cheating the SRS,” utilizing KaniWani from the apprentice stage may up your workload quite a bit but will help you tremendously with remembering the kanji. Identifying meaning/readings from kanji and remembering kanji (if you use IME) and readings from the meaning actually forms different pathways in your brain, resulting in a more complex, and therefore stronger, memory of the content. I personally don’t take KaniWani nearly as seriously as I do WaniKani, letting myself get as much wrong without stressing about it. The study intervals seem faster than WaniKani (someone correct me if I’m wrong), so leeches will get reviewed so much you’ll be too sick of them to forget. In addition, I find the synonyms very easy to remember due to mixing them up on KaniWani.

The only other recommendation I could think of would be to take small steps to “spice up” your study time. If you are consistent yet aren’t getting the results you want, often a change in approach rather than a change in the amount of studying will yield better results. I don’t use Anki or another flash-card type system because I don’t want to cheat the SRS, but I will most definitely study the kanji I’m learning in different ways, such as practicing writing, looking up vocabulary not on WaniKani, and researching the background behind a kanji to see if there’s a cool reason why it’s written the way it is. These tactics make the kanji less of something to memorize and more of something which which I can connect. Rather than remembering that 秋 has “Tree” and “Fire,” it’s neat to think about a forest with trees that have leaves so red it looks like they’re on fire. Don’t let yourself get down. Have fun with it. :grin:

Well, I know that this might not be true at all times, but IMO it kinda all comes down to experience. And I do mean that old (but gold) rule of “the more you do, the better you do”. You say that you are about to be studying japanese for a year. I do the levels in about 7d12h, but I have been studying japanese for about 4 years now, I didn’t use WK all of the time, I tried (and liked to some extent) Minna no Nihongo and Genki for grammar, Houhou and KW, duendecat, japanese101, japanese from zero, etcetera etcetera etcetera.

And in that time I learnt what work and what doesn’t work for me. I know that when learning a new radical, kanji or vocab, speaking out loud the meaning and reading while staring at it makes it stick to my brain for a little while. And if I know which radicals or kanjis make that up, I also speak aloud my own mnemonic for that item, so whenever it pops up, I can hear myself inside my head saying the phrase, meaning and reading.

Also, if there are similar kanjis, I would try to associate each with something that they resemble. Like, so far almost everything with the radical “tsunami” is associated with water, so when I see that radical, I already know it has something to do with it, which makes remembering the rest much easier.
For vocab I do the same. I don’t remember where I saw that one, but someone once explained that they differentiate glory (栄光/eikou) and honor (光栄/kouei) by thinking where does the light stands for in such situations. Like, the person is the 栄 and the light is 光, so if the light is coming from behind of you, as if you were above a mountain with the rising sun on your back (very anime-ish), that is honor. If the light is coming from the front, as if cast by Heaven itself, that is glory. (And by front and back, I mean from left to right, as if reading a sentence in english).

So, you asked how do we memorize such crazy symbols with ease? We don’t exactly do it with ease (at least, I know I don’t), but with much craziness and abstraction.
And as I said, (I know it is a somewhat silly advice, but) you do need to find out what works for you AND accept your own time and limitations.


So I didn’t realize doing things another way was an option until recently, so what I have been doing has been doing every new lesson right on the day that they appear, and finishing every review in my queue by bedtime every day. I have 139 apprentice items and 443 guru items right now. On the days of the week where I am not learning new lessons, I typically do about 250 reviews a day. The learning days are rough though, so don’t do that part my way. Maybe, just make sure to do all the kanji on the first day, and then like 20 vocab a day for lessons, and you should be fine that way I think. More manageable. Good luck.

It is my first time here, I hope to fullfil more levels in short time