A question to the fast learners ~8 days per level

I use scripts. If i fail a critical radical or the second batch of kanji I use the ignore script, make sure to read it all again and try to remember it for next time. And by keeping up on all vocabs lessons and reviews you get a chance to solidify it through them anyway. I do try to not need it though, by actually remember it in the first place. But I’m unable to do it perfectly, there is usually one or two that don’t stick at first.


I suppose the first step would be, as @cgsmith2 just mentioned, focusing primarily on memorizing the new radicals. I actually have a strong background in radicals (I learned their Japanese names at the same time that I learned hiragana/katakana, so only the “fake” radicals can mess me up) and almost always apply my own synonyms to them since WaniKani’s rarely click with me. As long as you get the radicals right, you can mess up the starting kanji a lot. This, however, would result in a huge review load upon leveling up (since you gain 100% of the previous level’s vocabulary at once).

As for kanji accuracy, I’m a very Type A, methodical person. Every time I level up, I write each new kanji 18 times (that’s the amount of spaces per line in my kanji practice notebook). I use the Stroke Order script (Jisho before I found it) to make sure I’m producing the kanji correctly. Every subsequent time I review the kanji, I repeat this process (meaning I’ve written each kanji 72 times once it is guru assuming no mistakes). In addition, I use the WaniKani stats site to look up the next level’s kanji on Jisho, paying attention to the range of vocabulary for the kanji (I have a strong vocabulary due to a lot of listening exposure before learning to write, so a single word I already knew essentially assures I’ll remember the reading for a kanji). I don’t practice writing it or look directly at its readings; only vocabulary. This gives my brain a very light exposure to the kanji to provide a stronger “click” when I see it again upon leveling up.

Finally, I am a chronic-sticky noter (as I mentioned in another thread). I have a tradition I’ve used since college of placing sticky notes with words, concepts, etc. that I need to remember onto objects I use during the day (door knobs, the microwave door, inside the microwave itself, the toilet lever, the shower head, etc). In order to use said item, I must successfully, in this case, identify the meaning and reading of the kanji before I am allowed to take it off. If I can’t remember, I have to look it up before I can use whatever it is. As you can probably guess, the leeches go on the toilet! :stuck_out_tongue:

As for vocabulary, I’m pretty relaxed. The vocabulary that is normal gets chucked into guru with the kanji. The slightly weird ones usually end up weak leeches that turn into sticky notes, and the really strange ones piss me off so much that I can’t forget them. :rofl: As I live in Japan, I’m learning more vocabulary from my daily life than from WaniKani, so I don’t worry too much about it since it doesn’t affect the level up speed. That being said, I still have an accuracy of 96.45% on vocabulary, so I can’t be too upset about my lax opinion towards it.

Another favorite script of mine (other than Stroke Order, which ultimately is unneeded but very convenient) is the Phonetic-Semantic Composition script. Especially if you don’t practice writing kanji, it’s pretty crazy how you sometimes can miss identical/similar readings of kanji due to failure to recognize portions of it as individual kanji on their own.

Edit: I should also mention that, with the writing practice, I don’t stop at guru. Any kanji that comes up, from apprentice to enlightened, gets written 18 times after a review. It’s late at night and I’m tired, so my math may be wrong, but that’s a total of 144 times I write a kanji before it’s burned (not including when I have to use kanji for work or general life).


I like that honesty, Toyger, lol.

@EiriMatsu: That’s a pretty impressive amount of work. I can see why your accuracy would be super high using those techniques. I’m just curious how much time it takes. I barely have enough time for normal wanikani reviews (I do most of my reviews at work as it is, lol). In general, How long does it take you to write each kanji 18 times, each time you review it? Do you think that time sink is outweighed by having overall a higher accuracy? I’m just curious.

The sticky notes is a great idea but I live with my parents still so I’m pretty sure it’d drive them crazy. Definitely something to try should I ever move out.

Usually less than 100 in apprentice.

I do about 100 a day, though there have been days that are like 150 to 200.

I try to take it easy and usually do the bulk of my lessons in the day i.e. dun wake up in middle of night to do it.

I try to be accurate also, which is easier for me since my second language is Chinese, and there are considerable overlaps between the meanings between Chinese and Japanese.

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.