Are my current study tools suitable for my level?

Hi All,

This is my first post (outside of my introduction) on this message board so I would first like to say I apologise if I have asked a question already asked before (I have had a quick search and couldn’t find anything exactly like this) or if I have posted this in the wrong section.

I am currently at level 04 on WaniKani and using the below tools to learn daily:

  1. WaniKani (Obviously) for Kanji and vocab
  2. KameSame for reverse learning and backing up knowledge from WaniKani
  3. BunPro I have just started to try and pick up the grammar
  4. Pimsleur Audiobook Course to practice speaking on my car journey to and from work daily
  5. Benkyo the iPhone app with all JLPT 5 kanji, vocab, Hiragana and Katakana to ensure I am learning and remembering them all as an flash card style learning method
  6. Japanese Immersion basically listening to about 30mins to 1 hour of native Japanese speaking while I am working (Podcast, radio, audiobook)

Is there something that is too high for my level or anything I should drop for overkill such as for example stopping immersion listening and benkyo to spend more time on other things?

I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback and experiences at my around my WaniKani level of experience, thanks in advance!

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When I was at level 04, I found that immersion was really helpful because it helped me to begin parsing out the vocab I was learning from WK in everyday speech. You’ll want to begin listening as soon as possible because you’ll want to be able to strengthen your vocab recognition outside of reading. 80% of my music has been in Japanese for quite a few years, so thats another way I immerse myself in the language. If you can listen to fun interviews in addition to news or podcasts, that would be helpful.

I didn’t begin bunpro or grammar lessons too much until after level 5 (I began bunpro at level 8) and I made sure to master katakana & hiragana before I started WK. Do keep reviewing hiragana & katakana, especially the katakana contractions because…even in Japanese class now I sometimes have to look them up since I don’t see them everyday. I find that learning grammar is helpful when you are ready to begin the language generation portion of your japanese studies. WK recommends you start grammar after level 10, which is when I officially hit the ground running since I was still shaky at level 8.

I did not use Pimsleur, but I did start with Japanesepod 101. I stopped it because of $ back in Dec 2019, and I ended up taking my first in person Japanese class in March 2020. I am still taking classes now, and I will probably take up Japanesepod again because I really like the transcripts and the podcast now that i’ve studied a lot more grammar.

I also use Mango languages through the public library, to practice phrases.

I would say just be careful with pacing. I feel like it took me several months before things began to really stick, and I’m not sure how long you have studied before starting WK and these other study methods, but good luck!

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This is just my thoughts, but they don’t have any thing related to the level that you are. I would drop 2-6 and instead would use Genki to build a solid understanding of grammar and its use. Bunpro is only good for reviewing the grammar you already learned. You can listen to Genki dialogues and audio exercises in the DVD instead of 4 and 6. Writing down answers to Genki’s Workbook by hand (paper or ipad), in my opinion, it is a better way to remember words, vocabulary and kanji. Some of the questions in the workbook, require you to be creative and think harder than when you do a SRS since they are answers’ to personal questions.

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You will probably want to add in a textbook soon, maybe when you’re closer to level 10, and then start using Anki (or an equivalent) to track vocab from the textbook and other beginner-level media.

Around the time I took those steps, I dropped KaniWani (equivalent to KameSame). It was taking up a lot of time, and the WK vocabulary it was reinforcing was not actually very useful in conversation, because WK’s vocab serves only to teach kanji meanings and readings - not to facilitate spoken communication.

You’ll want to learn and reinforce the standard word for “bathroom” (WK level 22) before you put in extra time on KameSame for “testicles” (WK level 5 - and it’s usually written in kana anyway).

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I would say that only you can really decide what is the right level of study… for you. Everyone is different, with different goals, tolerances for learning, time commitments, money etc.

If it was me I can tell you that I don’t have time for 3 SRS systems - consumption of native material is the fun bit, so do that lots ! I also only use bunpro as a reference for grammar I encounter ‘in the wild’. But you are not me !! (i’m sure you are much more intelligent for a start :wink: )

I would say that the most important thing is that the amount you are doing is sustainable, and you are enjoying it !

Keep up the good work !

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I have to ask, why do you think OP dropping KameSame is necessary? I’m just wondering.

Thanks for sharing your opinions and experiences.

I spent two weeks prior to WaniKani learn Hiragana and Katakana then went straight onto WaniKani so no prior knowledge or studying.

I do kind of feel disheartened that things aren’t sticking as quick as I think they should until I read posts saying how long it has took others to make significant progress. I need to stop skipping ahead and let the basics slowly build to create a strong foundation.

I’ll park BunPro to one side until I reach level 10 I think, I don’t know enough vocal yet to be able to do anything useful and others have actually mentioned that it is more useful to recall previously learned grammar than be the tool to initially teach the grammar rules so I’ll use this advice also.

P.S.

Just downloaded a load of different Japanese Spotify playlists as well as the collaborative WaniKani one I found on this message board, should help split up the podcasts! Thanks for the idea.

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Brilliant advice, I think this makes a lot of sense.

I actually have Genki I 3rd edition book and workbook and I haven’t opened them yet as I wanted to get familiar with some kanji and vocabulary first but I’ll definitely look to start it.

Also, didn’t know it came with the audio. I have just downloaded the app and got all the audio in digital format to listen to now!

If I do drop 2-4-6 (Also looking to drop 3 until level 10 WaniKani) this will free up time for Genki! The workbook explanation makes sense as well, creative thought provoking exercises would definitely be better than SRS.

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Thanks for sharing! Makes a lot of sense and will definitely take your advice.

I think I will keep on with WaniKani and KameSame until level 10 then swap KsmeSame for BunPro and start Genki 1 3rd edition + Workbook.

Also, hilarious example of useful vocabulary not being level related haha

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Agreeing with previous posters that Genki is a much better use of time than KameSame or even Bunpro (without proper grammar instruction first).

Bunpro is great to practice what you’ve learned, but if you don’t learn it properly, you’ll slam into a wall of confusion later. I got too far ahead in WaniKani, and I’m working through Genki 1 3rd edition + workbook now. A lot of vocab that I know in flashcard form doesn’t register when I hear it or see it in a sentence, especially if it’s written in kana.

Getting ahead a bit in your grammar will help a lot with your listening and reading, and it’ll even make vocab acquisition easier, since you’ll understand the example sentences!

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Thanks for sharing you opinions.

I agree that 3 SRS is starting to feel not fun. I’m doing WaniKani then KameSame then BunPro then Benkyō… it’s a lot.

From the advice of others I’ll be doing only WaniKani and KameSame until level 10 then only WaniKani and BunPro with Genki.

On top of this I’ll be listening to Japanese music and podcasts for immersion and watching shows with bilingual subtitles listening or looking out for words I recognise.

It definitely needs to stay fun, I love learning Japanese but it has started to become a bit of a chore lately with the SRS overkill…

Also, doubt I am smarter I am just known for biting more than I can chew so it’s best to slow down now so I don’t get bogged down and decide to give up learning all together! :slight_smile:

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This makes me feel better about starting Genki, thanks. I was a bit scared to start the workbook as I thought it may not make sense or I may struggle so was planning to just get ahead in WaniKani for a while but I suppose the two work in tandem and I’ll eventually have to take the leap and start Genki anyway, it just feels a bit intimidating.

Glad to hear that grammar progress helps with listening and reading. I’m planning to start Genki after level 10 WaniKani now as apparently that is the suggested level for starting to dig into grammar then I’ll use BunPro as a way to reinforce what I have been learning in Genki.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and opinions!

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Don’t worry, Genki isn’t scary! The first section of the book is a wall of info, but once the actual chapters start, they’re very simple and approachable.

The workbook is divided up to match the lessons, so when you finish Chapter 1, you can do the Chapter 1 workbook pages too. There’s actually two sections in the workbook; the main exercises, and a writing-focused section at the back. Don’t forget to listen to the audio as you go! :heart:

Before lvl 60 I barely had time to study grammar, so if I were in the shoes of the OP writer I’d cut everything that is not WK to make some room for grammar. As for Kamesame in itself, I never used it so my impressions might be wrong. But what is KameSame good for? Vocabulary? Genki introduces lots of vocabulary and I feel that vocabulary that you learn in the context of reading and writing tends to stick better. Reverse recalling? I think that Kamesame duplicates part of what WK does. Even if WK does not asks explicitly to do reverse recalling, when I have to write my own sentences in Genki, I often recall lots of WK vocabulary even if I’m still thinking in English.

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I forgot to tell that for leisure (not for studying), I tend to only watch Japanese content with subtitles. A year ago I was happy that I could pick up one or three words in a sentence. But now, with more grammar, I’m very happy when sometimes I get the whole structure of a sentence. Also, I started watching non-Japanese B-movies (for example, Netflix’s Teenager Bounty Hunters) with Japanese dub. It is weird but B-movies in Japanese are not so bad and in some cases they even sound better than the original… I use a VPN to connect to Netflix Japan but it is worth to mention that if you use local Netflix, changing your audio/subtitles preferences to Japanese will increase the number of movies that have Japanese audio/subtitles without you needing to use a VPN.

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Your welcome! I stopped Kaniwani pretty early on, definitely before level 10. Now that I have burned items, I use Kaniwani to review my burned items only. You can set your settings that way, and I find this to be way, way more helpful.

Keep it fun and light! That is my greatest piece of advice. :slight_smile:

There will be times where you will stop doing SRS because of life stuff, and you should round out your study/immersion materials so when it happens you don’t feel as if you’re failing your Japanese goals. I have been on level 19 for over 194 days and if you told me around level 8 that I would drop WK for a few months, I would have laughed in your face. I would have never imagined that I would stop for so long because I was so eager to push through WK at the beginning of my studying journey.

What helped me stay afloat is that I engage with Japanese every single day because it’s a really fun and important part of my everyday life. :slight_smile: All of the immersion stuff I started with I still use, and I have found new stuff to consume in between SRS.

And yeah start with Genki. I use Minna no Nihongo in my Japanese class, but I started with Genki at a different school. Make sure that you practice the spoken exercises as spoken exercises, too. At the end of the book are all the writing & reading references for each chapter. You will see that there are letters and postcards you can read–you can rewrite them using the kanji you learn in WK. At the beginning of each chapter there is a dialogue that explains the sentence patterns you’ll be using.

Genki also teaches you Kanji starting at Chapter 3. You’ll cover some kanji you will have yet to learn in WK, too by taking the textbook route.

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Don’t use so many flashcard systems; it would be more beneficial to spend it reading or something.

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It’s not worth it to spend the amount of time you’d need to on KameSame just for WK’s vocabulary, as it’s not intended for learning important vocab. Rather, that vocab is there to help you learn the various readings of the Kanji in them. It’s a massive time investment for minimal return.

Ahh okay I see.
I personally just started using KameSame. I used KaniWani before but I eventually got fed up with the synonyms thing. But back when I used KW I felt like my recall of not only ENG -> JPN improved, but my recalling of that kanji in any way. That extra exposure to it must’ve really helped there.

as for OP, if you feel KS helps, by all means continue to use it. It flexes my brain muscles a bit more and forces me to not rely solely on how the kanji looks for recall. So I can’t say doing any type of reverse recalling is harmful from a learning standpoint, at least for me. Do take heed though, because too many resources might burn you out quickly, or jumble up your mind to the point where you cant focus on what’s really important.

Edits: Capitalization/Grammar

I understand what you’re saying here. The time investment for an SRS that will eventually ramp up to the pace of WaniKani is extremely exhausting. I only started it a few days ago and I’m already feeling like not doing my reviews on there. My reviews on WaniKani already reach ~400 per day. So adding another couple hundred does not sound appealing.

This is my main reason for wanting to continue with KS.