Beyond vocabulary - teaching phrases through Wanikani?

I just came across a great phrase, 成るように成るさ (what will be will be), in one of the context sentences. I really love phrases like this, as well as the more idiosyncratic terms/phrases that don’t really translate easily (or at least not in Google translate) - like 一体 as “the heck” (I know this one is taught, hence why I remember it, but I’ve definitely seen a lot more similar types of phrases in the context sentences that I don’t remember). I think it’s one of the greatest benefits of wanikani - learning real phrases that are used in Japanese, that I haven’t really seen being taught anywhere else. But they’re kind of hidden in the context sentences, which I barely ever go back to once I’ve moved on from the lesson. I know there’s a big backlash about kana-only vocab, but is there perhaps room in wanikani and interest from the userbase to teach terms and phrases like this?


How often do you run into this phrase?

I’ve spent 7000 hours in immersion have not run into this phrase once that I can recall.


In English? Almost daily (although we tend to say, it is what it is, or the Spanish (?) que sera, sera).

Alright, but in japanese? Just because you run into it in english doesnt mean that you’ll do it in japanese.

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I’m not really at a stage of immersion, but it’s just one example of many such phrases that I found interesting to read and would like to learn to express myself how I want. It and many other of these phrases don’t translate well (at least in Google translate), so it feels like a missed opportunity only showing them once in a context sentence and then never seeing them again. If I saw it again I wouldn’t know the meaning and wouldn’t be able to translate it.

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I know where you are coming from, since I have been there myself. My recommendation would be to dive into grammar, full of similiar expressions you are looking for, which is far more common aswell.

Tae Kims Guide, is something I would browse through from time to time.

Not that particular phrase in there, but I know what you are searching for now and it’ll make many things clear.


It appears in 15% of the visual novels that jpdb has in its database and 7% of the novels there.

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I could pick any word or phrase and make a point of it being common in some sort of medium, but in japanese over all?

It’s not a common phrase at all.

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Turned to my wife just now and said it, with no context, and she said うん、そういう言葉が好き. And I said 使う? and she said 使う.

Just was responding to the idea that it was obscure or rare or something.


I have no doubt that it’s used, my question was more of how common in japanese overall. Is it a phrase that is common enough to be in WK deck? I’m almost 100% sure it’s not.

Okay, we can let them know and filter out the words you haven’t encountered.

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Let’s get passive aggressive here. So cringe.

OP was talking about a phrase and about adding such to the deck and I said it wasn’t common enough.

You started talking about it being used and that we shouldn’t use phrases that I havent encountered as some sort of passive aggressive “gotcha”.

I cringed at the 7000 hour thing, so we’re even then.


That was to simply get some sort of measure of how uncommon it was, since I haven’t run into it once. It wasn’t even a flex. Chances are that people reading this will have less immersion than me, and I’m sure that you have more than me, but that isn’t the point.

The point was, should we add that phrase to the deck? And I’m most certainly sure that would be a bad idea since it wouldn’t be common enough.

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I love this and her response, that’s exactly how I felt on reading it. It’s certainly more interesting to learn than これ.

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I think you’re focusing too much on the specific phrase, which wasn’t the intention of the post. It was just the most recent expression I came across (and can’t remember any others except 一体 because they aren’t actually taught). Basically there’re a lot of interesting and (subjectively) useful phrases hidden in the context sentences that could be taught through the SRS system itself.

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Yeah, I got it in the end, it’s about grammar essentially and not that particular phrase in itself.

I’ve been where you are and know what you’re going for. Much of the sentences just goes past you since you have a hard time to parse it since grammar is standing in the way essentially, many words are a part of phrases which makes it hard to decipher.

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To play for the other side: I recently reset (not like I ever made it super far to begin with) to hammer myself with things I’ve probably forgotten and to push myself from N3 to N2. There are so many annoying vocab entries that I feel like are almost time wasters.

Take ベッドの下 and テーブルの上 for example. These aren’t vocabulary words. These are grammar points. That’s not what I originally signed up for nor why I’m here now. I’m here for kanji and vocabulary.

Obviously this is just my personal preference, but I’d rather WaniKani stick to vocab and leave out any sort of attempt at teaching grammar. To each their own I guess.


There are very few full expressions, proverbs, etc. that would crack the top ranks of individual vocab words, since they are, by necessity, composed of smaller chunks themselves. But I still think there’s value in learning them. Something like 猿も木から落ちる is “uncommon” in the sense that it appears in even less stuff on jpdb than なるようになる, but every Japanese person knows it. And it’s far more interesting than learning any of the individual words on their own.

And yes, before anyone asks, any “opt out” request caveats can be applied to this as well. I’m not suggesting that everyone learn expressions and proverbs from WK if they don’t want to.


I have nothing against rare words or phrases even if that was the case. Just hard to fit them into the WK deck as is.

One solution would be to have the original WK deck, then have a kana deck, and maybe some sort of customizable deck for phrases (10k/6k) or what not.

Rather than have an opt out option an opt in option would probably be more preferable.