Came back from a 11-month hiatus! How should I get back up to speed?

TL;DR: Back from a 11-month hiatus. Was busy with university, still kind of busy now but I want to chip in some learning. Currently working 9.30AM-7PM every weekday, any advice on how to maintain a routine with these conditions? Any tips in general, be it restarting my learning or new WaniKani features?

Hey everyone!

I was a Japanese learner since Nov 2017, and WaniKani was among the first things I tried. The next month, there was the lifetime account sale and I had enough time to be convinced of SRS and the way WaniKani teaches. I would say that this lifetime account is among the best investment I had made. I would credit most of my Japanese ability in terms of Kanji and Vocab to WaniKani (I think my Kanji is stronger than Grammar, even).

Back then, I had a long a break before university started in Oct 2018. Things started getting busy, but I pushed on and actually managed to sustain some form of learning (even 5 items or less per day is progress!) throughout 2019. Eventually, University got a bit overwhelming, and I finally resorted to activating vacation mode in Jan 2020.

My learning momentum slowed, but I continued exposing myself to various things Japanese, be it anime or music (my Spotify 2020 wrapped says my top genre is J-Pop). Ultimately, there is too much inertia to begin again for the longest time. My sister is also a fan of a Japanese culture, so sometimes when we talk we would say simple Japanese phrases. I think the continuous attempt of speaking with her finally made me realise today how much I do miss learning Japanese. I finally decided to deactivate vacation mode, knowing full well I would have forgotten a lot of things.

I was level 31 when I went on a hiatus, and I had ~30 reviews waiting for me. Honestly, I was discouraged to get most of the first few things wrong, but that is expected. I decided to go down a few levels first to level 25, hopefully to regain momentum. The reviews were chopped to 14, and I ended the session with ~40% accuracy. I think that’s okay, but what surprised me that among one of the 14, I actually managed to burn a vocabulary! Right after deactivating vacation mode, I burned 鼻血 (Level 17, Nosebleed).

I’m happy to be back! But truthfully I am scared I wouldn’t be able to commit or I overestimate my abilities. University is still as busy as ever. It is my school break now, but I am taking a full time internship that is essentially work from 9.30am - 7pm every weekday.

I would like to ask those who have similar schedule as me, how is your routine like? How many new items do you learn a day? How do you sneak (sorry boss :stuck_out_tongue:) reviews during work hours?

Any tips for a returning learner like me? I am currently thinking of clearing the incoming reviews before restarting some lessons. Not sure how long I should do this until. I seem to still have some leeches from my past that I can’t seem to unleech just yet.

I also noticed that there is a UI Change in WaniKani. Most notably there seems to be a ‘review forecast’ to show how many new reviews there are. I recall last time we needed to use an extension to get something like this! Are there any other WaniKani features that might be new and you guys think I should be aware of?

Thanks a lot for reading if you read the whole thing! Looking forward to learning again :smiley:


Hi, welcome back! I came back from a 4 months long hiatus not long ago so maybe my approach will work for you too.
When I logged back in and the first thing I noticed was the piled up reviews of course lol
I was so close to resetting to level 5 or so, because I told myself I wouldn’t remember anything but instead of doing so I thought “hey if a word comes and I don’t know it, it’ll just go down an SRS level or two and I’ll see it again later on, it’ll till be faster than resetting levels”, and I’d recommend you do the same, I think we tend to know more words than we give ourselves credit for.
I assume my review pile was a lot smaller than yours because I’m at a lower level and my hiatus was shorter, but maybe you can adapt my “method” (if it can even be called that).
Pick a “doable” number of reviews to do per day, something that won’t fry your brain, for me it was 9, just 9. I used a couple plugins so I could pick 3 kanji and 6 vocab. After the first couple days I went up to 15, but just after checking that my apprentice pile wasn’t huge, I always keep an eye on that to avoid adding a million review a day to my already big pile lol
It took me a couple weeks, and re-learning some mnemonics from scratch (I had some bad leeches), but when I finally cleared my review pile, I started learning the vocabulary lessons I had from the previous level, 6 per day, until I cleared that up too, then the kanji and vocab from the then current level (3 kanji, 3 vocab).
I used to be a lot faster with levels, now I’m not, but I’ve found out that I burned out from trying to learn things as soon as they are unblocked. You’re at a higher level so you’ve probably already found the study pace that works for you but if not, I’d suggest you keep an eye on that too. I miss the 0 lesson/0 review thingy but I’d rather miss that and keep on going even if I’m slower now.
Hope you can get something useful out of this this rant :sweat_smile:

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If you do lessons in the morning and reviews during lunchbreak, the bulk of your reviews will come in in the evening. I wiuld say, do reviews and lessons before work, try to hit the first review of your lessons before 2pm, to make sure you can do the last review of the day around 9pm.

If you’re prone to make mistakes on the first review of your lessons, try to do lessons before 8 am, so you can do the first review before noon, second review before 4pm, evening review before 8pm and last review of the day before midnight. But if this isn’t feasible for you, then I would just keep to what I wrote above.

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Welcome back and keep it up!

Coming back after a hiatus takes a lot of courage, so you’ve made the hardest step. Well, maybe :smiley:

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