Coddiwomple-ing through WaniKani - A study log

Japanese Calligraphy Post

This will be a long term, dabble-like thing. But.


  • A calligraphy brush set from my local art store. Is it Japanese? Chinese? I don’t know, I can’t read anything. But it is a brush set all the same
  • A book on Japanese calligraphy. Found at my local library discard store!
  • A book in Japanese with calligraphy in it, found at the same place. Is it a poetry book? A collection of proverbs in calligraphy? I don’t know, I can’t read it. But the mystery intrigues me, and one day I shall be able to identify it myself.
  • Paper made for western calligraphy. It won’t be quite right, but it should be better than printer paper all the same. It will do for now. NOTE: it doesn’t like the water heavy ink, but it is adequate for personal use.
  • EDIT: 30th May. I found an 80 page packet of calligraphy paper in the $2.50 section of my local Japanese grocer. Will this paper be any good?


  • Some! 28th May during Crafternoon I cracked open my supplies and made an attempt. After a number of practice exercises and pages, I managed to produce this:

Spring through winter


Level three! Hurray!

Goes to subscribe. Kouchi reminds her the rest of the level is still free. Goes back to doing lessons.
Realises that the subscription banner stuck to the top of the dashboard is interfering with the scripts. Quickly gets fed up with vanilla WK.
“Here is a list of some of the benefits of upgrading to Premium: […] … and last but not least, the removal of this upgrade message. The small things count, right?”
That is just evil Kouchi! shakes fist

It took a lot of troubleshooting to fix the scripts, but by evening I was successful.

Self-Study Quiz is FANTASTIC for squashing leaches. Run it once a day whenever there is a leach count.


Yup, I went through the same thing back in March, haha


Mapping time! Time to plot out what a week would look in more detail like with high accuracy, commitment to schedule, and the stamina to smash lessons on demand. Try this out for level four next week. See what it is like when it is not on paper.

Overly ambitious review cycle for levels 3-10

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Day 1

  • Kanji 0 (last level’s) to Guru one, unlocking next level
  • Radicals from unlearned to A1
  • Kanji 1 (first half) from unlearned to A1
  • Vocabulary from last level unlocked, save for tomorrow.
  • Radicals from A1 to A2
  • Kanji 1 from A1 to A2
    (2pm any incorrect reviews come up here, hopefully reaching A2)
  • Radicals from A2 to A3
  • Kanji 1 from A2 to A3
    (anything I got wrong twice in a row turns up here, reaching A2)
    (10pm any incorrect reviews hopefully reaching A3 before I go to bed!)

Day 2

  • Vocabulary 0 time! Everything that unlocked from last levels second batch of Kanji, and those odd items that start the level unlocked. From unlearned to A1
  • Possibly some leaches hitting A3 here… probably not A2, right? Right.
  • Vocab 0 from A1 to A2
  • Any incorrect items. 2pm and 10pm can now be assumed as reviewing any items that are critical, if I don’t feel like leaving them to random times when I log in.
  • Radicals from A3 to A4
  • Kanji 1 from A3 to A4
  • Vocab 0 from A2 to A3.

Day 3

  • Squash leaches
  • Read ahead on the second batch of Kanji that are about to unlock.
  • Vocab 0 from A3 to A4

Day 4

  • Squash leaches
  • Read ahead on the vocabulary that is about to unlock.
  • Radicals from A4 to G1, unlock Kanji 2
  • Kanji 1 from A4 to G1, unlock Vocabulary 1
  • Kanji 2 from unlearned to A1
  • Vocab 1 from unlearned to A1 (as much as I feel like before 7pm)
    From 7-10pm
  • Take more of the Vocab 1 lessons, if there are any left over, from unlearned to A1. Call this Vocab 1.5
  • Kanji 2 from A1 to A2
  • Vocab 1 from A1 to A2

Day 5

  • Kanji 2 from A2 to A3
  • Vocab 1 from A2 to A3
  • Vocab 1.5 from A1 to A2
    2pm. Read ahead: Radicals + from upcoming level
  • Vocab 1.5 from A2 to A3
  • Vocab 1 from A4 to G1

Day 6

  • Kanji 2 from A3 to A4
  • Vocab 1 from A3 to A4
    2pm. Read ahead: Kanji + from upcoming level
  • Vocab 1.5 from A3 to A4

Day 7 - Read ahead: all the vocabulary from this level that is still locked. Vocabulary 2.
Nothing! Well, leach squashing probably.

Day 8 and Day 1 new cycle

  • Guru Kanji 2. Unlock Vocab 2. Unlock next level and new cycle.
Rambling thoughts on cycles

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  • Leaving vocabulary a day after it unlocks keeps things balanced, at least on a macro scale.
  • Day 1, 2, 4/5 are days with a lot of learning.
  • Day 3 and 7 look much much lighter, with space to review, read ahead, and rest.
  • I chose 6am because 1) If I get anything wrong, which I will, keeping to a 6/10/6/10 schedule means my brain is still awake at 10pm for that last review. Leaving it to 11pm, while entirely possible, will tank my accuracy. 2) I have been waking up anyway, and my phone is right there…

Guru and beyond start showing up on a weekly schedule. Do I want all my guru’ed items to show up on Mondays? Probably not. Taking care to NOT maintain a 7 day cycle will help. And give me a day to do other study.
Also, my Japanese class is at 6pm so my 6/10 cycle will be thrown off at least one day a week. Although technically only by an hour…?

Small batches or all at once, the eternal question…
Another option, do ~15-20 vocabulary a day, every day. In higher levels it averages 120 vocab a level, which would mean two batches of 60… it might be a bit much? So, perhaps divide total vocabulary by days spent on level… Right now I have 30 lessons. Kanji 2 will reach A3 tonight. That gives me three days before K2 is guru’d and the next level unlocks. If I learn five items at 6am/pm every day that would give a small and steady stream of reviews.

Reflections from the mid point of level four:

Being faced with 73 lessons at the level unlock was rather intimidating. The thought of smashing through them, possibly leading to poor review accuracy, is not enticing. Would it be faster? Yes, I think it would be. Would it be fun? Only in the right mood.
I currently have one radical I answered incorrectly twice. At first I was rather dismayed at it lagging behind by a day and a half (I did not abuse my re-answer script!) However, it only leaves one kanji locked, and actually won’t slow my level speed. It still sucks, but not as much.

This strict pattern will only happen if I spend a week in a high study mood, ready to learn ALL THE THINGS AT ONCE. It was useful to think through and plan out (I recommend everyone take some time to really think through the SRS and level cycle) but I am not interested in trying to stick to it.


Today I found kanji workbooks for primary school kids ($2.50AUD at the grocer). It won’t be any good for learning the kanji, but I think they will form a novel way of review in a few levels! Perhaps level 5? 10? Who knows. They will be highly amusing all the same!

On more productive study completed, dearest study log, yesterday I reviewed topic three from Marugoto, and did half my homework. This morning I have listened to one Pimsleur lesson (and of course done all my reviews and lessons).

I am still looking for other resources that I enjoy as much as WK.

  • Anki
  • JLUP
  • Japanese Ammo
  • Tae Kim
  • Step up nihongo!
  • I really want something that I can read now…
  • LingQ?
    Ahhh! So much to look through! This is only a fraction of my bookmarks!
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First, a bit of a warning. People often spend far too much time looking for more resources than actually studying. The important thing is to find something that can get you to where you need to be and stick with that.

All that being said, for grammar stuff, here is my current workflow which is working well for me:

  • Bunpro (to order lessons)
  • Dictionary of Japanese Grammar series (to get a deep understanding of the topics from)

Bunpro usually gives page references to the DoJG entries so its pretty easy to go through. I would say that the dictionary may not be super useful on its own until you get to N5ish grammar and can understand most of the nuance explanations. Bunpro can at least cover you for that through links to other resources. After doing that, I recommend reading up on the N5 topics you would already know in the dictionary as you will learn to understand it on a deeper level.

And even if you don’t follow the Bunpro and Dictionary of Japanese Grammar pairing that I do, I still recommend those books. Its amazing how their explanations are usually better than anything you can find online. I’ve noticed that I can even inform fluent speakers of rules they may know intuitively but not explicitly (ie: the distinction between ので, んだから, and から).

I also am going to give an anti-recommendation to Tae Kim. I think people recommend it because they used it like a decade ago where internet japanese resources were scarce, but there is much better stuff out there. Wasabi does the same thing as Tae Kim’s but much better. Tae Kim’s guide ranges from oversimplifying to outright misinformation. The が vs は article is one of its first and also one of its worst. If you use the guide, you effectively need to relearn all of the topics it covers, looking out for where it lied to you.

For vocab outside of WaniKani, I recommend Torii

For reverse WaniKani (giving the English and needing to give the kanji/vocab), I recommend KameSame


Is there anything Torii offers that KameSame lacks at this point?

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  • Torii has a mode for things explicitly outside of Wanikani, ordered by kanji level, so that you can do it alongside WaniKani.
  • Torii has several example sentences for each word, with an audio recording of at least the main example sentence
  • Torii is an app, which is convenient to give reminders of when reviews are available, and generally makes it nicer to use on mobile (though slightly more of a pain on desktop)

Thank you for your feedback, this is useful. I haven’t looked into bunpro yet, but I will. Your advice on Tae Kim’s guide seems very reasonable and I shall look elsewhere.
If you have a post where you do an overall review of the resources you have tried I would be very interested in reading it. :slight_smile:


I don’t really have one, but I can give a brief rundown here (of the things I haven’t already talked about):

  • Kitsun - This is a paid Anki-like service with the main draw of being actually clean, well put together, and not needing lots of configuring to get usable, like Anki. It tends to share most of its base with WaniKani.

  • Minna no Nihongo - I’m doing a private class outside of everything else, and this is what they used. It feels like, even compared to Genki, it is handholdy in pushing topics without full explanations. The biggest flaw I think is that it introduces all verbs in their ます forms rather than their 連体形 (AKA dictionary form)

  • Genki - It at least introduces verbs in 連体形, but shares a lot of the issues with MNN, and also coveres less, which makes the jump to an N3 oriented book (like Tobira) more difficult. The exercies are also worse than MNN IMO (which is the series’ main strength)

  • Podmax’s Introduction to Japanese is a nice brief thing that will get you to N4ish grammar, and generally has a verb conjugation first approach, which I like. It also is one of the rare places that gives a lot of etymology for stuff, which really helps illistrate why things work like they are. However, a lot of the explanations can be hard to follow and loaded with some linguistic terminology. I also kind of feel that its something that may be more approachable with some basic grammar and kanji knowledge, which makes it easier to read. My recommendation would be to read the verb stuff at some point, which is really insightful, but leave the particle stuff for other resources, which cover it better (ie: Dictionary of Japanese Grammar stuff)

  • Wasabi - I haven’t used much of it, but it seems to be a fine beginner guide sort of thing, and unlike Tae Kim’s guide it doesn’t seem to have a lot of misinformation

  • Cure Dolly’s videos. They are generally a good second perspective on grammar you learn. I wouldn’t ever recommend it as a solo grammar resource, but a different view on the things you learn can help you get a more deep understanding. Warning about the videos though. She has a weird voice thing that some people can’t stand, but I don’t personally mind. The bigger annoying thing to me is the clickbaity titles and how she will take time to go on about “these are the SECRETS TEXTBOOKS WON’T TELL YOU” and it can feel like I’m listening to a scammy infomercial at times. Still, the content is pretty good.

I probably have used various things for small times that I don’t rememer, but really, most of my time is spent keeping up with MNN for the class, doing WaniKani at max speed, learning grammar via the DoJG books and Bunpro, and occasionally learning more words from Torii, doing reverse WK with KameSame, and doing a katakana word deck on Kitsun, with my priorities being in that order.



I have never had a good relationship with grammar. My relationship with grammar is so bad, I consistently spell it with an ‘e’ before remembering that it is yet another word not spelt the way it sounds (to my ear. I also have a terrible relationship with spelling.) I frequently forget whether ‘-ing’ words are verbs or adjectives - doesn’t ‘adjective’ just sound like a word that should describe action? It does to me. But. I am here to acquire Japanese. And… That should be supported by studying grammar.

This probably gives the impression that I am not interested in grammar, but no! What can be inferred from the very framework of communication is fascinating to me! I adore Japanese particles, and I could not put down the ‘Japanese in Depth’ series by Shigekatsu Yamauchi. (Absolutely fantastic series of articles. Cannot recommend enough.)

The difference is this. Give me plain english about the concepts inferred and the mindsets encoded in language and I love it. Ask me to understand jArGoN however, and it is… not so good.

Fortunately, I am a grown-ass woman and I know the good stuff is just a dictionary away, so Bunpro + A Dictionary of Basic Japanese Grammar, begin!

Thank you, @MegaZeroX, for giving me the nudge I needed to start :sweat_smile:


31st May

There were only a dozen reviews over the course of the day, so I mostly took the day off of thinking about Japanese. Or the morning at least, I came back ~2pm to do some poking around and ended up looking at grammar. It still felt like a day off :stuck_out_tongue:

Still need to look into vocabulary, later perhaps. And, like, do more of my actual class work. I have only slightly improved over last week it seems.


Nice, looks like you’re keeping a good pace! Jealous of those 6AM reviews, by 9AM I’m already a little distracted and wish I had done WK as soon as I woke up lol. Keep working hard! :ok_hand:t4::ok_hand:t4:


I am very pleased with myself this morning! Last night I unlocked lessons, and resisted the temptation to take them right away :star: :+1:
(This is an hour after doing one set of lessons And immediately regretting it- the point is I learned. I am giving myself a gold star damnit!) and this morning I have only done the new Kanji, and left all the lovely vocabulary for tomorrow morning… oh that lovely 0/0, I will see you soon!

Checklist for June 1st
Work out how to format a check box EDIT: thank you @Mikaela_desu
Do a grammar lesson (and reviews)

Bonus points!
Try out torii/kamesame
Make a 2020 Goals list


Thank you! I hope I can keep it up once the shine wears off :sweat_smile: you should keep a study log too! I would read it :v:


I just learned the check box! It’s [ and ] side by side. To check it you should be able to click it without re-editing the post. Or you can edit the post and add \ and * to the inside.



Graded readers with the Absolute beginner book club!
Recommended grammar levels for this club are ~N5.

Grammar goal N5 by July
Day Lessons (sets of 3) Bunpro progress
May 31 12/111
June 1-7 15/111
June 8-14
June 15-21
June 22-28
June 29-30

Recommended WK level for graded readers: ??? not directly applicable. Just keep chipping away
For now, my goal is level 10, as this is roughly N5 level.
Edit 23/June: Well, this fell by the wayside quickly :sweat_smile: Bunpro will have to wait for another time I think. Great tool, but right now I want to find a frame work for my understanding of grammar (in both English and Japanese). Learning specific grammar points just is not my focus right now :pensive:

Wanikani level Estimated date/Date reached Days spent Check boxes are fun
1 20/05 3
2 23/05 4.5
3 28/05 7.5
4 04/06 8.5
5 13/06 13
6 26/06 ~10
8 ~04/07
10 ~23/07
21 Level 21 by 2021! Celebrate

Recommended vocabulary level for graded readers ??? also N5 level.
Choose a vocabulary program already darn it!
Edit: so far, I am going with Tori. I haven’t used it much yet, mostly because I am occupied with everything else I am doing, but it is chosen!


It’s hard to assign a WK level to the graded readers, since they always include furigana anyways, so it is just a vocab question. There are hiragana only words and katakana only words that WK won’t cover, and words with more obscure kanhi that WK won’t cover until relatively late. I would suggest that, when you get to level 10, to look at Jisho’s n5 word list and see what you are missing from there. Cover the gaps and you should be ready.


Oh, I just realized you weren’t taking about graded readers, but the absolute beginners book club (they are different). In that case, it’s kind of unbounded. Either way, unless you have a very large vocabulary, you will be looking up lots of words regardless.

Also, the recommended grammar is more like >=N5. You will definitely see stuff outside of it, since children’s books don’t care about foreign learners grammar order! :stuck_out_tongue:

(the n5 recommendation is just a minimum to really approach stuff at all)


In that case you answered a question I did not even know I needed answered! I assumed that the absolute beginners would be reading Grade 0 readers! I would like to read both :fist_right: :fist_left:
So book club, then graded readers shortly after. Sounds like a plan.
Read things, in some order, to be determined when I have a little more language under my belt. #Plans.