Don’t burnout from progressing too slowly, make sure you have a clear long term goal

Edited. Closed


I think I was about average speed, finishing in two years. I wanted to get the Kanji out of the way first and then focus on other stuff.

To read Light Novels and manga, which I can kinda do now but not very well yet. For me, speaking is secondary.



I too have the same goal. Though not the level…


Decided to sacrifice three years of my life to become somewhat fluent, aint nobody got time for messing around for 10 years. The faster I progress through WK, the faster I can go through native content with less agony.


Same! All I actually want to do is to be able to read manga and novels; and I do notice I get better, but I do struggle with confidence. I never focused on speaking or being able to form sentences as I simply don’t need it.
Also absolutely fascinating how the brain works. I can read - slowly, but it works - but when I get asked a question in Japanese (I do engage with people above my level, and though we usually speak in English, sometimes they throw Japanese at me), my brain does not function enough to form an answer. You’d think after all these years of studying and all the reading my brain would just fuse eveything together and be able to form at least one sentence that doesn’t make me sound like a donkey. But reading, writing and speaking are all in different parts of the brain. Interesting and annoying at the same time.


I slowed down a little after pushing really hard for the first 1.5 years or so, but I agree with this. If one scales down time so the goal ends up being achievable after many years, that just doesn’t make any sense to me anymore. It’s like reading a weekly manga that gets moved to a monthly or a bimonthly magazine. Is it as enjoyable when read? Probably, but it’s going to blur out with everything else that is happening in life.

Also, what I think needs to be said more often - one does not need to reach level 60 for reading proficiency, because A) WK doesn’t even cover all joyo kanji and B) other tools can be just as good :slight_smile: .


I want to go to Japan and know what is going on. So it is a bit of everything. I also have a bit of a deadline as I want to go before I am 70 and the clock is ticking. My main focus at the moment is steady progress with WK, supported with a bit of grammar and baby reading. Lack of kanji in baby books slow me down but you can always find something new. Might try manga or other easy adult reading. Everyday I get a bit closer to my goal.


While that is true that you don’t really need to reach lvl 60, it’s just a part of my routine now so might aswell stick with it. Have to learn the rest of the kanji anyway, so why throw away a thing that already works? That doesn’t make much sense to me, but I’ve considered it. Past lvl 25 diminishing returns goes down really quick when sifting through native contents such as vlogs or slice of life animes and such. 90%ish of kanji is already known at this point pretty much, certainly at lvl 30.

I’m just really impatient. Consume atleast 8hr of content a day, more like 10, on good days up to 12. With breaks I’m pretty much doing it from I wake up until I go to bed. I miss having a life a bit.

That was a bit of a tangent. But I agree with you on the whole.


Kanji is really interesting. First you try to avoid it almost, then you can’t imagine doing it without it. So interesting that reading is much easier than listening, I’d imagine I thought it was the complete opposite when I started.


honestly, I got quite frustrated when I stopped leveling after 12-15 days from before hell levels, I dont know what happened for the pace to be changed like this.

now I am taking more than 1 month to level up, I thought I would finish wk in one year but at this rate now it is going to be more than 2 years.

But since I started bunpro as well, I am not that frustrated anymore, I listen to two podcasts (teppei beginner and noriko machinegun speaking) and that’s it.


Haha, indeed. I could probably carry on a simple conversation or if I really had to I would just spit out nouns and hope they get the gist. Lol

Even then that only really counts for official material that uses the Joyo as a baseline. When reading adult fiction all bets are off.

But it does get you like 90% of the way there, so I think it’s a worthwhile use of time.

I think that other than those who are comfortable just learning kanji and that’s it, a lot of people who get stuck in Wanikani or SRS in general are afraid to leave the comfort zone.

At some point you realize that you need to stop preparing and start doing. :wink::+1:


There are ALOT of people that also like the idea of knowing a language, so they do the bare minimum every day in order to live by the illusion that they one day will know it. Sort of like people that buy a lottery ticket, one day they will win. There are also alot of people that underestimate the amount of time it takes to learn a language. On the low end, it takes 2200 hours to learn japanese (whatever that means). If you do that for an hour every day, that’ll end up with a whopping 6 years. That is class hours if I recall correctly. So there is that. How many sticks around for 6 years? Not many.

Angry rant over, it’s a pet peeve of mine.


Yeah, but:


But seriously, I think 5 years is a decent pace to get to a comfortable reading level, especially if it’s a hobby that you can’t really schedule your life around. And you could definitely accelerate that with SRS.

Full disclosure, this was me for the first year where all I did was learn hiragana and go through a “Japanese learning app”.

It wasn’t until I started doing WK that I realized the size of the mountain I had to climb.


I agree that ideally one should weigh their goals and priorities and stick with it to actually accomplish what they so much aspire for. The idea of “illusion learning” that @x90PT mentioned seems very much true, and I bet we’ve all been through “illusions” on many different personal projects and ambitions in our lives. Like learning a language, or an instrument, or starting a sport, or writing a book… things for which many may wish for, but more often than not don’t quite come true as hoped.

That, as unfortunate as it may sound, is the way it goes: sometimes the steam does run out. We’re all humans after all, prone to change of pace and of mind. We now can be “so sure” we’re going to stick with it, but realistically how on earth can anyone know how they’ll be like in a year or two? Especially with long, complex personal projects such as the examples above.

When adult life comes, life does get in the way sometimes, and since learning Japanese to many here is a hobby (I suppose. I know it’s not the case for everyone), it is hard to prioritize it for 40h a day when you have work, studies, chores, errands, bills to pay, sleep to try to have, and family/friends to be with. Along with other hobbies and interests we all have.

In average, that reality makes that many people keep their hobbies as, well, hobbies… and because of their very nature, they take time. By taking time, they’re prone to have their steam run out every now and then.
That’s why unfortunately so many end up not exactly giving up, but getting derailed or sidetracked from some of the goals they had years ago. I don’t believe it is for lack of determination or for slacking off.

I do wish that we all here can achieve our goals! And if eventually that steam seems to start running out, that anyone can reevaluate their situation and get back on track the way that makes most sense. :pray::cool:


I agree. Wish you could see/hear a kanji where someone speaks. Should have speech bubbles above their heads !


That’s so true and honestly the hardest step.

I am just a random commentor here as well, but… it kinda kicked my butt as well. I rely too much on dictionaries and translators even though I know I understand a lot without it. But my anxiety kicks in that I haven’t studied enough yet. And then when I see the translation, I either go “oh yeah, figured that out without it” or “LMAO no, that’s not what it says, translators are stupid.” So actually I know I could do without it, but I have no self confidence, so I am always running back to it. Working on all problems at once this year. Trust my own abilities more, study more grammar and damn it, close the damn dictionary XD


Ten years may seem like an eternity to many, but for what it’s worth, 2012 seems like yesterday to some of us. The years between 1968 and 1988 were obviously four or five times longer than those from 1998 to 2018, for example. :wink:

My definition of “somewhat fluent” has changed over the years as well. While I personally don’t see any problem with “progressing too slowly,” the OP has it exactly right: we must find our own pace and follow our own paths.

It’s not always about the destination: I don’t expect to reach many of my goals within my lifetime, and I certainly don’t expect to ever “finish” learning Japanese, but I still believe the goals are worth pursuing.


So what?

It took me 7 years to get a BSc in maths, but I was also working 4 days a week. Some people told me I wouldn’t have the patience to see it through. They were wrong. I also studied French and English for many, many years, and played piano for several years as a child. What’s with the rush? It’s OK if things take time.

Also, learning Japanese (or any language, really) is not an all or nothing proposition. You can derive joy from learning it and know parts of it, even before you’re “fluent”.

The problem is not if people go slow and it takes them years, the problem is only when people go slow but expect quick results.


The problem is that people have the attentionspan of a two year old and if they don’t progress fast enough they’ll eventually drop it. Which is an immense waste of time and I’m trying to get people not to waste time by being frank with them. You did something for six years, good. But the common people, how likely do you think it is they will stick it out daily for six years? That is class hours btw, since people are doing duolingo it’ll most likely never get the results they want. Then they go for a rant how they “studied” for 20 years and got nowhere. I don’t get people.