Embarrassed Because of Slow Progress

The way I think of it:

Native speakers spend 10 years learning Kanji, studying every day, in an immersive environment. It’s really okay to need more than a year to learn 2000 characters.


i am wanikani elder at this point, if i remember correctly, i was almost from the very beginning.
I even had beta test code.

In the course of these years, i dropped out from wanikani for various reasons several times.

What i felt during these events? To be honest, i don’t remember, i am just here at 53 level. 53 level for awhile, actually, just trying clear out long overdue guru items down to 100 or something before level up.

Unfortunaly never had experience of managing 800 reviews a day. I had maybe 300 a day maybe even 500 at worst, but i don’t think i ever had 800 if only one or two time during my wanikani career.

Can’t speak about it from standpoint of reseting levels or wanikani various mods(which maybe can offer optimal solution, i think). Never did that.

in any case, if reset level and mods didn’t exists…

I guess good strategy would be slowly making these reviews, rereading mnemonics and comeback on the track.
Not necessarily 800 a day, but maybe 300 or something.

Obviously lesson better be ignored for awhile.


If it is any comfort I made this account a little longer than a year ago and I am only level 11.


Perseverance is the key, not speed. And you have the perseverance to do this! Maybe you take a day off, a week off, a whole year off due to laziness or whatever, but if you keep coming back and keep trying then you’ve got this.

There’s always gonna be someone better, faster, smarter than you, but then, there’s always someone better, faster and smarter than the great, fast and smart people, and of those people too, and at some point in this cycle you’ll be better, faster and smarter than the people who are better, faster and smarter than you, it’s all a big circle (Okay that’s kinda convoluted but I’m not very good at being motivational :smile:).

BUT just go at your pace, your pace is the best pace for you, it’s only a failure if you completely give up and never try again. Even then, if you do, it’s not a failure because you’ve reached level 18, many people haven’t.

And besides, if you get to level 60 in a year, what are you going to do after that? It’ll just be a blank void of not being able to serve the Crabigator anymore. The longer the journey the more you’ll have to look back on and see how far you’ve come.

So you know, keep going, you’ve got this! :+1:


Don’t feel down. I think I saw statistics that showed most people that started WK dropped out well before the end. You are still here after two years and level 18 isn’t too shabby (that was three levels higher than I managed before going to Japan last year and even at level 15 I could understand something).

As others have said, stop lessons and just focus on reviews.

My approach is to get up really early and get my reviews out of the way first thing. I try to clear any new reviews as they come in during the day but it is the thirty to forty minutes in the morning that clears most of my reviews.


Like many have already said, there is no need to be embarrassed. :slightly_smiling_face: I’ve had my account since 2013 and here I am at level 42. Actually, I’ve been here for over a year, since I noticed that focusing only on WaniKani is counterproductive. I knew some ridiculously specific vocabulary but struggled with making and understanding simple sentences.

So last year I decided to put WK on hold until I finish iKnow. Until that point I had done both WK and iKnow simultaneously, but it was becoming obvious that iKnow was much more useful at my level. So now I am finishing the 5K deck and starting 6K pretty soon and finishing it sometimes next year most likely.

I want to emphasize that I have been on the same level in WaniKani for over a year. My Japanese has not been on the same level, instead it has sky-rocketed. I feel I have pretty good chances at taking N2 this December. Last year could I’ve passed N3? Maybe, maybe not. (Another resource I want to credit for this is Bunpro. It has suited my style of learning grammar very well.)

What has surprised me is that the better my Japanese has become, the less time I spend learning kanji. I think Leebo said it very well in a different topic (emphasis mine):

I’ve noticed that learning the word first and its kanji then is better than the other way around. My copy of コンビニ人間 came a short while ago, but I’m actually thinking of listening the audiobook first and reading the paperback after that.

So my point is that you can be very busy with learning Japanese even without leveling up in WaniKani and that, actually, if you focused only on leveling up, you’d be doing yourself a disfavor. I recommend using also resources with longer sentences (iKnow) and grammar (Bunpro), as well as textbooks (the Genki books and Tobira are mighty fine in my opinion) and listening material (almost 300 long and excellent podcast episodes here).

So take it easy and remember that there is no correct rhythm except your rhythm. You can do this. :+1:


Just wanted to say I’m slow to and you’re not alone!


Two years, 43,961 reviews, and I’m on level 10.
I had to re-set from level 14 to level 6 a while back as I was in the same boat as you.
But it’s not a race. So long as you study everyday, you’ll be fine.
How old are you? Whatever your age, you have the rest of your life to learn this stuff, and even then, you don’t have to be 100% perfect!
So there’s no hurry, and no need for perfection!


Took me 6 years and a half to go from level 1 to 60 (I joined back in August 2012). You’re doing ok.
(Still, I hope others’ advice will help you find a balance and make the process more enjoyable)


Don’t compare to others because, first of all, you don’t know them :smiley:
For example, I’ve studied Japanese five years on university so this site is more like a review for me. It’s hard to compete with that sort of guy, don’t you think? That’s why you should do it in your own pace. If this pace is not satisfying you then please improve it! But I don’t think that you should be looking on other people :slight_smile: (well, maybe you should but only if it has merit :D)




I kind of ignored lessons on level 4 after I had unlocked all the kanji. That was a mistake, a big mistake. When I hit level 5, level 4 vocabulary kicked my ass. I’ve spent the last 5 days just trying to keep my apprentice numbers manageable as my review items cycle between guru and apprentice. I think wanikani kind of sets unreasonable expectations in their initial marketing literature and then people think if they aren’t on pace to get to 60 in 12 to 18 months there must be something wrong with themselves.

I’ve now taken the approach of a max of 75 apprentice items. And no more than 10 lessons a day, and only when I’m below that 75 threshold. But no deferring of lessons in attempts to level faster.

And most importantly, I give myself permission to have those 50% correct review sessions. It’s gonna happen. And I try to pay less attention to overall percentages on wkstats.

People talk in the forums all the time about how they level up in 7 to 12 days. This sets, IMHO, unreasonable expectations. It would be useful to mine the data to see what the average level up time over all accounts is. I’m pretty sure that you’d find you are right there struggling along with the rest of us. Keep at it. As others have said, it’s a journey, not a race. Enjoy the scenery.


About those 800 reviews, for 2 weeks I’ve been on 400 myself, I’m around 130 now

My advice is, if you don’t reset, to do a batch of 30 each time. Try one in the morning, one in the evening. Then increase, the goal is to try 100 reviews per day

In weeks you can make it to 0!


Hey, you’re doing great, keep at it.

I started (properly) in Jan 2018 and I’m 36% through lvl 20 right now. If I level up in under 21 days that’s a big win for me.

It took me a while to get in my stride, but the key things that have helped me get this far are:

Set a schedule - I do 9 lessons every morning then my reviews. I then do my reviews again at night. I have set recurring reminders on my phone for 7am and 7pm every day so I don’t forget.
Consider changing your lesson batch sizes - 5 at a time was too many for my brain to process; I changed it to 3 and I have a lot better retention rate now.
Vacation mode is your friend - if I know that I cannot do lessons or reviews because I’m travelling, or I know I have a client deadline, just hit Vacay Mode for 24 hours and it helps stop the reviews form piling up.
Keep going - I went through a bad patch last year and it took me 80 DAYS to get through level 12, but I kept going
Keep checking your progress - find something fairly simple you want to read and check in every month or two and see how much you understand; you’ll surprise yourself.

Sure, you’ll forget some kanji (I missed the opportunity to burn 百 the other day!!) but don’t dwell on those - think of all the other progress you are making.

Like I said, you’re doing great, keep at it!


Honestly, going fast is a big commitment. I started at a pace of 1 level in two weeks up to about lvl. 15. And by then I was comfortable with the app and srs intervals so I was able to restructure my lessons and reviews to reduce the level-up time to just below 9 days. But keep in mind:

  • I enjoy doing reviews in general;
  • Even when I don’t feel like doing reviews I still stick to my review schedule;
  • My work hours are reasonably flexible and there’s no overtime;
  • I set myself a reasonable goal of reaching lvl. 30 by the end of summer.

I can tell you that even if I’m a few levels off from the goal by the end of the period I will still be proud of myself because I absolutely did my best.

@Tsumio I recommend spending some time on thinking why you’re learing kanji. Figure this out and be honest with yourself. If your reason isn’t really strongly connected to your goals in life then you might as well find a different hobby. Learning Japanese requires a huge time investment. If you just think it’s cool if you spoke Japanese but you don’t plan to use it much… you could find a better use for your time.

If you feel that your learning reason is strong then think why you have no motivation. Do you want to be able to read Japanese? Start reading stuff. Feel the pain of only recognizing a few kanji on a page. Come back after leveling up a few times. See how you can understand much more! This is what motivates me the most. I feel the real progress. Just remember to study grammar and vocab outside of WK :wink:

But even if you find the motivation other stuff going on in your life might prevent you from doing WK on a best schedule possible. If that’s the case, just try to make the best out of the situation.

So, when comparing yourself to others keep in mind that there’s so much you don’t know about their life. It’s best to compare your current results to your ideal results. Can you realistically do better? Yes? Then go for it!


Yep. And once the big review back log is cleared, all new reviews become enjoyable and not a burden.
A week ago I was at 800 or so but I have been clearing them. I was stuck on level 7 for two years but it’s because I didn’t use the site regularly, hopefully I can get progress going again.



I’ve been here for 5+ years. I think I played through the first three free levels, and stopped using this site for a while because it wasn’t really very useful for me then and I was busy with life (working a million jobs, going to college full-time, moving several times, etc. etc.)

My friends always suggested to buy the lifetime, so I could just log on whenever I wanted and continue studying kanji but I just never wanted to spend the money on it, because I knew I didn’t have the time.

Fast forward to last Christmas when I finally decided I wanted to try again and start working hard to use as many kanji. As I am living in Japan now, it is really useful for me to continue my studies, wanikani being one of the most lovely communities I have joined for learning Japanese.

Anyways, sadly I didn’t use vacation mode or any scripts or the like, so my numbers are not even worth anything anymore, but I never was really about the race to begin with. Though I absolutely wish I could handle the pace and cramming it takes to get there quickly, I’d much rather go at my own pace, whenever I have time to spend on it. I watch TV, movies, and study in other ways, so I don’t always focus on here, but I don’t let it get too high.

If it does, I cut the piles down as much as I can before I start messing up a bunch, step away, then come back when I’ve had a reasonable break (eat/drink something, read something in English or listen to some music). Then I tackle the rest as far as I can go.

Do whatever you need to succeed, but try not to become discouraged!! Japanese is lovely, but it is also very challenging so you should feel comfortable at each step of the way. Hurdles are just that +1 to get you higher :slight_smile:

Keep up the good work and reach out to us anytime you need! <3 I look forward to seeing our levels grow together!!


Remember that some people who finish in a year may already have some/a lot of Japanese experience to help them progress faster. I studied Japanese in school for 3 years and that has helped me tremendously with progressing despite my less than perfect consistency!
When I wake up in the morning with 80 or 100 reviews to do I just decide that I’ll do at least 10 when I have a bit of free time. Before I know it all of the reviews are done!

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Keep your chin up. Most people’s journeys are different. That doesn’t mean some are more “correct” than others. My anniversary is next month and I’m still in the teens, but I’m still determined to keep going. You can make it—really most people can. One just has to stay on the road.