End of Lvl 3 - how to pass the time till X-Mas?


This is my first post here, so let me introduce myself first: I am a Japanese learner for a couple of years now, but my Japanese isn’t that good (at all). I know some few basic sentences like ドイツの学生です、日本語を話しましょう, pretty basic stuff, but I cannot do a conversation and I am still missing loads of vocabulary. I picked up Japanese because mainly I wanted to challenge my brain with a totally different language (I know German and English, plus basic conversations in French and Spanish, which are all pretty similar); I chose Japanese from a couple of languages (Arabic, Russian, Chinese, Korean) because Japan is most interesting to me, regarding culture and history, and could potentially also be interesting for me professionally (I am a computer science student with focus on AI and robotics). I started a couple of years ago with learning Hiragana and Katakana on myself, then visited a language course for half a year, which wasn’t too good, so I was a bit disappointed and had a break. When turning back to Japanese I learned with Michel Thomas audio course, which is a great head start into basic sentence structure and easy vocab. After that I grabbed myself a used copy of Genki, which I’ve done a few chapters (really at the beginning), and as this also introduced Kanji and I found them really hard, I looked online for tips and found WaniKani. I already did the free period twice, but never finished (first time, I tried to learn as many items as possible because I hated the wait; only to find out that reviews will hit you hard with this kind of “strategy” - then resetting it, I didn’t quite get into the grove due to lot of things happening around me (moving, new job, corona, you know the deal).

Now I finally got into the groove: I have a 24 day streak, just 12 more items to go, with most of them (246) already in Guru and the first (38) hitting master. I really like WaniKani, it helps me stay focused, it’s fun to learn with, I feel like doing a game and leveling up which is more fun than working through a book. So of course I’d also love to support them plus be able to use it further. However, I am pretty low on cash (huge student loans to repay) and therefore I’d like to get most out of my money.

My mind is set on getting the life time subscription; reason: see above :smiley: I have my ups and downs, I cannot foresee if this streak is going to keep on like this (I really hope so, though), so I would love to be more flexible with my prospect, i.e. planning a 1-2 year subscription isn’t for me. If I should really finish in a year, I wouldn’t feel bad about the money spent on a lifetime subscription, but if it took me the next 6 years, I would feel bad about a yearly subscription; with my goal being to reach at least “Enlightenment” on all items, I think the later is more realistic.

Now what’s stopping me? A 300$ investment isn’t something I can pay out of my pocket. I’ll probably need to save up another month or two, which was the plan anyways (I would have stopped progressing but hitting just my reviews for a month or two seemed doable for me as well); now I learned about the annually Christmas sale. Which is my dilemma right now:

  1. Get a yearly subscription now and switch in December, as you get a refund on the money already spent? Then I’d end up paying nearly the full price anyways…
  2. Wait till Christmas… But what to do in the mean time?

How would you decide, and what would be the thing you would be doing until then? Just Extra studies and hitting the Reviews? I could manage to get a couple of them to “Burned” till Christmas, I guess; I just wonder if it’ll not get boring. I could make myself flash cards of the new items on paper to have something challenging to go on with. I’d have a head start once I can access the next levels and could “Master” them in a month - that could be fun… Or I pick up the Genki 1 again, and maybe it’ll keep me motivated until December so I don’t loose my habit of daily Japanese learning again…

What do you think? Anyone in the same situation as me? What are you planning to do next?



If you get the yearly now, it only adds up to 89/12*5 = 37 after the refund from lifetime, so it’s not nearly full price with the 199 from lifetime. If WK got you in the groove learning Japanese, I’d say it’s worth it. You even get a ‘trial’ run of sorts if you can stick to WK until December or want to use something else :grin:.


You have lots of options here!

First of all, Japanese does not consist of Kanji alone. And although WaniKani can be very addictive and very straightforward because it just feeds you the next lessons so it’s very convenient, it’s important to look outside of the box and look at the rest of Japanese as well. So of course while you could pay for a yearly subscription right now and get a refund in December, you seem to be a bit reluctant to do that. So here are a few alternative options:

  • study grammar! Either get a textbook and work through that, or jump onto one of the grammar websites and/or grammar video series that are out there.
  • study vocab! Either go through a pre-made deck (core so-many-thousand, JLPT whatever-your-level etc.) or find vocab that you are interested in. (How to find them? See next point.)
  • read! In order to solidify your knowledge, I think it’s very important that you get exposed to native material. For easy native material, there will be full furigana so technically you don’t even need WaniKani in order to read that. For choices, please have a look at the Absolute Beginner or Beginner Book Clubs here in the forum. You can read old picks or join for the next pick. Also learn unknown words.
  • listen! Make use of your Japanese knowledge and watch some anime or youtube video, listen to some podcast or whatever. Also learn unknown words.

I think you won’t get bored until Christmas :joy_cat:


If you like the way of studying vocabularies via Kanji, it would be probably be nice to realize that, words with or without Kanji can be broken down as well. – Special kanji words derived from other words (not only Kanji compounds, even if the title says so)

I like the idea of mining via manga, and then searching further – probably via Kanji, or via the sound of vocabularies.

Listening can be picked up vocabularies as well; and probably reducing over-focusing on Kanji.

I would say, join Read Every Day Challenge or Listen Every Day Challenge to keep in touch with community. Suitable books might be in some book club’s nominations, or sometimes in Extensive counterparts.

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My advice is to get yearly sub now as that’s the best worth you can get for your money. Then, depending on how far you’ve gotten this Christmas, get lifetime with the discount coming along + getting refunded for the rest of the yearly sub you got.

Or just keep doing the yearly sub until finishing if you have a high enough pace you’re going at. Possibly adding some months with a monthly sub.


Thank you for the community topics. As I am new here in the community section I did not see these. The reading challenge seems interesting; and I also found the Absolute Beginners Reading Club while searching for the Read Every Day Challenge; probably not good enough for the reading club, but getting some fun and accountability with the challenge could be cool thing to try out. This could even work with Genki 1 I guess? :smiley: Thanks!


Why do you think you need the lifetime sub? Reaching lvl 60 isn’t an objectively great milestone in anyone’s Japanese learning journey. Get a yearly sub now, see how far you get and how useful it is.

I got a lifetime after reaching lvl 60 (in less than 2 years) because I thought I’d want to reset and go through wk again. It’s not uncommon among the forum regulars. So I reset to 30, did my lessons and reviews for a few days afterwards and then never again…

Why? Because I could be spending my time far better than drilling flash cards. I started reading more, focused on grammar and so on.

I got far better in Japanese overall as a result. But I did forget a lot of kanji, that’s true. Mostly rare ones, so I’m not worried about it anyway. And when I learn new vocab in context I remember the kanji easily.

So, I’m just saying don’t plan to be doing WK for years. I recommend it as a tool to quickly increase your literacy and then move on.

Get to lvl 50 or so. Higher levels are not that useful.


I started out with the free subscription nearer the start of the year one time (which I reset a few times) but ultimately bought the lifetime sub when it was on offer one xmas a few years back. Between the free sub and getting the lifetime subscription, I decided to hold off on starting properly until I had the full subscription because I didn’t want to get to a stage where I couldn’t progress further til I got the subscription.

I have reset a few times so the lifetime subscription was the best for me and I intend to use it again once I’ve completed lv 60 (I feel the SRS isn’t right for me, too quick, so I want to use it a second time to make sure I’ve got the onyomi and kunyomi readings and stroke order ingrained in my head).

If you need to wait til you can get the subscription because you’ve levelled up as far as you can on the free one,I’d recommend using the extra time to go back over the onyomi and kunyomi readings and maybe the stroke order for the kanji,but that’s just me. Or even reading through the example sentences if you have that option.

Whatever you decide,good luck with your lifetime subscription whenyou get it :slight_smile:


Good question and food for thought. So my dream goal is to become as fluent in Japanese as I am in English (which to me is also a foreign language), i.e. I want to be able to watch movies, read books and converse with people. And I feel like Kanji are an integral part of this. At first I skipped them (one guide to Japanese suggested to skip them entirely and learn them only on a need-to-know basis), but soon realized that there are hardly any resources that don’t use Kanji - even my two textbooks (J-Bridge and Genki) use them. And with Wanikani I got more active with my learning again, it keeps learning more interesting and helps me to progress. Plus, most people complain about learning Kanji - I actually think it’s fun. I am always happy when I find a Kanji I know in a text, and I am even happier if I manage to get the context - just yesterday I watched a Chinese movie and there was some sign that read “Conserve water” and I could make out the Kanjis for “water” (水) and “utilize” (用), and felt great about it :smile:

Before starting with WaniKani I looked up different tables and I know that with the 500 most frequent Kanji I’d be able to understand 80% of common texts, and that it degrades with every further Kanji (1,000 Kanji to read 95% of materials), but also about that ~2,200 Kanji the Japanese state mandates everyone to know and that are therefore thought by the school. I somehow felt this magic number of relevance to me - that is where I would like to end with; it would allow me to pass N1 (just from the Kanji side), and that’s what I am aiming for in the long run. So as WaniKani covers most of them, I’d probably stick as long with it as I can. I know I wont remember every Kanji, and also that there are more fun ways to retain knowledge, once I am able to actually read stuff. But even then - doing my 10 new Kanji + Reviews on WaniKani feels like a good investment to me.

And lifetime because I fear that I’ll have ups and downs - as I have described in length in my initial post. There might be months I pause, and maybe then even would like to reset to a certain level every once in a while. I could do this with yearly or monthly subscriptions as well, sure. But I’d feel horrible in weeks/months where I cannot practice (which of course could also be a motivating factor - but knowing me, it’ll probably just spiral me downwards), and I would probably blame myself as soon as I reach the point where a lifetime subscription would have been more reasonable. On the other hand getting a lifetime subscription and ending up not needing it, feels like still a good investment - I support Wanikani which I think is worth doing anyways, and I’d never have the pressure to loose my progress, I could always revisit if I wanted. It’s probably totally silly, but I feel more relieved with “overpaying” on a yearly subscription and ending up not needing it, than “overpaying” the same amount in the other direction (i.e. say I get a lifetime (which is equivalent to ~3x yearly) and I only need one year, so I “overpayed” 2 years, vs. I just go yearly and end up needing 5 years until I feel comfortable quitting - i.e. also overpaying 2 years, compared to the lifetime). Doesn’t know if that makes any sense, it’s probably silly, but that’s just me :smile:


Thank you, these are really great suggestions! I actually don’t bother too much abut which reading is which, but that is something useful to work on… Stroke-order I always try to learn with the first Kanji, but of course that is hard to check with WaniKani alone (even though I added one of the plugins, but it not always works); so focusing on those on a next run would be a good idea. Also I especially like the next suggestion:

In the beginning I ignored those sentences because I found most of them a bit difficult, but the added some easier sentences some time ago and when progressing I realized that a couple of those I could already understand, so I started copying some of them just to have something to write; I also experimented with Anki and used some of the sentences in there (but leaving out the Kanji, i.e. just take the sentence with out the Kanji and having to fill in that missing Kanji). I think after finishing with the 3rd level this would be a good “pass time” and maybe a good learning point for those sentences I don’t get at all.

Thanks for these inspirations! :slight_smile:

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I did the yearly + switch to lifetime during the sale because I wanted to keep going/didn’t want to take a break.

If you end up choosing to wait, I would suggest spending this time on grammar. I did Lingodeer app (they have 2 Japanese courses which should cover N5 up to beginner-intermediate N4). Unfortunately this is a paid app, but with everyday use I managed to finish the two courses within 6 months by doing one lesson a day, so I don’t feel like their lifetime subscription was worth it. I’m not a textbook person so doing it in an app environment was very motivating for me.

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