English-to-Japanese, how have you done it?

Hello everyone! I’m new here I have been doing things just for a few weeks. It’s been amazing! But I realized something that’s been troubling me.

You see, my father is Italian, so he speaks to me in italian basically all the time. As a result, I don’t really have an issue listening to italian and understanding it perfectly, at the most I maybe don’t know one or two words. But since I never spoke, read or wrote italian myself, when we finally moved back to italy, I realized I couldn’t speak. I mean, obviously! It’s a skill I never acquired! So now I have to practice a lot to recall words and grammar when speaking, and have awkward “what was this in italian again?” pauses in the middle of conversations, etc.

I think it’s logical that your brain is incredibly lazy and if it doesn’t have to acquire a skill it will never do it. But I really don’t want this to happen to my japanese! I have been studying for a huge while and only recently have I picked up the pace and regained my interest, it’s already been a long time without me having very good understanding.

I’ve looked up KaniWani, and yeah, it’s what I would like. Something to study English-to-Japanese along with WaniKani. But the thing that worries me about KaniWani is that it has a different schedule to WaniKani. So it shows me words that WaniKani doesn’t think I should review yet, and it worries me that that may mess up the SRS and keep things in my short-term memory. And it’s also really dumb with synonyms (How do you tell when you have to write 女, 女の子, 女の人, 女子, or 少女 if the translation only says “girl” or “woman”?)

Do you know any other methods to keep your English-to-Japanese skills? Or am I just worrying too much? Thank you for reading!


You can add synonyms on KaniWani itself. So like, if you add 女の人 as a synonym to 女 it’ll accept either when you respond.

You can also add disambiguating synonyms to WaniKani itself, which will then sync over to KaniWani after a while. Then they’ll show up as English words when you are prompted.

But many people seem to assume there are no synonyms on KW, so I’m not sure what they could do to make it better for people.

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An alternative to KaniWani is KameSame. It basically does the same as KaniWani although it also has JLPT word lists that you can add to the SRS as well if you want. You can also copy and paste sentences into it and it will create cards for you based on the vocab in those sentences.

What I like about KameSame is that if you enter 女 and it was looking for 女の人 the system will tell you ‘yes you’re technically right but this isn’t the word we were looking for’. It doesn’t mark the answer you input as wrong and gives you another chance at it.


I don’t personally think EN->JP flashcards are that useful. Regarding to your problem, it doesn’t help with forming sentences, and you don’t really learn the real nuance of the word anyway through SRS.

If you want to be able to speak, I’d just practice exactly that: speaking. If you already have a big passive understanding of the language, it will come relatively quickly. I would not worry about it too much. Regarding language acquisition, I even prefer myself to wait a while until practising speaking, so I can draw on that passive understanding and make connections. Recently, I started taking weekly speaking lessons, and I can feel progressing and getting more comfortable every week.

I’m curious, did you just answer in English to your father? How come you never spoke Italian back?


Hmmm… I’d say you’re right about this, because my italian has mostly improved since I forced myself to speak. It’s also weird that I only need to recall a word once and it stays in me for a while.

And yeah that’s basically it! My native tongue is spanish and since the only person who insisted on italian is my father, he was the only one who spoke it. As a result, I didn’t feel the need to ever get more italian knowledge than that required to understand him ¯_(ツ)_/¯

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