Feeling a little discouraged, but still trying

I’ve gotten over seeing a big lessons number, and am trying to come up with ways to catch up. One method I’ve tried is to do 5 lessons a day until I’m caught up, but I’m learning that this is too difficult for me. Once I get to “day 3” of this practice, everything else slips, and my session scores drop.

I’m thinking of starting over since I’m only lvl 4, but have also read that i “should keep going”, and I “should do what’s” best for me. The problem is, I don’t know what’s best for me to even choose. There could be so many ways to tackle this that I’m unaware of.

Does anyone have any thoughtful constructive ideas I could try? Please refrain from repeating the two suggestions above.

Note: I also never did the writing practice so I may start over anyway so that I can take advantage of the tactile memory reinforcement.

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If you want to reset, you’re only level 4 so it shouldn’t be too bad. Your choice.

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What are your current reviews/lessons numbers?

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125 Lessons, 20 reviews. I can do 20 reviews, that’s not overwhelming, but after 15lessons, my review score starts to suffer. From making simple mistakes like confusing 牛 and 午


making simple mistakes like confusing 牛 and 午

I feel you.


Hi! In the beginning, only doing a few lessons at once will make you feel like you’re progressing really slowly. Once you get to about level 6-7, the method you’re using actually works really well! For me at least.

Can you tell me more about what’s making you anxious? Do you feel like there are too many lessons that you can’t catch up on or that you can’t get a grasp of the new kanji you’re learning?

I definitely don’t think you should reset since the kanji you’ve already learned will keep coming up in your reviews for a long time, so you’ll have plenty of time to get used to them.

Have you already taught yourself hiragana? I find that once you’re comfortable with hiragana, it’s much easier to focus on learning kanji because it’s the only variable you have to think about when taking on new lessons.


That’s good to know!

It’s more like, juggling the two: I’m focusing on grasping the new vocabulary, but after about 15, My brain just starts flaking, whether forgetting stuff I already know, or forgetting one of the vocabs I learned two days ago.

My Hiragana and Katakana are pretty solid, and I’ve started exploring Japanese twitter. I am able to pick up some stuff using those alone.

That sounds totally normal. I usually have to get a newly learned kanji wrong 3-4 times in the review section before it sticks permanently and I start progressing. I think a trick that might help you tackle new lessons is to set you new lesson limit to 3 at a time instead of 5 at time. I find that it’s much less overwhelming to juggle 3 new words at a time instead of 5.


That’s a great Idea! I didn’t think to change the settings to match my abilities. Thanks!

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To be honest I never care about my review score, I just keep going and I believe (I might be wrong though) that the lower score I have the more I have actually learned :stuck_out_tongue:


I hope it helps! ファイト!


I personally feel like, at the earlier levels, your comprehension of the Japanese language is not really strong enough to reliably formulate an understanding of what it is you’re trying to understand ergo your memory for new vocab is going to be awful because your brain has no new context for the things it is learning.

I really wish there was a way to rectify this because WK has an issue with new user retention, but it seems more endemic to the learning process than to WK itself. But I guess the most important advice is to not be afraid to fail when learning something new, because you will!

Just a little perspective for my journey I started 2 years ago, a little bit of a shotgun approach started with JFZ textbook, really enjoyed it but burnt out trying to make my own Anki vocab cards. I tried consuming lots of native material in audio format whilst working, got a feel for the accent, didn’t really enjoy it or understand a lot. Took the textbook up a month later, sans Anki, got the kanji section and realized this guy sucked at teaching Kanji, and I wasn’t enjoying the 5+ pages of questions each chapter looked for a new resource, found Wanikani.

I dedicated all my time to WK for about 8+ months, found a nice community, but my grammar studies plummeted, so did my comprehension of what I was really trying to achieve. I decided to take up Bunpro, got stuck in and around the N5 levels for over half a year. Got to level 25 or so and realsied despite all that knowledge, my retention was horrible, nothing made sense and I grimaced everytime I saw a Japanese sentence. This wasn’t what I wanted after 1.5 years of studying

Reset and decided to focus on Bunpro as the main focus. Doing a few lessons a day my understanding of grammatical patterns and context began to increase. I took up Kitsun for vocab SRS and abandoned Anki, opting for premade decks over my own, and my WK reviews are near enough 99% correct most of the time. Now my retention for NEW vocab has also improved, and I am also constructing simple sentences with the grammar and vocab I do know. Even if I don’t use them, it can sometimes be cool just to go to a restaurant, and try to order in Japanese in your head, use google translate and check your work.

So looking back, a few things I’d probably like to have told myself

  1. It’s okay to make mistakes
  2. It’s okay to try different ways to learn
  3. It’s okay to take it slow. It’s a marathon not a race.
  4. Learning a language is not just a memory game. You need to build an understanding in context of what you are trying to achieve (think how you don’t really think how to speak in your native language, you need to build a ‘Japanese brain/mindset’ and nurture it.)

I’m glad to hear you’re not feeling discouraged! Take it slow, at your own pace, try new ways and listen to yourself when you feel you’re not understanding and need to go back and review/reset! And most importantly, learn, think and apply in context!



Maybe I’m misunderstanding, but it sounds like you still need to review what you’ve already learnt before taking up another 5 lessons (especially if you’re doing it per day). You can take your time finishing a level, so… Maybe once it feels too overwhelming, you could stick to reviewing what you’ve currently learned? Though I agree that 3 lessons a day might be the perfect way to lessen the burden.


I think you may be feeling a bit discouraged because you are more of a perfectionist. You aren’t supposed to get new lessons completely right whenever you first review them. That is where Wanikani’s awesome SRS comes in to continue to torture you with all the leeches from previous levels. I would recommend not restarting because you’ll eventually learn what you feel like you haven’t learned by the time the item is about to be burned.


This is not stupid but very common mistake! I did it few times, got tired, and googled “cow vs noon”, one of the first links was WK forum post:

and it had ultimate solution of cow’s head sticking out in 牛. Never did this particular mistake again, but did and continue doing many others. You may be judging yourself too harsh. Making mistakes is normal part of training your memory and learning new stuff. Yes, seeing red background hurts, but you still know new things that you did not know before.

Maybe investing some time into extra reviews using self-study and/or leach training scripts will help. When my accuracy falls down, and apprentice queue fills up, I know that I need to do extra reviews beyond WK sessions.

The kanji will only get more complicated going forward. However your ability to learn them will improve.
Finding your speed is crucial, not too slow, and not too fast, adjust as many times as needed, this is your individual marathon.

All the best!


How many times a day are you reviewing an item after learning it? Are you reviewing at the key times?

At only 5 lessons per day it will take you 5 years to finish WK, and if your retention is bad now, stretching things out over such a long period is likely to compound that.

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Thanks, man! I appreciate reading about your journey. The encouragement helps, and I do ave Tae Kim’s book, so maybe reading that will help give me some context. :v:

IMO, the most important thing to figure out when starting on WK (or trying to learn anything really) is what studying method works best for you. It could be with mnemonics, vocalizing the words, writing the kanji, consuming japanese media to try to see the kanji outside WK, making memes with the Kanji, doing push-ups after every mistake, etc. Everybody learns in a different way so only you can figure that part out. The beginning is the best time to experiment different methods.

Unless you have photographic memory or something, these kind of mistakes are inevitable. Writing the kanji is probably the best way to remedy that, but either way make sure to compare them so next time you know what to look for. For me, 牛 looks like a utility pole, and you can’t put a “noon” on a utility pole. No, I don’t expect anyone else to use it :sweat_smile:


LOL, I looked it up too: I think of it as a cow has a long head and tiny horns on top. And now I know to look for the “horn” :cow2:

Yeah I’m there for sure: I know I need to review it more, and with the amount of retention I have, maybe doing 5/day is too much…the last few days I’ve only been doing reviews as they come up to give myself a chance to retain the last few I’ve “learned”