Frustration

You could do this if you want (reset to level 1). I did a few months ago after taking a break from Japanese. It has worked out for me now and I feel that I am in a better place then I was when I was studying before (as in I have greater knowledge of the langauge). If you are feeling demotivated I recommend just doing things like others suggested that got you into Japanese like watching anime and reading manga. Usually whenever I feel demsotivated I just turn on one episode of anime (watching reincarnated as a slime rn haha) and my motivation returns. Something just clicks and I say to myself “I just got to keep going and power through”. Just try your best to make time for Japanese and make sure you enjoy it. Recall what made it fun in the past. Hopefully this helps a little. :smile:

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I feel like you when I do the same mistake all over again but now I try to learn those items from the beginning. If mnemonics aren’t strong enough for me I write my own if I confuse them with another kanji I compare their differences and make up a story for it too. I guess the key word is ‘time’ here though. You need time to do this and if you don’t that might be the main reason.

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Many good comments, but I honestly feel this is the crux of the issue. It’s impossible to feel anything but soul crushing defeat with this sort of accuracy.

I wouldn’t focus on ANYTHING else until this improves.

IMO you need more reviews of fewer items.

If you had five flash cards with words in 5 different languages and reviewed them over and over again continuously, I guarantee it wouldn’t take more than 3-5 iterations before you could achieve 100% every time.

It’s late here, I’ll write more tomorrow, but I truly believe the new self-study feature is the ticket (along with tricks to limit the amount of items under active review). [Edit: no need to write more, good advice follows in the replies below mine.]

Don’t worry about 4 or 8 hours between scheduled reviews - you need more back to back continuous reviews of a SMALL number of items, without the stress of scheduling and level progress.

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I agree with Rrwrex. When I get less than 70% correct on my reviews, I go back to my incorrect ones and I try to figure out why its not sticking with me. When I originally do my lessons, I write everything down in my notebook including a mnemonic and if I know I’ll need it, a drawing, but only for the hard ones. Mnemonics can be difficult and often I don’t find myself sticking to the ones Wanikani provides, so I make up my own that combines the pronunciation and the radicals, which can get crazy, so I usually draw a picture for the weirder ones so the idea I’m trying to memorize can be more fully realized.

When my created mnemonic fails, I rework it because it means I came up with a faulty mnemonic, and that’s totally fine. I think sometimes I just can’t remember things! I will go back to the list of incorrect items and rework all of the mnemonics and rewrite everything down, usually small tweaks to my original ideas, nothing drastic unless it has to be. This often will improve my memorization. (If you would like an example of my notes, let me know and I can post a pic)

I recommend a notebook. If you are already learning Japanese elsewhere, then you should keep your notes in there too. Writing everything down helps for memorization too.

Also, I feel like we are in the same boat of missing the 4 hour reviews because of work, but I still persist! I get around 150-200 reviews when I get home from work and its always dreadful but I remember that I gotta keep at it because future me would be very appreciative that I put in all this hard work so that he can know the language.

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I’d put WK on vacation mode, install Self Study Quiz and Self-Stdy Hide Info scripts, and spend your normal review time reinforcing your items on one level at a time, starting at level 1. Go to the level page on WK, and Self Study Hide Info has a button to let you quiz over just one section (rad, kan, or voc) with a single click. Do those repeatedly until you find yourself answering items without hesitation, then move on to the next section (rad, kan, voc, or next level). I also recommend turning on pairing mode (reading and meaning back to back in a consistent order), because that helps a whole separate section of your brain engage.

After you’ve caught up to your current level, resume your regular SRS reviews. Your accuracy will be much higher, and reviews will go much faster. Each time you do new lessons, use the new Extra Study system on WK, or Self-Study Quiz, to reinforce your new items before proceeding with regular SRS reviews. Again, your accuracy will be higher and reviews will go faster. And it will be more fun!

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The exact way I was doing, every new sets of items / new levels, was repeating Self-Study mode with EN=>JP (because of no-Kanji hints), for a few times, until I get a good accuracy. I don’t even have to set up Anki. And it can be frustrating to see yourself not easily remembering what is required…

As a matter of fact, mnemonics may help, but not so much. It’s pretty common that I have to make up new (and another new) mnemonics, for initial remembering.


Kanji pronunciations? Jukugo? I don’t care about that, as it is just another vocabulary. Just make sure you remember the pronunciation initially somehow; and IMO, Kanji itself can also be a distraction. That’s why EN=>JP come into play. Kanji readings become more meaningful retrospectively, though.

As a matter of fact, I almost always remember vocabularies before Kanji.


As for repairing you backlog, common choices are either, reorder (but you don’t have to do it all at once), or reset.

I am not sure if caffeine improves learning and memory or not; but stimulants in general may improve attention in ADHD or the spectrum, which may in turn improve learning.

Nonetheless, I am sometimes afflicted by caffeine downtime, that is, some time after the dose.

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take what i suggest with a grain of salt, because yeah i am a babby and i am not as far as you, though i’ve spent a lot of time learning how to learn before starting the learning process, and i have done wanikani in the past on another account (but university took over my brain so i stopped for… a few years)

  • To begin with, it sounds like you aren’t spending enough time per lesson to get it stuck in your head. When you see an mnemonic, focus on replaying the scenario introduced in the mnemonic a few times in your head, as if you were actually experiencing it.
  • Learn what a jukugo word is, and how to recognise one (sorry, I realise you probably do already know, but mentioning this just in case). I understand myself that it is a bit unhelpful when they don’t actually provide a mnemonic, but in the long-term this seems to be actually more helpful as in the future if you see two kanji together without any hiragana, and you remember there wasn’t a specific mnemonic for them, then you may remember it is a jukugo word and combine the two readings you already learnt from the kanji. This won’t work however, if you can’t recall the on’yomi readings of the individual kanji yet.

To me it sounds like your problem is with how you go about doing your lessons and how you are utilising mnemonics, and that your issue is not the reviews. It sounds to me that you are reading the mnemonic briefly, then moving onto the next lesson (if I understood the “I try to spend a bit of time in a word but I don’t spend linger then 20 seconds” part correctly, sorry if I misunderstood). Not everyone is able to do the 4 hour reviews, and that’s fine, your retention will suffer a bit but I don’t think that is the main issue here.

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Edit: Oops, sorry for @'ing you, Vanilla.

I’m gonna suggest something slightly (but not very) radical. I think you should stop doing wanikani (at least for now). I think you should use the time that you free up by pausing WK to do the thing that inspires you to want to learn Japanese. Watch anime with subs, read translations of Japanese books, whatever it is.

Cause a) once you get into a frustration-banging-your-head-against-a-wall cycle, it is super hard to just think your way out of it, sometimes you just need to pause and collect yourself before continuing. B) you said yourself that you are playing into the sunk cost fallacy. C) since it’s a lifetime sub, you can come back literally anytime you want. You could take ten years off, and still get your money’s worth out of WK after that.

Sorry you are having such a stressful time of it, and I hope you find a way to really enjoy Japanese again soon!!

Edit:

There’s also a less radical version of my suggestion where you don’t have to stop WK, you just spend a much higher percentage of time engaging with Japanese media. I think hearing or reading the words in actual real life is one of the strongest memory aids there is. (much more so than 4 hr reviews, dare I say it)

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Regarding repetition and SRS, I feel that SRS is better for ensuring you don’t forget. As for repetition, I actually remembered Kana (as well as stroke directions), by massive repetition (and it took some time).

For initial remembering, I don’t really know the best way, but shorter-than-WaniKani-SRS may work as well. Some exposure to audio (subbed animes, songs) also made me remember without any real drilling.

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Hearing words in practical use is a form of Spaced Repetition, without the System. :slight_smile: SRS works, sure, but that doesn’t mean that spaced repetition in practical use doesn’t work. (Can I invent the term SRPU? :joy:) And as always, what works best varies from person to person.

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And it comes, meaningful flashcard design… In particular, the front side of the card.

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honestly speaking here

I only felt I really started WK after hitting lvl 11 and the email recommended the nhk easy news and I read every new 4 articles they publish since then (march 2021)

before that I was making a lot of mistakes and not sticking to my mind at all what I was learning, so there was no retention

maybe that’s what the issue is, retention.

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I have to agree with this as well.

I tried going fast and had little long term memory for most of those words. So I slowed down.

Now I use the self test addon to review all my apprentice words. All the time. So many times. Some people say that ruins the 4hr / 8hr etc memory… but as other say, you should see these words out in other sources; real life, books, movie subs… Well, I see them in my 5 times a day self review! It seems to help me get words to stick longer.

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These people are reading too much into the “quizzing you just before you forget” aspect of an SRS. I’m told the research is pretty clear that dredging something up from memory just prior to forgetting does indeed improve the connections and ability to recall, but my experience has been that this is far more important with long intervals (days/weeks) than short intervals (hours).

I’ve argued (often) that the most important aspect of an SRS is to give you more frequent reviews of the stuff you find hard, and less frequent reviews of the stuff you find easy (via longer intervals). In the case of Wanikani, the only way it knows what you find hard is if you answer incorrectly!

If 40% of the items are being answered incorrectly, too much of the workload is deemed “hard” and it will quickly start to feel like you aren’t getting anywhere.

I’m 100% confident that anyone can memorize anything with enough repetition. An SRS makes that repetition more efficient, but nothing is perfect and nobody can state with certainty what the ideal timing between intervals might be.

@Vouru says he or she has one session in the morning and one at night. That means at most two repetitions for anything, even stuff in the first two stages.

My strong, strong recommendation is to:

  1. Stop doing lessons until your accuracy improves.

  2. Aim to keep no more than ~100 items in the Apprentice bucket for a while. Don’t start doing lessons again until there are fewer Apprentice items. (I’m surprised, but it appears nobody has mentioned this.)

  3. Before each review session, either:

    a. use the new “Extra Study” feature to get in several extra reviews for “new lessons” and optionally, “recent mistakes”.

    b. Use the self-study quiz userscript to review just items in stages 1 and 2. [This is what I do. I launch self-study from my Ganbarometer userscript, FWIW. I prefer the self-study quiz, because it allows me to re-quiz just the ones I got wrong.]

    Either way, repeat the “extra” reviews as often as necessary, two or three times in a row, until you feel extremely confident with this limited subset of review items. Only then start your “real” reviews. Even if this takes so much time that you can’t finish all your outstanding reviews every day, I’m certain you’ll find the process much less stressful and that your accuracy will improve dramatically — decreasing your workload, improving your mood, and generally helping all around.

    As long as you stop doing lessons until your accuracy improves, I’m confident this process will eventually get your current workload under control.

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Thank you everyone for taking the time to read my post and give such useful and heartfelt replies!

I am defiantly going to take to heart and try the strategies mentioned here with my first step being taking a break from WK specifically for a bit and then coming back at a later time to doing offline revies via self study or equivalent till my accuracy improves.

While on break I’m going to focus on grammar and light learning (using apps like kawaiinihongo) as I’m finding grammar studies to be pretty fun and something different then trying to remember the meaning and spelling behind each kanji alone.

Thank you again everyone!

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Have you tried making your own Japanese mnemonics? Might be a stupid idea but would get rid of the English pronunciation → Japanese issue

Like for つち you might think “The moon (つき→つ) shines down on the blood (→ち) on the ground”) or for かく (random cause I saw that one eariler) you might think “persimmons (かき→か) fall down at an angle and suffer (→く) when they fall (at which they also land at an angle)”

Can’t comment on anything else since I’m not generally any better at keeping up with like Anki reviews

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Congrats on figuring out what you want to do! I hope your break goes well

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This is how I study too. I write the kanji down and occasionally draw a picture. Sometimes it takes me a couple time of getting the word/kanji wrong and me having to “re-do” the mnemonic in my head for it to finally stick. But when I finally do find a mnemonic that works, it sticks like glue.

Note: What follows is advice from a stranger on the Internet. If any of it speaks to you, use it to empower yourself. Disregard whatever sounds like bovine excrement, as it’s no-more-useful-than the same.

I don’t think you are “doing something wrong” but rather your current frame (i.e.: what you believe about the Japanese language, what you believe about your progress, what you believe about your capabilities, etc.) are causing you serious emotional distress and anxiety.

Upper logical brain, you’re going through the physical motions of reviews. Lower emotional brain, is “readily looking for some distraction” to do something (anything) else because of the emotional distress.

I’d like to offer some study technique that would instantly turn things around, but the truth is probably that you need to examine your motivations.

Ask these questions of yourself:

  • Why is learning Japanese important to me?
  • What do I want to do with the Japanese language when I’ve mastered it?
  • How will I feel when I am fluent in Japanese and using it for what I’ve intended?

Write these down, and review them each time before you start your WaniKani reviews.

Next, I suggest following the Okinawa 80% diet rule except applied to WaniKani reviews.

DON’T do 100 reviews a day. Rather, guess a number that you can comfortably do, maybe that’s 50? or 30? or 20? then, do 80% of that. If you think “Sure, I can do 50 reviews.” then proceed to do 40 reviews (50 * 0.8 = 40) and STOP.

The point is to STOP before the negative emotions set in. At the end of your session, you are aiming to feel like, “Well, I could do ten more…” you should feel a little hungry to do more. But, you’re going to stop.

You’re going to think about how you’ll be able to do more tomorrow, and you can hardly wait for tomorrow to hurry up and arrive so you can actually do them!

Also, completely ignore that review score. 20%, 60%, 90%, 35%, … whatever.

One thing we’ve learned from Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning is that error rates that are too low (i.e.: scores that are too high) are an indicator of overfitting or other problems in the model.

As this translates to the real world, if you are scoring 100% on your WaniKani reviews, chances are you aren’t being challenged enough.

Conversely, if you’re worried about a low score it means you’re trying to cram too much into your brain. In your case, this has nothing to do with your personal intellectual capability, but rather is because you are dragging yourself over broken glass emotionally to force yourself to do reviews.

Upshot: Go Okinawa 80% review style, STOP before it hurts. Let yourself look forward to doing reviews the next day.

I think once you do this, you’ll see shocking improvement in both how you feel about doing your reviews, and how well you are doing on them.

Good luck! :smile:

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I’m late to the party, but good luck with your studies. I personally think that @Rrwrex 's advice is the best for you, just take it slowly and focus on strengthening the things you’ve learned before studying new stuff. I also believe that with enough repetition, people can remember almost everything so just keep at it! Also, if you have priorities outside of studying JP that might occupy your time and mind, I’d recommend you get that settled first. All in all, just go on slowly getting your accuracy up to like 80 percent and go and add lessons slowly. You have a lifetime sub so you have all the time in the world to improve.

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