Genki AND Wanikani at the same time?

Hey guys I basically just started with learning Japanese. My main goal is to be able to read properly. I picked up Genki and its been going pretty well so far. I have been supplementing it with the Genki Annihilation Anki deck. I noticed however that there is actually quite a bit of kanji going forward, and I don’t really like how Genki teaches the kanji (basically just rout memorisation).

I was wondering if anyone else did both Genki and WK at the same time? I’m not sure how bad the workload will be.

Another question I had was if anyone else DID do this combo, if you just ignored the kanji in Genki completely. I feel like this might be a bad idea though since the textbook may rely on full understanding of the kanji taught to progress.

Thanks !

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Genki is a popular book and many students, specially self-taught, combine it with Wanikani.

I started Wanikani when I started Genki II. I completely ignored any kanji-teaching sections in the book. After Genki II I picked up JLPT study books (Kanzen, Somatome, Try) and I never cared about the kanji books/sections; I usually got full marks at the exams with “only” doing Wanikani reviews while preparing.

Enjoy the ride :+1:

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I did Genki I and II while working my way through WaniKani. It’s absolutely doable, and is great for improving your reading skills by learning grammar, kanji, and vocab.

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Thats amazing! Thanks for the feedback! I’m having a lot of fun learning Japanese so far which actually surprises me as I usually hate learning language stuff.

Were you able to read basic stuff like NHK easy after the Genki series? I would like to get into native materials as soon as possible.

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“after Genki” if you’re aiming for Genki 1+2 will take some time, a year or more for many people … absolutely different for everyone of course and I’m not saying it can’t be done faster, but there’s also the matter of how well you internalize and retain everything if you burn through two text books in 6 months. Find a pace that feels good for you.

NHK Easy might be a struggle before that but there’s no harm in trying it again every now and then. It’s good to keep gauging your progress and what you can read will likely excite and motivate you. :slight_smile:

But there’s also graded readers which you can start reading very early in. Check out the “book club” for them here.

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I am currently doing Genki alongside Wanikani. I have to say, it is pretty nice to already be able to read the kanji when I encounter them in a lesson. There are only a handful in Genki I that I do not already know. I am at level 12 as of posting this and should be at level 13 shortly (Crabigator willing).

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If you want to do Genki for the exercises and listening practice and stuff, then that’s great. But, please check out KawaJapa CureDolly’s YouTube channel, too. She explains why most of what Genki and other textbooks teach is… Well, let’s say misleading and confusing and generally just a mess.

Also, if you have an interest in writing Japanese, then you’ll want something other than just WK for kanji practice. The writing sections in the back on Genki are a decent starting point.

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I don’t mean to be rude but, could you go into any specifics? What about it is misleading/a mess?

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Disclaimer: it’s about learning Japanese. Whatever method works for someone, works. I’m not saying other resources are bad, just repeating what CureDolly argues to answer the question about her methods. Jump down her throat if you disagree, not mine. :wink:

She argues that many resources try to cram Japanese grammar explanations onto a framework of Western grammar, while this doesn’t quite fit.

This causes a lot more instances where certain patterns that JP has aren’t explained well, or are reduced to “that’s something you’ll just have to memorise,” while Japanese is in some ways a beautifully modular language. She equates it to Japanese being like Legos. When you have the blocks and know what they do, it’s very doable to slot things together.

A few random examples; how it’s much easier to ignore the notion of “Japanese conjugations,” and instead look at it as the stem system it is. She also covers transitivity in the Japanese way, as self-move and other-move verbs, in a manner that clicks very well with people. She also argues how the way certain forms (like passive and causative) are explained in a manner that can cause confusion down the road.

Personally, I feel like every claim she makes about such instances are well-reasoned, and she shows fair examples of how learning Japanese through the lens of Western grammar can sometimes be a bit convoluted. She doesn’t claim other resources are terrible - just that they can at times make learning Japanese needlessly confusing.

I think her channel can be a great addition for anyone, even if you’ve already gone through a lot of the very foundational stuff. ^^ Really interesting stuff there, and I personally found it all much easier to remember when I truly grasp the how and why of it, rather than sit there and try to drill grammar facts into my brain through rote memorisation.

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She argues that many resources try to cram Japanese grammar explanations onto a framework of Western grammar, while this doesn’t quite fit.

This causes a lot more instances where certain patterns that JP has aren’t explained well, or are reduced to “that’s something you’ll just have to memorise,” while Japanese is in some ways a beautifully modular language. She equates it to Japanese being like Legos. When you have the blocks and now what they do, it’s very doable to slot things together.

A few random examples; how it’s much easier to ignore the notion of “Japanese conjugations,” and instead look at it as the stem system it is. She also covers transitivity in the Japanese way, as self-move and other-move verbs, in a manner that clicks very well with people. She also argues how the way certain forms (like passive and causative) are explained in a manner that can cause confusion down the road.

Oh, man. That’s so nice to read. I’ve been left with the vague feeling for a while that Genki sets learners up for some unlearning at the intermediate level, based on wanting to avoid being too frank about Japanese grammar and trying too hard to bridge it to English, but haven’t had many specifics to draw on since I went through Genki years and years ago. So refreshing to see someone else feels the same way.

Though I still wind up being in the unfortunate position of recommending Genki and its workbooks, because I haven’t heard of a great textbook/workbook alternative that’s as comprehensive at an elementary level, and it still absolutely gets the job done.

Anyway, re:OP, yes, at every level you should be doing grammar study of some kind (and outside vocabulary study) beyond Wanikani. If anything, they’re more important than it, but really everything is one essential piece of learning Japanese. The method you pick for doing so is less important than your own consistency.

I feel like by and large, new learners won’t feel any confusion while going through Genki itself. The confusion/weakness of Genki (though … still probably the best comprehensive elementary textbook game in town) comes when trying to cross the hurdle into intermediate Japanese, when you realize that Genki’s sometimes overly tidy explanations didn’t quite cover the flexibility of various parts of the language. Suddenly getting the logic of more advanced sentence patterns can feel a little difficult.

It’s totally a hurdle you can get beyond, though, if you just accept that Genki gave you a useful foundation, but that now you have to move forward with the assumption that Japanese and English don’t resemble one another at all.

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Yes, I’d love for her to put out a more robust program with an actual work book, because that makes such a huge difference. She also seems to mostly focus on making the most crucial skeleton of the language understood - the elements and concepts that keep affecting all of grammar. It’s not like you can follow her channel and then sit the N1, but for me, I could follow her video course and pick up Japanese reading. :+1:

She has two or three episodes where she added some homework sheets, but either stopped doing that, or restricted the homework assignments to be only for her Patreon supporters. I keep not getting around to joining Patreon to contribute, though, so I’m not sure.

By and large, yes, I agree. But apart from setting up for some potential unlearning like you mentioned, I feel like people sometimes walk away with weak spots in their most important fundamentals. Or, at least, I did when using the more “conventional” sources, like Tae Kim.

I feel like the whole が and は issue is a bit unclear at times, for example.

But this could just be my overall grammar ineptitude talking. :joy: Seriously… English grammar as well as grammar in my native language - I can use it, but I’d fail elementary school tests where you’re supposed to " dissect" a sentence and name all the grammar constructs at work there.

That’s why I can’t ever seem to shut up about CureDolly. I find grammar intensely boring, that snowballed to me having poor knowledge of grammar terms, which in turn snowballed again into me being quite lost at even exceedingly basic explanations like “が marks the subject.” Ah, yes… of course… the subject. I see. :eyes: I barely know this stuff in my native language, let alone English.

So if you’re like me, and grammar tends to beat you up behind the bike shed and take your lunch money; try CureDolly. :smiley:

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I have a similar issue with grammar, I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve read about が and は in the last month. I’m still not 100% sure of how they work but have just started watching CureDolly’s videos and she does break things down in a way that makes it all seem much easier to take in.

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I feel like the take away here is to study in a way that you feel you are progressing and roll with it.

A huge problem with learning seems to be over analyzing and getting caught up with the most efficient way of studying, when in reality this can totally differ for everyone. Learning is such a personal journey and your process will evolve as you continue studying.

At the end of the day you could spend hours researching how to study and what other people are doing, when in reality that time is probably better spent just actually studying.

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Interesting, I want to check that channel later

but I usually forget to do things I plan on impulse so instead I ask a question instead for discussion and my own reminder

The thing about explaining Japanese grammar onto a western grammar framework is also discussed in a grammar guide that I read, which is Tae Kim’s Grammar Guide. Do you (or anyone else) know of it and the differences between that and CureDolly’s method? Should I just consult to both? All I know that Tae Kim’s guide is incomplete and still only cover the basics and eventually I’ll need another source, but I am still early in my grammar journey and this is just out of my curiousity (and reminder).

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I also did both Genki and wani kani at the same time and a about level 10 you’ll know most of the kanji from Genki 1, so you can basically just leave the kanji learning to wanikani.

At first it will be hard because it will use stuff like 勉強する, 金曜日, 宿題 which uses kanji that takes a while for wanikani to teach. But just hang in there :high_touch:

But if you want to learn how to write the kanji too, then I wouldn’t skip that part, it’s good pratice!

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Very nicely said. It reminds me of the concept of the “preparation loop” which was explained in a Tofugu article, a process where some learners can be trapped. I think I might be one of them as I spent way too much time at the beginning of my journey, trying to find all possible resources and wanting to compare them all.

I’m also using Genki alongside WaniKani and it is working pretty well for me and making me more confident.
I would recommend this review on Tofugu if you want to know more about the content: https://www.tofugu.com/reviews/genki-textbook/

Also, A Dictionnary of Basic Japanese Grammar is a more comprehensive resource which might be very useful later on:

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Thank you for this info!! Really appreciate it.

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Dang it, you say English isn’t your native language and then waggle your proper semi-colon usage in our faces in the next sentence, you monster.

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Using Genki for grammar and ignoring the kanji in favor of WaniKani is of course pretty common here.

Tackling both is great, WK alone won’t teach you how to read Japanese.

For that matter, it won’t teach you nearly all the vocab you need to know, even early on. Genki I alone has some 400 common words not in WaniKani, kanji words and kana.

As for reading, well … one of the first words I learned reading よつば was 粗品 or small present (or inferior goods depending on context). You won’t learn that on WK, you will learn the kanji but 粗 is level 55.

Just to give you the vaguest idea of what the scope of WK will and will not do for you …

edit: kanji typo

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My Genki Annihilation Anki decks that I am using have Furigana so I guess I won’t go too in depth using Genki as a kanji learner. Instead I will use it to basically familiarise myself but focus more on Wanikani for kanji.

My plan for after finishing the Genki series and Wanikani is to start reading basic native materials such as NHK Easy so that I can pick up on more vocabulary. I hope both Genki and WK will be enough to start at least. I also plan to do Core2k Anki decks afterwards as well!

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