Getting My Groove Back (Motivation is a Must)

I did WaniKani consistently for the first year of living in Japan. And I thought it was THE way to learn Japanese. “Screw studying grammar!” I said. I’ve never learned a second language before and was very sadly overly optimistic about the possibility of learning through osmosis. I mean, I studied grammar some. So I got to level 25 of Wani and decided to take the JLPT N4 (a year and a half ago). Of course I aced the kanji section. But TANKED the grammar/reading/listening parts.

Reality check/Pity party. I know, I know, how foolish and immature of me. So for 6 months… I lost my mojo and quit studying entirely. Then I decided to go to language school, 5 days a week 3 hours a day (since this May). So far it’s mostly been review, but I have to admit the only reason I am able to ace everything is because of… WaniKani.

So now, reality check in hand, I have come back to serve the crabigator, hopefully faithfully, till the end. This time with a handful of other study habits going at the same time. But I don’t have the obsessive momentum I used to have, and I need to get it back.

I am not buried under reviews, and I reset to level 21, which was a good choice.

But by all means, please regale me with stories of your success and your joy as a slave to the Crabigator. I need all the motivation I can get!


Like infatuation, this obessive momentum you write of just doesn’t last; to find the long-term slow burn that will actually carry you through, you should think of and write down your long term and mid term goals (concrete, assessable stuff, not ‘I want to be fluent in 2 years’ type stuff) and your overall reason(s) for learning the language. This will be less exciting than the initial rush you felt, but will be far more enduring.

Still, you seem to be knuckling down with an impressive study schedule (something I’m kicking myself for not having done when I was there), so it sounds like you’re on the right track.

Motivation will ebb and flow - totally normal, and part and parcel of this long-term language-learning journey we’re all on!

No substantial successes yet; the joys are small but frequent - today’s was reading Leebo’s post about yojijukugo, and being able to appreciate some of the beauty of the idiomatic language.


Did you get a pass over-all? I’m in much the same boat, my kanji is by far my strongest point in Japanese thanks to WK. Though, to be honest, that’s not saying much as I’m only level 12 and only just managed to scrape through N5 this year.

But my aim is to take N4 next summer. That’s my goal basically, and it’s enough to keep me motivated. Perhaps that’s the answer for you. If you failed the N4, go for it again. If you passed - aim for N3!

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Nope, I failed. I will take the level my language school requires next summer. Not sure yet if that will be N4 again or N3.

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Hmm… I do have the long-term motivation for Japanese study; it’s specifically WaniKani that I am struggling with. I think, because the results seem to only help me with reading, not with recall (which is necessary for speaking and writing), I started to doubt the efficacy of it. Like, should I say screw WaniKani and make my own Anki deck? Should I just find ways of reinforcing the kanji study we’re doing at school?

But, after 4 months of school, I really can say WaniKani is right about not worrying about remembering how to write it. Ain’t no foreigner got time for dat. The question I guess, is… is it worth the time if it’s only an excellent tool for passive memory? If the answer is yes, then how do I supplement so that I am understanding typical usage/connotation?

Good luck!

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