Getting overwhelmed, does it get easier?

Actually, one of the most popular recommendations around here is to not be scared of waiting to do your lessons if your review pile is overwhelming! Even for folks who are comfortable with the language already, it’s very common to self-impose a maximum number of items in your Apprentice and Guru review levels to not get overwhelmed by reviews later. It’s better to go slow and steady than try to take everything at once and fail at giving each item enough attention to properly retain them in your memory.

Lessons are done in batches of 5 items, so you can easily control how many you want to do in one go. :slight_smile: And if you do too many lessons and feel you’re starting to get lost in reviews again, just stop new lessons until you have a good grasp on what you already have in your hands, don’t worry.

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Yes and No, realistically speaking the more you learn the harder it’s gonna get, but ultimately you can train your mind to get use to it a bit more, and once you’ve sussed that it’s pretty easy. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed too, but have found working to a structure helps. I do two lessons a day at the moment, one early morning and another late afternoon, I don’t quite follow the wanikani timer for review, I review in my own time which works with my memory and my other commitments, and the biggest challenge was making a habit of it and staying persistent while I played around to find this way that works for me.
It’s also important to consider your health, like when you study for anything, Sleeping well, diet, physical exercise and not overworking has a better impact on your health and there’s a saying about how ‘it’s much easier to get your mind right, when your body is’ and i’d say it’s true. So in nutshell throughout these first few levels you’re gonna have to be willing to fail and fumble around until you find a way to make it work, but once you’ve got that, it’s a matter of persistence and then learning the language is a breeze.

I don’t think it gets easier, I believe it depends more on your attitude towards your mistakes! yesterday I got a 36 on my reviews and while it does make me get mad at myself, I just tell myself to keep going! Kanjis will not be the death of me (grammar maybe).

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I’m just at the beginning of this journey (level 7) and what works for me is just not thinking about patterns and logics. I imagine that I’m a child and that people are telling me “this means that”, little by little. And I get it wrong and right many times, respecting the time, until it solidifies. No matter the speed, what matters is the direction you are trying to go to. Keep it up!

Wanikani is a dump truck that comes to your house three times a day and buries you.

It gets harder and harder in terms of time commitment and effort required and I really agree with the people on here who say it’s best to use it to fill in gaps with the other Japanese you have learned. It’s for people who really want to read books as fast as possible. It is a tool that teaches vocab readings and not much else.

Every minute you’re on here is a minute you’re not listening to Japanese or talking to people, and languages are above all ways to talk and listen to other human beings.

You say it’s the one tool you won’t quit. So go very slowly. Embrace low success rates while your brain gets used to kanji & vocab. Most importantly, put your early effort into systematically working through an intro textbook to build a foundation in grammar and vocab. (Tae Kim’s guide is free and simple, so lots of people use & recommend it, but books like Genki / Tobira / Japanese the Spoken Language / Samuel Martin’s Essential Japanese are so much better in structure and clarity. I did Yokoso years ago, and I don’t like it but it’s way better than Tae Kim)

Learning Japanese will take years.

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You’ve had a lot of good responses in this thread already, but I’ll just chime in with my two cents.

There are a lot of high level WK users here in the forums, and a lot of users who are using the ‘gamification’ of WK to race through to Level 60 as quickly as they can. Don’t feel like you have to compare your progress to theirs! If the race to the end doesn’t work for you (it doesn’t for me), don’t do it! Don’t worry how fast you’re getting there, just that you’re getting there.

On that note, too, progress isn’t linear. Some days you will feel like you’ve absolutely nailed this Japanese beast! Some days the beast will eat you alive. I’ve been there. It sucks when you have those frustrating days, but it’s all part of the process and it’s important to keep a positive attitude and get back on the saddle. The beauty of the SRS system is that getting something wrong on a review isn’t a failure. It just means that you haven’t quite learned it yet, so the system will make sure you see it again a few more times until it sticks. It’s not a failure - it’s just part of the process.

Set yourself goals. When you have those frustrating days, look back on what you’ve achieved already. You know hiragana and katakana! Remember when that seemed impossible? In a few months’ time you’ll be burning kanji you didn’t think you’d ever be able to burn.

Don’t rush to complete all of your lessons at once. Some of the most common advice you’ll get here is to find your sweet spot. For me, I limit lessons to 15-20 a day. Any more than that and I find that I can’t remember them. If you’re getting too many reviews and it’s starting to overwhelm you, don’t do any more lessons until you’ve guru’d a few items and got it back under control!

Wanikani tends to recommend starting grammar around level 10, but I’d recommend starting straight away. I use the Genki textbook. By understanding the grammar as well as learning kanji and vocabulary, you’ll be able to put everything you’re learning on WK into context, which will help your WK learning in turn!

So, uh, that was a lot more than two cents, but I hope it’s helped. Just know that you’re not alone in feeling this way, and your feelings are valid. Japanese is the hardest language to learn! But there’s a lot of support here. You’ll get through it!


That’s only if you’re trying to do it as quickly as possible though. If you decide what the review load you want is and then control it by varying how quickly you do lessons, the workload becomes whatever you want it to be…

I don’t get your point. I stopped doing lessons for a few month to focus on other stuff and my workload dropped to about 20 reviews a day…

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Total work you have to do don’t change just cause you spread it out

But the daily effort WILL decrease.

I went from spending 3 hours per day to less than 1. Yes, I take 3x as much time to level up now, but the extra time allowed me to learn more grammar, read actual Japanese, etc.

This translates to more DAYS at the end (a farther away end date to the “learn all of WaniKani project”), but your daily intake and planning can definitely be managed.


Yes, it does get easier with practice… To read this message I am writing to you right now, was not easy when you started learning how to write and read in pre-school. With Kanji is the same thing. Practice makes perfect. Relax and enjoy the ride!!! It will be rewarding !!!

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I thought we were talking about workload (work in a given unit of time). If we’re talking about total work, then yes, the work you have to do doesn’t change (but also doesn’t get harder over time).


Lesson batch size can also be customized, it is a setting you can change. Although the range available is limited to 3 - 10.

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I have my answers, thanks friends!


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