So lately my activity on Wanikani dwindled because of this (I picked it back up again but I was rather excited about this) but I found out about a word-learning method called the “goldlist method” (click for video explanation) a few weeks ago and experimented with it!
Basically, you write down 25 words a day with translations in a notebook and two weeks later you test yourself, cross out what you still know, test yourself in two weeks again, and so on, and so on. (The goal being tricking your brain into putting stuff into your long term memory right away.)
I found it incredibly helpful (alongside reading Japanese books etc.) but instead of translations, what I did was look up the definitions in Japanese, wrote them down, and if I really needed a translation bc I couldn’t understand the description I also included English. (See photo below.)
I highlighted stuff on the left that I got right (the ones I didn’t now residing on the next page as you can see it peeking through) and later on I also went ahead and highlighted stuff in the descriptions that I don’t know (I know - it’s a lot!) and added them to later lists.
I found this method not only helped me finally start thinking in Japanese (only after two weeks!) but also widened my understanding of common words and nuances between what would be synonyms in English. I use this on the side to Wanikani to speed up my word-learning progress with words I actually encountered while reading
or playing マンハン
Perhaps an improvement would be if I could also include an example sentence on that one line I am allowed for each word, but I really cannot write kanji that small, haha.
In conclusion, I really found it helpful and I recommend this because it takes less effort, time
and paper than flashcards.