Help me expand my studies?

Hi there. New/old here. Was here about 8 years ago, back now.
So I’m level 2 as you can see. I know Hiragana well, shaky with Katakana but practicing it. Working on WaniKani religiously. I want to do more. I’ve read the resource lists and the “what to do in the meantime” post but I’m having trouble picking out level appropriate things to be working on.

My goal is to be able to read Japanese and understand it by listening if possible. Reading is a must though. Bonus points if I can get some basic writing down.

Also, I see they don’t recommend starting grammar studies till level 10? So that makes it harder for me to find stuff that I would actually understand in the meantime? I’m a little lost. Any help would be appreciated greatly.

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Don’t wait. Start grammar studying now if you have the spare time.


I don’t think it is a bad thing to look at a small amount of grammar before then. (I’m guessing) there will be a lot of new things, so a little at a time would be bests.

Also maybe some simple word lists. Like animals, food, colours, things around the house.
Listen as much as you can. Not so much for compete comprehension, but more for picking out words you do know and getting used to the rhythm, sounds, pitches and so on. (I would suggest radio/podcasts/tv over anime) Same for reading.


Would making word lists in hiragana screw me up for learning the kanji later? That’s one reason I haven’t done it. I have Human Japanese which gives vocab lists but they’re not in kanji and I don’t want to make things more difficult for me later.

That helps to hear. I don’t want to wait! I want to learn while I have the time but I didn’t want to go against what was recommended either.

If you want, you can study them first as Hiragana and later as Kanji. I’m guessing your concern is remembering whether the word uses Kanji or Hiragana?

I don’t think it will be too much trouble. There is no reason that you don’t have to learn the kanji. For example colours,


learn the would as they are. And if you need for now, write the furigana (hiragana above kanji).

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It’s only a recommendation. Plenty of people start grammar studies before that level. It’s not going to hurt anything.


Exactly. I don’t want to mix things up.

Thank you! I feel better about going ahead with grammar studies now.

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No it won’t screw you up, that’s how Japanese kids first learn to read - hiragana all the way.

You could also take a look through some of the study logs to see which combinations of other materials folks are using.

With reading a high priority, keep an eye on the Absolute Beginner Book Club thread, follow the links to previous books to have a look at how difficult things are, and join a group as soon as you feel able - it will be tough at first, but everyone is so lovely and supportive (it’s been the most rewarding experience for me since starting WK).

All the best!


I know that a lot of people suggest going right in to grammar study if you have the time, but personally I would suggest waiting until you reach level 10. My two reasons:

  1. You’ll be able to read a lot more kanji and know a lot more words than you do now.

  2. At this point I’m assuming you probably have very little vocabulary. When I tried doing Genki 1 with almost no vocab, it made learning a huge pain. I could barely get through the first chapter because I kept having to look up words over and over. This means that your ratio of new and already known will be really bad (80:20 probably, 80% being stuff you don’t know). You want to have new material at the 20%, because if you’re trying to learn too much at once then you’re going to make very little progress.

Anways, I suggest waiting until you reach level 10 because you will have a solid vocabulary built up from WK (and I suggest finding a 10k deck and excluding WK vocab from it), and you’ll also know 95% of the N5 kanji. I went back to Genki after learning 1000 vocab words, and I blew through the book in less than 7 days. Not everyting stuck, but that was fine with me because I’m now using SRS to help get it down. But what I’m basically saying I was able to focus only on the grammar because I didn’t need to look up any of the vocab words.

Just my advice on this based on what I did. Hope that helps :slight_smile:

Sorry Rowena, I didn’t mean to reply to your post


That makes good sense. I’m really excited to be able to do more but I want to be efficient. Being able to blow through Genki/equivalent because I don’t need to look up vocab sounds nice for sure.

At the same time, I’d like to be doing more than I am now. Do you have thoughts on how a level 2 could spend her time if not on grammar? Thanks for your thoughts!

That’s okay :grinning:, but I’m going to respond anyway

While I agree with the your basic tenet of pacing yourself vis à vis new material to not get overwhelmed, it is impossible to avoid being exposed to mostly-new material when starting to learn a language.

Also, WK is not a vocab-learning app - the vocab lessons are there to reinforce the kanji, and are not a representation of regularly used vocab in many cases.

I support athomasm’s suggestion, and would simply say to OP to go slowly for the first several lessons to let that vocab have time to sink in.


To be perfectly honest, once you get outside of the textbook, you’re still going to be looking up the vast majority of the words anyway for quite some time. So the artificial delay is really not that much of a benefit. The sooner you want to start reading, the sooner you need to learn grammar. And ‘blowing through’ a textbook is unlikely to lead you to having much of depth or long term retention of the knowledge anyway.


The thing is I learned 1000 vocab words through a sentence deck that only introduced the new word in the sentence. Everything else in the sentence I already knew except for grammar that I didn’t know. But I was able to use those sentences to help my reading, help me learn grammar without officially studying it, and I was learning new words. I was also keeping the new content to a really low amount, which was really nice.

Anyways, I really think it does depend on the person too. For me, doing grammar right from the start did not cut it for me. I dreaded doing grammar, but everything else I was doing I loved and really enjoyed doing.

Fair point as well. I more meant being able to focus on the grammar and not worry about the vocab. I think both schools of thought are valid though in terms of waiting/ not waiting and I appreciate hearing both sides. I’m thinking I’ll at least dip my toe in with some free resources and see what happens.

I’ve been trying to decide on picking up Genki. I know there’s other options out there but I’ thought that plus Bunpro could be good. However the lack of answer key in English for Genki is a major drawback. Still sorting things out.

Granted, it is almost entirely written in Japanese, but so should your answers be.


Fair point.

I could have sworn Tofugus review of Genki said the answer key was in more advanced Japanese though. That was why I was shying away from it.

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The trickiest part about it is that it the answers are in 4 different sections; 2 each (grammar, and reading & writing) for both text & workbook and the page headers only indicate book type. I (finally) got around that by having matching bookmarks for each corresponding section in the books and the answer key (i.e. 2 each of 4 different coloured bookmarks).

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