Help me expand my studies?

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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You’ll probably be looking up vocab all the time for the next few years if you keep studying Japanese, so getting used to that now is not a bad thing :slight_smile:

Text books have vocabulary lists that you can refer to as you go along so you don’t feel stuck, and the most essential vocab is repeated often throughout the dialogs and example sentences, so you’ll get used to it over time. There is absolutely no harm to be done learning words in hiragana - beginner text books and books for native Japanese kids use a lot of hiragana for vocab anyway, because they assume you’ll learn kanji progressively.

“Blowing through” a text book in 7 days is one way to do it, but many people do one chapter over a week or more and finish in 3-6 months. If you can do both grammar and Wanikani at the same time, you could potentially be around level 10 or further by then, and reading authentic materials should become feasible - a little painful, but like @Rowena said, there are so many helpful people in the book clubs here that you’ll be fine!

Good luck with your studies :slight_smile:


But you’re still going to encounter vocab that you will not have learned by level 10. So you’re still going to have to worry about the vocab to some degree anyway. It’s really up to you, but I would highly recommend starting your grammar now. I started learning grammar by level 4 or so, and the issue about having to worry about vocab was almost entirely overblown in my experience.

Plus, learning grammar earlier on actually meant that I was able to more quickly dive into graded readers, etc. which helped me to reinforce what I had learned and learn new grammar and vocab as sort of a positive feedback loop. It’s also helped put me on far more advanced footing than most of the people in my Japanese class who have been studying for as long as I have.

If nothing else, just try it out. If you feel you are getting overwhelmed by the vocabulary, then you can simply pause and start again when you hit level 10. But I think you’ll find you won’t be as overwhelmed as you think. There’s no harm in at least dipping your toe a bit.


Lol do basic grammar now.

Nthing intense, like maybe Lingodeer( there’s a setting to keep sentences in hirigana but i have kanji n furigana…) n read the app info and some youtube channels. I only learned of Wanikani this year, n it’s year 1 n 4 months on learning Japanese. I had already started with grammar n basic introductions from the get go.

I also language exchange apps cus like, rl practice is needed.

Kinda wish I knew of Wani 6 months ago but cool.

I realize what I said came off wrong. Like I said earlier though, a lot of people suggest doing grammar right away. For me, personally, doing grammar right from the start just had me learning too much at once. I felt overwhelmed, and any of the grammar that I learned just flew over my head. Obviously, when you start out, everything is new. But how much you are learning doesn’t have to include more new material than old material. There are ways to learn with a good ratio of stuff you know to new material. I found it a lot easier to learn N5 grammar first, before diving into grammar study because once I did that I now was focusing only on grammar. Of course that doesn’t mean that I’m still not looking up new words, but it still is allowing me to focus primarly on grammar rather than learning the vocab for that section, getting it slightly down, and then diving into the chapter. When I tried doing that, I still had a lot of trouble recalling what words meant, and I ended up focusing more on the vocab rather than the grammar, which is pointless because I could be learning the vocab better if I just did vocab study. I was putting in a lot of work to not get much out of it. Also, when I said I blew through the book, obviously I didn’t retain all of that because I went through it really fast. I was simply pointing out that I was able to go through the chapters quickly because I understood everything in each chapter. Me going through it fast wasn’t a smart choice, but since I understood all the vocab, I was able to get an understanding of the grammar points really easily.

Anyways, it’s really up to you. Most people suggest studying grammar right away as you can tell, I just wanted to state another option and why I chose to do it. Also, keep in mind some people don’t even study grammar, they only learn it through immersion (AJATT, MIA, DJT – all methods that don’t suggest formal grammar study). Anyways, just wanted to restate that. Just know that there isn’t a best method for when it comes to learning a language, you have to figure out what works best for you and that comes with trial and error sometimes.

I started grammar on level 2; incidentally, I discovered Bunpro (my grammar source of choice) here in this community.

In my early Bunpro days, I was just typing the answer and seeing if I got it right or not. Today, I stop and read each sentence and try to figure out why the words are in that order. Sometimes I can’t figure it out, but I don’t sweat it; certain things are better learned subconsciously. The knowledge will coalesce naturally someday.

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