Help with getting back into things

About a year and a half ago, I was in a good spot with my learning. Having made it to level 24 with a solid grasp of grammar (RIP Cure Dolly), I was at a point where I could slowly struggle through text in video games as long as I had access to a dictionary. Then college and life got crazy and I spent over a year basically doing nothing and lost a lot of what I learned. A couple months back, I decided to get back into WaniKani, but I was struggling so much with the reviews that I decided to go all the way back to level 1.

As of right now, I am on level 6. I am consistently getting scores in the 90-95% range, so it’s not like I’ve lost everything. I have started to go back and review Cure Dolly’s videos to pick up on what I don’t remember. I am not sure yet when I want to get back into immersion though as my mind often blanks out on Kanji I “should” remember whenever I happen upon Japanese text and try to read it.

Have any of y’all been in a similar spot? What advice would you have to someone like me? I would greatly appreciate it.


With enough grammar, Yomichan / Mokuro / VN + texthooker should work fine. Though, I think you should also read material with very few lookups from time to time.

But that’s only for vocabularies. I don’t see many well-structured apps for learning Kanji, especially to count the point of reinforcement with related vocabularies. WaniKani is certainly very well structured (to a fault). and KameSame work for many. Of course, custom ones in or Anki work too.

Using-radicals and being-well-Kanji-ordered apps might exist, but even rarer.

Otherwise, vocabulary-focused apps, sorted by WaniKani levels, might work, like some Core Anki decks.

I simply let myself struggle for a few months with reading.

Sorry, but I always have a 90-100% accuracy as well, even though I started Japanese knowing absolutely nothing but kana

I guess you’re on the same level I am right now, sorry :cry:

I don’t know if I have any advice specific to getting back into things, but I’m sure a lot of your old study habits will help you to get your feet back under you. If regular immersion feels like too much (at least until you shake off the rust), maybe try something simpler? Just some music, or maybe a manga you already know well – something to dip your toes back in without having to worry too much if the kanji are still rusty.

Sorry I don’t have anything more specific, but hopefully everything goes well as you get back into studying :slight_smile:

imho there’s never too early a time to start immersion, or perhaps in this case restart it.

Five minutes a day. Get the consistency down. At least five minutes. Doesn’t matter if you blank, doesn’t matter if you need five or fifty lookups to get through a page. At least do the five minutes. You’ll pick things up again. (Okay, actually, fifty lookups is not optimal, maybe aim for material where you only need to do five). (Also, fifteen minutes is better than five)


The greatest thing to overcome when getting back into anything (whether exercise, art, or languages) is our own ego. We end up wasting a lot of time and energy going “I used to know this! I used to be able to do this!” and can often get discouraged by that.

So my advice on that front is to see your past progress as a sign of success, rather than focusing on your non-study-period as a sign of failure. Get the attitude of “I’ve done this before, I can do it again”. That’s really helped me with getting back into Japanese and running.

And then just follow all the normal advice. Consistency. Find something that really engages you about the language, even if it’s tiny and insignificant. Challenge yourself. And have fun!


I came back after something like 4 years I think. I did at some point reach level 24 as well.
Some radicals/kanji/vocabs are familiar some are kinda and some i really don’t remeber.
So we’re pretty much at the same boat, ね
There’s a TL;DR at the bottom…

Just pick up some graded readers online or in a library, it will ease you back into reading again.
I thought I had to start from scratch after such a long time, picked up one of the graded readers I have and was amazed to find out I can read it and understand everything.

For quick basic grammar points refresh, I’m going over my Lingodeer japanese 1 course again, and than 2 (which I didn’t finish). I like the glitzy clicking on pictures and cha-ching sound, cause my strengths are visual and auditory.
I also use Pimsleur, but that’s for pure practical reasons, for me it’s the fastest way to practice basic conversations, which I might need in a few months.
Watching lots off Netflix Japanese dramas/comedies series again. That also surprised me, I understand some sentences, and I definitely recognize individual words.
I did play some ff in japanese back then, but I don’t want to spread myself too thin, so I’m waiting with that.
This time I also started practicing stroke order which I find quite fun.
I have both genki and みんなの日本語, I might pick ‘em up again, not sure.

Overall I feel that the foundation is there, so things are much easier than they were 7 years ago when I started. As well as the repeating leeches lol. That really blew my mind, the fact that the items that didn’t stick then don’t stick now. But there’s a silver lining, I have more patience and more mental space to work on the things I ignored 7 years ago when everything was new and overwhelming.

I think that a factor that might help you decide wether you want to plunge in back into immersion is how much time you have to dedicate to japanese in a day. The other is the purpose of your learning.

For me japanese is more a convenience than a necessity - it’s more convenient for me to know some basic japanese when I travel to japan, less stressful, more fun, and also more respectful towards the people I interact with (yes I am a control freak, that’s why I learn new languages, guilty as charged). So basically I learn it to use it in order to survive, and that’s the content I look for the most.

So maybe if you define some small goal you want to achieve in the near future with your japanese, you can find a resource that you’ll have more motivation to immerse in.
And try some stuff and see what works. I tried some beginners podcasts, I understand a little, but it’s hard to concentrate, because it’s too little of a percentage to be immersed.

Same situation.
Find resources you understand 60%-80% percent and run with them.


There are already great tips and advice in here, so not much more to add, but:
The time you invested is not lost, it’s still there somewhere in your mind and just needs to be activated again. Don’t worry, research seems to even indicate, if you forgot something over time and then relearn it, the stuff will even stick better and will be ingrained “deeper”.
Just keep doing stuff you like, keep immersing, keep learning and not worry too much. :slight_smile:
As others have written, the hardest thing to overcome is your ego, trust in the process, your brain will do the rest!

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