Hi + newbie questions

Hello everyone!

Quick presentation: I’m in my thirties, and I’ve been meaning to learn japanese for quite some time now, but I never knew where to start. I stumbled onto Tofugu 2 weeks ago and the described method was very appealing to me, so I started. I learned Hiragana and Katana in 4 or 5 days; needless to say I was very impressed with mnemonics (back when I was a student one could say that I had a strong vision memory, but this is so much more). And then I started WaniKani last week, I’m still lvl 2 but I should reach lvl 3 this weekend I believe.

As for why I wanted to learn japanese, there’s a lot of reasons. Some are personal. Some I can talk about: I’d like to be able to play japanese video games in their original version, I’d like to be able to watch animes without any sub. I’m also planning on traveling to Japan in the next few years, so that’s another motivation… And also, I wanted to learn something new again, to put my brain to the test. I must admit it’s not easy, as I stopped this mechanism of active learning 10 years ago, but Iearning something you’re passionnate with is so enjoyable.

Now for some questions:

  1. Even though I’m only level 2, when I look back at the Kanji and/or Vocabulary from level 1, there already are some that I forgot, and I cannot recall every mnemonics that I knew 2 or 3 days ago. Is that normal ? Why is there no way to review (without it to count for leveling up) past kanjis/vocabularies? Should I train myself with a piece of paper or any other method besides WaniKani?

  2. Back when I was actively learning english more than 15 years ago, I would watch a TV show in english (first with english subtitles, then without). I remember, I was watching Smallville at the time, and I could measure my huge progress between season 1 and season 10. It was so rewarding. I would like to apply the same method for Japanese, but I know it’s still too early because I don’t have enough vocabulary yet. From what wanikani level would you say it is possible to start watching japanese TV shows? (Also, if you have any recommandation… :slight_smile: ).

I thank you for reading me, and I hope to talk to you soon!


First of all, welcome to WaniKani; I really hope you’d like it here.
Secondly, have you studied grammar? You will need to study grammar too to be able to read and listen.

Now, I don’t know about watching shows, but a lot of people here, including myself, started reading simple resources at around level 20, but that’s assuming you study grammar in parallel to WK.

The resources I always recommend are


which are free.

There is also an absolutely brilliant

though it’s not free, but it does make reading Japanese as easy as possible and also teaches you grammar in side notes.

For listening, I always recommend


Sorry, I know you were asking for shows, so it’s not exactly what you wanted, but I hope it would still help you.

In any case, best of luck with your studies!


Welcome to Wanikani!!

Yes, this is normal! Don’t worry, you’ll be seeing those level 1 items again and again until you burn them.

There is an Extra Study button on the home page that lets you review without it counting towards leveling up

I wouldn’t worry too much about doing this for now since your level 1 items will likely be coming up for review again soon. But if there’s some items you continuously get wrong (these items are called leeches), it wouldn’t hurt to try another method.

I’d say ~level 20 is a great time to start reading in general (including reading subtitles for TV shows). This is assuming you’re also studying grammar right now. I haven’t watched a lot of Japanese content, but I found リラックマとカオルさん (Rilakkuma and Kaoru) on Netflix to be very approachable even though my listening comprehension is poor.


Hi, I’m Jenny


Wow, thank you very much for the quick responses and for all the different resources, I’ll be looking into them! As for grammar, I was intending to buy some textbooks when I would reach lvl 10, as recommanded in Tofugu.

Regarding extra lessons, I’m under the impression that it’s only for recent lessons, and not all the lessons, am I wrong?

Also, what does it mean to burn an item?

welcome!!! i hope you have a nice time here!!

i would say, maybe level 10 is good to understand a good portion, but immersing yourself from day one is important as well. you don’t need to wait to watch something in japanese!

one thing that wanikani does is wait a while till the next review, so maybe write down all the kanji you’re learning and try practicing on your own.

also, unrelated, but you should try writing hiragana sometime. i know tofugu says that you don’t need to write, but i find writing hiragana to be very fun, so there’s that. and it strengthens my reading skills, so there’s also that. anyways, have a great day.


Oh yeah, I think so, I haven’t used it myself though so idk for sure how recent it needs to be to be in extra lessons. I assumed level 1 items would still be in there for you since you’re level 2, but maybe not?

“Burned” is the final stage items can reach. When you leveled up to level 2, that means 90% of the level 1 kanji reached the Guru stage. But they still will show up in your reviews because they need to go through the Guru stages, the Mastered stage, and the Enlightened stage. Then, four months after they reach Enlightened, you will be able to do a final review where it can reach the “Burned” stage. Once you “burn” the item, it won’t show up again!

I suggest taking a look at the FAQ for more info on how these stages work:

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I’m also a beginner, I just got to level five here and I’m about halfway through my first textbook (genki). Right now I’m watching Japanese shows with english subs, because I don’t know enough to follow without. I recognise common short phrases all the time. I’m also picking out parts of sentences - so I might get that someone has said “well, I think… but… the newspaper…” and understand the rest from the subtitles. I’m getting a lot out of it, sometimes I pick up new vocab or it helps to reinforce certain grammar points. Of course it also helps with getting an “ear” for the language and pronunciation. I think it’s going to be a long time, for me, before I move on to japanese subs or being able to understand long spoken sentences. But I’m still finding it rewarding and seeing some small progress already!

What I’m trying to say is, there are things to gain from starting to watch things before you can understand very much of it at all. Especially if it’s something that you enjoy anyway. Don’t feel like you have to wait for the “right” time.

Also welcome, and good luck with your studies! :sparkles:


Spaced Repetition Systems (like WaniKani) are designed to help you memorize things as efficiently as possible (e.g. with as few reviews as possible). It does this by making you review each word/kanji right before you would forget it. In practice, the timing isn’t perfect, so you will end up forgetting things - but that’s OK; if you get a word wrong, the system will just test you on it more often. And whenever you get a word right, it will wait longer before testing you on that word again.

This is also why WaniKani doesn’t let you review words whenever you want. It wouldn’t exactly be harmful, but the system wouldn’t be able to really tell how well you know each word.

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Honestly, I don’t think there’s a bad time to start doing this, especially if it’s a show you’ve already seen and know, anime or otherwise. For example, if you’ve already seen and are familiar with Sword Art Online, go download the Japanese subtitles and just watch it. You don’t have to understand every single word (or very many words at all). It’s still incredible listening practice, even if you’re just leaving it on in the background and watching every now and then while you’re doing something else.

As far as recommendation for shows and movies goes:

Wara no Tate - Action - Movie
Fujiwara Tatsuya plays a man who gets out of jail after having (potential trigger —>) raped and killed a small girl and does it again, however this time, it’s the granddaughter of a yakuza boss who is on the verge of death and has nothing to lose. He offers a ton of money to anyone who can kill Fujiwara’s character and promises that anyone that attempts to kill him will be pardoned (iirc). This causes Fujiwara’s character to turn himself into the police. The movie is the police trying to protect this disgusting man from the general populous as they bring him from the western side of the island to Tokyo on the eastern side to be tried for his crime.

Grand Blue - Comedy - Movie
This was originally a manga that was turned into an anime that was turned into a movie. I’ve seen both the anime and movie and tbh I prefer the movie. It is absolutely hilarious. Best to go into this one without knowing a ton, but a short explanation would be: college and drinking hijinks.

Silent - Romance/Tragedy - Series

About two music-loving, high school sweethearts that suddenly break up, then years later run into each other and finding out that one of them has almost lost all of their hearing.


Oh, I saw a clip of this one. I think.

He goes on about the reasons he suddenly broke up with her, all having to do with him not being able to hear.

Ya, that eventually happens like 2 or 3 episodes in I think. Something like that. Watched it a little while back. Very good show.

I thought it was a movie and that was the ending. :sweat_smile:

That’s the vibe I got.

Good that it goes up from there.

It seems like only the last batch of lessons is available for Extra Study. But that’s fine, we’ll see how things go in the future for now :slight_smile:

Also, to answer many of you about immerging myself as soon as possible, that’s already what I do but in a ‘passive’ way: I watch animes on a regular basis, same for video games. But with english subs, and so that’s why I call it ‘passive’; I cannot associate what I hear with what I read (except for some common words that I came to know over the years). Well, that’s not entirely true, yesterday I’ve been able to recognize the word いっぱい (that I learned from 力いっぱい ), so there’s that. But that’s only one word out of I-don’t-know-how-many. Thank you anyway for the recommandations!

Regarding textbooks for grammar, Tofugu says it’s better to wait for level 10 so I know roughly 80% of the vocabulary before starting grammar. Now I’m not sure what is best?
(Btw do you know how I can type the katakana long vowel with the windows japanese keyboard? I’m only able to type トフグ, or トオフグ by doubling the ‘o’ ?).


It’s - (hyphen). You can try pressing every keys in the Japanese IME to see what gets converted into what.

I think a beginner workbook can be picked up immediately (in my case, Minna no Nihongo), but not to bother if it feels too hard.

Waiting until Level 10 is probably the most criticized thing ever, in this forum. However, there are indeed people who got successful waiting until Level 10 before any official grammar studies.

You can! :smiley:

Though it would need to be active listening, and discerning the times where the subtitles differ from the audio, and maybe looking some words up.

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Good to know. I’ll probably have to wait until next month (cause you know, limited money xD), but I’ll probably start a textbook before level 10 then. I was considering Genki since it seems to be one of the most recommanded one, though if there are any reason why you chose Minna no Nihongo over Genki I’d be glad to know why.

What I meant is that even though I can regognize the ‘reading’ of what they are saying, I only know maybe 0.1% of the vocabulary, so it’s really not enough imho.

トーフグ - Found it, thanks!

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But then you can figure it out via the subs, no?

Like にんじんが好き, and then the subs say, “I love carrots!” but you only know 好き. :eyes:

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Nothing other than it’s the most available standard textbook series in my region, translated to my native language. (Not that I care whether it is in my native tongue or English.)

Oh yes right, providing I watch with japanese subtitles. Halas, crunchyroll does not seem to provide japanese subtitles. I’ll have to find another source :slight_smile: