High level persistent slow coaches

As a little background, Ive just recently reset and restarted my wanikani journey…for the third time!

First time round I got to around level 20 when I found trying to keep up was too hard after the birth of my son, so I took a break.

Attempt two (after a reset back to level 1) was a bit more controlled where I limited my apprentice items to under 100. Got to around 30 before it became a real grind and I found that the time I was spending on WK would have been better spent on studying vocab and grammar.

So again I’ve just restarted back at level 1 and I’m looking to take things even slower!

Sooo finally to my question…

Are there any higher level users out there who are working full time with a family and studying on the side and have successfully chipped away at WK over a long period? If so what checks and limits have you put in place to make sure it’s sustainable and fits in with your other study time/general life balance?

I started in April 2015, and am only level 28. Slow going for sure. Got much slower after having a daughter almost a year ago. Only get so much time at night after she’s in bed, which is spent more on house chores than studies. Weekend naps also spent working on home remodeling projects, not studying.
I used to have a job where I could do WK a few times during the day. That ended when I was fired for having a child. Have a far better job now, but no mid-day WK.
Also tough because I want to squeeze in some video games and movies on occasion. Basically, my study time is extremely limited. Starting to try and rotate my activities. One every 3ish nights a video game. One weekend night for movies. The other nights, Grammar Dictionary and LingoDeer. Do WK at least once a night, and (try) to get up early and squeeze a session in before work.

Also, just kind of accepted that I’ve likely just plateaued, for the most part. Maybe I’ll slowly get better, but I’m going to be a Japanese speaking wannabe for years to come.


We sound like we’re in similar situations! I actually started Feb 2015 but my availability has gone up and down over time. I also love gaming and struggle to find the time (although having a Nintendo switch has helped somewhat).

So do you limit apprentice items or lessons to make sure you don’t get a huge backlog? Or do you just do what you can, whenever you find time? I usually hate going to bed with outstanding items so that’s what got me in the end as I’d rush to finish, but the more I rushed the more I got wrong and in the end I felt like I wasn’t progressing.

If I were to limit apprentice items, I’d never get anywhere. My reviews hover around the 55-70% range, and I have a ton of words I can just not seem to learn, so I’m destined to always have a large pile. (right now I’m at 214 apprentice. rarely has it ever gone sub-100)
Last few levels I’ve taken 2-3 weeks ‘off’ at the start, only doing reviews. After that, only taking 5-10 lessons ever few days. Probably not the best approach though, making me go far slower than I’d like. I do try to do my pile before bed at least, which tends to be ~200-250 I think.
Trying to rework my approach though. Once I hit 29 I plan to pick up the pace, and be better about before work reviews. Maybe add a 5-10 lesson batch each morning.
My bigger problem is outside WK. Grammar and conjugation are awful, and I’m losing vocab. Started doing KaniWani a couple months back, and damn I forgot a ton of vocab WK taught me. Started reading the Basic Dictionary of Japanese Grammar as well. Not too far into it yet, but damn, making me feel stupid so far. Not just about Japanese, but English too.

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This is what I’m trying to avoid down the track, because I know that lower clearance rates are what end up causing the issues. Going by what I’ve learnt previously I’m looking to do the following:

  • limit apprentice item’s (not sure what is appropriate at this stage - used to think 100, but even that was a struggle second time around)), so that I’m not getting hundred of reviews each day. They only start piling up when your accuracy drops, so I’m hoping by doing less accuracy can be maintained.

  • limit lessons done per day (15 atm, maybe 10 later on) - This hurt me second time around, as I did the earlier easier content in big batches, which came back to bite me later on as they returned for Enlightened and Burned reviews.

  • spend time with incorrect items after each wrong answer - too many items which just get stuck in a rut of getting wrong over and over.

I know that all this sounds great at level 4. I’m hoping that by adhering to it, wanikani can be just as enjoyable at level 20, 30, 40 as it is at level 2 or 5. At the end of the day, whether I get to 60 in 2 years or 4 years is hardly going to make any material difference to me.

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