Hitting the wall

I originally started my Japanese journey in 2015, when I registered to WaniKani. It has been 7 years. Since then, a lot has changed, but my journey is, sadly, still the same. The cycle goes like this:

  1. Say “I will get back to WaniKani” and reset progress to Level 1
  2. Crush the first 7 levels, slow down for level 8
  3. Get overwhelmed with reviews during level 9
  4. Stop doing daily reviews, start saying “I will do them tomorrow”
  5. Develop doubts: “I have been doing this for 3 months, yet I can’t read/understand a thing”
  6. Get overwhelmed with grammar, not knowing where to start
  7. Not doing WK for a week, getting 400-500-600 reviews
  8. Crushing the reviews for the last time
  9. Leaving WK for a year or so
  10. Go to step 1

Did anyone experienced the same thing? I don’t want to let go again, yet now I’m at step 7. How do I break this cursed cycle?


Don’t do every single lesson as they come. A good pace and rule of thumb is to have fewer than 100 apprentice items. Maybe even fewer in your situation.

You can just chip at reviews throughout the day. Like some when you get up, during lunchtime, and by bedtime.

What other resources are you using with grammar? You can try BunPro, which has an SRS like WK and each grammar piece is very digestible and bite sized. If you do textbooks, you can try Genki with Tokini Andy on YouTube as a teacher to get your feet wet.

It may sound harsh, but stop doubting yourself. Japanese is hard, and if you keep thinking nothing’s improving then it won’t. You can try to set small weekly goals, like do x amount of WK kanji lessons, or learn x amount of new grammar points.


Don’t “crush” - you know you’ll get overwhelmed, so start as you mean to continue, with a sustainable pace.

Also, stop resetting. Unless you have forgotten every single item from a level, it is counterproductive.

Just chip away at your reviews at a rate that keeps your Apprentice and Guru items manageable.

I’d recommend Review Buttons, Lesson Filter and BishBashBosh scripts to help streamline everything.


I wouod recommend Miku Real Japanese and Japanese Ammo with Misa for Grammar. They are really comprehensive and easy understand. Also they have playlists in order, you don’t have to think about where to start.


You’re hardly alone in that regard. The best way to plow through WK is to go at a sustainable rate, whatever that means for you.


I think your step 2 is what’s causing your problems in steps 3 & 4.

Good advice :point_up_2:

Apprentice count is a pretty good metric of your daily workload. A 100 count of apprentice items results in roughly 150-200 reviews per day once the enlightened and burn items start rolling around.

Since you’ve reset so many times, I would recommend the following:

  • stop doing lessons
  • do as many reviews per day as you can, but just don’t skip days
  • once you’ve gotten your apprentice count under 100 and your daily reviews to a manageable level, try adding 5 lessons per day and see how it goes
  • add more lessons as you can manage

The main thing is keeping the workload manageable so you don’t skip any days.


hm … yeah.

There’s a run from 2016 until level 10 that’s not captured in this data
Also, what is it with me not learning japanese ins spring? :thinking: 2019 was just a bad year b/c of life issues.

What makes my current run different is:

  • Keeping a streak going at all costs. Sometimes I really did just one item a day, saving the rest for the next day.
  • Switching to a longer time spent on a level once the burn reviews hit. That coincided this time with me catching up to my previous level before the reset.
  • Since then employing the lesson lock script to keep me from burying myself in reviews (it’s kind of like a fancier way of keeping apprentice items below hundred)
  • Spending waaaay more time on Kanji lessons to really memorize them. I even draw/write them.
  • Keeping a streak on BunPro as well for grammar. That makes such a big difference. I can read stuff now! :open_mouth:

How do I get this cool graph? @shikaji

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That is the amazing Wanikani Heatmap. Combines well with Wanikani Workload Graph, which is also very interesting!


I love the group
:durtle_hello: Let's Durtle the Scenic Route 🐢 text**
For this exact reason! It is incredibly common to hit the wall but, if you take it a little at a time you still make progress. Take some time off from doing new lessons and don’t worry about completing all your reviews at once. Some days I wake up and see 120 reviews and I get VERY discouraged but I’ll open it, do 10, feel burnt out and quit. Then later in the day while eating breakfast or taking the bus or any other time I have 5 minutes to kill, I’ll open it up and do another 10 lessons. Spreading them out throughout the day helps so much and keeps you from leveling up so quickly that you get that influx of them all at the same time.

I think you should take WaniKani at a slower pace and once you get settled into a routine that you can realistically keep up with, then start adding on grammar, YouTube videos etc. My advice for grammar is just finding a lesson plan that someone else built and taking that journey so, they can tell you a starting point. Some examples would be a textbook (Genki, Minna No Nihongo, or Tae Kim’s) or a YouTube channel (Cure Dolly, Tolkini Andy) etc. Then you don’t have to be overwhelmed by finding your own starting point. You can just piggyback on what other people have found to be the easiest starting points.


Maybe finding a way you don’t have to reset completely can also get you partially out of this circle. Looking at huge backlogs and failing SO MUCH is scary, but if you can find a routine that let’s you get past that, it can actually be somewhat satisfying once you tackled that beast.

E.g. get a reordering script and reorder reviews per level. (you probably remember more from the lower ones, so that can be motivating and also the later levels build on the earlier ones, so it’s useful to go in that order). Do a set number of reviews and just don’t mind if there are still some in the backlog (e.g. 20 in the morning, 20 at night… might bump it up if you feel like it). You could do this until your backlog is empty or if you reach a point where you are like “might as well relearn them” you could reset to that level.

Personally I took hu~ge breaks as well, but while there is A LOT that I forgot, I am also always a little surprised that I remember more than I thought.

edit. of course finding a way to never completely stop would be for the best, but personally I’m not sure if I ever reach that point in consistency. So finding a way to still progress eventually is kinda important to me.

As for grammar studies, if you never ever really made a dent in any textbook, I would consider looking for a group course or something or maybe italki or sth. I had problems getting through my first textbook and that helped me tremendously to progress. I was lucky enough that I could attend a pretty fast group course, but I know that sometimes they can be horribly slow, so your success might vary here.


For the sake of balance I now feel compelled to link one of the haters reviewing exactly this program. I won’t add anything more - actually, because I can’t since I don’t know much else about the man and care little for him - but in case you or someone wants to respond I suggest this thread instead of here. PSA over :smile:


Ehh, didn’t really expect anyone recommending me a fake guru here on Wanikani. No, thank you.


Eh, wasn’t that mostly just a joke :smiley:

This sounds like the best approach. I should probably focus a bit more on grammar and slow down WK a bit.

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Looks like it went all over my head then. It’s midnight here in Auckland, probably should go sleep instead of reading WK forums lol

Oopsie, no, it looks like you were right. (I’m not gonna read that whole wall of text though)


You can’t be serious mate. How much is he paying you to find new recruits for his cult?

EDIT: I remember WK being a friendly, wholesome community, a safe space, without snake oil salesman and similar stuff.

Judging by the language choice of yours, I must have touched a sensitive topic. Please keep your BS off this site. Nobody is interested in following that clown.


I’m glad you got it off your chest but I’m not gonna even read that. Such an out of proportion response is usually telling enough.


Calm down your horses. People weren’t even super shitting on him or being haters or anything, if anything you are currently being condescending of anyone who is skeptical. It’s great you have made good experience etc, but let people form their own opinions.