How can I learn new Japanese vocabulary by using basic concepts instead of English?

I’m discovering a framework on how I can relate an object to the language without my English standing in-between the process… But on WaniKani, would it hurt to have English as a crutch until I can make a visual or basic concept on the newly learned vocab later?

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i would say, don’t worry too much about that. wanikani is just for getting this vocabulary into your brain. As you start immersing and learning more, the connection in your brain will build, become snappier and itll skip over the “english” translating part. it’s all about that exposure.


Many concepts aren’t easily drawn into pictures, but better explained with words, or sentences. So, to answer your question, that would be to be using a JJ monolingual dictionary regularly.

Nonetheless, imo, actual immersion is more valuable than using a monolingual regularly itself.

It’s probably even OK to remember meanings snappily, but nail only readings. Again, this is just my opinion.


I agree with both posts here. And, I’d also like to add that for the vast majority of people, the “switchover” described doesn’t actually happen all at once. Immersion is definitely a big part of it, though.

A Brief Anecdote

There was one time where I effectively had a two-week vacation. In the first week, I had no plans, so I chose to immerse as fully as possible in Japanese. This meant I couldn’t watch or read anything, unless I could do so in Japanese. But, it also mean that I would require myself to think of some Japanese equivalent of any “out loud” thinking I did. By the end of the week, I’d been giving simple answers to myself in Japanese by default (no noticeable conversion).

Then, in the second week, I’d been invited to visit family. At the start of the visit, I warned them that, due to my immersion, if I were asked questions with simple answers, I might end up answering in Japanese. Later that week, we had the bright idea to allow me to navigate on a short trip. When the driver asked me which way to turn, the only thing that came to mind was みぎ. And, I couldn’t immediately translate it to “right”, so I had to bang on the right-hand window, and say “This way!”

I doubt that’s very usual, but I found it kind of funny. Nothing like that has happened since. But, the point was that it just takes time.


I agree with that, and to apply it, use Anki mode for the meanings (configurable in the mobile apps, or if you use the website, there might be a working user script for that)

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Me when I learn new things on the internet (in English) and then try to talk about it to friends and family (not in English). "Please bear with me, I only know the essential words to this topic in English ;u; "


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