How I study while working Full Time

Little embarrassing to say, but I’ve had wanikani for years and I’m still level 28. This mostly comes from my schedule where I don’t have the ability to sit for 1-2 hours everyday to burn out 300 reviews. I would go through periods of intense motivation, gain 3 or 4 levels in a 2 month period or so, fall off due to ehaustion or family things, then forget almost everything I had learned. I would try to relearn, but the only real solution would be to de-level myself.

What I do know, and what has been working for me, is only allow a 100 kanji limit in all of my categories. So even if I can get to the next level, if there is at leat one category that has more than 100 kanji, I hold back. I continue to do reviews and wait for those levels to decrease. I have less reviews, and my brain is able to retain the ones I practice much better. Give this a try if youre like me!


I’m a busy person, too, working full-time with a family… The phone apps have helped me. For iphone, Tsurukame has been immensely helpful to me… I sometimes use it on the train, but I mostly use it while waiting… during down-time… or instead of checking everything on social media, for example.

By categories, are you referring to Apprentice, Guru, Master, and Enlightened?
If so, you may want to reconsider your approach, just based on how long you’d be waiting for Master and Enlightened items to be reviewed.

You might even drop Apprentice down to 80 or 90 (or even lower), keep Guru around 100-110, and then allow more items in Master (170?) and Enlightened (200? more?). The Apprentice items are the ones you need to review often (almost every day) and the Guru items are the ones that still need maintenance. The others will drop back down to the lower categories if you really need to review them extra.


This is solid advice, the fact I had so many dropping back down to apprentice was the issue which caused me to adopt this new style. I currently live in Japan, so I am exposed to Japanese daily and I also have also things I need to practice. (such as speaking and listening.) Having the really low amount also allows me to practice writing a lot more too. But as I said in the beginning, I do see merit in your advice and I will give it a shot if my current course of actions falters.

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That makes sense.

The main reason I dropped down to 50 in Apprentice (and now about 73-77) is that I realized that I was juggling too many mostly unfamiliar or very unfamiliar items when I had 110-130 items there…

At the moment, my goal is to reach/learn the vocab at Level 51 and then slow down here again… I might try not doing new lessons until my Apprentice/Guru/Master items drop quite a bit further than where they sit now… with the intention of focusing on reading/listening/textbooks and other sources…

You’re at the 28/29 WK which means that you probably have a solid kanji basis for most of the N4 books and also have a decent chunk of N3 already introduced (and even apparently half of N2 kanji exposed). So, there’s no real reason to rush.

I completely agree with both of you. Every time I have stopped for a significant amount of time, it takes a lot of mental energy to make up what I forgot. I am hovering between 9 and 10 due to still having lots of vocab in 9 to get through first. I am trying to get my numbers back down again. I am not in a hurry. At level 10, I have knocked out most of the N5 kanji, which is right where I am in grammar as well with Genki. I found when I went too far ahead in learning kanji/vocab, it was memorizing words to memorize them and they ended up a big mush. I think I really need to get further in Genki so that I can think about reading native material because seeing things in real life/multiple contexts is what really helps to reinforce things for me. Even having forgotten many kanji, I am still burning items with every round of items. The SRS is doing it’s job - I either know it or it needs more work.

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I think I’m in a similar situation, lol. Been here a while, de-levelled a couple of times, also living in Japan now and working full time. I go through periods where I’m constantly (as much as possible) on Wanikani absolutely smashing it and then periods like now where I have 1500+ reviews in my queue staring me down like Dr Doom.

Really do need to find motivation and push through to 60, I think I’ve been on my current level for almost a year, lmao. The trick I think is to just never give up and always keep moving forward, try not to go too mad to avoid burnout.

I tend to review on trains / while waiting for stuff / during game loading screens, anytime, I really should get back on it.

I’m in a somewhat similar boat, but I’ve found that keeping up with WK at a minimum has been manageable enough. On the other hand, finding left over time for studying grammar and immersion has been very difficult though unless I’m super motivated. And without immersion I just feel like I’m ticking boxes instead of learning a language I can actually make use of.

I work ful ltime as well and I do one bach of reviews around noon and the final batch at night around 10 pm and that’s it. It’s doable.

I even use bunpro as well and handling two SRS can be overwhelming sometimes, but for one year I could handle both.

For 2023 I will drop bunpro and keep incresing my vocab with WK and more immersion with anime and japanese subtitles, they are perfect for me for increasing reading speed and reminding me words I saw a long time ago.

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