How the hell do people go through levels so fast?

First level took five days. Now I’ve been on second level and I haven’t even gotten to new radicals yet. Still stuck on vocab which doesn’t seem to stick to my head at all. Feels like this will take forever. Year or two years my arse. Feels like the heat death of the universe will happen before I get through this.

In other words, I feel really demoralized and like I just cannot do it and I should just bury whatever stupid ideas I had about learning japanese. Just too thick of an head.


Welcome to the community!

Why are you learning Japanese? Think about your motivations. If it’s for fun remember that.

It can be demoralising when something doesn’t stick in your head but it’s not the end of the world. Take a deep breath and let the SRS system do its job. It’s there to test you until you consistently get them right.

If you’re struggling, at the end of the review write down with your own hand and a piece of paper everything you got wrong. That will help develop the networks in your brain. Once you’ve done that try again next time.

Nobody is too thick to learn a second language. Some people are naturally gifted and some of us (like me) have to work a little harder, but that doesn’t make it impossible to do.


Hello there from the slower side.
Maybe I’m on day number 50 of level 15?
I got other things to do like work.
There’s always going to be fast learners. Don’t give up. Enjoy the process. We will get there.


Something to keep in mind this early on is that you’re not just learning kanji; you’re learning how to learn kanji. Unless you happen to be fluent in Chinese or something already, kanji are probably a really foreign concept for you and it’s going to take some time to get used to them. And that’s okay, that’s what learning is for! Once you get more used to kanji and how they work, it’ll be way easier to learn new ones. The beginning is definitely tough, but keep pushing through—it gets better, I promise!


This would be my third language. Finnish is my first, English my second.

As for the reasons of learning japanese, well, the first is my love of literature. The idea of being able to read Mishima or Kawabata in japanese tickles me funny. Second is that I want to visit Japan some day and it would be neat to be able to survive there with some fluency in the local language, especially since so few people there know english. Third is that I do dream about some day affording one of those full body-suit tattoos, which, admittely, is probably the most pipe-dreamy thing about this whole thing since I study writing with aim to become novel author, which is more of an rags to rags kind of existence rather than rags to riches. Fourth, and I must admit this, I do have a thing for japanese girls and everything pink and fluffy and cute.
(guess theres a reason my friends call me a weeb who doesn’t watch anime or read manga for a reason)

Thank you for reminding me of the note taking thing. I will try to do that from now on. I even recently bought a journal for that but guess my studies made me forgot to do it. I’ll make an wild assumption that you do this. Do you write down the kanji, the readings and other things or do you come up with something about it to help you remember it? If you write down the kanji and such, do you bother with the stroke order at all?

Also, sorry for being such an asshat on the initial post. I was just dismayed and frustrated and it came out like that.


\textcolor{pink}{\huge \textsf{WELCOME! ^-^}}

welcome gif - crabigator

Take the time to check out the FAQ and GUIDE if you haven’t already.

There’s also a lot of good stuff on the forum to help you, like:

The Ultimate Guide for WK
The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List!
The New And Improved List Of API and Third Party Apps

I hope your Japanese learning journey goes well and that you enjoy your time with us on the forums.


I can relate to stuff taking a while to stick and I definitely felt that way at the start. I found though that learning on here was a build up thing, with all previous learning as I went through building up.

I’d second the suggestion of note taking, not for every vocab item, but for any item you don’t get right in the first review season after learning, is my recommendation.

As far as speed goes, I wouldn’t worry about other people going fast, just worry about your own speed; this is a mountain climb, not a sprint. It’s also worth understanding that there’s a maximum speed in any case:

Given how the SRS (Spaced Repetition System) works, there is a maximum possible speed at which it’s possible to progress on WaniKani; 6 days 20hours per level.

That maximum speed is because you can only progress to the next level when you’ve gotten the majority of kanji for the current level to Guru. When you level up, you get just over half of the kanji for that level unlocked and you must get these up to Guru before you unlock the rest for that level.

So if you look at the maths this way:
Note that these intervals are reduced by around 50% for level 1 and 2, so they’ll go faster

Unlock Kanji = 0hrs
Apprentice 1 -> 2 = 4hrs later
Apprentice 2 -> 3 = 8hrs after that
Apprentice 3 -> 4 = 23hrs after that
Apprentice 4 -> Guru = 47hrs after that

So the total levelling time for first batch = 3 days 10 hours
You then unlock the next batch and must spend 3 days 10 hours again on those


So you’ve already mastered two of the most difficult languages. :wink:

I do it occasionally. I also look up the etymology of the kanji using these websites:

I look up etymology because sometimes it can help me understand why the components of a tricky kanji are there.

I think stroke order is a good habit to get into because it will help you later on. There are rules around stroke order you can look up here.,your%20first%20stroke%20will%20reside.

And a dictionary like Jisho will help you with stroke order too. If you mean make a note of the stroke order, I don’t do that because I’m fairly comfortable at this point with the general stroke order rules.

For me, I’ll write down the kanji/vocab, the reading, and the meaning. I occasionally will write down any quirky things that come up in my head at the time which might help me remember it.

Don’t worry about it. It didn’t come across that way.


Your 3rd language! That’s amazing!!!
Fun reasons to learn Japanese too. Try translating those readings now and come back to them in a few months.


Hello there and welcome,
WaniKani introduces quite non-intuitive system even if you totally know how SRS thing work.
It actually artificially slows you down for some unknown reason by design, so it do actually take some time to figure all the backstage mechanics to promote your level properly.
So just take a deep breath and check some guides mentioned by fellow people above, lv2 is just right time to think about it…
…since for me it was like only ~lv10 when I realized something going wrong, resulting in this disaster :grin:

still, as you can see, everything is managable and one actually can 7days/level just as promised on WK main page.
Good luck and see you @ lv60 with the cake!


What else are you doing to learn Japanese (grammar, vocabulary, etc)? It’s hard but it gets easier when all the pieces start coming together. :slight_smile:

I’m a slow learner but even I’m managing! It’ll come right if you’re stubborn enough to stick with it :wink:


I am not entirely sure how I became so good in either finnish or english. Yes, finnish is my mother tongue but that doesn’t mean you are actually good in it. Everyone probably knows cases where people speak their mother tongue but are actually quite terrible in it. For both I never really studied either. My grades were pretty horrible at school for both and to this day I don’t actually know grammar in either in a way that I could actually write out the rules. I just sorta picked up both from books, movies, music and talking with people. Saddly, with japanese theres this hurdle of three syllabaries in the way of that.

I will look up the tofugu article and try to look up the stroke order. I’ll try to write things down and even note my own mnemonics of them or some sort of special feature of each which would help me to remember. For some kanji I already did that. Not sure why I stopped. For example, nine in finnish is yhdeksän, so to remember Kyuu (sorry, don’t have hiragana on desktop) I focused on the K in the finnish word.


Welcome to the community!

As somebody who also learns Japanese as a third language (Russian Native, English 2nd), I can imagine the frustration. For me the main issue is that my English isn’t that good to understand absolutely everything the same as I do in Russian… that said, I started to add synonyms to words in Russian so it would be easier to memorize them (reviews accept answers you added in synonyms so you basically can translate the entire vocabulary to your native language instead of struggling with English in case you don’t know it perfectly). Maybe you should try to add synonyms in Finnish as well.

Also out of all the other advices the generally good thing would be not to compare your speed to others. Everyone have their own different speed when it comes to studying, and somebody gets things easier, that’s completely fine. Unless you want to participate in some strictly limited in time challenge or have some concrete deadline - just go at your own pace.


That’s a really good way of remembering it if it helps. Like anything you need to take and use what helps and abandon what hurts.

Your English is really good so I wouldn’t have guessed it wasn’t your first language so take heart.

If you want to install a Japanese IME on your computer for future reference here’s a guide.

THIS is really good advice. You’re at a disadvantage because you’re learning a third language in your second language, so why not make your life easier and use the synonym function.

You can install this script here so you can add synonyms directly from the lessons.


At the moment only kanji. I began studying japanese only month ago and only know hiragana thus far plus little grammar (how sentences can be as short as one word, the different honorific ‘styles’, such bits and pieces).

Thus far my plan has been kinda see if I can get through the third level and at that point start to look into grammar and other material. Atm my dream is to have enough vocab, kanji and such knowledge that I could order some children’s book and try to see if I can make my way through that slowly and maybe see if I can find some language exchange thingy online where I can learn from a japanese person and they can learn from me so I can pick up the colloqual way of speaking.


Sorry, it’s me again.

There is a website called Aozora which is an online library of books whose copyrights have expired.

The language is old and suspect sometimes but there’s a lot of children’s books on there that you might already know which might make the reading easier when you come to that point in your studies.

OK then the frustration is normal :slight_smile: You’re at the beginning of your journey!

A good text book and/or app and/or teacher will help structure your study so it doesn’t just feel like random memorisation of unconnected characters or words. I’m not sure if you’ve already decided on your main resource, but most good beginner-level grammar resources use kana and/or kanji with furigana at the beginning – so you’re not limited by your kanji knowledge.

Once you’ve made progress grammar-wise, and started trying to read (text book readings, graded readers, books for young children), it will get easier to memorise words because you’ll start coming across them in other contexts!

Just keep pushing through, there’s no reason you can’t do this :muscle:


Actually I felt the same like two days ago, but then I tried like taking breaks between lessons, like not doing the whole new lessons at once. Try taking the lesson, learning 5-10 things, then leave the lesson, practice those, and when you’re confident that you learned them start with the rest. I think learning too much too fast doesn’t help.


Thanks but I really need to have a physical book, especially for something like this. Reading physical book secludes and forces me to pay more attention since it removes me from other distractions like youtube, irc and such.

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This is something I’ve looked into although I need to order it as a book for proper study. Seem’s like it’s simple enough, gives you basics and gives you both keigo and non-keigo forms of phrases and such. It does seem to require some knowledge of kanji though.

I know what you did. You immersed in English, that’s why it became so good. Finnish dubs? They don’t exist.
The internet only in Finnish? Cozy place, not that interesting.

My mother tongue is German, for us it is a biiiit harder to fully immerse, because of our extreme dubbing culture. People often say, that the Germans speak good English. They actually don’t compared to people from the Netherlands or Northern Europe.