How the hell do people go through levels so fast?

Some people really like Tae Kim’s guide, other people hate it…
Personally I struggled with it (mostly because of the refusal to use furigana), so worked with other text books that did use furigana, and came back to Tae Kim’s later and found it much easier second time around.

I don’t know if you’ve seen this already, but there’s a great post here with resources others have used and enjoyed, which might help you: The Ultimate Additional Japanese Resources List!
There are also online courses like Marugoto, or Youtube channels dedicated to teaching Japanese that you might find useful.

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Pretty much. Although children’s cartoons get dubbed here too and I personally, just like most finns, can watch only the finnish moomins. After childhood with the finnish dub other languages sound so intolerably bizarre. The voices just sound wrong.

Hopefully I can manage to get to the point where I can do this with japanese!

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

Second welcome post of the thread, but as Oprah would say if she were here; “you get a welcome, you get a welcome, everybody gets a 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.


Thanks. I will check those out.

As for Tae Kim, well, you can’t please everyone. I will see if I can get along with it once I’ve, hopefully, learned a bit more kanji and also katakana. If not, I’ll look into other sources.

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

Sorry, but I’ve gotta say this, even if it’s OT… Since when was English considered to be a difficult language? As far as learning is concerned, no language could possibly be easier to learn, especially for Europeans. Of course, close sibling languages (Russian/Ukrainian, Czech/Slovak/Polish/Croatian, Spanish/Portuguese) are a bit of an exception here.

Back to the original topic… For me, one level takes 7-10 days depending on how many times I mess up kanji readings or forget the oftentimes rather ungodly radical names that just don’t stick in my head.


English has always been considered to be a difficult language to learn due to its unpredictable grammar and spelling.


What? I must have missed the memo then. English grammar is the easiest out there. There’s nothing complicated about English. Only verbs are conjugated [no idea what these concepts are called in English because I didn’t learn English in English, duh] and even that’s super easy and pretty consistent for virtually all of them. Sure, there are a couple of irregularities and the pronunciation of words feels oftentimes rather arbitrary, but I could never see it as a difficult language. No other language has nearly as many resources in any language as English does; at least in European languages. I can’t see how the grammar is unpredictable, nor the spelling. For the vast majority of words, this shouldn’t really be an issue at all.

English is one of the languages with the most amount of irregular verbs in usage (around 200). If you add to that the fronting and colloquialisms that are used by native speakers with verbs that makes it even more difficult for non-natives to grasp. I wouldn’t describe that as a couple of irregularities.

That’s true but a proliferation of resources an easy language does not make.

The grammar is definitely unpredictable. In fact, it’s nye on impossible to have perfect grammar because there will always be people who disagree over the correct usage of punctuation.

Also, do you really believe that the spelling isn’t unpredictable? Take a look at this poem at tell me that the spelling is in any way easy.


Dearest creature in creation
Studying English pronunciation ,
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse , corps , horse and worse .

I will keep you, Susy , busy ,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy;
Tear in eye, your dress you’ll tear ;
Queer , fair seer , hear my prayer .

Pray , console your loving poet ,
Make my coat look new , dear, sew it !
Just compare heart , hear and heard ,
Dies and diet , lord and word .

Sword and sward , retain and Britain
(Mind the latter how it’s written ).
Made has not the sound of bade ,
Say - said , pay - paid , laid but plaid .

Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as vague and ague ,
But be careful how you speak ,
Say: gush, bush, steak, streak, break, bleak ,

Previous, precious, fuchsia, via
Recipe, pipe, studding-sail, choir;
Woven , oven , how and low ,
Script , receipt , shoe , poem , toe .

Say, expecting fraud and trickery :
Daughter , laughter and Terpsichore ,
Branch, ranch, measles , topsails , aisles ,
Missiles , similes , reviles .

Wholly , holly , signal , signing ,
Same , examining , but mining ,
Scholar , vicar , and cigar ,
Solar , mica , war and far .

From “desire”: desirable - admirable from “admire”,
Lumber , plumber , bier , but brier ,
Topsham , brougham , renown , but known ,
Knowledge , done , lone , gone , none , tone ,

One , anemone , Balmoral ,
Kitchen , lichen , laundry , laurel .
Gertrude , German , wind and wind ,
Beau, kind, kindred, queue , mankind ,

Tortoise , turquoise , chamois-leather ,
Reading, Reading , heathen , heather .
This phonetic labyrinth
Gives moss , gross , brook , brooch , ninth , plinth .

Have you ever yet endeavoured
To pronounce revered and severed ,
Demon, lemon, ghoul, foul, soul,
Peter, petrol and patrol ?

Billet does not end like ballet ;
Bouquet , wallet , mallet , chalet .
Blood and flood are not like food ,
Nor is mould like should and would .

Banquet is not nearly parquet ,
Which exactly rhymes with khaki .
Discount , viscount , load and broad ,
Toward , to forward , to reward ,

Ricocheted and crocheting , croquet ?
Right! Your pronunciation’s OK.
Rounded , wounded , grieve and sieve ,
Friend and fiend , alive and live .

Is your r correct in higher ?
Keats asserts it rhymes Thalia .
Hugh , but hug , and hood , but hoot ,
Buoyant , minute , but minute .

Say abscission with precision ,
Now: position and transition ;
Would it tally with my rhyme
If I mentioned paradigm ?

Twopence, threepence, tease are easy ,
But cease, crease, grease and greasy ?
Cornice, nice, valise, revise,
Rabies, but lullabies .

Of such puzzling words as nauseous ,
Rhyming well with cautious, tortious ,
You’ll envelop lists, I hope,
In a linen envelope .

Would you like some more? You’ll have it !
Affidavit, David, davit .
To abjure , to perjure . Sheik
Does not sound like Czech but ache .

Liberty , library , heave and heaven ,
Rachel , loch , moustache , eleven .
We say hallowed , but allowed ,
People , leopard , towed but vowed .

Mark the difference, moreover,
Between mover , plover , Dover .
Leeches , breeches , wise , precise ,
Chalice , but police and lice ,

Camel , constable , unstable ,
Principle , disciple , label .
Petal , penal , and canal ,
Wait , surmise , plait , promise , pal ,

Suit , suite , ruin . Circuit , conduit
Rhyme with “shirk it” and “beyond it”,
But it is not hard to tell
Why it’s pall , mall , but Pall Mall .

Muscle , muscular , gaol , iron ,
Timber , climber , bullion , lion,
Worm and storm , chaise , chaos , chair ,
Senator , spectator , mayor ,

Ivy , privy , famous ; clamour
Has the a of drachm and hammer .
Pussy , hussy and possess ,
Desert , but desert , address .

Golf , wolf , countenance , lieutenants
Hoist in lieu of flags left pennants .
Courier, courtier, tomb , bomb , comb ,
Cow , but Cowper, some and home .

" Solder, soldier ! Blood is thicker ",
Quoth he, "than liqueur or liquor ",
Making, it is sad but true ,
In bravado, much ado .

Stranger does not rhyme with anger ,
Neither does devour with clangour .
Pilot, pivot, gaunt , but aunt ,
Font , front , wont , want , grand and grant .

Arsenic, specific, scenic,
Relic, rhetoric, hygienic .
Gooseberry, goose , and close , but close ,
Paradise, rise, rose , and dose .

Say inveigh, neigh , but inveigle ,
Make the latter rhyme with eagle .
Mind ! Meandering but mean ,
Valentine and magazine .

And I bet you, dear, a penny ,
You say mani -(fold) like many ,
Which is wrong. Say rapier, pier,
Tier (one who ties), but tier .

Arch, archangel ; pray, does erring
Rhyme with herring or with stirring ?
Prison, bison, treasure trove,
Treason, hover, cover, cove,

Perseverance, severance . Ribald
Rhymes (but piebald doesn’t) with nibbled .
Phaeton, paean, gnat, ghat, gnaw,
Lien, psychic, shone, bone, pshaw .

Don’t be down , my own , but rough it ,
And distinguish buffet , buffet ;
Brood, stood, roof, rook, school, wool, boon,
Worcester, Boleyn, to impugn .

Say in sounds correct and sterling
Hearse, hear, hearken, year and yearling .
Evil, devil, mezzotint,
Mind the z! (A gentle hint.)

Now you need not pay attention
To such sounds as I don’t mention,
Sounds like pores, pause, pours and paws ,
Rhyming with the pronoun yours ;

Nor are proper names included ,
Though I often heard, as you did ,
Funny rhymes to unicorn ,
Yes, you know them, Vaughan and Strachan .

No, my maiden, coy and comely ,
I don’t want to speak of Cholmondeley .
No. Yet Froude compared with proud
Is no better than McLeod .

But mind trivial and vial ,
Tripod, menial, denial ,
Troll and trolley , realm and ream ,
Schedule, mischief, schism, and scheme .

Argil, gill, Argyll, gill. Surely
May be made to rhyme with Raleigh ,
But you’re not supposed to say
Piquet rhymes with sobriquet .

Had this invalid invalid
Worthless documents? How pallid ,
How uncouth he, couchant , looked,
When for Portsmouth I had booked!

Zeus, Thebes, Thales, Aphrodite ,
Paramour, enamoured, flighty ,
Episodes, antipodes,
Acquiesce , and obsequies .

Please don’t monkey with the geyser ,
Don’t peel 'taters with my razor ,
Rather say in accents pure:
Nature, stature and mature .

Pious, impious, limb, climb, glumly,
Worsted, worsted, crumbly, dumbly,
Conquer, conquest, vase, phase, fan,
Wan, sedan and artisan .

The th will surely trouble you
More than r , ch or w .
Say then these phonetic gems :
Thomas, thyme, Theresa, Thames.

Thompson, Chatham, Waltham, Streatham,
There are more but I forget 'em -
Wait! I’ve got it: Anthony ,
Lighten your anxiety.

The archaic word albeit
Does not rhyme with eight -you see it ;
With and forthwith , one has voice,
One has not, you make your choice.

Shoes, goes, does *. Now first say: finger ;
Then say: singer, ginger, linger .
Real , zeal , mauve, gauze and gauge ,
Marriage , foliage , mirage , age ,

Hero, heron, query, very ,
Parry, tarry fury, bury,
Dost , lost , post , and doth , cloth , loth ,
Job , Job , blossom , bosom , oath .

Faugh, oppugnant , keen oppugners ,
Bowing , bowing , banjo- tuners
Holm you know, but noes, canoes ,
Puisne , truism , use , to use ?

Though the difference seems little ,
We say actual , but victual ,
Seat , sweat , chaste , caste , Leigh , eight , height ,
Put , nut , granite , and unite .

Reefer does not rhyme with deafer ,
Feoffer does, and zephyr , heifer .
Dull , bull , Geoffrey , George , ate , late ,
Hint , pint , senate , but sedate .

Gaelic , Arabic , pacific ,
Science , conscience , scientific ;
Tour , but our, dour, succour , four ,
Gas , alas , and Arkansas .

Say manoeuvre, yacht and vomit ,
Next omit , which differs from it
Bona fide, alibi
Gyrate, dowry and awry .

Sea , idea , guinea , area ,
Psalm , Maria , but malaria .
Youth , south , southern , cleanse and clean ,
Doctrine , turpentine , marine .

Compare alien with Italian ,
Dandelion with battalion ,
Rally with ally ; yea , ye ,
Eye , I , ay , aye , whey , key , quay !

Say aver , but ever , fever ,
Neither , leisure , skein , receiver .
Never guess-it is not safe ,
We say calves , valves , half , but Ralf .

Starry, granary , canary ,
Crevice , but device , and eyrie ,
Face , but preface , then grimace ,
Phlegm , phlegmatic , ass , glass , bass .

Bass , large , target , gin , give , verging ,
Ought , oust, joust , and scour , but scourging ;
Ear , but earn ; and ere and tear
Do not rhyme with here but heir .

Mind the o of off and often
Which may be pronounced as orphan ,
With the sound of saw and sauce ;
Also soft, lost, cloth and cross .

Pudding, puddle, putting . Putting ?
Yes: at golf it rhymes with shutting .
Respite, spite, consent, resent.
Liable , but Parliament .

Seven is right, but so is even ,
Hyphen , roughen , nephew , Stephen ,
Monkey , donkey , clerk and jerk ,
Asp , grasp , wasp , demesne , cork , work .

A of valour, vapid vapour,
S of news (compare newspaper ),
G of gibbet, gibbon, gist,
I of antichrist and grist ,

Differ like diverse and divers ,
Rivers, strivers, shivers, fivers .
Once , but nonce, toll, doll, but roll ,
Polish, Polish, poll and poll .

Pronunciation-think of Psyche !-
Is a paling, stout and spiky .
Won’t it make you lose your wits
Writing groats and saying “grits”?

It’s a dark abyss or tunnel
Strewn with stones like rowlock , gunwale ,
Islington , and Isle of Wight ,
Housewife , verdict and indict .

Don’t you think so, reader, rather ,
Saying lather , bather , father ?
Finally, which rhymes with enough ,
Though , through , bough , cough , hough , sough, tough ??

Hiccough has the sound of sup
My advice is: GIVE IT UP!


Personal experience of learning a language doesn’t equate to universal experience. A simple google search will give you articles, opinion pieces, and scientific papers discussing the difficult of learning English. Yes, the grammar is somewhat predictable if you come from a European country, but Europe is not the largest population on the planet. English, yes, has a benefit of being widely available media and a plethora of teaching materials, largely because it’s the most logical second language to teach.

English is filled with homophones, holographs, and homonyms that make it extremely difficult for a non-native speaker to reach a high level of proficiency. It’s a melting pot language and so you can’t naturally assume anything.

Definitely read the poem that @zyoeru shared, it’s called The Chaos and it’s the best example of unpredictable spelling in English.


Welcome to the community @t3h_bunbun!

Japanese is a fundamentally different language from most western languages. The attention to detail necessary for understanding a new writing system is something that everyone learning it has to develop. A lot of the faster users already have had exposure to the language via other means. Also, some of the users rely on scripts to speed through the levels. I wouldn’t really concern yourself with the speed of other users. Kanji and kanji based vocabulary definitely takes time to get acclimated to, but honestly I’d say this is the least important part of your Japanese language learning journey right now. Instead I’d say to spend way more time focusing on grammar and conversation. The kanji & kanji based vocabulary will eventually start to click as time goes by, and you’ll be burning through the levels in due time.

So in other words, relax. You’re normal! :slight_smile:


Hello, friend! I think we all feel this way sometimes. I’m a stay-home father of 2, and I often feel that I should be able to make more progress than I am (currently on level 5 after ~40 days) despite doing my reviews every hour on the hour and new lessons as able.

Again, without having to work, I’m still on pace for about 2 years to completion. That’s okay. Giving up now means that in 2 years, I’ll know less than I’ve already learned, so I’ll keep at it instead.


I have to admit first 3 months I got no idea what I’m doing. I got the excitement phase at first couple weeks, as it worn off I got slow down. Too lazy to pick up new lessons, got a lot items wrong.

I think what makes my motivation regain is strolling around the community. I found out how to use User Script, thanks to the script author for great works! And in community you can find any information you need, new insight, and pro tips and trick ~

For items that haunting you, I recommend to use [Userscript] Wanikani Item Inspector . So far, I always got items that haunting me, and doesn’t stick easily :sweat: . But as long as you relearn the items, it’s will stick sooner or later ~

* this is a bit embarrassing I failed 切れる (level 3 vocab) for the 5th time, I hope I can sweep all of them soon haha



I will try to get this thing rolling as for now. I am full time student who, alongside with the classes and homework, works on my first novel and read a lot so I don’t want to take too much onto my plate at one time. Once I feel pretty comfortable with learning kanji I’ll start look into grammar with some more depth!


\textcolor{pink}{\huge \textsf{WELCOME! ^-^}}
Goodness gracious, three first posts in one topic in such a short space of time? I wonder if this is some kind of record? Oh well, who am I to resist the temptation to wish every new user a warm welcome to the forums? For everyone shall be welcomed, it’s my way!

welcome gif - crabigator

Take the time to check out the FAQ and GUIDE if you haven’t already.
Though you’re getting on fine without them if you’re level 4 already

There’s also a lot of good stuff on the forum to help you…
… though you seem fine without them, they’re still useful though…

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 continues to go well and that you enjoy your time with us :smiley:


As a father of only one, who is at nursery most of the time, I salute your perseverance. I always think that the crucible of real life pressures makes us stronger learners in the long run, so well done for keeping up. I’ve been sat on level 13 for two months and sat on level 10 for seven, so never worry that you’re going too slow. Keeping on keeping on, slow and steady, will get us to the goal at the end and that’s the most important thing ^-^


If English is so easy, why do I constantly see spelling and grammar errors in social media? People THINK it’s easy and it’s pretty easy being understood, even with small mistakes.

But being really competent in English? Most Germans I know aren’t. (Although Americans would pull the 上手 card for most of them. Yeah, they have that, too :smiley:)


There’s enough native English speakers, in all of the lands where it’s spoken, that have trouble with spelling that it’s very clearly confusing for many people.

I would thing that it’s about 60/40 for people who get their/they’re/there right consistently. Hell, even I’ll mistype them sometimes and consider myself fairly literate.


I’d argue the “they’re/their/there” thing is actually EASIER for “foreigner”, because we have formally learned the grammar at some point and think about it.

The German equivalent to it is btw “das/dass”…


Logically, I guess それ、あれ、これ are probably quite similar in terms of difficulty, as non-native learning and having to remember this, that over there, and that.

@t3h_bunbun If you really want to learn Japanese, you should participate on Japanese courses. WaniKani can only offer you assistance with learning kanji, but you shouldn’t use it as your primary source of studying. If you live anywhere near the Helsinki area, I can personally warmly recommend these courses:

I myself started from knowing 0 kanji and very little grammar when I took the 5 first courses from that list in 2018. The courses were heavy as hell, but the learning curve was amazing. I took the JLPT N4 test that year’s december and passed it ranking in the top 5% of the N4 participants. I started using wanikani some months after that, and I’ve felt that this is a good tool for refreshing my memory with kanji that I already learned, and making learning new kanji easier.

I mainly think of wanikani as an enabler for faster learning because of that, but in my opinion where the actual deep learning happens is the application of what you’ve learnt here. So for example reading the kanji in an environment where they are naturally used like newspapers and textbooks, and writing the kanji in full sentences, for example when doing exercises from a textbook or writing essays. If you would only memorize the kanji and some vocabulary, but not actually learn them, they wouldn’t really serve you much of a purpose.

Due to my full time studies I don’t think I can afford taking on other heavy duty courses. I know that wanikani teaches only kanji and vocab and as such I am looking for other resources. I am moving within the constraints of my current situation and studying japanese in the way that is doable for me and won’t lead to burnout.