How the hell do people go through levels so fast?

I think you both, @ms12345 & @morteasd are right. The only reason I even began to study kanji before grammar or vocab is due to the tofugu guide, This one, which implores you to first learn hiragana, kanji and katakana, before doing grammar and vocab, partially because they claim that you NEED kanji to be able to read the textbooks and that you should know 80% of the vocab/kanji before starting because otherwise it will be futile. So of course I ended up feeling like I NEED to know kanji before I can start learning grammar and vocab. Because how could I learn those things if I can’t read a text book?

That combined with the fact that it promises that the first kanji part takes onli 1 - 3 months, and that you’ll learn the reast in a bit of a year, made me really hopeful. This probably contributes to my frustration and feeling of inadequancy, the fact that they say that you are supposed to be able to just hit these off like it’s nothing and then coming here and reading how fast people are doing things. I am by nature really emotional person and take a lot of things personally and the promises of fast learning, other people doing things fast and the constant ‘-apprentice’ and such messages have just gotten to me.

And this isn’t the first instance this is an issue in my life. My graduation diploma from basic school (peruskoulu) is horrible because of this. A lot of rote memorization of subjects which I am not at all good at. This resulted me in reading chapters from school books over and over again, my parents quizzing me, me not remembering the answers, my parents telling me that I’m in wrong, me becoming really frustrated due to the issues already described, me not learning the subjects, failing an exam, being scolded by parents, feeling either frustrated or like failure. And thats how I ended up with 6.45 average on 4 - 10 scale (4, failure, 10, best).

I wish there was a positive feedback mode for wanikani. Something where, for example, after review session, it would give you message like ‘you already know 60% of the vocab! You’re doing great!’ and such. That would help a lot since it would give positive reinforcement and would dull the failure part.

Anyway, I am supposed to be working on my novel and here I am. If I can ask you two, are there sources for grammar and vocab you recommend for a person who only knows hiragana? Preferably one that would have keigo/non-keigo information and colloqual speak information too but that’s no hard limit. As long as I could build some sort of baseline from which build towards fluency/ability to read would be greatly appreciated!

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Great to know I am not alone in this. As I said in my other post, I wish there were a positive feedback mode where instead of blaring you with red failures it would focus on your successes. It would make it so much easier to have the thing tell me that knowing 60% of the asked vocab is already progress and such.

How do you do that? That might help me too.

Ah, you see, the tofugu guide I looked made me believe that I NEED to know kanji before I can use a textbook! I just began a month ago so I am in the very beginning. If youre wondering why I am learning kanji this early it is simply because the tofugu guide told me that I’d need to learn them before learning grammar since I’d need them to read a text book.

It certainly feels like I need a different hammer. The funny thing is, what little grammar I’ve looked at I remember easily and it’s easy to figure those things. Maybe that has something to do with my studying to be an novel author or such.

I wonder if this isn’t already a user script.

As for hiragana only resources, memrise and anki decks do exist for that, though I’m not 100% sure that SRS is what you need. If you do, get one with sound. Having the same JLPT N5 words repeated in my ears every day for years really helped me. You can find decks that are only hiragana, or hiragana and kanji, or whatever other combinations of those. Hiragana and katakana are more of a must than kanji when you are just starting out.

You might like Nihongo no Mori’s N5 videos. I’m going to go find them.

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Right. I will look into that. I am currently getting those free lessons from yuta to my email but he kinda pushes heavily for you to buy his (expensive) lessons. Still feels like that the short videos give a good baseline and idea of japanese grammar and such even if they don’t go to the nitty gritty of things.

Also, another thing I really wish for, is that wanikani would have some repo for userscripts. I can’t figure out how to browse them. This whole forum software is bit of an ui nightmare, in all honesty (and this comes from a guy whose preference is text based software).

It looks like the ones I was thinking of have gone private, unfortunately, but you could check out this playlist. The videos I was thinking of were a little more grammar focused which I prefer, but both are entirely in (extremely simple and repetitive) Japanese. Maybe you’ll find the direct-method easier. I would recommend using something like Tae Kim or Imabi to supplement what you’re seeing in the videos to help you make sense of them.

Also speaking of decks, I started with one organized by JLPT level for vocab for N5 and N4 before switching to one for Tobira arranged by chapter. If you do go with a textbook and do want to stick with SRS for learning vocab, I recommend that you use one focused around whatever textbook you are using (for example I was using JLPT prep books) so that you immediately start encountering your new vocab “in the wild” -ish.

Does anyone else know similar Japanese-only Japanese teaching youtube channels? Most of the ones I know require you to already have some under your belt already.

As for a repo (do you mean depot?), is this what you want?

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Probably have to figure out finances to buy the book version of Tae Kim. It’s the one I found and looked neat but I cannot focus on reading website enough to actually learn. Doesn’t it use kanji without furagana though? I will also check out Imabi but it seems to be bit more involved and only in internet.

At first I think I’ll go through yuta’s short grammar videos to have some base and then check the ones you linked!

I will see if I’ll get a ‘proper’ textbook at some point.

As for repo, I meant like This. Theres the package search box. You just type what software you want to find and click search and it brings you the results. Something like that for all the wanikani userscripts would be really neat since it would make ffinding the scripts people want/need so much easier.

I don’t really study grammar explicitly, anymore at least, and spend a lot of time listening. Honestly I’ve used such a mismash of resources it’s hard to recommend any single thing. If I would start at the beginning, I’d probably browse through something like Genki to get an overall grasp of the language structures. You can probably get similar books from the library. Then listen a lot something easy like, and slowly start WK and reading graded readers.

Just reading through Tae Kim grammar never worked for me. It’s a slog.

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Basically how I learned english. Guess that will be the way to go for me too. Thanks for the information!

edit: oh, and the little i looked at tae kim didnt seem like a slog to me. The way they write is something I enjoy reading.

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Yeah, it’s just that reading dense grammar is not something I would do or recommend. It’s really inefficient in “acquiring” the language, and would rather pick on things as they come. Of course at the beginning you need some base, but I wouldn’t get stuck on e.g. mastering verb inflection or anything. It’s impossible to master the basics at the beginning, and progress comes from just going forward even if you feel you forget stuff from before.

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Oh, I am in no way thinking of studying grammar on that level! At least not yet! I just feel like I need a baseline on grammar, knowledge of word orders, how to make question sentences and all sorts of basic stuff you need to, well, talk in a language. Some basic vocab too. After that I want to believe that I could start trying to listen to japanese, or watch japanese tv shows, and maybe read something as long as what I read has furagana in it.

But I don’t think that going in completely cold will work wonders either. Without knowing any words and such things will sound just gibberish and it’s not that helpful, heh.

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Japanese is my third language and, just like you, I don’t really know how I learned English. It was a pretty spontaneous process through the use of books, movies, and games. I don’t remember actively studying English grammar many times. It has been interesting, I’d say even humbling, to put myself in the position of active language learner for the first time, not understanding most of what I read and making many mistakes, for the last 5/6 months.

I already knew some kanji before using WK, so the first few levels were fast. But, when I got to level 6, vocab lessons started pilling up and I had to slow down a bit. What I am currently doing to learn more effectively — since I don’t know most of the kanji, readings, and vocab — is:

  1. Writing everything down in my notebook and learning the correct stroke order for kanji. This actually helps you build muscle memory and remember it more easily;
  2. Using WK mnemonics or creating my own in English or Portuguese (my mother tongue);
  3. Doing 5/10 lessons at a time. This helps my brain to absorb everything and decrease the error rate.

Also, if you still don’t fully know how WK works, I think it’s important for you to take the time to learn it. I also recommend using the “Wanikani Override” script to prevent “typo” mistakes. It’s horrible when you know the answer and mistypes it. Happens a lot with me :sweat_smile:

Remember to keep all aspects of the language (grammar, kanji, vocab, listening, etc) more or less balanced. As for grammar, I think each person has a particular approach and this is a matter of opinion and taste. I have been using “Japanese From Zero” and “Japanese Ammo with Misa” videos, a bit of Genki, and started Bunpro recently to review. This works very well for me. You will find the ideal resources for you soon, I’m sure.

Also, remember to be patient and not too hard on yourself. This is not a competition, take your time and relax.


Some other Japanese sources might actually help before coming back. It’s always good having seen some Kanji before, even if you haven’t “really” learned them yet.

Level 15 has some ridiculously easy Kanji like 猫, the 昨 from 昨日 and the Kanji of 晩ご飯… If you see a little bit of Japanese, you’ve seen them.

Of course that’s way more common in the earlier levels.

I’d say its been more of an frustrating, rather than humbling, expirience but that’s just me. I guess I am just impatient, lose temper easily when I don’t get something right and such.

At the moment I am really struggling to remember kanji and vocab that either look similar or have really similar reading. Ookii, ookisa, or, ageru, sageru, sagaru. Those keep tripping me up real, real bad. They are not hard to learn per se but since they are so similar I mix them up a lot. Then, to make things extra confusing, it gives vocab which kanji+hiragana look really similar to the ones I already mentioned. At moments I feel like they just like to make people trip up on similar soundin and lookin kanji or at least I feel like it would be easier to learn and remember when it wouldn’t give so many ‘pairs’. Worst thus far has been population and artificial, both which are jinkou, and my brain goes ‘it can’t be the same’ and fails either one or both. Maybe that typo script would help with this too.

At the moment I do only 2 lessons a day, both giving me 3 radicals, kanji or vocab so that comes to six new things. It already feels bit much but usually by the evening I have some of them down. I also write everything I don’t get down to my journal but at some points it feels more like flagelation than something I do to learn. Sometimes it really does work though. Guess it depends how frustrated I feel.

Also, it is hard to take my time when everything touts ‘learn kanji in months!’ ‘I got through this in a year!’ all sorts. Especially as a person who takes these things really personally.

You starting with the hardest part of Japanese. Considering that you started a month ago, there are probably a ton of verbs and adjective that you can learn even if you don’t learn the kanji that will increase you proficiency much higher than Kanji will be able to.

I always recommend finding another thing to learn in Japanese, celebrate it. A LOT, never stop finding things to celebrate learning when it comes to Japanese.

You brain is expanding, building new shelves/pockets to store the knowledge in. You need to be kind to you brain as it adjusts, this will probably been the hardest levels for a while and then you will have a grace period when everything lines up for a bit and you learn quickly and then it will be fricking hard again randomly. Buckle up, Japanese is a bumpy road.


Yeah. I came to wanikani through the tofugu guide for beginners who don’t know japanese at all and it recommends to learn first hiragana and then go straight to kanji. So here I am. It also promised that you’d learn the first few hundred in brisk few months but for me that seems really unlikely. Now I am kind of wondering the advice of said guide. Their reasoning is that you can’t read text books if you don’t kanji so you have to learn it first buuuuut, yeah. It feels that for many this will be the point where they give up and say that it is just too difficult, too hard, they can’t do it, and admittely, I’ve thought that too but here I am. Guess my stubborn nature works for my advantage sometimes.

Of course you can read textbooks. The most popular ones (Genki) don’t use any Kanji without Furigana (the little Hiragana readings over them). So you can totally get on with some grammar without bothering with the Kanji. You’ll have seen those Kanji and then you later learn them on WK and think “ah, that’s this one”.

Well, why the shit did the tofugana guide tell me that I can’t? Or it made it sound like it, saying that you’ll spend a lot of time looking up the kanji but that can’t be the case if theres furagana next to them. Now, having to check the vocabulary, that’s of course different thing but should be manageable. No matter, I will look into that wk override script since it seems to be something that would help me. I certainly ain’t stopping now and pushing this back.

Biggest issue I’ve heard about genki is that it doesn’t teach any non-keigo or colloqual japanese, which is, of course entirely understandable. I don’t think theres a single finnish text book that teaches colloqual finnish which means that people who learn finnish basically don’t understand spoken finnish since it’s so wildly different from written finnish and sound really weird since they speak book finnish.

I don’t know what the guide exactly says, it is true, that it’s good to start Kanji early. But if you think it’s overwhelming start with something else and come back.

Genki does teach a bit of “casual speech”, but it comes fairly late and is not that frequent, that’s true.

I’ve always hated that advice and I hear it everywhere. I’m not saying that learning Kanji is bad, but learning kanji for random words and not being able to use them in real language is demoralizing. imo.

I always recommended, Hiragana ASAP, and the Grammar, and then Kanji a week of two later, personally.

I’m on level 7 and I’ve learn the kanji for eat and think. 食べる 思う

But I didn’t know how to turn 食べる into 食べます、食べたい、食べたがる、what’s does it matter.

I’ve learn 赤ちゃん 顔 赤い なる 食べる 思う
baby, face, red, become, eat, think

But wanikani did not teach me to make a sentence

赤ちゃん (は) 顔 (が) 赤 (くなるなら、) 食べ (たがると) 思 (います。)

If the babies face become red, I think he wants to eat…