I am new and (somewhat) helpless

Since I was asked to post updates: I now - according to an email I got - reached level four and, with that, subscription-territory. I also learned by communicating with the staff that monthly payments cannot be done via paypal, only year-long or lifetime ones, which means I have one big, ugly problem because it means that I might have to wait for my birthday (July 31st) and hope I get enough birthday money to pay for a yearly subscription… and not buy a much-needed new vacuum cleaner from the money. Well then, I never liked clean floors anyway.:sweat_smile:
Given how horribly poor I am at some of the Level 3 (and some Level 2) stuff still, it’s okay to not start with Level 4 yet, but the end of July is pretty far away. Oh well… I’ll see if I can talk someone into lending me the money early, at least.

Subscription issues aside, I was quite surprised just how different the levels were. While I haven’t found out how to access these neat graphs yet (maybe they’re just for subscribers?), I am pretty sure I did Level 2 in less than a week while needing almost two weeks for Level 3. Not quite sure why that happened, but it did. I am also struggling with remembering things from my Guru-category very often, especially verbs which just have different hiragana endings; I tend to mix their meanings up and also often forget which reading the one-kanji vocabs want because I don’t get the merciful “Nope, not that one”-screenshaking for vocabs.

That said, though, I made it to the end of Level 3 at least and didn’t give up! (Well, Kanji are at exactly 90%, so I’m not fully done but 90% is apparently level-up-time.)


If you think that having Genki I on paper instead of on a screen would be more helpful to you, I could send you the book (as a gift of course, I live in Germany also). I bought it years ago, but then never used it because when I started taking classes here in Germany, the teachers used the Marugoto series… And if I ever continue taking classes it would be in the same place and again with Marugoto.



This is where you can see those neat graphs and numbers.

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OMG, while that would be the greatest gift ever, you should totally be aware that you could easily sell it for 50+ Euro on Ebay. The university I took my classes in back then (Cologne) used Genki exclusively and because it was pretty hard to get back then even for bookstores, students went crazy about trying to get it from other sources. Given its Amazon reviews and price for used copies, you could probably make a lot of money from selling it!

Thank you for the link! I checked it and actually saw that site before. It says I need an API Key, but I generated one before and it didn’t accept the key. That’s why I think it might just be for subscribed people - or because I don’t know how to use them correctly. That is actually a very likely possibility, too.

There is https://wkstats.com:10001 which uses the API v2 key.

And https://www.wkstats.com/#progress which uses the API v1 key.


You seem motivated and that is the most important thing to learning Japanese. I would say use the time you have till your birthday to maybe focus on some other aspects of Japanese.

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Writing

This post gives you a good idea of things you can use.


Oooh thank you! That explains matters! I hadn’t used a API v1 key since I thought those were obsolete or whatever.

Thank you so much for the tips! My mom and dad, however, decided to let me have my birthday present early when I talked to them about it today, so now I am officially subscribed for a year (and with that have no right to chicken out anymore) and have now 60 new lessons waiting for me.
I wonder when I will come to regret that I decided to wish months-long torture upon myself for my birthday… most likely in like 15 minutes when I’m done with the lessons and realize that nothing is sticking in my brain.:upside_down_face:


You got this :grin:


Let the Crabbygator consume you and you will forget the meaning of the word “regret”!
Also if you need help with something, feel free to message me. Im German as well. (No promise I can actually help tho)


According to my reviews, I indeed got, uh, 72% of this!:smile:

Does that mean that once I get to the Kanji meaning “regret” and forget what they mean, I can blame the Crabbygator?:thinking:
Also thank you so much! It’s awesome how helpful and kind this community is!


That’s Level 18, so you’ll have a chance to forget it in a couple months or so. :wink:

Also, how’s the progress so far? I see you got Level 4 so it must have started to click. :slight_smile:


That will indeed be a looong way off! Seems like a level a week is not doable for me, I get too much stuff wrong for that, it seems. More like 10 days for a level or something, my scores seem to be around ~75% most of the time.

Thank you for asking!:slightly_smiling_face: It’s going… I don’t know. I do feel it’s generally pretty okay but that’s often because I get a lot of easy stuff (looking at you, 百 and all the words you unlocked that are pretty much the same).

I did notice about myself that I am a purely visual learner and that it’s a big problem with mnemonics. I can’t even blame it on English not being my first language. For example, let’s take 名(めい). The mnemonic was something with the month May. But you better believe it makes me type まい every single time because May is written with an “a” and not with an “e”. I just cannot learn by sound, ever. Right now it’s 主 (しゅ), with me typing ちゅall the time because the mnemonic was something about a chute…
And of course there’s a few words I feel I will always and for all eternity never learn. 土(つち) is one of the very worst; I keep having it in apprentice even though it’s a Level 2 one. Also some of the counting words.

So yeah, basically, I feel like I still need to figure out a way to remember things better. And to maybe learn more than one meaning of a word (because there’s like a ton of words meaning the same thing already, hi “girl” and “past” and “master”), to finally remember which reading is used in which case and stuff like that. I have a long way to go, but I’m keeping at it. :slight_smile:


I’m doing an average of 9 days per level so we’re about the same there.

Yeah, I have issues with this as well. You’ll have to figure out your own mnemonics because it continues as you level. For example, むぎ, the mnemonic uses “mugging” but that makes me input まぎ instead. Now, I use the Mugi the Moogle from Final Fantasy as a mnemonic.

Stick with it. :slight_smile: Once you start looking at Japanese text and being able to recognize a lot of it, it feels great.


At one time I read German at the level at which you write English–but I absolutely could never have written German as well as you write English. Believe that you write better native English than some of the people on these threads. You are remarkable. Trust us. Your memory will improve as you bear down on remembering the little stories–or make up your own. Keep some form of work books and write the kanji, write down the little stories that have come to you. If you miss the kanji again, underline the first letter of the practical meaning that is its “core” for you in red; miss it again, the second letter. There are some utterly committed language students on WK. I don’t think there is a one of them, having read your English, who doesn’t believe that your language ability is both broad and deep. G_d, you’ll be good at this.


I don’t know if this has been mentioned before (sorry, I have not read the whole thread) but you can put WaniKani in vacation mode (somewhere in your settings) which means that the reviews are frozen and don’t pile up until you switch to normal mode again. That way you will not be flooded by reviews after you return from hospital. Of course, if you need to go to hospital in case of an emergency, you will probably not be able to turn on vacation mode, but maybe you have a trusted person who can do this for you in those cases?

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Hey Sheba ^^ do not worry too much about the level, of course everyone wants to level as fast as possible and everything but in the end the most important is that you properly learn all kanjis and vocabulary, so altho i felt i kinda was in a rush at the first levels now i am taking it easy, it’s simply impossible for me to do all +70 lessons i get every time i level up. so that you can have it as reference, i usually have between 80% and 90% in my reviews and my average time per level is 16 days, since i don’t learn all the kanjis and radicals from the very beginning of the level. so if you feel like you are being slower than other people in the forum and that causes you to be anxious, don’t be, everyone has their own rythm, the important is that you enjoy it. (specially don’t sress with level 4, that one was my slowest, i spent almost a month, i did all the vocab lessons in one go and i couldn’t keep up with all the words containing 気 orz)

as for the mnemonics, i must confess im totally not compatible with the mnemonics given by wanikani, so almost always i use my own mnemonics. i have the good luck of being able to speak 4 languages, and i currently use 3 of them to make my own mnemonics, so you might be able to find some words in german that start the same way as the word you need and that might help you. at the same time, i have problems with certains words that have sounds not found in my native tongues (つ、し、ぎゃ、や、わ and derived) and to create those mnemonics sometimes it’s hell >.<

i don’t know your background in japanese before you started wanikani so i don’t know if this might be helpful, but some time ago i printed the lyrics (in kanji ofc) of several anime songs i have in my phone and listen to often with the intention of translating them. but i’ve decided not to start translating them yet but to try to do it bit by bit as i advance wanikani, so from time to time i take a look and discover that a few of the kanjis i learnt in the last level are there in the song (it’s surprising how many kanjis i can identify even with such a low level, very fulfilling at the same time)… this also helps me since more or less i can sing the songs and then thx to that i immediatly know the pronunciation…

another thing that helps me is trying to relate kanjis or words i learn with manga titles (even if i havent read them), it’s easier for me to remember a word pronunciation than a kanji, and to remember a sentence than just a word… two examples that occurred these last few days: 形 and 日記, there was no way for me to remember those two, no useful mnemonics possible, nothing, until by chance i remembered this manga called “Koe no katachi” (which i had not read) and specially “Mirai Nikki” (i swear i wanted to facedesk so much when i made the connection, i felt so stupid for missing it before) and now that i have made this connection there no way i’m gonna forget them muahahah
or for new kanjis 電 and 話, i had no useful mnemonics but i know that 電話 (telephone) is pronounced denwa, so even if i have no mnemonics for the kanji i can already know their pronunciation thanks to a word that contains them… it’s a method kinda inverse to wanikani foundation, in this case instead of going from small to big (radical->kanji->vocab) you go from big to small (vocab->kanji)…

and i’ll stop for now since i’ve been talking a lot, sorry for the long post x) i wonder if there’s any thread out there where people share their own mnemonics, that could be very useful…

ps: the mnemonics for 麦 is obv mugiwara no luffy!!


Wow, so many replies! Thanks so much, everyone!

The harder part of Level 4 is now unlocking for me (I’m at 30% Kanji…will likely take more than 9 days this time) and I’m down to 68% review scores again. The more the mnemonics suck, the worse I get. I just cannot come up with my own mnemonics for some weird stuff. I know enough characters named “Rei” or “Kai” to make up stuff with them when such readings happen, but unfortunately I lack any association with words in both English and German which sound even close to “tsuchi” and other readings. Stuff like “Sha”(man) actually works super-well - basically everything with characters does - but yeah, a lot is lacking. I find the Level 4 mnemonics overall pretty much worse than the ones of the first few levels? I hope that trend doesn’t continue.

That’s fascinating because you have the opposite problem then - you go with the sound. I would likely get that one right since I go with visual (so the letters) instead of sound. Which is my luck since I haven’t played a FF since FF12…:sweat_smile: At any rate, it seems I really have to make up better mnemonics for me and I dunno how to do the difficult ones… I better figure that out fast, I guess, because I keep failing with the newer vocabs now.

Thank you so much for your kind words!:blush: I actually was really bad at English for a long time during my first school years of learning it, constantly getting what I believe equals a bad D in your grade system (Germany grades from 1-6, with 5 and 6 being failed exams, and I kept getting a 4). I then really learned English by getting internet and my first English videogames, so it was pure learning-by-doing. I don’t know a single English grammar rule; it’s all just instinct and having read a lot. I thought I could do the same for Japanese, but university taught me better - without knowing Kanji and grammar to quite the amount, it’s impossible to really do learning-by-doing. That’s why I signed up for WK here, to get the Kanji down in a more game-like effort instead of the weekly Kanji tests of university. As for grammar, Bunpro really doesn’t work for me (not enough learning-by-doing, too much reading), so I am sticking with the horrible duolingo for now which explains nothing but at least there’s a lot of actually writing sentences and the like. English is really much easier than Japanese (and German) though. I do actually write English novels these days and often hit my limits there, so I am not 100% fluent, but with most of the internet now readable for me, I constantly do try to improve myself. I hope I can somehow get to a point where I can start doing that in Japanese as well.
As for taking WK notes, I’m already taking like three hours of Duolingo notes a day right now and my poor wrist can’t handle more writing. I’ll likely have to start doing that at one point, though.

I heard about that and I’m sure that I can get that done. Still, my subscription will keep running and the last two times I was in hospital for a full year, so I bet I would forget everything in that time. Gotta hope to stay healthy!

That’s really good advice. It’s so easy to just want to level fast when it’s actually not a race and all about learning properly. It doesn’t matter what level I am, if I don’t know my kanji and just guess correctly, I will not be able to ever read anything in Japanese no matter what level I am.
Luckily (?) I never get 70 lessons at once since I get too much stuff wrong immediately so that things natually space out a lot…lol.

Also now I’m scared, I’m currently struggling with all the Kanji like 仕 (those with the “leader” radical). They all have horrible readings/mnemonics. Not looking forward to the 気 ones now…

And I agree; all those readings you mentioned are those where I have trouble coming up with mnemonics as well. There’s too many which are not really practicable.

As for your lyric suggestion, I actually own some Japanese manga of a game I am a big fan of because those were never translated into German/English anyway and part of what made me want to attempt to learn Japanese again was the fact that I want to be able to read them. So I have like ten books here which serve as motivation. Unfortunately, aside from that, I haven’t really been into any anime or manga for a long time (I’m too old… I was such a fan as a teenager) so I lack a lot of options you seem to have. And I agree in that I would love to see a thread where people post their own mnemonics for certain readings, especially the difficult ones!

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haha, true. This may be an individual thing. I’ve seen may WKers that have no problem with the mnemonics.

This will come as you level. You’ll start to get an idea for which things work better for you. Whenever I get something wrong, I check the mnemonic and see what’s not working or me, like 麦 above. I’ll then take a minute to either reinforce the bit I missed or find a better way to remember.

But, fair warning, you’ll still mess up now and then. Just keep at it. :slight_smile:

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My apologies for the extremely belated answer to this. I had a surgery and am only now getting better enough to really deal with all the online social activities again. I did try my best to keep up with my reviews at least and managed to make it into Level 6, though, which is something, I guess.

I’m still having that problem, though a lot of the time it seems to be dependent on the reading and the Kanji. Your 麦 was actually something I could work with after getting it wrong 1-2 times (like I usually do) because I could make sense of the kanji quickly enough. As in, the radicals seemed to fit the meaning of the word, so learning essentially just one thing (the reading) worked soon enough. But give me something like 点 where I cannot make sense of the radicals having to do anything with the meaning (I find the fortune radical to be a real stretch anyway) and I have trouble remembering anything at all, no matter if reading or meaning.

Also, to give a general update, I find myself more and more frustrated with myself having the same dumb issues over and over. I have things in my apprentice queue that should just not be there. Like 日. I’m not kidding you. It was in Master, I was asked about it again, I wrote にち when it wanted ひand boom, there it went down. And I have that issue with so, so many vocabs. I know my readings, but I absolutely cannot remember which one it wants in vocabs. That’s likely because my brain cannot handle more information than it already has to process, so it just ditches the separation of on’yomi and kun’yomi and just remembers them all as one thing belonging to that kanji, leading to huge messes.

Also I obviously struggle with exception readings and words-that-differ-only-by-a-few-hiragana. Like 下がる and 下げる (as well as their equivalents of raise/rise). And I make a lot of typos and will likely always and forever get 午 and 牛 mixed up.

So yeah, keeping it up, but definitely being frustrated with my own typos throwing some words back for weeks and vocabs not giving me the same mercy thing about wanting the other reading that the pink kanji category gives me.


Everything you wrote that you have issues with is notoriously hard to deal with.

I checked your WK profile and your numbers across the SRS stages look good. I think you’re much much better than you’re giving yourself credit for. You’re doing great, really, especially considering how difficult and frustrating you find the program.

My only suggestion would be to always type the vocab reading when you spot a kanji on its own. At most it’ll shake and tell you it wants the other one in the case of kanji, but your accuracy would be better for vocab.

And as a ps, I hope you’re taking care of yourself! May your surgery prove beneficial and may you heal well!