I am screwed

Personally, I’ve never been tempted at all by the re-ordering scripts. I’m similarly mystified by discussions of “skipping” vocabulary reviews or other tricks whose sole purpose appears to be to get to level 60 as quickly as possible. My goal has always been to be able to read Japanese. A WK 60 badge just doesn’t excite me.

But … I’m human and don’t want to go any slower than necessary.

I’ve noticed that I have started habitually applying a couple of tiny little “cheats” to the WK SRS system.

First cheat

I’m a fan of the Wanikani Item Inspector script.

I configure it to display the “current level SRS” in table view. This breaks out items into the Wanikani SRS “sub buckets” or stages (Apprentice 1 - 4, for example).

For the first several reviews after leveling up, I “cheat” the SRS slightly by reviewing the Kanji that are still in Apprentice 1 before starting my daily review. Sometimes I’ll look at Apprentice 2-4 as well, but mostly I just look at the pink items in Apprentice 1 and ignore vocabulary and even radicals.

Before starting the real review, I’ll test myself on the stuff that I’ve usually just seen once before. Quite often I’ve forgotten, so I just hover my mouse over the character and (usually) up pops a reminder:

[Occasionally I have to right-click on the character and open a new window when the WK definition isn’t universally agreed upon.]

Second cheat

My other “cheat” is arguably worse, but I have the self-discipline to only use it for “meaning” reviews when I feel I honestly know the meaning of the word but just can’t remember which English translation WK chose to use.

I’ve installed the Yomichan extension to chrome. When I come across a kanji or vocabulary word that I know the meaning of, but can’t remember which translation WK uses, I’ll hold down the shift key and hover my mouse over the character(s). Up pops all the dictionary definitions, which is usually enough to trigger my memory of the specific WK “meaning.”

Today, I was reviewing 装置. The word that popped into my head was “mechanism”, but I knew that wasn’t the English word that WK used or would accept. I find that “shifting gears” by trying to recall another “correct” English synonym knocks me out of my flow and actually detracts from my learning of Japanese. I’m thinking in English rather than thinking in Japanese.

So instead, I just hold down the shift key and hover my mouse over the characters:

Oh! “Equipment” or “device” or “apparatus” all sound familiar, I’m pretty sure that’s what WK used.

Final thoughts

I feel these little cheats don’t really detract from my goal of learning to read Japanese (unlike re-ordering scripts or the like).

In the first case, I’m just reviewing newly introduced lessons that can only be in short-term memory at best.

I do miss items that are still in Apprentice-1 less often by doing this, but the point of the “Apprentice” bucket is that those items are still in short-term memory. You’re still forming mental images and relying on other mnemonics. I’ll still see those items many more times, eventually moving them to my long-term memory and relying less on mnemonics as I move the item through Guru, Mastered, and Enlightened.

In the second case, I only do it when I’m confident that I “know” the meaning and am just searching for the specific translation WK uses.

This does take self-discipline, though. Occasionally I’ll realize I have the meaning completely wrong. Rather than entering what I just looked up when this happens, I force myself to enter an incorrect answer (I’ve developed the habit of typing “ke” or “ge” whenever I don’t know an answer – quick to type and pretty much zero chance of it matching the correct answer).