I can't keep up with WaniKani anymore

This year during my 2 months summer holiday from school I decided to get my first job as a waiter in a café close to home.
Unfortunately I hadn’t taken into account the long working hours that would await me, and how tiring this job would be, so much more tiring than school.
I used to do my reviews in the evening, ~200 of them; but now as I come home I find myself too tired to really invest in WaniKani, and as a result they’ve been rapidly piling up (775 as of writing).
I find this really depressing, especially since I really like japanese, that after almost 2 years of hard work I find myself unable to continue only because Life is just getting in the goddamn way.
I haven’t come to the community just to whine about though: I want, I need, to find a solution.
Though a solution which requires less energy than WaniKani, just for this last month of work before going back to school.
I’m level 32, which means I know roughly 1.000 kanji and can read 95% of words I’ll face: how about starting a book in Japanese?
Do you have any recommendations for some simple, short, Japanese literature I can read? No, not manga, nor the newspaper. Literature, be it meiji or post-war… If that’s even a good idea.
I also have almost no knowledge of grammar, could it be better to start off doing a bit of that? How much grammar can one even learn with an hour (or less) a day, in a month. Probably not even half of N5…
Any other recommendations?
Thanks in advance,
A desperate frenchman.


Given I’m much lower level in this, I don’t have much help.

I do however have a link to a page where you can find plenty of Japanese reading; each book ranked by difficulty. There are beginner easy books and expert level reads alike, give it a look!


And if you want my two cents, learn some grammar. No point learning words if you can’t string them together.


Have you tried these? I find I can get the jist with knowing the kanji. And then the sentences give me some grammar I’m motivated to look into.

No it’s not ‘literature’. But you don’t want to frighten yourself off too early… :slight_smile: It’d give you an idea of what you’re up against and what level you can start at.


You might want to put your account into vacation mode at least. Probably better than piling up 2000 reviews by the time you go back to school.

If you want to spend time on something else related to Japanese, grammar makes more sense than literature. You can’t expect to read anything of substance with no grammar knowledge. But if you don’t have the time for ever than, I’d say just take a break and come back to Japanese in a month when you start school again.

I’m honestly not sure where you got that stat. You will encounter a lot more unknown words than that I think. And again, you can’t do much without at least learning basic grammar first.


Definitely learn some grammar. You can learn some in just a few minutes. There are great short videos on youtube from Japanese From Zero. They are simple and fun.


Thanks for the site, it looks absolutely splendid.

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Thanks man, these sites are top notch.

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Thanks for the tip, I just set it on vacation mode.
I got the data from wkstats, it says you recognise 95% of NHK news kanji and 88% of Wikipedia kanji.
Do you have any recommendations for starting grammar?

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Some people are good at learning grammar from a textbook or a web site such as Tae Kim’s. Others (such as myself) find that route doesn’t work very well. And if you have limited time and energy to study/learn each day, that might make it more difficult.

One path to follow would be to pick one of the previously read books from one of the easier WaniKani community book clubs. You can read through at your own pace, you’d have available discussion threads where grammar is talked about to help learn grammar in context, and if you have questions about material that didn’t get covered, there’s a good chance some people still have the discussion threads on notification and will answer questions.

Granted, most of the items read at the Absolute Beginner Club and Beginner Club levels are manga, but you can find some fiction and non-fiction books too. In the end, though, the best pick to read will be something that interests you personally.

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This: Here, Have a List of Aozora Books by WK Level

I started reading recently as well and the list of books together with WaniKani levels is definitely helpful.

This, however, might be a problem :frowning: . You could start with a beginner-friendly textbook like Genki and slowly work through it, but then you might start forgetting the 1k kanji you’ve learned so far.

And definitely this. Best to get WaniKani reviews out of the way, at least for a short while :slight_smile: .

:raised_hand: Another one for grammar instead of literature.

I love reading and I started going into literature about level 12. I wasn’t into manga or children’s stories so I started with a novel. But before that, I had already finished beginner up to low intermediate grammar. It made it bearable but still excruciating, if that even makes sense.

It’s tempting to dive right in, with those stats and your level, but trust me - novels are Hard. Work. It is more stressful than Wanikani, even more so without grammar to back you up.

But I love it. So if you’re eager to get into Japanese literature, basic grammar under your belt will be your friend! :slight_smile:


Ah, yeah. So when you said “can read 95% of words I’ll face”, I interpreted that as “able to read and understand 95% of words I’ll face” which is definitely not the case. If you just meant that you’d be able to pronounce 95% of words, then it’s probably more accurate (though still not perfect since kanji have different readings for different words and you may not know the right one in a given context). The key difference is that being able to pronounce a word is not the same as being able to understand the meaning of a word.

For grammar, I used Japanese From Zero when I started learning. Many others use Genki. Some stick with free online options like Tae Kim, or paid SRS options like Bunpro. All you can really do is look at each and pick one to try.


When I reached lvl 60, I had only Human Japanese (I and II) and Genki 1 (chapters 1 - 9) grammar knowledge and reading anything interesting was almost impossible. My suggestion is for you to invest all your time in grammar.


I go through the prologues in mobile role playing simulation games.
It is a vocabulary goldmine.
I take screenshots of dialogue I don’t then translate the words with google. After that I look up the words I don’t know on jisho or weblio.

I can do as little or as much as I want


Between my work and commute I lose like 70 hours of study time a week for my summer job so I can relate. I personally just like do my reviews whenever I can at work. All my breaks and any down time where I won’t get in trouble for being on my phone. Even just knocking out 10 reviews here and there adds up.

The other option that I’m a fan of is just doing it in the morning. Wake up earlier and knock it all out before you even go to work. When you come home tired you won’t have to worry about studying and can sleep. From your post I can’t gather any reason why you have to do them in the evening and rather that thats just what you’re used to.

I personally think that its much harder to read in small increments when tired from work compared to wanikani or grammar study. Thats just me, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Regardless of what you do though, my suggestion is to do it in the morning.


I too had that idea of waking up in the morning and doing all my reviews before heading off to work, it sounds really good in theory.
So I tried it.
The problem is that I have an extreme case of being a night owl, so getting up early in the morning is really, really hard for me.
Above all though, and I don’t know if this also applies to others but, I have my own prime hours for studying (about 9 pm), during which I feel most comfortable just sitting down and engorging in some Japanese to finish the day.
That’s also the reason why I’m overwhelmed now: at 9 pm I’m just too tired to give WaniKani all the attention it needs.
Still though, I’m absolutely determined to get to level 60.
And I will one day get there.
I simply refuse to waste 2 years of work.


I’ve just had a really nice idea.
How about just learning how to write the kanji that I’ve learned up until now?
Simply being repetitive and all I feel it will be much less tiring than studying grammar.
And it would kind of stay in the spirit of WaniKani…

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Any specific reason why it have to only be literature? It’ll be easier (especially when tired) and will serve as practice to start on easy to read articles like NHK News Web Easy or N5 level watanoc articles. You’ll get that easy dopamine hit when you understand an article which can fuel your interest to branch into more complicated subjects.

There’s also Tadoku Graded readers that increases in complexity with word and grammar usage as you level up. If recall it correctly, there’s a mix of children’s stories (about 妖怪), travel guide (to 別府市), the after effects of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, and others.

As for grammar, if I’m in your shoes I’ll go for Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese to have a general understanding of grammar. It’s free, have straight forward explanations, and covers N5 up to parts of N3. It’s advisable to have a general understanding of grammar (instead of trying to perfect it at an early stage) and then gain mastery by immersion (i.e. reading, listening, watching). You can also use an SRS system like anki and download a grammar deck of Tae Kim’s to test your knowledge or Bunpro (or is it bunpo, kinda confusing) if you have the spare cash and time for an another subscription based SRS.


If you wanna learn how to write, then yeah absolutely. Gotta practice it to be able to do it. Personally I never cared about it and its not the most practical thing to learn, but at the same time it would help reinforce stuff and still be a japanese related skill.

I highly recommend starting grammar as soon as possible. Otherwise Wanikani feels pointless, because where then do you apply what you’ve learned?
I get motivated myself when I see the progress I’ve made. Wanikani is a program intended for learning kanji; I’m assuming you’re studying kanji to be able to read literature in Japanese.

Even a bit every day can go a long way. Don’t become fixated on how much you can learn in a short amount of time. Small things build up. In September last year, I started formally learning grammar. Each day, I would do one section in Genki 2, whether that be taking notes on a new grammar concept or doing an exercise.
I could not imagine reading even a book for children in Japanese back then, but now I’ve finished one picture book and two manga, and I can really see the progress I’ve made in speed and understanding.

You may have already seen this farmous guide linked around the forum: My Journey of 368 days (+ The Ultimate Guide for WK 📖 ) - #2 by jprspereira
Try reading the section “Building your own schedule.” Basically, three small sessions of WK per day is a lot more efficient and less demotivating than one huge one.

My own schedule is a loose version of this:
Lessons and reviews at 5pm
A smaller review session at 9pm comprising of the newly learned items
A longer session at 7am the next day. This is when I will do the bulk of the reviews.

For a better and more thorough explanation of SRS intervals and how you can use WK efficiently, read the guide :wink:

Good luck!