I feel i learn nothing

Hello I’ve been using Wani kani for a while, I’m level 15 at the moment and I’m really wondering if all this time spent doing review Is actually useful.

I also have bunpro, Anki, japanesepod101 on the side but I’m often slacking on those due to the amount of time Wani kani takes from me, i honestly think i spend almost 2h a day on it, i pass level every 15-17 days however i feel i struggle to remember even simple words when i try to read Japanese.

I have 2h japanese class a week and even the vocabulary i learn will struggle to come out ( or when it does my teacher tell me it’s not the right word cause nobody says this that way :rofl:).

So sure i remember how to read “pine tree” or “whisper into hear” even “rubber band”…but i can’t help but feeling am missing something, i want to be able to read and write more, feel 2-3 hours a day is a max i can dedicate to learning since my job is crazy busy. Any advise on how to make a better use of the time ?


2h per day on WK seems excessive. I think most spend about 30-45m (as I do).

FWIW I didn’t feel I could read much until I was well into the upper 40s levels. Even then (and now) I still spend a lot of time in dictionaries.

Learning a foreign language is a major undertaking. Cut yourself some slack.


Maybe you need to slow down a little bit on the leveling as leveling isn’t important it’s remember what you are learning. If you feel like you aren’t remembering anything at all if I were you I would stop doing new lessons and just review. Are you taking advantage of the extra study feature? I have 100s of burned items, but usually do almost everyday 50 of those burned items as I want to make sure those words are going to and staying in my long term memory.

If there are words I am struggling to remember I change the mnemonic and see if that helps. I really try to visualize, hear, and feel as I study that mnemonic for at least a minimum or two. I also use a website called Immersion Kit so anything that ends up on my recent mistakes I look them up on Immersion Kit. It shows how that word is used in anime.

Also if you haven’t make sure to read the context sentences too in WaniKani.

As for reading you could read Crystal Hunters which is a manga that teaches Japanese and they have a free guide they teaches all the vocabulary and grammar they are going to use. The first volume is free and the rest is only a few bucks that you can read on Amazon kindle.

There are also graded readers which you can use to practice reading too.

You could even make an account on Twitter if you have Twitter and follow Japanese accounts that interest you too just to get reading practice just don’t go trying to translate everything just notice what you know.

I feel I remember a lot of what I am learning because I am looking at who it’s used in context and in general because I do reading practice everyday.

Recently found this grammar website that won’t be free forever, but it is right now called MaruMori and it’s honestly the best grammar website I have seen. They are still in development, but I really like what they are doing and the future plans they have.

I feel if you just do WaniKani, MaruMori, and reading practice you’re going to be doing so much better. As for WaniKani because I’m not rushing through the levels I’m not spending 2 hours per day on it, so if you slow down that will open up more time for you to practice grammar and reading.

There is also a youtube channel called Game Gengo and he teaches Japanese through video games and I find that really helpful as well.


Yeah I was just thinking that as well. I only spend around 30-45min on WaniKani as well. I can’t remember a time where I have spend two hours per day on WaniKani.


It’s a bit contentious, but I think the most important word in “spaced repetition” is the second one.

More repetitions, especially for early stage items, are much, much, much better than fewer. I’m wondering if the OP is struggling too hard to recall every item (and thus spending hours on reviews).

Some disagree, but I feel it’s best to do ones reviews very quickly. I feel one shouldn’t spend more than a few seconds on an item unless you’re certain you know it, but it’s slipping your mind for some reason (you’ll know). Even then, if it takes more than 10-15s you need more repetitions: give a wrong answer, expose the correct one, move on, repeat.

Going faster allows for more reviews with extra/self study, which is, imo, the best solution to poor retention. I’m a huge fan of extra study for items in stages 1-2 or stages 1-4.

Seems obvious, but the answer to poor retention is almost always more repetitions, not “better” or slower ones.


Hmm It might not be related. But I’m currently on 1 level per week. So far, I don’t mind the grind at all. But grammar is a pain; it’s hard to force myself on bunpro and lingodeer on top of wanikani that is for sure. I want to hit roughly JPLT 4 (according to bunpro) by the time I hit lvl 20 and man… I don’t think I can make it : P

But you know what, it’s ok. It’s not a race. The most important thing is not speed when it comes to wanikani, it’s your percentage in reviews. If you’re not above 90% that means you need to take a deep breath and slow down, because you will get obliterated at later levels, and you’re probably moving too fast for your current situation.

I second that, while I’m still early on wanikani I did do a 1500 kanji run on RTK, I’m using this exact strategy for wanikani, if I can’t recall something within 10 seconds I just consider it wrong.

Yeah I have LingoDeer too, but I tend to fall out of that. MaruMori is a new grammar resource I found and it’s really really good. I really enjoy how they teach the lessons I think it’s actually the first time I have enjoyed learning grammar so I feel I may have a fighting chance now. I love to read and would definitely ideally like to be at N4 or N3 in grammar by the time I hit level 20 on WK…

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When learning a new kanji or vocabulary I only spend one minute on the mnemonic and then read through all the combinations then context sentences they have. After that I feel that I tend to answer everything within seconds so I know the strategy I use words work for me.

I am also curious on how OP is typing their SRS. I time mine to where I learn something new at 8am. Then get tested on it at lunch time (noon) and then tested again at 8pm. I use the extra study recently learned before doing the reviews on 12pm and 8pm. So then by the next day I feel really solid in what I learn the day before.

Recent mistakes I go through those pretty quickly and if there is one I keep having issues I just change/make a new mnemonic and then look it up through immersion kit.

Burned items I just do 50 a day and go through those pretty quickly. I can see that I have a high retention as I barely get any wrong which is good as it shows that quite a bit has gone into long term memory.

So I guess the most time I spend learning a new kanji or vocabulary is a minute and going over recent mistakes, but it still never adds up to 2 hours per day. I definitely agree with you that more repetitions early on really helps a lot. I feel the extra study feature works like a charm, so my only guess would be is possibly that OP isn’t using the extra study feature enough and/or they aren’t optimizing the SRS fully.

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Oh! Yeah, lessons are different.

I was talking about reviews, not lessons.

I don’t think it matters too much how you get through your lessons: take as long as you need to clear them and get them into your review queue. Lessons will be a smaller part of your overall time on WK no matter how you do them. They should take however long they take.

Mnemonics are great for lessons and the first several reviews, but ultimately shouldn’t be necessary when reviewing items in the higher stages, IMO.

Per my stats, I review about 140 items/day on average. That equates to 280 questions (meaning and reading). My measured average speed is right around 6 or 7 seconds per question, or about 10 questions per minute, so ~28 minutes to complete all 140 review items.

Add another 0-15 minutes for lessons and/or extra study, and I’m right around 30-45 min/day spent on WK.

I’m biased, but I think ~6-7 seconds per review-question is pretty much optimal.

Not only do I not disagree, but the research I have done suggests that spending less time per item per session has more of an impact. That’s why paper flashcards are so effective, up to a reasonable point (something not numbering in the thousands).

One of the reasons I recommend and praise KawaiiDungeon so much is because it has a built-in timer that is perfect for actually developing recall. You only get a few seconds to answer if you want to master that lesson. And the reviews still limit you to less than 10 seconds before marking you wrong. This is the way. If an item is a leech, seeing it 3x over the course of 5 minutes is MUCH better than spending nearly a minute apiece trying to remember it every time you see it, to the expense of other cards.

In Anki, I have two modes that I regularly use with 2 different addons. One mode marks an answer incorrect after 5 seconds (recall cards), and the other mode marks it correct after 5 seconds (immersion cards).

The timers really help keep you on-track, focused, and put you in a “recall” mindset.


Neat. Good to know my seat-of-the-pants intuition is backed up by actual science.

Sorry, reminded me of this:

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Gave me a headache. It’s all about cancelling negatives. Do the opposite of: Under no circumstances not avoid not making the bell ring. There are 4 negatives, so it should read: Do the opposite of: Make the bell ring. So you wouldn’t ring the bell. I stopped the video to see if I got it right.

Ahh, there were 5 negatives. I lose :slight_smile:

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Probably it is more like this one.

Not really this one.

In my eyes, it’s not about more repetitions, but whether any initial practical memory starts at all. Secondarily, early stages may be helped by more repetition, but once it has gotten past “ignition”, 4-hour of Wanikani works well.

Self-Study should work well for ignition. I don’t spend much time each items, but give some short time to use or make a hunch. If fails, repeat. (In some ways, it is better to rely on, and revise, your own’s, other than someone else’s mnemonics, for this matter.)

What works well for me, at the beginning of the level, is giving less hint to recall, while also reducing the scope. So, EN => JP quiz, and audio quiz, work well. (and both aren’t native Self-Study, but script’s) (and I won’t need this one if I don’t have low accuracy)

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This is going to sound counterintuitive, but I’d recommend easing off on SRS for the nonce. Let yourself plateau on WaniKani and Bunpro. Stop adding new lessons for a while.

Instead, allocate that time to reading and hearing Japanese. Read an untranslated manga or book. Watch untranslated anime (don’t turn on English subtitles; your brain will stop hearing the Japanese). You’ll get the most out of your SRS by applying what you’re learning.

I’m not medically trained or anything, but I’ve read a bit about metacognition because it’s good knowledge to have for my day job. I’ve said this a lot on other threads but it’s worth remembering: the moments that you feel yourself learning are not the moments you actually are learning. It’s the struggle that changes our brains, not the feeling like we’re cruising along. If you’re struggling, your brain is encoding what you’re struggling with. Let that happen.


I checked marumori and it is pretty impressive, very polished, however it feel it doesn’t go higher than N4 at the moment, or I’m missing something ?

Thanks, I’ll check your other recommendation as well

This app is cool, but looks like you have to go thought many of the beginner level before you can start to get to the content that I might struggle with,

Watching anime doesn’t work for me ( I get focused on the show relatively quickly ), however there was a time when I was listening a lot to Japanese and most of my time on anki and supernative.tv trying o recall Japanese audio and I felt it worked pretty well, this is how I got okay at speaking.

To this day I still struggle to read and write ( hence why i started wani kani ), however I can speak much more, my grammar can be a little bit off at time ( why I started bunpo ), but I’m able to have relatively simple conversation.


I’m not sure if you have lifetime or a subscription, but just a heads up, after N5, content decreases in quality in my experience.

That’s pretty darn good! I have the opposite problem: my aural skills are much weaker. It sounds like it’s a matter of time served. I had similar frustrations early on, but even in the last few years, I’ve had tremendous gains that I didn’t feel happening at the time. It sounds to me like you are learning and making progress. I’d just stay the course!

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You definitely learned things but it sounds like you’re studying too much. Your brain is a muscle and you basically trying to deadlift 350 on the first day of your gym trial.