I just became a subscriber ! But I just saw a video that threw me a bit off

Maybe half-joking :wink:

The point I want to make is that most people underestimate the effort required to learn Japanese, and overestimate the fun it will be. Those “learn any language in 3 months” quacks are not really helping there.

Looking at how many people start WK and how many finish, I think the number of people who move on to greener pastures, breeze through all the kanji in 3 months and look back laughing how everyone tried to hold them back can be counted with a small number of fingers. Giving up because Japanese is not worth their effort is the more likely answer.

The argument that something is “more effective” in terms of time does not really convince me. Keeping the motivation is the problem, not if you need 3 months, 6 months, or a year to achieve your goal (and a small step in learning Japanese).


I think people should use what works for them. Since everyone is coming from a different background, everyone’s going to have a different approach to learning a new language.

For example, I lack discipline. I have a hard time sticking to things. I get bursts of motivation and burn out in less than a week. WaniKani’s SRS system has a game-like aspect that remedies this problem of mine.
As superficial as it may seem, the beautiful and user friendly design of the website really motivated a beginner like me to START learning. On the other hand Anki, which I’m told is an incredible learning tool, was lacking to me in this way. It’s sad looking and difficult to use without some help. In the same way, a lot of the textbooks didn’t speak to me the same way WK did.

All in all, you do you. Keep WKing, RTKing, Anki-ing, Genki-ing, and or whatever else if it works for you because no matter what, think about how incredible it is that you’re learning a new language. Hats off to all of you! :confetti_ball::champagne::tada:


That’s pretty much how people are. They get excited about something then when they realize it actually involves work, they quit. If so many people weren’t lazy, maybe there’d be world peace and we’d all be flying around the universe in customized spaceships while speaking Japanese.


Late to the party, but here’s my 2 cents… This is coming from someone who 100% completed RTK several years back and am now 1/4 of the way through WK and live in Japan.

RTK was awesome for what it was and helped me out a fair bit, but WK is honestly better and I’m seeing a much more immediate improvement on my understanding of Japanese in the wild whereas RTK just made things vaguely familiar.

I stopped my reviews of RTK years back, but once I’ve gotten to level 60 in WaniKani I plan one more speed run through RTK to get the writing down, but instead of using the words given by RTK I’ll use an actual Japanese word that uses the kanji and make my flash cards in Japanese.




I’ve noticed that people that have the motivation to keep going are actually the ones finding new and better ways of learning, not those seeking more effective tools to compensate for their lack of motivation.


Japanese is a hobby for me; I mostly just play games, read comics and communicate online with it. I tried RtK years ago and it didn’t stick, probably in part because I just didn’t have the daily impetus to go back to it because I had no exposure to Japanese that I didn’t create for myself.

Wanikani is the first thing that has worked for me and I think the biggest reason is the gamification. I get notifications on my phone and progressing through levels is satisfying.

I’m nowhere near the level that the video author and many of you are at, but my Japanese improved enough in just over a year that I decided to buy a lifetime subscription. My progress has slowed lately, but I am also spending a lot more time actually using the language too.

The point about recall that he makes is a fair one; I can struggle with this and often run into words and characters that I keep confusing on wanikani which is very frustrating. But I also mostly use Japanese by reading, listening and typing with IME so it is probably less of a problem than if Japanese were more than a hobby for me.

That’s my experience, as many of you have pointed out, different approaches yield different levels of success for each person. The daily habit is what I needed the most help with and RtK just didn’t create that kind of urgency for me.


I wouldn’t say lack of motivation, more like when it comes to learning languages everyone identifies themselves as some super brain that is certainly capable to go faster than anybody else. Only the world record is good enough. Other people are struggling? Pity that their brain is not that shiny as mine. (Queue crashing and burning, and starting to blame the resource that it was just useless for super brains.)

Can you learn kanji faster if you really focus? Sure, WK is more geared towards the “usual” beginners. But some downtime to consolidate the knowledge is also a good thing, even if a bit forced by WK.

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Lol. :smiley:

And to also add something on topic: I watched that video a couple of days ago. And since I’m a curious person and not having to learn readings and vocabulary right now sounded so tempting, I gave RTK another try. Well… I tried for two days, deleted my Anki deck once again and that’s it. Forgive me, oh Crabigator, I don’t know what I was thinking! :crabigator: :bowing_woman:

The only thing I changed is that I kept the radical deck that I made for this purpose and will be reviewing it from now on. Not so much the names but the I noticed that I have problems looking words up by radical because they can have different alternative shapes and it might be time to get better at that.

And even if WaniKani had nothing but a pretty UI: I find that important too. If it was only that and the gamification that kept me coming back, that would already be good enough for me.


Same here. IDK why the UI is being criticized because I find that to be terribly important. This is why the only anki decks I use are @hinekidori’s cause they’re pretty enough. :purple_heart:


I feel largely the same way and honestly, I’m happy to see someone else on here who shares that point of view. :slight_smile:

I’m not familiar with the other methods that are referenced in the video, so I did not watch it. However I do believe there’s no such thing as a “best way” or “one fits all” type of solution. If there was, I guess we’d probably all eat the same food and wear the same outfit, right? Most of us are independent learners that will (un)consciously seek out our personal preferences, even if it’s in the details such as pretty interfaces, gamification or customization. If any of the above learning methods is able to spark an interest and grant the satisfaction of direct results, it’s only natural to feel like you’ve finally ‘seen the light’. It’s sweet to want to share those experiences with the world, but there probably are better ways to go about it.

Also, welcome @Aniki :smile: You’ve unleashed a torrent of emotion with your first post, that’s so cool!

The post has been here for so long… that I just had to comment :sweat_smile:

Specially about the last comments on UI and gammification aspect. I found it pretty a very important topic, considering the sheer amount of time you spend in this, it’s a must.

Besides WK I also do vocab / sentences reviews in Anki. And whenever I learn how to upgrade the look of my cards, that alone makes the whole process much more enjoyable. WK already provides this, and beeing kanji learning the basis of my whole routine it’s a tremendous time saver and incentive to do the very first step of the whole process.

You know what… this thread finally gave me the motivation to take the time to restyle all of my templates properly. I don’t need so much gray in my life.

This link could be a starting point in case anyone else is feeling some extra Sunday “I’m not actually learning Japanese but let’s just say it counts anyway”-motivation :wink: :


So tempting :thinking:

Not having any CSS styling skills I didn’t have much choice as to how my cards looked at first.
After watching @hinekidori tutorial, I understand much more, but mainly rely on the styles I found on premade deck still.

Last week I found a totaly awesome CSS function in a deck I downloaded… furigana when hovering over the kanji :exploding_head: . It quickly became my default card style.

Anyway here is a link if someone is interested, along with a couple of examples

They look much better than before, and having the furigana on demmand has solved the problem with my eyes always going straight to the furigana, even with known kanjis (so I wasted time deleting the readings as I learned them).


What are the advantages of recognising common Kanji without knowing their readings (thus not being able to communicate with other speakers) nor any vocabulary associated with that character (thus not really being able to use them)? Learning Kanji alone is a bit useless without reinforcing that knowledge with vocabulary and grammar.

Also, learning 500 Kanji in 2 weeks doesn’t sound right to me. That’s 250 Kanji per week, 30 Kanji per day, without even properly worrying about retaining them in your memory, unless of course you have 16 hours per day to spare. Might be doable, but what is the real retention rate?

I agree with you that some people don’t find this method useful (in fact, I think nobody disagrees with that here) but the problem is this the Internet and there’ll always be silly discussions about anything.

What methods do you use to learn Kanji, by the way?

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Yeah, the easiest refutation of the “you can figure out the meaning of vocab if you just know the meaning of the individual kanji” is words that have reversed pairs.

社会 / 会社


I read all the comments and watched the video and I have nothing to add as I agree with everyone here so instead I’m gonna go a little bit off-topic here

Both of these templates look awesome but ugh it looks like a lot of work to make anki look like this, why is configuring anki such a pain the butt? that’s why wanikani is so awesome it looks beautiful out of the box, that guy in the video got it all wrong, pretty UI does = efficiency, looking at an ugly gray UI is so demotivating sometimes that it hurts my studies so I agree that a pretty UI is a must.

I want to make anki look like that without messing up my existing premade decks, but I don’t want to waste my time learning CSS Is this possible? I’m a complete noob when it comes to this, or does it only apply to decks made by yourself and not those shared ones that come with a bunch of stuff? :confused:

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Talking about UI… that’s probably Anki… jus beeing Anki. Many things look much more complicated than they are.

I suggest to invest 10’ in watching @hinekidori 's video on styling (to get the grasp of what everything is when you open the card dialog).

Anki card styling can be as complicated as you want it to be (with HTML and CSS coding) or as easy as just copy/paste someonelse’s code and adjusting the card field names to yours :v:

I don’t intent to derail this post any further… but giving it’s reaching the 300 replies, I guess the bottom line has already been said. :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

by the way, welcome @Aniki :sunglasses:


Hey thanks Annejef,

Yeah, haha I didn’t think the thread was going to become this long.

@Ncastaneda Thank you for the welcome too Ncastaneda !


I just restyled all of my templates, it took me around an hour (but I have plenty of CSS experience and don’t mind that kind of work so… if that is not your thing, you may be slower). The blog post that I linked to is a nice start but it was unnecessarily bloated and I guess not written by someone with much experience.

If you are interested in this, you or someone else could start a new thread about this topic and we could share our themes there and discuss problems so that we don’t keep derailing this thread much further than we already have (sorry everyone!). You could also send me one theme that you are currently using (front & back template code for one of your card types) and I could let you know how to transform it when I find the time (I’m currently travelling).

You can do this with your own cards or imported templates, it doesn’t matter. If you have a lot of different decks and never worried about unifying your card templates, it might involve changing a lot of cards. But you could just start with one and then see how it goes :slight_smile:


I agree upto a point.
I think some apps are too pretty at the cost of functionality.
Which really hurts efficiency.

A lot of modern phone apps are great, such as memrise and drops, until you already know 2000 words and need to get at what you don’t know.

I don’t know, maybe the market just emphases those easy beginner bucks.

WK is also like this, but that’s actually part of the methodology and once you are where you need to be in terms of level, all the tools are there and sufficiently complicated (or can be made to be).
A lot of people don’t like this about WK though.

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