I lost my motivation :c

Hey all, this is my first time really interacting in the community. I see a lot of your posts but have never posted myself, so hey!

I’ve been using WK for about 16 months now. At first I was going through at a fairly quick pace, sometimes slowing down a little here or there when real life was getting in the way. But at around August I hit the early 30 levels and began to struggle to get my reviews done. I’m not sure if I was just beginning to suffer burnout, or if the harder kanji’s finally began to make me suffer but I started doing less and less until I ended breaking a 250-ish day streak. At that point I took a break for about 5 weeks and came back about a month ago. Since then I’ve only done about 40-50 lessons and have simply been managing my queue a little more, rather than trying to knock out a level in 10-12 days on average.

I guess what I’m asking is, does this seem normal? I’m still very keen on learning Japanese but a lot of my motivation in learning new kanji seems to be gone. If it wasn’t for WK being a great way to learn basic vocab also I may have ended up stopping altogether since I know the vast majority of everyday kanji at this point.

Does anyone have any tips on something I could try to get my drive back?

Thanks for reading!

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I think it’s pretty normal to slow down at later levels of WaniKani. Personally, I slowed down around level 35, pretty much where you’re at now. I also took 1-2 month breaks a few times where I’d keep up with reviews but wouldn’t do any new lessons. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

What I would suggest asking yourself is, why are you learning Japanese? Surely it’s not just for the sake of learning kanji. Is there something you’re interested in where you can apply what you’ve learned, such as reading manga or books? I think by focusing more on how to use what you’ve learned you’ll have more fun, but eventually you’ll also notice that there are still many gaps in your kanji knowledge. And maybe when you notice those gaps you’ll regain motivation specifically for learning kanji as well.

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I think it is very normal to hit highs and lows thru the long journey, which is 60 levels of WK.You can take a “planned break” from advancing while keeping up with reviews, and dedicate time to grammar or reading or vocabulary or whatever other part of Japanese learning you enjoy/need more. If on that break you will notice that kanji knowledge brings you to disadvantage, you may get back the motivation to continue with new lessons. The second half of WK kanji is still quite useful (well, not so sure about the last 10 levels, but you can decide later on that).

If you need a group to cheer you on climbing WK levels, join a thread like Let's climb Tokyo Skytree - level 60 in spring 2022
(I’m in it for the extra motivation reason).

Whatever you decide, all the best and good luck!

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Many of us have slammed into the kanji wall somewhere or other. When it happened to me, I eventually decided to reset so I could lazily review kanji while focusing on something else, namely on my communication skills. Now I’m trying to improve my reading ability. Mastery of Japanese involves many skills, not just kanji.

Compare learning Japanese to learning basketball: kanji is like practcing a layup, hiragana like dribbilng, reading is cardio, and communication is passing. If you’re bored with your layups, shoot some free throws, or challenge someone to a game of PIG.

Just don’t fully give up on any one skill.

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I agree with seanblue. What is keeping me interested in learning Kanji is that I keep reading things that have kanji I don’t know. It slaps me in the face often that I need to keep going.

If you aren’t using Japanese in a way that necessitates learning new Kanji then of course motivation is going to wane.

I’m in university classes which mean I need a higher level of kanji knowledge then honestly even some Japanese will use, because I’m writing about discrimination and other hefty topics.

But I also started watching Sailor Moon Eternal and I realize I was looking up a lot of 40-50 level kanji which is also motivating me to get to keep at it.

In conclusion, feel free to slow down to make some more time in your day to read native content, and you will realize how much you really do need to get to level 50 at least.

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To be honest, I really can’t identify with what you’re feeling because after almost seven years of daily studying, I’ve never lost my motivation (I really deeply love the Japanese language and learning it is very enjoyable for me). My best recommendation would be to really think about what first drew you to the language in the first place. Just try to enjoy the things you love related to the language (perhaps anime, manga, Japanese music, movies etc). Personally, I find my frustration over not being able to understand everything I want to makes me even hungrier to learn the language as thoroughly as possible.

Additionally, one thing I wanted to add is don’t be in too much of a hurry. Only do it to the point where it’s still fun for you and doesn’t feel like work. I know there are plenty of people on this site who’ve completed all 60 levels in a little over a year, but learning Japanese is no race. I’m not exactly sure how people finish so quickly, but I just go at my own pace. Even though I usually spend a big chunk of my day on WaniKani reviews and lessons, I joined in mid-2018 and I’m only level 38! (slow progress compared to others I guess, but like I said, I’ve never burned out once!)

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@seanblue @sansarret @Oceansea @amagi @EigaKantoku

Thank you for the replies!

I guess to go over why I started learning, it was really two-fold. The first reason was I decided on a whim to pick up learning mahjong, and the variant I ended up learning was Japanese mahjong, or richii mahjong. I really really enjoyed playing and learning the game and ended up joining several foreigner groups based around it, and when I learned that there was a pro-league in Japan that I could follow I started watching online. After a while I realised “I would really love to understand what the commentators are saying” and so I begun my learning process from there, having very little knowledge of Japanese before-hand. Sure I watched the odd anime show here or there but I didn’t actively take part in a lot of Japanese-based activities other than mahjong at the time.

The second reason I learned was a little less important, but I was supposed to move cities and start school at the beginning of 2020. Well, we all know what happened at the start of 2020 haha, and since school wasn’t going to happen at that time I took my Japanese studies at the time as a substitute and kind of just ended up keeping with it since then.

Since then I’ve come to love a lot of Japanese culture, especially music and tv. I’ve loved trying to translate songs into English on my own to see how close I can get to other translations and that’s been something I’ve worked on to improve my skills also.

In the end I don’t think I’ve lost my drive to learn Japanese, I’m still aware I’ve barely scratched the surface of the language and I probably still learn something new every day. I guess when it comes to kanji obviously there’s still many that are important to learn but I feel that quite often I’m learning synonyms or edge-cases more often at this point. Which is fine but I guess that wonder of “oh, that’s the kanji for Winter, or green, or flower” is gone at this point haha.

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That’s normal. :slightly_smiling_face:

Learning Japanese is like a step by step guide to spiritual enlightenment.
You keep failing and that’s what makes it interesting. You can totally cut down the guru cost and meditation time.

I send you a lot of energy for the next level :sunny: :sunny: :sunny:

hi, late level 20 here. Full disclosure for this post, I have bipolar disorder, and my mood swings like a pendulum to varying degrees of intensity. The reason I’m bringing this up is because, due to the nature of this, my motivation swings in and out (currently I’m up, on top of my reviews and lessons, and this is probably the only reason I feel like responding to your query, not one week ago I was down as hell and I had my reviews backed up the wazoo). I know for people without BPD, motivation works largely the same but to a lesser degree generally, so my tips might end up helping you even if we don’t go through the same thing. Now, despite my personal road blocks, for the past 14 levels, I have kept myself to a schedule wherein I will complete a whole level in exactly 7 days (I’m not saying try to shoot for this number, because it requires waking up early as hell for two days out of the week, but I am using this fact as an advertisement for my methods).
When I’m up, everything goes swimmingly (unless I just brain fart which is inevitable no matter what your level of motivation) I’m sure you can relate. I gassed my self up a bunch but it’s actually pretty underwhelming. You know that script that allows for shuffling reviews around? I base my reviews around that (if you cant get it or dont want to go through the hassle, thats fine too, there are other ways to do this but this one works best for me). Even when I’m so down I cant get out of bed, I just bring my laptop into the covers with me, shuffle the 300 or so review mountain so that the current level is the first thing I work on, and save my review pile for a weekend when I’m relaxed and dont have to go to work or school (btw I tackle giant reveiw piles slowly over the course of one day, like 20 articles at a time). If I cant even finish the whole level, I just focus on the kanji and/or radicals, because those are what allow for progression in the srs. Having a prestructured srs is nice, but if you’re down bad, you need to prioritize your health and what is most important for you, for me, its a rigid schedule (and the dopamine rush of seeing a level completed every Tuesday is nice too). make sure you do everything you can so that when you’re down, you can take it as easy as possible, don’t feel guilty about it, you’re learning a really hard language here. What i find that helps focusing strongly on shifting around my mindset. I learned this from jiu jitsu. When I was playing chess or lacrosse, I would always get pissed when I failed, but when I lost in jiu jitsu it was fun (same goes for dark souls, losing in dark souls is fun as hell). I meditate on the fact that when I fail an article in the srs, it cements it in my brain better than if i just go through a level without failing anything. I remember 予定 better than other words because I fucked it up in both wanikani and bunpro multiple times (idk why its a pretty simple word). when i get down, its usually because I get frustrated with a level that is markedly hard to understand (this happens like every five full levels) and I forget that failure is an ally. What is causing you to get down? Is it failure? Maybe you’re just burnt out. Sometimes its best to just flick on vacation mode and give yourself a couple weeks off, no shame in that at all. sometimes its necessary. try doing things that illustrate your progress in Japanese best. watch an anime with the subs off, I promise you will be better at it than you think you will be (but still bad lol shits hard). maybe read nhk news easy, that article on the elderly esports team was cute. Hell, if your schedule can afford it, getting a tutor who can speak in japanese reguarly with you will make you feel so much better, because even if it doesn’t feel like it, we’re at the point where we can have simple conversations. Honestly this is the biggest point. Do something that reminds you how far you’ve come, because it is REALLY far. WAY farther than most people will ever go. anyways sorry for the wall of text, but I felt uniquely qualified for this because I lose my motivation hard like every other week. you’re doing great, I’m jealous and proud of how far you’ve come. If even one thing I said here helped, than typing all this while my paper is due will have been worth it lol.

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ダメだよ。もっと頑張ってください。

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Let me drop this little proverb here for you:

ちりも積もれば山となる

The base of your mountain may be from those boulder-sized 冬, 緑, and 花 kanji, but even the dust-sized kanji you learn later on build up to a lot of knowledge.


Anyway, it sounds like you might want to try reading some manga or books. The variety beyond mahjong might help you regain some motivation, and maybe you’ll find a new hobby that you enjoy, just like how you found mahjong. If you do want to try this approach, check out Master List of Book Clubs. There are a lot of book clubs in this community where you can read with others and learn a lot. In fact, the Absolute Beginner Book Club just started a new manga today.

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Exactly that. :slightly_smiling_face:

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