I won't be able to actively study for a year, should I do that?

This message is rather long, I’ve also made a short version of it at the end.

Basically, I’ve been getting into Japanese for real for a few months now. I was lucky enough to discover Cure Dolly’s channel which made all of it so much easier. Currently, I know some basic+ vocabulary, but I’ve been thinking that there is still a lot of core vocab I could learn so that it would indeed help me in my journey. My understanding of structure/grammar is very good (thanks to Cure Dolly’s videos). I have started some immersion via anime and that’s from where I started to gain vocabulary with Organic approach (adding to Anki the words I encountered in anime).

Now here’s the thing, I’m not going to be able to continue studying japanese.
Or, basically nothing more than 5min of Anki everyday for about a year, then 2 months were I will be able to go back into it more. Then another year where I won’t be able to spend any time on it besides some Anki. And then I should be saved and have more free time to fully learn the language I think.
(the reason for this is school. And not just highschool but some highly intensive class over 2 years that doesn’t really allow you to spend too much time on other stuff. Basically 2 years of intense preparation with the goal to join the hardest-to-join school with exams at the end…)

In the past, I’ve been thinking that both premade Anki decks such as core 2k/6k and RTK were not ideal and so I didn’t do them. Now I kinda changed my mind (partially with that video Why "Remembering the Kanji" is The Best Way to Learn Kanji - YouTube) and with my situation, I think I want to do those decks. Although I’m still a bit confused about whether I really should do it or not, although having just some help from core2k doesn’t look too bad for when it’s really just the beggining, it might be better to pick up kanji from immersion but for the situation I’m in…

My idea of a strategy is :

  • do 2/3 cards of core2k deck a day
    -do 2 cards of RRTK a day.

This might not seem a lot, but over 300 days it adds up(perhaps I could make it so that I could learn the 1,000 most common using the RRTK deck). As I said, I probably won’t be able to do real immersion for like a year (although I’ll have some 2weeks ‘break’ here and there, but can’t guarantee I would have many opportunities…).

Know people who do like nothing but RTK for 3 months to learn all kanji then start other stuff ? That’s kinda the idea here in a way, except I already started and I would spread my learning over a year. So I would continue to slowly get some more vocab (that deck looks really good Japanese Core 2000 2k - Sorted w/ Audio - AnkiWeb). The example sentences look good as it doesn’t make it rote memorisation too much in the end, it “kinda” acts as getting some input in a way. I would also try to say the word out loud if I can to somewhat practice at least some audio recognition (as well as listening to the example sentence).

So I’m writing stuff here for a few reasons, to ask what you think :

  • What do you think of such a strategy ? Any way to make it better, or why you’d think it’s bad ?
  • Do you have apps/ideas to make sure I do stick all of that to memory correctly enough ? Do you have ‘kanji quiz’ apps ? (I will be pausing my japanese, but the reason I’d like to do all that as a compromise is to get a headstart when I eventually get back to it. But until then, I would like to make sure I do keep a good portion of it (vocab+kanji). I won’t be able to keep it with me as much as if i would be immersing, but I won’t really be able to do that. Just doing my Anki right should keep it normally though, or like 90% of it according to Anki, but I could get some time to do some ‘kanji quiz’ test to keep my RTK kanji and keywords into place as well if that’s useful. That’s a sidebonus though)
  • Should I switch to learn RTK’s primitives and do RRTK with it ? Or should I finish learning full WK radicals, and apply them onto the RRTK deck ?
    [Currently I feel like my idea is pretty good (I would change opinion if you explained to me why it sucked obviously though, that’s why I’m asking), however I have an issue regarding RTK. I’m using kanji components from WaniKani to learn my kanji atm, so what I know is WK’s radical system. I only know them up to level 10, but I know nothing about RTK’s radicals/primitives. Some are the same, but I could have to relearn a lot. I’ve seen this post that compares RTK vs RTK radicals Is There Any List Out There Comparing Wanikani Radical Names to RTK Primitive Names? - #7 by Belthazar Also I don’t think I need the RTK book and I would be using this RRTK deck https://www.reddit.com/r/MassImmersionApproach/comments/g7ksqd/mia_completely_recreated_the_rrtk_deck/ and using RTK system would allow me to sometimes use Kanji koohi’s mnemoncis as well if necessary maybe]


I have about 20 days before the day I won’t be able to put active study and will need to pause my Japanese learning for a year. The plan I’m thinking about now is : learn the rest of WK radicals right now so that I’m set up. For the next 300 days, learn 2 words from core2k a day, learn 2 words from RRTK a day using WK radicals (or learn radicals again from the beggining doing RRTK?).
Since I will be pausing japanese for a year, my compromise is to try to have gone a bit further by the time I come back. The idea for that would be to have learned 1,000 most common kanji and some more core vocab, so that when I go back into immersion I will have a strong basis, be less confused in immersion by knowing more words, and will learn new words more easily being familiar with kanji.

What do you think ?

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Is there any particular reason you wish to switch resources to a core Anki deck and RTK, instead of just slowing way down on WK and only doing a few lessons a day? Not saying it’s a necessarily bad choice, I’m just curious. Are you just wanting to try out different resources, or do you just think that Anki and RTK will be more time-friendly for you?

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So you’re gonna leave us in suspense and not tell us what school this is? :’)

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That’s either a lifetime subscription or paying yearly for something you’re going to use for five minutes every day for 2 years.


Ah right, I forgot about the financial aspect. :sweat_smile: Having a lifetime subscription and not regularly paying for it anymore will do that to you, I guess.

Yeah, then I can see the reasoning. Probably not worth paying for WK to use it so infrequently when you have access to a plethora of free alternatives.

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Personally I would put Japanese on a shelf for the year. You’re going to be under a lot of stress, you don’t need yet ANOTHER thing to keep up with! Sure you might be a bit rusty when you come back, but those language brain cells will wake right back up again!

Thst said … maybe you dont want to give it up completely cuz you enjoy it? I get that. In that case go with whatever you find fun and focus on keeping active with the language, not making “progress”. 5 anki cards, 5 minutes of an easy podcast, anything you do will nudge those neurons.

Like I said, you’ll have a lot of stress in the rest of your life, don’t add to it. Good luck!

One more thing: WK uses a lot of made up radicals so learning them might not help you if you’re switching to another system like RTK. (Other people know more about this and can correct me)


I agree with kimera. If you are studying because you like to, then study what you feel like - watch some anime and pick some words to learn. Read a manga and do the same. Watch some Cure Dolly in your spare time. If you feel like Japanese is too much work next to your studies for school, then it probably is.

If you’re worried about losing everything you’ve learned, don’t be. For sure you will forget some things, but you will remember a whole lot when you come back to it. I had a break of about a year and a half from WaniKani, and I remembered the vast majority of the items that had piled up in my reviews. The only ones that gave me trouble were the “new” ones that had just been added before I petered out.

So focus on school, and if learning Japanese seems like a fun thing to do and may be a bit of stress reliever, then do what you think is fun.


I’d personally stay away from SRS if you can’t reliably devote time to Japanese. There are plenty of non-SRS things you can do to practice and learn Japanese that would place a lot less pressure on you, and be less punishing if you have to miss a day.

Plus, SRS is best when paired with some form of real exposure to the language, and it sounds like you would not have time to do both. I think you’d be better off using the time that you do have to actively engage with the language in a way that does not create a future workload for yourself (like studying from a textbook or just reading in Japanese without adding cards to Anki).

RTK in particular seems like a really bad idea if you can’t do it very fast and can’t follow up on it immediately with other learning.

5 minutes a day is very, very little. To put it in perspective, 365 days of 5 minutes of Japanese would let you cover about as much studying as I do in less than two weeks. You’re simply not going to get very far with that. This is a case where the quantity over quality strategy probably won’t work too well for you because you won’t be able to get the quantity of information you really need for that to be effective.

I’d pick up some graded readers or something and spend your time with those. If you read stuff with furigana, you won’t even have to worry about kanji for the time being. It might take a week for you to get through one graded reader, but at least you’d be reading Japanese every day, and you will slowly build an understanding of grammar and learn some words just through sheer repetition.

When you’re done with your program, you can get Anki started up and start mining words from your reading, but I would hold off on SRS until you can make it a more permanent part of your lifestyle.


I’m going to third what @kimera and @macha1313 are saying. If the school you’re taking is so intense that you won’t have more than 5 minutes to focus on something else daily, you should probably just focus on that.

Japanese (kanji especially) requires a little more involvement than 5 minutes daily. I doubt you’d be much better off studying 5min daily than just shelving the language entirely and coming back to it when you have more time on your hands. Luckily, there are subtitles for everything so that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy Japanese media in your spare time!

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Thank you so so much for all your replies everyone. I really appreciate the replies as they really help me understand everything better…

Having SRS in a vacuum for a year with not a lot of immersion probably won’t be that much useful to me anyway(I rewatched the first part of this video as well The Role of the SRS - YouTube), and considering it might put a bit more stress onto it… (I thought about Anki stuff because I’ll probably be using Anki everyday anyway for school, since it’s a great tool for memorizing pretty much anything).

kimera, your reply really resonated with me… of course it makes much more sense to put Japanese on a shelf for a year, that’s the first logical thing I thought about, it probably fitsm my situation the best but…
Well, the first time I started learning japanese was actually about 2 years, the only thing I did was watching videos from one youtube channel about japanese language. Now I know how bad all of this was for learning lol, the simple concept of maybe ‘immersion’ never even appeared or was hinted at anywhere, it was all information, and then some grammar with the particles and stuff. But that’s how I started. So then I stopped learning japanese.
About 6 months from now, I got back into it. I went back to that one channel, but also other stuff, and also more stuff in english this time. At one point, I watched Langfocus’s video on japanese, it wasn’t actually part of my learning, but just a video for fun. So I thought. I mean I was correct, because the amazing thing that happened to me with that video was from a comment, and that was someone mentionning Cure Dolly’s channel. That was a massive, massive change in my japanese learning journey… So I started getting more engaged with learning the language, and… I absolutely fell in love with japanese .I can’t stop… I vividly watched so many Cure Dolly videos and learned so much. Watching them with stars in my eyes… I started doing some immersion as well and everything. I love it so much. I’m kind of addicted to be honest. I just want to continue so much. But I’d be fine as well if I were to pause afterall… now I know I really would want to continue learning japanese after again, that it won’t just be stopping, but that I’d eventually come back.

So that got me back into the years awaiting me, and I think your messages saying :

“go with whatever you find fun and focus on keeping active with the language, not making “progress””
“If you are studying because you like to, then study what you feel like - watch some anime and pick some words to learn. Read a manga and do the same. Watch some Cure Dolly in your spare time.”
“There are plenty of non-SRS things you can do to practice and learn Japanese that would place a lot less pressure on you,”

These really help me. SRS really doesn’t look like the most appriopriate thing here huh. Since what I like is to keep active with the language, but I won’t really have the chance to do so many things to make “progress” anyway, the advice on focusing what is fun just looks so relevant. I didn’t plan to actually watch anime that much next year, but maybe from times to times and during the 2week breaks it wouldn’t be too bad. Currently, I’ve been starting to watch all of my anime on Animelon with both JP subs and English subs, neither being my native language(before I had some immersion with only JP subs and some normal watching with french subtitles). So I’m acquiring more english, and I get the Japanese that I can as well. I think “learn some words just through sheer repetition” is more what I would be doing rather than some SRS. Also I’ll be having 5min walks to go to school everyday, so I might get to listen to some easy japanese audio from times to times (I actually tried listening to one of Benjiro’s videos (where he talks with one native japanese person for an hour, making sure it’s not too hard as well) without pausing once, so I guess I could listen to that for example… I really love watching Cure Dolly’s videos as well, so I could do that during breaks sometimes…

Thank you so so much everyone, really. Everything is much more clear now. I think I shouldn’t push myself too hard on some anki decks that wouldn’t even be that useful… I think there still are going to be a lot of fun japanese stuff I’m going to be able to enjoy and to keep in touch with the language. I’ll be eagerly waiting for the day where I’ll come back, but up till then I’ll have other great goals with my life, of stuff I really want to do as well. Actually, I deeply want to become a teacher, and I’ll be striving for that for then next years of my life. Somehow curiosity always brings you so many amazing things, so I’m glad I decided to go onto that japanese learning journey. I gotta say Cure Dolly is now one of my greatest inspirations.


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