Is wanikani and immersion enough?

hey guys, i’ve been a bit more consistent than I have in the past with my japanese studying and want to break my habit of studying in spurts. i’m currently using WK everyday and watching like 10+ episodes of anime with no subs a day, after about 2 months of this i’m not really seeing that much progress in understanding the anime and want to beef up my studies elsewhere, does anyone have any reliable recommendations like any anki decks, text books study methods/material


I don’t exactly know the process, but I would focus on understanding, and understanding more deeply, and preventing misunderstanding.

More vocabularies are just like the breadth, but not the depth.

This may help - A great introduction to extensive reading

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I think that there’s probably a more efficient way for you to learn.

How are you on grammar? If you don’t know the basics, I’d recommend replacing some of those anime episodes with either Japanese from Zero or Let’s Learn Japanese. Both do a good job with the basics, although Let’s Learn is dated and From Zero’s host has a divisive personality. Having a better handle on grammar will make picking up patterns and breaking down what you’re hearing into more comprehensible chunks.

Since you’re watching anime, I’d also recommend something a bit more culturally focused on the basics of interacting in Japanese. For some reason, I’m thinking of the app Drops, but I’m sure there’s something better that I can’t remember the name of. I’ll try to link it when it comes to me. Drops does have the benefit of being able to teach you specific kinds of words, for example, fantasy related words, office words, that sort of stuff.


Wanikani and listening Immersion are both great pillars for acquiring the language, but as I think you’re noticing, without some type of guided course (especially for teaching grammar) your learning will be fairly lopsided.

Luckily there are a bunch of options to explore these days! Everything from Youtube videos to online courses or physical textbooks. You can also look into classes, both in your community and online.

Have you had any kind of exposure to a guided course? Are you looking for free resources?

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so I really love how WK has a lot of what you need all in one package (guided learning?) and its gives notifications, updates, visible progress etc. I really would prefer just getting the rest of what I need in a similar package where I didn’t have to search for a bunch of missing pieces, I would hope to not have to pay for something unless it’s very reliable like WK bc there’s just way too many paid options out there that could just be a potential waste of money. my guess was just to find a solid anki deck that I could chip away at along with my WK reviews to help speed up my comprehension on my anime so I can at least see some progress through the weeks


If you want a similar feel, check out Bunpro. It does for grammar what WK does with kanji.


thank you i’ll check this out i’ve heard of japanese from zero but I never looked into yt lessons bc they were all just so segmented, apart of the reason I love WK is bc it’s just one stop and it’ll guarantee a certain level of knowledge if you reach lvl 60 I just never know if i’ll retain the knowledge from a yt lesson if it’s not cemented by a SRS

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thank you I do plan to bump my reading a bit more as of now I use hello talk and I just got pokémon arceus since it has furigana now!

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Like some have said, I would suggest learning a bit of grammar first. There’s various books, apps or videos you can use to learn the grammar. Just make sure you select an option that works best for you.

I might also suggest to try listening to something more basic as well to start with instead of an anime. The reason you haven’t seen any progress in your listening is because you are not getting comprehensible input. You should be able to understand about 80% of what’s going on. That way you’ll have enough of an idea of what’s going to slowly pick out what the rest of the 20% is, and that’s when you really start to learn/remember stuff. If you keep watching different episodes of anime where you can’t pick up much of what’s being said, you’ll never really see much progress.

What really helped me a lot was getting a book called, “Japanese Short Stories For Beginners”. I got the audio book and would listen and read to each story at the same time about 6-7 times and every time I read it again I would always learn a little bit more until I could fully understand the story.


If srs works well for you, what about Bunpro? or have you already tried it? It has srs for grammar.

There’s also but it’s a little harder to set up


As many have already recommended, learning grammar will be really helpful. For free resources, I think JLPT Sensei is quite good, the point is short with clear English translation. The drawback is that you will learn grammar based on JLPT needs and that may not fit your needs, but after reaching N4/N3 you should get a good basis even for anime (you also learn about casual language).
Moreover, with youtube or podcast you should be able to find other free contents to learn about basic grammar/vocab.
Finally, if you really want to learn from immersion, I think anime will be way too hard at first, so why not giving a try to children content instead ? When I was learning English, I spent some time in USA with a family and I would watch TV with their 5 YO girl. I learnt a lot and my hearing abilities really went up. So worth it :slight_smile:


I recommend getting some textbooks to guide you. While it’s great to immerse, you risk burning out a lot faster if your solely depending on that + WaniKani (which on its own wont get you anywhere if you’re not reading).

I’ve done the “Just Immerse” approach but like WaniKani it only works as a supplement of sorts. You wont lose anything because your practicing but you wont gain anything either at this stage.

Ultimately with Language Learning there is no one size fits all answer and you’re gonna have to find the method that gets you excited and motivated to do regularly. Even a bad method done consistently will yield some sort of result. So if you are enjoying binging anime and doing WaniKani keep it up, but if youre not feeling like your making progress maybe think about where your lacking and find resources that would help facilitate that better.

How did you learn from Anime, though? Analyzing the subtitles? Audio extraction? Rewatching the whole episodes or short clips?

I’ve fallen into this trap before. You can’t expect to understand by just using wanikani. Wanikani is primary there to teach you the kanji. There are so many words that are normally written in kana and alot of grammatical rules to understand before you even have a ghost of a chance of understanding what’s going on.

Personally, I’d recommend picking up the genki series and watching
ToKini Andy youtube series on them (seriously, He’s a excellent teacher). Doing that should give you at least some sort of basic knowledge to work from.

The two classic textbook series are Genki and Minna no Nihongo. You might want to check them out.

My personal favourite is Japanese with Ease from the French publisher Assimil. The English edition is available as an e-course that runs on Windows, Mac, Android and iPhone:

Given the fact that you’ve been trying to learn with immersion only, I think you won’t be scared off by the fact that kanji are used straightaway. (In any case, pronunciation guides hang around until at least lesson 70 of 98, so there’s really nothing to worry about.) Also, every single sentence is translated both literally and naturally (so yeah, there are two translations), at least until you’re at a level high enough to work most of it out yourself (at which point the literal translation is only used for explanations, though the natural translation is consistently present), so you won’t have many comprehension problems. I sincerely think that this method is far more efficient than Genki or MnN, and is definitely much cheaper (less than half the total price for Genki I & II for roughly the same final level), so I’d really urge you to check it out. Plus, I’d say that their method is effectively guided immersion, so perhaps this is the sort of thing you’ve been looking for but haven’t found through no-sub anime. (For the record, I sincerely believe that pure immersion is not workable, or at least very slow – you need a dictionary to help you, at the very least, because picking things up from context alone takes a long time. I mean, think about how long it took to learn your native language.)

Some people might feel that the grammatical explanations are lacking – it wasn’t particularly problematic for me – and there might be a few kanji errors in there (I’m not sure if they’ve fixed them), but overall, I think it’s a great textbook.

If you want to work on grammar on your own, there are all the usual suspects: Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese, Japanese Ammo with Misa, Real Japanese with Miku, Wasabi Japan, Maggie Sensei etc etc My personal favourite was Maggie Sensei, at least until I moved on to resources written in Japanese (because really, it’s rare for finer nuances to be covered in English). Pick whichever you like, as long as it works for you, though of those I’ve listed, I’d say to be careful when using Tae Kim’s Guide because he explains things slightly differently from other resources, and some of his ideas are either wrong or controversial. (There’s a thread dealing listing the issues somewhere on this forum.)

As for dictionaries, almost everyone uses I prefer because it provides more example sentences and allows me to search phrases. Moving on to monolingual resources ASAP is a good idea, but you don’t have to rush it if you’re not ready, and you should feel free to fall back on bilingual resources whenever you’re stuck.

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