Leeches and stuck kanji, solved

First post here with something cool that’s been helpful for my learning.
It’s not a new idea, but it’s been incredibly helpful for those “man I just can’t get it” cards. I wanted to share it here -

If a card is bouncing backwards and forwards in the apprentice-guru SRS space, don’t be afraid to deliberately bomb it all the way back to the beginning of apprentice using the junk phrase “banana/ばなな”. Learn it again properly and trust the process.

For example for me at a lowly level 7, the counting numbers for days (四日 - よっか, 八日 -ようか), and the different verbs on 生 have been battering backwards and forwards in my SRS never really getting learned. There are also just other annoying words and readings that are taking more time to sink in.
On a topic about these tricky words I saw a recommendation to just start writing “ばなな” if I’m not certain on a meaning or a reading.
I’ve taken that a step further - if I’m not really sure on something I want it to have another go through the SRS process with more certainty and more maturity.

So I just bomb it to heck with the deliberately wrong stock answer of Banana for meanings or ばなな for readings.

It might ruin my accuracy but I don’t care: I want to learn properly, not have a preciously precarious accuracy rating that requires me to spend 5 minutes on a card. Being humbled is part of this process and I need to embrace that.

Hope this helps someone out there.


That’s valid of course but for me the issue is that when you’re starting there’s such a massive volume of things to learn that spending a disproportionate amount of time on a few dozen leeches is just not worth it for me generally. Unless I know that it’s a word that I absolutely need to know for something specific (a book I’m reading or whatever) I generally just undo my mistakes and push the word towards higher SRS levels if I see that it just won’t stick in my memory. I’d rather learn 10 new words than do 100 additional reviews of 四日.

When starting with a new language it’s very much a case of quantity over quality for me. Knowing 2000 works okay-ish generally beats knowing 1000 words really, really well.

You’ll have millions of opportunities to review these words by consuming native content anyway. It’s not like you’ll never learn 四日 if you don’t do it on WK, and sometimes getting the word in a meaningful context does wonders when it comes to committing it to memory.


For sure, wanikani has been wonderful at helping me feel more comfortable with the language wherever I’m finding it. Finding something on wanikani that I’ve already seen or learnt is so cool. 次 has been a recent example - didn’t know the kanji but I knew the つぎ reading just from basic texts on LinQ.

But my experience with banana bombing is that it’s actually the most efficient way, meaning I won’t have to see it 100 times. By a combination of taking it back to the early stages of SRS and deliberately telling my brain “you don’t know this yet and you keep getting the wrong reading, forget what you think you know and try again”, I’m starting afresh. This makes it easier to remember in the long run and doesn’t poison my stack by having that one Kanji just keep coming back around, never really being dealt with.
And the cool thing is I’m still making plenty of progress with the other stuff, so I don’t think it’s slowing me down.


welcome to the community!

It’s great when people share these tips and tricks, although these types of posts don’t always get a huge resonance. I think that’s more a reflection of everyone having different things that work for them, being at different stages in their learning journey, or having different strategies for the same problem (in this case leeches).

anyway, just wanted to welcome you here and hopefully see you around at book clubs, discussions, etc!

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