Level 2 Blues


I think I need a bit of a beginner’s boost I think… I’m reaching the end of Level 2 but really failing to get above 67% in any big review session.

My head’s spinning because I feel like almost everything I’m learning is either “[x number] day”, “[x number] things” and “[x number] month” and they all seem to have different readings of the number. :frowning: The mnemonics are particularly tricky on numbers (how to remember I have nine yachts and also nine coconuts…!) and it’s bizarrely unfulfilling.

My lessons are now mounting up as well because I keep feeling like I’m not doing well enough on reviews to take them and I’m feeling, for the first time since I started, a little overwhelmed.

I’m determined to get through this and not give up, don’t worry, but any tips, tricks or motivation from when you all burned through this level would be much appreciated. :slight_smile:




These are my stats for the first 3 levels. Peeking at your profile, you joined about three weeks ago. I’d say there is nothing strange or shameful about taking your time in the beginning because it quickly feels difficult and overwhelming when you’re new to kanji. :+1:

As frustrating as it might be to see that number of pending lessons, there is no detriment to letting them sit there as long as you need. If you haven’t started to those lessons, no new ones are going to get piled on top, so it’s not like leaving them be for now will get you buried in them. But having a lot of items in Apprentice and Guru 1 does increase your review load, which can be a real grind when you’re not fully used to the slog just yet.

I think you’re doing the wise thing: letting the SRS work its magic by failing what you don’t know, and leaving lessons to one side until you know you have absorbed the past items decently.

I’d also advise to really look at the review summary screen after a review session. It can be that little extra boost that helps by looking at your failed items and mentally naming the reading and meaning.

If you feel like some of the items are becoming leeches (things you just can’t seem to remember no matter how many times you put them through the SRS) you can try the self-study script and the additional filters script. With those, you can, among other things, make your own little study quizzes that allow you to go over items outside of the SRS. You can put together a script that lets you practice leeches (items that you’ve failed n times), or for example a quiz that grills you on the items you got wrong on your most recent review session.

And the last part of my overly lengthy diatribe: be patient with yourself. :slight_smile:

You’re putting your brain through a mental work-out. Like lifting weights, it takes time to build things up, little by little. But if you keep at it, it’ll become easier to learn kanji.

That’s the spirit! :muscle: Best of luck!


I think you’ve got one too many yachts! So that might help remove some of the confusion. But yeah, the counters are a pain :laughing:


Argh! You’re right! I only have eight yachts, the ninth one is a coconut! :tired_face:


Thank you for the reply! That’s all encouraging to read. I’ve got 79 lessons pending at the moment, which is a little scary… :frowning: That’s good to know about the additional script stuff too, didn’t realise that was an option so thank you. Might be a good idea for me to try and work something out along those lines about my numbers problem.

I’m hoping at some point it’ll click with the kunyomi and onyomi and I will find the fact that are two wildly different readings of every kanji perfectly normal, as if every letter of the English alphabet were the same ("this is A, pronounced “eh” and also “gurp”).

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It has to do with the Japanese people using (their version of) the Chinese reading for a kanji, on top of them ascribing their native words to a kanji. ^^ You’ll get there, I promise. I really didn’t understand the on-kun thing when I started, even after reading an explanation like four times before I started WK!

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I had the same problem too and I’m sure many others do too. I’d recommend taking the days and things counters offline and study them there. You’ll see there are some similarities that will help you, the same goes for months and people counters.

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Thank you. :slight_smile:

Thanks! That makes me feel better. I read through that page before I even signed up to WaniKani and it meant absolutely nothing. It means a little more now but I’m still a way off feeling even remotely instinctive over which reading to use.

I get some of the history but there’s definitely a grumpy part of me that’s like “can’t they just make a new law and say ‘right, we’re only saying it like THIS from now on?’”… :slight_smile:

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In my experience, as a complete beginner of Japanese when I started Wanikani, the early levels were as hard as (or harder than) any other levels I’ve come across so far. So don’t despair. I think you’ll find it gets easier as you go along, not harder, as your brain gets used to it and you get into some kind of learning pattern.

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If it’s the kanji by itself or accompanied by hiragana, use kun’yomi.
If it’s a word made up of 2+ kanji, use on’yomi.
Numbers are kinda backwards, they use on’yomi by themselves, but when used in counters they tend to use kun’yomi
If the word uses a body part, the body part, and probably the other kanji will use kun’yomi.

There are obviously exceptions, and just like with english, unless you know how to pronounce a word, all you can do is guess the pronunciation. But with that basic guideline you can probably be right half the time.

Also, just remember that you need to learn words, not how to read every component of said word. Like how the “oo” in moon and blood sound different, even though the words look pretty similar, don’t worry too much about the “oo” but rather, focus on the “moon” and “blood” That’s the main thing. Learning readings is like a nice helping bonus I think.


Counters in the beginning are godawful, like oh my god, I’m afraid the only real way is to really work with the mnemonics and study them extra, when the burn will come and you don’t have to think about it, it’s great.

Also, it will for sure get easier, there are way less exceptions and stupid readings on the rest of WK (which let’s admit, level 1-3 are just: oh you learned this ? well too bad, throw it in the bin it’s
E X C E P T I O N time


Thank you! That is very reassuring. The exceptions are what’s driving me the most mad, I think!

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Yep, you’ve absolutely nailed what my issue is. I can get as far as “if it’s 2+ kanji, use on’yomi” etc but then the exceptions drive me mad. I think because I’m still in the process of getting comfortable with how to remember which reading is which and when to use each reading, the exceptions are just throwing spanner after spanner into those mind-works… :frowning:

Thank you for the advice. It is much appreciated. :slight_smile:

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Thank you. That’s good to hear. :slight_smile:

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