Level 38 and ready to give up

I won’t reiterate what others have said before, except that I validate how you feel.

I started this summer with similar goals in mind. It was easy at first because I had the whole summer to devote to study. I was absorbing information at a staggering rate. SRS honestly was the bane of my existence then too because I just wanted to keep building momentum. Now that the school year has begun, I have less free time. I do all my Japanese podcast listening in the car because I have very little time otherwise. I will keep up with WK and other things, but I have had to scale back everything because I didn’t want to overload myself, and some days I don’t have the mental energy to study intensely. I sometimes have to remind myself on busy days that–if I spoke any Japanese that day, if I thought sentences in Japanese, if I opened up a book or an app and did review–I’m still making progress. It’s just slower.

You might consider looking for a new resource that excites you and refreshes your interest in studying Japanese. Maybe even replace that with something else that is proving less beneficial to you at this point in your studies.

You’re also in the thick of it. I recently saw someone else post a timeline with the volume of stuff that comes your way in WK, and level 38 is about at the thickest section of it. If you keep going, you will probably see the load start to lighten. But also if you need a break from WK and are terrified of coming back to 1000+ reviews, you can activate vacation mode.


Level 38… you have shown you have the dedication.

While no one can tell you what to do, I would say most emphatically, DON’T GIVE UP! You’ve got this!

The thing about reaching level 60 is that while you may have a mad pile of reviews, you don’t HAVE to do ALL of them. Yeah, it feels defeating when your level doesn’t go up for sure (I know, I know, spoken like someone still on the single digit levels :smiley: ) but there is nothing that says you have to hit level 60 in a year.

You can also add scripts, assuming you haven’t already, so that you get the Kanji/keyword reviews first which would, if nothing else, still let you level up if that’s your main goal. If you have 250 reviews in the morning, set the script up to pop the kanji/keyword reviews and worry about vocabulary later. Just don’t do the stupid things I do and say “I will do this tomorrow” where essentially every day becomes “I will do this tomorrow.”

Seriously, don’t give up. You’re like 60% up the mountain.

Your goal may need to change from going to Japan at the end of it to going at level 60 and when the borders open. It’s not an irrelevant goal and is still attainable.

Wish I could send you some motivation. After trying to learn Japanese for 20 years I am seeing progress with WK and while I don’t post a ton, I find motivation in the success stories and the people here. Hope you can do the same.


My recommendation for learning the other parts of the language would be, stick to WK daily just to keep the review pile down but maybe instead of doing Duolingo every day, swap that out every other day with trying to read a Manga, a blog, a website, etc and put the WK skills to use.

I would say do the same with Genki. Genki is great… unless you are self-learning. I find it dry and hard to stay motivated with so I try to swap my book learning out for another book. If you have gone through 2-3 chapters of Genki per week (sorry, no idea how fast you go and zero offense is meant), why not pick up another book like say, All About Particles or another recommended book resource? Work on that to the end or for a few chapters, then swap back to Genki, then swap to another book, back to Genki, etc?

I hope you find something that won’t burn you out and you keep up with it.


The way I see it, you’ve probably already got a decent grasp of kanji after finishing the first 38 levels. You could stop doing WK entirely and just focus on reading. Or you could stop doing lessons and whittle your review pile down to something manageable. Then spend some time reading.

Basically I think you’re ready for real reading and WK is going to be of limited use to you if you’re already burnt out.


You are being too hard on yourself. All time you spend feeling bad about yourself is time you are wasting that you could be happy and productive. This is clearly not about learning Japanese, it’s about understanding and managing your expectations. That does not mean that you have to “accept” things as they are. It means that, when things don’t go as you expect them to, you can move past that and start over from that point. I remember a long time ago, I heard some advice about how to quit smoking; “never quit quitting.” Basically, what that means is, just because you slip up or some how fail to meet a goal, that doesn’t mean that everything is “ruined.”

Look at where you are and how far you have come, and make new plans to fill in the gaps that you are forming.

As far as learning goes, I think your biggest lack is in speaking. You should look into speaking practice with a real person. Speaking is how things can “click.”


I’ve been reassessing my speed recently. I joined the luminaries and the Tokyo sky tree challenge threads but I’m thinking I probably won’t hit those goals and that’s ok!

I haven’t even been going max speed, I’ve been going two weeks per level and I’m definitely already feeling like my kanji is starting to outpace my vocabulary and grammar.

So I decided to kind of stick to an overall approach in my studies, specifically aligning to JLPT goals just because it’s a convenient measuring stick. I’m currently taking a JLPT N3 course but the JLPT was canceled in the US this year so this gives me even more breathing room.

Once I hit level 35 in Wanikani, I’m probably going to drop my speed down by a whole lot, aiming to spread my level ups from two weeks to four weeks. I can absolutely go faster, but this way I can make progress in wanikani, grammar, and vocabulary simultaneously instead of putting a big emphasis on kanji and letting everything else lag way behind.

I just simply don’t have the hours in the day to dedicate to Japanese studies that other people do and that’s fine. Everyone has different situations and maybe you just need to take a step back and reassess what makes sense for you and your situation. There’s no one single correct pace, don’t feel like you have to keep up with people who are living under different circumstances and who are able to go at lightning speeds. Something that I keep reminding myself as well is: what’s the point of hitting level 60 if I didn’t actually learn much of it?


What does your schedule look like? How do you go about doing reviews and lessons? Do you get them done all at once or do you pace them out so you have a steady stream of small review sessions throughout the day? Also, doing WK on top of Bunpro sounds like a recipe for burnout. Managing two SRSes at the same time can be really rough, especially if you don’t have a solid schedule running. And as others have mentioned, get the whole “speed run” thing out of your mind if you’ve gotten this far. As long as you keep marching towards lvl 60, it doesn’t matter how fast you’re going. When I see the lvl60 posts, I’m just as motivated, if not more so, by the ones who say “it kicked my butt and it took forever, but I made it.” Don’t give up, but slow down. Also, if you haven’t already, give this awesome guide a look over. It talks about scheduling as well. Best of luck and KEEP AT IT!


Its not about admitting defeat, its about adapting the strategy in light of new information about what is feasible :wink:
At the end of the day, getting to lvl 60 isnt going to be the deciding factor in you learning Japanese, it is simply an easy and gamified start of the journey. (What im saying here is not to be fooled by that lvl 60 and burn yourself out on a distraction from the real goal)
Also admitting that one grossly underestimated an undertaking is a learning experience, not a defeat (Its only a defeat if you dont learn from the fall and dont get back up)

Personally i slowed down massively around where you are because i saw no point in investing so much time on WK at that point. Consuming native content is not easy as WK is but its time well spent. (Nothing has actually given me more confidence and enjoyment on the path to japanese than being able to actually understand things without any help, but it’s not something achieved just overnight)
And i guess you already realize that 1 year to actually really learn a language is nearly impossible or at the very least extremely time consuming.

I advise that you ditch the “60 in a year” mentality. Slow down, rethink and pick a more sustainable path to study the language. You know more than enough kanji already to not have it be a limiting factor in your studies.


I generally try to spread them out, but I always have a huge chunk of reviews first thing in the morning and after work, just due to the way the intervals work.


I got’chu friend.


I feel you. I started out doing DuoLingo, Torii and WaniKani side by side. Then wanted to start on my grammar books, listen to podcasts, read Taduko stories and NHK easy news… and just didn’t have time for it.
You know that workload graph that gets thrown around sometimes? That WK workload builds up gradually at first, bumps when you start burning items and then remains pretty much constants or even tapers off a little? Yeah, that’s hogwash. Workload keeps steadily increasing until you stop doing lessons. My review piles at level 31 are about 10% larger than they were when I just started burning items, and they’ll keep increasing unless I magically make no more review errors or… stop doing lessons.

At this point you have a couple of things in your daily study routine - it may feel like you have a nice WK rhythm going and it feels like a shame to break it - but if you’re getting overwhelmed something will have to give, either WK or one of your other study items. This is a choice you can make depending on what you think will benefit you most in the long run. It may not seem like others need to choose where to focus, but trust me, they have. I’ve dropped more things than I would have liked to because I like doing WK, and, as you seem to be, I’m afraid that dropping the habit will lead to abandoning it.
So I’ve put other stuff on hold for now. I find that I’m still convinced I will get back to them. Just not now.


How many reviews do you have each morning?

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Yep, I’m the same. Usually I have around 100 reviews to do in the morning. I move at about a pace of a week a level, and for the fast levels, it usually takes me 3 days and 10 hours. I do 5 lessons on the hour and all my reviews that are due (which is usually around 19, but sometimes 30, just depends) and that schedule has been working well for me. But honestly, I think the thing that’s really getting you down is trying to manage two SRSs at the same time. I have an anki deck that I do in the morning, which also takes time, but it’s only once a day and I only add 10 new cards a day.

I would recommend holding off on Bunpro for the time being and get through WK at a pace you want, or keep up with them both and slow waaayyy down. Learning Japanese should be fun, and yeah, it sometimes feels like a chore too, but when you start slipping to the point of total burnout, it’s definitely time to rein it in. Best of luck to you and I really hope to see you on the other end of level 60. Go get that cake!


Learning kanji is a game of ever decreasing returns. By level 38 you’ll have noticed this for sure. You’re probably at a point where kanji isn’t a deal breaker when reading now to be honest.

Also level 38 in one run?! You’ve done better than the vast majority that started WK for sure!

Don’t feel any shame in taking a long hard-earned break. I did this several times and never regretted doing so.

Just switch on vacation mode, or not if that’s your thing, and walk away until you’re ready again.


Unironically this

You’re more than halfway through, I’m pretty sure you got this :slight_smile:

Also don’t be afraid of slowing down your pace a bit for the sake of not drowning on reviews every day. I know I have :stuck_out_tongue:


I feel this very much. I am only doing about 5 new lessons a day right now because I somehow managed to get my Apprentice items to 150 right as Burn items started showing up. I’m managing my review pile but I feel like I’m hitting 100 reviews around twice a day.

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It varies from day to day, but I’d say a bit over 100 is typical.

For what it’s worth, I’ve done 8796 reviews in the last month, per my script. That comes to an average of 293 reviews per day. Over the last week, I had 2108 reviews, an average of 301 per day.

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I, personally, am aiming for level 31 by the end of my first year on WK. I may surpass that goal, even after slowing down a bit over the last 4 levels, but its all I’m trying to achieve on this end. That is far enough to cover the vast majority of what you’ll see most often, according to the graphs. You have passed this point, and should be proud of that achievement! It may be time to slow down a little and enjoy the journey. Maybe use some of that reclaimed time to do other fun things with the language. Practice those listening skills by watching native content and maybe talking with people through voice chats online. Maybe devote a larger portion of time to reading than you have been. That will help more than just drilling random grammar points on a second srs system imho.

I did slow down a fair bit a few levels back and it has helped me immensely. I saw several people recommend just 20 lessons a day which will help reduce the load a fair margin, and still keeps you at a good level up pace. Less than 10.5 days per level on average. It gives you more time to devote to the not-strictly-kanji parts of your study while still moving at a great pace, and you can flex that number as needed.

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In your case I’d just slow down the lessons maybe just 5 a day. From level 40 onwards the returns are diminishing, because a lot of the Kanji there get more and more unusual. 95% of the Kanji I’ve looked up a recently, were between level 30 and 39.

It’s not hogwash, it’s true under the assumption that your burn rate is the same as your new lessons rate. That is to say you make no (or few) mistakes. The more mistakes you make, the more you delay those burn items and hence the bigger your review pile becomes.

You can pretty much forecast this by checking how many burns you have on which day using the wanikani heatmap script [Userscript] Wanikani Heatmap and multiply that by the % you usually get correct and that’s how many lessons you should allow yourself to do (e.g. on one day you have 25 burns coming up, multiply that by 0.8 (assuming you have an average 80% correct rate in reviews), and that means you should do 20 lessons that day. That way your review pile will never grow larger.