Level 38 and ready to give up

Have you considered maybe focusing your energy on one aspect, if you’re feeling so overwhelmed? Sure pitch-accent and working your exposure up to being able to understand spoken Japanese are very time-consuming, but to my knowledge learning Kanji is the hardest part of the total experience.

I personally only work on my grammar/reading if WK slaps me with less than 100 reviews in a day. If you hold yourself to multiple daily regiments at once, that might get overly-tiring.

I’d say hold off on dedicating copious amounts of time to your other Japanese studies until you’ve passed the fast levels, personally. You’re well-over the peak of the mountain if you’ve truly memorized all the Joyo.

As for dedicating a specific time you want to be fluent… that seems entirely unwise. I’m speed-running as well (started Japanese entirely in late March), but I’ve always just told people I want to move as a 労働者/翻訳者 “sometime next year”. You never know how long it’ll take you and you can’t truly grasp how much work is left until you’re almost there. Plus, different folks take trips at different levels of understanding. I’ve heard of a few residents who’ve been there a year+ (not just visiting) who hardly know kanji.

If you set an unreasonable goal or workload, you’ll burn yourself out. If too much is too much, then it’s too much. You didn’t need to ask our permission to not be superhuman


Yes, but the assumption that you never miss any reviews is so implausible that it may as well be complete hogwash.

The review pile of doom may grow at different rates depending on just how accurate you are and how many leeches you get, but grow it does for everyone. Noone is perfect unless they already studied Japanese to a high level or reset and are doing WK for the second time or something like that.

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Assumptions have to be made, how else were they supposed to get something out? Everyone’s %correct is different and they just made the perfect assumption. Of course if your %correct gets low enough then it doesn’t matter if you don’t do any new lessons as your review pile will remain the same size.

Like I said, as long as your new lesson rate is the same as your burn rate your review pile will NOT grow any larger. Just saying ‘but grow it does for everyone’ is an entirely groundless generalisation.

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I’ll try to keep this short since there’s already an ocean of responses, but, if simply having a streak is your reason for doing this, you need to have a long think about whether it’s really right for you. I know that feeling though. I got a 1000 day streak on Duolingo for the same meaningless goal. But at the end of the day, it does more harm than good. You shouldn’t be deriving motivation from streaks when learning a language takes many, many years. Pride made me end up quitting WK all together. Just get a feel for what you’re actually comfortable with and go off that. Streaks are just one way of doing it, they aren’t the right way.


Update: I decided to stop doing Bunpro reviews and lessons on the same schedule as WK and instead shift all my Bunpro stuff to off-peak hours to avoid adding on to the usual morning and evening WK review walls.

I haven’t made any decisions yet regarding further changes. Then again, I’m not sure if I’ll even continue Bunpro beyond the free trial anyway. I am tempted to pay sometimes, but then I get annoyed by how laggy and obnoxious the site is to use. I’m currently planning to stop when the trial expires again, which means that I’ll finish Bunpro before I even get to the fast levels on WK, putting aside whether I decided to do them fast or not.

Ok, it grows for everyone who’s not a superhuman robot, happy? There might be one or two users out there who managed perfect accuracy, but it’s close enough to “everyone” for all practical purposes. Seriously, “sometimes gets reviews incorrect” is not exactly an unusual trait. That’s how SRS is supposed to work. People will have different accuracy rates for various reasons and hence different rates at which the pile of doom grows, but it indeed grows for everyone, or close enough to make no matter.

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I agree with you - because we’re basically saying the same thing. To keep the workload constant, you must take action (stop or reduce lessons). The graph is not a ‘natural workload’ but a ‘controlled workload’.
I admit I was a little harsh - a helpful user made that graph and it’s an indication of what to expect. (I should know better than to bite the hand that gives me information).
And for early levels it’s good. But if you’re around level 22, happily burning items, feel comfortable with your current workload and look at the graph expecting to be set until level 60 - no. You’ll have to actively manage the workload (or you might be fine with an increased workload). But basically the workload won’t stay what it is unless you intervene.

How far are you in BunPro? I felt greatly diminishing returns after doing some of the N2 lessons, so I stopped there. There’s so many similar grammar points, and distinguishing them with the help English explanations didn’t seem useful. The English just interfered with the Japanese, and I’ve kept studying those grammar points in Japanese. I’ve watched Nihongo no Mori N2 playlist and others a few times.

I think Bunpro has an excess amount of N2 lessons, anyway, with some quite obscure stuff (at least compared to other resources). A lot of N2 is just expressions anyway, that will come with exposure alone.

I agree with the great language learning advice being given out in this thread. I just wanted to add though that you don’t need to speak Japanese to enjoy a trip to Japan. There is plenty of English signage, at least in the big cities, and with things like Google Maps and Google Translate, you can get around pretty easily. And besides, I guarantee that if you do go to Japan, you will super motivated to learn more Japanese when you get back home!

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I agree with all of this.

I have been to Japan several times over the last 13 years (a couple for work). My first trip in 2007 I had done some Pimsleur and knew the Kana. I knew maybe 15 Kanji. I made it from Tokyo to Kitakyushuu via trains, some of which became crazy local routes, with little trouble. If you know how to hear the train announcements and know the names of the stops, it’s pretty easy to get around. In Tokyo and Kyoto it is simple because much of the public transport also announces things in English.

Being able to speak at even an elementary level many Japanese tend to be surprised and will “dumb down” to your level (assuming you need it; otherwise they can also talk to you like a local).


Don’t worry, I’m still barely on N4. Grammar is my biggest weakness as far as I can tell, so I’m mainly using it to try to drill the basics.


Now that you are past the level where reading everyday material would be a serious challenge I think you should start to spread your wings a bit and start focusing on other areas like listening and understanding the news or anime or dramas. Or being able to write a Japanese diary or blog. Or being able to have a conversation.

I think you shouldn’t quit wanikani as there isn’t much left to go. Even taking it easy (a level every two weeks) you should be done in less than a year.

Besides it’s not like you’ll be able to travel to Japan anytime soon. By the time tourism picks up again you’ll probably be long done with wanikani.

Oh, I’m certainly trying to understand anime. To date, I’ve watched 158 episodes of anime without subtitles. I watch an episode almost every day, sometimes two.

That’s good, continue on with that, but maybe consider trying to practice output as well? You said you were struggling in grammar. Writing diaries, blogs, stories, articles will help solidify grammar points. Talking can also help you learn and use grammar naturally.

If you admit defeat and stop you’ll never learn.
If you rest for a bit and keep at it at a more comfortable rhythm, you’ll eventually get there.

There’s no added bonus save for some added fatigue for completing WK in a year. Level 38 is plenty to read a lot of stuff. Just by bulk, you can read 60% of any Japanese you find. Add word frequency and that probably goes up to 80% ish percent.

The goal is to learn Japanese, not to complete a website.


Maybe you need to try something new for a bit and try to reduce your SRS workload.

It all depends on your goals but I have stopped doing new lessons for the past month and focused on other things and my studying at the mo is progressing faster and is much more fun!

WK can be a great resource but learning level after level of kanji and vocab - out of context - can be exhausting! For me I felt that without some consolidation of what I have learned so far - through immersion - the returns were really starting to diminish. I will defo pick up the lessons again at some point but tbh in the wild so much of what I see I have already covered in WK. Therefore, understanding the nunaces and proper usage of all this is more of a priority to me at the moment.

Don’t give up! Even a little bit of progress is still progress. The only person setting a timelimit or a speed is yourself.

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I am sorry you are feeling really down about your studies in Japanese.

I am a little conflicted about putting any advice or my experience on here because I’m not sure it would be of any use to you and has likely already been stated in a way. In the end I’ve decided to just share how I view doing WK and language learning in general and I hope someone gets something out of it, if only just a laugh or feeling better about their own abilities (I’m totally okay with that, I have made my peace).

I started WK about a year and a half ago. I have JUST cleared all my level 4 kanji (and there was much rejoicing) this week… still got the vocab though. I will also add that I have lived in Japan and have studied Japanese for a long time. I even took the JLPT at N3 level… and failed… mostly because I bombed on kanji completely. Now, I thought that I would do well enough in that area too because I had really studied the kanji. Nope. The nerves got the best of me. See, cramming kanji into my brain at breakneck speed simply didn’t work for me in the long run. And I would wager it won’t work for most others either.

So why use WK if it’s a memorization tool? Well, first off, my goal isn’t to finish fast, it’s to really enmesh the kanji in my brain (which, yes, requires other input sources, primarily reading materials). I happen to like the way that WK groups the kanji/vocab and I find it useful. What I throw out is the notion that I have to use WK the way other people do (or how it was intended). I go at a pace that makes me feel comfortable and I don’t mean the number of reviews (I only do a set number/amount of time whichever comes first per day and if I have more I just stop). Some days I don’t even do reviews. Whatever. And I certainly don’t do new lessons every day. Maybe not even every week… month… whatever. The important thing and how I measure it is on whether or not what I’ve “burned” is something I can recognize somewhere “in the wild” easily after a much longer time than the normal time frame. I have felt rewarded in that regard with my pace. I might never get to level 60… or even 38. Okay, fine, but the kanji/vocab I do get to I will KNOW. That has always been the hardest part for me. I absolutely don’t care about graphs. I mean no disrespect to anyone, it’s just not helpful for me like it is for other people.

Anyway, that was too long and boring. Sorry for rambling. On to other things.

Personally I didn’t like Bunpro (I tried it briefly) and didn’t find it interesting or useful. I found Duolingo to have a lot of errors (for the record they have corrected some and I haven’t gone back to it since I first completed it which was when it was released… the platform just isn’t well suited for Japanese). I would actually NOT recommend Duolingo for complete beginners due to the errors and oddities that would not be noticed by newcomers. If you’ve had a few semesters and want to use it as a review method that would be fine since you should be able to spot the issues. Genki is also not perfect (no text book really is), but it’s still a perfectly decent series. As for other resources, there are a lot online and many are free. I think a lot of people here can offer better advice as I am no expert (I failed N3 after all).

You will be able to enjoy a trip to Japan knowing little to no Japanese, I promise. It takes a long time to learn a language, certainly more than a year (and getting to level 60 on WK =/= learning Japanese, it’s not even all the kanji) so don’t be discouraged by this fact. Just think of how far you have come! And try to not be so hard on yourself.


Second this post so much. Japanese is not a game where you reach a final boss and are some sort of master, and definitely not something you can do in one year. I have been studying for 2+ years and live and work in Japan and I am nowhere near fluent or done with studies. Learning Japanese is a lifelong journey full of ups and downs. There are moments of highs and lows, but its not something you can defeat and, as I have come to understand, there isn’t an end date where you are going to be perfect.

It needs to be fun and interesting to keep you there, but you definitely don’t need to be spending all day on WaniKani. My advice is slow way way down and enjoy the learning of Japanese (I think finding a good online tutor is a great way for this). I am one year+ through WaniKani and less than half your level. I plan on finishing it in like 4 or 5 years, there is no rush. Japanese can be extremely overwhelming, but like any ridiculously hard thing its just about taking a small step everyday.


Spoken like one who has never reached the final boss! I laugh at your inferior skills!

Honestly, lately I’ve been feeling like giving up. Before, when it felt like I wasn’t getting any better, I’d just obediently do my WK reviews anyway, but now even that seems kinda pointless and they’re starting to pile up on me.

I’ve just started another level, and added some stuff to Bunpro I’m still struggling with a bit, so that’s not helping. Right now this stuff just isn’t fun for me.

I think what I might do is just stop doing lessons for a while. My reviews will drop down to a more manageable level, where I don’t even have to do them every day (and I really won’t, because they’ll be Guru+ and theoretically won’t need constant recall to retain) and I can focus more on reading or speaking practice or something. Maybe that’ll connect some dots in my brain for later on.

Maybe it’s just a temporary funk. Life in Oregon’s been pretty depressing lately, between COVID and the fires.


Honestly, lately I’ve been feeling like giving up. Before, when it felt like I wasn’t getting any better, I’d just obediently do my WK reviews anyway, but now even that seems kinda pointless and they’re starting to pile up on me…

Don’t give up completely. You had to have a reason to start and stopping means you are unlikely to pick it back up. Or at least that is my personal experience of having wasted the last 20 years pretending I was going to learn.

Find the balance. You can slow down and you can pick up a text book, a Manga, a children’s story book, etc and it is still studying. :wink:

No matter what you decide, stay safe.