Level 7 - Nothing sticking anymore

Zoomed in on your notes and got super confused until I realized you were writing left to right :smiley:

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Don’t look too closely tho or you’ll see how messy they are…
But honestly I’ve never put any thought into that, it feels natural because all the japanese text I encounter on the internet is also left to right but maybe I should start writing the other way? :thinking:

this happened with me, what I did was start using self study quiz for recently failed items

around lvl 10 I stopped using it and never touched it again. But for those moments yeah, it is very helpful.


I’ve never seen someone writing left to right on Japanese grid paper before, usually top-down from right to left :man_shrugging:
You don’t need to be beholden to it, it just threw me for a loop as I was trying to parse what initially seemed to be nonsense.

And for all I know, people do often right left to right on the grid. I just personally haven’t seen it done.

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The difficulty spike is, empirically, real.

EDIT: Huh, look at these cycles of gradually increasing level times. I wonder if WK is intentionally designed that way?

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This is expected, normal, and precisely why WK introduced the extra study feature. We all need frequent review of newly introduced information. Trust me: sheer repetition eventually suffices if mnemonics fail.

I honestly think we often expect too much of ourselves. Attitude is important.

Expect that a small number of items will get 8 reviews and be burned forever. Most will require several more than that. And some will require dozens upon dozens of reviews before they finally stick. The job of an SRS is to let you space out the repetitions of the easy stuff to give you more reps with the hard stuff. Incorrect answers are the most important part of the process — try not to feel bad about them.

That said, too high a percentage of incorrect answers will grind you down. I rarely do more than 5 lessons a day when new kanji is being introduced (and up to 15 or 20 per day when it’s all vocabulary just hammering home the pronunciation of already learned kanji).

Believe it or not, it does get easier with daily practice. Somewhere around level 30-40 I noticed that I rarely even bother with mnemonics any more and just rely on sheer repetition (your brain starts to recognize patterns).

I’d strongly suggest using extra study before or between sessions. Or do what I do and use the GanbarOmeter to launch self-study for items in stages 1 and 2.

Mnemonics can help to get things into short term memory, but the goal is to instantly and effortlessly read things “in the wild”. Sheer brute repetition is the best way to accomplish that, in my opinion.


I could only DREAM of being that messy!

The only thing I’ve never seen an example of is bottom-to-top.

Good article on the topic here: Is Japanese Read from Right to Left or Left to Right? - Team Japanese


Great tips from everyone, i would add immersion, like watching shows/interviews with japanese subtitles and trying to catch the new kanji/vocab ‘in the wild’. For example youtube channel Music Fun ! has subtitled interviews, tho it’s yet waaay too difficult for me to understand everything, i try to read subs while listening and everytime i see newly learned word i get the exciting ‘hey! I know this!’ feeling and then it sits better in my brain later

(Adding the link to mentioned channel:
https://youtube.com/c/MUSICFUN_JP )


I had a similar experience, but around level 8-9. In my case it was because I did not adhere strictly to the SRS timings that WaniKani is built upon, i.e. I didn’t do my Apprentice I reviews after 4 hours - I simply reviewed twice a day, so the interval was 12 hours instead. On the first few levels you can get away with that, but towards the end of the pleasant levels it catches up with you. Perhaps you’re in a similar situation? I used to revisit the lessons about an hour after taking them, using the lesson overview page. But nowadays there’s the handy extra study feature for recent lessons where you can just quiz yourself extra if you know you won’t be making the 4 hour window for Apprentice I anyway.


Totally, I just meant that like, when kids write out the kanji they’re learning in school, they go top-down right to left (as far as I’ve seen). It was the context of practicing kanji that threw me for a loop and had me reading the wrong direction :slight_smile:


There’s a few things that work for me.

  1. Don’t put so much on your plate. If you imagine having to move a pile of bricks you wouldn’t try to move them all at once, you’d move them in stages. If you’re having trouble remembering the vocab, don’t do new lessons for a few days while you get them down.

  2. Review what you got wrong. At the end of the reviews there will be a screen of what you got right and wrong. Look at what you got wrong and note which part of it tripped you up (the reading, the meaning, or recognizing the kanji). Then go over that a few times in your head.

  3. If a particular vocab word is taking longer than 30-60 seconds to recall just purposely fail it. You obviously need more practice at it in that situation, and it saves you much needed time to do the other 300 reviews.

  4. When the program asks me for a meaning or reading I recall both the meaning and reading. One because it helps reinforce knowledge, two because I’m going to have to provide both answers later anyway so why not do it this way.

  5. Try to review every day. It’s annoying yes, but what’s even more annoying is when you don’t study and then what you did know falls out of your head and you have to go reacquire knowledge. Also doing reviews every day prevents a gigantic buildup of reviews which is just mentally daunting. Which is another reason why I hold off on starting new lessons until the other reviews have gotten a lot less frequent.

  6. Be efficient. I touched on this in number 3 and 5 but let me just say there’s a lot of stuff to learn. If you do more with less time that’ll really help cut down on how much time out of your life this is taking. The goal is to be able to recognize kanji almost instantly so work towards that.

I could probably think of more but I think we’ve bogged you down with enough advice for now haha. Good luck everyone!


I thought you are gonna talk about RTL horizontal. Chinese, in particular old signs, can do that too.

Not sure if vertical-lr is used to Japanese. Readability wouldn’t change at all.

It would be practical as well, if Boustrophedon is used.


The article I linked to shows an old ad that for Asahi beer that uses right-to-left 横書き. I’ve only seen it in the wild for signs at some older parks and such in Japan. I remember clearly being startled enough to ask my (Japanese native) wife about it when I first encountered it.

I’ve never seen to vertical left-to-right, but nothing would surprise me any more. And Boustrophedon just broke my brain!

I do think @kokopelli121123 is right, though, grid paper for handwriting practice is normally used with 縦書き (top-to-bottom right-to-left). I can’t handwrite legible English, though, much less kanji!


Thank you, I will definitely be getting some grid paper and doing this

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Hey, thanks for the suggestions, I genuinely had no idea about changing the number of lessons. Also never really thought of waiting between batches. In terms of the recent study features, the thing that puts me off about the recent lessons is that it seems to go back so far! Is there anyway to avoid older stuff in there?

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I am not sure if grid paper for Kanji writing is always 縦書き.

I have been using 横書き ones for Chinese writing (Hanzi), in the past; but haven’t seen such 横書き ones for Japanese, and not in this forum.

Nonetheless, those specialized papers will have grids well made.

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The one’s my kids used in Japan had the gutters running vertically like this:

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Great, hope they help.
For the extra study, good question. I looked it up here:

“Any item you’ve learned in lessons and haven’t Guru’d in your reviews will be part of Recent Lessons mode. Once you complete your reviews and the item moves to the Guru stage, this will no longer remain in Recent Lessons. A recent lesson can be a recent mistake too.”

+1 for kanji damage. the mnemonics there are shorter, and more extreme. their radical system is different than wk alot of the time, but I’d recommend you to give it a try. Wk mnemonics aren’t to my liking.

I think learning all the radicals first in anki and having frequent reviews srs will help you create mnemonics more easily , that pop better . It seems that it enabled me atlist, to create better mnemonics.

and this. a hundred times.

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I mean the whole system is based on mnemonics but the other way I have learned kanji is by reading japanese and looking up kanji I find in Jisho.org. For WK specifically if its a kanji I just learned I’ll sometimes go out of my way to look it up because I know I should know it. Sometimes it sticks, sometimes it doesn’t. I read, so getting things wrong in WK isn’t the end of the world, it just motivates me that much more to get it right when I’m reading.