Leveling and Exceptions

On one hand, I love leveling because I have a whole bunch of new things to learn and everything’s really active so every couple of hours I have a review.
On the other hand, trying to memorize a hundred new mnemonics and incorporate them into/alongside all the old ones is taxing. Like 生. Is it Life? Is it Fresh? Am I trying to use a saber (せい) to protect someone or am I trying to name (なま) all of these fish?
Well now I’m using a saber to prep all of this live fish for good sushi. They’re so fresh I’m naming every one of them because it’s a specialty restaurant.

My favorite is the countless exceptions between on and kon readings. Because in some cases there are, at best, ‘kind of rules’. Such as, “When a body part is present in a word, oftentimes it gets changed over to kun’yomi reading for who knows what reason.”
Or you just get through a good session of counting things, months, and machines, before they toss in a day for good luck and your mind completely blanks on 一日 after 二日 and 二台.

Needless to say this is the most fun I’ve had in a while.


I would suggest you don’t do all lessons at once though, to not get too overwhelmed after a while. It’ very doable to remember all those exceptions if you take the time to let them sink in ~ (plus, the more you encounter those newly learned words in real life, the better you’ll remember, of course, and some patterns become like second nature)


Well, that’s the catch right. Real life. I only encounter this kind of stuff in a study environment because I’m a hot minute off from being able to use it to actually read or play a game.
Besides, I don’t mind the mental stretch of shooting for 0/0 right after unlocking a level. Who knows, that might change later as the workload keeps scaling up until Lvl ~20, but for now I’m just not willing to wait around for knowledge.
Anything that gives me trouble I just make a big mental stink about it until I associate the thing with the problem itself, thus remembering the solution. That’s how I remembered 上げる and 上がる. Admittedly, I could be a little better about working though Genki 1 regularly, but it’s a work in progress.
What would be a good source to experience basic Kanji outside of just brute-force textbook learning?

Hm, good question, most of my early kanji exposure was indeed through textbooks, mostly the little readings at the back of the books… I would encounter some on the internet, websites and stuff, and even sometimes on the street, like T-shirts and stuff, but those were just as often difficult kanji I couldn’t read… I did start to read very quickly though, even if it were news articles on NHK I couldn’t understand half of, I would just be happy for every word I could read.

will you study every single lesson the second that you receive them? Sometimes if I have a big study session to move to another level then I have about 160 new lessons available to me with new vocab and kanji/ radical included and I’m only level 7 :confused: higher levels presumably can end up with far more than that.

I recommend spacing lessons and reviews. The mnemonics are good to fall back on if you don’t remember it anymore, or if you really need to get the story implanted in your brain. They’re there to help, but the mnemonics are the tool not the goal. And you can use anything to make readings stick, like maybe hearing that word before somewhere.

It helps if you’ve got a sense of what the kanji is used for. The kanji 生 is used in many different ways just like words in english have different meanings depending on how you use it. It will take some time to get used to that. In compounds it’s せい often, but not always. Alone or with hiragana it uses different readings. It’s a kanji you will see a lot, so it’s important to know them all in due time. That it’s used a lot will definitely help, as you have to keep seeing it.

Making mistakes is natural and can be a motivator to get it right the next time. And with srs system and it being a very common kanji you will be guaranteed to see it again.

So the thing you’ll have to learn is how to balance your lessons/reviews so you can learn comfortably and on the pace you want to progress. You can use userscripts for helping with the lessons, batch size and order. Maybe you want to have vocab of the level you were on first to solidify the kanji before tackling new radicals/kanji, or maybe you want to focus on the new radicals/kanji to make a foundation there and do vocab later, or maybe you can do them all in one go. You should do what works best for you and that will also take some time getting used to.


Graded readers might be worth a look. I’ve not read any myself, but here’s are some free easy level readers: Free books – にほんごたどく

Edit: Also, Graded Readers and Parallel Texts "Book Club" here at WaniKani has links to resources.

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Well, that’s the catch for me, learning comfortably. As it stands right now I still feel like I’m not learning fast enough and Wanikani is a great big rock I’m trying to drag up a hill, holding me back. The reason I stick with it is that I know it will pick up to a more comfortable pace later and it’s a better system than anything else I’ve tried over the last decade or so. At my current pace I’m looking to hit Lv20 by new years (According to WKStatistics), with a little bit of discipline. So if I can hold on until then, and finish my Genki studies, I should be able to play some old JRPG ROM’s and pick up a couple light novels to chip away at. Because the best way to learn something like this really is just raw exposure.

I’m also using KaniSame and Kaniwani as subsidiary study materials. I especially like KaniSame because it’s nice to try and think about things backwards, definition to Kanji.

Very cool, I’ll be sure to give those a look over later. Thank you very much. A cursory glance at a G0 book on flowers really shows just how far I have to go. It’s really nice to have a frame of reference like that.

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