My experience so far

This was the actual context. It seems to be more of a recommendation to not wind up reaching 60 and having basically not studied grammar at all. Whether it be level 5 or 55, I think the recommendation is to not procrastinate. :wink:

If you’re at all interested in starting sooner once you cool off your Review chaos, feel free!


Nah, at your level, I’d definitely recommend starting with grammar. What I meant by that is that people can slowly start not being so obsessed with WK because kanji is no longer the scary challenge that it was at the beginning, and they can start opening up to more challenges (like reading).

Sorry if it was misleading.

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I’m not quite sure what you’re talking about, but if you’re talking about reviews, the way to slow those down is to stop doing so many lessons. jprspereira’s guide talks about how to spread out your lessons over the course of a level instead of doing them in huge binges. You should always try to clear all of your standing reviews each day (though you don’t have to do them the exact moment WK wants you to), and if you ever find yourself struggling to do that, it’s a good idea to stop doing lessons for a bit and only do reviews until you’re able to push those items along to a further SRS stage.

Just make sure to keep in mind that decisions you make earlier on in your studies will affect you weeks from now, a month from now, six months from now. All of your reviews are going to add up, and if you have hundreds coming in from different stages on the same day, future you might struggle to get through them.


Oh, I realized that but I kind of thought it on my own, see at level 30 you already know biggest part of the common used kanjis so you can read basically almost everything from shounen, simple news and just other stuff (like youtube comments for example) knowing this I thought it would make more sense to start learning grammar at that point since you already know big part of the common kanji 'thus making it way easier to learn grammar, because if you try at my current level you would probably need a website which uses furigana or manually search every single kanji, making the learning process 10 times more tedious.

Unfortunately, you’ll still run into plenty of unknown kanji at level 30, so you’ll have to look up loads of kanji regardless. You’ll also know zero kana-only words, which make up a surprisingly large portion of Japanese text. Grammar is also complicated and difficult to learn because Japanese sentence structure is so different from English, and there will be many times where you know all of the words in a sentence, but cannot for the life of you figure out how to piece them together.

Basically, WK will help you out a lot, but learning a bunch of kanji and words in isolation does not equal learning Japanese. Knowing a lot of kanji will give you a leg up on learning new vocab, but personally I’ve found that it does very little to help you learn grammar :sweat_smile:. For almost all resources that teach grammar, knowing kanji is not necessary. And in fact, learning grammar makes reading possible, which makes it easier to learn vocab/kanji.

Also, as far as reading material goes, if you read digital text with the help of Yomichan, kanji look-ups aren’t really an issue (it’s trickier with manga, print books, and video games where you can’t directly use Yomichan on the text). But you will have to be doing loads of look-ups regardless of your grammar/kanji/vocab knowledge, and regardless of the medium. Even the simplest children’s manga will be difficult for you, at least at the beginning.


Oh… so do you like have a recommendation for where you can learning grammar, I’ve searched on google and I found websites like bunpo but I am not sure if it’s really good.


You can try Bunpro for free for a month (if you want to do their lessons). I also started doing it alongside of Wanikani.

I use Bunpro and Genki (book), but you might want to check out Cure Dolly on Youtube. The voice is a bit weird, the whole video is a bit… creepy because of the doll and voice to be honest, but I find her explanation of grammar fantastic.

I have not tried Bunpo (or Bunpro), but from what I’ve heard from other people, websites like that can be good as practice/reinforcement, but aren’t as good for teaching the grammar concepts initially (unless paired with a textbook or another source of grammar). Of course, this depends a lot on the individual. You might have better or worse luck with them.

Personally, I’ve chosen to go the textbook route myself. I’m using Minna no Nihongo currently, and I really like it. Textbooks aren’t for everyone, either, but if you are interested in trying one, Tofugu has a list of beginner textbook recommendations.

There is also this thread on the forum with loads of resources, including for grammar, if you want even more options. However, it’s very easy to become paralyzed by the sheer number of choices available, so try not to worry too much about choosing the “best” option! As long as you find something that you’re able to stick with until you at least get through the beginning grammar, you’ll have a solid foundation to work from.

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I checked out Minna no Nihongo, but since that book is completely in Japanese, isn’t that making understanding grammar even more harder?

Minna no Nihongo has a translation/grammar explanation companion book that is available in a dozen or so languages (including English), which provides definitions for the vocab and in-depth explanations for all of the grammar points introduced, and some translations for the lessons. Generally, you use the two books in tandem, though it might be possible to do without the translation book if you work through the textbook with a teacher.

Generally what I do is pre-learn the vocab in Anki before starting each chapter, then right before I read the lesson, I read through the grammar information for that chapter. Then I try to work entirely with the main textbook without referencing the translation text at all. Sometimes I’ll double-check the translations just to make sure I’m on the right track, but I usually am able to understand the text just fine and don’t really need to look at any of the translations (none of the exercises have translations, anyway, so for the majority of the text, I’m on my own).

It basically gives you loads of reading practice with comprehensible sentences, slowly building on the grammar/vocab you already know. It’s more in-depth than Genki and other textbooks, with both the benefits and downsides of that (you’ll learn more, but it’ll take you longer to get through it).

I really like it, personally, but it’s not the textbook for everyone.

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That sounds great actually. Just ordered it, thank you :slight_smile:

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Sounds like you’re describing confusing the transitive and intransitive verb pairs. Remembering which was which was really difficult for me, but what helped was two things. A lot of the verbs follow a pattern as to which is the transitive and which is the intransitive, like in this table:

So I made a table of my own, slowly adding each verb pair as I learned them. The other thing I did was try to use each word in a sentence. When I did that it was a lot easier to remember, because I could think back to the meaning of the whole sentence instead of trying to remember if the word was the transitive one or not. There’s also a plugin/script you can use that adds example sentences from anime to each lesson item. That might help too.


Thanks! Somehow I wasn’t really aware that that was my problem, but that’s exactly it. Making a table is a great idea, I will do that from now on. I should also spend more time on reading and making sentences instead of just blindy learning all the vocab.

About my progression - I’m doing both WK and KameSame but after some days of thinking about it… decided to drop KameSame. My main goal is to be able to read Japanese and KameSame is taking me more time than WK, since doing it in reverse is way harder.

Decided to spend the time I spend on KameSame on daily reading and grammar instead… think that will be more usefull to me. I’m still searching a bit which study method will work the best for me :slight_smile:

I think learning vocabulary can be helpful for you especially with WaniKani, since I have learned a lot of vocabulary on WaniKani and had many “oh so THAT’s how you write that word in kanji” moments.

When you read and learn grammar, you will pick up even more vocabulary. Even better, you’ll know how to USE them. Turning yourself into a dictionary is less useful if you are not able to arrange the words into meaningful sentences, right? Word soup! The vocabulary will come as you study AND a lot of vocabulary can and will be inferred by context as you read—in many cases you won’t have to know EVERY SINGLE WORD in the sentence to understand what is being said.

In my WaniKani I do only 10-15 lessons each day. (10 if reviews are 80-89% and 15 if 90% or higher.)
I do my reviews first, then study all the mistakes I just made, then lessons, then review the items I just learned, then leeches, and then review the lessons from the past 4 days. All of that takes about 50-60 minutes. Then I do the 4-hour reviews for the day and that’s it.

There are so very many resources (even free ones!) available these days—especially compared to when I was first studying in 1999! Try as many as you can find and see what works best for you. I use Duolingo, which not everyone likes, but it works for me. I also use Drops, which is vocabulary only, but uses images and has themes that group similar words together (like fruits, feelings, numbers, colors, and so on). I found a couple of courses on Udemy (that were relatively inexpensive) and I used them to prepare for the JLPT N4 and N3, respectively. (Planning on doing the N3 in December.)

Some fun ideas you might like to try out:

  1. Someone in the community made this cool program where you can practice reading (and translating, if you wish) Japanese sentences. You can even link it to your WaniKani progress so you will only see kanji that you have already learned.

  1. There was also a fantastic article on Tofugu about graded readers.

I went on JGRPG Sakura Tadoku Lab and there was a test you could do that will help figure out which reading level you should start at. It’s a very fun test in which you’re given six words and 3 definitions and then you choose the words which match the definitions. It’s a bit like choosing synonyms, which is fantastic for vocabulary.

In the end, the route you choose to reach the level of understanding you’re looking for should be uniquely suited to you. And nothing says you have to stick with any one particular set of tools. You’ll make plenty of mistakes and you will get frustrated (we all do) and that’s okay. If I didn’t make any mistakes then I wouldn’t need to be studying because I would already know everything, right?

Wow that got … long. Sorry about that, but I hope you can find something useful in here to help you with your study.

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Wow, that was extremely helpfull! Will check out everthing you mentioned :slight_smile: My main goal is to read untranslated Japanese visuals novels and manga so that’s why I decided learning words from english to japanese might not be the most effective. Learning vocab outside of WK and grammar is my main goal now.
Thanks again for the great reply!

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For that goal you just need to READ. And READ. And read MORE!

I forgot to include this in the previous reply, and I think it’s also written in the article about graded readers that I shared (and probably better than I will explain it), and it bears repeating: When learning a new language, we usually start by doing a 1:1 translation, translating each word in a sentence. It’s a place to begin. Eventually, we have to transition to understanding the semantic meaning of a sentence rather than being hung up on translating the individual words and learn to just understand what is being said in the target language without having to translate it into English first. You can see examples of this in most example sentences (the ones on WaniKani for example) by translating the individual words and seeing how they usually won’t match up to the given translation exactly.

You got this! 頑張って! (If you can’t read that yet you just have to get to Level 25!) And please do let me know how the resources I shared work out for you!

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Meanwhile I just got to lvl 21. If I understood correctly the peak of daily reviews starts at level 20, but I still have to wait a couple of weeks before my first burns will start to show up… I guess that will be the point where the amount of daily work increases even more. But looking forward to finally start to kick some Kanji into the burnsection :slight_smile:

So far I’m still doing ok, mostly exactly 7 days per level, but KW has kind of taken over my life now :smiley: Start doing reviews when waking up, during the day and when I go to sleep.

Timewise it doesn’t even take that much time, around one hour per day in total, but it’s the doing reviews almost every hour that makes it feel like I’m spending way more time on it.

Still continuing in this tempo as long as I can manage. The kick of being able to read more words and Kanji every day is what keeps motivating me.


Wow, Level 21 already! すごい!よくやりました!

I checked my progress journal, and I didn’t make any mention of burns until I reached Level 31. But I only wrote updates every ten levels. I just did a little look back and I see that my first burn showed up about six months after I started. (Started October 24, 2020, and first burns showed up on April 16, 2021, and I reached Level 21 on April 19.)

It does feel REALLY GOOD to finally start getting items burned. It also felt REALLY BAD the first time an item came up for burn and I didn’t get it correct. If you’re curious, my first failure to burn an item was when I messed up the spelling for the reading of 小 (I put しょ instead of しょう). Another time I mistook 氷 for 泳.) I actually often forget whether certain readings have an う at the end or not. 人魚 and 人形 frustrated me for a long while. (Finally nailed them though.)

7 days per level is a fantastic pace. My average is about 10 days per level. After level 30 or so I was taking 12-15 days per level. That’s about when I decreased the amount of lessons I did each day to 10 from 15. I found that I couldn’t really absorb more than 10 kanji at a time and I didn’t like not being able to remember items I’d just learned four hours later. (Incidentally, I noticed very early on that if I learned new items at 7 am, reviewed them once at 11 am, and then let the 7pm review roll over into the next day, I remembered them better.)

I also usually spend an hour in the morning on reviews + lessons. I get the reviews done in about 25 minutes, then review the items I missed, then do 10 lessons, review those right away, review any leeches (that table now fluctuates between 50 and 90 items), and then review 40 most recent items. At 11 I do the reviews for the items I learned earlier that morning, and then look at really persistent leeches (subset of the leech table I look at in the morning). Now that they’ve introduced burn reviews, I have to work that into my routine as well. I think as the review load decreases I can use that time for burn reviews. Of course, the more I forget, the more reviews I have!

Being able to read more words is also a huge motivator for me. This week I wrote my entire grocery list in Japanese. (The only word I had to look up was “spinach”.) In the JLPT N3 preparation course I’m doing it feels really good to be able to read almost every item on each lesson’s vocabulary list because I already learned them in WaniKani. Still have a lot of work to do on grammar though! I’m thinking it might help to start keeping a bit of a diary in Japanese or something.

How’s your grammar study been going? Did you find any resources that work for you? My 21-year old nephew has expressed an interest in learning Japanese, so I’ve been throwing a few very low level resources his way…mostly about learning hiragana and katakana.

It was really nice to hear an update on your progress and I look forward to hearing more soon!

I have to be honest - I should probably spend much more time on grammar :slight_smile: I use Bunpro, Genki and watch the Cure Dolly videos. I understand everything I learn but I simply need to put more time in practicing it to make it really ‘stick’. I read quite a lot so I guess that also helps me in understanding how grammer is used.

At the moment WK and reading is already taking up most of the time I can afford to spend on Japanese per day though… for a while I had the mindset that when I would get to lvl 20 I would slow down so I could spend more time on grammar, but… I know myself, I need to keep pushing on or otherwise I’m going to make excuses to take more and more breaks… so my main goal for now is to ‘finish’ WK first, gets as much grammar and reading practice as possible along the way.

After that (that should be around feb 2023) there is more time for grammar and learning non-WK vocab. I know it would technically be better to slow down WK and spend more time on other resources, but… I just want to have WK done as quickly as I can manage :slight_smile:

Thanks for the positive feedback mate :slight_smile: