My experience with leeches

Hello everyone, I’ve been reading but not posting so far, however I felt like sharing my current situation as it may help others. Sorry if this isn’t very original!

I’ve been on WK for about 8 months now, and hit big problems last level (15) and my current level (16). I’ve had large review workloads (for me anyway), despite controlling my new lesson rate, and about 2 months ago I mostly stopped new lessons entirely. I haven’t quit, but I have seen my motivation go down and I’m often on ‘catchup’ at the weekends due to lack of daily reviews.

I realised this is mostly because my leeches have gotten out of control. After finally installing some scripts and investigating, I’ve found that basically all of my apprentice items and many of my guru items are leeches. They’re just going backwards and forwards between apprentice 3 and guru 2 I suspect. Review sessions are not enjoyable, with accuracy around 60% and I’m very aware I’m repeating mistakes.

So my mnemonics are probably not great - probably I’m relying on short-term memory and losing it as soon as the reviews are less frequent. I’ve started drawing some very silly pictures (attached) which is not at all my usual style, but I have to try something else or I’ll end up giving up.

Wish me luck, and I’d love to hear your stories about overcoming leeches too.


Haha, Lol, thanks, your drawing is now gonna help me burn that one someday :laughing:

For leeches, I just sit down and take a moment to read the meaning and reading a couple times with ~full concentration~ and literally tell your brain: ‘This is a leech, it means (insert meaning here), now remember’ , and if that doesn’t work, I just make up a totally different, random and very VERY detailed mnemonic. Also, just tackle one leech at a time. ← (very important)

Hope this helps 乁( •_• )ㄏ

And good luck! がんばって!!


What is your experience with learning Japanese grammar and reading native Japanese material? By level 16, you’ve learned a lot of vocabulary that’s actually fairly common. If you’re reading native material, you’ll come across the vocabulary and various situations, and it will become easier to recall.

To that end, I always recommend checking out the WaniKani community book clubs, especially the Absolute Beginner Book Club for first-time readers.

It’s best to learn some basic grammar first (if you haven’t yet), then you get to dive into reading your first work of native Japanese material (again, if you haven’t already). That gets your foot into the door on seeing all kinds of familiar vocabulary (while learning even more).

What a cool idea! I love the whole goate <3
I’m only at level 4, but this is not my first anguage learning adventure…
I’ve realized that my association process works differently from the wanikani makers’.
Therefore, I have started making my own memory hints and writing them down in the hints’ comments section.
Most often, I have trouble remembering the onyomi readings.
My hints combine meaning and pronounciation. A simple example:
the man kanji which consists of rice paddy + power.
Firstly: Very sexist, it suggests that men have both the physical wealth and the power of decision making (also, often still very true).
My mnemnonic: DAN, the MAN. Onyomi = dan

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This might sound extremely stupid but… what is “leeches”?

Thanks for the tips! I know some grammar, and I’ve been reading some of the graded readers and basic parallel readers on Kindle. I just wish I could get a stronger link between my leeches and the reading material, there’s not much overlap. I could look up some Tatoeba sentences for my leeches, although they tend to be quite difficult to read. I’m trying to get some listening practice for the same words too to cement them further, but that also involves building something to do it for my particular case.

Hi Pizh, I believe in the script I’m using, leeches are defined as items I’ve gotten wrong at least 8 times. People use different definitions but in general, it’s just an item that isn’t progressing to burned and isn’t getting memorised, clogging up the review pipeline.

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I’m glad you liked the goat :smiley: I’m no artist haha. I liked your mnemonic for Dan the Man, I had something similar for mine, except my guy Dan is also literally keeping the rice paddy water flowing with power he generates from an exercise bike.

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