My first post and ...I give up

Welcome to the forums, and thanks for being willing to share this with everyone!

I don’t mean this as a criticism of WK, and this is very likely an oversimplification, but in my view, WK is effectively a set of vocabulary lists (and kanji lists, sure, but the idea is similar) with memorisation ideas and a system for revision. Not everyone learns well like that, especially if that’s their main source of new word and character knowledge. If you want an example, I volunteer myself: Chinese is one of my native languages (the other being English). How were we taught in school? Initially it was mostly based on stories and passages in textbooks, but what I remember at the higher levels involved a lot more vocabulary lists containing readings, explanations and example sentences. Sound familiar? Sure, we had probably seen at least some of those words in our textbook passages, but there were just so many of them and they were getting more and more complex. If not for the fact that I couldn’t drop it as a subject, I probably would have quit studying Chinese about a year before my final exam. I also started learning French over ten years ago. Things were OK at first, but around the middle of my third year, I wanted to give up. What do I remember hating? Vocabulary lists and grammar notes listing basic meanings and usages, but not much else.

I think we can agree there’s a pattern here: in both cases, I had lessons that encouraged me to memorise new information as hard, fixed facts, and what saved me in both cases was finding books and experiences (like an immersion programme in France) that allowed me to learn using interesting material that provided context. Example sentences are helpful, sure, but they’re nothing compared to seeing how the word fits into the linguistic and logical flow of a conversation or text. I’ve now studied six languages: I’m fluent in three, close to fluent in one (Japanese, which I’m working on now), and know enough grammar to get through simple news articles related to my areas of interest in the other two, with the help of a dictionary. I think that’s decent, especially considering that the three I’m fluent in include the two I wanted to give up on (Chinese and French).

My point is this: I think you’ve done very well getting this far, and if you find that WK isn’t working for you anymore, maybe it’s time to move on, or at least to put it aside for now while you seek out a more meaningful or interesting way to study Japanese. You can always come back to it later if you want to see if there are any words you’ve missed. I think @DIO-Berry’s question is a very important one:

If you have enough grammatical knowledge for fairly complex material (i.e. longer sentences and descriptive phrases), which is around the N3 level, then maybe you can try working through things like simple news articles on your own, if that’s what interests you. If not, I think there are threads here that discuss graded readers and sites that collate native content by level. (I think one of them is called ‘Natively’?) If you happen to like anime or dramas or Japanese movies, I’d very seriously encourage you to watch more of them if you have the time. I think it’s important that you enjoy interacting with and learning Japanese, and really, even if you were a beginner with just a few textbook chapters’ worth of grammatical knowledge and vocabulary, you’d be surprised how often basic words come up. As you progress, you’ll realise you recognise more and more of what you read and hear, and that’s a good feeling in my experience. I think that finding something that gives you a taste of reaching your goal will be a good way of re-motivating yourself.

Now, the one benefit that a review system definitely provides which you can’t get on your own without a little extra effort is consistency, so you might want to continue your reviews if you feel like they’re useful, even if lessons might be best left alone for now. Regardless, I really think that what matters most right now is that you find a way to make Japanese worthwhile for you again (only if you want to continue, of course!), and based on what’s happened to me, I’d say having the experience of using your Japanese knowledge, and going through that ‘aha!’ moment when you realise what you’ve learnt is alive and makes sense, may very well help you feel like you can make it. I know such experiences helped me. :slight_smile:

14 Likes

As far as i can tell the journey wouldn’t be “complete” once you hit level 60 either so :person_shrugging: You’re certainly not a loser for learning, what, around ~1500 Kanji? That’s a pretty amazing feat regardless whether you stop or continue your japanese studies.

20 Likes

I’d recommend turning on vacation mode and take a break. Gather your thoughts and do something else you like to do to distract yourself. Sleep on it this weekend, then come back and think it over some more. Ask yourself
‘What is it that you want?’ and maybe you’ll have an answer that is satisfactory.

13 Likes

When I’ve felt that way in the past, I’ve only done reviews until the day that I clear my review stack easily and feel like I can add more. I feel like the nature of WaniKani is to crash and burn out over and over, as lots of old stuff from months ago can come due at once, and levels are structured to give lessons all at once, rather than drip feeding. I’ve always felt like the platform would be better if you could only have 35 not yet guru’d kanji at a time, letting you learn one new one for each new guru

One thing that has helped me is doing reviews when they are due. I used to only log on in the morning and mid day, and every morning I would have over 100 reviews. Now I clear things when they are done and I have been progressing faster and am more accurate. 15 reviews 6 times a day feel much less than doing 90 once a day, and I feel that it makes me slow down and try harder when I have a smaller review stack

I will say, when I’ve taken long breaks from WaniKani, I’ve always regretted not at least doing my reviews. Conquering a 1000+ review stack is a PITA, and the SRS breaks

8 Likes

Lately i also have not been feeling up to do lessons so i just don’t do them. The nice thing is if you stop doing lessons right after leveling up (or when you have the vocab of the previous level in apprentice) you won’t get new lessons until you start with radicals or kanji again.
So i just slowly crawl through my reviews and knocking some of the enlightened items back to guru :roll_eyes: but i don’t feel that much pressure because at least at the end of the day my reviews are most likely zero.

Lately i often went with just cutting down my apprentice ( currently i only have 59) and still at this level i often already have the moment while watching or reading something and being like “i know that word/kanji”

If you don’t have anything putting time pressure on you, just go slow and don’t do lessons. They won’t run away and at some point they won’t increase…

7 Likes

I feel ya. I’ve been on level 40 for over 200 days now :sweat_drops:

my position from the start has been that I probably won’t complete wanikani, and that’s fine. I’ve learnt a lot from it and I’m glad I used it, but ultimately, I’m not gonna carry on once it stops feeling useful or if I start to hate doing it, and I don’t think that’s failing.

I think it’s good to stop and consider your study routine every now and again anyway, to decide what you like/don’t like and what you should be focussing on. that way you can focus more on what you enjoy and what benefits you more, which will get you to literacy faster than just grinding out WK would.

fwiw, by the time you’re level 40 you should have more than enough kanji that reading should be bearable on the kanji front. don’t get hung up on learning all the kanji, and don’t wait until you’ve completed WK to start reading!

6 Likes

My philosophy towards quitting and giving up is that it should always be an informed decision and never out of a feeling that came out of wall or a rough patch. Take some time off of WK and/or Japanese and regather by giving yourself time to think. You said you’ve been doing this for three years. Maybe your interest in the language has plummeted? What excited you in the first place and got you started learning Japanese?

For now, I’d advice you to stop adding lessons for a while. Just doing reviews should be enough for now. You’re in the 40s of WK now, so Kanji shouldn’t give you too much headache anymore. What about grammar? If you have already set foot in that area then try reading or watching something. This is something that may be painful in the beginning but in my experience it became quickly rewarding and I’m looking forward to it every day. If grammar is your weak point, watch one Cure Dolly video a day from her Organic Japanese course. Those are on average about 15 minutes long and may open your eyes towards Japanese grammar.

Whatever you do, don’t quit on a whim - this will only ensure regret down the line. Best of luck to you my friend.

8 Likes

Noooo it’s not failing or giving up at all if you don’t do lessons for a couple of days??? I’ve gone months without lessons and it really helped me reinforce the things I had already learned. So don’t feel bad for stopping lessons and just do reviews! Or if you’re burned out, just go on vacation mode for a while and come back when you’re feeling better!

6 Likes

Lessons are supposed to be harder than reviews (or at least they should be unless you already knew the items for some reason). But “torture” sounds pretty extreme.

At the very least you might consider reducing the “lesson batch sizing” in your app preferences to 3 instead of 5. I don’t think your pace is abnormally slow, but neither do I think decreasing the amount of “torture” will slow your pace.

You’re absolutely, definitively not! Very few people make it as far as you have already.

Well, for what it’s worth, I think some part of you wants to be convinced to continue or you wouldn’t have posted this. The advice to turn on vacation mode and take a break for a while seems wise. At the very least it will give you time to decide if you want to quit or to continue.


Shameless plug:

If you do decide you want to continue, I’d be very curious to know more about your specific situation. We’re at almost exactly the same level, so it would be informative to compare our distributions of upcoming assignments across SRS stages, how many review sessions we do each day, how fast we’re answering questions, and our recent review history (how many reviews per day, and our accuracy rates).

I wrote a userscript (the GanbarOmeter) expressly to help myself and others manage their workload. It displays exactly the information I listed above.

In my specific situation, one thing that proved to be a TREMENDOUS improvement was performing extra, repeated, “out of band,” self-study reviews of items in stages 1 and 2 before doing my “real” reviews each day.

Items in stages 1 and 2 are mostly from recently completed lessons. I’d often forget these from the day before because I’d only seen them once (missing the 4-hour and 8-hour reviews). Everyone benefits from FREQUENT, REPEATED reviews of items in stages 1-2. Unless you’re doing reviews at least three times a day, you won’t get them. If, like me, you only do reviews once per day, I HIGHLY recommend doing out-of-band reviews for early stage items before starting your “real” reviews (the GanbarOmeter script will launch the self-study quiz with just those items for you).

頑張って!

My latest GanbarOmeter data for comparison (I’m on level 42):


6 Likes

If it is solely lessons bothering you, then I would add to my previous post that focusing on reviews and whatever else for a while might be good.

There’s nothing embarrassing on having to go slower. I’ve been snailing my way through for a few years to get here and had reevaluate my approach a few times. It does humble you.

4 Likes

It’s tough, no doubt about it. Clearly, you’re feeling the strain of all that cramming. Maybe you want to finish it, maybe you don’t. But if you do, you’re in a good position to do so. You’ve come a long way, and maybe you deserve to take just a little rest from the constant cramming. Have you thought about changing it up a bit? Like, maybe take all that knowledge you’ve already amassed, and think of creative ways to use it in new sentences, especially in ways that are relevant to your actual daily life (outside of WK). You’re at a stage where you no doubt have read so many of the context examples of vocabulary that you could probably form basic Japanese sentences in your sleep. Can you think of fun and innovative ways to use your already huge vocabulary to come up with new expressions and insights? Maybe try something low-stress and fun like creating a poem about something that is interesting to you. You can set whatever rules you want: rhyme vs. no rhyme, haiku, certain number of syllables per line.

I don’t know. It just sounds like you need a break, so take one. But you obviously also have a very curious mind, so why not mix it up and re-channel that energy in a new, positive way? WK isn’t going anywhere. Rest and reinvigorate your spirit, and come back later. :green_heart:

2 Likes

If you stop, you’ll regret it. We’ve had too many people quit and then reset. Just settle for reviews and do whatever it takes just to do them. Not too late to return to the dark side. It’ll calm down even more over time.

1 Like

It’ not giving up if you’ve got a lot of knowledge out of Wani Kani, and I believe level 41 is indeed a lot of knowledge. This is no Holy Grail. Level 60 as it seems cool and fun to get is not going to make you immortal.

Maybe try reading japanese books, manga, watching films, series, anime, listening to podcasts. It’s what I’m doing and where I look for fun with japanese, and I’m only level 10. I plan to do Wani Kani for a year and see where it takes me. If you have a life subscription there will always be time to get back. And if not, all the WaniKani knowledge is free if you only wish to look up new kanji or vocab in the future.

Maybe focus on perfecting all the kanji and vocab you accumulated for a strong base.

And remember WaniKani is not the goal itself, it’s just the means, the tool to help you learn japanese.

気を付けて
Take care :slight_smile:

2 Likes

I’m the same level as you OP, and I’ve been doing WK for almost the same amount of time. Neat!

I’ve also had a number of occasions where I’ve felt like WK has been a tortuous waste of time which I both suck at and resent. Of course, those feelings ended up being fleeting - though some lasted weeks - and I’m glad I pushed through them. At those times, I always drop new lessons and just do reviews. For the first 4-5 months of last year I didn’t do any new lessons, and the review pile tapered off over time (with the help of the leech-training script). I plan to do the same now for at least the next few months, because I’m finding that kanji really isn’t my bottleneck to reading any more. Instead, I’m focusing on reading manga and playing video games in Japanese, since those are what I actually wanted to use the language for anyway.

I think it’s definitely helpful to stop seeing Level 60 as the ultimate goal, because there’s not really anything special about that point; level 60 users frequently say that diminishing returns have really set in beyond level 50 (at a generous estimate) and it’s not like burning items is any guarantee you’ll remember them. Nor does being level 60 guarantee anything when it comes to JLPT level or, y’know, actually using the language in a real-world setting.

To add to what everyone else is saying, it might be worth using this as an opportunity to reassess what your goals are and if what you’re doing is helping. WaniKani is only one part of the Japanese learning journey and for all its merits it’s only going to teach you to read kanji reasonably well - nothing less, nothing more. Why not drop new lessons for a while and focus on reading or listening for a while (assuming there is some form of Japanese media that got you interested in the first place), to rekindle some interest?

5 Likes

I, too, felt overwhelmed, even at my lowly level. I stopped doing any lessons or reviews from May to December last year. When I came back, I knocked off a couple of levels (that hurt) and concentrated on picking away bit by bit. Recently I’ve just concentrated on reviews, with lessons when I feel up to it (and not every day always).

1 Like

Hi, such considerate, kind and usefull comments, I could not add to that. I congratulate you with level 40 (no small result indeed!) and I hope you will find the joy of Japan and/or Japanese back in whichever way is best for you :).

1 Like

Why not take a break from lessons and just do your reviews? Move on and do some real Japanese and come back for those less common level 40+ kanji later

1 Like

As a fellow level 40-something, I don’t think that reaching level 60 is mandatory in any way. If you’re learning Japanese outside of WaniKani, especially reading a lot, you’re not only likely to come across the remaining WK kanji, but also learn ones which are not in WaniKani.

The rest sounds like you need a break. Not slowing down and blaming yourself for the lack of tempo or motivation, but just honestly taking a break. For me that helped with motivation to continue learning. Just hit that vacation mode and go feed ducks in a park :wink:.

From a more meta perspective, it might be worth considering Anki or another SRS with lesser cycles than WaniKani. What I noticed is that WaniKani’s constant flow of reviews can get fairly overwhelming easily. If you have a couple of decks in Anki, for instance split into themes, it helps with managing workloads.

1 Like

I just want to applaud your accomplishment of 37 months and level 41. I’m certain you have learned a lot.

1 Like

I went through a period like this as well. What helped was to stop adding new items, and work out through the existing reviews. Kept it like that for a few weeks until the daily workload was low enough. At that point you can consider switching to vacation mode for a week or so to recover. After that you’ll feel like new.

3 Likes