My Journey of 368 days (+ The Ultimate Guide for WK 📖 )

Do all the vocab lessons. Most people burn out of Wanikani. If you don’t want that to be you then take your time. 9 days per lesson is plenty fast. Dedicate your other time to having fun with the language.

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Ofcourse I do all the vocab lessons… I find that just as important as learning the Kanji. I am rushing things a bit as long as I can manage, around 7 to 8 days per level, I’m just really motivated to learn as much as I can handle. I find it already extremely satisfying when I read a text and I already see Kanji and vocab being used which I learned :slight_smile:


What are the consequences to getting something wrong at each level?
For example, what if you get something wrong at the Burned review stage then what happens? Does it remain at Enlightened and not come back for review for four months? Or does it go back down a stage?

Until Apprentice 4, it goes down by one level.
From Guru I and up, it goes down by 2 levels.

So in this case, an Enlightened item goes down to Guru II :slight_smile:

If I recall correctly, getting the same item wrong over and over during the same review session might have it go down even further, but usually, it’s not something people pay attention to, so I wouldn’t worry. If you wanna know more about this, check this link:

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Question: I signed up on wanikani 20 days ago and I’m still at level two lol is it normal to spend something like 2 weeks on this low level? I’m putting a lot of effort into it, doing 5 lessons in the morning which I feel difficult enough if they are kanji or vocabs (sometimes it will take 30+ minutes because I take notes and transcribe the kanji/vocab, its meaning and pronunciation), and at the same time I try to learn 5 new vocabs from genki 1 in the evening. Memorizing 10+ items a day feels difficult but right. I paired this routine with to do some reverse wanikani and also use the genki deck

Meanwhile I hear people memorising 20 lessons a day and also learning the 50+ vocab expressions in the genki lessons in just 3-4 days :flushed: am I doing anything wrong?

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5 WK lessons a day is a little on the slower end, but seeing as you’re pairing it with learning vocab from Genki and are doing other things alongside WK, I wouldn’t worry too much! The main thing is finding a pace that you can fit into your schedule and keep up with every day, and depending on the other things you have going on in your life, you might have more or less time that you’re able to devote to SRS, in comparison with other people.

I will say that from my own experience, I’ve found that I’m now able to handle learning more words each day than I could when I just started. Once I really committed to doing WK, I started doing just 10 WK items every day (with no other SRS except for KaniWani), and then after I did a few levels like that, I picked up Minna no Nihongo and started SRS-ing the textbook vocab. For several months, I learned 3 kanji and 9 vocab a day from WK, and then I’d learn 30-50 additional vocab from MNN every two weeks on top of that (though, granted, many of those vocab were repeats from WK).

Then this year, I started actually mining vocab from my immersion reading, so my daily time on Anki has more than doubled, and I often learn about 19 words a day plus 3 kanji across both platforms. It was hard adjusting at first, but after I got used to it, it doesn’t feel so bad.

There’s absolutely no way I could have started out with doing that much, though! It just gets easier to learn kanji the more you learn, and it gets easier to learn vocab the more kanji you learn, and just the more Japanese you know. I’d pay attention to your own energy levels and see how things are going, and adjust your SRS load up or down as needed.

I do think it’s more dangerous to overload yourself and burn out than it is to go slow, so I recommend aiming for a daily lesson/review count that you’re able to keep up with even on your worst days rather than what you can do on an ideal day. If that’s lower than the kinds of numbers some other people are doing, that’s okay! I’m a fan of the Let’s Durtle the Scenic Route thread because of the focus on going at your own pace.

Becoming proficient in Japanese is a marathon, not a sprint, so even if you go at a fast pace, it will still take you years to learn the language. That’s why I think it’s best to focus most on what you’re able to do each day and let that decide your pace. Consistency over a long period of time pays off. If you can spend more time on it each day, that’ll help you progress faster, but if you set unsustainable goals, you likely won’t be able to keep doing it for as long as it takes to actually learn the language, so I think it’s really important to find that sweet spot where you’re putting as much time as you can into it without burning yourself out. The only person who can judge that is you!

I will say, at a rate of 5 lessons a day, completing WK will take you 4-5 years, which is on the slower end (I think 2-3 is closer to the average for people who reach level 60). If you’re fine with this pace and you’re supplementing with additional vocab/grammar study, then there’s nothing wrong with it! But just make sure you keep your expectations realistic for how long to expect WK being part of your life.

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Thanks a ton for the answer and your feedback, it gave me motivation and clarified some things!
I think that memory is like muscles and it could improve eventually allowing me to maintain a higher rythm but in the mean while as you said the most important thing is not to burn out :raised_hands:
Wow you mentioned crazy numbers, do you feel that you’re actually learning everything in a decent way with all those kanji n vocabs every day?
I think I’ll be on this forum for at least the next 4-5 years then, even tho I believe that when I’ll have a structure good enough and will be able to take the immersion things will get easier on this end and I’ll be also encountering already studied vocabs from one or the other system that I’m using, hopefully.
But anyway you remembered me that what I’m doing is that I’m actually building proficiency in the language, I should probably forget about levels and how many things I study a day. I just need to do the right amount every day and be sure that Im using the right approach.
It’s funny because I keep seeing crazy similarities with sport, I’ve been working out for the last 12 years of my life and I’m used to things as not doing too much work otherwise I go into an overtraining status (and it’s difficult to go back to proper form when you are ‘burned out’) or the fact that there are different improving speeds during the journey and it depends on many aspects. Also the more solid the base, the quicker and better I can move forward after one difficult step. Everything of this relates to learning a language too!
Thanks alot for the feedback!:pray:

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Pardon, I have another question.
I’m taking reviews on the app tsurukame which allows me to correct my wrong answers on reviews. I know that it’s very important not to cheat, but sometimes I’ll see the kanji 口 and think ‘oh this is くち easy job’ and than find out it’s wrong. I will suddenly remember that the app asks me the reading of the kanji and not the vocab, which I already know too (こう, く). So I’ll mark it as a correct answer. And stuff like forgetting that the kanji 入 means ‘enter’ and not ‘to enter’
Should I be more rigorous with my training and accept the downgrade on these items?

I actually do! Funnily enough, my accuracy actually improved from the earliest levels when I was going a lot slower, haha (I didn’t start doing 10 items a day until after I reached level 3). Though I think that was largely because of improving my timing, since I started actually paying attention to the 4 hour and 8 hour review intervals like this guide suggests. I’ve been able to keep going for over a year now, so that’s a testament to how effective this guide is :blush:

One thing that also helps is just learning more Japanese, period, and seeing a lot of it in the wild. My ability to memorize kanji and vocab went up after I started learning grammar and actually applying the information, and being able to actually read now has helped keep things in my brain. A lot of the words that I have circulating in Anki right now from my non-textbook reading are words that I see all the time in the media that I’m reading, so that helps reinforce my memory of them, which helps me not get so bogged down in reviews.

It sounds to me that you have a great mindset for approaching this, and I think your comparisons to sport are pretty spot on!

With the things like “to enter” for 入, I think that’s an acceptable occasion to mark something correct, though I’d try to avoid repeating that mistake. Same as くち for 口, since normally WK will have a shake animation there telling you that they’re looking for the on’yomi reading, so you typically get a chance to correct yourself with that mistake anyway.

I would be more strict with the vocab reviews, though, since in that case, usually there is only one correct reading. But for the kanji, it’s just a matter of remembering which reading WK specifically wants, which is arbitrary. There is also a little more leeway with kanji meanings as well, though I’d still make sure that you’re careful with it and don’t let yourself get away with too much, haha.

The thing about mistakes in general is that it actually helps you to see items that you’re struggling with more frequently, so even though it can be frustrating to fail something, if you truly do need to spend more time learning the item, it’s actually good for you to fail it and see it more times! If you actually do know it and miss it because you make a typo or something, it’s fine to use an override, but make sure you’re honest with yourself!


I read the main article of this post and it has helped me too, A LOT, in structuring my learning sessions, and complementing with grammar. I’d like to thank the creator Joseph Pereira which I don’t know how to tag lol but this is really good and helpful. I hope I’ll be able to increase the rythm as you did :crossed_fingers: but just keep learning is fine!

The ‘immersion’ I’ve been hearing talking about? I’d really like to get there. My long term goal is to be able to read a complex book with specialised terms inside it, so I’ll be reading as soon as possible the simplest stuff

what is the very first thing you were able to ‘approach’ reading?

most important thing haha I’m trying to improve my japanese, not my ego :relieved::wink:

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I’m kind of an unusual case haha because even before I started learning the language, I was spending most of my free time watching Japanese media without subtitles (professional wrestling :sweat_smile:), and my twitter feed was half in Japanese already (thanks to following a bunch of Japanese wrestlers), so from the moment I started learning the language, I was constantly trying to understood what I could, and puzzle out tweets and such.

I never really had a period of feeling afraid of trying to read, because for me, the whole process of becoming literate in Japanese has been extremely thrilling, because it feels like gradually gaining access to this world that I spent over a year and a half looking into longingly, but not being able to understand. So anything that I could understand was a beautiful bonus, and anything that was still beyond me was something I just had to let go, like I was used to doing.

But the first media that I made a real effort to try to read in its entirety was a manga called 大海原と大海原, which was the manga selected by the absolute beginners book club at the time. It was definitely above my level (I wasn’t even halfway through my beginner textbook, and was maybe level 15 or so on WK?), but since I had the support of the book club thread, I was able to figure out what was happening in the story.

So I highly recommend trying to read a book along with the absolute beginners book club here once you start feeling a little more comfortable with reading! It’s a great environment to start out in, and you’ll have a lot of help available when you have questions!

I’ve recently moved onto an ambitious translation project that is still way above my level, but if I’m not doing the work, then no one else will, so it’s very motivating, especially since it’s time-sensitive haha :sweat_smile:. I think a lot of language learning is just throwing yourself into things that you don’t feel quite ready for. It can be hard and sometimes frustrating, but you’ll be surprised at how much you’re able to understand :blush:


this is how I learnt english :wink: I mean not with wrestling but I was constantly watching tons of english material and was also putting a concise effort in understanding what I was watching/reading

that sweet sensation when you’re finally able to make the slightest sense of what you read :joy:

Okay I was about to ask if you would suggest me waiting to end genki 1 first and then try something, but maybe it’s better to reach level 10 first…? I know that my WK level is not actually important but in this moment my vocab/kanji knowledge is TOO much restricted. I can barely read the 3-5% of kanji I see and understand even less lol

what are you translating? I did something similar with english many many years ago, it helped me like a ton!

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You will definitely have an easier time if you complete Genki 1 first, but it really depends on your tolerance for ambiguity/looking a lot of things up. If you find it too frustrating, it’s okay to wait until your grammar is a little more solid before starting, but if you don’t mind spending a lot of time looking up grammar and vocab, haha, you can start as early as you want :blush:. If you join the book club, they have vocab sheets you can reference, so your WK level really isn’t important at all. Grammar will be your main stumbling block by far, though of course the threads have support for that as well if you get stuck.

Truthfully, I had planned to wait until I had finished Minna no Nihongo 1 before I tried making a serious attempt to read, but I really liked the sound of 大海原と大海原, and I really wanted to try reading it specifically, so I just dove in :sweat_smile:.

Two of my favorite Japanese pro wrestling companies, DDT Pro Wrestling and Tokyo Joshi Pro wrestling, just lost their main translator last year (he left the company), and when he left, that meant we lost his live translation twitter threads for the shows (DDT and TJPW both have a lot of comedy, so it’s not nearly as much fun if you have to miss the jokes :pensive:), as well as his translations for all of the post-match interviews and press conferences (which are really important for following the stories and understanding the characters).

So, I started out trying to translate the DDT show recaps, which transcribed some quotes and had some other context. A friend of mine was translating for TJPW. Then DDT got another translator who did live translation threads again, as well as covering the press conferences and the post-match comments, so I switched to translating the TJPW show recaps instead so that my friend could work on other stuff.

TJPW has a show about once a week, so it keeps me quite busy, haha! But it’s the only way I can keep following the stories as long as they don’t have anyone doing official translation work for them, so it’s motivating enough for me to keep pushing myself even though it’s often hard. Wrestling is always moving along and the characters are constantly evolving and changing, so it’s not like following a manga or something where you can wait a few months or years for someone else to pick up the translation again.


Ok thanks for this feedback. I’ll keep it in mind, I will probably keep doing what I’m doing because it would probably take me a lot of time trying to go thru any kind of reading source atm, but if it happens that one day I wake up feeling a master in japanese language, I might attempt.

Now that I think of it, I found out this ‘satori reader’ that has the feature of synching with my WK level, any thought on it? It looks awesome honestly but I still haven’t tried

oh now I see why you said it was ‘timed’ this is a tough work but can’t imagine anything better probably at your current level

That is what I was thinking about, the difficulty level must be quite high. What would you consider your current japanese understanding level? (listening+writing+speaking)

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I haven’t used it myself, but I know other people who have had excellent luck with it, so I can definitely recommend it!

I’d summarize it probably as “upper beginner”, haha :sweat_smile:. In more concrete terms, I’m solidly past N5, but I don’t think I’m quite N4 yet. I should get there by the time I’m done with Minna no Nihongo book 2, which should happen a couple months before I finish WK (theoretically I’ll reach level 60 in about a year from now). That’s assuming I’m able to keep going at the same pace I’ve been doing for about a year now.

However, I think calling myself N5 is a little deceptive, because my kanji skill is absolutely a lot higher, and I know a lot of higher level vocab, so once my grammar catches up, I’ll be able to dive into a lot of stuff that others at that level would struggle with, like manga and print books with no furigana. I’ve spent some time learning how to write kanji, too, so I’m really good at looking up unknown kanji, and I’m decent at reading handwritten kanji. I’m hoping I’ll be able to go from MNN/WK to basically just reading the stuff that I really want to read without it being too much of a pain, since kanji shouldn’t be a problem, and grammar will be a lot less of one.

My listening is… okay. It’s constantly getting better, but I still have a long way to go. I’m able to catch bits and pieces of stuff from wrestling shows, but rarely full sentences. I have decent comprehension on my textbook listening exercises, though it varies. I’m very heavily reliant on transcripts if I want to be able to understand wrestling stuff.

My speaking skill is nonexistent, haha. I haven’t practiced it at all. If I ever do work on it, it will be pretty far in the future, I think. My strength is absolutely in reading. Everything else is more of a struggle.

I talk about where I’m at in a little bit more detail in this post in my study log, if you’re curious :blush:


Just wanted to pop in and say that I think you can create a free satori reader account that lets you view the first section of each story. This should help you find out if the service is fit for your needs. Every article is dynamically coded so that you can check the translation, translation notes, and audio of each sentence individually. You can also click on any word or grammar particle in that sentence to see its meaning. The meaning popup also includes a button to add it straight to your on-site flashcards from the reading page, which is convenient (might not be available on free accounts? Can’t remember.)

Highly recommend it for a less overwhelming way to branch into reading.


If I can ask, why this book for N5-N4? I only heard about genki 1 and 2 for the first two levels of JLPT and never heard about the series you are talking about. Is it easy to understand? Would you recommend it over the majestic genki?

Same same (in a distant future tho lol)

I’ll check it out :raised_hands:

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Thanks for the feedback, this satori reader keeps getting more and more interesting. Gotta try

Minna no Nihongo and Genki are pretty comparable, in terms of where each will get you (essentially to N4). MNN is more thorough and gets you a little bit further, but essentially they’re basically equivalent. Here’s an article comparing some popular textbook choices, including those two.

The main difference between them is that MNN’s core textbook is entirely in Japanese. You can buy a translation/grammar explanation book to accompany it (you have the option of I think over a dozen different languages), as well as additional workbooks. So, in this sense, it isn’t “easy to understand” haha, but the way the book is designed, it builds on what you learned previously, so even though it’s intimidating at first, it actually isn’t too hard to read, assuming you learned the previous material thoroughly.

I personally prefer MNN over Genki, but truthfully it’s personal preference. Either will serve just fine to get you through the beginner phase. I like MNN because I liked that it gets you reading Japanese very early, and it has lots and lots of reading practice all throughout. I feel like I’ve benefited from that, and it has helped me start to think in Japanese instead of working from translation. I also like the way the exercise drills are designed, because unlike Genki, they aren’t designed with pair work in mind, and they’re very good at drilling each individual grammar point without being too confusing.

If you already have Genki and like it just fine, then honestly I’d just stick with it, unless you read about MNN and fall in love with the concept of it haha. In the grand scheme of things, it won’t matter too much which one you choose, as long as you’re able to stick with it. Some people prefer MNN, and others prefer Genki, so neither is really “better” than the other.

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Thank you a lot for all the advices, I will stick to genki for the moment but I’ll probably buy MNN, it got me curious.

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