My Realistic Restart Study Log

This will be the start of my “Reboot” here on WaniKani. I’ve been studying Japanese for 1 and a half years now. I am a slow learner, but I am persistent, as well as consistent (mostly). This log will serve to give me accountability, as well as give future hope to those who took the slow road. My overall goal is not to memorize as much as I can in X time, it is simply to become fluent in several years, as well as read native material sooner. I realize setting goals is important, so I will simply set the goal of using WaniKani every single day until I clear the lessons. Be it fast, or slow, I will show up. I used WaniKani for several months in 2023, but neglected it afterwards, and as a result I have reset today, March 3, 2024.

What has my journey looked like so far?
I started learning Japanese at the end of 2022. I bought Genki, and Started an anki deck to encompass all vocabulary in Genki 1+ 2. I used anki consistently for 9 months, building up to about 800 known kanji (or so I thought, we’ll talk about that later), and completed Genki 1. Then, December 2023, I realized I was unable to recall most of the kanji I had spent 400+ hours cramming with anki, and I couldn’t speak much at all when given the opportunity. This discouraged me greatly as an hour a day for the past yerar felt wasted, until I realized where I went wrong and changed things this year.

The Error of my Ways and the Anki trap
Although I had sunk more than 400 hours into anki vocabulary, I was punched in the gut when attempting to recall cards I KNOW I had seen in anki, in contexts other than anki. All of my cards were J → E, no “fill in the blanks” or E->J. I realize now, my fatal flaw was only learning Japanese in the context of the anki interface, where I had seen the card a hundred times, and know what was in my deck. I also realize the value of Wanikani in terms of actually quizzing what you know. I had fallen into a trap with anki, where it had become my main study resource AND memorization platform, when it was never meant to be neither. It makes a great study aid to retain material you have ALREADY studied, and only works if you quiz yourself, and can recall information outside of the interface.
I also realized I couldn’t speak much of what I should have known either. I wasn’t very confident in the pronunciation because I never used it, and rarely heard it. This was the result of consuming text for 90% of my study time. This made me realize I need an environment where I can speak and use what I’ve learned, as well as make appropriate time for listening practice.

Going Forward and How I fixed Myself
I’ve signed up for online classes through an organization in my state known as JASK, or Japan/America Society of Kentucky. They offer weekly classes that are guided, and the organization provides an outlet to practice speaking with others. This solves my lack of speaking problem. I’ve started playing Japanese mmorpgs for additional immersion, watching chat, and engaging when I can to output text. I’ve swallowed my pride, and deleted all of my anki decks. It was hard coming to terms how much time I had wasted there. This time, only material I’ve covered in class, or outside will go into anki. Every anki card has a reverse card, and a sentence with the word. This should cover my big two mistakes I’ve made with anki last year. It will also never compose most of my learning time per day again. If I am spending more time on anki than using other resources, that means I need more context for the items in my deck. The hardest pill to swallow was realizing that anki is a memorization tool, not a learning tool.

My Daily Study Plan:

  • Review Anki Cards, Add them after Class
  • WaniKani
  • 30 Minutes of Immersion through Video Games or Youtube
  • A Short Grammar Lesson from Youtube OR a Textbook

Basically what I said in the introduction. I’d like also participate in the beginners book club here this year.

The Log
I’ll make weekly updates here to talk about my class for the week, and any other significant milestones.
Thank you for taking the time to ready this, and I hope to participate in Wanikani as a community more in the future.



I started listening to " Learn Japanese with Paul Noble" because of long car rides to work. It’s mostly beginner level phrases, and moves quite slowly, but it’s been great for reinforcing pronunciation. It’s also nice to be able to fill the long car rides with something productive.

I’ve also started using the “HumanJapanese” app, which is is also a little on the easier side for my current level. But I’m using it as a bridge to start using Satori Reader, an app by the same company.

Wanikani could have been moving more quickly. This week I’m going to make it a point to make sure and do it every day. I think this is covering all of the bases with the current routine. I’m going to keep this up for the time being.


Welcome back and to the study log crew!

That’s great! I am in a course run by Germany/Japan foundation and it’s really friendly and a nice way to practice. It’s not fast, but it’s one of the things that keeps me showing up everyday.

I’m sure the familiarity you gained with your earlier contact with Japanese words on Anki and WK will still be a net benefit, and you’ll make good progress with your new routine :slight_smile:

Excellent - we have a Satori appreciation thread here with lots of tips when you’re ready if you haven’t seen that thread yet.


This is the key, imho. Doing it all too fast and burning out in the process is a mistake a lot of people make.

yes!!! I noticed that too but when going from WK to Anki. It’s wild how much knowing the context will help you in getting the right answer. When I started Anki there lots of words / kanji I supposedly already knew from WK that I wasn’t able to recognize :smiling_face_with_tear: I’m doing the 2K core deck now together with WK and I use WK mnemonics to memorize stuff on the Anki deck. I did about 20% of the deck and so far it’s been helpful, because it’s the most frequent vocabulary, which is not WK’s focus. So I’m being able to understand complete sentences with much more ease - something I wasn’t able to do after 10 WK levels. Combining them has been a good strategy for me. I think your strategy to diversify your study sources will definitely pay off in the end!

Having the opportunity to take classes is awesome, I hope you get the most out of them ^^


Thank you. I will definitively have look at the appreciation thread to get an idea of where to start.


I’m doing the 2K core deck now together with WK and I use WK mnemonics to memorize stuff on the Anki deck. I did about 20% of the deck and so far it’s been helpful, because it’s the most frequent vocabulary, which is not WK’s focus.

This will be my next move with anki. I feel like having more common words will help see them in other contexts more often.

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It’s been difficult, not gonna lie. Because what I do is search the vocab on WK → read mnemonic for the kanji → read mnemonics for vocab - it’s a bit time consuming. Some of the kanji are pretty complex and only going to be studied at much more advanced WK levels, since WK sorts kanji by strokes/complexity, and not by frequency. This sometimes requires learning radicals I still haven’t learned too.

I was almost giving it up, then I noticed how much my reading suddenly improved so I decided to keep going :slight_smile: I’m currently using WK mostly for kanji, I do vocab lessons but only 12 per day. I understand this might make kanji retention worse but it’s a risk I’m willing to take for now and I’ll probably get back to WK after I finish the deck (or maybe I’ll start the 5k deck :rofl: let’s see! it will depend on how comfortable I’ll feel with the media I consume).

I also put a modification on the deck to show furigana on hover, but I try to not use it very often. You can modify it to always show furigana too and focus more on the meaning of the words but I don’t think that’s very productive, idk.

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Last Tuesday was my last Japanese speaking class. I need to find new ways to interact with others verbally, even if my language is broken. I will look into maybe doing a weekly “chat session” with a native speaker via one of those paid apps.
In other news, I’ve signed up for my first book club, the 葬送のフリーレン ・Frieren Book Club.
I’ve ordered the manga in Japanese, and am really excited for it.
Although it will be a struggle, I’ve noticed I do well when learning with a group with hard deadlines set.

Wanakani continues to move slowly as I pickup a core 2.3/6k anki deck and move into Human Japanese Intermediate.

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It’s been a few weeks. I’m a little over 100 words into the 2.3/6k anki deck. I’m knocking out 5 cards a day. Tomorrow begins the book club, so I’m really excited for that. I’m approaching level 3 in WaniKani again.

I’m knocking out Human Japanese Intermediate VERY slowly. I’m trying to get the training wheels off though. I honesty want to stop reading textbooks and just get into learning. It’s been a long time, and I think a focus on immersion with native material is my only way forward.