New People Questions! ~~~<3 [Lost?! Confused?! We're here to help!]

You were very clear, and (although I do love a good ramble) quite concise. Particularly because I really wanted a more detailed description! Thank you very much!
It wont be hard for me to miss a perfect run of seven day levels :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: I might look for a script that helps with estimating those longer term forecasts all the same. I do also like to learn items in the morning and in the evening so that my reviews are sort of split into AM and PM. (Ideally.)
Anyway, thank you for the heads up and sharing your experience with us beginners!

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I also only did morning or late afternoon / early evening. My Apprentice stuff always fared much better if I hit the +4h and +8h review as they popped up.

Hope you’ll keep enjoying your language journey and good luck!

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Well, nice puns

The very first steps of half :heart_eyes::blue_heart:


Hey, I started learning Japanese earlier this month when I found the Tofugu guide. After learning Hiragana, I started Wanikani and Katakana, and I’m now lvl 3. I have a lot of free time at the moment, and I wanted to ask for some advice.

I’ve read and done everything on the Tofugu guide down until it tells me to get to level 10 on Wanikani. What are some things I can do besides Wanikani in this early stage of learning? Are there any things you wish you’d spent more time on or learned early on? Or am I perhaps being too eager to learn and
I should just focus on Wanikani for now?


Hello hello, welcome!

I know that on the forum, there are a lot of divided opinions on whether that “wait until level 10” advice is sound.

From my personal perspective:

Positives of waiting:

  • You get used to the WK system, and have time to figure out what might be a largely sustainable way of doing your reviews and lessons every day.
  • Less risk of getting carried away by that initial rush of excitement and burying yourself in umpteen different study methods, only to hit a wall when the work picks up and you reach things that are harder to master.

Negatives of waiting:

  • You delay the point where you can start using the language, which can be very demotivating. In my personal situation, it took quite some time to get to the point of using the language, which was very frustrating. Depending on speed, reaching level 10 can take relatively short, or a very long time. For those going slower, I see no need to wait.

I think the most important thing is to experiment, but to be flexible. Feeling overwhelmed? Getting too busy? Slow down on WK lessons (or on lessons for other SRS platforms), or (temporarily) drop some things from your study schedule. Best to slow down than to stop.

There is no one-size-fits-all study plan, so best is to search out your own way while remaining mindful of burn-out.

I am terrible at grammar. I found and find it very difficult to learn. That I had a grammar resource didn’t mean I had the resource that was right for me. If I hadn’t allowed myself to be intimidated by grammar, I would have started sifting through different resources sooner, and I would have found my way sooner.

In short: focussing on just WK for now is not a problem at all, in my opinion. I was one of those people that needed the time to get acquainted to kanji. And doing just WK made me develop a habit of studying every single day. If I had filled up my itinerary from the start, it would have been too hard for me to sustain in the long run. But once I was used to doing WK for about an hour a day every single day, it was easier to add extra things to that established routine without feeling overwhelmed.

This place is full of all kinds of great resources, so be sure to look and read around loads! A possible place to start could be:

Welcome again and best of luck!


Thanks a bunch! That was a great and comprehensive answer. I guess now is a good time to look at different resources without completely committing to them. Have a good day.


Hi, I’m pretty sure there’s a better thread for this, but I couldn’t find it. I had question about the kanji 苦. I just learned it and the only translation WaniKani offers is suffering. But this Kanji is also the one used in the level section to title the levels 11 - 20 and there it is translated with painful. I’m guessing that they chose this meaning over the other since it works better, but if so, why didn’t they also choose a kanji that more accurately translates to painful? Like 痌 (that was just a quick jisho search).
Thanks for any help in advance!

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I see 痌 more used for physical injury and ailments, while terms like 苦しい I see used about physical discomfort, and mental / emotional discomfort.

So it’s not painful in the sense that those kanji will leave you with a physical injury it’s - metaphorically painful, and I think 苦 fits that a bit more.

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I see. So it’s really just a lack of a better standalone kanji.

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That kanji isn’t even listed on (a site made by the people who run the Kanji Kentei) which means it is extremely rare, in Japanese anyway. It wouldn’t make much sense to use it here, no matter how closely the meaning matched.

Also 苦 can mean more things than suffering. Don’t assume a lack of other glosses on WaniKani means they aren’t possible.


You’re right about that. It just irritated me why they wouldn’t even list a meaning, that they themselves use.

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So I’m well aware of the general differences between the kanji and vocab, but like a lot of new(ish) users, this becomes very frustrating right away. For example, why is 山 as the kanji reading さん, but the vocab reading is やま while the vocabulary word is ふじさん? I mean, I understand WHY Mt Fuji is called this, but not by WK rules. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have さん be the vocabulary reading and やま the kanji? I’ve seen this example used on multiple forum topics but not really directly explained…

I also find it a bit confusing that the site defines on’yomi as normally having several kanji together, even though we don’t traditionally learn several kanji together at this stage, at least…

Hi! I think I understand your confusion. やま is the vocabulary because that’s how you pronounce mountain alone. You would never pronounce mountain as さん alone. ふじさん is also vocabulary because that’s how you pronounce mt. Fuji. There are not WK rules saying you would pronounce it as ふじやま. さん is the kanji reading because that’s how it’s most often used in many words.

It’s true that when you put multiple kanji together, the on’yomi reading is typically used, but that is not always the case.

I hope this helps a little!


WaniKani isn’t inventing what is vocabulary in the Japanese language. 山, as a word in Japanese, is read やま, not as さん. This is the generic word for mountain. やまがある (There is a mountain). You cannot say さんがある to mean “There is a mountain.” That’s what it means for it to be a vocabulary item.

富士山 (ふじさん) is a different word than 山 (やま). It is written with the same mountain kanji, but just because the word やま is written with 山 doesn’t mean that another word with the same kanji will also be read やま.

The fact that さん is taught in the kanji lesson is just a matter of not overwhelming you with all the readings at once. やま is also a valid reading of the kanji.


But this isn’t addressing the fact that “Mt. Fuji” is listed as “vocabulary,” but using the kanji reading. I don’t think I’m crazy in realizing that this system is bound to lead to confusion.

Were you under the impression that no words used the readings learned in the kanji lessons? What would be the point of learning them?

It’s not “a kanji reading” and “a vocab reading” but rather “a kanji lesson”, which includes one of the readings of the kanji (usually the most common reading, regardless of the exact type of reading it is), and then “a vocab lesson”, which uses the reading that the vocabulary word would have when you encounter it in the real world.


This is better. My issue is just that you have words like mountain and volcano classified as “vocabulary,” but don’t use vocabulary readings.

I understand WHY this is from a Japanese language level. It’s the way WK attempts to classify things this way that I find confusing.

No, my issue is with the difference between the “vocabulary” used for the kanji and the actual “vocabulary” words, which use the kanji readings. It’s the overlap in “vocabulary” that is confusing.