First off, what kind of usage pattern should I try to be using for this program? I get the whole point of waiting for the SRS to work properly, but the timing between reviews is kind of odd. Sometimes there are reviews coming up an hour later and sometimes they wait days. Should I be attempting to do them as soon as they come up? Or am I OK to just do them once a day? Maybe as long as once a week?
The second question I have is at what level would be a good time to start trying to find reading material or other things to help me better understand the language.
Both are good questions with answers that vary a lot depending on your goals, time, and a whole range of other factors.
On the intervals, most people do best doing their reviews around when they are first due, but this is much more sensitive for the shorter intervals (eg if I’m 2 hours late for a 4 hour review I’m much more likely to get it wrong, but if I’m 8 hours late for a week review it doesn’t much matter).
Most people also do best on wanikani with more than one session of reviews per day, since it lets you go for accuracy, and progress faster. If you want to optimise intervals beyond that general advice, here’s a long and amazing guide: My Journey of 368 days (+ The Ultimate Guide for WK 📖 ).
Wanikani only teaches you kanji so you need other materials to learn Japanese. And when to bring them in is a matter of judgement for you! You can start right now if you have time and energy, or you can wait a few levels till you have a little bit of kanji knowledge to help you feel comfortable. Views vary on this but there’s a lot more people on the forum saying they wish they’d started earlier, compared to the other way round, so if you’re keen now then now is a great time to start.
I’m trying to do my first kanji quiz and at first it was working, but now no matter what I type the text box just jiggles… For example the first quiz kanji is 大 and I tried to write たい and also だい but it just jiggles and doesn’t give me an error message or anything. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.
Do you happen to have a second instance of reviews or lessons open anywhere? It can be another tab on your computer, on your phone, on your tablet, anywhere. Any doubles tend to throw the Crabigator into a tizzy.
If you’re running any user scripts, have you checked if it persists when you turn them all off? Some back-end changes of WK have made some scrips glitchy (I think Katakana Madness has been giving people trouble?)
If that doesn’t help, maybe drop WK an email so that they can help you out.
Thank you so much for your reply! I actually finally figured it out… I was not noticing that the quiz was asking me both for the “meaning” and the “reading.” I just kept doing the “reading” because I thought the quiz was just about that. But it totally makes sense to quiz both at once! Brand new to WK and learning Japanese and it makes me so happy how helpful and positive this community is
Agree with what Omun said, one other thing to double check is that you don’t have an extra space at the start of what you’re trying to type (it’s one thing that can cause a shake without an explanation). Also… warm welcome to Wanikani!
EDIT … oops, beaten to it by the actual problem being solved!
Hello, i’m interested in joining WaniKani but have a few questions:
Around what difficulty level can you start reading simple manga or anime with japanese subtitles? I’ve seen multiple answers on this, my vocabulary is severely limited at this time.
Compared to other SRS apps/sites i’m liking the fact that here i’m forced to learn the readings and to type them every time i’m asked, so no self-evaluation compared to Anki and no multiple choice questions/answers.
Another question regarding vocabulary, is the vocabulary here used in books more than daily conversations? I don’t see that as a problem if that’s the case because it would solve itself by using various media.
So my last question is if i have to supplement WaniKani with other resources while learning or if it is not required and i can check them out later. I’ve been recommended university books to learn japanese which i understand are a good resource to learn grammar and the likes, but learning here makes repetition and practice easier so i would look those up after i’ve learned a decent amount of kanji and vocabulary.
There’s various answers because everyone is different, sorry! Brace yourself for it being really hard, and decide to give it a go anyway, is my advice It depends on a few things including how much work you do outside wanikani (eg on grammar) and, more importantly, your perseverance/ stubbornness in the face of being overwhelmingly confused by something brand new.
My experience was that if you’re willing to spend more than an hour of effort for every single page looking things up and puzzling things out like a crime scene detective, then it’s entirely possible to start with really easy manga from about level 10 or so. You won’t know most of the kanji, you won’t know most of the grammar, but press on anyway. I can’t recommend the wonderful book clubs on these forums enough to help you dive in. Once you start reading and seeing progress, then it does get better.
Anime in real time is going to take a fair bit longer because you need to do it fast as well.
Wanikani teaches you vocabulary to reinforce the kanji (rather than vocab for the sake of reading or speaking) so the order you will learn vocab here is not exactly from most common to least common. There’s also at least a hundred super common words typically written in kana only -so not on wanikani- that you’ll need to know to read nearly anything, but you can pick these up from a textbook, through grammar study or by looking them up as you read. Good luck!
When starting to read, your vocabulary and kanji knowledge won’t be the limiting factor. You need to know grammar for that. Think about it: you see a bunch of unknown words in a text, but if you recognize the particles between them and the inflections, and see “oh, this looks like a verb in the volitional form”, “oh, this is an adjective in the past form”. It’s easy to look up new words and kanji. jisho.org makes it trivial (and if you read shounen manga everything will have furigana anyway). Recognizing how the words relate to each other, now that’s the hard part. Learn grammar if you want to read, learn lots and lots of grammar. If you reach around N3 level, you’ll start being comfortable reading simple manga.
The vocab here has only one role: to reinforce the kanji you learn. It’s not sorted by frequency or anything, nor usefulness. There’s many WK words that I have never encountered in the wild. That said, they are helpful to teach kanji readings. You need to use a separate vocab resource, maybe a version of the 6k deck from iKnow.
Just doing WaniKani is insufficient for learning Japanese. WaniKani will just teach you to recognize kanji and words. You need to learn grammar, practice listening and speaking, and learn different vocab outside of WaniKani too. I used iknow.jp for that myself, other people use Anki or Memrise, there’s also kitsun.io which is a nice alternative.
That said, you don’t have to do everything at once if you don’t want to, it depends on your goals. There’s people here who do only WaniKani until level 60 and only then start learning grammar, for example. If you’re fine putting off your Japanese learning by a year or two, that’s also something you decide. Alternatively, if you don’t want to read, but rather only speak the language, then you don’t really need to learn kanji. Luckily in the digital age, you can skip learning to write kanji by hand. Traditionally that’s the biggest time sink for learning the language, repetitively filling notebooks with the same kanji over and over again. With WaniKani that’s a thing of the past, at least. At the very least, try to progress with grammar alongside WaniKani, that’d be my advice. Grammar is absolutely necessary for learning the language either way, so you may as well get started with it.
There’s always some discussion on resources here on the forums, I suggest you look at here to begin with:
I started last year and made it to level five before decided I needed to focus on school more and set Wanikani aside. But this year I’m hoping to be more balanced and so I restarted from Level 1. Most things are very familiar and it’s been easy so far, but I must admit, I don’t remember this word at all! Has it always been here and I just forgot? Or is it newer for level 1?
They added a lot of content over the last year, including this particular vocab item. You can find more information on what exactly was added in the content addition posts they’ve made on the forum here, for 力いっぱい the addition was announced in these posts:
This is a bit of a weird question and I’m probably just overthinking it, but I’m one of those people who decides to keep a cap on how many apprentices they have, and when they reach that cap, they stop doing lessons. Right now it’s at 130 and sometimes I feel like there are days where I just don’t do any lessons at all. Is this more of an accuracy problem where I’m just not getting my apprentices to guru accurately enough, or is it just that my cap is too low?
Personally I don’t work with a cap at all, so maybe I’m misunderstanding.
If you feel that you can do the apprentices easily (disregarding actual accuracy for a second) and are hungry for more after each review session, you might want to up the cap. However, it also depends on how much of your apprentice words are of levels before your current one. If it’s all apprentices from 3 levels back, that’s the problem you’d want to tackle first. No change in cap is needed at all in that case, since solving the root problem frees up ‘supply’.
Generally I find this is more of an accuracy problem, but when I’m having that, it’s usually more that I’m failing Guru items and knocking them back into apprentice (or failing burns, knocking them back to guru, and then failing some more).
At a rough cap of 100, with a hard cap of 120, I can usually do at least 5-10 lessons/day - sometimes more like 15-20, but occasionally I hit a patch of guru items that turns out I didn’t know that well that really inflate my apprentice for a bit while I sort them back out. That’s usually when I can’t do any lessons
Another thing to factor into whether to do lessons when you’re at/near your cap - are your 130 apprentice items mostly apprentice 1/2 and going to be coming up tons, or are they pretty much all apprentice 4, and just waiting to move up to Guru? To me, that changes the workload breakdown a bit - if I have 95 apprentice 4 items and 10 apprentice 3, I’m going to do some more lessons, even though I’m technically at my cap. If I have 20 apprentice 1 items and 30 apprentice 2 and 50 apprentice 3 - no thanks, I don’t think I need more lessons right now, those apprentice 1/2 items are going to be coming up a bunch more times in the next 2 days.
Remember the apprentice cap thing is really to manage your workload - if you are finding that with 130 apprentice, you have time/energy for more work, think about increasing it. If you’re finding that when you have that many apprentice, if you had to do more reviews, it would be difficult, it’s probably the right cap and the ‘no lesson’ days are telling you to keep working on some accuracy and give yourself a chance to catch up.
I feel like it is more of a problem with accuracy than anything, after reading your responses. If I’m accurate and focused, not only does it make apprentices gurus faster it also makes it so the act of SRS itself is easier. I don’t hate doing SRS but I’d also like to keep it that way. I think I need to develop the ability to recognize “yeah, this particular set of vocab is a problem so let me take a better look at it”. Wanikani also isn’t the only SRS I do (I do kitsun.io and Bunpro as well) so that’s a factor as well. I guess accuracy has always been my demon (sometimes I can get 90% and sometimes I get 60%) so I’ll work on it more.
Yeah, sometimes my accuracy is trash too - I think I have a whole bunch of leeches right now that are just cycling up and down from guru to apprentice that I should really take a more focused approach at - but, since my current goal is ‘read some stuff’ and not ‘level up in WK particularly quickly’, I admit to just not worrying about it. I was annoyed when I levelled up the other day - I wanted to get through more of last level’s vocabulary first. (Yes, I’ll just chip away slowly at the lessons, practically it doesn’t matter, but I find it more encouraging when the pile of lessons at the start of the new level is smaller).
To be completely honest here, an accuracy of 60% for me would be too low even on incidental basis (i’m personally frustrated if it’s any lower than 90%). Maybe in this case it’s not just the reviews, but also the mnemonics you use when learning them. Perhaps good to just relearn some of them if you keep having trouble with a specific set of kanji or vocab. But that’s something you can maybe play around with to see what works.