Overwhelmed and confused

Hi, I recently started learning japanese and after learning hiragana/katakana with Tofugu guide I registered on wanikani(and kaniwani) and started learning kanji.
I’m also using Tae Kim and Genki for grammar(both recommended here).
So far I learned the very basics, like the state of being(だ/じょない/だった/じゃなかった), some basic particles like は/も/が, and some vocabulary like numbers up to 100, months, and how to tell the current time.
Here comes my problem tough: I have virtually unlimited free time, but I’m confused as how to use it efficiently and to the maximum potential.
Right now i’m basically running in circles from one guide to another, and i’m struggling a lot to find what would be the best method for me.
I already saw the “Additional resources” thread and it made me even more confused, there are just too many of them.(I’m talking about grammar and vocab, there’s already wanikani for kanji)
I’m a self learner and one problem that I have with tae kim guide is that there isn’t nearly enough practice for the grammar it teaches(I’m still confused with the が particle usage)
tl;dr What’s the best way to learn grammar and vocab for a self learner with a lof of free time? I still don’t know enough vocab and grammar to read things like よつばと or even http://watanoc.com/tag/n5
I saw a lot of people mentioning anki or kitsun.io but there are too many decks to choose from(overwhelmed again lol)
Thanks in advance


I’d recommend going through a textbook with a workbook to start. Since you already have Genki, just use that. It has a workbook for practice, so make sure you have that too. I wouldn’t worry about alternate grammar sources at the beginning, unless the explanation in your textbook confuses you.

Basically, when you’re overwhelmed with too many options, remove those options. Genki + WaniKani is a great place to start learning Japanese. :slight_smile:


For me personally, I used the Japanese From Zero series, and I highly recommend it for self-study, which is what I’m doing as well. There’s always several different exercises at the end of each lesson, and each book has about 13 lessons. I recently finished JFZ book 4 and I learned a lot from these books. I don’t like Genki, because it relies heavily on having a partner to do exercises, and they’re more geared towards a classroom environment. Also, the books are separate from the workbooks, which in the end it becomes too expensive.

But nevertheless, whichever book series you use, I believe it’s very important to follow a textbook routine, but that may not work well for everyone.

Good luck with your studies.


That’s how it is when starting out and I don’t think there’s a silver bullet. Personally, I’d try to get through any basic grammar book and then learn some kanji. I enjoyed the explanations in Japanese: The Manga Way and later on I picked up Bunpro for grammar practice. You already have WaniKani for kanji and some vocab, but maybe some anki deck will suit you better. You won’t know until you give them a shot.

At some point you’ll want to start reading because otherwise you won’t see how what you learned is applied. Graded readers are worth looking into, but I’d wait until you’re done with N5 grammar and WaniKani level 10-15. I got the White Rabbit Press iOS application and it’s pretty good. There are other options but I haven’t tried them yet.


I like using Bunpro (it’s an SRS) for practising grammar. It gives lots of example sentences and links to other online resources if you need further reading as well.


I used Japanese From Zero as well and generally recommend it. I will say though, it could be problematic for people that already know their kana. Plus the exercises got stale by book 3.

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I have the Genki 1 pdf and the physical workbook as well, the only problem is that they require you to write kana, and I can only write it with a keyboard

What are your language goals?

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Since you already have Genki, I would recommend continuing with that. If you want additional grammar resources, I recommend the YouTube channel “Japanese Ammo with Misa.” She does a good job explaining the grammar and provides many examples. She also makes it a point to provide examples of casual speech, which I feel Genki doesn’t spend enough time with. Additionally, I would use Bunpro to help reinforce the grammar you learned and ensure you don’t just let it slip from memory.

For just vocab, I would recommend iKnow since it’s already set up and ready to go, which seems to be the best option for someone overwhelmed.

So a combination of Genki, WaniKani, Bunpro, iKnow, and YouTube will have you pretty set I think. Just try not to become overwhelmed by doing too much, too fast. If money is of concern, you may need to look for some alternatives.

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Thanks, I know of JPZ but I found genki to be more suited for me

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You don’t have to write in the physical book to use it. Why not just note what chapter, page number and exercise of the workbook that you’re on in a text document and type your answers? ^^ Or write in romaji.

With so many learning options, it’s important to start and stick with something. At least for a good dedicated week or 3-4. You can only know if it works if you really commit to it. A major staple like Genki is a safe start. Judge whether it works for you after a hearty try of it.

Pick something, put all else aside, and revisit the topic after a few weeks to ask yourself if you’re making progress in understanding and retaining the material.

Best of luck with whatever you choose.


Theres some good advice here! But if you’re still feeling like you’re not using your time efficiently, and have the whole day free, I would create a study program, with specific time slots for the whole day and follow with it. Wani kani, grammar, reading, listening, etc…

You can also set some goals, like: finishing Genki by June… and so on.

I think this is a good way to stay on track. Remember, learning any language it’s a marathon, not a race. So in the long run the most important thing it’s consistency.


Thanks for the suggestion, I’ll look into that book when I finish learning all the basics
How do I know when I’m done with N5 grammar?

I agree :point_up:

And since you’ll be doing Genki @Giro99, you can use this opportunity to learn the vocabulary on Genki using Kitsun :grin:

Genki vocabulary deck here!

The Genki deck on Kitsun is tagged by Genki lessons as well, so you can learn the vocabulary as you go with the book. It also has audio and example sentences for the words :v:

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Around the N3 level, like being able to read native material/websites/forums

Thanks, l’ll look into Iknow when I finish Genki, but is Bunpro really that good? Some people either say that is perfect and worth the price, others say that it shouldn’t charge money for what it offers

It’s a good tool for reinforcing/reviewing what you’ve already learned. It’s only okay for learning new material.

Some probably say it’s not worth it and they shouldn’t charge because you could technically achieve similar results making your own grammar flashcards in Anki or something similar for free. Again though, it’s all about convenience. Bunpro is already set up and ready to go, so if that helps you to keep going and not give up, I say it’s worth it then.

I like it a lot due to many examples per single grammar point, SRS reinforcement and they continue to improve it. I think it is worlds better than creating an Anki deck and putting in an opinion on comprehension via flashcard style but just my opinion. I will always keep my grammar books; A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar series and Handbood of Japanese Grammar Patterns (my desert island collection if I had to pick). BunPro won’t replace those. They are also connecting grammar books series so you can work in tandem (see below). If you need one stop shopping or require structure, I think it is helpful much like WK. You may benefit from a classroom setting as well as you don’t have to think about planning your lesson plans and gives a directional focus.


You can always try out Bunpro for free first, I think it’s something like a month available. I used to be a classroom learner years ago and it does a good job refreshing that information and providing resources for new grammar points. I need structure or I won’t stick with things so it has been the ONLY grammar source keeping me moving forward now as an independent learner.