Practical and technical steps for people who're fumbling

Intro:
This is a copy paste of a comment i’ve made - but I’ve seen a couple of post of people about lvl 7 sharing their doubt\frustration , and I think most tips they’ve received aren’t cutting it at all.
I’m now on WK for 293 days, reviewed 50% of the days I’m here, took long breaks, and just all around felt like the net effect of WK to my studies wasn’t postive, as grammar, speaking, reading were taking a hit, and I’ve felt like walking in mud for half a year ( I study at uni, and also study Chinese there… time is scarce) .
Le pic :

If you’re short on time, skip right to the API section below, as I believe these are more important than anything else for better learning, and studying in WK

Below are practical and technical steps that now enable me to do WK faster, with less stress, in a more enjoyable way. I’l add links etc later.

                                      **Opening:**

TBH i think most of the tips people wrote in the comments are insufficient or not practical enough. imo there is a better way to organize the workload in wanikani, improve the session themselves, and reduce stress without necessarily slowing down. it can take a couple of days to set things perfectly, so don’t be afraid to set things aside for a while.

I’m level 8… took 3 months off and had to work through 900 reviews , and overall was never consistent long enough.
studying from flash cards just isn’t so interesting for me, and I have
a very hectic and loaded schedule. I always burnt out fast.

It took me time to set things technically, but I’m now cruising very fast and
with alot less effort because of some changes.
I manage the load better now, and I learn better.

Wanikani barebones didn’t cut it for me, at all.
what i’d recommend

                       **I learned all WK radicals before** 

using an anki deck, this isn’t hard to accomplish in 2 weeks, I did it in 4 days, and now when lvling and reviewing I have less workload + I can make my own mnemonics effectivley when I read or watch anime.

taking down work load when you lvl up, means you can hit the kanji lessons asap quickly, in one sitting . if you can only sit or like 30 mins in the morning, or just don’t like having long study sessions, this can help keep you on the fast track for long run. making learning all the new kanji as soon as you lvl up, possible in one relatively short sitting. crucial for me and my time constraints.

Some offtopic experimental thoughts , open last

If I’d go back, I’d honestly be learning all the radicals first, then only kanji meaning. Basically for every kanji you make 4\5 memories -
onyomi, kunyomi, meaning, context\grammatical position, pronounciation.

so let’s assume 260 kanjis, are actually 260x5 “memory points” = 1300.
Learning the meaning is also often the easier and faster than onyomi\kunyomi imo, like i’ve said, I got 483 radicals in 4 days. I assume, you can reach an understanding 1xxx kanji meanings in a rather short time, shorter than the time it takes you to get to level 7 on max speed. then, when watching anime with subs, or reading\listening, you’ll have less load on your comprehention, and be able to
Understand the words in context, their pronunciation, pick some of the grammar, and make a connection between the english translation and japanese translation in a meaningful comprehensible way. I’ll do that experiment with chinese anyways.

                 **Invented my own better suited mnemonics** 

I don’t like WK mnemonics that much, I invent my own alot of the time, make them more vulgar weird, rememorable - this has taken my retention to the roof.
i
f you feel even the slightest of “eh, ok? I guess I’l just try hard to remember this kanji reading and hope to remember the mnemonic” I don’t think you should let it slip ever. I think you should take the time to invent, unless otherwise.
If I failed an item a couple of times , It signals me it is time to invent a better mnemonic.

For me :
たい - is taijutsu sometimes , like in naruto. because who the hell uses a tie?
はん - is hannibal . hansolo? I didn’t see star wars…
けん - kendou , or ken doll .
じゅう- jew , I’m jewish , and making racist jokes and stories work for me.
じょ - job.

etc etc etc
This is especially true for the radicals, the stories WK provide often times feel insufficient for me to have a strong memory of the radicals. you will get faster at this.

  • Installed the chrome addon - wanikani notifier. helps to quickly get to WK reviews.

  • Installed the chrome addon- yomichan. this helps a dictionary translation popup for any japanese you see on the web, simply mark the word with my mouse while holding shift, and I see translation and other words used with the kanji etc. this is critical for the API Anime sentence.

    **The most important step: Installed these API, night and day improvement to my WK **
    

All of these are linked in the sticky post “list of API” in the WK community sub-forum “API 3rd party…”

Anime Sentence - shows you an example sentence with audio from anime.
with wanikani you don’t learn things from context, or either the context sentence isn’t interesting (not as anime) .
These anime short anime sentence recording, helped making study in wanikani worthwhile for me.
it added a spark wk never had imo.
When seeing a vocab card in the reviews, after answering - I press F, and then space , this will open up all the additional info fast without using mouse clicks. I Use yomichan on unknown words and try to read and understnad the japanese sentence before revealing the english translation. if I have time, I find this very enjoyable.

Reorder omega - When lvling up and getting 100 lessons, I want to start with radicals and kanji asap, so I can get most of them in one study session, and have them in my reviews.
With this , I prioritize apprentice kanji and radicals in reviews to show first, and and also in lessons. If I don’t have hours at a time to sit, this lets you me critical things moving.

Why I'm not afraid prioritising leveling up and doing kanji always before vocab

With enough kanji, I can start to read things that interest me , without too much unknown that will spoil my flow and enjoyment, making the reading or watching a technical fit, but rather leasure activity that I also learn the language from. my N1 priority is to reach a base that would help me tackle Japanese with enough comprehension to do so without extreme difficulty. If I can get there, I can expand my vocab and understanding of the language through a meaningful experience, and create flash cards if i want. If someone has a passion for cards and memorization, sweet, go for it. if you think speaking japanese is cool, if you think it sounds cool and those aspects of it turn you on, then I hold merit to doing what you need in order to study the language through the means that expose you to those aspects of the language that make it cool to you. I’m not against learning vocab through WK, but if it means spending 2x-3x amount of time on WK, and I’m allready over the top with things, then let it be, I’l get to it on the weekend or something. I do not care how do I count loaves of bread, or how to say neptune or mercury etc , learning through other means exposes me to vocab I feel is relevant. that’s my take on it.

WK ultimate timeline - I set this to “SRS LVL” now I see when apprentice items are about to come up on a timeline .
I look at it when done reviewing, and then set an alarm or put it in my calandar when apprentice radicals and kanji are available to review.
I know that tomorrow 10am I have 33 apprentice kanji and radicals that I can level to apprentice 4 , thus I’l check WK only tomorrow at 11amish. this takes off unnecessary reviews that aren’t critical, and takes off the heat.

Confussion guesser - If I entered wrong answer, displays similar kanjis or kanjis with the reading I’ve written.

Wanikani double check - let’s me re-type my answer , if typo, or any none critical mistake was made. I like this one alot.

Wrong of the day - shows a list of the items I’ve got wrong in reviews, but doesn’t refresh until I decide so. I can look at this like 1-2 a day and test myself just by looking if I remember.

3 Likes

There are a few things I agree with, such as making your own mnemonics.

I do disagree with learning all radicals beforehand because they are generally so easy to remember especially since you are only remembering what they mean, not a reading.

I think one of the biggest things people who are struggling can do is remember what their motivation is. Because otherwise, you’re not going to study, you’re not going to do reviews and you’re more likely to “fumble”. To find your motivation you just need to remember why you’re learning Japanese, what your goal is, and get excited about it.

Personally, when I struggle with motivation I bother my friends over at POLL and ask them questions about how they do things.

The MOST important thing to remember for new people is that: You don’t need addons or fancy methods to succeed at WK, it really comes down to getting on and putting in the work.

7 Likes

Personally, I think there is another important thing - self-awareness. After all, no one shares exact same experience, circumstance, and ability, with you.

I am sure that you have that, as you have learnt to create your own mnemonics. Pretty sure another thing that would help is, self-reflection. In any case, don’t trust adverts too much, nor ride too far with the crowd.

About knowing radicals in advance, I won’t make it a recommendation, but I also know Kangxi ones, and several of RTK in advance.

2 Likes

I disagree with your emphasis on motivation.

I do not think it is always the case that a tool must fit perfectly to the user measures, and that one can adjust aspects of himself so the tools he uses help him to reach a desired outcome. but…

with that said, I do think that incompatabilities between ones day to day life, inclanations, tastes, and drives, to the method\tool are not inherently to be solved by changing aspects of the individual so he will fit the mold.
certainly, there’s merit in both ways, and individual circumstances are to be taken account.

Reflecting on why you’re studying Japanese is lovely, but motivation is not a tool to be called upon, and it is affected by many things. Would you tell someone who’s going through a depression “think of why you’re living”, or someone who’s have a panic attack “look around and see if there’s actual danger” ?

from my experience with wani kani, and with japanese in general, I don’t think advices advocating “remember why you study” more than practical ways to manage loads, tinker things to be FUN, and all in general suit the individual, are advices that are healthy.

A clinical dietitian prescription to people who are struggle with managing diet for example - would be to choose a diet that is managable, and suits their schedule etc, but atlists gets ABC done and in check. It’s the same with training, etc.

IMO, the most important thing for new people is to know the shortcomings of WK , the shortcomings of their own schedule and life and how those affect their studying, asses their capabilities, and know that they can make changes that will yield positive results to their studying, and progress in wanikani, without the need to “cultivate motivation”.

you need motivation to start, but you need a proper tools and a an individual method to use them in order to stay on track, and motivated. habits are a big part of concistency aswell, and it doesn’t have anything to do with motivation.

making a habit of doing reviews when i drink coffee in the morning for example made consistency alot better,

you are sure that I have self awareness as I’ve learned to create my own mnemonics? what do you mean?
I’ve mentioned that these steps now enable me to work with WK in an all around better way, and I believe, that some things are more important than others. why did you deduct that i do not have a mental account for individual differences?

1 Like

Ah, you would have forced yourself to use WaniKani’s, not personal, if you aren’t aware.

I never argued that you don’t have the qualities. You are just another people who is trying hard, but didn’t find the actual sustainable process just yet.

So, 頑張(がんば)って!

1 Like

That’s fair enough, I do think I forgot to mention that sometimes you can have no motivation but you need to do force yourself to do things anyway.

Discipline → Motivation.

I think a lot of people spend too much time waiting for motivation in life, but it’s more important to train yourself to do things even when you don’t want to, that’s how people become successful in my opinion.

If you’re saying that people shouldn’t force themself to use WaniKani without addons that could make the site more compatible for them, I agree. I was just highlighting that it isn’t required to be successful or to hit level 60.

As someone who has extensive experience in this area, yes this is exactly what you do actually.

Thinking about why you’re living; your goals, and the things you haven’t experienced yet are very important especially in this scenario.

Again actually, the solution you’ve proposed here is a technique taught in therapy, I can’t remember the technical term I think it’s called “grounding” or something. (not exactly the way you worded it, but the idea of looking around and seeing where you are and grounding yourself is the idea).

My advice was actually specifically regarding motivation, if people need advice on managing the load of reviews or lessons they have. I think they simply need to do more or less lessons until they are at a pace they can maintain.

That’s fair enough, we all have our own opinion and I think that’s pretty cool.

6 Likes

tbh, learning a language isn’t exactly easy; and there are definitely memory tricks, yet they needs to be practiced until perfect.

Mnemonics may work, and may work better if you realize the trick, but it doesn’t work for everybody. Yet, hearing stories about having aphantasia and getting over it to the end, makes me realize there are definitely other ways to adapt.

Regarding memory also, I can easily recommend to try to remember vocabularies in textbooks first. Not everything has an easy workaround. Also workarounds can be harmful in the end.

Indeed, I started learn this language to improve memory and memorization techniques, though it got side-tracked a little…

I won’t go into details about this, but the real answer is, it depends. Understanding motivation is complex; and therapist’s actions count as communication from a third-party.

2 Likes

I’m learning all the radicals beforehand, not to go faster in wk but to be able to make my own mnemonics for stuff I encounter outside of Wanikani, that is also the reason dobibo mentions first. When you say “they are generally so easy to remember” that is a good reason to just learn them now so you can use them to remember kanji encountered outside of wk potential years before you’d otherwise learn them in wk.

3 Likes

I think that is a good reason for sure!

What I meant is, that when I hit level 6 I did all my radicals in 1 go and I always usually get 100% on them without any issues. That being said, I’m not using the same method as you guys :slight_smile: so it just goes to show that we’re all approaching WK differently!

I do make my own mnemonics sometimes though! I do it as I go though, and not for the radicals.

I actually felt like this was quite a random thing to throw at us, and while I agree with the answer he gave there - as you said “it depends”, this is one of many complex actions that could be taken, and I agree with what you said about therapists actions also.

I hope you weren’t offended or upset by my initial reply @dobibo I think that we all have our own opinions and own way of doing things, and so I was just offering up mine.

1 Like

Gotcha. Then you’re somewhat right, though you do become aware of what works and what not through trial and error in your study journey don’t you ?
Sometimes you start something fun, and It takes a while to understand if you need to make a change when things hit the mud, or just keep going and try again.
頑張って back at ya :slight_smile:

I agree, I guess I emphasised what I though is lacking generally through threads here in WK, the value of practicality. yes whole heartedly I believe so too, you should be diligent with careful reflection on those underlying aspects of life , while also cultivating behaviour and environment that help you act upon what you hold as valuable. I was stressing the latter part, for I believed the first one was stressed enough, and it is affected by the latter too, both affect each other.
IE - test these tools that are available to you and see if they help, as sometimes it’s a matter trying switching things up and see if you feel better, rather than self talk.

also with anxiety, it all depends, but you’re right, although the process is more than just “think about it”. it is case dependant,but there are practical measures aside from the example of “grounding” that can help with some of those cases. IE, you might better off going for a run and come back to deal with the stressor, rather than talk your way though it.

I should have made a case in the actual post, sorry for not being clear.

3 Likes

no at all, thanks for the input, I agree with everything you’ve said.

I was ticked when I saw in first comment a case for “understand your motivation” as a practical tip brought up again, as my own motivation for the thread was to stress the importance of practical changes in the studying as a means to affect both motivation and progress.
I was motivated to do so, because I did not see it being stressed upon on posts where people shared their struggles.

I’l edit the post and add:
Fun gets done, and there were ways to make WK fun and manageable for me in my life. that has made a big impact on my consistency and progress, and it is due to technical changes to WK and the method of using it. the positive changes for me were not due to “reminding myself why i’m studying japanese” or finding inner motivation of some sort. I do know though, that these technical changes have increased my motivation to use WK, and i’m more consistent, and everything feels smooth enough to not hurt existing motivation…

I think that applying some of these practical steps can bring benefit to some individuals more so than mental talk\or reminding themselves why they study ( as it is often stressed upon in the forums). that goes without saying… that i’m not implying those certain individuals should completely turn a blind eye to what they think are the reasons for their Japanese studies… (In some cases maybe :wink: )

Are you aware of RTK? When you say things like this, talk about wanting to skip the vocab words, making your own mnemonics, etc… all I can think is that you are trying to use an entirely different kanji learning system imposed onto the framework of Wanikani.

2 Likes

Another way to interpret this is, no need to be exactly fun - just learn to like it. (I would agree on trying to find fun inside seemingly boring things.)

Then, you would easily have more tools you want to use.

I’m aware of rtk, and since I’m just at the begging of chinese - I’m experimenting with RTH (remembering the hanzi) along side my other studies.

Since I’m allready in a good groove with WK now and worked on the 484 radicals, I don’t want to change to a different radical system for kanji like in heisig.

that was mentioned as a reflection over my own studies, and not a direct suggestion, since I can’t know for sure if that would have 100% worked better. hypothetically I do believe that combined with reading and listening exposure and card making in an SRS system, that could have been a more suitable rout for me.

If you are reffering to using WK to learn only kanji meaning, then yes that would be imposing an entirely different kanji learning system on WK. however’ I don’t want to or suggest to use wanikani to learn kanji meaning only “RTK style”. I do however think, that a a kanji learning system like in rtk, used within a framework like wanikani would have been better suited for me - but that is beside the main point, and i don’t think I said i recommend people who are fumbling in WK to this.

I do think, that the api’s and what I’ve wrote about them are the main takeaway.

I see that i’ve written in quite strong language the secondary titles, i’l change it to reflect a subjective take more.

1 Like

you know, I’ve actually found it much much easier to take a look at the radicals once, cheat everything until you unlock the vocab and then learn the associated kanji at the same time. learning a bunch of words at the same time as the kanji and mostly ignoring the radicals altogether has worked much better for me…

I think vocab is much easier to remember because it tends to have more concrete meanings. And once you’ve learnt a couple of words that contain a kanji, linking them together and learning the kanji is really easy.

wore one to a wedding last week :eyes: and it took me many many attempts to tie it properly because it’s been so long since the last time :sweat_smile:

have you tested this in the real world? because ime it doesn’t work like that in most cases. in practice if you know the kanji it might make looking up the vocab a bit easier assuming you actually recognise the kanji turns out recognising kanji in an actual sentence is yet another thing you need to practice

as far as script recomendations, I think this is the best script for learning the readings of kanji quickly. it should really make it into base WK

3 Likes

wah, I didn’t follow.

interesting, I had the opposite experience. (especially with this fella 活用 hehe)

:eyes:

I can say for myself yes. I can’t put it in exact percents - but reading texts that 70% of the reading is comprehensible, and 30% is unknown, are enjoyable and I’m in flow where I can take the time to learn those extra 30%. texts that are 30% comprehensible on the other hand, are simply too much of a technical fit for me. Looking up the vocab is easier too, and also remember because it’s within a context that i’m interested in.

It looks beautiful, I’l have to check that one

to clarify, I learn that a radical exists (but don’t memorise it) and cheat it until then kanji unlocks.
then I cheat the kanji to guru to unlock vocab.
then I start doing srs as normal on the vocab and the kanji at the same time.

basically I want to see the context for a kanji before/as I learn it.

I’d say anything involving 活 is a prime example of why I prefer learning the vocab first :sweat_smile: none of the english glosses I’ve ever seen for 活 really captures its meaning, especially in a way that lets you infer vocab meanings.

I agree if you understand what’s going on you can infer the words you don’t know, and that kanji helps a bit (I spent a fair amount of time reading through stuff once without looking up any words, and then reading through again with a dictionary). I just don’t think learning kanji is anywhere near sufficient for this. my experience has been that you still need to learn lots of vocab first, sometimes just to find the word boundaries!

2 Likes

If you can’t make time it’s not important enough, that is probably what it boils down to. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s a reality. How is it possible to juggle all those things going on in your life? Chinese, japanese and other studies?

1 Like

Oh wow, that’s creative! I understand now why the API you’ve mentioned came in so handy for you.
very cool.

1 Like