Not too long ago (ok, longer than I thought) I realized that while WK was great for understanding kanji and building vocabulary, I wasn’t learning how to speak Japanese. I found I did not have time to study grammar and WK, so I stopped doing lessons altogether and just kept up on reviews. (lifetime membership anyone?)
About 6 months later and I’m still working through the grammar study (I have had very little time for extracurriculars lately) but the WK review volume is so low that I have started doing lessons again.
I’m not terribly far along in WK, but I can say I found it much easier studying grammar with a kanji foundation, and am much happier with my overall Japanese progress having taken some time to balance things out.
Doesn’t include Absolute Beginner Club picks, but still helpful, hopefully.
I’ll add my vote to the slow down camp. It feels really horrifying when you’re gunning along at the beginning to consider the prospect that it might take you a few years to finish WK but actually, after a year’s break and taking it a bit slower now, I feel fine about taking ~3 years to reach level 60.
Reading along with the book clubs here has consolidated my kanji knowledge in a way that wouldn’t have happened if I’d focused solely on WaniKani, and going through levels 40+ I know a pretty good chunk of the kanji / words in each level already thanks to reading, so the whole experience is just much more pleasant. I get to use my knowledge, I’m doing a fun activity and feeling like I know some Japanese, and WaniKani is a bit easier! What’s not to love?
OP, I think you’re underestimating how easy it is to judge the difficulty of a particular book, especially by WaniKani level and JLPT level. One book is not going to neatly align itself with N3 grammar without ever using N2 or N1 grammar, nor do most readers have an encyclopedic knowledge of which levels these grammar points correspond to. The exact same principle applies to WaniKani level (and, if the book has furigana, WaniKani level really is a little irrelevant, except in terms of perhaps indicating you’ll need to look up less vocabulary).
The best we can do is give our general impressions of difficulty, but what makes a book difficult for me might not be the same for you.
Oh I was looking for this thread the other day! I came across it a few weeks ago, decided on Flying Witch as my next pick after reading the thread, and then the whole thread seemed to disappear into my imagination
Is it linked from book club pages somewhere? I like the idea of having an objective order of difficulty, as well as recommendations on how to transition to the intermediate club (one day I’ll get there! )
What if you tried changing the way you see lessons? My assumptions might be wrong, but it looks like you’ve put vocabulary at the bottom of the priority list, seeing it as something that gets in the way of leveling. But kanji in a vacuum isn’t useful, they’re building blocks for words And if you’re ok to slow down to enjoy using and improving your language skills, WK leveling in itself is no longer the goal…
If you reframe vocab lessons as a higher priority goal, maybe it would alleviate your “level up dread” without changing much in the way you progress through lessons, and without necessarily needing to reorder stuff.
If you do 10-15 lessons per day, or limit your apprentice items to another magic number, I guess you’d still be on track for leveling up every couple of weeks on average (depending on your accuracy)…
Someone please correct me if I’m wrong!
It’s linked from the Resources thread, under the Book Clubs section. I felt a bit weird about linking to it from the actual book club threads, as it’s just my and Nath’s opinions - definitely not objective! But I guess it’s helpful information for people looking through our past picks, so maybe it should be linked underneath that list.
To be honest your current level would easily cover the vast majority of kanji used in genki 1&2(or both Minna No Nihongo’s) and even a decent bit of tobira. You sound like a busy person, so I wonder if it might not be worth considering a third option, leveling even slower than 14 days (eg every 20-30 days). This would give you time to catch grammar studies up to a level where you can use those learned kanji, and while doing so, slowly learning more kanji to cover further studies.
I made the mistake a few years ago of focusing more on my kanji studies than grammar. And, by the time I finally started catching my grammar up, I’d actually forgotten (and had to relearn) a decent chunk of ‘burned’ kanji due to not being far along enough in my studies to see them in the wild.
Anyways, just thought I’d share my experience, different strokes for different folks so may or may not be helpful. All the best with your studies, and good luck in trying to strike that balance!
Hi, you can do this on Tsurukame. Go to the settings (top right). As you level up, toggle the “Prioritize current level” setting (it’s under Lessons) so that you can jump into the new radicals straight away. Subsequently, you can turn the setting off to continue with last level’s vocabulary, while turn it on again to do some kanji.
Dude, you don’t need to spend that much time per day. You just need to know the srs intervals. 4h, 8h, 24h, 48h = 3.5 days (item becomes guru). Guru radicals first, then guru the rest of the kanji, that allows you to level up in 7 days. You should read this guide. My Journey of 368 days (+ The Ultimate Guide for WK 📖 )
Yo dude lol we started at basiclaly the exact same time, 2 days before you, and we basically exact same level! So i can completely relate with you about just how much time this takes every single day. We should be study buddies!
Upon level up to say level 14, I finish vocab from level 12 if it’s there, and I use “Reorder Ultimate 2” and lesson filter for that. (For some reason WK randomly gives me Level 13 lessons before I’ve done all my Level 12 vocab lessons. Maybe that’s due to me using scripts thus confusing their vanilla ordering.) For vocab only days, I may do 12-16 lessons. Then once previous level cleared, I do radicals of Level 14 (and the number of radicals is getting smaller once you progressed, so this step is easy, can be tacked with old vocab).
Then I start 12 lessons per day streak with with 4 kanji + 8 vocab combo using lesson filter only. Provided 36 kanji’s per level, it takes 9 days. Then while waiting for kanji to guru, I’ll keep doing the rest of vocab, 12-16 lessons.
Just count number of lessons per level, and divide by number of days you want for level up. It will work on average. Levels have uneven number of lessons, so forcing number of days per level means unequal load in future reviews.
This is “Reorder Ultimate 2” link: [Userscript]: Reorder Ultimate 2 [newest]
It has a bad reputation because people are abusing it skipping vocab completely.
I thought I could get away without it, but I need it because of my self-imposed rule of clearing all previous level vocab.
I never aim to have zero in lessons queue. With Vanilla WK, the day after you completed new radicals and kanji lessons, you may have zero lessons available, thus breaking streak on WK Heatmap. So I prefer to have 100-150 lessons pending, as long as I know that they all from current level or one below.
I would recommend doing all radical and kanji lessons as soon as you get them. This will maximize your leveling up to optimize your timeframe. Here are two different ways to accomplish this:
Finish all lessons immediately, as soon as you get them. (This is how I do my lessons.)
The first goal here is to finish them all so that you get all the radicals and kanji as soon as they are available, since they are the bottleneck for leveling up.
The second goal is to get all the related vocabulary unlocked. Since the vocabulary are not a bottleneck for leveling up, this isn’t so important. However, they do help a lot with cementing in the recent kanji you’ve learned, so this should help with long-term retention.
Essentially, you can take your sweet time with the vocab items, not worrying bout if you get them wrong, only whether you know them or not. This utilizes the SRS system the way it was meant to work, pushing easy vocab into later stages, and keeping harder vocab as the focus of your vocab reviews.
Use a reordering script to push radicals and kanji first (or, actually, I think there’s even just a simple setting you can turn on in your account options).
This will ensure you’re leveling up optimally, but I suppose it should give you more control on your overall load, since you can limit your additional vocab lessons to a certain number per day or whatever. I don’t use this method, so probably others would have better advice for this.
Specifically, I would not recommend leaving radicals and kanji to the whims of the random number generator/shuffler, if you are only doing a certain portion of lessons per day. This will drag out your leveling up.
The reason I recommend leveling up optimally (even if you still pace it out, at least doing radicals and kanji before waiting on vocab) is because you mentioned concerns about long-term recall if you were to leave vocab for later. However, my experience is that since vocab is not a bottleneck for leveling up, you can let the SRS system automatically work out which vocab (and hence which kanji and radicals) you’re having most issues with, in terms of long term recall.
Therefore, the vocab automatic SRS pacing will automatically take care of the long-term recall concerns you have. Just take as much time as you need with the vocab items, and you’ll find that recalling the kanji and radicals is no trouble at all.
The only exception to this I’ve found is for certain kanji that have primary readings that don’t appear in many vocab, so are sometimes difficult to recall. For these, all I focus on is getting the kanji to Guru level first, and then treating it like a vocab, where I allow it to slip down to Apprentice level if I’m having trouble with the reading. This is the best of both worlds in a sense: The leveling-up bottleneck is removed, but I can then take my sweet ass time learning the kanji properly.
I have found no issues with long term recall using this method.
However! Caveat: I have a lot of free time, so I’m spending multiple hours per day studying Japanese. And I also use other sites/tools to help reinforce what I’m learning through WaniKani. I use KaniWani to help reinforce vocab, and I just started using KameSame as an additional supplement, which I’m currently using to power through the early levels of WK material, finding that I have about a 98-99% success rate all the way up to level 12 so far (I’m currently level 15 on WK).
Additionally, I’m using BunPro to help learn grammar. I’ve gotten through N5 and N4 levels there, but when I started N3, I found it using more and more kanji I didn’t know, so I’ve slowed down progression on grammar so I can catch up with kanji and vocab. KameSame also helps greatly to support the unknown kanji and vocab that BunPro introduces, so that’s been very helpful as well.
Both KaniWani and KameSame are free (they accept donations, though, at least KS does). I highly recommend both. Thanks to the creators for providing these valuable tools!
BunPro is free to try for one month. I would highly suggest trying BunPro for a month to see how you like it. I found it very helpful and useful. Got a lifetime subscription as soon as I could afford it. Totally worth it IMHO, even on my limited budget (admittedly it was on sale around Christmas time). But even if you don’t subscribe, that initial free month should probably help you kick-start your grammar learning.
So, with that main caveat in mind (that I have a lot of free time to dedicate to learning Japanese), you’ll probably need to take my suggestions with a grain of salt and adapt them to your situation (or ignore them completely if they don’t suit you! ).
Thank you for sharing the stats!
You mean you reorder things - like other things in life to match reviews? Or you mean its possible to reorder kanjis showing up? I was thinking I could go faster if reading and meaning of kanji in reviews will follow each other, not mixing up with other kanji.
Hi all! Thank you so much for your continuous support!
I installed last night the reorder script in Firefox, and configured Tsurukame to behave similarly (I will see radicals and Kanji of the current level first now).
I’m following @seanblue recommendations to a tee (covering all radicals on day 1 + around 10 Kanji, then 10 Kanji per day, plus some vocab, and then a magical number of vocabulary that I have not confirmed yet)
This was magical btw, leveling up doesn’t feel like the worst part of the week now
I’m expecting an increase in time from the current 8-9 days to a ballpark of around 15-18.
I will try to modify my daily cycles to consider these updates, measure them for some days, and then focus on the Book Club recommendations. My idea is to buy a specific e-book and just power through it.
I’ve done pretty much your first scenario, OP. I did my best to do WaniKani as fast as possible. I have seen the same issues.
No time to spend doing anything else. I’m doing 300+ reviews every day, and once I reached the fast levels I can’t even keep up with all the lessons.
Leeches. Because I spend so much time reviewing, I don’t dedicate the time to working out the leech vocabulary. This just adds to my review time overall. Many words I might be able to read, but I don’t really understand the nuance. Or I start mixing words because I haven’t taken enough time during the initial lesson.
Don’t use it, you lose it. I see people post wk vocabulary from earlier levels and I forget that I learned them because they were burned off 6 months ago. WK review intervals are really the bare minimum for retention. You should be seeing words in context.
I’d say I noticed all of this stuff happening about half way through. My retention really started to go down and it felt like more of a struggle. It was at this point in WK that I noticed I was picking up a lot of words when I was watching anime or youtube content, though, so I think it’s a great time to start putting native content at a higher priority.
I have just been really bullheaded about wanting to say I accomplished something tangible with this language. I’ve “learned” Japanese for most of my life and never really got past N5/N4 level proficiency. So doing WK has been a way to force myself to hit a goal, and for this reason it’s really done wonders for me. I know it would have been “better” for me to focus on other stuff, but I know I wouldn’t do as much as I could. It feels really good to see the WK lesson count go down, and say I learned 100+ new words in a week. And I do find the later content useful. For instance, I started reading the manga Ranma 1/2, and the main character’s name is Saotome Ranma 早乙女 乱馬. I just learned 早乙女 at level 59, and I can read that name no problem. It’s been rare that I can’t read a word in this comic.
In the end, it’s up to your priorities. I do think that going faster is better, and you don’t need to be sweating about getting everything 100%. Just keep adding a little by little and your proficiency will improve. A lot of times I end up cramming lessons, but they go by quickly because I’ve already learned most of the vocab with the kanji. Doing 5 or 10 vocab lessons is actually really easy, it’s just the mental block that stops me from doing it.
Whatever you do, never miss a day of reviews. And I’ve found that the WK example sentences got a lot more helpful in the last half of the levels. You may only get one sentence, but it often reinforces kanji and vocab that you already learned. It’s a sneaky way that they’ve incorporated extra review, and I’d recommend you utilize it. Ultimately, I’ve come out of this really sick of flashcards and whatever I do next, I want to avoid them for a while.
Are you only doing WK two times a day? If you don’t hit the first review intervals after the lessons (+4h and then 8h from that) it is going to slow you down and also increase the time you have to spend each day since you are not seeing the items enough.
It’s more about hitting the SRS interval fairly consistently, which means doing WK at least three times a day. Doing that and 20 lessons per day it’s very feasible to get under 10 day level ups spending 1-2 hours a day.
8am: do reviews and then lessons
12 o’clock: do the first review for those lessons
somewhere between 8pm and bedtime: do reviews before bed