Reflecting on where I went wrong: resetted from 23 to 15

This is hardly a WK success story, it’s actually more like the polar opposite, a “biting off more than you can chew when your mouth isn’t as big as everyone’s” kind of story.

I hit the hardest WK stump I’ve ever hit in my life. I was stuck for almost 3 to 4 months without progressing, and the reviews just kept piling and piling. I think I had somewhere around 1200 at once.
My accuracy and motivation crashed really hard. I could never get any review session above 40-50%. Even though I was feeling like shit, I kept pushing and pushing, making batches of around 200 reviews each day.

This backfired so hard. My Apprentice item count inflated faster than the Venezuelan bolívar, so it created a rhythm in which I was just adding and adding to it, but I was never able to hit the item I needed to study again in enough time for the SRS to work. This kept going for a while.

Talking to my girlfriend (she’s on Wanikani too!) about this problem, she suggested resetting.

Given how wrong I had been the past few months, and how my apprentice pile was scratching the 350’s, I started considering a reset. I logged on to Wanikani Stats to see just how bad the damage was. Suffices to say that a strong majority (like 80%) of my WK items were Apprentice/Guru through level 16 to 23. That was insane! I was so behind I really couldn’t catch up with further reviews. Somewhere around this time the Radicals update came live, so it just added more weight to resetting, as the benefits were clear.

A couple of days ago I finally bit the bullet and resetted. I’ve been taking it real slow since then. What good is it to blaze through piles and piles of items if I can’t recall any of them and I’ll get burnt out and forget them?

Some changes I’ll personally make:

  • During this whole event I picked up the habit of writting down all of the kanji vocab I kept getting wrong. I intend to do this again, not when I get the item wrong, but when I’m doing the lesson, to have this dumb brain of mine actually remember shit.
  • Stop caring for those speed demons and finishing WaniKani fast. I’m not one of them, nor will I be. Trying to be something I am not is just toxic and deters my progress as a whole. If I have to finish WK in 8 years, so be it. I already payed for Lifetime anyway.
  • Don’t care so much about doing the Reviews with all those nice plug-ins on my computer (Stuff like Jitai, Kanji Stroke Order, or Lightning Mode) and use WK on my phone more often. I kept preferring my computer because of that, but I often missed the SRS timing. But the more I stick to the SRS, the better the results.
  • Lower the lesson intensity if I’m feeling overwhelmed, but never stop doing reviews. Vacation mode can be addicting. Don’t overuse it kids. The fact that Wanikani stops the SRS timers doesn’t mean your brain will.

Any advice is more than welcome too! I feel like shit, but with a glister of hope. I’m hopefully shitty.


I’m sorry to hear you were going through a rough time, but I’m glad to hear that you’re moving forward and making changes! Very best of luck for this new start! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

Yes! The only one you need to worry about is yourself. Each little step forward, however small, is a win for you, regardless of anyone else. Even this reset is a step forward in its own way - a step that will teach pacing and patience, decrease stress, and reinforce the items that you were struggling with.

I actually went through this exact same mindset, but soon realized that it was impossible to keep up with both reviews and life if I always waited to be at my designated computer. Plus, being script-free keeps me more honest.

Yes, it can be. But I sometimes find it necessary for my mental health, particular if I’m really on vacation or if I’m feeling overwhelmed near the end of a school semester or something. To avoid overusing, I always start by simply stopping lessons. Then, if I really need it, I set a date to turn off. This takes the stress off while I have it on, but also gives me a solid goal for when to jump back in. I think it’s best to be as consistent as possible, but sometimes life doesn’t cooperate. Putting things on pause is often better than letting things pile up. Better to vacation and come back to 100 reviews rather than to let the pile continue and come back to 1000.

I hope you can find what works for you moving forward. We’re rooting for you!!!


Hey, you can do this! There’s no shame in resetting; in fact, it means you’re smart enough to acknowledge what’s tripping you up, and take steps to address it. And that is way better than just letting it slide or trying to push the problem away and pretend it doesn’t exist.

Yes. Also, I don’t know if you noticed, but even some of those speed demons have said that going at max speed was NOT a good idea.

Heh, me too. I think it was a good investment, considering that wkstats estimates it will take me over 4 years to reach level 60 (and that’s not including burning everything).

Just don’t let it interfere with your sleep schedule, that’s more important because if you’re not properly rested, your brain has a harder time remembering things.

^Definitely another good idea. Even take a break from lessons, if you have to, but keep doing reviews every day. Have you thought about setting a cap on your apprentice count? For example, don’t do more lessons unless your apprentice is below 100. (I’ve heard a lot of people use 100 as a guide, but what’s comfortable for me is actually at or below 50.)

One more piece of advice: You’re at a level where it’s important to be seeing written Japanese outside of WK. So be sure to study grammar or try to read manga or NHK Easy or food labels, or whatever, just try to make it a habit to look at some Japanese everyday.

Polish up that glister of hope, and you’ll be golden!




On this point, there’s actually an app called Tangoristo that takes both articles from NHK Easy and NHK and a collection of folktales. It then allows you to read them on mobile in a very readable format and allows you to click on kanji and words in the articles to get readings and definitions right in the app. And because it’s drawing from the news, there’s a constant stream of new content. It’s convenient and great for some daily exposure. I can’t recommend it enough.


Just do your reviews everyday lol. Simple as that.


If you say so


I thought it was obvious. @Daru Forget about it, don’t do reviews, you will be fine.

Let us know if what you proposed for yourself works better, too. I’d personally like to see if those proposed changes will work better for you. Best of luck!


If your phone is an Android, try out Firefox for Android, as it supports extensions (and of course, Tampermonkey). So you can have both fancy scripts and SRS done in time!
It changed a lot of things for me!


Welp, I’m not so far behind you… Looks like the 20s will really kick me hard :fearful:
Glad to hear you’re still plugging along! It’s hard when things pile up that fast. I bought Lifetime back in 2016 and forgot about it up until 2018, when I decided to renew my resolve to learn Japanese again. Can only wish I did it sooner back in 2016. Let’s do our best!


I think everyone appears to agree with this. You have to go at your own pace. There’s no point going through everything fast if you’re not really going to learn it. The important thing is to learn. You don’t know the situation of someone that does learn fast, so you shouldn’t set up your expectations based on someone’s whose situation can be very different from you(they have more time to study, they have a natural talent for language, they know other languages that makes it easier for them, they are living in Japan, etc.). It can also seem daunting and disappointing that it can take years to learn the language, but it will go by quicker than you think. Every little bit can help.

I just want to say thank you for sharing your story. This is so important for people to know. You can get overwhelmed with studying and that’s okay. Slowing it down, reviewing things you’ve should have already learned or starting over is okay. I spent 10 years not studying and basically had to start over again last year. It was disappointing at first, but now I feel so good.


@Daru, not sure if my story will help, but I feel a bit similar. I didn’t reset, or use vacation mode, but I definitely needed to come to terms with the review queue.

It took me 1607 days to make it through level 10. Due to too much other stuff going on in my life, I burned myself out right as I promoted to 10, my review queue shot way, way up. Every time I logged in, the huge pile of reviews was very demotivating, and I just stopped for a really long time. Finally, this past summer, I set myself a modest goal of 25 reviews a day. It took four or five months to clear the queue. Then I started on the lessons - just a couple a day, trying to keep the next-day reviews under 70 or so. Definitely under three digits.

I am happy to say I made it to level 11 yesterday. I’ve let my next-day reviews bloat to about 140 - I need to keep reminding myself that those lessons are fine waiting - they are not going anywhere. The goal isn’t to get to the next level. wkstats projects a finishing date of 2044. I hope that’s pessimistic, but not so much if I do another 4-5 year hiatus. It’s been about a month since I cleared the review queue, so July 2023 at a level a month. OK, that’s not too bad.

Do what you need to to keep WK fun and interesting. In my case, that means limiting the new stuff I take on to keep the next 24 hours manageable. Best of luck and hopefully I’ll meet you at 60 some day.


Good luck in you reset.
please share your further experiences.

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I started using my phone to do reviews this level and I’m supposed to level up in two days, which makes the whole thing eleven days. I’ve never been that fast before. (Not counting the free levels.)

Doing the first reviews when I’m actually supposed to helped so much with retention, and being more available kept the reviews from piling up.

I hope it works out as well for you! Judging by the changes you listed it seems like you have it pretty figured out.


Sounds like it was a tough choice. On the one hand resetting can be deflating, but on the other the crabigator shows no mercy. But just remember you got this!

The biggest thing that sticks out to me is missing the SRS timings. For me, the 4 and 8 hour apprentice ones are the most important. If I miss them by a lot it’s all downhill from there. You’ve already identified that, so all I’m saying is focus on nailing those 2 if you can.

Good luck!

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Good to hear I’m not the only one. After vacation my review queue was consistently at 500. I thought I’d never catch up. I was only at level 6 at the time and felt like things would get worse and not better if I kept pushing through. I reset to level 1. It was probably too much as I had the radicals down pretty well but I didn’t know where I had gone off the rails (just learned about WaniKani Stats thanks to your post).

I’m glad I reset. I’m back up to level 4 and getting over 90% on my reviews.

Thanks for your post and glad to hear you’re back on track.

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Thank you all for all of your kind replies, they make me feel a lot better!

Wait, really? I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of them regret it! Maybe it’s because I’ve never read anything besides “I made it! Level 60!” posts.

Just because it’s simple, it doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Thanks! I’ll report in a couple of months.

We are different people. What was hard for me can be a breeze for you, so don’t get intimidated. Keep at it! Let’s both do our best!

This crashes my motivation so much sometimes. But I guess some Japanese is better than no Japanese, huh?

This so much, another friend of mine gave me this exact piece of advice. And hey, as everyone flashes by, both of us will still be here, chipping at it little by little. Let’s do it!


I think at least @jprspereira has said something to that effect…?

Edit: Also, just to clarify, my capitalized NOT was more to make sure that the word didn’t get skipped over if someone was reading quickly, than to add emphasis.

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By the way, I can’t help but notice you, @jprspereira and @ninjaflautist90 have matching icons, or at least they have the same style. Is there a story behind that?


@Liphiarlyn drew them :hugs: