Should I feel ashamed?

I initially signed up for WaniKani because when I began to study grammar I was frustrated with all the kanji I couldn’t read. So I decided to hold off on grammar until I got a good chunk of basic kanji down. I tried learning both at once and found it very difficult due to lack of time and burning myself out.

I know this isn’t a race and I know everyone learns at a different pace (haha rhymes) but I’ve read about a lot of other users getting much further than I have in my one year of subscription.

We all have busy lives, so I feel like my reasons for not getting as far are just excuses. I want to consider re-signing up for the subscription again (still debating on lifetime or not) but I worry if I would be wasting my money/time…

I can’t guarantee that’d I’d be able to work more or faster and. I know that being at level 8, I still know nothing as far as kanji goes. I just don’t know if I should continue WaniKani. I love the program and I am learning. But should I feel bad if this is the only amount of progress I’ve made?

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I got to level 60 in 1 year 38 days

But seriously, do you man.


Don’t feel bad about it. That won’t do anything productive. If you don’t feel like this is working for you that is morally fine, you don’t have to be here. There’s plenty of good programs available for free.
I feel like to make progress in this app you have to devote your whole life to it for a long time, so it absolutely isn’t necessary.


People learn at different rates, so there’s no reason to think poorly of yourself for progressing slowly. Find a pace that works for you and keep at it. If you think WaniKani is useful to you, and it’s in your budget, there’s no reason not to subscribe.

There was a book I read where one of the characters said something like “Slowly is the best way to learn; you’ll have time to learn everything else along the way.”


No you shouldn’t be ashamed. Try having a BA in Japanese, then going to Japan for the first time and only having Korean words in your head while you’re there. Getting lost on the trains for 8hrs trying to get from Osaka to Nagoya to see your friend because you’re so incompetent in the one thing you dedicated the majority of your life on.

I have this problem because I completely burnt out on Japanese in Uni. It can happen if you overload yourself. At the end I just couldn’t function anymore and started focusing solely on Korean. My love of Japanese has returned after a few years hiatus and now I’m trying to piece together my knowledge. I often feel ashamed because I feel like I lost all I worked for for those nine years(I started taking classes in 7th grade), but when I use this site and Duolingo I see I know more than I think I do. It was good for me to have that break because I lost why I enjoyed Japanese and was able to regain that love that I originally had.

Language is tough, but I think you may be similar to me in that you know more than you think you know. It’ll take a while and lots of repetition to pay off.

I don’t know how long I can keep going on this site, so I’m only doing the month by month payment. Because I may have to stop at any time if things get busy. I might move from S.Korea to Sri Lanka in as soon as April to as late as a year and a half from now. I have no idea what life there will be like for me and how much time I’ll have. Now I’m learning Korean and Japanese at the same time. While I’m there I’ll continue Japanese, Korean, and will start learning Sinhalese.

Long story short, don’t feel bad. Don’t feel ashamed. Language is tough. I’ve been studying Japanese a long time, it’s my degree but I consider myself incompetent BUT I know more than I give myself credit for. Don’t burn yourself out. Study at your own pace, find ways to study that are interesting to you. You like WaniKani and are learning from it? Keep at it. Don’t know if you can use it as fast as you’d like to, pay month to month, and try to make the most out of it each month. If you feel yourself using it less often, take a break and try something else for a little bit (even if it’s just carrying small flashcards where ever you go).

Side note: Another thing that can help is to find a movie that you like a lot. Watch it with Japanese subtitles, and see how much you know. Keep watching over and over again. Remove the subtitles, keep watching over and over again. Pause and try to translate parts you don’t know. It’s a slightly different method to learning natural Japanese than traditional studying. You can learn many things without worrying about rules, only focusing on comprehension.


Just remember to go back to focus on Grammar at some time… Probably around level 30-40…

I am already at 60, and still bad at grammar… Even with all Kanji and vocab and immersion, you still need to study grammar separately…

With things like the JFZ books, graded readers (I know there’s a lot of hate for those), satori reader/duendecat, etc., you can still study grammar with limited kanji knowledge, so I still think studying them together is good, even if only covering N5/N4 grammar.

As to whether you should feel bad, as others have sad, that might make it worse. I wouldn’t say you should lie to yourself and undeservedly pat yourself on the back, but self-deprecation in lieu of self-criticism (constructive, of course) won’t help much.

I do think you should closely evaluate your priorities, though. Most people are certainly busy, but most also have more time than they think. Binge a few shows on Netflix before bed? Browse imgur idly throughout the day? Spend a lot of time going out for meals? While one may be busy, it’s true that we make time for what we love. Tbh, I would like to get back into League of Legends (just to play with friends, my love for the game long died out), but even though I " want " to, I spend most of my free time studying Japanese. What that means is that Japanese is more important to me than those other things I want to spend free time on. Can that be said for you? Japanese doesn’t have to be your priority in life, but if you truly want to study it, you’ve gotta raise its importance up a few notches. It’s not like you’re a bad person or whatever for putting other things first, but you have to be real with yourself in evaluating where your priorities lie.


Some of us had it the other way OP: Learned a lot about grammar and couldn’t keep up because the lack of kanji. Right now I’m learning both things at the same time and it’s kind of overwhelming, but I’m learning a lot and don’t want to stop.

Learning a language takes years, I understand it can be frustrating at times, but don’t give up. Unless you really have the need to learn Japanese as fast as possible, you don’t need to rush yourself. Some people finish WK very fast, but you have to know that at points you’ll have to do 300 reviews everyday, and not all have the luxury to spend that much time learning kanji.

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A lot of people have difficulty finishing Wanikani at all, let alone in less than 2 years…(Are they super heroes or something…?)

I signed up for Wanikani 3 and a half years ago, but I am only halfway through. I do feel find of ashamed, but I keep coming back to make progress slowly. I would take it easy and learn at a slower pace (learn fewer kanji per lesson, etc) due to your busy lifestyle.

pshaw. I’m 9 months in, level 10, and freak completely when someone starts speaking or typing to me in Japanese. The good news: I perk up now when someone says これは in an anime.

…we’ll get there…


Thank you for all the replies. I really appreciate the words of kindness, advice and encouragement.
And thank you to those who shared their experiences and insights. Having lower level and high level WaniKani users reply is very comforting.

I don’t really have much of a support group and I’m pretty sure my husband gets a little tired of all my Japan talk.:sweat_smile:
I certainly won’t give up and I look forward to trying harder and doing my best.
Hopefully the next time I post I’ll have gained some levels, but more importantly, knowledge.


This is why I bought the lifetime sub during the holiday special last year (they have offered it at least twice now, maybe more). I have depressive cycles so it’s hard for me to keep up with reviews sometimes, and if I was paying monthly I’d probably just beat myself up about it and quit. But with lifetime I can take it at my own pace, which lets me balance mental health and progress.

I’m not going to let myself quit, no matter how long it takes, and it’s nice to know that I can keep using it if I lose my job or something. Plus, you probably know more than you realize, as others have said. I already find myself reading somewhat complex sentences sometimes, which is amazingly validating. I’d say keep at it, if finances allow!


Keep at it, don’t measure yourself against others, because the competition is only with yourself, in the end. There are enough situations where you will have to be compared to others, don’t make this one of them.

I’ve been here for a bit over 3 years, and I’ve only just reached the halfway point.
There’s nothing wrong with slowing down or taking breaks when you’ve got other stuff on.

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