I started Wanikani I believe in 2019 and made it all the way up to level 25 but then started working a 50 hour/week job and kind of just gave up on trying to continue. Recently I started just chipping away at reviews (about 100/day) until I would catch up on everything I had forgotten but it’s so overwhelming and the reviews never stop coming. I also have taken a look at my burned items and a lot of them I seem to have forgotten. I really don’t want to restart because my journey to 25 was arduous, but maybe it would be the right decision? I could pace myself better this time.
If it’s been that long, restarting will probably help out a lot, but I’d recommend looking through the earlier levels pages first and seeing how much of those you recognize. You might find that you recognize a lot of the stuff up to say level 10, but not so much after, so you could reset to around there.
This will save you a lot of time going through some of the earliest levels which you likely know pretty well.
I am starting to think that I can catch up on these reviews, and I feel I can always just resurrect a kanji from burned status if I run into it in the wild and forgot what it was.
If you really don’t want to restart then don’t. As long as you stick to your commitment and keep doing your reviews every day, you’ll catch up with them eventually. It may take a while but keep in mind a full restart would take at minimum 24 weeks to get back to your current level. I would recommend looking at each level (you can use wkstats for an easy overview) and seeing how much of them you remember. If you can’t remember pretty much anything from the later levels then maybe reset down a few levels. As for the burned items you can’t remember, you can individually unburn them bit by bit.
I would get Ultimate Reorder script, and work you way through reviews starting at the lowest levels. When you get a level where you are not comfortable with your percentage correct, reset to that level.
Or not. There are several people who post in the forums on a regular basis about conquering huge review piles after a break. Just keep in mind that you will probably be spending months on reviews alone.
Just sharing my experience here. I fought my way up to level 7 (not nearly as impressive as you) and then I got into a bad accident that derailed me for months. When I returned, I had a pile of reviews and I couldn’t remember most of my burned items. I realized that I hadn’t fully appreciated onyomi vs. kunyomi and also couldn’t recall the kanji when given an English prompt. To give the full picture, I had joined the “Team Snails on Vacation” gang but I was still stressed out that I wasn’t learning Japanese fast enough, and I always tried to have 30+ items in Apprentice.
So after much soul-searching, I reset to Level 1, and gave myself the additional rules of (1) no more than 20 items in Apprentice, and (2) doing KaniWani at the same time. While I’m even more annoyed at how slowly I’m leveling up, I have found that my retention is 100% better than it was. So, for example, I’m clear now on the different pronunciations of 外 vs 外人 vs 外す and feel very secure about them.
An important note, however, is that I have no deadline for learning Japanese…I’m hoping to have a nice extended stay in Japan after retirement, which gives me YEARS to study.
I hope this helps you with your decision, whichever you pick!
i don’t have an opinion on resetting. however, i have opinions on working through large piles of reviews!
i recently came back from a 1500 pile of reviews. what worked for me, and what i think is essential, is to prioritize certain items. when you’ve got a pile of reviews large enough that you only get through a small section every day, the SRS stops working. (it’s supposed to present you items you’ve failed sooner, but if it’s pulling randomly from a large pile, that doesn’t work).
others have already suggested working through items by level. my choice was to sort reviews by SRS level (i used the Reorder Buttons userscript). it still took me quite a while to get through the pile, but if i’d reset, it’d have taken me twice as long even if i speedran the thing.
i restarted from 40 and i had not even taken a break. i was just losing the love for it because each review session was just harder than the one before. now, i’m taking it slow and it’s just a joy!
that’s just my PoV but just know that restarting is not necessarily a waste of time. if it means you stick to it and progress without battling or getting frustrated, you’re prob much more likely to progress steadily.