I completely agree. Wanikani is like one of those soul-crushing facebook games where your potatoes will die in three hours unless you water them. Except you are actually accomplishing something instead of just having the illusion of such. People pay real money for fake money there because they’re too lazy to wait, I’d much rather
pay real money ask my mom to pay real money and be forced to wait at wanikani because here it’s in my best interest.
I’m an autodidact (as I’m sure many of us are) but what I want to learn is dependent on whim. I could not structure and adhere to a Japanese-learning regimen on my own and would probably end up researching Japanese clan feuds in the Sengoku period or teaching myself Hangul if left to my own devices. I learned Hiragana in 12 hours with tofugu’s guide and Katakana in six but you can’t learn Kanji in a binge like that.
I do sympathize with you. Myself I only learn some of the mmemonics from the beginning, they do help with words/pronunciations that I don’t pick up immediately or intuitively. Of those where I use the mmemonic initially, in most cases over time the mmemonic is forgotten-- the mmemonic itself is something extra remember and while it helps (for me) in encoding memory it becomes inefficient during retrieval. We remember what our brain thinks is important and if the mmemonic isn’t necessary for us it will be tabled (in the American English sense)-- almost nothing is truly forgotten once it is encoded, mmemonics are designed to be memorable and the ones that resonate more with us (there are some mmemonics I remember begrudgingly because I hate them) certainly will be. What I mean is you skip the mmemonic in the active recall process and remember it separately. I find it an amusing “game” to be trying to remember the original mmemonics for things, akin to “reverse engineering” them.
I’m curious, how many people utilize the hints? Personally I have a very strong verbal memory and I rarely do. i don’t find the sympathetic exercises to be helpful at all (the ones that are like “feel the pain of being stabbed by a hundred tiny dwarfs” but I like the “thought experiment ones”, like “think how weirdly redundant ‘tiny dwarfs’ is”… erm…
Anydayway, I relate to you with wanting to skip some radicals. Not because I never use mmemonics, but because mmemonics solely based on wanikani-exclusive radicals encourage you to put visuals above meaning, but I like remembering “true” radicals and their myriad nuances. My brain finds real albeit complex systems more valuable than artificial ones. I remember radicals for their meaning more than their shape, and instead of simplifying things it is a huge nuisance to think of 扌 as “nailbat” while simultaneously knowing it’s a component form of hand. (and it looks like it too) To me, component forms are very notable and I wish WK would treat them as such rather than separate radicals. For example I just learned 今 now. It does look like a ra with a hat but I know the hat is actually a component form of the person radical and with that line under it it means “cover”, while “ra” isn’t even a real radical. For the kana it doesn’t matter how they are remembered because their only “meaning” is phonetic, but for radicals I end up having to remember multiple meanings. Remembering the “real” meaning feels much more natural to me than the arbitrary ones I would never have come up with myself. While I generally add synonyms in these cases, I always fear the synonym somehow won’t be accepted. (I mistakenly thought I added “work” as a synonym to the construction kanji, when really I only added it to the radical.) So I input them the Wanikani way and tell myself, “I wrote X, but really it’s Y”. I really do think it would be helpful to skip radicals like “raptor cage”, “two-face”, and “poop”. Mullet doesn’t bother me much because it has no inherent meaning, so it’s described variously as “dotted cliff”, “cliff with a building on it”, etc.
In case anyone is curious about radicals, this is a great place to look. http://www.joyokanji.com/radical-notes
And this is the most comprehensive radical/component (something not distinguished on WK, could any upper levels tell me if this changes, especially for phonetic components?) list I’ve seen. https://www.kanshudo.com/component_details
Apologies for the length.