Struggling to recall certain leeches

Hey all! I’m having a bit of an issue with trying to recall mainly vocabulary which use different forms of each of the kanji. An example would be remembering 同じ (おなじ), verses just remembering 同 (どう). I keep forgetting either the form that is used in vocabulary, or the kanji itself.

Has anyone got any advice when it comes to this? I have this issue on a lot of vocabulary, and it’s really hindering my Japanese learning ability.


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Have you been reading the example sentences for the vocab, as well as trying to read other things? 同じ is such a common word that I knew it before I learned it on here, which made the pronunciation much easier to remember.


I’ve been reading the example sentences, but even then I’m struggling to remember some vocabulary (even after studying those sentences). “Same” is only an example, there’s a bunch of other ones that I cannot remember too.

as well as trying to read other things

What should I be reading externally? Like, is there any resources for someone at my level (who knows very little vocabulary) to be able to understand some text? I feel as though many texts are just too advanced for me to understand any of it without looking up almost every word.

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Probably the best practice for reading beginning sentences would be whatever you’re using to learn grammar. I have spent a decent amount of time trying to read things that were much higher than my reading level. I’m only now reading 時をかける少女 with the book club, which has been by far the best learning experience I’ve had reading a light novel and we’re only on the first chapter! NHK Easy has been a great resource for improving my comprehension level and boosting my confidence over the last few years.

Also I’ve seen a massive amount of anime with English subtitles, which I give credit for making a lot of grammar and vocab easier for me to learn.

Edit: light novel, not graphic novel! Also I want to clarify that I’ve read a variety of other things before, I’ve just never gotten very far in either of the other two light novels I’ve tried - they were both very difficult.


I almost forgot, graded readers are another great resource for starting out.

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Hmm. How about try using the word(s) in your own sentences? Writing it out then saying it out loud. Might help make things stick.

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Do you have any games, movies, music, shows, etc. in Japanese that you can listen to? I find that I pick up a lot of words through listening (even if I don’t know what they mean right away) before I encounter them on WaniKani. A lot of times I’ll make the connection between a vocab word and something I’ve heard before, and the vocab sticks a lot better because I’ve been exposed to it before.

Additionally, WK tries to provide mnemonics for readings you haven’t encountered before. Definitely make use of these mnemonics and try to picture them, even if they don’t stick the first time.

Lastly, do you use KaniWani or KameSame? These reverse-recall sites can really help stick the landing on unfamiliar vocab because you’ll need to approach them from a different angle and essentially get a second batch of tests.


You could try Japanese Graded Readers Level 1 Vol 1.

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How much of a problem is it? Level 6 might be kind of early in terms of thinking about leeches. Opinions will vary and some of those opinions will make a “leech” sound quite fearful.

If you know very little vocabulary, then you probably are pretty fresh when it comes to grammar. When I looked into graded readers, the guidance gave me a clear understanding that I’m not there yet. On the other hand you don’t mention difficulty with the context sentences, which I find can be very daunting.

and to also read through the first few chapters of Genki 1 and really get to grips with it. I have all these resources, and sorta feel annoyed that I haven’t been utilizing them to the best of my ability.

How’s your Genki progress? Make a simple sentence or two with the tricky vocab and read them aloud.

Sometimes I’ve realized that I haven’t put decent effort into the mnemonics provided for the vocabulary like 同じ (おなじ). When I realize I’m getting tripped up consistently, I revisit them in earnest.

I don’t officially recommend this, but drawing a mnemonic can be very helpful to me when it comes to recall.

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How much of a problem is it?

It’s currently not too bad, but the reason I wanted to ask at the beginning, is because this is exactly what happened to me when I had to learn French, haha… I struggled with certain vocabulary for no reason, whilst others were extremely easy to learn and master. I’d rather ask the question now, if you get what I mean.

Japanese Graded Readers

That looks like a great resource, thanks! I’ll definitely take a look at it once I’m back home tonight. Something like that, is probably perfect for me; it’s basic to begin with, but then has different and more harder variants.

Words in own sentences

Maybe this is just me, but I find at level 6, I don’t know enough vocabulary to actually form a sentence, and I get bogged down by looking up that new vocabulary, rather than solidifying current vocabulary, if that makes sense.

Do you have any games, movies, music, shows, etc. in Japanese that you can listen to?

I find that learning Japanese media is difficult. Most the time, I find myself reading the subtitles, and not hearing the Japanese, even if I’m supposed to be listening out for vocabulary. It’s probably just the games and shows I watch though, seeming as they are quite high-level Japanese anyways. Is there any media you would recommend, that I would at least be able to get a general gist of what’s going on, without subtitles (or alternatively, Japanese subtitles)?

WK mnemonics

I do use them, but certain ones just won’t stick in my head. For a few, I’ve made up my own, and that’s worked, so perhaps I should be doing that more for ones I find difficult…?

KaniWani or KameSame

I reset my KaniWani to level 1 a few days ago, incidentally, as I had the same thought. Hopefully that helps out.


Sorry for the rambling post, or if the post is sorta hard to follow; I’m about to head into college, and it’s still quite early, so I just wanted to reply with a bit of information before I head out. Many thanks for all of your help, though, I will definitely be looking into some of these methods or techniques!


Not rambling at all, that’s a good recap. Thanks for reeling it all in. I think it’s natural to have some words that give us trouble. I could name several of my own. If they cause me to curse I try to remember to laugh it off. Again some folks will make leeches sound like eighty foot monsters while some say “just let the SRS do its job,” don’t take extra action for items that aren’t sticking yet.

For myself, I have a separate Anki deck that I add to directly from my reviews using the Yomichan extension so I can drill myself on exceptionally troublesome items. However, making the time to do those drills is apparently the trick.

I think we are in similar spots as far as grammar is concerned. Make note of the occasional context sentence you grasp and revisit them to pluck parts from them and construct your own sentence using the tricky word. If you can’t because some vocabulary items aren’t simple plug-and-play parts of speech then ask in one of the sub categories on these forums for a simple example or maybe hunt through online resources like to check for simple example sentences with the term in question. However, the WK forums have the advantage of being able to clarify as needed.

Or you could experiment with making a quick stick figure drawing that captures the meaning and reading. Just try to make it outrageous or witty for better sticking potential. I do this (time consuming) for lots of kanji and it really helps my retention.


As I was writing above I realized similar is an English word where the spelling gives me grief even after a few decades. I have to expect some of that with Japanese too right?

You can try and install the self-study user script. It has many filter options to do additional quizzes, like on items you’re having problems with (leeches), or items you have as apprentice, etc.

make one day of the week your “leech day”. put your leeches in small (up to 5 kanji/words) quizlet decks. making these decks is your job on those days. you can later delete things you remember well, and merge decks that don’t have enough stuff left.

either make a deck with 5 kanji, then run through that till you get it, or do the kanji plus 4 words that use the kanji, depending on severity.

i found that some leeches are caused by similarities. sometimes it’s the looks, sometimes the meaning. finding out what it might be often fixes it.

sometimes i thought i’ve read the mnemonics properly, but it turned out i had merely skimmed, and re-reading them helped. sometimes i have to make my own stories.

if nothing else, then the drills help. they hammer you with the same stuff mercilessly until you remember - for different reasons than wk, but i take what i get and use what works.

i recommend quizlet because it’s not an SRS. wanikani already is one, and what i need to complement it is just an easy to use flashcard driller without “punishment”. the site also lets you test yourself and play games with the stuff you’re learning.

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Anything that aligns with your interests, since if you find it interesting you’ll naturally engage with it more. It can be subtitled in English as well–at your stage, just get a feel for basic sentence structure and language flow. See if you can tell when one sentence ends and another begins, if you hear だ or です or any of the vocab you know.

One show that I’ve seen others recommend and which I find quite entertaining is Polar Bear Café. It’s a silly slice-of-life show, they don’t talk too fast (compared to some other shows) and there’s a lot of everyday words you can listen out for.

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