The end game... quitting the SRS

So, as the title says I finally stopped using the last SRS app in my repertoire, Anki. And with that I can say: no more SRS, no reviews, no new cards, no more pursue for unknown words in the wild, checking frequency lists, etc, etc …

It’s a tremendously relieving feeling I must say :slightly_smiling_face: !!

I’ve been using SRS apps for almost 2.5 year now, been fairly constant with them and have really done my best to make the routine with those apps as efficient and productive as possible.
Since quite early in my Japanese journey I’ve tried methods to include shows and real context to words in my reviewing, up to a point that I would basically pick vocab exclusively out of the content I would watch or even read, and this way make the whole SRS extremely relatable to the immersion I was having.

To feed my pride (of sorts), vocab cards these days were taking less to produce and looking the best since I started :sweat_smile:



Audio / image from the show they came from; automated audio and japanese definition for the word been reviewed. And all this reviewing made after listing new words according to frequency order.

I think I’ve invested more time and effort to customize my SRS experience than most of users in the community but even so for some time now I’ve had this feeling that this simply wasn’t a routine made to last much longer. Reaching those 2.5 years in this routine I was wondering how any other routine could work as well as this “learning oasis”:grin: I had made for myself.

Well, to all my doubts and second thoughts all it took for me to take the “leap of faith” was life itself and the weight of other responsibilities hitting on my door. Suddenly I didn’t have much time to invest in learning japanese and it became a choice between my reduced leisure time been spent on japanese “learning” or just chillin’ doing something else.

For most of the sentence mining I was either using a software to watch videos with a hovering over dictionary option to quickly check unknown words and then reading it was pretty much the same using the Kindle. So this time all of the word picking and ulterior steps I decided to leave them out of the equation and just try to enjoy content as I would any other.

:exploding_head::exploding_head: … this has been my general reaction to this seemingly change in routine for the last month.

The month I’ve been more stressed this year in terms of goals to achieve professionally has been actually the one I’m enjoying japanese content the most. Taking that one last bit of “semi formal” learning out of my daily routine has been game changer. I feel becoming more care free with regards of reading and watching japanese content made me more aware on what to watch / read in terms of quality and enjoyment and nothing else.

I’ve been spending some time adding shows to my queue list and watching an episode a day for the last weeks and resumed reading this month (bailed on my old book and picked one that I’m liking much more now).

So, I don’t intend to say that SRS is no good with this post (I think it did wanders for me actually :slightly_smiling_face:), but I was eager to mention this change of practices. I know a lot of people here find hard or struggle to view a learning routine that don’t include those.

What about others here, what’s the perceived effect quitting SRS had on your routine? Second thoughts about it? Would love to hear them :+1:

I remember a very similar post by @KazeTachinu earlier this year, focused on reading mostly; but what about watching show (probably the thing I do the most in relation to japanese). Anyone changed SRS for binging? :sweat_smile:


I personally still swear by it (even if I have been stuck on the same level for over a year), but I did go through a similar wave of relief when quitting duolingo and anki. The SRS system combined with the idea of streaks in Duolingo really took a toll on me, and although I can say I got a 1000 day streak on it, that doesn’t translate into amazing knowledge or comprehension. That being said, SRS is still effective for me, but I’ve learned a valuable lesson in sacrificing short-term progress in order to prevent burnout.

The only thing I have to wonder is… Level 58?! You’re really okay quitting just 2 levels before 60?! I can’t imagine how frustrated I’d be if I was forced to stop that close to the end…


@Wantitled I guess it never bothered much not reaching level 60 'cause instead I set my goal from quite early to “doing WK until set date”. The due date came and I was level 58 feeling pretty much the same :man_shrugging:
I think I tooked more serious reaching 10K words in Anki, which is where I was before calling it quits, again totally arbitrary, but I guess it resounded more with me. :sweat_smile:


What is the meaning of 牛の分際で贅沢な話だ

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I don’t recall the scene it came from to look it up right now. But I think it was from シグナル.

If I remember correctly it was the analogy the big politician and puppeteer behind a series of corruption related acts in the show made about quality meat (from cows that lived and were feed in a “luxurious way”) and some rich families he was intervening for. Conveying the feel that it was needed for each to have its place in society.

May I just say your dedication to the SRS process is amazing. I wish I could say I was gonna try to make anki cards as efficient as that but the truth is I wouldn’t be able to motivate myself to even learn how to make anki cards in the first place so it’s a pretty unrealistic goal for me. But who knows maybe I’m wrong and one day I’ll be in a similar situation. Congrats my friend and all the best for the future wherever it may take you.


Okay, just making sure the fact that it made no sense to me wasn’t something inherent to the sentence. Guess you needed to watch the show.


At some point I think SRS becomes counter productive and starts to encroach too much on other learning. Too much out of context learning. I have a co-worker who is fluent and doesn’t even know how to spell SRS.

I’ve pretty much concluded that WK is enough - and even Koichi will say it is time to leave the nest and use what you’ve learned here. WK makes this enjoyable - iKnow and Anki both became torture for me, and I didn’t follow through. That said, I’m hardly a poster-child of language learning, and I’m keenly aware of my mistakes and failures.


I guess sentences like this one is why last year I totally went with mining setences while watching a show and not just picking a setence from a sentence bank as I once did.

Indeed without the due context I get that “social status of cows” and a “story of living in luxury” is not exactly much of a sentence to put in WK for example :joy:

I also stopped using anki maybe a month ago after using it for 2,5 years almost.
I just felt like the in-context approach of watching things that I was interested in acted as a much better revising system and gave me so much more at this point in my learning process. The SRS approach became stale and felt rather lifeless up until a few months ago.
Quitting SRS has made my studying a bit more relaxed and colourful in a way as well. I have set times in the day where I focus like a crazy person on what is being said and if I don’t understand I look it up while also just enjoying media passing by in front of my eyes as I let my brain pick up what ever it picks up. Experiencing both extremes is very refreshing.


Same boat here. During the last months I was trying to fit the reviewing into no more than 30 minutes a day but after a while even those 30 minutes felt like nothing I wanted to do.
If I got late at home and had 1-2 hours before going to sleep, the SRS felt like this sort of passed along pet that I had to take for a walk no matter what :dizzy_face:

Now I can just watch my show and be over with it. Watching an episode takes not much longer than the episode itself. I have the dictionary function on the app, but it usually takes 2 or more repetitions of a word for me to actually put attention to the word itself, otherwise I’m just hover over the word see the definition and keep going.

I guess I’ll update this thread after some months to provide a proper comparision with the previous routine, for now I’m just loving the change. :upside_down_face:


They’re not mutually exclusive.


The less you SRS, the more you can binge. So in that sense, they are mutually exclusive.


I’ve always had a hard time with SRS. (Wanikani included)

I’ve successfully used SRS for exams and other specific goals (including non-Japanese matters). But a long-term SRS over two years or so? I failed miserably every single time, lol.

But of course SRS is good for the ones who can keep it. But sooner or later, I agree you have to take the leap.

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I still do anki for listening practice because that’s by far my weakest point, but about half a year ago I stopped doing SRS for kanji and written vocab and just let those come from reading.

I probably spend way too much time creating listening flash cards from youtube, audiobooks and whatnot considering the size of my backlog, but it is kinda fun, I think I learn from it, and it gives morphman more options to choose from…

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Hey ! I’m interested in this app and dictionary function you’re speaking of, would you mind sharing ? :smiley:

Your post is really interesting to me, I’d like to learn Japanese the way I did with English, which was just basically reading and watching stuff I like. With my level it takes me too much time to understand tv shows or reading which prevents me from actually enjoying it. I am eager to be able to have enough knowledge to learn without books and daily srs obligations though !

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This is true of all language learning: specifically, that you need to start with rote memorization from nothing, then context (mining) SRS, then ultimately to context itself alone. In an ideal world you would learn only from context and have no SRS tools or grammar textbooks, but our brains are not the powerhouse sponges they were when we were toddlers. Too get to that stage takes a lot of prepwork.

This is also why it annoys me when I see people who have learned a language near fluently always tell people to drop the SRS and read tons and tons. What they can’t seem to remember (or erroneously believe that they were wrong in) was that as a beginner you need to learn grammar and words from books, and be putting words/phrases into an SRS, before you can get anywhere. By the same token, countless people know the SRS has served them well and never feel the urge to quit. The trick is realizing the ultimate goal of context-only learning, and taking the necessary steps to reach that place.


I find it so inspiring to read your posts here. When I first started on WK, I was amazed at how it made it simple to learn kanji. Follow the system and focus. And then as I used it more I learned more about myself and what my goals are for Japanese, I also learned when SRS can help me learn a word and when it is better to just fix my mistakes and know that I will learn the word when I encounter it in the wild.

(So many of my leeches just stop being leeches if I read/hear them in the wild even once. So now I don’t worry so much about them and just overrule errors if I notice that a leech have turned into that state.)

I have a feeling right now, with my Japanese classes and such that I will probably finish WK and I will do a lot of or all of BunPro, and then I will drop SRS for Japanese and just read and look words/grammar up when I need to.

It helps that I have the experience from learning English to fluency. Basically school taught me English until I was able read most any book by myself, and only look up words when I really didn’t understand a sentence without it. (Obviously not counting classical literature and such since that is a very different kind of English.) I was about 14-15 when I suddenly decided to involve myself in my own English learning and I switched my reading entirely to English at that point (I read a lot, and still do). And I could just switch mostly painlessly (although taking a big dictionary to bed wasn’t so comfy. :stuck_out_tongue:)

From then on I just read. I had all the grammar I needed, I knew a good amount of vocabulary. For Japanese, with WK, Japanese classes, and reading, I think I can pick up enough to just drop SRS when I finish WK/BP (maybe I won’t even feel like I need to hit 60 or finish all grammar on BP, who knows). :smiley:


Sure thing, it’s basically the one in the link about picking words from watching. The link leads to the post I did with the whole routine, but the program itself is Voracious.

I guess you could do the same using Yomichan and some of the add-ons made for Netflix, Subadub is one of those. There’s another one called LLN, which I haven’t used, but I believe it was made among the same lines.

Big thing for me with Voracious was the fact that you could get the cards to have the audio and image from the scene the word came from, but mainly the fact that it works over video files instead of Netflix alone made the whole difference.

Netflix is a nice start to get shows with due japanese subs. In my case I would watch mainly movies and jdrama so that lead me to other shadier resources later on.

@melon4dinner I totally agree with that. I hope it doesn’t feel like I’m trashing SRS and its use. I have actually spend (and not wasted) countless hours in understanding how SRS works and made all the adjustments I could to make it a better tool for me. I really think it paid off to learn about SRS (and not just using it). Creating personal and relatable material was one of the points that made it possible for me to show up every day for reviewing.


Hi there, I just had a look at the Voracious page, and I’m a bit thick, hence the questions!

Where do the subtitles come from? Are any old plain text soft subtitles OK, so you can use it for any show that has the appropriate subs available?

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