The Fugu That Broke The Camel's Back (Why I'm quitting WaniKani)

Bye Felicia


Wait, what’s wrong with 里心?


Read 3 posts up…


Leebo covered it nicely back in this post, but mostly I was having a jab at the thread that won’t die in which someone left because he didn’t like 里心 specifically.


I don’t mind the useless words that come up. Just reinforces those readings. Makes it easier to guess in the wild.


I don’t mind 河豚 personally, but it’s true that some words that appear on WaniKani in kanji-only form, usually use hiragana (人参 anyone?) so it might be misleading to learners. At least, I had this issue until I dived into Genki and realized not everything needs to use kanji even if the kanji form for that word exists. Especially, if the kanji form (some verbs) has a different nuance.

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有り難う seemed like something that I would never see in kanji but then my friend messaged me it. I was so surprised to see it used.


You can skip vocab, you know? You should have a look at the other levels’ vocab and kanji before you decide to quit. Maybe the higher levels have stuff that you see regularly?


Well, I just learned two new words. Thank you for clearing that up for me. Given that (hopefully) no one uses ONLY WK to study Japanese I see no problem with it teaching me “unnecessary” words. But I already learned from my English journey that there are no unnecessary words and knowing those too is what makes fluency. (At least for me.) Do you know if a Japanese native would still understand me regardless of the word being outdated? Being understood should be the first goal in studying languages after all.


:yum: :yum: :yum:

you’re joking, right?

would you understand a foreigner if their grammar was wonky, their pronunciation imperfect and their choice of work a bit odd? of course you would. would you find it charming? hopefully yes.

and let’s be honest, most foreign language learning is far behind the actual spoken language in the country itself. it’s also often way more formal. but it’s cute!


I mean you can, but I 100% recommend you don’t. It is there to reinforce readings, and to support you remembering and learning about the nuances and ways in which certain readings and meanings of a kanji are used. By learning those vocab, you’ll get a decent intuition to guess the reading and meaning of other vocab you’ve never seen before.


Just like every time I write 田代島. It’s a place that I didn’t know of and don’t think I ever need to know of, but okay, guessi can learn it for the kanji. At least they’re useful kanji.


Any literate native will understand 里心, yes, you don’t need to worry about that.

It is of course possible to find words in the dictionary that average people don’t know, but that’s not one of them.


Best of luck in your journey, Matt :blue_heart:


I’m so surprised when people want to learn less…
Don`t you want to know cool obscure stuff too?


If we’re on this topic specifically…

This happened shortly after I started learning Japanese: I was in a very touristy area near Shimbashi in Tokyo. My family went to a restaurant literally within a kilometre of our hotel, and there were tons of tourists in the area. (We saw them queuing up every evening.) You’d think something like that would have an English menu handy, or that they’d make their menu easy to read or something…

Well, we went up to the restaurant and got a table. We’re of East Asian origin, so maybe they didn’t bring us an English menu because we didn’t look foreign. Anyhow though, we wanted to order, so we took a look at the menu on the table and… not only were there no pictures, but there were also a ton of fish-related kanji that none of us could read. How did I know they were fish-related? Because they all had the 魚 radical on the lefthand side. Now here’s the thing: I’m a bilingual English and Chinese native speaker. Who’d have thought that the one thing that would stump me would be… a bunch of kanji (literally ‘Chinese characters’)? (Luckily, they had an English menu with lots of pictures that they eventually brought out, but we ultimately found a way to push through the Japanese menu with Google Translate and some writing. (There was stuff that was only on the Japanese menu.) Still, it was tough.)

Certain kanji are definitely going to be rare, and even when kanji are common, certain words they make up can be rare. That doesn’t mean they’re useless, and in a country like Japan where fish is everywhere, the last thing I’d expect to be useless to know is a fish kanji. For that matter, I’m pretty sure that the biggest slice of 国字 – kanji made in Japan – is the set of fish kanji. They have sooooo many that aren’t used anywhere else in the world, including in China. The only sorts of kanji that are nearly useless are super obscure literary ones like 昄, which seems rare even in Chinese, and those aren’t on WK.

That aside, even if 河豚 isn’t all that useful in your daily life, it’s still a good way of remembering those two kanji, unless you find fugu abhorrent for whatever reason. That’s what some of these words are for, and as some people have pointed out, at the worst, you can ignore this word altogether. There’s almost definitely a script for that.

It’s your choice whether or you want to stay on, but throwing out all the other things you could learn just because of a few words like this… really? Is that worth it? Even if the kanji form of 河豚 were never used, imagine someone who only knew the word ‘blowfish’: that person would now know ‘fugu’ is the Japanese word for it. For the person who found that 里心 is never used in conversation, well, you’ll probably find it in books. Want proof? Go look at the most recent movie for the series Konosuba, which is super popular and not at all full of flowery language. In the teaser, one of the kanji that appears is… 里. It’s right there, smack in the middle of the screen, because the entire arc is set in a village. WK is about learning kanji, not about learning vocabulary for conversation alone. You can converse fluently without knowing any kanji: my mother’s native languages are Chinese dialects other than Mandarin, and she has no idea how to write them. The best we can do is guess based on auditory similarities. However, if you want to learn kanji, and possibly read books afterwards, just be aware that even light novels, which are the sources of so many of the best anime out there, require knowledge of apparently useless kanji that no one uses ‘in real life’ (as if these books weren’t real).


On top of what @Leebo said, the word is still in use in written form. Here’s an example from the book I read a few days ago (I took a picture because I know it comes up on WK):

It’s just used as is, and that’s a recent book too (the series it comes from won the 日本SF大賞 in 2019). So, yeah, I feel people would just understand that word.


More importantly, it’s the only vocab in WK with the しろ reading of 代. If you like fantasy or supernatural, words like 依代 (よりしろ) or 形代 (かたしろ) with しろ reading appear surprisingly often.


しろ also seems to be a favourite reading for 代 in names in general, so it’s definitely worth knowing.

PS: Thanks for those words. I hadn’t seen them before.


There’s also 代物, which is a common word.