The hell that is reality

Just thought i would share how painful am am finding the the last few levels -

I haven’t done new lessons in about a month - and yet i’m still above 100 apprentice items.

The other day I did a review session and went from 85 - 125 apprentice items.

My troubles seem to coincide with a busy month and a half at work, where I have been away from home.

I have the week off this week - so i’m tempted just to smash through the last levels and live with the consequences ! what do you think?



Surely you’ll just smash through two more then get even more bogged down the week after? Though I’d probably go for it anyway!


Yeah - but I think after doing Wanikani for three years - it will feel like a relief to just get it done !

I’ll admit to being slightly frustrated by learning vocab which I can’t imagine i’ll need to use anytime soon ! Meritorious, great depression, foreshadowing, repose of souls …

1 Like

It feels like each level there are way more lessons than in the eariler levels. I’ve checked though and that feeling is not represented in reality.

Also I start noticing that I’ve forgotten some of the lower level kanji already. And some of the words I don’t even know in English. Like destitude fe. Then I’m wondering if I’m really spending my time efficiently, since I’m able to get by with my English without knowing these words, yet here I am learning how to read them in Japanese.

A huge motivation booster however are those level up E-Mails. And the fact that I’m almost done with WK. Hitting level 60 will be such a joy.


Isn’t it normal that your average apprentice-count gets higher since the amount of leeches increases further down the road?


I also have troubles in reality, it feels like I miss every burn and I confuse a lot of other vocab to. Though it probably started a few levels earlier.

Personally I wouldn’t power through it and rather spend some more time on the items I get wrong a lot. Or add synonyms for words that I really don’t need. I don’t even know what a “colonnel” or “lieutenant” is in my native language, so knowing that it is a military rank and entering “military rank” is fine by me.

I know that frustration and demotivation takes over when I get a lot of items wrong. And then I make more stupid mistakes on words that I definitely know, which causes even more frustration. Remembering new vocab at this point is pretty much out of question.


I’m stealing this trick right now. :eyes:

I’ve been thinking a lot about my burn reviews recently. First, I wanted to be adamant about knowing stuff by heart or I intentionally would fail items. But now I’m starting to realize, there will be stuff I simply do not need to know. When the time comes, I can simply relearn it if I’ve forgotten (all that school terminology is such a case, since I don’t need to navigate Japanese education since I’m through with studying). And I bet when I come to items like lieutenant I’ll feel the same. So, while I’ve already burned most school items by now, I’ll be a bit more forgiving in the future I think. ^^;


Hello! Read your topic and got a question, as I’ve joined Wanikani recently and only at level 4. Do you guys practice to write some complex learned items by hand or in some apps, and does it help to memorise thing better and not to confuse them? Just wanted to try this but not sure whether it will be efficient or just a useless business yet?

I’m nowhere near finished but I find if I write down my “leeches” (things I just can’t seem to remember) they stick in my head better.


I think I am further away from the end than my level suggests. Trying to do all of these within 3-4 days seems to take several hours a day in addition to other studying and work. So I keep postponing the vocab cards, even though I enjoy those much more than the kanji cards.


Could you elaborate about forgetting early level stuff? Would you say that it happens with a significant % of vocab?

I always thought that you basically need to just keep reading outside of WK to really retain vocabulary… especially as in, be able to actively recall it in speech. Are you doing that?

I’ve been on and off with this thing for over 2 years already but seeing people having such problems is a bit soulcrushing :cry:

PS: OP, obv I can’t speak for the volumes found at lvl 55 but I feel like foregoing reviews almost always means pain later. At least review kanji first (no vocab) (you’ll need a reordering script for that).

Yes I spend some time writing kanji by hand every day. It really helps to memorize kanji and to differentiate between similar looking ones.

Near-native Chinese speaker here. (Started as a toddler and did it for 10-11 years in school depending on whether you count kindergarten, including rather formatted essays commenting on social issues and government policies, but lived in an English-speaking environment otherwise, TV dramas aside. Hence, I don’t dare to claim full ‘native speaker’ status. My Mandarin has currently fallen into disuse because I’m now studying in France, where Mandarin is nearly useless in daily life.)

Some people feel that writing kanji out is a waste of time because they could instead by learning new words or doing more reviews. This is true to an extent, especially if you only wish to understand Japanese, and not to use it actively in writing. However, my experience is that I’m able to tell similar kanji apart precisely because I know how to write them. An example that (perhaps thankfully) doesn’t apply to Japanese, but which appears in Traditional Chinese:
(traditional complex form of 一, generally used to avoid fraud on documents like cheques)
(traditional way of writing 台)

You might think they look way too similar to tell apart initially, but if you know the stroke order, you can find ways to remember which is which by targeting the things that make them look similar. For example, both of them contain a 口 and a 冖 somewhere in the middle. Knowing stroke order, however, you can say that in the first, 冖 comes before 口, whereas 冖 comes after 口 in the second.

Also, with all the practice I’ve had, I honestly remember words by seeing the kanji write themselves in my head, so… yeah, I’d say it’s very helpful.

I don’t use the WK SRS at all; I’m just here for the forums. However, from what I’ve seen in Level 60 posts, it seems that even for the fastest people, clearing levels requires 6 days per level. I understand how tedious it is to have to keep doing the same thing over and over while wondering whether you’ll ever be done, but I’m just not sure if what you’re considering is reasonable. (I’m not here to be a wet blanket: if you believe that you can do it, by all means, go ahead. I’m just saying that you might have to consider what you’ll do if you can’t finish all the levels in time.)

Ultimately though, it’s probably going to be real life exposure and usage that will help drill kanji into your head, so you might not need to worry so much about your reviews even if you start to get overloaded. I sincerely believe that flashcards can only do so much: I only remember one of my French flashcards right now: “s’effondrer” = ‘to collapse’. That hasn’t stopped me from becoming fluent in French, because everything else has melted away into the vocabulary I actually use on a regular basis.


First of all I didn’t read outside of WK (Studying Law does take it’s toll I guess). So if you are reading outside of WK you’ll probably not experience as much forgetting.

I don’t know so much about vocabulary. I usually notice that I’m not that comfortable with a certain kanji, when there is new vocabulary in my lessons that uses new and older kanji. Then I go back and unburn the older kanji, I had trouble remembering. I will also say that “relearning” that forgotten Kanji is much easier than learning it for the first time. So I believe that even if you do forget some benefit of going through WK will remain.

In my opinion one part of the problem is, that the combinations of radicals increases in later levels. Until level 30 or 40 you usually have one radical/Kanji. Or at least if there are multiple kanji who use the same radical the radical is in a different place. So once you see that one radical in a kanji in a certain place you already stop looking at the other radicals and know the solution. Later you have multiple kanji who use the radical for “thread” at the exact same place. Now if you haven’t learned the “one” kanji with thread in that place carefully you’ll start mixing it up with the newer one.

A good example that just happened to me is: and . Both have the radical for “eat” at the exact same place. So when 飽 came up in my review I automatically typed starve, but that was wrong. Of course it could’ve happened the otherway around too. And then I wouldn’t have been so sure if I really know 餓.

And to close it off I believe it is natural to forget things you once knew. Take me for example. I’m now a law student. Hardly any maths required what so ever (one of the reasons why I chose it :P). I once knew how to do vector calculation. And even managed to path my maths exams. But since I didn’t use it for years now, I have no clue about it. I’d probably learn it faster now than the first time I studied it though.


No, it’s 3d10h at that point. Still, that would only allow up to +3 levels in a week (depending on OP’s current situation), which is not quite enough to reach level 60.

1 Like

Writing the kanji down is SO helpful, Jonapedia’s response nails why. Personally, whenever I unlock new kanji or vocab, I take a few minutes to write down the item, the reading(s), and the meaning. I’ve found that this helps DRAMATICALLY with retention for me- partially, I think, just because I’m spending a little more time on each individual item. I started doing this around level 10, where WK started to feel really challenging for me, and it cut my level up time down to ~8 days per level pretty dang consistently.

Reading every day outside WK is also extremely helpful- seeing kanji in the wild with context goes a long way towards cementing it in your brain. You don’t have to read for a long period of time- I aim for 15 minutes daily of casual reading (by which I mean, if you’re struggling to read it and looking up every other word, you’re trying too hard- reading time is separate from study time). I’ve found that if I miss a few days of reading, I can really feel it both in doing WK and when I encounter native material.


Hey you’re almost there!
Keep it up friend, let’s meet at 60!

about the smashing thing I don’t think it’s a good idea.
Just be consistent with your lessons and always try to clear all reviews every day.
Crabigator master once said “it’s all about the progress, not the goal.”
it would only take you about 2 months to write that level 60 post, let’s enjoy the journey xD

well if you mean smashing = 3.5 days / level x 5 =~18 days to reach 60.
then I think maybe just smash those few levels and see how far you can go. But be careful of backlog cause I think level 60 is not really the end (imo burn all items is the real end xD)


I just ignore my wrong answers on these - and English is my native language. I figure if i don’t really understand the ranks in English, it is unlikely I’ll be talking about them in Japanese !


thanks @aanhlle ! :slight_smile: I will be seeing you at the level 60 cake party pretty soon - you’re close :slight_smile:

Smashing the levels didn’t happen ! in fact i’'ve only managed 10 lessons since this post :rofl: but I have been doing all my reviews. Looks like I’ll be enjoying WK for a while longer :nerd_face:


Wow! There’s an outstanding amount of military ranks stuffed into 45+ levels! I don’t expect there will be many of us who will need to distinguish between lieutenant and lieutenant commander. I only recently learned there’s a difference between commissioned and non-commissioned officers, and I’ve been using English adequately (I think?) for many years.

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.