Things you wish you'd done differently

I’ve been using WaniKani for almost two years and I don’t have a lot of study time available so for me making the most efficient use of my time is super important. I thought it might be useful to others to have a post where people can discuss mistakes they’ve made along the way that would have made a difference if they had changed their routine earlier. It could be any Japanese learning advice, not just WaniKani related.

  1. I do most of my reviews in public so I have had auto play audio turned off and have only played audio when doing lessons. As a result I can read the words but I can’t hear the words a lot of the time, plus my speaking is pretty bad despite it supposedly being the focus of my formal classes. Since turning on this function and simply wearing headphones my ability to hear and say the new words I’ve learned is significantly improved.

  2. I initially did all of my reviews using an app either on my phone or tablet because I could take them with me and do them anywhere (this is still a bonus in my opinion and I do still do a lot this way). However, I can type much faster than I can swipe (plus there are more scripts available), so I’ve found that using my laptop cuts review time down by more than half. It is actually more useful to put off doing the reviews an hour or so and do them this way. If I’ve been busy and reviews have piled up then this is the ONLY way I can get them down in a reasonable time.


Start grammar sooner :durtle_the_explorer:


what am grammar.:turtle::slightly_smiling_face:


Just replace “Gamora” with “grammar” and you’re all set.

On topic…

I tried turning this on briefly, but as soon as it unexpectedly played once on my phone in public I turned it off again. It would be nice if it autoplayed only in the right contexts, though I don’t know how they’d do that.

Other than that, I guess I regret not focusing more on leeches? Right now, leeches make up 17% of all my non-burned items and 54% of my Apprentice/Guru items. That adds up to about 40 extra items a day I have to review.



Small things that I would probably put before in my routine:

  • noise cancelling headphones. Hearing with detail the audio of shows and the phrases in my listening practice feels so much better since using this. I have no reason for not using them before, I just didn’t knew how much of a difference they could do and also didn’t hear them mentioned often in language forums I guess.

  • For the most part drop premade decks. This one I realize earlier, but was hard to stop, partly because WK and the vocab provided.
    I had a big premade deck (core 10k) and used those cards to avoid making my own if they already had a card made; same thing for vocab in WK, after level 30 I would export all the vocab the vocab to Anki and use the Core10K to skip the process of making the cards. I never liked to review vocab without much context, I feel most of the confusion I see mentioned here about similar vocab is due to the use of translations without proper context, which tends to make all a big mess… if you add people wanting to so eagerly outputting too, is all too easy to make the mistake of using whatever “similar” word you “remember first” when starting to talk or write. :man_shrugging: .

No longer doing WK and finally been able to have a set up to get all new vocab coming from my shows (Voracious) and readings (Kindle) and then send those to Anki, has made that context is always there.
The reviewing routine is SO much more enjoyable :open_mouth: … While reviewing I’ll remember where I heard or read the word, I’ll remember the rest of the story and overall it brings a personal connection with the whole activity, overall it feels easy and fun.

  • BIG THINGS I would change:
    For the most part be much more strict about time spent in forums and japanese “related” chatting. I think now I have a much more concrete objective with the language and time on forums add so little currently. I’ve been using Cold Turkey (software to block websites and apps), and I feel I would put something among those lines within the general recommendations I would give to anyone starting with this. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

Not sign up to Wanikani in August, but then stop after the free levels, because I wanted to wait for the christmas life time discount… The exchange rate of knowledge and time is higher then that of money.


I’m still guilty of doing this, but less so: I should not do reviews when I’m tired. Items I usually know I get wrong very easily just because I don’t have the energy to think or look closely at the kanji. Especially now when I’m level 41 and the kanji have become more complicated, I need to pay attention properly.


I had multiple longer breaks in between, some of them nearly two months long.
I now know that doing nothing at all is far worse than doing a tiny bit every day. To manage my time better I reset my progress now and will not do that mistake again.


I don’t think I needed to wait until way past lv60 before I started having spoken conversation practice…

I had already been practicing writing in Japanese for a long while, so it’s not like I was completely unable to express myself, I was just scared :slight_smile:


I wish I started earlier also to write the kanji. I write them now when they are new and then any time when I have a word or kanji wrong I write it down once. This sure helped me to differentiate between similar kanjis.
I also wished I would have knew earlier about Kaniwani, where I could practice in reverse. I use it now too to actively practice to write Kanjis. I do the lessons like this, I see the words and write down the kanji in a note book and then type in the reading of the word into the website.
Oh also useful to have Yomichan, with that you can easily find out the readings of words when you read the example sentences. (Before I used that add-on I always had to copy the words and check them out in a dictionary, this sure now is much faster.)


My whole life. Oh wait, we’re talking about Japanese…

Been wanting to learn Japanese for awhile now but only just started to do so, wish I had started years ago.


I wish I’d made a schedule and stuck with it :frowning_face: Would have made studying much easier in the long run. For the longest time, my only study was just lurking in /r/learnjapanese subreddit and just reading manga in Japanese, where if I ran into unknown words or grammar I’d try to look them up and then resume my reading. It’s not a structured way of learning, and I’m sure I have a lot of holes in my knowledge due to it that I maybe wouldn’t have had if I just studied normally.


Wish I’d started WK sooner (waited until 10 months in), and listening practice sooner. Other than that pretty happy with things so far.

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I’m on 12%/30% currently.

Absolutely true. However, if I did not do reviews when I’m tired, I would be doing 80% less (fewer? damn it, grammar is hard) reviews.

My main regret: not taking the time to read more. And then some more. Because all your artificial WaniKani progrrss will go down the drain super quickly if you don’t reinforce what you learn by reading, in my experience.


100% this. Now I do not only write kanji but also any vocab word whose kanji I can write. (I have a separate Anki card for these reviews.) So now I do not only learn how to pronounce a word but also I need to reproduce exactly which kanji are contained in it.

This is really tough. I’ve started reading a fair bit this year, and every time I read, I think “if I only were 5 WK levels further, this would be sooo much easier to read”, and when I then do WK, in the next reading session I think “if I only knew these 100 more vocab, this would be sooo much easier to read”, and then again “If I only knew these 10 more grammar points, I would be able to make sense of this immediately”, and when I study, I think “I should read more, so I can actually see all of this in practical use”. :joy_cat:

I still need to find a way to juggle all of this and find a good balance…


Clearly the solution is to just have more time…


Do you have a schedule now?

Me too. I do think that there is a positive to doing reviews when you’re tired as well, if you ever really need to use your Japanese when you’re tired maybe you’d do better? Supposedly we learn best in that sleepy state? Maybe it’s all rubbish?! :rofl:

THIS! Exactly. I find I have spent 90% of the past two years just doing WaniKani reviews and most of them are probably leeches. While I don’t think it’s a bad thing because at least when I do get around to more time on grammar, reading, listening, speaking, and writing I’ll have a decent base. Personally, I need the kanji to remember the vocab. I’m about to head over to Japan for a week so my focus is on speaking and listening right now but it’s so hard to schedule it all in. Once I get back I’m tempted to do minimal spoken/listening and focus on reading and WaniKani with the idea that the more I read the more I will understand and begin to notice the grammar patterns that I’ve ‘learned’. At the same time

It has always been my dream to stop time, unfortunately I’m not sure I’d start it again…