Wk is a certain way to learn kanji and vocabulary, if you are unsure if WK is the right option for you, that is definitely a question to explore. There are other options to explore.
But if you want to continue with WK, then you need to deal with the state you are in with WK.
There are two main ways to deal with a review pile:
Work through it (several methods for this)
Reset a few levels to take out the most recently learned items, so you can more easily focus on those still in the pile. If you are thinking of reseting, there are many threads on the forum where people discuss that. Just put “should I reset” into the search box and you’re likely to find several threads.
As for getting through the pile. There seems to be two main ways people do it:
Brute force, that means to do a lot of reviews every day, like 200+ reviews and keep doing that until the pile reaches zero (and then look to daily incoming reviews (or apprentice count) to decide when to start lessons).
Pick a number of reviews to do daily. One you can deal with when it comes back. Or maybe a max per session. Usually a lower number. (I’ve worked through review piles slowly over weeks by hitting 20-50 reviews per day depending on what I could tolerate.) And for this I’d definitely focus on older items (aka higher SRS stage items) so you can get them out of your pile for a longer period. WK now have a setting to prioritize high SRS stage items (it will still be a random pick of all, but more focus on higher items).
Another thing to do is to review the items you make mistakes on, either reread the mnemonic a few times or do some self study (such as using the recent mistakes thing on the dashboard). So that when they come back, you are more likely to remember them. It also helps to review similar kanji if you mistook them for another. And then really focus on the differences, maybe make your own mnemonic for the difference.
All I can say is that it takes perseverance and patience to get through a big pile. I’ve done it a couple of times, so I should know.
In the future: To reduce the chance of it happening again, it is a good idea to limit the number of lessons you do per day. The more likely you are to occasionally miss a day of reviewing, the fewer lessons you should do (if you always know when you will miss a day, don’t do lessons the day before to reduce the review pile that will happen).
I’m glad I was able to help. I personally find that learning Kanji without Vocabulary to reinforce it makes it that much harder to recall. Reorder scripts are great for leveling fast, but bad if you’re actually trying to learn the language.
The fact that Wanikani is a game-like kanji learning tool is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it makes learning more enjoyable. On the other, it puts some people in a gamer mindset where they focus on fast level progression as opposed to what it’s actually designed to do… teach you Kanji. If used incorrectly scripts can make this second phenomenon even worse.
I agree to some extend, but sometimes a "Things are rough " doesn’t need a “That’s because you’re doing xyz wrong!” but a “Yeah, same :c”.
Feels like I switch between complaining “SRS takes too much work” and “SRS is too slow” week by week. Luckily the people I regularly complain to on Discord learned to just give me headpats and move on.
(I think the opening post including a “I don’t feel like I am making progress.” and everyone recommending to go slow is a good indicator people might be a bit too quick on the trigger with giving advice )
That’s definitely true too. Either way, hope things work out for OP, don’t know if there is anything left unsaid on what they can possibly due to mitigate now, so indeed compassion / shared struggles might be the more productive avenue
There are decks out there pre-assembled. But honestly, I am convinced that the best decks are just built around the material you are trying to read. jpdb.io is amazing though if you want to get started with something (and it’s free!). There are of course the core decks and the themoeway tango decks (Resources - TheMoeWay) you could look at.
Unfortunately, I’m not the best person to ask about WK alternatives, because WK happens to work well for me. (I did have to figure out exactly how do WK optimally for me, by using certain scripts and such, but I wouldn’t recommend doing WK the way I do, mainly because I’ve optimized it for the way I learn best, and my preference doesn’t translate to best practices in general.)
Most systems that people recommend are going to be some version of an SRS system, just put together differently (or by yourself with something like anki). If you want help picking another such system, it might help to know what you are learning Japanese for? (Like: is to read books? Watch anime? Live in Japan? All of those might suggest certain options as better.) Also knowing this, might help us point you at other resources that can help you learn Japanese specifically for what you want, and by focusing on that area first, you can get going with that activity, and then (later) expand from that (if you want to).
I like to watch anime, listen to music and media. I understand that WK is more for reading, but I enjoy it learning new words and kanji from it. I wouldn’t mind an additional resource for listening / speaking help
jpdb.io that @Matskye linked have vocabulary lists (with an SRS system) for different anime. This might be a good place to learn vocabulary to a specific series you want to watch.
You should be able to find a lot of good resources for listening from Listen Every Day Challenge (summer edition), there is both a couple of links in the main post, plus many more ones further down the thread at this post:
While this challenge is about to wrap up fully, an autumn edition will probably start beginning of October (if you are interested in joining in). (I say “will probably” because I’m not involved but I assume they plan to keep going with regular challenges.)
On a side note, if you’ve actually liked WK a lot so far, but you’re in a slump currently. I feel you. It might be good to spend a little (more?) time watching anime for a short time, not necessarily as studying, but to remember the enjoyment of Japanese and why you want to learn it. I find that taking those mental breaks—or at least focusing a bit more on the fun and less on what is feeling like drudgery—is a good way to bring back my motivation and enthusiasm for the learning part.
Blockquote On a side note, if you’ve actually liked WK a lot so far, but you’re in a slump currently. I feel you. It might be good to spend a little (more?) time watching anime for a short time, not necessarily as studying, but to remember the enjoyment of Japanese and why you want to learn it. I find that taking those mental breaks—or at least focusing a bit more on the fun and less on what is feeling like drudgery—is a good way to bring back my motivation and enthusiasm for the learning part.
In Wanikani’s settings, there’s a setting for Review Ordering. You can set it to “Lower Levels First” to focus on older items and higher SRS items without needing a reorder script. It was added to Wanikani specifically to help people reduce and prevent backlogs.
Thanks again to everyone for their helpful and thoughtful feedback.
I have decided I am going to pursue alternatives to continue learning Japanese.
I realized doing additional lessons today that I really don’t enjoy having to continue to review the same few leeches over and over again. I wish I could shelve some of the repeats or slight similar words to just move past them. It feels like a lot of time is spent where I could learn more productively doing something else. WK feels too limiting for the broad amount of content that is provided, if that makes sense.