Unsure how to proceed

My journey has been a little frustrating to say the least. Anyone who has read posts I’ve written know I started my learning journey proper when I injured both of my hands and wanted something to stimulate me while I healed. I had to quit the first time after reviews became too much for me. Then I started up college again where schooling took priority. Each time I seem to stop at the same place. Around anywhere between level 9-11. The first time I realized I was abusing the scripts after returning from hiatus so I decided to start from scratch. It is a cycle that I seem to stop for one reason or another around this place in my studies, either due to external priorities or other and I get stuck when I come back.

I see a lot of people encouraging to get through the large pile of reviews. I took a two-month unintentional hiatus without turning vacation mode on so I could work on my demo reel in preparation for graduation. It wasn’t so much that I was doing poorly so much as I started losing interest due to my brain prioritizing my demo reel. Wanikani became a dangerous distraction. I don’t think vacation mode would necessarily help. It seems no matter what, long stretches of time do me in, and I think the failure psychs me out to the point where I mess up or even outright forget words I should otherwise know.

There have been odd times going through wanikani where I forget words I definitely know and can read fine in the wild, maybe even had successfully read/translated three days prior. There are times I know the concept of the word but forget the word in English, my own native language. It’s the oddest thing ever to know only a handful of Japanese words yet not remember the word in English.
I do have the ignore script because sometimes I bump the keys. Sometimes my fingers spazz. Sometimes I can’t remember if a kanji has an alternative reading (to which sometimes I’m wrong and go back and input the correct one I’m already aware of. Other times I don’t know the right one because I thought it was correct, so I’ll take the hit) Sometimes I forget a more simplistic word for a concept in English and can only remember a more complicated synonym that wanikani won’t accept.
It seems no matter how many times I read a kanji or vocab I’ve gotten wrong of the newer levels, I cannot remember either the reading or meaning.

The point, I guess, is that even though I have been going through my near 650+ review pile and got it down under 200, I can tell I’ve suffered these things. I’ve failed words I definitely know because my brain isn’t in it. I’ve reset in the past, and it not only built up my momentum but I was able to go over past material I was shaky on and I feel confident. At the same time… I’ve been stuck in Pleasant for quite a while. I just don’t know if I’m impatient to move on to new content and should reset to help momentum (and give myself a structured time I can take a break from homework) or if I should trudge on. I’m being a bit indecisive and I don’t know what would ultimately be the right choice.

It’s nearly 6am so sorry if this is a big incoherent ramble, but thank you for listening. I’ll gladly read suggestions or replies after I sleep.


I think you should take a deep breath.


Maybe it’s time to rethink your goals - what is your motivation, beyond reaching Level X on WK? What would you like to be able to do with Japanese, and how can you take little steps towards that? Once you have (re)found something fun to motivate your Japanese learning, I think it will be easier to move forward on WK too.

Be gentle with yourself though!


Of course school should take priority. At the moment I’ve put lessons on the backburner since I have exams. But in one way or another, there’s always going to be something taking time away from possible WaniKani time. You have to consider how much free time you have in a day, and how much you’re willing to spare to WaniKani. If you take 3 weeks per level, well you’re still going to progress. It’s better to do only what is manageable then to rush the first 10 levels and hit a brick wall.

Remind yourself of why you’re learning Japanese/using WaniKani.

Yep, this happens.

Yep, this also happens.

Keep in mind: Getting an item you don’t fully know, right, is worse than getting an item you know, wrong.

This happens.

Yep. All of these things are things which have happened to me in the past 24 hours. In fact, it’s hard to remember a day where these things don’t happen. Our brains aren’t perfect, it’s completely normal to forget stuff. Hell, I’ve even inputted ”めいじつ” for 明日 twice in the same review session despite having known the word for 2 years.

Spend longer on your lessons and use the mnemonics all you can. If you don’t start off with a strong foundation for every item, then it’s doomed to be forgotten at one point or another. If you come across an item in your reviews and you think “I have no clue what this meaning/reading is”, then you need to deal with that. Don’t just fail it and forget about it until you have to review it again. Take your time to create a mnemonic to help you remember it. If you do this as you go, then even only doing a small number of lessons at a time, this will still help you progress.


Maybe you should try to test different learning styles and see if your results improve. Like using kaniwani, start with the first level only and keep your apprentice count low enough not to create more work than necessary. Or try handwriting, copying stuff into a physical notebook, listening to the recording several times, …

And don’t worry to much about it, maybe your brain just gets jammed during review stress :slight_smile:

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The fact that you fail words you already know is not that alarming. You might progress a little slower in the system, but you know the material. That’s really all that should matter. Don’t be afraid to fail and make mistakes. Eventually, with the help of SRS and repitition, you will remember all that you need to. If resetting gives you momentum and peace of mind, then do it. But only after you have progressed beyond a level you’ve reached before. This is so you realize that you are capable of reaching those levels, and that you’re resetting because you feel is a good idea, and not because you can’t go further.


This is absolutely it.


Do you use your Japanese anywhere else besides on Wanikani? I think what you may need to do is to get more into it. It’s possible that just using Wanikani is becoming boring, or just your general study habits may be becoming boring. If that’s the case I think mixing it up by trying a different study method, or by reaffirming why you’re studying in the first place might help. I have waves where I’m more or less into studying my Japanese, but I expect that to happen so it doesn’t get me down. gL

  1. Don’t be afraid to quit what you’ve started. If other things in your life are taking priority over Japanese, maybe now is not the time to learn it. You could always start learning kanji sometime in the future when it works better for your schedule and when it would mean more (e.g. when you know you’ll be moving to Japan).

  2. You could explore alternatives to SRS methods like wanikani. You might find that the Heisig method works better where you can go your own pace and not having to worry about readings or vocabulary.

  3. If you are going to stay on wanikani, you can’t go on vacation mode for 4 years. If you’re going to use any SRS system, [for your own sanity] you’re committing yourself to finishing X amount of content by doing your reviews every day. You don’t have to get to level 60. You could make a goal like trying to burn all N4 kanji, etc.

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I very slowly meandered my way to level 10 and ended up resetting to 1 because I was certain I had forgotten the majority of the material. In reality I remembered about 95% and ended up being very anxious to level up so I could get back to the new stuff. So I can suggest, if you really do feel like you need to reset, just go down 1-2 levels. It’s almost certain anything you actually might have forgotten is probably only from the last 1-2 levels at worst.

I forget readings and meanings all the time. I’d say I get the English meanings are actually harder for me to remember most of the time. I certainly don’t speak perfect English either. There’s plenty of times where I mix words up when talking. We just move on and keep going. A quick review is okay, but you’ll make much more progress if you just keep pushing forward. Make mistakes. Make a lot of mistakes. That’s the only way you’ll keep getting better. Everyone learning new languages has that fear of making mistakes and saying the wrong thing, but mistakes are the only way to keep going forward.


I am also with tons of reviews and I have more than half of the year without leveling up. I use Japanese all the day, at my work and in my private life. I also have other study resources, but I got to this point where I feel I haven’t learned anything new. I’m just repeating same vocabulary everyday.

I also have catched myself forgeting vocabulary, which is very very frustrating, but I also have been forgetting English words, and Spanish words.

At wanikani I’m just doing a little bit of reviews, and the next day I come here, is the same number again…I am thinking of take one sunday to clear all my reviews… but for now I’m okay doing a little bit.

I don’t think re starting is the answer, I think you have to find a motivation to learn kanji, maybe looking for more resources and going slow with wanikani would be best.

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Add the synonyms in then :slight_smile: (no further useful advice but wanted to point that small thing out in case it helps)

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It does seem to me that you’re having recollection problems that may be related to your sleeping pattern. If you’re constantly on sleep deficit, it can affect your memory.


I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to this thread. I’m feeling particularly mopey today and the kindness and support of strangers on the internet has me bawling. It’s so strange how so often people present in our physical lives can’t / won’t / don’t know how to be supportive. Thank you, thank you.


What’s a few minutes of my day if it has the possibility of helping someone else’s? It’s not a big deal to me to share my thoughts and advice, but if it means even slightly more to the person receiving the advice, then it’s worth giving it. I’m sure the same goes for everyone else here.


Perhaps you should reset only 2-3 levels, just to clear the most recent things. The older items, that you’re sure you normally know, don’t stress about them - the pressure you’re putting on yourself is likely also psyching you out. You’re relaxed when you see things in the wild, you’re not thinking of it as a test.

Like bilgetd said, breathe. I’ve been stuck at the same level basically for a year, but you and I can both get through this (I too stopped for a while due to school).

I hope you can re-frame your thinking, so that as you take it easier, the words more easily form in your mind.

I’m rooting for you!


Getting enough sleep is a huge factor, not just in memory, but also motivation. My sleep schedule in college was horrible and I suffered greatly because of it. Life sucks when you’re always sleep deprived.

I have a tendency to stay up late, but I’ve been using f.lux and it’s been a huge help to having a regular sleep schedule.


This of course happens to everyone. I think there’s already a lot of good advice in this thread. The one thing I’ll add is that I think you should push on past level 11, because I think it takes about that long to get a little better at WaniKani and learning kanji in general. For myself, I found that I was making fewer dumb mistakes after level 12 or so. And these days, learning a whack of new kanji doesn’t seem that daunting.

Just don’t stress out so much about making mistakes. That’s part of learning. Also, I second the advice to use Kaniwani.com because it forces you to learn the same words as you’re learning in WaniKani, but in a different way. You learn them more as sounds than as characters, and that reinforces the connection in your brain.



Do not lose hope. I have been there MULTIPLE times. There are a few different ways you can tackle this.

You have 5 choices to overcome this from what I understand. I will lay the ways I see out for you

0. STOP COMPLETING LESSONS WHEN THEY ARE AVAILABLE - RADICAL or VOCAB or KANJI (not a choice hence 0) this is something you must do to maintain control
1.Reset your account

  • again [you probably dont want to but I recommend - see below for reasoning ]

2.tackle your current reviews

  • I don’t recommend this, clearing this in day will cause it to come up the next until you get enough reviews into different queues (burned, guru’d etc) which if you do in bulk during a sitting means that when they come up again, they will likely flood you around the same time - again very overwhelming ]

3.Use re-order script to micromanage your existing queues/Lessons

  • and only handle a specific level until you get the level under control [ this is a messy way of doing number 1 in this list ]

4.Apprentice Queue Self-Imposed Thresholds

  • Set a number to not go over in your apprentice queue at anytime (100 for example)
  • if you have 100+, adhere to item 0 in the approach above
  • think of Apprentice items as LESSONS, this is material you DO NOT KNOW.

5.Perform the following on a reset in order REPEATEDLY
A.Guru current level radicals (ONLY RADICALS). then
B.Guru all current level Kanji
C.SKIP lessons for ALL vocabulary using 3 (above)
D.Repeat A-D

  • this approach will keep all of your queues low and level you up

A general statement before proceeding * to control your review you need to know to STOP COMPLETING LESSONS WHEN THEY ARE AVAILABLE - RADICAL or VOCAB or KANJI ( not yelling here, it is just extremely important information that some might overlook)

The person that owns the account, controls how many reviews go into their Review Queue [ im really trying to drive this point home ]


You need to decide, do you want access to learn Kanji (readings, meanings) lessons, or do you want to enhance your vocabulary?

  • if you risk being away at any point in time and wanikani is not your highest priority in your day, saying ‘BOTH’ will cause problems in the future unless you take 1 specific approach.
  • See 0 listed above

When you reset your account you have the most control because you now have access to define what is in your queue again

Please see a recent post I made

I really hope this helps you in some way.

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Yes, thank you. I have a harder time with short term goals. I bought books and games as goals, but I do realize they are more long-term. Occasionally I flip through the books to see how much I can understand. Occasionally I can get a gist. I’m also going to Japan for the first time once I graduate, so I was hoping to have a decent reading level by the time I went, and the bare basics of communication down. It helps to remember things when I can break down words and understand each part, which is why I focused on the writing aspect.

I meant bump my keyboard accidentally, like if I’m reaching for something, mainly my mouse or a drink. It started happening frequently enough that I wanted a way to protect myself while I was doing reviews so I didn’t get set back unnecessarily.

But thank you. Knowing that these problems happen to other people do make me feel a little less alone.

It was mostly my frustration at being unable to get the words even though SRS. It’s so far been the most successful method in helping me study, but for some reason when it’s returning to works I’ve already reviewed but are shaky on, reading the mnemonics after a failed attempt doesn’t stick in my mind as well as when I start out fresh. I have no idea why this is. I’d sort of forgotten about kaniwani when I did my most recent reset and the amount I had in that pile was rather intimidating.

I live in Vancouver, British Columbia. There’s a lot of signs and menus with Japanese (and Chinese) on them, so I take the time to read when I can. Other than that, I dip into untranslated things here and there. But it’s not a full immersion.

I do have problems with sleeping, insomnia and racing thoughts. Also, I do have a learning disability. I try not to be too hard on myself due to this fact.

Ah. I want to thank everyone who has responded and sent me suggestions and words of encouragement. I am so grateful. This community is so wonderful and supportive. Thank you!