So, I finally got to level 60 this year, and I am immensely proud of myself for accomplishing that. However, I moved last month from Alabama to Virginia, and since then, my husband and I have been quite busy! I’ve been trying to keep up with reviews, and they’re finally back around 1000 (yeah, I’m glad about that, that’s how bad it’s been), and I still have some (re: a LOT) of residual vocabulary left in my lessons box.
My question is, when should I start over? I fumbled all through the twenty-something levels, and I remember zilch, it seems, from them, which is part of the reason my reviews have listed so long. I am really wanting to start over now, but I also want to finish my lessons… but there are so many! I feel a little overwhelmed. I know the next time through I’ll be taking my time to fully memorize them, rather than feeling rushed to get to the next level, but should I start now, or finish what I have left over, which would probably take the next few months?
EDIT: If it makes a difference, I’ve also only been putting forth effort into Wanikani and Bunpro since we moved, and while I have off three days a week (so, ample time to study, really, now that I’m settling into a rhythm), I’ve not studied grammar or read much since moving, but I am now wanting to go full force into all of them together, like I did before we moved.
Did you happen to use the reorder script, why do you have so many lessons?
Wasn’t sure if your question is actually a ‘what’ instead of a ‘when’. I’m not a fan of resetting unless there was something fundamentally wrong the first time around (such as a reorder to skip vocab or mass overrides). I think there are several options to consider that are more time effective and engaging that level resets (e.g. resurrecting specific kanji/vocab, using eng->jp platforms, 10k SRS, leech filters and of course reading more). But if you are just rusty given the time away, then I think you will be surprised by how much you can recall even if the refresh starts off as painfully discouraging (it’s in the brain…somewhere, just let SRS do the work to re-train and redo mnemonics if needed). I vacationed for a few months myself, had an ugly return about a month that was horrid but then settled back to normal routine eventually. I just wouldn’t bother resetting a bunch of easy kanji/vocab that are scattered through all the levels.
My opinion is you shouldn’t
What you should do is continue for a few months until all you have is your leeches. Then you should put yourself into permanent vacation mode and start reading native content. As soon as you start reading native content you will start making sense of all your leeches because you will be seeing them in context being paired to many other common words. My favorite way is to use Kindle because I can quickly look up definitions and readings of words. My experience after putting Wanikani into vacation mode was being able to understand and speak more comfortably on topics that I enjoy like music, computer engineering, geology and history (vocabulary not in Wanikani). As soon as I started reading things that I naturally had an interest in I finally found the “want” to better understand the sentences I was reading. Now my schedule consists of reading about music and world history and talking about it with my Italki tutor, you can even write book reports like you did in elementary school to help with your understanding of the books message. In short just like the level 60 congratulatory email you get from Wanikani, take your leash off and enjoy Japanese the way you would enjoy the rest of your life!
This is a fantastic answer and one I’m quite partial to myself. WK is a tool to teach one how to read, afterall. Although, I know it’s easy to get sucked into WK for WK’s sake. Been there, done that. But I started reading a lot more lately and it’s upped my retention a lot. I’m seeing kanji I learned a lesson ago and 40 levels ago and it keeps reinforcing things. I also use a Kindle and am reading through a book in the book club. Due to my technical illteracy with Kindle, the only dictionary I have on there is J-J, so when I look up a word, I’m reading even more Japanese, and it just compounds, in a good way.
Yeah, that’s why I have so much vocabulary left over.
The reason I’m thinking about resetting is because it’s taken me so long to get to level 60, I feel like I’ve forgotten so much of the vocabulary, and I find myself often looking up words on jisho and then having it tell me that word I was wondering about was from like, level 24. It’s a very frustrating feeling.
The re-order script is cursed, it should be thrown into the pits of Mordor
The vocab lessons are more difficult later on I would imagine given the meaning learnings are not as fresh as paired together and you have now have kunyomi, special readings, ect…not sure how big this gap is and plus all the fun kanji from the 50s that mixed in with reviews, I though I can see the frustration that would bring.
I won’t say what to do, I can you see you probably hinting towards a reset at some level to ditch the review frustration (plus it’s a commitment to backtrack).
But some simple truths: your time is never wasted on what you accomplished, no doubt what you see again will be much easier and have time for other studying better. Also, forgetting something you haven’t seen in a long while (even though burned) is completely normal so not necessarily a deal breaker. And of course L number is just a motivational tool in the end.
One final thought- You can assess your kanji knowledge independently with a quick flip deck per N level and see where you land if that helps. That is what I’m doing just to stay fresh and to go through additional vocab decks per N level just to prioritize frequency and usability. Personally, I find it far more essential to have N5-N2 kanji w/ some vocab rock solid than say levels 50-60
Yes, entirely agreed. I assumed it was originally designed to be complimentary for our benefit. Just to clarify, I didn’t mean the script re-order is a bad tool or anything though (I say sorry to mystery script writer as I go dumpster diving in hot lava). I can see the usefulness for specific users such as advanced learners starting WK or something.
That’s normal, better get used to it . Especially if you don’t read enough habitually. But when you look up a word on Jisho, which you have burned, you’ll probably remember that word for at least 6 months, during which it will appear again if you immerse enough. No point in going through an SRS from zero with those words. You will get HEAVILY overtested and get pointless reviews.
If you really want to do it, I’d recommend doing it with Anki, where you can customize the intervals, suspend cards, and affect the behavior of failed cards.
If you navigate to a radical/kanji/word in WK, you can “unburn” it. I do this pretty regularly when I encounter something in the wild that I’ve forgotten. I find a little SRS gets it back in my active memory pretty quickly.
I think this is better approach than rewinding to an earlier level.
What you do is press one of the characters in the word and then it automatically selects what it thinks the whole word is. Then if it parses it wrong you can change the highlighted characters yourself. Once you do that it gives you a dictionary look up of either Japanese to English (with example sentences) or Japanese word definition. It also does a quick wikipedia search for you too which is helpful for Scientific terms or Historic events (stuff that an encyclopedia would be good for and not a dictionary). It also lets you select an entire sentence which you can then Bing translate to English automatically. While the dictionary is not always useful especially for old words and kanji (had a problem reading old books like 人間失格) it is pretty dynamic in terms of what it does and how fast and conveniently it does it. When I started reading I lived in Japan so I would get whatever light novels I felt like there, it was a pain in the but to lookup kanji or the furigana of a word I forgot or didn’t know. So when I moved back to Canada I started reading e-books because I couldn’t get the real thing. In the end the convenience for a language learner made it so easy to learn I’ll probably find it hard to go back to paper books (Probably better for the environment anyway)
I think he was gearing up to take the Kanji Kentei the second time around so there’s that.
I use Tsurukame on my phone to do the same thing, but I set it so that I don’t see the current level Kanji until I clear out the previous level vocab. I still see the radicals as soon as I level, but they’re much less useful to me since level 40 or so since they often end up being Kanji themselves usually.