Why can people here be so mean? (Update I was wrong)

Ouch, are you telling me by opting for 8 days every level instead of 7, I’ve gotten myself disqualified from the fast lane? :sweat_smile:

Otherwise, yeah, my subjective impression has been totally the same as Vanilla’s, that there is an overall tendency towards discouraging moving “too fast.” No doubt some of that stems from new users who don’t understand the future pile they are burying themselves under when they find level 2 slow and need to be told it, heh. Of course, a lot of that comes not in saying “Hey you, slow down!” but in telling anyone moving slower that moving slower is fine. And like, it is. But from my perspective it’s common for some people to default to “Yes, moving slower is outright correct” and not “Moving slower is perfect if it’s good for you.” But overall I think these forums are great so even that isn’t like, overwhelmingly common. I stick around for a reason haha.

Again though, language is imprecise and I myself filled my comment with doubts that I may be reading into these comments. I don’t disagree that there are many personal circumstances that weight in either direction.

I agree that this is not a fair assessment. If you can go fast you will not learn worse because the SRS will make sure to quiz you again after enough time.

I would maybe only say that it could be suboptimal to only do WK, rushing through it to the detriment of anything else (ie. not doing any grammar, vocab or reading/listening). Because seeing knowledge in several contexts is usually better for cementing it.

I stand firm by the assessment though that I would not recommend a consistent 7 day/level pace to a beginner not because you can’t make it work if you’re the right kind of person but because it’s not how it works for most people (if it does for you, congrats!). Just like I really admire people who can speedrun video games but I would never expect any regular person to play video games like that.


My impression as well. Possibly something I’ve unintentionally helped foment.

But I think the intentions are pure: not a large percentage make it to higher levels and I think it’s reasonable to believe that more fail due to becoming overwhelmed by going too fast than by losing interest from going too slow.


I think there is “fast” and there is “speedrun fast”. :upside_down_face:

I’m averaging 8-12 days a level if we discount the two levels where I paused lessons for a while. That’s slower than I went initially (I feel that it just gets harder after a while), but I still think it’s somewhat fast or maybe “upper average”. I know that some people take quite a bit more time.

Probably would be interesting to see some actual statistics, but you have to be careful to remove outliers (people who drop off, etc.).

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I would like to think that we can all agree the most important thing is making an informed decision about your speed. This might take a bit of time to realize what you are and aren’t capable of given your constraints. But yeah, regardless I’d just hope that once people have made an informed decision that we can respect that.

I actually had a different perception. I think its more just people losing interest in general regardless of their speed. I guess its easy to feel “overwhelmed” at any speed when you lose interest and stop opening the app as much and it becomes more of a chore, but overall I feel like quitting is almost always a symptom of just…not wanting it enough. Even a speed runner could stop doing lessons and very quickly cut their workload massively if they started getting overwhelmed.


Yes, I agree that in many cases the speed is not the reason.

I think the bigger problem is if some people start out super motivated, then get overwhelmed, then stop doing anything, come back to huge review walls, have forgotten most of it, maybe they reset or don’t, then after a while they manage to overcome this but then the same thing repeats a couple of weeks or months later.

More than speed, I would always say that consistency is king. That’s not to mean you can’t take some time off when life gets in the way, but do make a plan to come back and then … stick with it. Do the reviews. Decide on how many lessons you want to do and be at least sort of in that ballpark. And so on.

And I fully agree that you should think about your goals and how you’re gonna achieve them with the speed you have. It’s fine if it takes you 5 years to complete WK as long as you’re fully aware that it will take you 5 years (and that WK is only a small part of Japanese).


I agree but I think it’s just more apparent in speed runners because they hit that point faster and the scenic pace users are prone to not realizing it yet since progress happens at a slower rate.

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I don’t fully agree. Wanting it is clearly a part of it, but as far as I know (not a psychologist), willpower is quite limited and easily depleted and most high achievers (in any walk of life) got where they are through acquiring good habits. Habits make sure you don’t have to think about whether you want to spend time on reviewing WK items (or learning grammar, reading, whatever), because it’s just automatic.

In my case, the push notifications on the mobile app coupled with a mild form of OCD are rather helpful. :upside_down_face:


It’s difficult if not impossible to measure why people give up, but even in my short time here I’ve seen a fair number of posts involving huge backlogs and low accuracy from people still doing all of their available lessons every day.

Dunno what the Pareto looks like, and I’m sure there are plenty that just lose interest for any number of reasons, but I suspect “going too fast” isn’t the last thing on the list.

My point is only that having both sides represented (speedrunners and smell-the-roses) is healthy, and both sides are legitimately trying to help others.


Would you not argue that by consistently wanting to study every day, you are setting yourself up to make good habits?

At least for myself, I never actually tried to make habits when it came to learning japanese. I wanted to study, so I just would do it any time I can by fitting it into cracks in my schedule, and doing so became a habit by repetition.

And yes, the willpower argument is actually something that falls right in line with what im saying. If you don’t want Japanese as much as you want other things, then taking time away from those other things for japanese will take a lot of willpower. And especially if you get to the point where you realize the effort to get fluent isn’t something you want for yourself, putting in that work will drain you (as it should, because its pointless at that point).

Regardless, habits are certainly not all powerful and 0 effort. If they were, once you got in the habit people would never drop off, right? But the reality is, there are people who had japanese learning schedules and habits but dropped off anyways. I think its just a matter of them not wanting japanese enough to continue preserving the habit.

If people have massive review backlogs and are still doing lessons, that more just a statement on their poor decision making skills and probably script abuse hahaha. But yeah, I mean I’m all for diversity. I think having slow and fast represented is good for sure.


What you all are saying probably doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive; I think they’re good points all around. I mean, I can’t actually prove what I’d do if it came to it, but learning Japanese is a huge hobby for me now, and if some catastrophic thing happened and made me meet with a massive pile of Wanikani reviews… well, personally, I think I’d abandon WK at that point and try to (re)learn on my own, but I mean, one way or another, I feel like I’d keep at it. Which is a result of really, really wanting it. But that would 100% be an awful setback that makes it harder. Like, the amount you want it, and the amount that the obstacles test that want, are basically two sides of the same experience. No reason not to do your best to minimize the obstacles; which was the context this started in.


Hello I guess.

There is no problem in going slow, but it’s also important to have realistic expectations. I just know that if I did something wrong and someone prevented me from wasting my time I’d be grateful.


All I’m saying is that willpower is not always enough.

An SRS helps because (at least with push notifications) it constantly nags you when you should be doing your reviews (imagine if you had to manually decide which items to review; people had to do this before SRS apps were a thing - yes, there was physical SRS but it was still higher friction). For you and me that’s enough. Some other people find that hard, so many people also use fixed schedules where they check their reviews.

I would also find it much harder to progress through Genki if I didn’t have a (semi-)regular study group with a 2 week / lesson pace. This way I’m feeling a bit of pressure to keep up.

Setting up these little helpers that reduce friction or just somehow make it almost harder not to do the thing you’re supposed to do, can be really helpful.



Woah, looks like we are having two different conversations. Just to be clear, I said wanting it enough, which I did not mean as “willpower”. I massively want to improve my japanese but my storage of willpower is probably less than the average persons. And I certainly am using a lot less willpower than I see people using on here.

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I agree that you need to be willing to invest the time and effort. And maybe some people are lacking that.

But I think that even people who actually want it can be deterred by bad habits that set them up for failure.


I didn’t even read your previous comment, I think you quoted the wrong person.

No, I quoted the right person and replied to the wrong one.

Ehh, I mean yeah. But if you go back to the beginning we were talking about “almost all” the cases. So can you potentially find a few super tragic cases where people truly had the drive and desire to become fluent and just couldn’t all because of a bad habit or two…yeah maybe. But I think its a small minority.

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Willpower is the most important thing when you start and when you come back. Self-discipline is what gets you into habits and lets you preserve them. And self-discipline is a skill - a thing not everyone is equally good at. There are people that are going to be more successful learning Japanese simply because they are more disciplined. Someone with less discipline is going to have a harder time, because it’s another skill they have to learn on top of the language they’re trying to learn.

Willpower alone cannot get you through. It’s merely an asset. But you’re not going to be equally motivated at every hour of every day in your life. You need the habit to carry you through the times you’re less motivated. If willpower is all you have, you’re bound to get burnt out. But someone who’s disciplined can achieve anything.

That’s what I’ve always believed at least. I feel like if I didn’t, I would end up becoming someone who blames everything on talent every time they fail.


I don’t really agree with all that, but regardless I think willpower is something that got brought up as a bit of a misunderstanding of my original point, so I’m not sure its worth continuing down that path any further regardless.

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Well I guess we both agree that both cases exist. I guess we both just make different claims as to their frequency (and both without more than anecdotal evidence).

Personally I think that both situations are rather typical. I can’t prove that of course.