Alex and Lily’s Ongoing Attempt to Learn Japanese


  • Lily began actively learning Japanese April 8th, 2022.
  • Alex began actively learning Japanese April 14th, 2022

Programs Used:

  • Duolingo | Desktop, mobile | General purpose learning | Free w/ ads / Subscription

    Alex’s thoughts: Duolingo is the gold standard for a reason, but it’s still held back by being a very “phrasebook oriented” learning app. It’s also difficult to compare progress to others using the app: in my immediate social circle, we’re all on three different versions of the Japanese course. It is very good for drilling, though, and is a decent vocab tool. Grammar could be taught better, but in aggregate it’s a good tool. Recommended.
  • WaniKani | Desktop | Vocab & kanji drilling | Free demo / Subscription

    Alex’s thoughts: Another gold standard Japanese learning tool. WaniKani keeps track of vocabulary and kanji you’ve learned through it, unlocking new words in timed stages and bringing back previous words to refresh your memory. Getting past radicals was the harder part for me, because another app I used, JA Sensei, had different names for some of them, but now it’s going fairly well for me. Recommended.
  • Migaku Pitch Trainer | Desktop | Pitch drilling | Free demo / Subscription

    Alex’s thoughts: I haven’t actually been able to play around with this app too much yet: I really liked the demo, and it’s explicit purpose is to cover a blind spot of many apps. I don’t think I’ve actually seen Duolingo mention pitch at all yet. It’s demo is very limited, though, and I haven’t dropped for a subscription quite yet. Not Enough Experience
  • kawaiiNihongo | Mobile | General purpose learning | Free w/ads / Subscription

    Alex’s thoughts: Honestly the app that’s been motivating me to keep going with language learning. It has a nice UI, fleshed out lessons, and good drills to teach vocab and grammar. It currently goes a bit past N5 grammar right now and the devs have said they plan to go through to N4 grammar, so a very solid stepping stone. Highly Recommended
  • kawaiiDungeon | Mobile | Vocabulary drilling | Free w/ads

    A partner game to kawaiiNihongo, it’s a gacha-lite where you drill vocab to get resources. I like it for things I already know, but find it difficult for things I haven’t begun to commit to memory quite yet. Soft Recommended
  • JA Sensei |Mobile, desktop | General purpose learning* | Free demo / tiered OTP
  • Bunpo | Mobile | Vocab & grammar drilling | Free demo / Subscription
  • Hiragana Pro / Katakana Pro | Mobile | Kana drilling | Free demo / OTP

General Resources

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