1) Pimsleur Japanese 
2) Michel Thomas Japanese 
3) Creating my own Anki decks 
4) Genki Textbooks 
5) Remembering the Kanji 
Firstly, I know it's going to take at least 2 years to be good at Japanese and I'm intent on just enjoying the journey. I have absolutely no need to rush.
Right now I'm only concentrating on my speaking and listening skills. I'm not at all fussed about pitch accents and will improve that when I get a tutor (think year 2).
My methodology is going to consist of:
- Doing each CD of Pimsleur (there are 5 in total, with 30 lessons each).
- Actively listening and speaking for 30 minutes in the morning, just after lunch and just after dinner. Thus doing 1 hour and a half a day.
- Write down all the newer words for each lesson into a notebook for review later.
- Writing down all the sentences in an excel spreadsheet for the anki deck. So far I have around 900 words and sentences.
My progress is that I have completed the first CD and I have memorised into my long term memory up to lesson 20. Unfortunately my memory starts to fade when reviewing the anki deck past lesson 20 and I get the sentence order incorrect even though I know the words. Of course, I want to get to 100% before moving onto the next CD.
To switch things up a bit. I've now started to do Michele Thomas CDs and listen passively in the background. Michele Thomas isn't as demanding for your attention as Pimsleur.
When I have finished both groups of CDs. I'll go through the Genki textbook and after that start to focus on my writing skills with Remember the Kanji.
After that, that's when I'll go on italki  and get a tutor.
Oh and when watching Anime (with Japanese Subs). I understand around 10% so far, in just a month. I do start to laugh though when the subs are not correct.
I can only imagine what I understand, when I have finished all CDs. I hope to get to at least 75% and then start to watch Anime with the subs removed.
Finally, if anyone wants to go the immersion route. Highly recommend Matt vs Japan . I'll be doing this once I finish the CDs and books.
Genki is probably the most popular when it comes to textbooks.
Personally, I think JapaneseLevelUp is the most effective of anything I've used, but it isn't really popular here. It has a terrible "kawaii ninja" aesthetic which makes it seem non-serious, but it is just aesthetic. The content itself doesn't reflect that.
Bunpro seems popular around here as a web/SRS oriented way to learn grammar.
Wanikani is a great way to learn kanji.
thank you very much. I have heard a lot about genki. Is this the right one? amazon link
If you're just starting out, I'd probably recommend the Genki series, or Tae Kim's excellent Guide to Japanese Grammar (free online).
The book OP has is very useful and you can learn a lot from it, but it's specifically made to help folks study for the Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT). You lose a lot of the foundational stuff if you go straight for the JLPT materials, I'd argue.
>They're duplicating a free app
So did wanikani but they get a lot less hate. Wanikani is honestly an anki clone as well while bunpro has a bit more
>It's also overpriced as all
It's almost half the price of wanikani.
I understand your points but did you really expect them to run the resource for free with no ads forever? Stuff like this isn't free. When lingodeer inevitably becomes paid (or includes ads) I wonder if they'll receive the same backlash.
>adds up to more than the cost of an actual textbook
This just isn't true. Genki 1 alone is over $100 on amazon https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/4789014401 I doubt this is the cheapest one but even then, you'd have to find a textbook for every JLPT level for only $30 each and only then would it add up to the cost of bunpro. Bunpro is $150 for a lifetime membership, you really think that's more than all the textbooks you'll ever buy for japanese?
I'd recommend picking them up from amazon.co.jp, since they are quite a bit cheaper, even after shipping fees:
(go to https://www.amazon.co.jp/?language=en_US first in order to select the English interface)
No problem! That’s actually a really common mistake. For what it’s worth, your katakana writing looks way better than mine. Although, you’re clearly artistically inclined and I rarely write Japanese out with a pen/pencil (usually just text).
If you’re interested in learning, Genki 1 is probably the best book. If you’d prefer something more casual, the app Duolingo recently added Japanese and it’s actually pretty useful.
I don't believe there is a 2017 version -- there is the old First Edition and the newer second edition. It is available on amazon for a reasonable price -- to my knowledge there is no legal pdf download.
Hey, this is very late, but I am procrastinating studying for my Kanji test tomorrow, so I'm going to write this out again! I hope you see it.
Free is going to be hard. I would suggest less than $50, as that's a hell of a lot more feasible.
Step 0: Get your expectations in Check
You have 3 - 5 months, depending on when you are going. That's enough to learn some stuff, but not as much as you'd like.
You will need to study at least an hour a day, every day. At that point, you'll likely be able to form basic sentences, read basic signs and instruction, and absolutely struggle through the most basic of basic conversations. That's really about it.
You can do more if you study more, obviously. But you also run the risk of burning out. Personally, I would suggest setting an hour a night aside, and at the end of that hour, ask yourself, "Am I good for another 30 minutes?" and continue doing that until you can't honestly say yes.
Step 1: Learn Hiragana and Katakana
There are lots of apps and books and stuff for this: It's a gigantic waste of money and time. Make yourself some flashcards, drill them into your head at every spare moment over a few days. You should have a basic sense of them. You'll still forget some, that's normal, don't worry. As long as you don't have to stop and look up every other kana, you're going to be fine.
Step 2: Get a Grammar Resource
Textbook, unfortunately. Alternative: tutor or classes but that gets expensive quick.
Any one of us can give you a massive list of vocab and useful grammar points and flash card decks. That will give you a wealth of information and no direction. The important part of a class or a textbook is that it's a lesson plan. You don't need to waste the time deciding what to learn in what order: Just flip the page.
Genki is the standard recommendation, because it's used in University/College classes across North America and there are resources for it everywhere: Downside: You need 4 Books + The Answer Key to use it effectively. That'll end up at $225USD ish.
Skipping Minna No Nihongo because, while it's another popular recomendation, it's MORE expensive.
I used Japanese for Everyone (I have also used Genki and I own a copy of Minna No Nihongo 1 from school, but haven't used it) and I'm going to recommend it here stronger than I normally do. Reason: It's super cheap, because that's the only book you're going to need. Downside is less internet resources and a faster pace.
Free Alternative is Tae Kim's Guide to Japanese Grammar. It's useful, but it contains no useful practice problems and a not so great selection of example sentences.
Step 3: Practice
Once you get 6 or 7 chapters into your textbook of choice, you need to start using it. Even if you're not speaking, at least be writing to someone in real time in text. Input is probably more important than output, yes, but you need some output at least. Lots of people (Me included) put this off far too long and I Definitely suffered when I first came to Tokyo for it.
Free? You want HelloTalk. It's an iPhone/Android messaging app specifically tailored for people exchanging languages. It's pretty much your only/best option for free. Conversations tend to fizzle out when both people are low level, so be persistent.
Step 4: Additional Resources
One guy writing hundreds of pages of guides that go into mid-depth of Japanese Grammar. This is not a primary resource. It takes the problems I have with Tae Kim to the extreme, and it is very grammar term heavy. It's best used for additional explanation when you don't understand something. Say, you get to ~てしまう in a textbook and don't understand? Imabi.
Spaced Repetition Flashcards. They work, they're useful. Anki is more powerful and has more community vetted resources, Memrise is more "Game-ified" but less powerful and with less resources. You should never use either of these programs as your first contact with any grammar point. They are flash cards. They are used to review.
Goes without saying. Take your pick, 99% of them use the same base database so the only difference is UI. I use mine 500 times a day (But I am in Tokyo).
Here. 3 Articles a day (5 on Friday) taken from the NHK main site and simplified heavily, intended for foreigners and elementary school students. Includes Furigana on every kanji, colour coding places/names, and full audio recording for each Article. Too advanced for you now, but good god is this good to know about it.
Here. Originally made to go with a textbook, and for learning it's pretty well impossible without that textbook. This site is still a fucking goldmine, with over 100 1-5 minute skits and videos in normal Japanese (Except the main character, who is correct but intentionally slow). Full scripts and line-by-line break down in Japanese, Kana Only, Romaji, and English. Listening Practice and Shadowing does not get better than this.
Step -1: Things to Avoid
Katakana above all else. If you decide you hate everything and don't want to learn any more, or you've gotten distracted and run out of time to study, at the very very least, learn katakana.
Yes, you should learn hiragana as well, and a few of the most important kanji, and basic survival phrases, but.... If all else fails, cram those katakana in on the flight.
Beyond that, the First Grade Joyo Kanji (of which there's only 100 really simple ones) are probably the most essential.
I'd grab Lonely Planet's Japanese Phrasebook . Even if you're planning on learning the language with a textbook (go with Genki , imo), the LP phrasebook is invaluable for your first few months in the country.
/r/learnjapanese's Getting Started Guide
> ###Online Guides
> Luckily for the modern language learner, the internet is full of free resources for study. When using them, however, make sure that you are using a credible source. One extremely popular and quality guide is Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese , as a book, Tae Kim’s Guide covers everything you need to know to get started learning Japanese.
> Another great choice is Pomax's Introduction to Japanese.
> If you’d like to follow a different path, you can follow the subsections below.
> If you’re interested in a more traditional form of study, you may be looking for a recommendation of a textbook. In /r/LearnJapanese, the most commonly recommended textbook series is Genki. Currently available in its second edition, the Genki consists of two textbooks (GENKI I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese and Genki: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II) with companion workbooks. The books and associated media are designed to be used to help in learning speaking, listening, reading and writing skills, with additional segments for cultural information. These textbooks are commonly used in college and university settings and cover the first two years of study at a common pace.
> These books are available for purchase from many sources, such as Amazon.com (Amazon.com Purchase Links: Genki I | Genki I Workbook | Genki II | Genki II Workbook ) and traditional brick-and-mortar resellers.
> Additional choices for textbooks, such as the Nakama series, can be found on the Resources page of the wiki.
That's the 2nd edition of Genki I
That's the accompanying workbook.
Personally I study with good old fashioned textbooks. The best Japanese textbook for beginners out there is Genki textbook.
However, there are many other great books and apps to learn Japanese. I highly recommend going to Tofugu since they have a ton of Japanese resources listed: