I started the process of learning Japanese a few months back, largely self taught using several tools on the internet. It’s a slow process, since I am trying to learn how to read/write/speak it at the same time. On top of this I am working on a Masters in Computer Science and working full time, so, there is not a lot of time to invest in it. I figured I would share the tools that I am using so far.
Duolingo – https://duolingo.com/
This is a language learning app found on both Android/iOS app stores as well as being available as a website. Their Japanese language set is in beta, but looks like a good step to learn some basics of the Japanese characters (Hiragana/Katakana), common vocabulary and conversational interactions. The app is free with advertisements, and also has a paid subscription which can drop the ad’s.
Wanikani – https://wanikani.com/
Wanikani is a site built to help people learn Kanji. Kanji is the 3rd character set in the Japanese language, and the more complex of the three. It is made up of borrowed Chinese characters which can be used to combine with Hiragana/Katakana to construct the vocabulary of the Japanese language. To be considered fluent in Japanese one needs to have learned a little over 2000 of these characters, their meanings and how they can be combined to create different words. Wanikani uses the Spaced Repetition System (SRS) to help people learn Kanji. I believe levels 1 to 3 are free, but open the full 60 levels of Kanji in the site would require signing up for their subscription service, or pay a one time lifetime fee.
I have to run to catch my train, but I will update this later with some more information.