That was more or less the question my friend asked me. First I’m going to cover what I did that worked for me, then I’ll cover what I’m doing now. It’s in chronological order too, I would say. I’m going to say right now though don’t trust my methods. Go to Tofugu.com or something instead. I’m only a beginner.
I’m going to state this right now that I am a visual and a hands-on learner. Audio-wise I’m really bad and most of the time it doesn’t even reach my ears. You’re better off giving me written directions, watching you, and following along to learn than anything else. If you’re similar to me, then these might work for you. If not, go try something else.
Things That Worked for Me:
1.) Being determined about learning Japanese and being frustrated that I didn’t know Japanese – I used that frustration to start somewhere!
2.) Using RealKana to learn how to read hiragana and katakana. Screwed learning one row at a time when I got to “ta” (on both charts) and just learned them all in one go using trial and error.
3.) I used a manga to test myself and to make sure I didn’t forget how to read kana.
4.) I used the iKana app from the iTunes store to learn how to write in kana by taking the writing test over and over until I learned how to.
5.) Read as much material as possible that I could get my hands on.
Things I’m Trying Now:
1.) Using the Genki textbook. I like the structure, personally. It’s quite clear. I’m already amazed at how much I’ve learned after only a few lessons. Since I’m not doing this in a class, I normally skip over the partner work.
2.) Having my tutor correct me and explain where I’m wrong.
3.) Using Anki to review my vocabulary and make me learn kanji I cannot write so I can recognize it.
Things I’m Planning on Trying:
1.) Using Lang-8.
2.) Speeding up my kanji learning process using the Basic Kanji workbooks (after I get through Genki I)
3.) Using Japanese Particle Workbook to get better at using particles
4.) Writing “practice sentences” to review my grammar, vocabulary, and what not.
5.) Using Japanese as much as possible, even when I don’t actually need to use it (;D)
What YOU Should Do:
1.) Figure out what kind of learner you are. This may take a while.
2.) Get interested and motivated.
3.) Everyone who has successfully learned Japanese will tell you the same thing – learn kana first! Before you do anything else, go learn kana.
And yeah…that’s it. Don’t really have much else to say.