This thread still needs help to grow. Feel free to post your useful resources, with a small description of what it is. You can also ask any questions related to this topic. ------------ Chances are, if you read VN, at some point you'll get interested in learning Japanese. This thread will NOT tell you how to learn japanese, I'm not qualified for that. This is a compilation of useful resources you might need, put together by helpful members and myself. If you know absolutely nothing about the language, I recommend you to read a bit about it before. Read some wikipedia pages and the introductions of various guides. The best way to approach things is probably to try out a bit of everything and see what works for you. Here are the categories of resources presented: *Learning methods: more-or-less complete schedule other people put together. *Useful softwares, apps & cie *Kanji & Kana *Grammar *Practice material Learning methods Those hardly consist of rigid guides that'll take you all the way, but they might help to give you an idea on how to approach learning the language. Don't spend too much time looking for methods, you'll most likely end up doing things in a different way anyway. Tae Kim's complete guide to japanese (everything is not complete yet) Nukemarine's Suggested Guide for Beginners "It's a guide on how to learn japanese by plowing through anki cards in a effective manner. It's made by a community member at Koohi forums. (I'd like to mention you can learn vocab very fast with this method and keep it in memory. But you learn without a lot of context, which has its negative sides.)" (Bolverk) The Tay way (note that this is from 2013 and no longer in use) Aaeru's "learn how to read VN in two years" Useful softwares Those are basic tools you'll almost certainly need, or at least try out, in your learning of japanese. Google IME: Allows you to type in Japanese. Click this link, click the big blue button, install: you can now switch your typing mode to japanese. Rikaichan: Firefox app that gives you a dictionary entry for a word by simply hovering over it. Extremely useful. Also exists for Chrome. Anki: A flash card software with a built-in algorithm for learning efficiency. Exists on Android and iOS too. (Regular hand-written flash-cards can be a useful tool too). Use shared decks to find vocab/kanji pre-made decks. Note about Anki: the use of Anki is advocated as necessary by some and deemed completely useless by others. Starting out with basic vocab/kanji grinding will probably help you ease into practice material, however learning tons of words, or worse even tons of kanji out of context is not a good idea. It's up to you to find out whether you want to use Anki (and whether you can). ITH, TA, Mecab, Jparser: ITH is a text hooker that'll extract the text from, say, a VN for you. Translation Aggregator will pass said text through parsers and dictionaries. Extremely useful to practice on VNs. Some tips and other softs for ITH here Chiitrans: a useful alternative to ITH/TA. Same principle. Read the tuto for more details. Visual Novel Reader: Another alternative to ITH/TA. Note about text hookers: it might seem obvious but do NOT use machine translations with your text hookers. You won't learn anything from the garbage it feeds you and you won't even actually understand what's going on, whether you think you do or not. It is also not a very good idea to rely on parsers for grammar purposes. Parsers are far from perfect. They certainly can't replace a grammar resource and basic googling. Think of text hookers as crutches you use until you become able to read without constantly looking up vocabulary. It is also a good idea to switch to japanese-japanese dictionaries as soon as you can - only they will give you the nuances of the words, and they're also much less flawed than existing free j-e dictionaries. Kanji & Kana Learning the hiragana and katakana should be about the first thing you do. It's not very long or difficult. Becoming accustomed to reading them is longer but it eventually comes. Kanjis are probably the biggest psychological barrier for japanese learners. I don't have a magical method to suggest, but do tell yourself it's really not that hard if you stop thinking too hard about it and trying to find the best, most optimized method for learning them. Try to learn the basic ones, see where you can get, and start practicing on reading as soon as you can. RealKana: This is just an example among others of ways to learn the kana. It's the first thing you should do anyway, and it's not hard or long. Heisig's Remember the Kanji: A method for learning kanji through memo stories, by association with an english keyword. Good for starters, probably won't get you through the whole kanji learning though. See Tay's guide and this website too. Kanjidamage: Learning the kanjis through radicals and memo sentences. I'm not a fan of his method, but it has some interesting information in the introduction and on some kanjis. Grammar Basic grammar: Tae Kim's guide: The most popular (and free!) guide on the internet. Rather compact, has all the essential grammar with good explanations and examples. A must. Genki: To take things more slowly, or have a different view on points you didn't get. (No links for that one yet, it's not free, sorry) Nihongomori: this is a youtube channel with videos explaining grammar, but also vocab and other misc things, done by native speakers (in english for the basics, japanese later). It goes from basic grammar (JLPT N5-N4 level) up to finer points (N2-N1 level) so it actually covers intermediate/advanced grammar too. The videos are pretty fun and well done, if you like the video media it might work good for you. More advanced grammar: Imabi: Lots of in-depth explanations about various grammar subjects. Not recommended for pure beginners and not written as a guide. If you want to go further than that, you'll need to go into japanese grammar books. Don't forget a simple research on the internet can give you lots of explanations about pretty much anything anyway. Advanced grammar: If you want to go further into grammar than that (for example if you want to read 古典 and such), you'll probably need to go into japanese grammar textbooks. This guide is approved as being really good. (Change the encoding of the page to Japanese EUC-JP for it to display correctly) This page could be useful too. Feel free to do your own research! Others: A grammar cheat sheet. Not for beginners, obviously. Nihongoresources: A grammar guide. Never tried it. Practice Material General advice: Try to avoid material based on comedy (because you need a good enough knowledge to get the jokes), or that rely heavily on slang or local dialect. Also, avoid things that have too much technical vocabulary (hard sci-fi) or chuuni stuff with abstract concepts and archaic kanjis. Chokochoko: Some practice texts (articles on various stuff), ranked by JLPT difficulty. Children's tales: easy place to start. Japanese subtitles for lots of anime. VNs in japanese: *Relatively easy language for a story-focused VN. *List of VN for beginners, with two levels of difficulty. *A big list of Visual novels to read if you are confident enough (~JPTL N2). I won't point you out to raw mangas, of course, but if you can find high enough quality scans (or can afford to import them) it's obviously a great way to practice. Every shoujo and shonen manga have furiganas on every kanjis. Seinen/josei may not have them, but it doesn't mean they're necessarily more difficult. Dictionaries, vocabulary resources Note: Japanese-english dictionaries (the free ones you'll find on the internet) are pretty much all based on Edict. Of course, as a beginner you have to use j-e dictionaries, but 1) edict is far from perfect 2) j-e dictionaries are inherently limited anyway: only japanese dictionaries will give you the right nuance (and they're rather excellent). So as soon as you can, switch to japanese dictionaries. The jump is not easy but it's necessary, especially if you intend to read VNs with a higher level of language. Overall, the internet is your friend! A simple search will often yield whatever you're looking for. Finding your way, especially in japanese websites, is the most useful skill you can develop (although once again you need to reach a certain level of confidence first). Jisho: Jap/eng dictionary. Tangorin: Same thing. WWWJDIC Dictionary site. Japanese online dictionary. Requires good enough knowledge of japanese to be used. Slang dictionary. Same as above. Writing recognition: Tries to find a kanji directly written with your mouse. Tanos: Various JLPT-related resources: vocabulary and kanji lists, etc. Blog posts and articles about learning japanese Blogpost by garejei: Tips and a view on kanji memorization. ----- Thanks to Clephas, Bolverk, cryofrzd, Okami, garejei, Mephisto and probably a bunch of others I forgot to add (sorry!) for their contributions.