I mentioned many different resources in my last posts and in this I will write about the ones I am using as well as what I am discovering in the ones I am using. I will go in the order posted being paid for, optionally paid for, and free.

     As far as the things that cost money I have gotten 3 resources. Those three being Pimsleur Japanese, Michel Thomas Japanese, and and old Japanese textbook called, "Japanese Step by Step" by Gene Nishi. The book I kinda scored for free because I was playing Super Smash Bros. Melee and drinking at a friend of a friends house and found that he said he was studying Japanese(or so he said). This triggered my interests and began talking about it. This guy however was all talk. He said he read and memorized the textbook in one go! I called his bluff and said, "So you obviously don't need this book any more, right? Mind if I keep it?" So even though it's an 11 year old book, it was free and I really don't think that man was at all serious about learning so it was a pure win. The other two, Pimsleur and Michel Thomas I paid for because I learn much better by listening. I tried Rosetta Stone and I retained little to nothing from it and therefore did not like it. There is a big difference between the two audio book programs that I purchased recently that I must point out. Many reviews loved Michel Thomas more than Pimsleur, but I favour Pimsleur for one reason and that is the memorization techniques. I would not go as far as saying Pimsleur has a great technique mastered to memorize, but it is at least straight forward. It uses native speakers to enunciate words syllable by syllable following a definition while being used in context. So for learning vocabulary this is pretty good, eh? Michel Thomas on the other hand is a bit different. I don't think it's for the better either. When introducing a new word there is an English teacher and 2 other students to give you a classroom feel. The female student is not bad at enunciation at all, but the male and the teacher are not the best influences in this department. But that did not bother me. What I found to be troublesome was the introduction and memorization tactics of new words. For example, the word, 彼(かれ/kare) meaning he is to be remembered by thinking, "He drives a very fast car." As for myself, I am not seeing how that is related to remembering "kare" and more so, I am thinking about a car. That being said, this is my only problem with Michel Thomas. It is extremely good for getting your grammar kicking by starting off small and growing and explaining word order very well. In fact some of the descriptions are so well said that I'd take notes even though it is said that note taking is not required to learn through their methodology. So I'd say both programs are Useful especially when used in harmony.
     As far as the textbook goes, it is my first and only J-textbook so I cannot really compare it to anything however, it seems to be a good source of vocabulary expansion and grammar usage. Because it is rather old, I do not know how reliable it truly is to speaking casual Japanese. If anything it will teach you proper Japanese and people will correct you on how to be more casual. So it's good but I need to crack it open a little more...

     As for the category of optional pay, I mainly stick to Tofugu and Lang-8. Tofugu was actually discovered through YouTube among the J-Vlogging community, as was my emergence into intrigue of Japanese culture in general. Seriously, YouTube is one of the greatest windows to reach across the world that the Internet has to offer. But those cat videos and goofy people are okay too, I guess. Although studies with Tofugu have been a bit slow lately on account of my own laziness, Liking it on Facebook will still give you your dose of Japanese news & culture updates so even if I decide to take a small break to prevent getting burned out on studying, I still get the fix to learn something a bit more relaxing. As for lang-8 I find that I am using it more often when I study hard. Simple really, the harder you work the more you can say and read to ask legit questions while understanding a natives explanation. And again these sites have options to pay and get more out of them, I just can't quite afford to.

     As for freebies, I frequent my YouTube digest, Japanese-lesson.com, Rikaichan, and a variety of Linux tools such as Anthy(J-input method), kana test, and Kiten(J-Dictionary). I have found that being a Linux user, I have advantages to getting some of this open source software and so that is a +1 to all Linux users. Then again, if Windows or Mac were my OS, a way to find freebies would surely have been discovered. What else can be said about these other than that they are fantastic ways to learn for free?

     Thank you for reading and if you have questions/comments, please do not hesitate to ask! :D In my next blog I'll talk about whatever my current status/struggles may be. Also maybe I'll figure out how to make pretty static pages and get the other facades of this blog going. . .
     Here I will go over some of the resources that are useful to learning Japanese that are absolutely free. Of course you get what you pay for so these are not going to be the best but they are definitely good to get started on the basics. It  is nice to know that you can learn how to read for free due to the very many places on the Internet that will over simple tools as basic as a kana chart. Basically reading skills and basic phrases and grammar are what primarily is going to be available for free. Lets take a nice slow scroll and take a look at what is available:

1.  Japanese-Lesson
     Japanese lesson is a good entry level learning site with a lot of potential. Of course it will require some diligence. Here there are printable Kana practice sheets, drills, basic vocabulary lessons, and useful phrases. This is a very good place to be if it were not for its pesky vocal quizes. Synthesised voice drilling is very frustrating when you cannot tell "bzrt" from "phrszt" which is basically what you will run into in those tests. Other than that Japanese-Lesson is a good place to begin to learn how to read and write.


2. Learn Japanese Free
     This site is a bit more like a big memorization site from what I can tell. Of course I believe that the basics like Hiragana and Katakana are meant to be memorized, I feel that sentences should be understood as opposed to knowing how to say something but not knowing why. In its later stages it seems to do better and knowing some basic lines is always good. Which is why having multiple sources of reference is a necessity when it comes to learning languages. For a price tag of $0.00 it is still definitely worth using.

3.  Rikaichan
     If you are  a firefox user then this is an absolute must! Learning Kanji is probably one of the most intimidating aspects of learning Japanese. It is indeed much more difficult than actual spoken Japanese. A commonality in learning kanji is that most often recognition comes before the ability to write the said kanji. Rikaichan is a very nifty add on that defines and shows how to pronounce kanji via hiragana. This will enable learners to catch on to kanji much faster than waiting to learn it or searching for a definitive meaning. If Firefox is not preferred, then I still would highly recommend it just for this one add on.


4. Youtube J-Vlogging Community
     Subjectionally speaking, you tube is one of the best places to be inspired and learn about Japanese culture and language while being entertained. There are all sorts of people living in Japan and recording their experiences and showing what it is like through their eyes as well as many people who want to teach about Japan because it is simply their passion. There is truly too many to name off but a few that I actively go to are:
For Japanese culture, news, and teachings:

Good friend of Victor(Gimmeaflakeman) and shares Japan through his eyes:

This man, Sonny, easily has one of the best senses of humor of youtube in the J-vlogging community:

A very charming(and cute) bookworm type of woman who guides viewers through the very many aspects of Japanese language and culture:

A Danish artistic chain-smoker(at least in his videos) who provides a very unique view into Japanese culture debunking many common misconceptions:

Tofugu's youtube channel. Very entertaining and highly educational:

All about Japanese food and cooking for all the culinary geeks out there:

Namasensei is the tough love teacher who will push you into learning by insulting you to do better:

     That is all for now everyone. Thank you for reading. Next blog will be what methods I am using myself.