But which one? “Weblio is the best dictionary I've ever seen, with English-Japanese and Japanese-English translations,” says Jorge Manoel.
“Invest in a solid dictionary that has Kanji, the Hiragana for each Kanji and an English definition. Also, pick up Barron's Japanese Grammar book immediately. Wait on purchasing a Kanji dictionary or cards until later in your studies,” says Jessica Aves
From guidetojapanese.org: “If you're trying to find a word with Kanji you've never seen before, you need to find each one and stitch the word together using copy+paste. The multi-radical Kanji search is one of the easiest ways to find Kanji. You may also want to try http://jisho.org/kanji/radicals/. It has a nicer interface and offers real-time search results.”
…on Google Chrome to instantly look up Kanji just by hovering the mouse over it. Get it here. The Firefox version can be found here. Try it now with this Kanji: ??
Christopher Bolton explains how.
Follow these simple steps from Japanese Lingualift
Jan van der Aa took time out of his +1challenge to write: “Japanese is a not an easy language, with complex grammar. Don't focus too much on the grammar rules in the beginning, just make sure you understand the structure, learn words, and try to make simple sentences by yourself”
Alternatively, take a step-by-step approach to grammar rules. Jorge Manoel explains: “When learning Japanese, the best thing to do is to learn grammar patterns little by little. Having a knowledge of them, making phrases will become easier.”
Don't ignore Japanese grammar – it's worth studying from the start, says this article at tofugu.com. “Trust me, studying the grammar now will help you learn faster in the long run, since you don't have to always stop and wonder why this particle was used here instead of that one, or what the heck is this verb form I've never seen it before.”
We can look at Japanese grammar in a different way to other languages, according to Steve Kaufmann, who sent me this fascinating perspective on the language: “Some languages have lots of details, case or verb endings, and rules. Unlike these languages, Japanese has patterns that we just need to get used to. This takes time and a lot of listening and reading.” And there's no better place to do this than at LingQ.