Ohayo gozaimasu! Jikoshokaisimasu!
Yeah, that's not much, but hey, I'm just starting out :).
I made a goal this year that I wanted to learn conversational and written Japanese, for what is probably a fairly silly reason. My love of Japanese Manga and Anime is the driving force behind this, and the biggest reasons are that I want to actually read, hear and understand the stories the way that they were meant to be seen by their target audience. I want to be able to do this without using subtitles or having to wait several years for dub versions of shows or stories to appear in the U.S. (And quite often, many cool stories never get the dub treatment here in the U.S.).
Thus it it for this reason that I have picked up the book "Japanese Step by Step: An Innovative Approach to Speaking and Reading Japanese" by Gene Nishi. Having read a few reviews on it, I decided it was a good first place to start so that I can get my feet wet and see how this all works. This is also going to be the first major goal of mine that I attempt to accomplish using my public library or the Internet as sole resources for materials. I want to see if it can be done without having to actually purchase anything, or own the materials outright. While I've heard a lot of people give high marks to Rosetta Stone software, I'm not there yet, and I'm not entirely sure I want to go there for this.
Like so many goals in my life, I don't want to invest a lot up front for something I may ultimately grow frustrated with and stop doing. Also, much as I hate to say it, I have a lot of past experience with this mindset. I usually start by spending a lot of money, and realizing later that there are many resources that are as good or better than what I paid for freely available through the library or on the Internet. For once, I want to take on a goal from the opposite end, start low or no cost, determine if I actually will do this for the long term and gain some proficiency, and from there, then I'll decide if I want to invest in it further.
Nihongowa wakarimasen, but I'm certainly going to try to change that. Here's to new beginnings :).