Japanese learning materials I bought in the past couple of years. Mostly from Amazon, where the links point to. I get referral credit should someone decide to purchase. I intend to go through some of this in 2008.
Vocabulearn Japanese Complete (VocabuLearn)
All three levels. Thousands of words. Works best if you just relax and DON'T try to memorize anything. What I particularly like about it is that it's the only audiocourse I can do while working. It just does not bother me. Very ight classical music in the background form time to time. Some people don't like it, but it did not bother me any.
Japanese I - 3rd Ed.: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur Language Programs (Comprehensive)
Japanese II - 2nd Ed.: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur Language Programs (Comprehensive)
Japanese III - 2nd Ed.: Learn to Speak and Understand Japanese with Pimsleur Language Programs (Pimsleur Language Program)
For serious language learners only. Not because it's particularly difficult but because it's pricey. Check your local library. Some people swear by Pimsleur, some don't like it. Audio only (45 hours in total), it's supposed to bring you to ACTFL Intermediate–high proficiency level (1+). For Japanese, according to the FSI/ILR relative language difficulty list or "approximate learning time" scale you'd need approximately 360 class hours. That would mean that Pimsleur can shave off some good 300 hours of beginner's pain.
I believe it serves its purpose and especially so for "difficult" languages. Whatever breaks the ice with Japanese, cannot be bad.
Oxford Takeoff in Japanese + 4CDs
Genki I & II
Genki 1: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese 1
Genki I: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese I - Workbook
Genki II: An Integrated Course in Elementary Japanese II
This is what people planning to take Japanese language proficiency tests (JLPT) study from. A serious coursebook. Comes with CDs and workbooks. Sigh...
Japanese for Busy People I: Kana Version includes CD (Japanese for Busy People Series)
Japanese for Busy People II: Third Revised Edition incl. 1 CD (Japanese for Busy People)
Japanese for Busy People III: Third Revised Edition incl. 1 CD (Japanese for Busy People)
Get either Genki or Japanese for busy people. Both would be an overkill of basic to intermediate stuff. Genki will start drilling kanji from the very start. Based on the edition you buy, you can finish Japanese for busy people without touching kanji.
Barron's Pronounce it Perfectly in Japanese
Breaking into Japanese Literature: Seven Modern Classics in Parallel Text
Textbooks, grammars & vocabulary builders
Barron's Japanese Grammar &
Barron’s Master the Basics Japanese (Master the Basics Series) (same as the previous book except for larger, nicer print and a few additions)
Japanese Step by Step : An Innovative Approach to Speaking and Reading Japanese
Heisig: Remembering the Kanji - new edition
Remembering the Kanji: A Complete Course on How Not to Forget the Meaning and Writing of Japanese Characters (Manoa)
Remembering the Kanji 2: A Systematic Guide to Reading the Japanese Characters
Remembering the Kanji 3: Writing and Reading Japanese Characters for Upper-level Proficiency
A set of mnemonic devices for Japanese characters. They say you can get by just with the first book. Did a few hundred kanji in a couple of days. It really works, but you need a backbone. If you fancy lighter stuff:
Japanese Living Language (coursebook only) A gift.
Kakuko Shoji: Basic Connections: Making Your Japanese Flow (Power Japanese Series) (Kodansha's Children's Classics)
I was feeling optimistic
Janet Ashby: Read Real Japanese: All You Need to Enjoy Eight Contemporary Writers
I was feeling real optimistic. A very nice book. Hmmm...
Akiyama & Akiyama: 2001 Japanese and English Idioms (2001 Idioms Series)
Giles Murray: 13 Secrets for Speaking Fluent Japanese
Now, I liked this one from the start. I learned how to say beef stew a year or so ago while perusing it in the store. I still haven't forgotten thanks to a very disturbing mnemonic device involving a celebrity.
Guide to Reading & Writing Japanese: Third Edition (Tuttle Publishing)
Let's Learn Japanese Picture Dictionary (McGraw–Hill).
This one looks/sounds the least serious of all but I like it the most. Some 1600 words and illustrations.
Carol and Nobuo Akiyama Japanese Vocabulary (Barron's Vocabulary Series)
Divided into thematic categories. I mined this one for my personal pictionary.