I've been trying to put together a Japanese self-study plan, and, as it turns out, there are a bunch of online resources. Maybe too many; I feel like I'm pulled in many different directions.
I have tried TextFugu in the past, but pacing was a problem. I would breeze through the grammar sections, but vocab section after vocab section led to some serious burnout. It took me months to feel like I could study again. I'm genuinely worried about that happening again.
So far, I've got Genki I, and I want to make it my primary textbook, especially for vocab. I'm considering Japanese for Busy People as a supplement/reinforcement tool. (Instead of the Genki workbooks) I'll probably pick up A Dictionary of Japanese Grammar, since many people feel it's essential. I may sign up for WaniKani, but I'm concerned about burnout.
Basically, I want to keep things simple and effective, only the essentials that I can focus on day after day.
If you want vocab, don't bother with a textbook. Use a spaced repetition flashcard program like Anki and get some vocabulary decks (a good starter would be the Japanese Core 2000 series with listening sentences). Throw it on your phone and spend 15 or 20 minutes a day. Best part is: totally free.
Hi , I'm doing something very similar. I've started studying japanese four months ago or so (basically I sign up in japanesepod101 and listened absolute beginner lessons in a somewhat random fashion). I took it real slow at first, learning my kana and listening to some japanese culture podcasts mostly.
A month ago I started to make some serious study plan to actually make some progress. After watching/reading a lot of reviews I ended up with the Genki Series (textbook + workbook) and following this guy's (http://www.nihongonobaka.com/japanesepod101-com-individual-season-reviews/) advice on the japanesepod101 lessons. I've the ANKI lists for the Genki series and I use it to review the chapters, but the japanesepod101 word bank also is pretty useful (specially for adding vocab when listening the lessons in realtime).
I'm right there with you about how overwhelming the material over the web (or even the textbooks if you decide to go that way) can be. And I think there's a lot of good textbooks to start (I've the Minna no Nihongo series and some spanish series called Nihongo; both could be perfectly fine replacements for the Genki series), some of them very classroom oriented, and some more suitable for self-studying (the Genki series I think belongs here). The most important thing I believe is to START at some point. For me the formula was Genki (textbook + workbook) + Nihongo Doujou Absolute Begginer Series (japanesepod101). Could I've chosen Minna no nihongo or some other textbook? Most certaintly I could, and would be very similar I'm sure. I felted I needed some structure to follow, hence the textbook. I'm perfectly happy with the Genki series, as it seems to me it keeps you somewhat entertained as you go along (compared to the Minna no Nihongo series or the spanish Nihongo series I have, wich I found a bit dry). The japanese101 lessons provide on the other hand, a lot of dialogs that I found more natural and less rigid that the ones in the textbooks, so I can listen to more casual japanese, alongside I get to pick up some new vocab and reinforce the grammar points that I get to read and practice in the textbook.
Anyway, it's just my experience after a month of what I finally feel is a coherent study plan Best of luck! Regards,