I've been studying japanase for a short time (just about 4 months) and I've been doing fine. JapanesePod101.com and other websites have been my way of studying all this time, but something that I read and heard constantly was: "You should find a native speaker or someone who speaks japanase and practice with them". So I was thinking about getting an online tutor or something, but today school started and lucky me! there's an exchange student from japan in my classroom! I approached him and befriended him. He speaks very little of this country's language (spanish) and also very little english, so it was a little difficult to communicate with him. Hopefully my japanese and his spanish will get better and we will get to be good friends.