Innovative Language’s “Language Pod 101” series exist for over 30 languages, and it’s a good thing they are, because they’re tremendously helpful! Innovative Language does indeed offer paid courses, but what I wish to bring to your attention is the following three free resources for Japanese:
Japanese Word of the Day: A must for beginners. This little applet in Japanese Pod 101’s site is deceivingly complete. Not only do you get a new word every word, but that word also brings with itself just about everything you’d want from it: its pronunciation, definition and even part of the word. But it doesn’t stop there! You also get several examples from each word, providing you with much needed context and new situational grammar. And as though this wasn’t enough, you can go back to any date you’d like (to see every word that’s been added to date), and use the quiz mode to hide all translations and definitions, if you’re feeling brave!
Vocab Lists: wait, wait, no rolling of the eyes yet. These are not your regular vocabulary list: new lists are being constantly updated with real, relevant vocabulary in the form of sentences (with audio, of course, and kana spelling for beginners). Not only they’re an amazing source of new vocabulary, but they’ll also offer you a sneak peek into Japanese culture. These are so good, I wish these had existed when I was studying Japanese!
100 Core Words: if you’re just starting out, go here. These 100 words will literally become the foundation of your Japanese learning, and get you asking all the right questions to start understanding Japanese!