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    For the Japanese Language learner, finding quality free internet-based resources can be a daunting task to undertake.  Here are a few of the top free sites, in no particular order:

    Smart.fm

    A product of Cengage Learning, a producer of many textbooks, Smart.fm features tools that resemble a Rosetta Stone learning style with images and sound for many lessons.  Unlike Rosetta Stone, however, Smart.fm is free, contains a wider variety of topics to study about, and provides tools for users to make their own lessons, flash cards, and more as well as to interact with other language learners.  Additionally Smart.fm features many other languages so this is a great resource for learners of almost any language.

    Anki

    Think of Anki as a sort of digital flash card system.  You can download the program for free for use on your desktop, as well as use the program by logging into the Anki site, and also Droid and smart phone Apps for use on the go.  The word "anki" is Japanese for learning something by heart, basically habitualizing an act (e.g. language) through repeated practice and memorization.  The Anki website allows users to share the decks they make, so you can download other decks as well as make your own.  You can also access your decks online by syncing (through the desktop program) and you have the choice whether you wish to share with other Anki users or not.

    Live Mocha

    Live Mocha is a site that is a bit newer than Smart.fm but modeled after the same principles.  Users can access lessons, meet friends, study, practice, and review each other’s progress.  Live Mocha is also a free site and access is permitted once you create an account.  There are varying levels for Japanese language study, and like Smart.fm there are other languages to study there as well.

    The Japanese Page

    The Japanese Page is a free Japanese language learning site made by the creator of The Japan Shop.  The Japanese Page features some unique lessons, as well as core lessons, and information for studying Japanese as well as a forum for discussions or questions.  Some of the unique lessons include Sake and Drinking Vocabulary, Samurai Movies Vocabulary, Stories and more.  Levels for Japanese learners go from beginning to Advanced, so there is something for everyone.  Additionally, the Japanese Page and The Japan Shop now have iPhone and iPod Apps, and also some smart phone Apps as well, including dictionaries and grammar, particles, Kansai dialect and more.  Definitely worth checking out!

    All Japanese All The Time

    Let’s face it, how many times have you set out to learn Japanese only to find you just weren’t able to devote the time to it?  Or your progress was slow and you became discouraged?  All Japanese All The Time is a blog-type site created by a young man who is just like any other language learner.  The difference is, Khatzumoto made a plan, stuck to it, and became fluent (if not just nearly fluent) in as little as 18 months.  At the AJATT site, Khatzumoto outlines his process, as well as provides motivation and guidance for learning Japanese or any language.  When you start to get discouraged, this is a great site to check out for a boost.

    Tofugu

    Tofugu is a fun site where you can learn a lot of interesting cultural information from the site’s creator, Koichi.  Koichi has a string of YouTube videos for Japanese language learners, as well as for Japanese native speakers learning English.  He discusses cultural topics as well as language learning tools, tips, and advice.  The sister site, for Japanese speakers is called Koichiben.

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