It seems like a tough language, but I'm willing to put the time in if it's not an entirely futile effort.
I'm not that interested in speaking it, unless that's absolutely required to understand subtleties in the writing. I mainly want to read things by amazing people like Shigesato Itoi, and browse 2ch and other stuff like that I guess.
I checked out and subscribed to Japanesepod101. The main dude is kind of a douche and isn't very good at Japanese OR English, but it still works because the format is good and the Japanese natives are good.
I tried doing 100 words a day (3000 a month) but I had to cut back down to 50 to still be able to do my uni work and have time to relax. But even so, 1500 a month is still good, and I'm on track to hit the 20,000 mark near the end of 2010.
First learn Japanese's alphabet, kana (hiragana and katakana). They should only take a week to learn. Practice reading articles until you can read them quickly.
Next learn kanji. The government has a list of characters you need to know for everyday use. You can find it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_j%C5%8Dy%C5%8D_kanji. Make sure you organize the table by grade level, starting with grade 1. I went by grade, first learning the English meaning and on'yomi (how the character is pronounced when with other characters), then going back and learning the kun'yomi (how they're pronounced alone). When you finish grade 6 you will be amazed how much you can read.
"How to install Japanese keyboard" (Blog Source: Tofugu) http://www.tofugu.com/japanese/how-to-install-japanese-keyboard/
No linux? I still haven't figured out how to get scim-anthy to work.
Is that 'Rosetta Stone' software any good to learn to read Japanese and translate manga or doujinshi?
I've never heard anything good about rosetta stone.
In fact, particualrly, ive heard alot of bad stuff about it.
The one thing ive heard is that its good for training your listening skills, but a better audio course probably would be too, anyway.
"How to type in Japanese" (Blog Source: Tofugu) http://www.tofugu.com/japanese/how-to-type-in-japanese/
dicks out for Harambe