A website called Mango, for some unknown reason, is offering free, high-quality, Flash-based language lessons in nine different languages, including Japanese. I took a quick look and there are 101 lessons for Japanese alone, and they teach you in hiragana from lesson one. Hover your cursor over hiragana words and it shows the phonetic pronunciation in English.
Lord only knows why the site is free and doesn’t have any advertising. Maybe from lesson 102 they’re going to teach you how to shop for Coca-Cola at Wal-Mart.
Update #1: Ha! I was right! A little Googling turned up this press release:
The site plans to offer free service through revenue generated by paid advertising as site traffic grows. That is planned to include both banner advertising and “product placement” within the actual language lessons. For example, instead of teaching someone to say “I would like to order a soda” in another language, someone would be taught “I would like to order a Coca-Cola.”
Update #2: Check out my Japlish Podcast with my son Tony.