Re: What would be a good way to start learning?
It's really tough to learn on your own. If you can, take a course in your high school or in college. Some community colleges also offer courses. The important thing is to continually practice. My first year Japanese class met every weekday for an hour or hour and a half, constantly speaking Japanese. If you can find a friend who speaks or is learning as well, set aside some time to discuss things in the language. Native speakers are great to talk to as well. Part of the program I'm in pairs us up with a native speaker who lives in the area. We speak Japanese and English for an hour a week, and what's great is we're helping the speaker as well since she's also learning English.
Be sure to learn kana as quickly as possible. If you force yourself to read in kana from the beginning, it will be easier when you want to read/write complex texts, or when you want to start learning kanji. They're are a lot of books out there that can be helpful with this. I've used the Genki series, which has some flaws but is generally a good starting point.
No matter what, don't give up! ^_^ It can be tough, but with enough practice, soon enough you can say some phrases and begin to read Japanese characters. Best of luck!