Oh my good god, Alee, I never learned how to either. I ought to be studying vocab too. Because some of it takes me that long.
Today Jaded got a phone call from someone in collections on his uncle's car. Then he pretended he couldn't speak English, only Japanese. Then he gave the phone to me and I did the same. I was like "Sumimasen? Nani? Eego o wakarimasen!"
I bought My Japanese Coach for the DS when it came out. The placement test was an okay, if somewhat flawed, concept. We never learned colors in J1, so it's asking me what brown and gray are, and I only ever learned orange, white, blue, and black. You know have to fail 2 questions for it to end the placement test, so I failed at the colors section. What sucks it all the next lessons are days of the week, names of the months, and learning katakana. I don't mind reviewing it though, I guess it's good practice. Today I also actually learned something! (Impolite to use but stuff I didn't know!) Pronouns. You, they, she, he. Stuff in Japanese that isn't really polite to say. Instead of saying "She told me to clean," in Japanese you would say "Wendy-san told me to clean" - so I'm not sure how useful this will be since it is more polite to call people/refer to people by their name.
When you're talking to family members of the same age I believe you can use pronouns or informal language freely if you choose. It's always ALWAYS good to use formal or long forms whenever possible, that way you don't mess up and talk to a person the wrong way.
I decided to update since I'm actually in a Japanese class at school. I've got the hiragana alphabet down and parts of the katakana alphabet. It's amazing to live here because of the countless opportunities to use it here. I actually ordered food in Japanese once! (Barely, of course.) Still, I'm learning and deciding to take a course for the class was maybe the best decision I've made for living here.