I am not Japanese but currently learning on my own, here is a bit of advice that I hope would be useful in regards to your question " where to start?"
Japanese consists of three writing systems; Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji. you would want to start with the Hiragana, getting to know the basic sounds and the basics of grammar. this youtube channel is quite helpful you might want to check their Hiragana lessons: Japanesepod101.com
you don't have to really be perfect in writing in order to move on to the next step as you will continue learning how to write as you move on to listening I would suggest pimsleur approach if you can afford it, it is excellent for a beginner level. if not here is another youtube channel that might be of interest: JapansocietyNYC of course there are many other great channels that you might wanna check .
once you start this way you will be able to understand basic conversations as well as have an idea about some writing.
after finishing Hiragana you can move to Katakana and Kanji with more confidence.
Hope this helps! this is how I did it and I am not an expert, just throwing my two dimes....