Here’s a review I found on goodreads.com on the Assimil Japanese with Ease series (which is just two books really). This should be the link here (http://goo.gl/4gm54Z). I like the review because it details the method the reviewer used to help her learn Japanese. Here’s a quote from the review:
The way I worked through each lesson during the passive phase was:
1. listen to the audio a few times seeing how much I could understand,
2. listen to the audio while reading the text,
3. shadow/chorus the audio while reading the text,
4. listen to and read the exer-cise sentences, and
5. review the previous few les-sons.
During the active phase, work-ing on the second-wave lesson to do the active pass on it included:
1. covering up the Japanese and translating the English word-for-word translation to Japanese,
2. seeing where I messed up in (1),
3. listening to the audio again while reading the text,
4. listening to the audio again while shadowing/chorusing the text aloud,
5. listening to and reading the exercise sentences again, and
6. doing the ‘production’ exer-cise sentences (which I just total-ly skipped during passive phase) and checking my answers on those.
During the passive phase, after the first few weeks, I ignored the non-literal translation and only looked at the English word-for-word translation (when I encoun-tered words I didn’t know). Fig-uring out the meaning from the Japanese plus those extra vocab word meanings and the grammar footnotes wasn’t too bad. Also, I should note that I saw a few places where the English non-literal translation was actually incorrect. Maybe that’s why I shied away from using it.