I just joined and I’m not sure how anything works on this site. I feel stuck at the ‘getting started’ section on LingQ. I’m learning Japanese and just got started on learning kanji in the third chapter/lesson of my Genki 1 textbook (an older edition). Would someone let me know how to progress?

Also, is LingQ free? Is payment an option like Duolingo?

English is my native language.

Hello! Welcome to LingQ!
The general idea is that you want to get rid of the blue words on the lesson page and create LingQs (yellow words) for the words you don’t understand or want to learn better. When you click on a blue word you see different hints for that word in the dashboard on the right-hand side of the page. Choose one of the hints or check the dictionary to create your own hint. You can also tell us if you know the word already or you may sometimes want to ignore the word and not include it in your stats.

The best place to start is by taking a look at the resources on the Academy page - Login - LingQ.

You should also look at the Help page Help. In particular, you should take a look at these three pages -

How do I learn on LingQ? - Getting Started
Two weeks at LingQ Academy - Getting Started - Two Weeks at LingQ Academy
Learn about our method - Learn languages from what you're interested in!

All lessons at LingQ are Free to read and listen, however in order to get unlimited access you will need to upgrade. You can check the differences between Free and Premium version here:
Login - LingQ

Hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck!