Governments, media and educational organizations love to talk about "lifelong learning". And indeed there pace of innovations and inventions is fast. At the same time we are pressed to re-train ourselves in order to adapt to changing environments.
Many people like myself who live outside their native country there is the challenge to learn language and culture of their host country.
I would like to introduce 2 tools which can help us to cope with these challenges.
Podcasts are the modern form of a serialized roman. You need a program like iTunes (RSS Reader etc) and then you subscribe to a several podcasts. Once that is done the program will download new episodes of these podcasts whenever it becomes available. You can then listen to the downloaded episodes whenever it suits you.
Podcasts are offered in many languages and cover almost every topic - science, entertainment, news, language learning etc.
Most important thing to keep in mind is that podcasts accumulate on your PC and unless you delete or archive them from time to time you will run out of disk space.
2) Special learn software
A quick Google or Yahoo check will show you that numerous types of learn software are available. If I introduce only ONE software here then it is because it is very well suited to learn languages like Japanese.
To make this clear: I don't receive commission, reward or whatever advantage for my comments and addition you should understand that there is a vast amount of programs available which are equally suited.
The program I'd like to introduce is called "Anki" (= memorize in Japanese) and it has been written by Dmaien Elmes (URL: Protected content ). Anki is a so called Spaced Repetition System program - in short this means that you learn not once but previously learned things are automatically presented again. As you learn multiple times what you learned is moved to your long term memory.
Anki is very well suited for Japanese, Korean, Chinese because you can enter not only enter words and their meaning by also (a) the reading and (b) record the sound.
Another brilliant feature is online syncronization. This means that you can syncronize the status of a learn file on your PC with an online version. Then you may either learn online (using whatever Internet PC is avaialbe) or using your Keitai (requires Internet access).
Precompiled and donated word lists are available for download (Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Esperanto, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Persian etc).
So much from me. Please feel free to discuss and if you can recommend something else please go ahead.