Had to drive a longer than usual, so I took an old Pimsleur (Intermediate Level) disc and listened to it. In one of my previous blogs I had stated Pimsleur's program had not helped me much in my Japanese conversation learning and understanding. I had not used this program for years and was surprised as to how much I now understood and learned from the two lessons on this particular disc. I feel from the studying I have been doing and the recent trip to Tokyo I am doing better than before. I think the point of this is use as many teaching aids as you can. I should not have dismissed Pimsleur's learning aids and I now include it in my 'good' list. I think that as you progress and find certain programs or tecniques too difficult or what you think are of too little value you should periodically retry and reevaluate them.
When I was in Tokyo I met some gaigakujin friends. One of these had worked in Tokyo for many years and had retired. His Japanese was very good. On the other hand., people who have only been in Japan working for just a few years are even better. Why? I think it is because some people have a propensity to learn foreign languages. I do not have that propensity and don't know why. (Gakuranman.com shows this and blogs about his experiences. His Japanese is very good in my opinion). Also, age of the person learning makes some difference.
I hope to return to Japan next year and I will see if all of my new studying results in more and more understanding and speaking.