Travel, Teach, Live in Japan
When faced with the daunting task of trying to learn a language perceived to be as difficult as Japanese, many learners are afraid to "take the plunge," so to speak. However, in addition to standard learning practices, such as memorization exercises and conversation practice, there is another method which is both fun and effective: Listening to music in Japanese.
Regardless of what style of music you like, you will be able to find something in Japanese that you enjoy; whether its rock, rap, metal, ska, blues, or even country. Of course, there is always the ever-popular jpop, as well.
Remember when you were a kid learning English and you learned a bunch of songs? The ABC song. Ring Around the Rosie. How Much is That Doggie in the Window. In many cases, especially as you were first learning to speak, you learned the words of the songs phonetically before you even knew what they meant and the learning was reinforced because you enjoyed the song.
That same principle applies to learning songs in a new language. There are a few things going for you:
1. Your favorite songs will get "stuck in your head" and you'll go around the house singing them, thus reinforcing your new language.
2. You will be learning grammar constructs through songs that you haven't encountered yet, but you will have subconsciously absorbed them. Then, when you actually do learn that construct in your lessons, you will have a "lightbulb moment" and think "ah, so *that's* what she's saying in that song!" and you will remember it from that point forward.
3. You'll continue to expose yourself to the language which has been proven beneficial for language learners.
So while it is uunlikely that your Japanese teacher will bring some rock and roll CDs to class, you can still enhance your learning and enjoy doing so on your own by listening to Japanese music.
I began studying Japanese by self-study and eventually moved to Japan where I became fluent. If you are interested in studying Japanese, a list of programs can be found at http://www.japanesereview.com