It's harder to find an AM radio in San Francisco these days. I like to listen to SF Giants baseball games on 680am. Many pocket devices offer only FM reception. Pocket radios at Walgreens tend to be very large monstrosities. I've used smaller-than-pocket breakable AM radios from Radio Shack (who now offer none), and a thick credit-card sized Sony I bought in Akasaka which is just a little too unwieldy, but this week I picked up a new season's radio and found it changed my study habits too.
The radio is a Sony Walkman, AM/FM/TV/weather, about $35 in Walgreens. (Yeah, $35 for an AM pocket radio in 2006, something's nutty there.) It has a functional belt clip, digital tuning and presets. Instead of dialing across to see what's on the asian programming near the high end of the AM dial, now I can just press a button, no hassle. Realized I could understand a lot of the Mandarin on KVTO's 6pm show... a shock. Flip over to check out the game at the press of a button, securely right on my belt. Cool.
Progress report: Been working Penton Mandarin Vocabulary very regularly, but there are few markers to see progress being made... I'm recognizing more phrases in their Level II vocabulary, but still don't know all on Level I. Carrying a dictionary looking things up while waiting for the bus. Getting a few reading sessions each week, although fewer in the past two weeks, as I've spent some time reading on sleight-of-hand too.
Wish I could speak. I'm learning more to hear, and to extemporize, but when I get a clear marker of success I'll feel a lot less antsy.....