I listen to English podcasts on my way to the office so that I can get used to the sound of English.
My favorite one is "English Cafe" of ESL (English as a Secondary Language) podcast. This podcast is specifically for people learning English learners, so they talk more slowly and use a smaller range of vocabulary is limited. I can understand almost all of it. And what's more, its content is interesting. For example they talk about atypical the U.S. culture and history.
But I think that I should also listen to natural English, so I try to listen to English news podcasts, such as CNN Student News, National Public Radio, NBC Nightly News and CNN Anderson Cooper 360.
It's good for me to listen to American students' casual English in CNN student news. NPR News is only about five minutes long, so it's convenient when I don't have enough time. I can imagine from very ordinary American lives through NBC Nightly News. I'm most interested in Anderson Cooper 360, but it's a little difficult to catch all of remarks in this program. The discussions between the guest commentators - although really interesting - particularly hard to understand, because the guest commentators' pronunciation isn't always that clear and their vocabulary can be very technical.
Recently I started listening to TED podcasts. TED offers lectures on a wide range of topics. TED's motto is "Ideas Worth Spreading", and in fact most lectures are very interesting.
Yesterday I heard the lecture about the learning of pre-born babies.
There is a word "胎教 (tai-kyo)" in Japanese. "Tai" means "in utero" and "Kyo" means "lesson". Most mothers talk to their babies while they are still in their womb. Some of them play the music of Mozart close to their abdomen so that the baby inside can hear it.
The lecturer said that pre-born babies heard their mothers' voice through vibrations of mothers' bodies. In addition, small Infants can recognize their mothers' voices and they cry in their mothers' accent. An English mother's infant cry in an English accent!
The foods which a mothers eats when she is pregnant can also have an effect on her baby's sense of taste.
I like to eat Italian food that has been cooked by a chef, who grew up on food cooked by an Italian mamma, because only such a chef has the real sense of Italian food. (I don't trust a chef of Italian food born in Japan.) According to this lecture, it's important that the chef's mamma ate good Italian food in pregnancy.