I've found that scribbling down the words and phrases phonetically as I'm repeating after the CD helps me remember. And then I prattle on at Rob in the car on the way home in an attempt to practice ::g::.
Give me about 10 years and I'll probably have a working vocabulary - maybe :). It's funny though, now that I know a couple of words the rest of the language doesn't sound so much like gibberish even if I don't know what it means ::g::.
I'm waiting for it to get exponentially more difficult or for my brain to crap out and refuse to take in any more information. You're only supposed to do one lesson a day from the CD so I have thirty days of lessons in Japanese I, then 30 of II and 30 of III - wish me luck :).