Is “couponing” worth it?

I’ve heard people throwing around the words “extreme couponing” for some time now, but shopping with coupons is not something that I haven’t heard of before today. When I was a kid, I was going to ride with a friend to JapanFest (in fact I think it was my first time going) and before we left, her mom told her to put the coupon binder in the car. Well, my friend was just a kid and so she forgot, like kids do, and her mom punished us both by forcing us to leave the event early because she could not clip her coupons while she waited for us. Besides that, my only other thought of coupons are those old school dispensers that used to be in the grocery stores. I never took coupons seriously, even when I was broke. But since I decided to take this leap into my new lifestyle, the idea of shopping with coupons is beginning to seem relevant. I would really like to save as much money as I possibly can this year to prepare for my upcoming move and I’m thinking that shopping a bit frugally could support my goal. Coupons sound great to me because I’m not a huge fan of buying a bunch of cheap stuff that won’t work or last, but quality items that I can possibly buy at a discounted rate.

I don’t even know where I would start with coupons though. I’ve been recommended a couple of subscription services as well as a site called ebates. But I don’t have a clue as to how I can get into the world of couponing or if it is even really worth it. For now, it’s sort of a back-burner idea until I can get more insight, but I’ve already begun researching how I will stretch my pennies this year.

First week back & my new mantra

I am officially back for a new semester and I’ve got to say it started off so, so rocky. 😅 I actually had a little bit of a rough time getting home because of all of the east coast snow delaying flights. Once I actually got home, I was battling hormones and jet lag at the same time. It didn’t help that when I got to one of my classes, the professor basically described her class as a living nightmare because of her unrealistic expectations she will place on to her students. And I’m not saying this just because it’s what I think, I am taking what she said and re-stating it. That pretty much ruined my mood and attitude for my other classes for the day and possibly the week. But I think I did a very decent job at making an effort to always keep my head up, stay motivated, and stay on track. Along with the many other things on my mind, I had a very difficult time even getting out of bed this week, BUT I am proud to say that I fought through it and I am using my time this weekend to charge up my spiritual batteries so that I can come back three times as strong. I am planning to create some motivational posters to put on the walls in my room and I’ve decided on a mantra. “One year left”. Picturing the things I plan to have an accomplish after I finish this chapter of my life lifts me up a lot. I am being careful, however, not to shift all of my focus onto how “great” the future will be when I get out of this place. That was one of my 2017 mistakes that I vowed not to make in 2018. I will enjoy this year and I will enjoy the current chapter of my life. My little mantra is good for the days that I just… can’t, but it is not my daily motto.

200 新しい言葉! 一週目

I’m coming to the end of my first week of learning 200 new words in one month. So far, it’s coming along pretty great! I’m finding that I don’t actually need to study for very long to learn 50 words in week, which is good news for me. At the beginning of the week, I was just trying to get the words in my head, but I found that by now I am questioning the proper use of words and even searching for images on google to help me to visualize the difference between some and others. I am also starting to naturally relate some words to their kanji and that helps me to remember their meaning. With results like this, I feel very motivated and excited about learning these new words this month. I am also hoping to slowly integrate some grammar into my studies this month, but I don’t want to get too ahead of myself. Fingers crossed!


Reading goals for 2018

Last year was a phenomenal year for me when it comes to reading. I see so much growth in my knowledge and ability to focus as a result of how much I read last year. I don’t think I’ve read this much since I was in the 6th grade! So, I want to keep it going. Originally, my goal was to read one more book than I did last year, but I think I want to tweak that goal a little bit a lot. My reading goals for this year will be met by reading articles between now and May. If I find this to be effective, then I’ll continue it throughout the year. This doesn’t mean I won’t read any books at all, but I may not read more BOOKS than I read last year (which was 4 or 5 books). Here’s the plan for every week between now and May:

1 NHK News article ( link )

1 Research article ( link / link )

1 Nutrition article ( link / link / link )

3 Pages of my Japanese nutrition book ( link )

For each read, I don’t want to spend more than 1.5 hours at a time reading. I also want to write a short summary for each (in English), record a vlog of myself summarizing, or I will just take notes as I read. This should be fun and a very achievable goal as long as I keep up with it.

A strategic attack

bloganimated2So I spent about 3 weeks contemplating how I was going to approach my studies for the JLPT N2 and I only ended up tiring myself out so bad that I couldn’t actually get anything done. I tried again and again to just open my grammar book and just learn something, but I would get intimidated. I would read an article on NHK and feel like I wasted time and contemplate if I should study the new vocabulary. I would look at my kanji workbook and just say no. I was going in a circle that was leading nowhere. So I decided to shift my focus to my weak and strong points. I ranked grammar, kanji, vocabulary, and reading from weakest to strongest and I was able to isolate my common denominator. It’s vocabulary! I tend to be able to figure out most other things in Japanese by context and I remember kanji more often when I know the meaning. So there it was, a starting point. I texted a friend of mine and asked her if she would join me in a challenge to kickstart my upcoming progress and she agreed! So, the challenge is to simply learn 200 new vocabulary this month. My words are coming from nihongo sou matome n2 kanji and n3 vocabulary book. Each week, I will chose 25 or 26 words from each book and I will make an effort to learn (not memorize) the new words.


Today was day one and so far I think my strategy will be something like this every week for 4 weeks:

Monday – Write down the first 25 or 26 words (Kanji – Hiragana – English) and create a quizlet deck. The set up of each card is Kanji and Hiragana on one side and English on the other. Because the focus of this session is to learn words and not necessarily memorize Kanji readings.


Tuesday – Repeat with second set of 25 or 26

Wednesday – Play quizlet games for about 25 minutes to review, then test my knowledge by using the flashcard feature and marking the cards I have the hardest time memorizing

Thursday – I’m not exactly sure of what I want to do yet. I may just write all 50 words or play quizlet games

Friday – Use the test feature on quizlet to study all 50 words, then review the words I am still struggling to memorize

Saturday – Play quizlet games for 30 minutes

Sunday – Take a final quizlet test and mark the words I still can not remember. Write example sentences that use the words that are hard for me to remember and look for a creative memorization technique. Write a short progress report for myself.

At the end of the 4 weeks, I may take a quizlet test on all 200 words, but I’m not sure. I am also not sure yet if I will put all 200 into one deck or if I will only make decks of 50. I’m winging it here. I have some other goals but I think I should start off slow and integrate my other goals in as I learn to juggle them all.

Reading and Writing and Reading and Writing and…

A goal of mine for the new year is to read more often. I had not yet decided that the material must be a book, nor have I specified the language that the content should be in. I’m still thinking it through and one idea that keeps popping up in my mind is that I should write summaries of what I read (especially if it is an article online). In a way, I am intimidated so much by this kind of idea that I question if I hate myself. On the other hand, I see it as an amazing opportunity to fulfill a goal. I did say that I wanted to read more and I also decided that my other 2018 hobby will be writing on my blog… I can’t make a commitment to it yet, but I am really hoping to fill up this blog with summaries and JLPT notes soon.

We have arrived



2018 is here. Despite what many people may think, the world really does keep revolving and time really will not stop for any of us. It’s amazing to think of where I was 10 years ago… how far I’ve come. I wonder what I’ll be thinking (and hopefully writing here) in 2028 about 2018.

I’m looking forward to this New Year and I am so grateful that I was blessed with the opportunity to make another year better than the last.