Practicing Minimalism and conscious consumerism in Japan

2017 Resolutions & 2016 Reflection

2017 New Years Resolutions

As another year passes by, I can’t help but continue my yearly tradition of making New Years Resolutions and reflecting.  I’ve done this since I was in middle school and would usually spend New Years Eve with my buddies playing video games (most of the time Spyro and Kingdom Hearts) and then writing up a master plan on how to better ourselves for the following year.  We would usually stuff our faces with sour gummies and Hot Cheetos and reminisce about the fun things that we had done together the year beforehand.

This year there will be no video games, instead I’ll be heading to downtown San Diego with my visiting friends from San Francisco to grab a nice dinner and possibly check out some of the clubs around Gaslamp.  I decided to write out my resolutions a bit more publicly this year as I haven’t ever written them on this blog before, I thought it would be fun new tradition to start!

Below is a list I came up with for my New Years Resolutions for 2017.  I had talked about some of my goals with my boyfriend prior to writing this list down and he said I should narrow it down to only a few goals but I’ve always been one to write a ton of different things down.


Lemme delve a bit deeper into these goals…

Lose 15 Pounds:

Every year I say I’ll lose weight, but this year I’ve felt that I really need to get my act together.  Back in 2013, I had gained a significant amount of weight throughout the year and I was extremely unhappy with myself and how I looked.  So at the start of 2014, I signed up for Weight Watchers and ended up losing 20 pounds.  After two years I’ve found my way back to almost the same weight I was back in 2014 (though with some added muscle from biking to school and running off and on).  I realize that if I don’t get my act together while I’m young, the habits I have now will carry with me for the rest of my life and I really don’t want that (especially if I have children later down the line). I always feel extra refreshed and motivated at the beginning of the year so I hope to use that to fuel my motivation to lose weight.  I hope to stop the late night snacking and start doing IF (intermittent fasting 10|14) once again as it was very successful for me in the past. Along with losing weight I hope to complete a few fitness goals while I’m at it which were included in my resolutions.  I’d really love to run in some sort of running event in Japan or even abroad.  I also want to continue my yoga practice but try and make it more of a weekly thing rather than an every now and then type of thing.  In all honesty, I just want to feel good about myself and stop worrying about what I’m eating 80% of the time.

Save 8,000 Dollars: 

Saving has become a big part of my 2017 goals.  I finally have decided what I want to do next with my life after the JET Program.  Isn’t that exciting?! I thought I would never find something I wanted to do (or at least something attainable since art school is still kinda off the table).  Finally after over 2 years I’ve decided I want to go to a Japanese Language School in Tokyo for a full year. A school that I’ll be studying at from 9-5 every day for a full year. Just thinking about it makes me excited.  I realize that I am still not at the level I want to be with Japanese which kinda saddens me since I’ve been studying since 2010.  I want to be able to pick up a book and read most of it.  I want to read manga and movie posters and a menu completely.  Who knows where I’ll be two years from now, but having a concrete idea of what I want to do makes me much more motivated to save.  I’ve looked up quite a few language schools and I’ve narrowed down my options, of course I’d like to tour the schools before I actually do it for real but that wont be for a few years from now which leaves me a lot of time to save money.  Although I’d like to save 10,000 dollars I realize that I need to give myself some breathing room for upcoming trips  in June (Disney joint birthday trip) and August (back home for a few weeks).  I feel as long as I continue to budget and work hard I’ll be able to save that much and then some. My other resolution of finally passing the JLPT N3 and moving on to N2 naturally goes hand in hand with this saving & language school goal.  In the meantime I hope to study as much as I can on my own and keep trying my best!

Blogging Goals: 

Since August I haven’t been blogging as much as I used to.  I’m not sure if it was because I had failed the JLPT and lost all motivation for all my creative outlets or what…but I finally feel motivated to continue to produce blog posts and even youtube videos.  I always have such a fun time making videos and posts so I hope to keep a tab of at least 3 blog posts a month minus my weekly updates and a youtube video at least once a month.  This year I’ve gained a lot of new followers which has fueled me to keep blogging more and sharing my experiences in Japan and beyond.  To my followers, thank you so much for reading my posts, your comments and views make me extremely excited and happy that at least some of my ideas are being read.

Get Creative: 

I decided to pick up a new creative hobby which I’ll be starting at the beginning of January which is……..PLUSHIE MAKING! YAY!  I ordered some plushie making books from my favorite character shop Aronzi Aronzo:

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I hope to learn how to make some plushies from the books I bought and then hopefully later on make some of my own original characters. As some of you know, I absolutely love Plushies and learning how to make them on my own would be a dream! I’m going to first try to hand sew them and if I end up loving it maybe I’ll think about getting a sewing machine, that is if it fits in my budget.  : )

Some other creative goals are to continue my journaling.  I’ve been keeping a journal since I was around…..10 years old.  It’s kinda crazy that I’ve pretty much documented most of my life since before year 2000.  I keep a journal now, but I only write in it every now and then (like once a twice a month) and I really want to journal daily if I can even if it’s just a few sentences or two.

Continue Striving for an Ethical & Sustainable Lifestyle: 

I’ve been on the all natural & sustainable kick for about 8 months now.  I absolutely love it but I realize I’ve been buying a lot of natural beauty products and then I wouldn’t finish them.  Not only that but I have a ton of non-natural makeup and products that I haven’t used since I’ve made the shift.  I feel that it’s incredibly wasteful to not finish these products even though they may not be all natural.  I’m planning to try and get through most of the products and throw away the ones that are expired.  I hope by the end of 2017 I’ll have used up the giant basket up makeup and random beauty products collecting in my spare room.

And those are my New Years Resolutions for 2017.  I know it does seem like a lot but I really do hope to focus more on myself this year and I hope I can reach most of my goals especially saving, passing N3, and losing weight.

2016 Reflection

Looking back, I did a lot in 2016.  In January I was back in the states finishing up my yearly homecoming trip tending to my brand spanking new awesome tattoo (Grandma Fran & other relatives, you now know I have a tattoo).  In February, I went to the Sapporo Snow Festival with my friend Rachael.  In March, my seniors graduated and the end of the school year came to a close.  In April, I went to Hong Kong and enjoyed Hello Kitty Dim Sum and viewed the giant buddha on Lantau Island. In May, my boyfriend and I explored Hiroshima, road tripped to Onomichi, and I even met his parents for the first time ever on our trip to Osaka.  I also visited Tokyo at the end of May and had a much needed Disney trip and explored Asakusa area.  In June, I had my birthday and turned 25 which had always been a super scary life step for me. I seem to be doing okay at 25 now but I used to fear this point in my life for a long time. I moved my whole life to a new (old) apartment in July, it cost me an arm and a leg but I somehow managed to finance the move and get through the whole packing and unpacking process (with a little help from my friends and boyfriend).  In August, I took part in an English summer camp for a lively set of motivated high schoolers and climbed Mt. Fuji with my fellow Shizuoka ALTS.  In September I spent Silver Week in Taiwan eating my way through all the neighborhoods of Taipei, even nabbing some Mexican Food towards the end of the trip. In November I went to Disney Sea yet again with some amazing friends and saw Lion Ling live in Tokyo.  I also helped organize our yearly Shizuoka English Teacher Conference which I think actually went much better this year than last.  In December I went to Tokyo once again to see my boyfriend.  I dragged him to Tokyo Disney and we froze our asses off while waiting in line for popcorn and food.  We held hands on Pirates of the Caribbean (something I’ve wanted to do with a boy since my middle school band trips to Disney).

I took the JLPT twice this year, probably failing both times.  I’ve been frustrated a lot this year.  My shower broke, my ceiling cover seems to be falling down (still unfixed), many electronics have been broken or lost, I’ve stained far too many shirts this year…(those at SDC know what I’m talking about haha), I found out my lactose sensitivity turned into an all out intolerance and I haven’t had an ice cream since February.

I’ve done a lot this year and although 2016 has been a shit year in terms of celebrity deaths, war and politics.  My little world in Japan has been going pretty well and I’m very much thankful for that.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from 2016:

Thanks so much for reading!  Did you write your New Years Resolutions down?  Share them with me 🙂