When an Herbalist Goes Overseas: First Aid Kit

Like any good herbalist, I have multiple kitchen cupboards filled with dried herbs, homemade tinctures, infused oils, and assorted encapsulated herbs for just about any kind of minor medical need you can imagine. Having never traveled much before, let alone outside of the country, I’ve never really thought about what I would take with me for an extended travel first kit using herbs/natural remedies.

My trip is less than 5 months away at this point, but I that the big day is going to be here before I know it. So this morning I sat down and put together my herbal first aid kit for my travels. I’m not sure how well tinctures will travel, so I only included easy to transport items. I have time to make changes if I need to, but I think this is a good kit.

*Disclaimer: This post is for educational purposes only. As an herbalist, I am not a doctor, nor do I diagnose or treat diseases. Okay? Okay. *

So here’s what I’ve packed (at least so far) and why:

Activated Charcoal: I use this for food poisoning, gastroenteritis, insect bites/stings, and/or other digestive disturbances.

White Willow Bark: An herbal alternative to aspirin: for headaches, minor pain relief, or topically as an astringent for minor injuries.

Papaya Enzymes: Digestive support aid for indigestion, upset stomach, overeating, nausea.

Adrenal Support: I’ll be taking this daily for immune system and nervous system support.

Goldenseal: Used for minor infections (both internally or topically), may also be used to support digestive and immune system health.

Allergy Relief Capsules: In the event of any minor indoor or outdoor allergic reactions.

Also packed: herbal cough drops, calendula salve (natural antibiotic/first aid ointment), bandages, gauze, cotton swabs, tweezers, a butterfly bandage, joint/muscle cream, an alcohol swab, spare lip balm, and a nail clippers.

ready

Whew! I think that’s it. Oh, man. Having one more prepared for my trip feels so great! It’s really starting to sink in that I’m actually going to Japan. Ahhhh!!!!! I’m so excited!!!!!!

Until next time….

 

Thanks for reading!

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and consider donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal.

ありがとう // Arigatou // Thank you!

LET’S CONNECT AT THESE PLACES TOO  🙂

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Japanese Sentence Making for Beginners

It’s been less than 6 months since I began my daily Japanese studies. Time flies when you’re having fun! 🙂

Up to this point, I’ve learned hiragana, katakana, around 1,500 vocabulary words (according to my Memrise app), some basic “survival” phrases, and most of the first grade level Kanji. This past week I began studying grammar.

My biggest fear about beginning grammar was it would be complicated and frustrating that I’d want to give up learning Japanese. At the same time, I understood that jumping over the grammar hurdle would make me one step closer to being able to think and communicate in Japanese one day.

fry fear
Pretty much sums up my approach towards Japanese grammar.

But guess what? It’s really not that bad. Not yet, anyways.

really not bad

The first step in learning Japanese grammar (at least for me) is understanding basic sentence structure.

Knowing the kana and a bunch of vocab words felt like having a 1,000 piece puzzle without the picture on the puzzle box to know how to put it all together, a.k.a. grammar.  The following resources (all free, by the way) helped me put the “border” of my lanauge puzzle together.  I obviously have a loooooong way to go, but the task ahead seems less daunting now that the foundational parts are in place.

Hopefully, these things will help you, too. 🙂

10 Major Aspects of the Japanese Language by IMABI.net

An intro to basic Japanese phrases, a few vocab words, and a run down of 10 things to keep in mind when trying to understand some key elements of the Japanese language, which I’ve found helpful as I learn grammar and language “construction.”

Link: http://www.imabi.net/10majoraspects.htm

How to Build a Sentence in Japanese: The Ultimate Guide to Kickstart Your Understanding of Japanese Basics by Japanese Ammo.com

At first glace, I was overwhelmed by all the information on this page. I took my time and went through each of the areas and took notes, which took me about an hour. My favorite part about this page is the way sentence structure examples are presented with a little formula. For example:

TOPIC/SUBJECT + OBJECT + VERB

or

+ SUBJECT + OBJECT + PARTICLE + VERB

I wrote these down in my study notebook to refer to ask I work on making sentences for practice.

Link: http://www.japaneseammo.com/how-to-build-a-sentence-in-japanese-the-ultimate-guide/

Basic Polite Sentence Making from CrunchyNihongo.com

Great site for people who enjoy visual aids to support their learning. The entire site is FULL of incredible info for learners at every level.

Link: http://crunchynihongo.com/basic-polite-sentence/

Beginners Japanese Grammar 1 (JLPT N5 Grammar) on the Memrise App

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Link: https://www.memrise.com/app/

Creating Simple Japanese Sentences with Japanese From Zero

Sensei George is hilarious. At least I think so. 🙂 His lighthearted and playful approach to learning Japanese helps me not want to curl up into the fetal position and cry when Japanese learning gets difficult. Most of the videos are around 10 minutes or less, and although created as a supplement to the book, are helpful for folks without the books as well.

*What about Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese?*

I am using Tae Kim’s Guide to Learning Japanese, but mostly as a reference as I get more comfortable with grammar and kanji. I do think it’s a great resource, but it most definitely is overwhelming if you’re super new to Japanese because of the use of kanji right away.

My Study Plan as of Today:

  • Better understanding the various parts of speech (adjectives, verbs, etc.), while continuing to plug away at vocabulary words and kanji.
  • I also need to do more speaking and listening practice, which I’ve been awful at doing up to this point. :/
  • Memrise App daily, especially Beginners Japanese Grammar 1 (almost done with Japanese 2 and JLPT N5 Vocab)

Thanks for reading!

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and considering donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal.

ありがとう // Arigatou // Thank you!

LET’S CONNECT AT THESE PLACES TOO  🙂

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Half a Day on a Plane?! {Why I’m Not Worried about the Long Flight to Japan}

14 hour plane ride (1)

I’ll be 35 this September when I board the plan to Japan. It’s been almost 15 years since I stepped foot on a plane, and that trip was just a couple hour flight to Florida from Detroit, Michigan.

Not only have I not flown in over a decade, I’ve only traveled a few hours away from my small Michigan town a few dozen times throughout these years. And when I did, it was always a half-day or so trip with my husband and kids. Never alone.

But in roughly five months, I’ll be sitting on a 14-ish hour flight with people I don’t know, staying in foreign country for 11 days, four of them living with a Japanese family I’ve never met.

nervous meme

 

Naturally, I’m a bit nervous.

But mostly, I’m looking forward to it.

sayonaura

 

My entire life is pretty much devoted to my husband and kids. I honestly can’t remember the last time I got to read, eat, study Japanese, sleep, or just use the bathroom without someone needing something from me.

 

 

pantry mom
I feel your pain, Pantry Mom.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, I have a great life, but after spending the last 15 years nearly non-stop birthing, wiping, cleaning, feeding, teaching, and all the mothering and wife-ing duties in-between, I’m going to enjoy not having to cook, clean, or care for anybody but myself on that half-day flight (and the rest of my trip, for that matter).

 

relax

 

I know being away from each other will be difficult, but I also know that opportunities like this don’t always happen a second time around. As nervous as I am, I’m thrilled and thankful to have a chance to pursue this awesome opportunity. The truth is,

There will never be a “convenient” time to pursue your passions or dreams, especially when you’re a mother. 

I know it sounds cliche, but I really think this is going to be a life-changing trip for me. And I hope it inspires my children to enjoy life, be open for new adventures, and embrace opportunities as they arise.

 

Thanks for reading!

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and consider donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal.

ありがとう // Arigatou // Thank you!

LET’S CONNECT THESE PLACES TOO  🙂

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Today’s Weather Is… {Japanese Lesson} + Free Worksheet

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This week we’re learning about how to talk about today’s weather in Japanese.

This is the closet door in our dining room, where I’ve set up a little sticky note station for this activity. The kids enjoy fighting over who gets to put up the daily weather sticker each morning. 🙂 And because we live in Michigan, sometimes we get to change this out multiple times a day.

mich weather

 

JAPANESE WEATHER RESOURCES

Here are a few other places to learn weather related Japanese lessons:

My Weather – Japanese Pinterest Board

Japanese Vocabulary – Weather in Japanese – Tenki 天気   (perfect for younger kids)

Waku Waku Japanese – Language Lesson 17: Weather  (older kids, teens, & adults)

Japanese Weather & Word Vocabulary

Japan Meteorological Agency   (Has both English & Japanese)

FREE WORKSHEET

I also made a worksheet for my older kids that I thought I’d share here for those interested. It’s nothing fancy. Just something I whipped up on Canva quick for my older kids. Click The Weather Is… to download the free printable .pdf worksheet.

The Weather Is...

 

See you later! またね! (matane!)

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and consider donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal.

ありがとう // Arigatou // Thank you!

 

LET’S CONNECT THESE PLACES TOO  🙂

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APP REVIEW: Hiragana Touch Robo Free

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Hiragana Touch Robo

JAPANESE LANGUAGE SKILL LEVEL REQUIRED: Beginner

AGE: Any Age (family friendly)

COST: Free

(Do be aware that there are ads with free apps, including this one, which may occasionally not be suitable for very young children. We played this several times and did not see any inappropriate ads, though.)

Description From the Developer:

“Hiragana. It’s a Japanese curvy letter. Let’s study these letters with fun! Find a ball with Hiragana shown by Robo. (10 letters in all 46 letters will be on the test) When you correct, Robo’s power reduced. Now the time to beat the Robo!”

Review:

Hiragan Touch Robo is a super simple way to familiarize yourself with the hiragana characters. The only problem I had with this app is that the hiragana characters are difficult to read when they’re bouncing and changing directions. Obviously this is part of the challenge, but young players may struggle to identify the characters when they’re wafting about in strange directions. Overall, it’s an entertaining app, but not one we’ll probably delete after a week when the novelty wears off.

 

IMG_4974        IMG_4969        IMG_4972

 

See you later! またね! (matane!)

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and consider donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal.

ありがとう/Arigatou/Thank you!

 

Michigan Colleges with Japanese Programs

If I could, I’d be a full-time college student for the rest of my life. And if I could, I’d enroll in any one of these great Michigan colleges to further my Japanese studies in a tanuki’s heartbeat. I probably would if any of the programs were available online, but sadly, they are not. Until then, a girl can dream. 🙂

(side note: I’m currently waiting to hear back about the possibility of the online availability of the Japanese Studies Certificate from Lansing Community College.)

If you’ve ever thought about living here to study, you won’t be disappointed by the beauty of the  Great Lakes state. The weather, however, does take some getting used to.

mich weather

 

The list is up-to-date as of 3/31/2017, and I’ll try to update as new information comes in.

michigan colleges with japanese programs

SAGINAW VALLEY STATE UNIVERSIT: SAGINAW MICHIGAN

Japanese Minor

KALAMAZOO COLLEGE: KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN

Japanese Program 

LAKE MICHIGAN COLLEGE: BENTON HARBOR, MICHIGAN

Japanese Language Courses

ADRIAN COLLEGE: ADRIAN, MICHIGAN

Japanese Program

EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY: YPSILANTI, MICHIGAN

Majors

Minors

OAKLAND UNIVERSITY: ROCHESTER, MICHIGAN

Japanese Studies, B.A. Program

LANSING COMMUNITY COLLEGE: LANSING, MICHIGAN

Certificate in Japanese Studies  ( some courses in the certificate may be available online)

AA Japanese (scroll down to Japanese to access .pdf file on the program)

UNIVERSITY OF DETROIT MERCY: DETROIT, MICHIGAN

Language and Cultural Training Program

MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY: EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN

Japanese Program

UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN: ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN

Japanese Program

CALVIN COLLEGE: GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN

Japanese Program

AQUINAS COLLEGE: GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN

Japanese Program

HOPE COLLEGE: HOLLAND, MICHIGAN

Japanese

GRAND VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY: ALLENDALE, MICHIGAN

Japanese Program

WAYNE STATE UNIVERSITY: DETROIT, MICHIGAN

Asian Studies

WESTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY: KALAMAZOO, MICHIGAN

Japanese Program

 

 

See you later! またね! (matane!)

Shiga Shar

If you enjoyed this post or learned something new, please share it on social media and consider donating a few bucks toward my 2017 Goodwill trip to Shiga through PayPal.

ありがとう/Arigatou/Thank you!