My favorite Japanese YouTube channels

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Yes, I love YouTube and the countless sources of learning it offers me. This is how I see YouTube, other than a great source of entertainment, a greater source of learning.

Maybe it is because I learn better trough visual content, I always did so, but be it a skill, a recipe, a language or History, I can better understand and remember the info when the content is also visual.

What I like even better is when the content is not only educational but also fun. A great example for this is the channel Linfamy, where you can find a lot of information on how Japanese people lived in ancient times, on Japanese history and culture etc. The information is not only well documented, but also explained in such a fun way that you wished learning was your real profession. I found this channel when I was searching for more info on yokai (Japanese monsters and spirits) and Japanese mythology. If you are also interested in things like these, I really recommend this channel.

Another channel that I love and I use it for learning Japanese, or better said for fixating the few things I have learned until now, is Learn Japanese with JapanesePod101.com. They have videos for helping people like me to learn and understand the 3 writing systems: Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji, videos for vocabulary and grammar. They also have videos for listening, which I love because the teachers speak clearly and slowly. They have also conversation videos and writing tips, but those videos are for when you already have a pretty good basis in Japanese.

When it comes to warm videos about daily life and food, I love to watch Choki‘s videos. They are slow paced, warm and inspiring. This is one of the channels that I follow without a certain reason, I just love the warmth and the feeling I get from watching so much peace. Choki’s videos give me the feeling I had when I watched Little forest. I wrote a post on this movie, so go check it if you want to read more about the movie.

Btw, I have also wrote a post about my favorite Korean YouTube  channels, so if you are curious, go check it here.

The last channel I want to introduce you to is Anna film production, a channel with walking around videos. The videos are taken in some of the most beautiful regions of Japan. I think I first started watching the videos on this channel after canceling the plans for my travel in Japan (at the beginning of the pandemic). I was a bit sad and I felt the need to watch beautiful places so I feel less disappointed. Since then, every time I watch Anna’s videos I feel like traveling to Japan.

These are some of the Japanese YouTube channels that I like the most, but there are many others that I find enjoyable. I am curious if you knew about these channels and if you have other recommendations, feel free to share in the comments.

I clean so I won’t think

My heart feels heavy and my head is full of worries. I worry and worry until I feel like worrying is even worse. So I think I should do something in order to stop thinking. Or at least to fill my time with something practical, other than worries.

When your heart feels heavy, do something with your hands.

I start by preparing my coffee and the breakfast: a simple omelet with green onion. I watch funny videos on Youtube so I can start my day in a good mood. Then I decide to start moving. I feed my dog, I walk here and there. I go to the greenhouse and I realize I could start planting spinach and lettuce.

While my hands are busy, my head concentrates on what I am doing. Sloppily preparing the place to plant some goodies. I am not the farmer type, but I love to grow things and to surround myself with nature. It’s healing and I feel I at least can do something.

Then I start cleaning. It’s Saturday. It rains with tiny droplets and I like to stay inside on a day like this. Prepare the house for a nice and cozy Sunday.

I like how cleaning clears my mind. While I vaccum the carpets I imagine I vacuum all the bad things and energies. I wipe the dust and I imagine how all the worries are removed. My heart feels a little lighter as my hands keep moving.

Today I clean with no music on. I just concentrate on cleaning. Every spot that I clean makes me feel calmer and lighter. It must be true that when you keep moving your body, your head doesn’t have the time to worry, to imagine disastrous scenarios, to consume you from within. It feels great to do something, to be part of something.

Today I want to keep moving. I clean so I won’t think. I need a break from thinking. The world is busy and I am too. Today busy doesn’t sound bad at all.

Our dog is just great

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There is so much talk on small happiness and gratitude that I feel I don’t need to add more on the topic. However, when it comes to practicing these two, there is more to it than just reading and talking about it.

This article is inspired by our dog, Sasha, food addict, just like me. What I love the most about Sasha is the happiness he shows me when I bring him his favorite dog food. He is all over the place, wiggling his tail and running from one corner to another. He makes me feel better in an instant with his silly acting and the way he shows he is grateful for bringing him his favorite food. At least, this is how I see it.

Today, after bringing him his food and playing with him for a while, I have realized that he is teaching me daily about small happiness and gratitude. I should be grateful for the good food I eat every single day, but humans are not as great as animals are, and we often forget how blessed we are.

Sasha is my daily reminder that I should be grateful for the food I eat every single day and, by being grateful I am happy.

2021: One year of challenges and growth

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It comes natural for me to make lists, to observe the process and the progress. Therefore, making analysis of what I achieved, of the steps I took to get where I am now, of the challenges I encountered and the lessons I learnt is always an opportunity to learn more and to understand myself better, and also to think of better ways to fly even higher.

By making lists and observing the activities and the results, I am also trying to win over laziness and procrastination. Living in the countryside was the perfect chance to slow down in many areas, but I was afraid that I would become inactive or lazy. Thus I need to see results and to motivate myself to grow.

Looking back, 2021 was full of challenges and difficult times, but it was also a great year full of gratitude, nice projects, achievements, great people to work and to connect with, lessons, creativity and happy moments. What more could I wish for?

At the beginning of the year, I chose 4 random mantras that would guide me and help me become better in certain areas: Self-care, Change, Lessons and Power. All the things that I did were more or less related to these areas that I wanted to improve. I learnt a lot of things and I allowed myself to fall, to feel embarrassed, to not be right all the time, to make mistakes, and this is how I have learnt so many things about myself and other people. I accepted new challenges and got involved into new projects that made me more confident and more aware of my super-powers.

I stepped outside my comfort zone as much as possible and I did some things that made me fearful and insecure about myself. I learnt that I can do better than I thought and it made me feel proud and stronger. I became more determined to be the one who decides what it is best for me and listen less of the things people say to me. I decided to take better care of myself and see myself for who I am, not for what I should be or for what I could be.

Maybe what happened less this year is change. I was afraid many times and took my time to do so many things. I could not say that I made dramatic changes or that I did some wow-things. However, I tried to improve myself and my life as much as possible in the actual context. It is enough and I did even better than I had expected.

At the beginning of this year I made a list with the things I wanted to try doing or improving, but what I loved most about it is that I took the freedom to adapt and to do what I felt at that moment. I improvised and I did even more because I learnt that life doesn’t happen according to our plans. However, we can leave our mark and our will in every thing that we do. While not everything depends on us and our will, there are some things that we can control, especially how we look at things and how we think about all the changes. Even when I think of how I thought this article would be, I can see that I couldn’t predict even this small thing. I write exactly what comes to my mind and what I feel, without respecting the list I made or the ideas I prepared in advance.

I don’t know how next year will be and I am not even trying to find out. If you think too much about the future, you lose the beauty of now and the now becomes the past that you can’t live or change anymore. Thus staying present and living the best way you can everyday and every moment is the secret to have a great year. This is what I have learnt after so many fails and mistakes. This is how it works for me and this is where my focus goes: live everyday the way you promised or wished to live.

For me, staying healthy, in peace with myself and the others, eating good food, looking at nice things and writing about them, learning and being creative is the best way of having great days and great years, After all, life is also formed of these trivial little moments of peace and happiness, not only of massive changes and great opportunities.

Thank you for being with me and for reading my stories this year as well. I wish you peace, health and enjoy the little moments.

I filled a jar with words

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They say that words carry power. Compliments are words, promises are words, criticism is mainly done through words. Words get the fastest to our heart and brain and we tend to believe what other people tell us.


Some days we might not find the right words to say how we feel, and other days we might use the wrong words and say things by impulse without meaning it. We rely on words more than on actions to tell them how we feel, and then we feel disappointed they don’t see our actions anymore, but they only pay attention to our words.

When using the right words, you can inspire, encourage and even change someone’s direction in life. If you tell them they will become successful, good people, they will believe you, and their actions will lead them there.

The same thing can be done towards ourselves. Why say mean things to ourselves, why criticize or look down on us, when we can give power to words to take us where we dream to arrive. Similar to visualization, this technique of convincing ourselves that we are wonderful and that we can achieve anything works wonders.

A few weeks ago I started to write words on pieces of paper and put them all together into a jar. I remembered how my university roommate received as a present a big jar filled with beautifully colored notes from her friends. The notes had written on them beautiful words or phrases that would inspire my roommate and put a smile on her face. And it worked. I saw her face brighten whenever she took out one of those colored notes. I thought it was unique and inspiring. After many years, it inspired me to fill my own jar with words that would help me grow and feel good.

The rules are simple. You take a jar and you fill it with pieces of paper on which you write whatever may inspire you to grow in the areas that interest you (health, self-development, self-care, new hobby etc), or nice words or quotes that can make you feel better or more positive. Then you take out one note everyday and try to follow that specific advice.

As I had a hard time lately seeing the little nice things that happen everyday, this technique became my top priority. I chose words and phrases like: smile, slow down, hope, take a walk, meditation, self-care, patience etc. By doing this I started to act more consciously, to be more grateful for what I have, to make more efforts for what I want to achieve, to be more positive, to feel better with myself and even to exercise more.

If I think about it more carefully, I actually wrote values and the things I want to learn and to practice more. I want to be more patient, to never lose hope, to love myself, and yes, I need to remind myself these things everyday. I need to practice everyday in order to make them a habit. And while it might look too technical for some, remember that words carry magical powers. Feed yourself with positive and nice words and you will become what you consume.

Thank you for listening my story today as well and I will see you around.

Rome wasn’t built in a day

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I think I should tell myself more often that achievements, self-development and positive changes might need more time than I can appreciate in order to see that dream finalized. Dreams are not easy to follow and that’s why not many people get to achieve their dreams.

I think that the most important thing I learnt these two last years is patience. My heart was distressed so many times, and my mind rushed for more than a thousand times, making plans and trying to adapt to the repeatedly changing situation. Rationally speaking, I knew there were so many things out of my control, but my heart longed for peace, certainty and freedom. But do we ever have certainty? Are we a hundred percent at peace or truly free? Even before I couldn’t feel like I really have all of them. However, after two chaotic years I am more aware of who I am, of my fears and my power. I accept changes more easily, not because I gave up, but because I know I can’t control everything, and I shouldn’t even try to. I have more patience and I trust that there is a time for everything.

The thing is that lost my way so many times, not knowing if what I was doing was the right thing, but I still chose something because there is no other way to keep going, grow and learn. I lost my way so many times and I still feel lost sometimes. But maybe not having all the answers is the right answer. In times of uncertainty and fear, maybe the best way to find our way again is to simply let go and keep walking forward anyway.

Do you remember the scene in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone where Hermione, Ron and Harry are caught by the Devil’s Snare and they start struggling to get out of the deadly embrace? Then Hermione says they should relax and only then they would live. So put your mind at ease, be patient and soon you will be freed from fear, uncertainty and any change that might ruin your plans. With patience and perseverence, you will build your own Rome.

Stay safe everyone and happy days.

September stories for when I forget what is happiness

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And then it was once again September
No matter how hard I think about it, September is my favorite month. A feeling of coziness and gratefulness embraces my heart and mind, and I start thinking about all the nice moments, about the things that I have, about the people in my life. I feel grateful to everything and everyone. I feel so creative that I end up procrastinating and only doing a small part of all the things that I want to do. And it is okay to do so, because now I know that I have to take things slowly sometimes, that productivity is not the norm and that self care is the most important.

The mornings are colder, but the warmth of the day makes me appreciate these days even more, and thus they become perfect to me. The work hours are long and sometimes boring, but when I finish I know what to do with my time. You learn to spend time wisely and you enjoy it at the fullest when you have less time for what you really want to do. I spend more time preparing breakfast because it became the most important meal and a healing time.

There are frequent power outages during work hours, but I learnt to turn these moments into opportunities. While it affects my schedule, it is in my power to decide what to do with that time so it won’t be wasted. I go for a long breakfast, meditation or yoga, and I prepare my mind for stressful moments that are never too late to appear. My birthday in September teaches me that I am not only older, but also wiser.

I was told I would make a good jam maker
I love making jam and I was told I would make a good jam maker. Isn’t that funny? I’ll tell you something funnier. Keep reading.

Jam maker… Is there such a job out there? I don’t know about that, but I think making jam is my newest hobby. Picking the fruits, washing and cutting them, adding the right amount of sugar (I still need to learn what is the right amount), waiting for syrup to form and then boiling the mix is like a ritual. It is a healing and cathartic time. And it feeds you when you need it.

I was told that I would make a good jam maker. But guess who told me that… my sister! That’s the funniest part. How can she say that when she built strong arms trying to take out of the jar this year’s last raspberry jam? Is she only about the taste or is she that much into sports? What I am trying to say here is that you cannot be right without being wrong and there is no success without a few or more failures. Embrace failure like I did with that jam that has at least a good taste. So what if it’s hard to take it out of the jar? I can imagine that I am eating lollipops.

1 year of blogging
Somehow time passed and I managed to stay around and to say pass to those thoughts about giving up blogging. It is thanks to my friends, to fellow bloggers who’s blogging journey and advice encouraged me to continue, and of course to me. I feel the need to thank myself for not giving up, and for trying one more time, even when I wasn’t sure what I was doing anymore.

And I want to thank you all for taking the time to read my stories and leave comments. Thanks to you readers, I felt more like becoming a writer. And I felt happy when you shared your thoughts with me, a person you don’t know in real life. I hope 1 year to become many more.

Thank you for reading and have a beautiful autumn.

Easier said than done

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Easier said than done is an universal fact. Maybe that’s why we often say it too. We Romanians often say Usor de zis, greu de facut or Teoria ca teoria, dar practica te omoara, both of them meaning that is easy saying you will do something than actually doing it.

Today’s article is inspired by a passage I read in Haemin Sunim‘s book Love for imperfect things: “The hardest thing in the world is putting what you know into practice, and making sure your actions do not contradict your words.”

I felt enlightened after reading this small passage, and I started thinking about my situation. I always felt this gap, but somehow I didn’t name it like Haemin Sunim does on this book, and I didn’t know what it was exactly. It stayed with me since that day and it will continue to remain something to think about everyday for a very long time. This is because I realized this is one of my biggest shortcomings and the one that makes change and growth so difficult for me.

Easier said than done, but not impossible to do. The only way to become better at making our actions align with our words is to keep doing it everyday. By getting our actions closer to the words we say, we will reduce the gap between the two, and we will be closer to our goals.

I believe that this practice is helpful in many other ways too, like getting to know ourselves better and becoming true to ourselves. Our confidence will grow because we will know that if we say we will do something, we will do everything to make it come true. And this is also applicable in our relationships with others. If we promised to do something, than we should make sure to keep that promise. If we said we would keep a secret, than we should do so, and so on. It will only get us closer to that better version of ourselves.

Today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining brightly and the air feels fresh. It is a great day to start aligning our actions to our words. Easier said than done could only stay as a saying.

Wish you a great day, and thank you for stopping by.

Small challenges, big steps

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I didn’t want to admit, but I know so well that growth consists in change. Small changes, big changes, they all lead to growth if you think that way. Life is like that. Life is unpredictable and always changing. Us people, the only way of making things work is to adjust to change. But this is not always easy to do. It might be easier for some us, but for others, me included, adapting to change could be a lot more difficult. It takes a lot of effort and discipline to become more acceptant to change. So I started training myself.

Living with my parents in the countryside is living a life that has not so many challenges. It’s simpler than it would be if I lived alone. You split the responsibilities and life is sometimes simpler. Not necessarily easier, but simpler. I like that, but I started to feel afraid. What if I won’t be able to get out of my comfort zone? What if I fail to grow because I become complacent? There were so many what ifs that sometimes it felt like there were so many people inside my head each trying to make his opinion be heard.

It is said that the best way of getting accustomed to something is to expose yourself to that specific something. I didn’t want to admit because it was so scary. I remember when I first did this exposure thing consciously. It was when I was searching for my first job. I was still a student so I had not experience with jobs. I was offered to work in a call center, and even if I become anxious every time I have to make a phone call, I thought that maybe if I exposed myself to something I was afraid of, I would become accustomed and get over my anxiety. But it wasn’t like that. I resigned in less than 3 months because talking on the phone with clients was extremely stressful. The exposure strategy didn’t work. However my desire to grow is so big that I decided to become accustomed to change. In order to do that, I realized that I needed to create my own rules, and that I should start with small changes that will make my brain believe that change is good.

First you need to convince yourself that change is good and that you don’t have to by afraid of change. So wisely choose your first challenges. As I am the type of person who does important things with small, but consistent steps, I decided to start with small challenges/changes. This is how I came up with a new project for my self-development: one new challenge per week. At first I tried to do it daily, but I started to get super tired and stressed because of it in less than 2 weeks and this was not my intention. So I reduced it at one challenge per week. But I admit that this is not always successful. I don’t consider it a failure, but an adaptation to each week’s circumstances. I don’t want another to do thing on my list, but rather the opportunity to enjoy the process of growing. Thus I might have weeks where I don’t really have any idea of what I should challenge myself with. These are rare, but I am aware that I am still not comfortable with change. It is ok, I try not to stress myself by overthinking it. All the good things and projects I did until now were formed in time and finalized in many steps and with continuous efforts. You might not realize, but small steps can still lead you to your dreams. So keep doing what you think it is important to you, keep doing what makes you happy, keep doing what makes you learn and grow.

The challenge I had for last week and that I decided to extend for this week as well is no spending week challenge. My intention was for me to stop spending money on whatever might be for a week, and then I decided to extend it until my pay day. It was not very easy, even when living in the countryside. Now, having what you need or want at your door is simpler and faster than ever before. In my efforts of becoming a minimalist, I try to become aware that wanting something and needing it are two different things. And because happiness doesn’t come with possessing things, I try to buy the things that I need more than the things that I want. I also question whether my needs are really needs or maybe subconscious ideas of wanting something. I do this in order to keep a balance and to use my money wisely, and I don’t feel this process of analysis as burdening or stressful. Deciding to have a break from spending was great. I pat my head and I enjoy the result. I feel I got to know one more thing about me. I could take a break from this system because I wanted. I realized that spending money can become a new addiction. I realized that there were things that I didn’t really want and I didn’t even need them, so this 2 weeks period was also some sort of purification. I didn’t mention another very important aspect, but I think you might have guessed. This challenge is perfect for my finances.

This is it for today. Thank you for joining me and for reading my story and I hope to see you around next time as well.

Stay safe and no matter the small steps you take, keep walking.

My Little Forest is learning Korean

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I talked in a previous article about Little Forest, about how important it is to find a space where to feel secure, peaceful and loved. I believe we are always in search for such a place . Some find it faster than others, but every journey is different. I hope you can all find your own Little Forest and be happy.

I think I found my Little Forest. I think I found it a while ago, but I did just not know it. My Little Forest is in all the little things that make me happy and peaceful. Actually today’s article was not even planned, but I had this sudden thought while studying Korean that I was in my Little Forest and I felt happy, my mind was at peace. I felt I was doing my best for my growth and that I was following my dream.

I love learning languages, this is one of my biggest passions, and it is my long term project, but the connection I have with Korean is different. I spend more time learning Korean that I spend learning any other language . Korean is a part of me, and it became my safe place, a place I feel happy and free to be me, my Little Forest.

As frustrating as it can get because I am still lacking, I enjoy the process and I appreciate my evolution and the effort I put into becoming better every day. Studying Korean does not feel like something I must do. Though I have some objectives and to do lists even for studying and I take time in organizing my time for study and reading, it never feels like a task. This is because I love any activity that involves Korean and I don’t put pressure on myself. I don’t have a destination. I just know that I want to keep travelling. I just focus on the process and the happiness that comes with every experience.

I am grateful that I still love Korean even after many hard times, I am grateful for my Korean friends who had the patience and kindness to teach me and correct me when I needed. I am grateful for being lucky enough to have access to education and facilities that made my journey possible and made me into who I am today. I am grateful to have met beautiful people and experienced a new and fascinating culture, a culture that speaks to me and keeps me wanting to learn more and more. I am grateful to have found something that I can love this much, this passion being my motivation, the reason I work harder and harder.

My Little Forest is learning Korean and about Korean things, it is something I love. One’s Little Forest can be a physical place, one’s room, one’s family, one’s special person, one’s career , one’s passion or activity they love without reason. You got the idea, whatever makes you feel the sparkle. Have you found your Little Forest yet? If not, keep searching, you will definitely find it.

This is my story for today. Thank you for reading, I am always grateful to you, the people I don’t know and the people who don’t know me but take their time to read my thoughts. I hope you are safe and happy. Sunny days! 🙂