Old Cartoon Music Machine

27 Oct


27 Oct

Student Loan Debt

26 Oct
Image result for College loans

Picture Borrowed from GoCollege

So I’m here to ask all my fellow recent graduates and current students a student loan question and to address a large concern I have with Student Loan Debt.

 As a student riddled with impossible levels of loan debt ($250,000+) primarily from graduate school (I was an academic scholarship student in undergrad), I am highly interested in the recent debates about Student Loans. 

I of course support the side that argues that bad things went down in the student loan industry. For one thing, college students are a notoriously vulnerable group going into school. They aren’t educated on loans, interest, or the possible consequences of what is happening. Most of them have never heard of interest or credit scores – much less comprehend the true devastation that they are agreeing to.  Given the massive impact student loans have on these people’s lives, I feel like a lot more education and awareness is required.

Image result for College loans

Picture borrowed from CPA Practice Advisor

Some of these people are only just 18 – right out of high school. Maybe only just legal for sex and still not legal to drink. But we let them sign away tens of thousands of dollars without much education on the issue at all. You take the time to teach these people about condoms – have them practice with plastic baby dolls, but provide very little information about the practical consequences of having a student loan. 

Oh! We make them do entrance and exit counseling – seriously?!? Since when has a young kid/young adult paid attention to those sorts of forms? It’s all academic anyway – yes I know I have to pay this money back some day. “But don’t worry- there’s no payment necessary while you’re still in college!” And I’m sure you’ll have a great job as soon as you get out.🙂

It just seems like deceitful practices to me – taking advantage of a known vulnerable group without giving them much needed, in-depth, real world advice on the consequences of what they are agreeing to. 

But all of that is neither here nor there for the moment. My real issue in this article is the STUDENT LOAN INTEREST RATES. Yep, I’m getting real sick of hearing people say “those students are just lazy.” “They borrowed the  money and now they don’t want to pay it back.” “If you didn’t want to pay the loan back, you shouldn’t have taken it.” “Students today just take, take, take but don’t want to do the work to give it back.” “They shouldn’t have gotten that worthless humanities or social science degree.”  I’ve heard it all and more. But for your information, it isn’t the principal I’m most upset about. It’s the stupidly high interest rates I’m facing.  

Think about it – 

Bank of America is offering Auto Loans at 2-3% interest. Other companies are maybe as high as 4%, but that’s still pretty low.  The current Mortgage Interest Rate is 3.64% and actually fell to record lows this year with some as low as 3%. 

But do you know the lowest Interest Rate I have on my student loans? – 4.5% and that’s on only ONE loan out of more than 20 that I accumulated throughout college. By far, the majority of my loans are between 6.8% and 8.5% with most falling at 7.9% interest.  And that does not include my Signature Student Loan with a 12.38% interest rate and the Bar Study Loan at 13.65%.  

Yep, that’s right. You’re asking grown adults with solid jobs and a steady  income to pay between half to a fourth as much interest as young students right out of college trying to establish their lives and futures.  Many of these students aren’t in the position to work with this! They are starting at the bottom end of the totem pole in regards to their jobs, with a minimum of 2-5 years of experience required before anything substantial comes along. But during that time, their debt has grown extensively. There is no way to get their heads above water! I’m paying more than $200 on one loan a month (the minimum payment) and it isn’t making a dent because of the interest I’m trying to cover. 

And people expect the economy to improve like this? Economic growth depends upon buying and selling. The less people buy, the less the sellers make. The less the seller make, the less they buy. The less they buy, the less the other sellers make. The less the businesses make, the less they pay their employees. The less they pay their employees, the less they buy and the cycle continues. But students saddled with this much debt and high interest rates are NOT BUYING. We can’t afford to buy. Sure, our loans are set a 20-30yr pay back plans. But because of the interest rates, we can’t put off payments. There isn’t any money left over to buy a house. No money to pay for a wedding. No extra cash for eating out or a nice dress or shopping at the mall. Christmas? Just give me cash for my loans.

And thanks to the current “education-focused” economy we have going here – there is an entire generation of 18-30 year olds who fall into this category with around 70% of all high school graduates enrolling in college. And 70% of students graduating with a  Bachelor’s degree are in debt with almost $1,300,000,000,000 owed among approximately 44 million young adults. Furthermore, each student is 6% more in debt this year than last year, and it just keeps going up.  According to reports, many of these students (as much as 40%) are delinquent or not paying their accounts at all. So all that interest is racking up at 6-13% a pop (a lot of people have the signature student loans, the worst). 40% of this debt comes from graduate students. GRADUATE STUDENTS! These are your doctors, lawyers, government officials, future professors, accountants, psychologists. And they can’t even open up shop because of their student loan payments. A large part of which isn’t the principal at all – it’s the interest.

Do you know who decides most of these rates? – It’s all in that nice print on my Navient page:

  “Interest rates on federal student loans are set by Congress.”

Good old Congress. Those people who keep voting themselves raises, who avoid taxes like the plague and bailed out major income-generating banks – but want to charge the youth outrageous, usurious fees for going to college. For educating themselves and trying to make their world a better place. Who actually studied in High School and wanted to make something of their lives. Who are going into jobs that contribute to a nation, government, and economy that won’t give them a fair shake.  I’m not asking that you let me skip out on my loans. I’m asking that you give me a chance to pay my loans without facing exorbitant additional interest that don’t even let me see the loan itself. 

Here’s a list of the Interest Rates I have on my loans:

  1. 13.625% on the Bar Study Student Loan. 
  2. 12.385% on the Signature Student Loan. 
  3. 6.8% on the Stafford Unsubsidized Loans
  4. 5.6-6.8% (most at 6.8%) on the Stafford Subsidized Loans
  5. 4.5%-6.8% (most at 6.8%) Direct Loans – Subsidized
  6. 5.4%-6.8% (most at 6.8%) Direct Loans – Unsubsidized
  7. 8.5% Parent Plus Loan 
  8. 8.5% Graduate Plus Loan
  9. 7.9-8.5% Direct Grad Plus Loans

Now here’s my question for my fellow students and graduates – what’s your interest rate??? Share below!



“Wake from death and return to life”

26 Oct


~ Japanese Proverb

“In the worst of a desperate moment, you can rise up suddenly again.”

Jumping Jacks (Wushu-Style)

25 Oct

Look carefully, and you’ll see the Chinese lanterns in the background – I thought this was a cool photo. These are performing Chinese students of Wushu from the Shaolin Temple during the biennial Wushu Festival.


Sino-Japanese Numbers

25 Oct

The following includes the Sino-Japanese Numbers used in Japanese for many number-related issues. In appearance, they are the same as those used in Mandarin Chinese, in fact that is where the characters were borrowed from (Sino – meaning “Chinese”). Thus, the numbers are in fact a part of the Kanji writing system.  

While Sino-Japanese numbers are more common according to my Japanese friends, the traditional Japanese numbers are still occasionally used and it is good to memorize the numbers 1-10 in traditional form as well. 

Also notice that the number 4 (shi) can sound like a bad word in Japanese (shi sounds like ‘death’), so it is replaced with the traditional number “yon”. And number 7 (nana) can also be replaced with the traditional number “shichi” depending on the usage.


Number Name Kanji
1 ichi
2 ni
3 san
4 shi/yon*
5 go
6 roku
7 shichi/nana*
8 hachi
9 kyū
100 hyaku*/ichi hyaku
1000 sen/issen*
10,000 man / ichiman
100,000,000 oku
1,000,000,000,000 chō


Although my examples below use spacing to help you see the numbers laid out more easily, the Japanese will often just combine the numbers into one long string. For example, my Japanese friends would write 2109  as nisenhyakukyū if they wrote it out in Romaji. 

**Please notice that the numbers 300 (sanbyaku), 600 (roppyaku), and 800 (happyaku) are different from the usual formula of Number + Hyaku. Not sure why, my Japanese teacher didn’t explain🙂 I just know that this is true.

Number Name Kanji
1 ichi
2 ni
3 san
4 shi/yon*
5 go
6 roku
7 shichi/nana*
8 hachi
9 kyū
11 jūichi 十一
12 jūni 十二
13 jūsan 十三
20 nijū 二十
30 sanjū 三十
40 yonjū 四十
50 gojū 五十
60 rokujū 六十
70 nanajū 七十
80 hachijū 八十
90 kyūjū 九十
100 hyaku*/ichi hyaku
200 nihyaku 二百
300 sanByaku *note the change 三百
600 roPPyaku *note the change 六百
800 haPPyaku *note the change 八百
1000 sen/issen*
10,000 man / ichiman
100,000 jūman 十万
1,000,000 hyakuman 百万
10,000,000 senman 千万
100,000,000 oku
1,000,000,000 jūoku 十億
10,000,000,000 hyaku oku 百億
100,000,000,000 senoku 千億
1,000,000,000,000 chō

***Please notice that while in English, we count in 1,000s — the Japanese (and Chinese) count in 10,000s.  So in English, we learn one thousand (1,000), ten thousand (10,000), one hundred thousand (100,000), one million (1,000,000), and ten million (10,000,000). But in Japanese, they learn sen (1,000), man (10,000), jūman (100,000), and hyakuman (1,000,000), senman (10,000,000).  Notice that jū(man), hyaku(man), and sen(man)  are all  multiples of 10,000 (Japanese) instead of 1,000 (English).   

Number English Japanese
10 ten jū (ten)
100 one hundred hyaku (hundred)
1000 one thousand sen (thousand)
1,0000 ten-thousand man (ten-thousand)
10,0000 one-hundred thousand jūman (ten man or ten ten-thousands)
100,0000 one million hyakuman (one-hundred man)
1000,0000 ten million senman (one-thousand man)
1,0000,0000 one-hundred million oku (one oku)
10,0000,0000 one billion jūoku (ten oku)

Because of this, you can often see them mark numbers as 1,0000 with the comma after the ten-thousands.  For example 1,0000 instead of 10,000.


Here are examples of every number through ten million (follow same pattern if going farther)

Number Name Kanji
21 nijū ichi 二十一
32 sanjū ni 三十二
43 yonjū san 四十三
54 gojū yon 五十四
65 rokujū go 六十五
76 nanajū roku 七十六
87 hachijū nana 八十七
98 kyūjū hachi 九十八
109 hyaku kyū 百九
219 nihyaku jūkyū 二百十九
329 sanByaku nijū kyū *note the change 三百二十九
439 yonhyaku sanjū kyū 四百三十九
549 gohyaku yonjū kyū 五百四十九
659 roPPyaku gojū kyū *note the change 六百五十九
769 nanahyaku rokujū kyū 七百六十九
879 haPPyaku nanajū kyū *note the change 八百七十九
989 kyūhyaku hachijū kyū 九百八十九
2001 nisen ichi 二千一
3010 sansen jū 三千十
4100 yonsen hyaku 四千百
5210 gosen nihyaku jū 五千二百十
6222 rokusen nihyaku nijū ni 六千二百二十二
20,003 niman san 二万三
30,033 sanman sanjū san 三万三十三
40,333 yonman sanbyaku sanjū san 四万三百三十三
53,333 goman sansen sanbyaku sanjū san 五万三千三百三十三
140,000 jūyonman 十四万
400,000 yonjūman 四十万
654,321 rokujūgo man yonsen sanbyaku nijū ichi 六十五万四千三百二十一
7,654,321 nanahyaku rokujūgo man yonsen sanbyaku nijū ichi 七百六十五万四千三百二十一
87,654,321 hachisen nanahyaku rokujūgo man yonsen sanbyaku nijū ichi 八千七百六十五万四千三百二十一

Melbourne Street Art

24 Oct

Only in @visitmelbourne will you find a scene like this! #Melbourne is known as one of the world's greatest street art capitals - all over the city you'll find kaleidoscopic splashes of colour. Some of the popular spots to find street art include Hosier Lane (pictured) Union Lane and 21 Degraves Street - or you can take a guided tour with @blenderstudios. And in case you were wondering the @cityofmelbourne has made street art completely legal on designated public spaces in the spirit of crea...: via Australia

11 Untranslatable Words

22 Oct


Nature’s Guardian

21 Oct

An old stone guardian carved into the stone pathway up the mountain. Keeping all the creepy crawlies out an the beautiful natural atmosphere safe.


“How to Have the Best Study Abroad Experience”

21 Oct

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