Monday, April 6, 2015

Our experience at the Okinawa World theme park

On our last day in Okinawa, we decided to check out the Okinawa World theme park, in Nanjo.  This park is made up of a natural underground cave, an Okinawan village, and a snake museum. 

Gyokusendo Cave
The Gyokusendo cave stretches 3.10 miles (5,000 meters), and is the longest cave in the south of Okinawa Island, and the second longest cave in the country.  About one half mile (890 meters) is accessible to tourists, and the remaining area is preserved for research. 
You enter the cave from above ground and go down a long flight of steps.

The cave was kept very clean with easy walking platforms. Lights were strategically placed along our path to illuminate the amazing structures inside.  The temperature of the inside of the cave was a cool 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Stalactites and stalagmites surrounded us along our exploration.  Stalactites are icicle shaped formations hanging down from the ceiling of a cave, produced by minerals in water dripping down from the ceiling.  Stalagmites grow vertically from the ground up due to minerals in the water that drip down (opposite of stalactites).

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Our experience at the Shuri Castle and Ashibiuna restaurant in Okinawa

When we landed in Okinawa, one of our first stops was the Shurijo Castle, also known as the Shuri Castle.  The castle was constructed by the Ryukyu Kingdom around the 14th century, with architectural design influences from both China and Japan.  

The castle served as a center for politics, economy, and culture for the Ryukyu Kingdom for 500 years, doing trade with China, Japan, and Southeast Asia.  

In 1945 during World War II, the Shuri Castle was almost completely destroyed.  However, with the help of photographs and historical records, the castle was restored in 1992.

The inside of the castle was very ornately decorated with gold and bright colors.  It was fun to imagine what life would have been like here in past times.  

Throughout the grounds of the castle, we walked around collecting red ink stamps to fulfill the “Castle Stamp Rally” challenge, a fun activity for families and kids.  This rally acted like a very straightforward walking guide for us telling us what to explore, one checkpoint after another.  

As a reward for filling up our map with stamps, we received a sheet of stickers.  Here we are proudly displaying our prize!

Friend's face blocked out for anonymity

After exploring the Shuri Castle, we enjoyed a tasty lunch at Ashibiuna, a local traditional Japanese restaurant.  The quiet restaurant is small and feels like you’re in someone’s home.  

You take your shoes off and switch to slippers before you enter.  Gardens and trees surround this secluded restaurant.  Just outside is a Japanese Zen rock garden, where diners can eat facing the peaceful scene.  

We enjoyed delicious Okinawan soba with pork ribs.  The bouncy noodles had the texture of udon with soup similar to ramen broth. 
Very tasty!
That’s it for now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

March side hustles 2015

The great thing about doing side hustles to generate extra income is that you can hustle on your own terms.  The more hard work, time, and creative effort you put in, the more extra money you can make.  You can hustle as little or as much as you want, whenever you want.  It’s your extra money, and you can choose how you want to spend it.  Instead of focusing on what ideas don’t apply to you, try focusing on different side hustle ideas that you can implement to work for your situation.

Welcome to April.  It is amazing how fast time flies.  Can you believe that we are already done with one quarter of the year?  Our baby is due in less than 3 months.  Abby has matured so much and is almost a year and a half.  The 2014 deadline to contribute to your IRA is coming up on April 15th. 

With the purchase of our first rental property and a baby on the way, our side hustles have really helped to fatten our wallets.  As our lives get busier, I’m not sure how much more side hustle shenanigans we can continue to do.  But that’s the beauty of hustling on the side – you can hustle as much or as little as you’d like. 

Here’s our monthly summary of side income that we have generated in the previous month of March.

Award Travel
On 3.1, I redeemed 69,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points towards a free round trip flight from Taipei to Los Angeles for my father, saving $844.50 after fees.

Cash Back
On 3.9, I received a check for $18.18 from Mr. Rebates
On 3.11, my wife received a $10 statement credit from AMEX on her Starwood Preferred Guest credit card from AMEX Offers (Spend $75 on your cell phone bill, get $10 back)
On 3.28, I received a check for $50 for redemption of 5,000 ThankYou Points from my Citibank Forward credit card

Search and Win
On 3.17, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from Swagbucks

On 3.17, I received a $5 Amazon gift card from Bing
On 3.19, my wife received a $5 Amazon gift card from Bing

Paid surveys
On 3.2, I received a $3 PayPal deposit from PineCone Research
On 3.16, I received a $3 PayPal deposit from PineCone Research
On 3.24, I received a $3 PayPal deposit from PineCone Research

E-Rewards Medical
On 3.14, I received a check for $60 for completing a survey from E-Rewards Medical

Side Job
On 3.17, I received a check for $275 from my side job teaching students at a local university
On 3.30, I received a check for $275 from my side job teaching students at a local university

Rental Income
On 3.2, I received checks totaling $2,214 from our two new temporary housemates.  One paid for her short 3 month housing stay completely in full.

Monthly Totals:
March was a nice productive side hustle month.
We saved $844.50 (after fees) on award travel using our Chase Ultimate Rewards points
We earned $78.18 in cash back
We earned $15 worth of Amazon gift certificates from Search and Win sites
We earned $69 in cash from paid surveys
I earned $550 from my side job teaching at the local university
We earned $2,214 from rental income

All of this totals $3,770.68 from our side hustles for the month of March, our second highest month to date!  The hustling continues.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...