I'm a major slacker when it comes to studying Japanese, so my New Year's resolution was to seriously up my game when it came to my language studies. I waded through a lengthy internal debate--should I go with an online language learning service or traditional classroom study? Online is generally considered more cost-effective, but classroom can boost motivation with its consistent face-to-face human interaction (aka social pressure, aka a kick in the rear-end). My fear with the online thing was like that of a gym membership. Would I sign up and never go? That would be a damn shame...
A long-time free member of JapanesePod101.com, I decided to pull the trigger and try their premium plus subscription. Why did I go with this? Because it seemed to offer a bit of the best of both worlds--their entire online learning library along with access to a real Japanese teacher. My hope was that the human teacher would give me a solid kick in the pants once in a while to keep me on a righteous academic path.
In true "Mondaiji" style, I summarize the good and not-so-good of my experience below.
As an American guy living abroad in Japan, sending money between the USA and Japan is something I'm used to dealing with. In fact I documented the various international money transfer methods I've used over the years here: How I Send Money Between my Japan and USA Bank Accounts - Life Abroad
Always on the hunt for what's new, I came across Xoom.com, a site operated by Paypal that appears very similar to my current favorite money transfer service Transferwise. What the hell...let's give it a shot. At the very least it would be beneficial to have an alternative on hand in case Transferwise ever fails me.