Finding the ways to fill the time
2012 is over. Though I’m not an Apocalypse/End of Times believer (how many predictions has the world survived now?), the year has always exuded finality and a sense of uncertainty of what lay beyond it.
If anything though, on the first day of 2013, I realise I am, at best, only mid-way through many projects and adventures – some started in 2012, some earlier, while some are not yet initiated but are in the planning stages.
Before I go through my own best moments of 2012, and goals for 2013, I want to express the hope that this will be a year of reconnection and reconciliation for the world. This year, I am sure we were all heartened by the decision of the Myanmar generals to reopen their country to the world. At the same time, shocked by the continuing bloodshed in Syria, the shooting of Malala Yousafzai and other terrible moments of violence towards women, and the Newtown shooting in America.
Personally, I hope that the era of individualism will give way, and we take responsibility, not only for our own happiness, but that of those we share this time and this life with. Happy 2013 everyone~ 明けましておめでとうございます～
We travelled to iconic parts of Australia, neither of us had ever been before (and I’m Aussie): experiencing the Tatooine landscape of Coober Pedy, the glow of Uluru, and unexpected backyard concerts in Foster. It’s hard to imagine the scale of a country until you’re on a very straight highway, with another 500 kms to go before arrival. This 6 week trip also began my adventures in blogging, which has definitely been a feature and highlight of 2012.
Talking about blogging – the main topic of Where Next Japan last year was less Japan, and more the life, culture and festivals of a small castle town. August was especially exhausting, with different events from Lantern Festivals to the Biwa Birdman. I tried joining a bicycle NPO, became an involuntary member of a neighbourhood council and experienced my first American Thanksgiving.
Being a student teacher in Osaka:
6 weeks really flies with a group of cheeky, six year olds. The moments of fun and challenge with the kids, and the generosity and support of my mentor, the Japanese and English teachers and really the whole staff, made for many a shiny memory and a very meaningful learning experience.
Photographers, like teachers, give their wisdom freely. During my meeting with Akasaki Tomoaki, I learnt how he left a lucrative job in tax law to become a freelance photographer and never looked back. Amongst the advice I received as he evaluated my photographs, was the aspect I now strive for: “Where’s the story?”
Living in the same area as my best friend again
Many people ask my, “Why Hikone? ” and I usually reply, “Because of Hikonyan. (the samurai helmet wearing cat mascot)” and that isn’t wholly false.
The main reason however, is because my best friend, who I’ve known since living in Wakayama together in 2008, moved here as a JET. I’m an Aussie, set to live in Japan; she’s an American with aspirations for Europe. I know there may not be many chances to enjoy each others’ company in future, but I had a great time with her in 2012.
So Stereotopical! But I am worried my peak muscle has passed, especially recently sustaining a nasty bruise falling up the stairs (and then down again). I’m only 27 – this has to stop! Frequent push ups, situps and Just Dance are going to happen.
Get better at Magic the Gathering:
I love this game, but I suck at it. You’d think that playing knowing you’ll have a certain win would make me a popular choice at games-nights, but no. With the help of playing tips and deck ideas from fellow Japan-based blogger, this year might see a change.
Pass JLPT 2:
The ultimate goal is of course perfect, ‘oh really, I’m speaking Japanese? It’s just so natural, I forget. ” snob level proficiency. This year, I’ll settle for passing the second grade, which people who are younger and lived in Japan for less than me have already. *><*
Get a job!
So over being a student! The free time is great, but the pay sucks. ><
Learn how to braid my own hair
I would love to be able to style my hair in a cute and out of the eyes way. Youtube, don’t let me down!
Not that I ever photograph while I’m unconscious… however, this year I want to improve the ratio of intended good good shots, to lucky good shots.
As in, actually writing those words at the end of a book I’ve finished. No more procrastination! No more character building burnout – just gonna write until the last page.