Reflecting on 2008

It’s that time of year again, the day that we all look back on what we’ve accomplished this year and think about what we want to accomplish next year. Well, I started this year working and living in Inuyama, which of course I don’t do anymore. I applied for a new job in Osaka with the same company, at the end of last year and was successful in getting a new job and more importantly an apartment very near to Yasu (which is who I came to Japan for to begin with). Although I enjoyed my time in Inuyama and made really good friends there, I’m happy that these days Yasu lives just 30 minutes away by bike! I ended my time in Inuyama by handing over the reigns to a new teacher and with a very, very wild going away party!
Before starting the new job, I had to go through a training period again. There were four other trainees, and the company put us up in a hotel where I shared a large room with the two other girls in the group. Of course, training was way easier than the first time, but it was fun to meet new people and to get familiarized with the different way they teach in Kansai. Since then, I’ve been happy working at the new school in Osaka, and even signed up for 6 more months.
In between the two jobs I went home for two weeks, for another visit. It was the cheapest trip home so far, this was the third, because this time I was traveling off season. Even though I’ve always had the desire to move far away from home, I need to go back on a frequent basis to fight homesickness because I miss my family too much. It’s quite an expensive hobby… I still need to convince my family to move across continents with me, then there’s no more need for all that expensive traveling. Maybe next year? Actually, I’m planning to temporarily move back home in December next year before another emigration, this time to Canada. Anyway, it was great as always to see all the Dutchies again!
This year Bon Jovi went on tour again and I managed to attend (only) four concerts, three in Japan and one in Germany. The concerts in Japan (Nagoya, Tokyo I, Tokyo II ) were all in January and the venues were all filled with seats! Which was really annoying, because there was no room to dance and run around to get good pictures (which you’re not even allowed to take in Japan). The concert in Germany, during my brief stint at home in between jobs, was a lot more relaxing and enjoyable, only wish I’d been able to stick around for more European concerts… Maybe next tour?
But of course, the best thing this year was when the Dutchies (Moem, Gy & Gui) came to visit me in Obon. Of course they’d heard numerous stories and seen countless pictures on this blog, but this August they actually got to experience the real thing! They saw lots of traditional sights (like temples and shrines), tried many modern Japanese activities (like karaoke and purikura) and ate all kinds of Japanese food. And they had an amazing time even though it was so hot and humid that super-blond Gui almost passed out a couple of times. And I loved introducing them to my Japanese life, and I hated having to say goodbye to them again at the airport.
It was a busy year and time flew by. I made new friends, sang hours and hours of karaoke, posed for dozens of purikura pictures, ate lots of Japanese food (duh), and did an enormous amount of sightseeing this year: cities, shrines, cherry blossoms, temples, tall buildings, castles, autumn leaves, boat rides, amusement parks and even museums. You can read all about that on this blog, just travel back in time! And now I’m back home to enjoy this holiday with my family before I fly back to Japan for another busy year. Happy 2009, everybody!

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