Friday, January 1, 2010

A roller coaster year

In life there are always ups and downs, but it seems like this year in particular there were many spectacular highs and lows. So here's my year-in-review:

late January: 
car accident
- I didn't slow down early enough for a curve leading up to a bridge, hit a patch of ice, skidded, spun, and hit the bridge railing
- thankfully the only thing injured was my car (goodbye red Vitz, hello white K-van)

late March/early April: 
Kyoto trip w/ Kasumi
- went to Kyoto with a Japanese friend (met through Nihonbuyo) on a long weekend, highlights include: Kyoto International Manga Museum, temples galore, and a 5-story pagoda

Anaheim trip w/ Steph
- Disneyland and California Adventureland
- Colorado Avalanche @ Anaheim Ducks NHL hockey game (courtesy of my friend Karvin)

My dad's triple bypass surgery
- right when I was in Anaheim, my dad underwent coronary artery bypass graft surgery
- since Steph and I had been planning the Anaheim trip for a long time, my parents wanted me to go instead of canceling and coming home; I ended up coming back the day after my father was released from the hospital
- the day after I got back, we had to take my dad into emergency because he was having trouble breathing and was behaving erratically
- he ended up being re-hospitalized and they discovered that he had a lot of fluid in his lungs; he was re-released the day (or day after?) I had to fly back to Japan

Golden Week Hiroshima (solo) trip
- Sankanou Okonomiyaki
- Peace Memorial Park/Museum
- Hiroshima Flower Festival
- Miyajima
- Hiroshima is my #1 favourite city to visit in Japan! I can't wait to go back again!

Visiting Carly in Shimokita 
- Hotokegaura, Osorezan and off-road adventures--it was a blast!

Tokyo Orientation
- presented a seminar on driving in Japan for newly arrived JETs (little did I know how much more of an expert I would become...)

Studio Ghibli & the Square Enix Character Goods Shop Showcase
- it was awesome hanging out with Tomabechi-sensei again!

Relaxing and fun Silver Week
- an Aomori City day trip
- Kirita Jinja Matsuri
- the beginning of my wardrobe makeover (LOVE Uniqlo!)
- surprise birthday party in Shichinohe for Sanae & Viresh

My dad's heart attack
- getting the call from my mom telling me that my dad had had a heart attack and was in a comatose state was the scariest event of my life; the time between getting the call and finding out that he had regained consciousness was the longest 36 hrs of my life

Nihonbuyo performance
- even though the amount of time I spent onstage for this performance was about the same as last year's Bunka Sai, this was really a massive event--the culmination of almost a year's planning/preparation

Nate's Japan visit
- he came to Towada (during a typhoon)
- 3 days in Tokyo, including such highlights as the Square Enix Character Goods Shop Showcase; the Ghibli Museum, Odaiba, and Asakusa

Towada Horse Festa
- finally got to see yabusame (horseback archery)!!

Car accident (#2)
- second scariest event of my life! getting hit by a k-truck and having my car flip onto its side 
- thankfully no one was seriously injured and I ended up not having to pay for any of the damages

Oirase Gorge Autumn Foliage
- FINALLY got to see the fall leaves in Oirase Gorge (although they were still quite green when I went)

Bunka Sai Performance
- I performed in not just one, but FOUR pieces and wore two different kimonos, plus a hakama

Shidoka Bonenkai in Iwate
- awesome awesome trip with lots of cultural/historical sites on our itinerary

Las Vegas
- a fun three night trip with my family--all the more meaningful given my father's health problems this year

Of course there are tons of other things that happened/that I did this past year, but this is just a brief summary of some of the "bigger" things. As you can see, October was a particularly crazy month for me--in both the good and bad sense. This year was also a big travel--within Japan and internationally--year for me.

I hope that 2010 will be an equally fun but less crazy ^^;; year than 2009.