So, the end of the year of the dog is nigh, with the year of the boar just around the corner, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to share my thoughts on the last twelve months.
I have a notoriously bad memory, in fact I generally have a mind like a sieve, but there was one series of events which absolutely stands out for me this year.
It began with my daughter's kindergarten entrance ceremony. I was fortunate enough to be able to take the day off to attend the ceremony, and I was even more fortunate that my mother had flown in from Australia just to be there for the ceremony as well. Actually, she stayed for just a tick under two weeks, but her primary reason for coming was to be there for the ceremony. Now, my Japanese listening ability is almost non-existent, and my mother knows no Japanese at all, so we pretty much had no idea what the principal and the other speakers were talking about, but that didn't prevent us from enjoying the moment. The ceremony itself culminated in the singing of the school anthem, a song which has been regularly heard around my apartment ever since as my daughter takes great pride in singing it. The only downside was that to celebrate we had hoped to take my mother out for a delicious meal at a Turkish cafe near where we live, but unfortunately on that day it was closed, so instead we settled for a fantastic Nepalese curry dinner. It was, all in all, however, a wonderful day.
Just a few days later we all got a massive shock when my sister and her boyfriend turned up unannounced. They had scheduled a video call from the Middle East to Japan, but when they actually made the call, everyone was surprised to see that they were standing outside the convenience store across the street from our apartment. I was working at the time, but I'm told that my daughter screamed, and then my wife, daughter and mother all rushed across the road to greet them in excitement.
My mother flew home a few days later, but my sister and her boyfriend stayed for about another three weeks, which pleased my daughter no end as she absolutely adores my sister.
It was a crazy few weeks, but I can safely say that it was the best time this year.
Some other notable mentions would be going to Hirakata Park with my wife and daughter for my daughter's birthday, watching my daughter ride her bike without training wheels for the first time, and the Christmas Party at my father's place last Sunday with plenty of my relatives (actually, plenty of my step-mother's relatives, but their still mine as well).
And, of course, as I write this, Christmas still hasn't arrived, so I'm really looking forward to my daughter's reaction as she opens her presents from the family and, of course, from Santa. Hopefully she'll be tickled pink.
When I look back on 2018 in the future, I'm certain I will always regard it as a great year, and I hope you will all feel the same way.
A very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you all, and I hope that 2019 will be an even greater year for us all.
I'm looking forward to seeing you again in the year of the boar.