31 December 2006

2006 Year In Review

The end of the year is nigh upon us, so it's time for my annual spot of reflection and quiet contemplation which I'm sharing with all of you, my beautiful friends, and, uh, everyone else by posting it here (though I've heard some places in Turkmenistan might not yet have internet).

Every year I like to think back on the people, places and events that make up my own personal Time magazine 'Year In Review.' What makes the highlight reel, what winds up on the cutting room floor? In the spirit of "out-with-the-old," let’s start with the lowlights:

§...While the rest of this list is presented in no particular order, by far and away the worst thing of 2006 was Jase moving back to Australia. I could yimmer-yammer on for reams and crack out the thesaurus to find new words for "bad," but Jase and I both know how much it sucked. Especially the Shinjuku Station part, but also the run up and the aftermath part.

§...Back to Canada Packing Freak-Out. I thought I was doing so well, shipping off boxes far in advance, then I put one thing in my suitcase and realised that there was no way in hell everything was going to fit in there! How can you pack four years of living and shopping into a suitcase? I started to panic, and might have even hyperventilated at one point. The stress was overwhelming.

§...Getting shingles. Blah, I felt like death.

§...Taking a pay cut coming back to Canada.

§...Going home after work to an empty house in April and May.

§...Twice a week help shifts from hell at Nakano Sakaue, featuring the absolute *thickest* students. (Also, though to a lesser extent, help shifts at Nakano Minami and Kami Shakujii; terrible).

§...Reality check coming back to Toronto: the city is dirty, public transit sucks, the shopping is lame.

§...Voice Room with Masaharu (or the voice room in general). For any non-Nihon readers out there, words are not enough to describe the drawn-out torture that is a conversation circle with people who refuse to converse with each other.

§...Being totally rudderless and without direction when I got back to Toronto.

§...Leaving Tokyo, which really felt like my home for four years, and leaving lots of friends from all over the place, knowing it might be a long long time before I saw them again. The Narita Express to the airport was particularly brutal. I think I cried the whole two-hour ride.

Blah! That was a depressing trip down memory lane —Now begone with you bad thoughts! Time for the highlights of the year past, again in no particular order:

...Meeting Amazing Race winners BJ and Tyler walking along Yonge Street. They were so friendly and personable, I couldn't believe it! They both gave me big hugs and seemed genuinely interested in chatting with me. By far and away the most amazing Amazing-Racers *ever,* I can't wait to see them in All-Stars next season. TTOW!!

...My final day at Nova. Emancipation at last! Never again will I have to deal with the likes of Keiko Minaguchi, Masaharu and Rina, teach TOEIC to idiots, or answer the dreaded question "Why did you come to Japan?" Thank god!

...Travel will inevitably always make up part of the "Best Of," and this year was no exception. Quite a diverse year with my overland trip from Beijing to Tokyo, New York jaunt, Algonquin, and of course the Dark Continent. If I had to pick out just one thing, it would be in Ghana as our dilapidated taxi was driving into the countryside after Aflao, though emerald rice fields and swaying coconut trees, sun shining, African highlife music playing on the stereo. A truly perfect moment.

...All the absolutely top-quality people I've had the great fortune to meet since coming back here. Toronto may have its drawbacks, but it's the amazingness of the people that really makes it a great place to live. Micheal, Dave, Jolie-kun, Ric and Rob; I'd probably have gone sushi-homesick-crazy and wound up back in Tokyo, desperate and penniless, working the corner of Yasukuni-dōri and Meiji-dōri if it hadn't been for the likes of you guys.

...Finding a direction to my life (finally). It's all still up in the air at this point, so knock wood and don't jinx it, but all signs point to me going to back to school (in gay Paree) to become a translator. Fingers crossed — though I think this is definitely got me going somewhere, so watch out; I'm back on track (and back in black).

...Sex with models. Okay, only one model –and I know it's really shallow to include it here– but whatever, it was hot.

...Oh, and here comes more shallowness: Great shopping buys. Blue jacket, swimsuit, belt-buckle, I think Century 21 might be my new favourite place anywhere, though it's a tough call between that and Gotemba Premium Outlet Mall. I fully admit to being really, really lame, but whatever – I do what I want!

...Of course a 2006 highlight would be seeing all my awesome family and friends again after so long away, as well as an exciting renewal of the 'Social Calendar' featuring the long-anticipated return of the annual Island Barbeque and the introduction of Quiz Night. —Thanks you guys for making the Social Calendar the cavalcade of hijinxs I've come to know and love.

...After a similar round-up from last year, in which I decided I was too skinny in the chestal-arms region, I resolved to do push-ups and that kind of mild physical exertion, which has actually paid off. Look better, feel better. And as addendum to my new Participaction regime, I spent a tonne of time at the outdoor pool around the corner from my house this summer – so much fun!

...You can’t help but love Disneyland, and Tokyo Disney is no exception – especially with Jase and our chō baka antics, like posing for the hidden camera on the Temple of Doom ride (right before the rolling boulder), and eating something from every different “Land” in the park. Jase even went on the teacups, just to make me happy, even though it made him queasy. What a trooper!

“What Was I Thinking? 2006”
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That tie doesn’t go with that shirt!
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“Best Dressed 2006”
I know this is a re-post, but retro-terrorist chic is so hot this year.
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"Favourite Photos 2006"

This is my favourite photo of me from the past year
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My favourite photo I took in 2006 — Statue of former 'Life President' Kwame Nkrumah at the National Museum in Accra. I don't know what exactly it is about it, but I feel it conveys a lot of emotion.
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"New Year’s Resolutions"
As per tradition, my New Year’s resolution is always to be more fabulous. First, let’s year-in-review the fabulosity of 2006: black pony-hair shoes; fabulous. One year, four continents; fabulous! This photo of me is pretty fabulous:
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Not so fabulous: my job, the commute, emo-robot Nihon-jin staring at me as I cry inconsolably in Shinjuku station (various occasions), shingles scars on my face (thankfully mostly gone now).

I would currently rate my fabulousness level at ‘glitter’ with a dip down to ‘glimmer’ in the aftermath of “Sayonara Nippon.” I’m aiming for a ‘sparkle’ rating in 2007 – ambitious, but I think I can make it.

Best wishes, good luck and rockin' times to all of you in the year ahead. Happy New Year! Bonne Année! ¡Feliz Año Nuevo! 明けましておめでとうございます ! 恭賀新禧!

5 comments:

jase said...

sweetie, i got a not-insubstantial stabbing feeling in my heart reading about your worst moment of the year. absolutely hands down the saddest thing that's happened to me for the last 4 or 5 years I'd say. so painful:(
on a lighter note...that picture of us at karaoke is the shit. so much emotion! I can't wait to see you in '07 for some long overdue shenanigans...
btw you on the beach in Ghana? HOT!!!!
Happy New Year, indeed;)

sly said...

i got to ring in 2007 with danboy! clearly already on the road to being more fabulous!

tokyo tintin said...

Mmmn, another low of 2006 would be watching Brokeback Mountain alone. I thought because I had already read the book, the movie wouldn't affect me so much, but instead I think it affected me more because I knew what was going to happen. Great movie, but obviously spirit-crushing (and the cause of yet more crying in Shinjuku Station).

Miss Ash said...

That's quite the list. Let's make some highlights for next years list during your "Special Week" it is fast approaching.

Dr Philm said...

Oh what a wrap-up; here's mine 'pain, angst and PhD'...and then there's my gorgeous heren-chan to chase all the blues away. Not so bad after all really!!

As for the world map thingy - save it as a jpeg (I think from the actual site once yo've generated it) and then upload it as a file and not a link. I'm sooo clever...NOT!

Happy NewYear!!!!!