2017 in Review

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2017 began with me planning to retire from blogging (No kidding!). But I’m still here, I don’t know what happened. Can’t stop writing even when I can’t seem to find the time. When I wrote the last post that wasn’t really the last post, I had just arrived back in Japan from Christmas/New Year vacation in Kenya.

No sooner had I arrived than I began to plan a conference trip to France. Being from a shithole country means I need to apply for visas way in advance before I can visit virtually any country, including fellow shithole countries. I got the visa and spent a week in the South of France, Nice to be specific. The views of the French Riviera were fantastic. Someday, I will return to cruise the Mediterranean. Jeremy and I also spent a few hours across the border in Italy, just because we could. And also to tick it off our list of countries we’ve visited. 2017 was the year I Went to 5 countries – France, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to go to Kenya for Christmas.

Countries I have visited. I'm hoping to colour more of Africa blue.

Countries I have visited. I’m hoping to colour more of Africa blue.

In March 2017, Jeremy turned 4 while I turned 29 in April. I couldn’t believe I really was a parent to a whole 4 year old. Spring brought forth new friends with whom we shared many happy times having picnics in the park, hanging out at the butterfly museum and having barbecues and beer in the summer. We swam in the oceans and pools, visited the zoo and aquarium and had some more BBQs. It is no wonder I gained 4Kgs that have since stuck. We watched fireworks explode in psychedelic patterns in the sky. We made new, and beautiful, and hopefully everlasting friendships.

I went to an English camp for kids that same summer, mostly for Jeremy’s benefit. The heat was unbearable, I’m thinking I actually prefer Japanese winters to their summers. I also drove for about 9 hours to Niigata to apply for a visa to South Korea, and drove another 8 hours back. That was the straw that broke my Suzuki Wagon R’s back. It already had over 220,000Kms of mileage logged. In September that year, I had to let it go and acquired a second hand Nissan Note.

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View from tallest building in Niigata

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The summer ended on a high note, with a visit to VISA-FREE Malaysia. Yes, I will shout about NO-VISAS! Earth belongs to all of us Earthlings. Only an accident of birth led to where we were born, we are privileged but it’s not a right. We need to learn generosity and love towards one another. Do the best you can. Be nice.

Malaysia is lovely. I’d go back for a holiday any time. But really, any country on Earth is beautiful and lovely if you’re just visiting for a few days. So I don’t know what real life there is like.

Autumn came around, the leaves turned red and golden and we went for drives, searching the mountain raods for crimson leaves. Only to encounter snow. It was definitely a foretaste of the coming coldest winter that I have experienced.

I attended another conference in New Zealand. Again, it was a lovely country with friendly people and cute, fluffy sheep. I didn’t actually see the sheep but I did buy Jeremy a fluffy stuffed sheep, and if it’s anything like the real thing..

I read books in 2017. I was reading Cold Fire by Dean Koontz when I missed my flight back to Japan in January. I don’t remember much but it was quite the thriller. My aim in 2017 was to read a book a month, which is also what I hope to achieve in 2018. In February, I read Haruki Murakami’s Kafka on The Shore. I’ll definitely never forget the book. Highly recommended. On a high from Kafka’s adventures, I read Norwegian Wood by the same author, a more subtle but still highly enjoyable read. It drags a bit though, in the middle. I think. I would have to re-read it to be sure. I was beginning to enjoy Japanese writing and presumably thought Kazuo Ishiguro is Japanese too. His writing is as British as can be, because well, he is British. I enjoyed The Buried Giant, but it wasn’t an easy read. He won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Literature so I guess my reading tastes are validated. I followed that with The Great Gatsby, an American classic. I wasn’t reading it for study purposes so I enjoyed it for the novel that it is.

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This is my Golden Week plan.. #holiday #goldenweek

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In August and September, I finally finished reading the last book in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. It is a young adult novel and I really struggled with it because I am now an adult adult. A teenager (boy) would love the books. I was up for light reading in October, with only “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie. It took about an hour. Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari was my book of the year, and I saved the best for last: Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom.

I’ll probably won’t get time to review all the books I read so this post serves as a book review post as well.

2017 was quite busy, but 2018 will be the defining year for me and not just because I turn 30 while Jeremy turns 5.

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