I’ve just written an enormous post for my Japanese blog looking back over the year, so this version is likely to be a bit smaller. The Japanese blog does tend to get prioritised over this one, I’m afraid.
So, from a personal perspective, it was a good year. It was our first full year as parents, and we have largely adapted to having a small child in the family. Of course, Mayuki herself is delightful, and her growth this year has, naturally, been amazing. At the beginning of the year she couldn’t even sit up, but now she’s running around the flat, parks, and shopping malls, and imitating us constantly. She can say “bye-bye” and “hai” (Japanese for “yes”), as well as a few other words that are a bit more approximate, including “Daddy”. For some reason, she doesn’t seem to want to say “Mummy”, but when she woke up last night she was very clear that Daddy was not good enough, and that Mummy had to come, so it must just be something about the words.
She enjoys helping Yuriko to clean, getting the extra vacuum cleaner nozzle from the cupboard and so on, although apparently when she tried to help sweep up leaves on the balcony it was not completely effective as a means of tidying them up. She got a new doll for Christmas, with a bottle and nappies, and she plays at looking after her. In other words, she’s being a typical child, which is good.
She also seems happy; she does shout and scream from time to time, but it’s almost always from excitement, and her crying is fairly limited. We are in the halcyon days, with the terrible twos to look forward to.
Work has also gone fairly well. Ice Yearning has not yet been a great success, but that could be said of a lot of novels, so I’m going to be trying again next year. Actually, this year, in the UK and US, jut barely, so watch out for that. Teaching has been going well, with my students almost all continuing their lessons. I still want to recruit a few more, but only a few. Over all, then, work could have been better, but it was good enough.
Of course, looking at the wider world, things have gone less well, with wars from Africa through the Middle East to Georgia and east to Afghanistan, plus continued terrorism across much of the world. People are still not taking environmental problems as seriously as they deserve, and probably won’t until the crises start to hit the developed world as well. But we can still hope.
I can’t do anything on a global scale, so I will have to concentrate on making Mayuki’s local environment as good as possible, to raise her to be able to cope with the larger problems that are bound to surround her. And, of course, ensure that she enjoys the process of growing up.