Well guys it's 2017 and by some awful turn of events, it seems like it's going to be far, far worse than 2016 ever was.
But I'm not going to talk about that right now. I'll be here for the next year typing out all my rage and vitriol at our new world order if I did that.
I went home to Oklahoma for the past 5 weeks and I had grand plans to do lots of blogging while I was there relaxing, but a forgotten laptop with all my needed pictures and notes put a stop to that plan.
In the spirit of last year's post, I thought I'd do another round up of what our major 2016 events were in bullet point format.
- I woke up pretty hungover at a friend's house and went back to my house to sleep off the day. Not an auspicious start to the year, but probably a common one world wide.
- I spent a day at a camel farm right outside of Stillwater, OK. It was camel mating season.
- I came back to Japan after a few weeks in the US. It was cold, but I was glad to be back.
- Finally, I went to the Daruma Temple in Minoh!
- I threw beans at Josh in our house for setsubun. I had some Japanese women make comments about the stuff in my basket for setsubun and it finally clicked for me how exhausting passive racism is for my friends back in the US.
- I spent a weekend at Ako Onsen with a friend. There was a glorious infinity pool overlooking the ocean. We ate so many oysters I actually can't eat them anymore.
- We went to Guam! It was great! Please take me back!
I went to Tokyo for an After JET seminar. It was whatever, but I got to go to Gotokuji, aka the cat temple.
I had my last graduation ceremony for my schools. One of my schools had the kids shout out what they want to be when they grow up in English and I cried.
I went to Kobe's Animal Kingdom and fed toucans.
Went to Kyoto in kimono and spent the day looking at beautiful camellias.
Went to the Sailor Moon Cafe in Osaka, twice.
Spent a few days at Tomogashima in Wakayama. Got crazy drunk with the minshuku owner on the island.
Went to Uji with some friends for the first time. Once again I wish I liked matcha so I could enjoy one of the bajillion matcha cafes in Kyoto.
Went to the Daruma temple for the second time.
We spent Golden week camping in Amanohashidate.
I had a lot of picnics in Nakanoshima Park in Osaka.
My sister came to Japan!
We went to Okinawa and spent a day on Zamami Island. We saw sea turtles.
Found out we were moving to Kobe.
- I took my sister to Taipei for a few days. We ate so much I wasn't hungry for days.
- Rachel came to Japan!!!!
- We went to a wedding in Kyoto.
- We went camping in Tomogashima again. It was simultaneously the best/worst weekend of my life.
- Precious and Rachel left and my life was over.
- Found out we needed to find our own housing for Kobe within a month.
Spent the entire month trying to find a place to live and then arrange moving.
Got really, really screwed over.
I finished my back tattoo with Gakkin.
I said goodbye to the places I had worked for 5 years. There was a lot of crying.
I went to Tenjin Matsuri with some friends while Josh was in Tokyo for his JET seminar.
We moved on the very last day of July to Kobe.
The first few weeks were spent unpacking everything we had just literally packed.
We registered as residents of Kobe.
We had a few friends come stay with us.
We said a lot of painful goodbyes to friends who moved to other cities, other places.
We spent a weekend in Awaji-shima.
I went to Tokyo to see the planets exhibit I kept seeing on Instagram.
I went to get Kushikatsu in Shinsekai with a friend.
We went camping around the Kyoto/Nara border with friends.
I went to USJ to see the Halloween event with friends.
We attended the opening of the Kobe Luminarie.
We spent a day hiking Takamikurayama.
We both went to Oklahoma for the holidays.
Josh went to Colorado to see his uncle for a few days while I stayed in Tulsa with my family.
The day after X-mas we started off on our Southwest Adventure. We spent 9ish days traveling around the Southwest visiting friends and seeing sights. If you want to see a lot of photos go to instagram and look at #jnjtravelsusa
We rang in the New Year in Phoenix on our friends' couch watching HGTV and eating toshikoshi soba.
When I type it all, it does appear we did a lot. We saw some cool festivals, moved to another prefecture, I found a home for us pretty much by myself in Japanese, went to a few different places around Japan, and went to Guam. We also had a few real tests of our relationship and said goodbye to some people who meant a lot to us. Our entire core group of friends evaporated. I was left questioning where I want to go in life. At times I felt like I was on a boat in the ocean with no map, no sails, and no compass to guide me. On a personal level, it was a brutal year. So this year I have no real goals or plans. At this point I'd just like to hope that 2017 doesn't end with complete stripping away of minority rights and sending me back to the kitchen. I had hoped to go back to school this April, but that won't be happening this year. Hopefully I can dedicate myself to some Japanese study, find a job that I don't dread everyday, and learn how to play around in photoshop. I hope we can visit a new country this year, like Canada or Thailand.
And while this blog has been sporadic at best, I just want to say thank you to those of you've kept on reading even when I'm a sad sack. Thank you to everyone who has supported us this year and made us laugh. Thank you to our families. We are everything we are because of you.
2017 I'm coming at ya.