Saturday, December 31, 2011

Enter the (year of the) Dragon!

Did we ever get to see "Aunt Petunia"?
So, another year is coming to it's end and with some surprise and horror I realise that this will be the fifth year of existence for this little blog. Japan is now finally leaving the year of the puny rabbit for the year of the mighty dragon. As has now become an institution at this blog, I will do a quick review of the year 2011 for you.

Biggest Event of 2011 is basically a no-brainer... The earthquake and following tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 is without any competition the biggest event of the year. To be honest, living in the Tokyo area and working (more than) full time as a salaryman with a hungry family to feed when I get home, it's really hard to believe that it was less than a year ago the earthquake struck. Life in Tokyo pretty quickly went back to normal, but every now and then reminders of the horrible tragedy shows up. The quake itself and the week directly following it will forever be etched in my mind though, pretty scary stuff.

Biggest Non-Earthquake Related Event of 2011 is the changing of jobs (again) making me realise just how painful it can be to change jobs from a comfy (but not challenging) position where you know everything and everyone to a completely new environment way out of the comfort zone, having to go through the 'ol song and dance routine again. Now, almost six months later, I'm finally starting to settle in and getting my bearings, just about when an old friend gave me a call out of the blue with a very attractive job offer (we'll see what happens to that, the job seems great, but the timing for me is equally not-great).

Girl that Occupied my Brain in 2011 is... ... ... toddler Sunshine. I wish they came with a manual, but as she is now over a year and half, she's getting a little easier to interpret. As nice as it is with the Sunshine girls at home, I'm starting to feel the need for a Jnr. Salaryman to maintain the status quo of mutually assured self destruction  

Most Important New Life Companion of 2011 is my beloved iPad! As my new job carries with it a lot more travelling across the country in work, the iPad has become invaluable as I have packed enough entertainment there to last me at least a year. The iPad is packed with movies, e-books, e-magazines, games and comics and as if it's not enough to use it out of the home, I basically carry it around with me all the time in the house as well. The only drawback I can see is that I'm getting a bit lazy with it, using my stationary computer much less than before and dropping comments on other people's blogs I read and appreciate becomes a little more of a hassle (sorry about that!).

Biggest Revelation of 2011 is much harder to pinpoint... Looking back, 2011 was actually a quite poor year when it came to great movies and music (hey, at least what came up on my radar) with no particular movie or music artist and/or album that really rocked my world (hey, there were quite a few really good ones though), but when it comes to the world of entertainment I guess discovering the TV-show Dexter and working my way through the first five seasons in the commute comes pretty high. I had heard the name before but never really thought it was worth investing the time to try and watch until Big Bro recommended it and I got hooked.

Best Video Game of 2011 is actually much harder as a large number of really really great games came out in 2011, but for me, the without doubt best game of 2011 has been The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. This game has forced me to neglect both family, work and precious sleeping time as I've been completely immersed in the world of that game. Part of me is happy to say that it looks like I have quite some ways to go until I finish the game, but the other part of me feels bad about me withdrawing into my den to play the game when I really have better things to do. If you're into games, you probably already know the game so I won't mention it in any detail, but it's like a mix of Fallout, the Elder Scrolls, Diablo and a bunch of other games I can't remember now. The sense of wonder and fun of exploration that I felt when playing the game is one that I probably haven't felt since I first played Fallout 2 or even way back to Wasteland on the old C64...   

Best Blog of 2011 is probably also worth a mention. I'm not sure on how much of an achievement it is coming from me, as I don't really read blogs that much, basically the stuff that is on my blogroll from time to time ,but I don't go out hunting for new blogs to read. But the blog that I find most interesting is that of Aussie bird Corinne in the outback of Kyoto and her blog "Always leaving things unfinishe" (yes, the final "d" is not supposed to be there). At this point, I get the feeling that we already share most of the readership base (or to be more correct, most of the people who read my blog also check out hers, her horde of foreign women married to Japanese men probably couldn't care less about my blog) so I might be preaching to the mosque here, but if you haven't checked it out I highly recommend you to do so. A very close runner-up is the good 'ol Badboy Chris with his "Confessions of a Badboy in Japan", and the rest is in the blogroll.

Whatever Happened to... of 2011 is a brand new category for this year (let's pretend that I'm consistent here, just for kicks) and is custom made for The Octopus! Good 'ol Octopus had a quite funny blog (although very irregularly updated at the best of times) and was one of "my regular" commentators whose comments quite often made me burst out in a grin-like parody of a smile, but who, since autumn seemed to stop existing on the Internet.

With that, I want to wish all of my readers a very Happy New Year! Hope you all have a great 2012 and hope to see you around here in the year of the Dragon.

Up until now, I've steadily increased my readership base year by year, but in 2011 the earthquake (for obvious reasons) drove a lot more traffic to my site so I feel a bit anxious about having 2012 be the first year that my pageviews go down compared to the year before it, so tell your friends, ok?


Medea said...

I'm one of the horde of foreign women married to Japanese men who follows you from Corinne. Since I'm a salary(wo)man I have more in common with you I think. I'll be back. Again.

Happy new year!

gaijinwife said...

A Jnr sounds like a nice way to even out the man stakes and help make 2012 a fabulous year. Definitely the year of the dragon has to be better than the rabbit - if for nothing more than its my year.
Happy New Year. Were you not forced to the in-laws to eat mochi and twenty three mikan sitting under the kotatsu?

TheOctopus said...

(Waves from beneath my coconut shell) Still around here somewhere, been somewhat pre-occupied with shuffling papers and stuff about, but I might have a free tentacle or two for some more energetic typing in the forseeable future. Happy New Year to you and your Sunshines, and nice timing on the post BTW.

F. said...

Godt Nytt Ar, ya naughty salaryman! And good to see the Octopus is still alive and kicking (?).

Chris said...

"Girl that Occupied my Brain in 2011 is... ... ..."

I was hoping for some kinda deep confession. Banging the office temp lady stays a secret for another year apparently? ;)

In before Corrine!!!!!

She left you behind. She's big time now. She doesn't even know who the fuck we are anymore...:(

aimlesswanderer said...

Be aware that you may get junior toddler sunshine, so you may end up outnumbered 3-1. That, or you need to raise the new one as a surrogate son, though that would likely horrify the nihonjin (not to mention the wife).

Theresa said...

I'm a foreign woman married to a Japanese man and was just thinking about how few blogs I like. Many of them are either boring or vulgar. I like yours.

Mr. Salaryman said...

Medea - You are very right, do not ever let people call you an "office lady"! If you do more than pour tea at a corp, you're a Salarywoman and not an OL. Happy new year to you as well and hope to see you around!

GaijinW - Thank you and happy new year to you as well! Compared to 2011, 2012 can't really be worse, can it? I shudder to think what that would be like, earthquakes, meltdowns and all... This year wasn't that much Japanese style (thankfully?) but soon it's back to work...

Octopus - Haha, I knew you were around somewhere. I really wonder if that Octopus with the coconut shell is "super smart" or just a regular mentally ill octopus? I can't really see the benefit of rolling up inside a coconut? To be honest, I actually wrote the post a few hours before midnight, but put a timer on it to post at 23:59, fancy, huh?

F. - Hmmm... I can't even figure out how to say Gott Nytt Ar in Norwegian... But Gott Nytt Ar to you all the same! I see you have shed some skin but that writing is recognizable ;)

Chris - Indeed, you can easily say that 2011 wasn't the most sexed up year ever for Mr. and Mrs. Salaryman, a small baby kinda does that to you (especially one who refuses to nap regularly...)... And yeah, Corinne thinks she's too good for us now even though that WE built her up to what she is now. No shame in her that woman.

Aimless - Indeed, it is a gamble, but the odds should be almost 50-50 and I really don't have much to lose as I'm already outnumbered and outgunned, I'll cross my fingers!

Therese - Thank you very much and hope to see you around here in 2012 as well then :)

Ibraheem said...

speaking of great TV shows, If you liked Dexter you'll love Breaking Bad.

aimlesswanderer said...

In theory it may be 50/50, but you never know. My grandparents had 7 girls in a row! Then decided that they should adopt a son.

The other grandparents had girl, boy, girl, boy, girl, boy, girl, boy.

Anonymous said...

Hey hang on, Im a European woman married to a Japanese guy and I love your blog (admittedly find you through Corinne tho ) ;-)

Mr. Salaryman said...

Ibraheem - Indeed, I did download all of the Breaking Bad shows so far and considering whether it's worth my time or not. It's a bit darker than Dexter (which is a bit of a comedy), right?

Aimless - Well, my stance is that I'm already outnumbered and outgunned so adding one more to the enemy won't really make any difference... But seven girls, wow! That's a lot of talk about periods around the dinner table!

Anon - There you go! But you are anyway very welcome around ;)

ike said...

great blog you have there.
yea, i like Dexter as well, i'd rec Downton Abbey, Entourage, Sherlock, the Good Wife as well.

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