Since I'm far away from home and can't do this sort of thing with friends back home
, I might as well do it virtually:
1. What did you do in 2004 that you'd never done before?
Moved to another country. Taught English as a second language. Flown overseas on a 747. Ate a shrimp with its eyes and little antennae looking at me. Accidently ate noodles that were really fish (also with eyes). Finished a novel (sort of cheating, but I did finish on January 2nd of 2004, then revised up to the point of this October, so I think it counts.
2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Um, I don't really make firm resolutions. I just always have hopes to change and grow for the better, to keep changing and experiencing new things and to get better at being human and humane.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Unfortunately, yes. Bob Donaldson, working class hero/shelterer of crazy kids.
5. What countries did you visit?
Canada, and I'm of course in Japan. I live here, but I do often feel like a guest, so to speak.
6. What would you like to have in 2005 that you lacked in 2004?
Less financial worries. More faith and trust in people.
7. What dates from 2004 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Election day, because it was a tragedy. The day I arrived in Japan, because it was one of the most subtley strange experiences I've had.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Moving to Japan, finishing a novel, getting an agent to represent my writing, learning to trust myself more again.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not trusting my feelings when I should have.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing out of the ordinary.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
So many people's (hence the acquiring of more faith and trust in people).
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The powers that be. Bush. Those who voted to define marriage as existing only between men and women. You all suck really really really bad.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Getting prepared to come to Japan.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The prospect of selling a book, living in another culture.
16. What song will always remind you of 2004?
Imagine, by John Lennon. It's hit me hard this year. Really hard.
17. Compared to this time last year, you are:
Happier, really, even with the crappy people listed in question 13 out there in the world telling people how to live, as if they know better.
18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Spent more time with my friends.
19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
I wish I hadn't cloistered myself in my apartment so much for several months, but you know, it felt right at the time and probably was.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
Christmas Eve in Tokyo with Mr. Kobayashi. Christmas, most likely on the phone with family and friends. Unfortunately, all my friends around here are either going on a trip during Christmas week or returning to America etc. So it'll just be me and my, well I almost said my cat, but he's not here. Just me.
22. Did you fall in love in 2004?
Yes. With Hobbes, mentioned above. My cat. Working on it still with people. There are a couple of candidates that are looking good, but this may have to wait for 2005.
23. How many one-night stands?
Puh-leeze. I am a traditional boy in that respect, even if I act like a whore.
24. What was your favorite TV program?
I don't really watch TV.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Hmm, nope. Same people.
26. What was the best book you read?
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, also Like the Red Panda by Andrea Siegel. Oh yeah, and Sputnik Sweetheart, by Murakami.
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I will have to write an entire entry about this, because it's Utada Hikaru, the Japanese singer I was dissing pretty badly when I first got here. So I found out her Japanese music is utterly gorgeous. It's just her English debut album that sucks sucks sucks. Public apology to Utada. Just please don't listen to whoever talked you into Easy Breezy. Damn girl! That song is cho hidoi! (Super terrible!)
28. What did you want and get?
I wanted a change of residence. I got it. (Thanks for helping, Mom, Dad, and G-Dad).
29. What did you want and not get?
Since I'm having a difficult time thinking of an answer, I suppose whatever I wanted and didn't get was, in the end, inconsequential. Or no longer wanted.
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
The Incredibles. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Probably I'm forgetting something and if I remember, I'll just edit the post. Feels like a blank year in my memory for movies though.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I went out out with Alan and Kristin in Youngstown, then went to the beach in Erie the next day. Very relaxing. I turned 29.
32.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Ugh, reference question 13 and do the math.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2004?
Hmm, I didn't really go for a look this year.
34. What kept you sane?
My cat for a few months made me focus on his insanity instead of my own. Then my mother for a few months in the summer made me focus on her insanity instead of my own. Now I'm in Japan and I have lots of things to distract me, so I'm feeling pretty sane.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
No one's really ringing any bells for me lately, actually.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Far too many, but the marriage between men and women only issue and like, you know, this whole war is the way thing. Those are at the top.
37. Who did you miss?
Well, everyone. Too many people to count at the moment, for the past four months now.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
Tadashi and Karina and Hizuru and the sensei's Fujita, Ohama, Nagasawa, Hiraga, Kiuchi, and Onuki. Also Ida sensei, because she reminds me of my one grandma, only Japanese. Oh and the sensei whose name I forget who sits across the desk from me and always tells me my shirts and my haircuts (the last two, thanks to Hizuru) are suteki! (fashionably cool!) She's the home ec teacher here, and reminds me of a Japanese version of my mom.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2004:
Believe in my own feelings and assessments. Trust myself and my own judgements. Trust who I am.