Last year was a strange year. I spent half of it working as an English teacher, living in Tokyo and going to work in a building attached to the second busiest train station in the world. For part of it, I was commuting to the high-rise office building of the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and, for some reason I’m still not quite sure of, entrusted with teaching their employees how to use English and therefore work internationally. I ‘survived’ the Great Tohoku Earthquake of last March by whit of being nowhere near the epicentre, only having to suffer the indignity of the hyperbolic news and the constant aftershocks. I got a half-sleeve tattoo from an exceptional Japanese artist. I quit my job, visa waning, and returned to the UK. I started learning German through the Open University and visited Berlin to see Rammstein, my favourite band, play their hometown live as part of their Made in Germany tour. I got a job working at the local Asda as a stock person, replenishing shelves and dealing with harried customers during the rush up to Christmas. On Christmas Eve I, like every other temp, was let go. I spent some time in the Great Mild North lamenting the lack of snow.
And now it’s 2012.
I’ve come into this year with a kind of blank slate. No job, no plans, no idea what I’m going to do with myself. Well, I have some ideas. I’m going to be doing the Goodreads challenge again, but this time, I’ve set myself a much lower goal. I’m sure I’ll be playing plenty of videogames, watching a lot of movies – I may set myself a ‘goal’ there too – and even more television. On more serious notes, I’m considering applying to do an MA. Towards the end of the year when the applications come up again, I may even apply to the JET Programme, seeing as it wouldn’t take me abroad again until more than halfway through 2013.
And I think I’ll be spending a lot of time marvelling over it being 2012, which sounds wonderfully science-fictional.
Oh, and the person responsible for this has decided to set me a series of challenges, the first of which is to learn all the American states and their capitals. For some reason.