I once read somewhere that most New Year Resolutions are broken by mid February. Lucky for me I haven’t bothered to make any this year. So while gym goers up and down Britain are hanging up their trainers, I’m sitting on my sofa in Japan feeling all superior because I’ve not given up anything.
I did think that there is no New Year tradition of making self improvements in Japan. However last year I was given one of these:
This rotund red fellow is apparently modelled after a very important man in Buddhism and is given to people without the pupils coloured in. It is called a Daruma doll and it is hollow and made of papier-mâché. I was told by my student that I was to make a wish, colour one pupil in and then, once the wish came true, I could colour in the other. So I dutifully made my wish, coloured in a pupil and waited.
My wish did not come true all year.
So now it sits on my desk taunting me with it’s never ending wink. The past week I have been wondering quite what to do with it. Do I just throw the useless thing in the bin? Maybe I could drop it from a great hight. Perhaps I give it a ritualistic burning. Or does it roll over to the new year, much like the Lotto?
Asking people does not seem to have gotten me any closer to the answer so I decided to look at Wikipedia, the bastion of all knowledge, in an attempt to solve my problem. I discovered that I had done the whole thing wrong. You are not supposed to make a wish at all, but you should make a resolution, a goal or a big task. Leaving one eye blank is supposed to motivate you to work to finish the task because every time you look at it you are reminded of it. Which I guess makes sense.
So, I’ve done it all wrong then, no wonder my wish did not come true. I did find out what is done with them upon the year end though. Apparently they are brought back to the shrine they came from and a mass burning it is!
As I don’t know where mine originated, I guess I should give him a private send off. Or is that a little sacrilegious?
In all fairness not too many of the blogs I read on the interwebnets seem to been putting up a post such as this, either that or I haven’t noticed.
Anyway my new year’s resolutions this year are very simple.
1) Learn more Japanese
I suck at learning languages, I say this because to learn a new language requires constant practice and I don’t. I am an incredibly lazy person and I really should convert more of my loaf time into constructive time. Maybe I can set a certain amount of time everyday (except Mondays of course) to language learning. I’m not sure how long I will be able to stick to such a plan though, maybe I could give 100 yen to a random charity every time I don’t bother. There is nothing like the threat of punishment to get me to do something.
2) Get a new flat
While it is good that the company I work for sort out accommodation for you before you get to Japan, they overcharge for it considerably. So I need to find a new place just because I feel like I’m being exploited a bit. Getting a new flat is no easy task though, there are deposits and key money to pay, which could total about 3-6 months worth of rent. Most apartments come unfurnished too, which means buying a whole host of furniture. Not to mention guarantors to find, which my company refuses to do.
That’s about it really, I don’t ask much of myself so hopefully I won’t be too disappointed in myself.
So, 2008 then. Remember when the year 2000 sounded futuristic? We should all be living on the moon by now or something.
Recently there has been a flurry of activity on my friend’s various blogs, this can only be a good thing and I guess that “Updating blogs” was pretty high on my friend’s resolutions this year. It is genuinely a treat to read the thoughts of my old mates just because it could be a long time until I see them again, living in another country and all.
This post and in particular the line “Have a blog which people actually read” got me thinking…
I can’t imagine why anyone would want to read my blog unless they actually knew me. Why would anyone want to read a collection of random thoughts from a stranger? Sure, one day I may write a post with some genuinely useful information about something but I doubt that after reading that many people will stick around and read posts like this. To make this a website people would actually want to read maybe I would have to make it about something and maybe then it would lose a bit of my personality along the way.
Does anyone read blogs of random strangers, which aren’t about about anything in particular?
Back on the topic of new year’s resolutions I have a couple myself, most of which are just silly but the main one is to start studying Japanese again, I have been way lazy over the last couple of months and I really need to improve my spoken Japanese. I miss having random conversations with supermarket checkout staff.