Auld Lang Syne

The year 2016 is coming to an end, and it has been an eventful one for us. We are nearing the end of our first year in Japan. On New Year’s Eve last year, we were eagerly anticipating our move. Stress was high, and there were many uncertainties ahead. Now, looking back, it has been a tremendously satisfying experience.

As we expected, the transition to living in Japan hasn’t always been easy. There are some days when we just have to shake our heads and say, “why are we doing this?” Fortunately, those days are few and far between, and seem to be getting less frequent the longer we are here.

The language remains a frustration to me. My wife is picking it up more quickly, with more time to study. Our first round of language courses came to an end just before the holidays. Looking back, we have learned a lot. But the course had little emphasis on practicing dialogue, and I find myself still unable to carry on even a simple conversation in Japanese. I never expected to become fluent. I do want to be able to have a simple dialogue at the grocery store or a restaurant. That remains my goal as we begin a new year here.

Tonight, we will spend New Year’s Eve in Tokyo. Plans are to see some fire

New Year’s mochi commemorating the year of the chicken – 2017

works at Odaiba, then see what we can find to do. It is traditional to have soba noodles at midnight on New Year’s, from what we’re told. We’ll see what we can find.

As we approach the beginning of our second year in Japan, we do so with excitement and enthusiasm. 2016 was a good year for us. We look forward to what 2017 has to offer.

To quote a verse from the chorus of the traditional folk song Auld Lang Syne, “We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun til dine; But seas between us broad have roared, since auld lang syne.”

Have a Happy New Year!


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My husband and I were both born and raised in Kansas, but for the past 20+ years we have been living in Atlanta, Georgia. Now, with our children grown and out of the house, we have the opportunity to spend two years living in Tokyo. My husband will be working with the Japanese counterpart to his American company. UPDATE 2023... After 4-1/2 years in Tokyo, we returned to Atlanta. Now we are heading to London for a three year job assignment!

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