Goodbye 2015

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With the coming of the new year, and with that a time to look back on 2015 before looking forward into 2016. I thought I’d make a post to update my progress during 2015…

Looking Back

In the beginning of 2015, I made a list of New Year’s resolutions or 新年の抱負(しんねんのほうふ / shin’nen no houfu). Let’s look at how I fared in terms of my resolutions:

Earn my Master’s degree – Successfully completed!

I was able to successfully write and defend my thesis before the end of the spring semester in May, and just this month I received my diploma. Honestly, this was the most important resolution, because everything from getting married to getting a job were dependent upon this resolution. No pressure. The good news is that I can check this 2015 resolution off as complete.

Goodbye grad school

Goodbye grad school – photo by kei

Start working in a real-world job – Successfully completed!

Because I completed my Master’s degree on time, I was able to successfully accept a position I had been offered the previous year. I started a new job in my major, and I get to travel quite a bit for work. Obtaining a real-world job after graduate school is really the last step to that degree. It was also an important part of the plan where my fiance came to the US and we got married, so I happily checked this resolution off soon after the first.

Get married – Successfully completed!

This resolution was one I waited to complete for a long time. My fiance is Japanese, and he needed a K-1 visa to come to the US. That meant that we couldn’t get married until after he arrived in the US via the visa. And I didn’t want him to come to the US before I had graduated and was ready to start work. So, with the first two resolutions complete, we were able to buy a plane ticket for my fiance to come to the US and we were able get married.

Watabe Wedding Photo

Wedding Photo – kei

Keep blogging – Mostly success!

Ok, so I am not blogging every day, or even more than once a week at the most, but with all the changes over the last year, I am proud of the fact that I’m still blogging. Even though it’s taken a while, I have been fairly diligent with my Japan Diaries series and I still read other blogs on a pretty regular basis. So, while there is room for improvement, I am still pretty much on track with this resolution!

Study for and pass the JLPT – Good try!

While I’ve kept up my study of Japanese, I could always study more. I bought Japanese Language Proficiency Test N3 (mid level) books, and I study fairly regularly on the weekends. The next challenge will be to figure out where I can take the JLPT, which is held only annually in the US, and only at a handful of cities. If I can, I’d like to take the JLPT in December of 2016. Let’s keep studying Japanese!

Read something real-world on a daily basis – Mostly success!

I’ve been keeping up with world news regularly, which, if you also keep up with real-world news, you know is very depressing. So once I’ve ascertained the main thrust of a story, I generally don’t keep up with all the opinions, editorials, and general discussion that follows. I’m proud of myself for finally keeping up with world news, and I feel like a responsible adult.

Become a better photographer – Try again next year!

This is the resolution that I really failed to meet. I haven’t had much opportunity to mess with my camera, and when I am on a work trip, I usually don’t bring it because I am trying to pack light. I end up just snapping photos with my mobile, throw a filter on it, and I’m done. So, this was my least successful resolution.

Lake Ashinoko

Artistic? Lake Ashinoko – photo by kei

Eat healthier – Mostly success!

While I finished up my Master’s thesis, my diet was pretty horrendous. But once my fiance arrived in the US and we got married, my diet improved thanks to him! He cooks dinner almost every night, and thanks to his health consciousness, they are very healthy meals. Healthy eating makes a world of difference, and I feel a lot better than when I was in my last throes of grad school.

Hakone Ryokan Food

Healthy traditional Japanese food in Hakone – photo by kei

Improve upper body strength – Good try!

My initial goal was to improve my upper body strength, especially by focusing on weights. Instead, I’ve been working on my core (abdominal muscles, back muscles, etc.) with body weight exercises, and not really using any weights. So, the good news is I’ve been working out, but the bad news is my upper body strength is still lacking. Maybe next year…

In 2015, there were a lot of changes in my life! I’ve accomplished a lot of the goals I set for myself, but there’s always room for improvement. Has my year been perfect? Not at all. Stress from grad school, stress from work, a fender-bender car accident, and other unexpected expenses have popped up in between the good times. I’m in a new city at a new job trying to find my place, which has been a pretty rocky road. But in the end, it’s been a great year!

I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year, and prosperity in 2016!

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