2016 has come and gone, and 2017 has begun, with lovely weather and adventures awaiting.
Spent a lovely, quiet Christmas with my parents in Georgia. It inadvertently became a Colin Firth Christmas, as I saw four separate movies with him, one of which was excellent, two of which were entertaining and one that was sadly disappointing. (They would be Kingsmsn: The Secret Service, St. Trinian’s, St. Trinian’s 2: The Legend of Fritton’s Gold and Genius. How you can go wrong with a movie starring Colin Firth, Jude Law and Nicole Kidman, I dunno. But it was horrid.) Flew back to Japan in time for one last day of work before the new year and then it was off to Tokyo for a few days.
Not that I saw much of Tokyo itself, just a brief foray into Roppongi to see Granrodeo at a cancer benefit (their 7-song set was awesome!), and twice to meet friends for dinner in Ikebukuro. My how Roppongi has changed since I was last there in May, 2000. All those skyscrapers there now…. I’d ended up in Kawasaki, since that was the closest, non-smoking room I could get at Toyoko Inn. And the location turned out to be fantastic. Using the Keikyu line, I could get into Tokyo and Yokohama with ease, and was a mere 18 minutes from Haneda Airport. I’ll have to remember the location for future trips. I explored Kawasaki itself a little bit, walking to the main temple, Kawasaki Daishi (so named for Kobo Daishi, founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism here in Japan), and finally made it to the foreign area in Yokohama (along with an obligatory trip to Chinatown for steamed buns). I’ll have to to return to the latter when all the lovely houses aren’t closed for the holidays.
New Year’s Eve was spent at Nagashima Spa Land, riding many a fine rollercoaster, plus a few other rides. Then sitting in line for 3 hours waiting to get back in for the countdown live. The opening act, Ash Da Hero was quite tatooed, and pretty damn good. Granrodeo’s set was far, far too short, but, as always, excellent. And May’n, who closed out 2016 and then played into 2017 was fantastic (she’s always really good). After the show, we rang in the new year by cooking a very belated dinner/early breakfast at one of the park restaurants. Yes, cooked. We picked the meals, then cooked them on an outdoor flat grill. Amusing way to start the day.
Back to Kawasaki and sleep later that morning, then up for sushi feast with friends. Came home on the 2nd, back to work on the 4th. And back to Tokyo this weekend for the 20th anniversary Saiyuuki festa.
2017 is already plotted out through my birthday, including visit from my parents and another Granrodeo tour. Should be a busy, but fun, next few months!
As I’ve said before, I don’t generally do resolutions. Though I did rather well by last year’s, which was to eat at a new restaurant every week. I did manage over 40 new places, which is pretty good, I think. This year I’ll resolve to again make all the GR tour dates, visit either Ise shrine or the Kumano shrines, read more and study more. And eat at more new places, of course.