It's 12:01 AM on December 25, 2012 as this is being published, and I realize that for many of you around the world, the day is almost done. As such, I hope everyone had a great day, regardless of your beliefs.
I just want to take the time to give a special should out to a few of you who have my 2012 most enjoyable.
Thanks to Caroline, Cathy L., Cathy D., Morgana, and cuz. Rachel, and my wife Colette, if not for reading this blog, but for at least looking out for stories for me to publish or to research and get a chance to learn more about a plethora of things I would never have thought about in a million years.
As well, thanks to Matthew, Mike R., Jimbo, Ryu, Peter A., Michael P., who have taken the time to help me out with words of advice and story ideas.
And... I'm probably omitting a few people. So... let's add in new and old friends like Rob J., Doug. M, Nigel, Kevin, new buddy Rik in the Middle East, Paul in the UK, Matt. P, Mike O., my son Hudson who is amazed by what I show him on here, Steve in the US, and really, all of you who write in with cryptic comments and words of advice or critical thoughts and curious questions - I love it.
Michael H in Australia... and old friend Charlie who recently contacted me via LinkedIn, and Kristine S. who is busy with her newborn kid, and Jim P. also in Oz... you guys have always been my friend.
It's kind of bizarre to think that when I started, my goal was to do maybe 100 of these blogs and then move onto another topic. While I didn't keep track of my readership that first year starting in July of 2009, it's safe to say I never broke 300 hits a month - for all 59 of the blogs I created.
It's kind of weird to continue writing something like this, though I am 19 years removed from Japan... but the place still holds me in its thrall as a sense of wonder. There is no longing about opportunities missed, or anything like that. No. But for me, I try to honor Japan - to say thanks in helping me grow up - by doing this blog.
Heck... even back in February of 2011, we only had 1,419 total hits for the month. Excellent... to know that once a month I was finally able to break a thousand readers... it made me happy.
Since then, I get that number of hits on a soft day, all the way up to peak days of 2,593 this past December 19. And while I am sure the majority of hits are looking for something specific, it's nice to know that GOOGLE thinks I am a good place to recommend people to when they are searching for specifics on Japan. Heck... this month, I'll break 52,000 hits, if I'm lucky. In one month. It pales in comparison to some other blogs, but that's cool.
I know that when I am finally done writing about Japan, I will be proud of the entire body of work, knowing that for anyone wanting a good read on the country or on certain aspects of it historically, I will not have led anyone astray with false information (though, it is true mistakes are always possible, and are gladly corrected with help from you all). Heck... my dad ripped me after the first ever blog pointing out that I had made a few grammatical errors. I still make those, of course. Not on purpose, but they are present.
So... as another year approaches... I am still after one more thing for 2012... and that's to actually have posted 730 blogs for the year. That would imply that I have posted an average of two stories per day. Two per day on Google +, Facebook and Twitter.
Yes, Virginia, Japan - It's A Wonder Rife has a Facebook page... that has a total of five followers (including good friend Andrew J. Hall, who passed away this summer). It's stuff like that... that keeps me humble.
Anyhow... thank you for reading... we have one more week until the beginning of 2013... so let's be safe and healthy... because well... you all make me complete.
Oh... and Matthew and his wife Takako, and kids Michelle and Alex... I hope my family can come down for a visit one summer day. Really... I don't snore anymore.
PS: That photo above was from my first Christmas in Japan back in 1990 - spent with Matthew, believe it or not, who helped save my Christmas spirit.