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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Merry Christmas!

I'm not sure what I should write about re: Japan and this blog. I've written about Japan and Christmas in the past... I've written about how I celebrated Christmas in Japan... I've written about how it was sometimes lonely because your family and friends are back in whatever country you are from... and I've written about how the people in Japan - foreigner friends and Japanese friends - can make you feel like a million billion yen because they care enough about you to make sure you aren't feeling lonely.

Right now, I feel like I am so far away from all the people I once knew in Japan... and then I hear that they still remember me - 23 years later, and I feel close again.

My buddy Matthew - who lived in the same city of Ohtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken, as I did during my stay in Japan - has been a frequent visitor back to Japan over the past 20 years... and for once in my life, I am neither jealous or envious... just grateful.

Matthew was one of those people - especially that first year I spent in Japan back in 1990 - who made sure I didn't go dark and hide inside a part of my brain that made me ugly on the inside.

My parents were in Toronto, my friends, too... my girlfriend had gone to Thailand without me - getting a ticket for herself after we broke up... and even after we got back together again, it was too late for me to go to Thailand.... and I was feeling lonely... and then Matthew came a knocking on my apartment door with his board of education boss Mr. Suzuki, and they dragged me out.... well, actually... I think they did.

I do know they dragged me out for New Year's Eve... but whatever... the point is, I'm not going back to look up what I wrote in this blog years ago... and instead I am going to concentrate on the stuff I do know.

The photo above was my Christmas decorations back in 1990 in Ohtawara-shi. There was a small shop in the city that sold decorations, which I hung all over a poor pine tree I bought at the local grocery store, Iseya. The rest of the decorations on the table were Christmas cards from well-wishers back home and from my friends in Japan.

Sometimes... you just have to stop and take a moment or two and think about things. Lonely... naw... people cared enough to send wishes to me, and I to them.

In hind sight... and that was mere moments after I decorated the tree... I realized I was lucky to be spending my Christmas in Japan when most all other assistant English teachers and foreigners working in Japan were doing their damndest to get out of the country.

Matthew and I were among the many and the few who spent Christmas in Japan, because that was really the place we had wanted to be.

Even me... the dumbass who didn't want to go to Japan in the first place.

And here I am 26+ years later, writing about Japan. It's funny how things work out even when you don't think they will.

I do know that I have enjoyed the past year with you loyal readers - excluding Matthew, I don't believe I have ever physically met you. And yet... when you find a moment, many of you drop me a note... and I just wanted to say I appreciate it.

Anyhow... I have no idea how many of you celebrate Christmas, but for those that do, my greeting at the top of this blog will hopefully suffice. For the rest of you - Happy holidays, season's greetings, Happy Hanukkah, Merry Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus for the rest of us... what ever and however you celebrate - have a good one.

By the way... I am still up for writing this blog every day... and since finding topics to write about or to put my own unique spin on is difficult, feel free to drop me a line with a topic you might want me to investigate.

Also... I write a historical fact-finding tour de force blog called Pioneers of Aviation about the state of aviation history from 1919 and earlier... where I try and find the correct answers that conflict one another to provide a complete, or as complete a spot of information I can find on various plane designers, pilots and aircraft of the early age.

Basically, I try and fix the information to ensure that history is correct, and that the men and women who played an important role in helping travelers get from point A to point B, are remembered and are given their due. Everybody wants to be remembered, right?

 I base my choices on sets of tobacco cards that were issued in 1910 and 1911, which I know sounds dumb, but ya gotta start somewhere. Click HERE.

It's a good blog. You should read it. And maybe I'll start another blog in 2017.

My friends... thank you for being there for me... thank you for reading this blog.

I have always said, that as long as at least one person takes the time to read what ever I am blathering on about, then I will continue to write. So it's your fault.

It'll be close, but this month of December looks to be one of the strongest for readers of the blog yet. 

Andrew Joseph

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