Tuesday January 1 2013, 1:10 a.m.
I'm not typing this as I decompress at the denouement of a New Year's Eve party. I'm at home in my PJs while the television is showing the rerun of the annual NHK Red-and-White Song Festival. My parents are taping the 4.75-hour extravaganza and don't know how to use the timer function on the VCR (yes, we still have that contraption). Therefore, I must stay awake until 2 a.m. when the show finally finishes up. The White (Men's) Team won....and pretty handily, I must say. The Red (Women's) Team had a few problems amongst its participants. I wouldn't say that singers like Ayumi Hamasaki and Mika Nakashima were solely responsible for their team losing, but they certainly didn't help with some wretchedly off-tune performances. My face automatically scrunched up at the aural horror unleashed upon me, and my brain wholly wished that the Japanese would invent an Auto-Tune microphone for these two if they are ever asked back. It was nice seeing Princess Princess getting a final chance on stage on their first, only, and final appearance at the festival.
Earlier today, I went out with The Wild Guy and his family to a mutual friend's house out on the West End for some lunch. Our host was nice to create a Chinese-themed meal....considering the spread she put out, it would've cost close to $40 if we'd had the same thing at a restaurant in Yokohama easily. I only had to pay with a contribution of Laura Secord.
I've been back in Canada now for a year and two weeks. It's been a transitional period although it hasn't had anything to do with any difficulty in settling back into life in the hometown. I've been quite comfortable here. However, over the last 12 months, I've seen myself shift out of teaching, something that I've done for a quarter of a century, and into translating and writing on a couple of blogs. What has kept things connected for me between Japan and Canada is social media. With sites such as Facebook, I have been able to keep pretty good contact with my old friends in Tokyo and Chiba, even though I can no longer meet them in person for the foreseeable future. Being back in Toronto, though, I've also experienced the realization that some of my old friends have become more distant due to family responsibilities and proximity, but other friends have become closer. Certainly, the Anime King is one such fellow and I have gotten a good grounding in what has been popular in the otaku field in my time back home....something that I probably wouldn't have had in the birthplace of anime itself due to the ever-present stigma. Being in a 'foreign' country has provided some measure of sanctuary. Strangely enough, the King is currently traveling in Japan right now and won't be back for a few more weeks.
Not sure what 2013 has in store for me. I can assume that translation will continue to be my new main source of income while people like Mr. Moriya and Swank will provide me with some wisps of my main professional life....at least for a little while. I actually did a quick proofread of the latter student's application letter a couple of nights ago. She was quite appreciative of my efforts on the sudden request....I was surprised to get a far more generous deposit in my account than I warranted. One of my old friends, whom I hadn't seen in several years, said that she would try to set me up with a friend of hers. Hmmmm....I did ask to warn her friend that I was a burgeoning otaku/geek, but of course, she didn't reply to that. Well, I'll apply the same principle in this situation that I will apply to this year: Be hopeful but not expectant. Certainly when it comes to Toronto's professional sports teams, that is also a wise approach.
I hear "Auld Lang Syne" being played on the Red-and-White right now which means that things are closing down there.