The Year of the Dog is upon us, 2017 was great for us but 2018 holds so many exciting changes and new adventures. We enter 2018 a family of two plus Quinn and halfway through the year we will become a family of three plus Quinn. Career-wise I am due to find out my next assignment, that means that 2018 might be the last year of living in Japan. The year of the Dog will be an interesting year with lots of change.
In other news, we spent most of my four-day weekend cleaning the house Japanese style. In Japan New Years is a big deal, the way it’s celebrated is more akin to Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most places close down for a few days and everyone takes the time to go visit relatives and spend time with family. One of the New Years traditions is called Osouji, or cleaning, a tradition similar to American Spring Cleaning. Osouji is more than getting the house prepared for family New Year celebrations. It symbolizes a fresh, new beginning. Ridding homes and working spaces of clutter, particularly the clearing of soot and dust known as susuharai (think of the soot sprites in Totoro,) is said to give thanks for the blessings of the previous year and to purify these spaces for the coming one.
We cleaned our house from top to bottom and really focused on decluttering the place getting rid of so many bags filled with junk and stuff we haven’t used in years. One of my aspirations for the coming year is to redo my wardrobe and turn it into a minimalist set up where I only have a few pieces of clothing that can serve a lot of functions. Check this video out, it does a great job of showing what I’m trying to do. I got rid of 70% of my closet, keeping only the bare minimum. I’m slowly going to trim it down to even more basic items which I will replace with high-quality pieces that are meant to last.
The NYE celebration was low key, comfortable, and exceptionally pleasant. We spent the night with friends drinking wine and bullshitting. The era of large parties or NYE barhopping is long gone. To illustrate the point we woke up without a hangover, feeling fantastic, and spent most of the day hiking around our local forest before coming back home for dinner and more house cleaning.
I’m very excited about this year. I’m excited to become a father and I’m excited about all the new opportunities coming our way. I look forward to a lot of reading, a lot of writing, and hopefully some great publishing opportunities.
I wish you all a Happy New Year!