Some good friends are gone. Like this one:
And another one who wasn't in my life as long, but has still left an impression. The good news is that I'm very optimistic about some new arrivals, new friends, and old friends who will visit soon. Like this guy:
And a dear friend who helped shape my life here and made it amazing from the start. All of this, and the fact that Spring is so perfect in Japan, is very energizing.
This Winter seems really different from last year. Most notably, I found a great doctor and wasn't sick as often. Random skin disease and recent spasmodic shoulder aside, I've been super healthy! I also was visited by these two:
It was great to see them and to share my life here with them. I was most excited about what we would eat, and was happy to find that they really enjoyed Japanese food! Jimmy even liked natto and umeboshi! Wow. I can't even say that about a lot of my friends who live here. Impressive. Mom particularly enjoyed niku-mon and age-momiji (like mother, like daughter). The itinerary was a bit ambitious, but they really ganbattemashita-ed and had a great - if not exhausting - time.
One of the things that I had, unrealistically, wanted to add to the itinerary was a trip to Shimonoseki to eat fugu. They weren't too receptive to this suggestion, and I wasn't sure if I would get the chance to try this notorious fish. Luckily, the opportunity came along in January. As a reward for reaching a business goal, my staff and I received money to plan a trip together. We went to Shimonoseki. We ate a fugu-feast. It was a perfect day.
Last week I was forced into laziness due to my shoulder. I couldn't cook, clean, do yoga, wash my hair...it was gross. I sat and watched movies applying ice and heat to my neck and shoulders. Each week I have a mental list of what I want to get done, and last week was a setback. It was also a bit boring. I'm trying to compensate this week, but finding myself torn between the desire to be productive and residual lethargy from doing absolutely nothing for a week. Productivity is winning. I have cleaned, cooked, done laundry, reorganized my apartment, resumed my yoga routine, trimmed my bangs and plucked my eyebrows. I'm on a roll. I'm ready for what's next. (Incidentally, simply trimming one's bangs and plucking one's eyebrows cannot be beat for a quick, cheap beauty boost!)