Friday, January 13, 2012

New Years Greeting 2012

I rarely post anymore, mostly because I'm too busy to write anything. But I did write a New Years greeting for friends and family--this in itself is rather amazing as I am very bad at sending Christmas/holiday/New Year's greeting cards. Not to make excuses, of course, but grading finals usually take me up to Christmas--depending on volume (and mood), it can take me until after Christmas. In any event, I'd like to share my greeting here with my fellow Xangans as well.

2012 is the year of the dragon and I’m sure many will associate this with an old Bruce Lee film. Personally, I prefer to relate it with something more representative of me, so I’ve added the Kirin Beer logo that I’ve conveniently—and undoubtedly illegally—copy-and-pasted from the Internet (how did I survive before Google?!?). It is based on the Chinese Qilin 麒麟, a Chinese chimera of sorts that is a combination of different animals—hooves of an ox, tail of a lion, scales of a fish (How did I survive before Wikipedia?!?). But its most obvious feature is the head, which is based on a dragon, and I have viewed it as such over the years. So fittingly, it is now my personal symbol for the New Year: The Kirin. It is, after all, the harbinger of good fortune, and I’m sure we could all use a pint or two of that, no?

Anyway, I just thought I’d jot down a few things to let you know what’s been going on lately, which is not much. But, of course, that might actually be a good thing
I’m still at the George Washington University, teaching classes on Japanese language and literature—both classical and modern. I’m still assistant professor and I’m working on an article to start the publishing record going. I’ve only written a chapter in a book in the past few years, so I need to get more research out. You know the old adage: Publish or perish.

Still, life is not so bad. I have a steady—if busy—job. I have a small home. I have my health… well sort of. At 56, I finally decided to get serious about my health, so I’ve been running pretty regularly for the past 6 months. Recently, I’ve been doing about 30 miles on the treadmill every week—I have hay fever so I don’t run outside so much. And while the treadmill is not as arduous as running outside, I still put in the miles. Like almost 900 miles since July! (No, that is not a typo.) Now, I don’t run fast, and I am not a marathoner. The treadmill is set at a low speed—between 5 to 6 mph—although with my short legs it feels pretty fast. As a result, this is the first year since I’ve been back from Japan where I’ve lost weight during the fall semester, almost 20 pounds! Okay, I confess that I’ve gained back about 4 pounds since Thanksgiving, but that’s still a net of 16 lbs. which is pretty good for me.

Unfortunately, being 56 also means having a less-than-cooperative body. In the last week of December—the 30th to be exact—I strained my left calf and I’ve taken a couple of weeks off, although I continue walking.

Musubichan—former aerobics instructor, now my “will-you-exercise-already?” motivator—is doing well, as usual, although we had a scare in September when she had an abnormal mammogram reading. After a couple of x-rays, a biopsy and a titanium clip implant, we learned that she is fine, thank God. Speaking of which, after about three weeks of waiting for this or that test result, and countless of Hail Marys and Our Fathers, I discovered that I may be more religious than I thought. I guess there’s nothing like a medical situation to test one’s religiosity. And as you might imagine, the semester started out rather hectic and kept me busy until the very end of the year.

Still, all in all we got through 2011 relatively unscathed and there is nothing wrong with that. As they say in Japanese: 体は資本. Your body is your capital.

So Happy New Years everyone. Here’s hoping that you and your loved ones have a healthy and prosperous 2012.
January 2012.