Welcome to 2008

Osechi, sipping spiced Japanese sake and the marathon sessions of watching TV made for a typical New Year holiday here in Kichijoji.  

Favorite shows during the holiday seasons include the first time shopping program in which parents send out there 4 or 5 year old children to brave the the meat stores and vegetables stands on their own for the first time.  Amidst much bawling and confusion the children always manage to make their way to the designated store to purchase their wares.  

Another favorite is the world strongest athlete show where they pit professional athletes from a variety of sports against one another to see who can maneuver best through numerous challenges ranging from brute force to quick wits.  I was also surprised that this year they got Ronaldino (from Brazilian soccer fame) to participate in the activities.  Interestingly enough he has enough clout that a trip to Japan wasn’t necessary unlike a few of the lesser know American athletes that also participated.  Instead the Japanese program built a replica of their studio here in Japan in Brazil and simulcast (?) both to pit one of the world’s best soccer players against Japanese and American sportsman.  To top things off, I didn’t get to see the end result of Ronaldino’s efforts, although it’s hard to imagine he could top the times of the athletes in Japan, some of who have been through these trials 2 or 3 times before.
During the remainder of the days I spent a good deal of time finishing up Atonement by Ian McEwan and preparing for the coming year.  Atonement is an engrossing novel that grips your imagination with its calculated and detailed descriptions, providing insight into what it takes to be a writer as well as pre and postwar England.  I was nearly sick during some of the scenes in which the hospital scenes were described.  McEwan’s masterful means of describing Briony’s complex emotions got me inside the head of another, although I wouldn’t say it was a 13 year old’s mind I had the privilege of being witness to.  Recommended that you pick this book up.
To my vast swath of readers, welcome to 2008.



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