So I’ve realised I’ve missed out on a number of different events on the annual calendar that bloggers usually don’t make the mistake of missing, or at least make a passing remark about. Well sue me. I have the event acuity of a dried up mackerel. I perennially miss birthdays, I also can’t math very well for an Asian. I’m pretty much set up for failure when it comes to remembering dates. I’ve even made the mistake of forgetting my own birthday. Also, I’ve found out that the other half of my married-into family uses the Chinese lunar calendar to mark out their birthdays, something that wreaks mighty havoc with my “hey there’s 365/366 days in a year” mindset, to no end. THE CHINESE LUNAR CALENDAR, PEOPLE. I can barely remember when I’m supposed to turn up for work, how am I supposed to keep track of the moon looping around?
So, in a vain effort to keep up appearances and appear relevant in this ever-moving world of technology and Beiber being popular, unpopular and then popular once again, I’m going to supply a quick brief on each event as it passed in my eyes from the past month. I’m certain there’s more to be said about these events, but this is about as much enthusiasm I can spare at this point in the evening. Also, I bought cupcakes and I’m keen on eating at least one before tucking myself into bed tonight.
MERRY CHRISTMAS: As a Christian in a church that predominantly places their Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve, Christmas is a time of great meaningfulness and also, great stress. This year, however, I maintained a low-profile existence, photographing happenings instead of being buffed about in the organisational froth that is the signature nature of this event’s lead up. Sitting on the edges this (last) year have me plenty of time to consider the impact of the evening. It also gave me time to pack – as my husband, friends and I were to head out on Christmas day to Japan. So, alongside the preparations for Christmas, we were also preparing for international travel. We spent much of actual Christmas day on a plane, and the remaining time in the great land of Japan – filling up on the traditional KFC chicken (it’s a thing, I’m not joking), then deciding to YOLO and fill up on random grilled bits of ocean flotsam for supper (surrounded by drunken salarymen avoiding their wives, cigarette smoke and seafood-tainted regret).
HAPPY NEW YEAR: New Year for us was spent on the snowy-confines of Sapporo. Surprisingly the quietest new year I have ever experienced in my 28 years (ok, I’m going to say the first 10 New Years of my life may be but a murky blur of memories, but I’m fairly certain that there were some forms of fireworks involved). It turns out the Japanese celebrate New Years in possibly the most Japanese fashion possible – they eat a variety of New Years foods, break out the New Years mochi and pine and bamboo decorations, send out postcards to remind their loved ones that they’re alive and kicking, they engage in playing Beethoven’s Ninth, ring bells and, most notably, close their doors to business as they partake in New Years Prayers – often at midnight or sunrise. Being people who love sleep and are a little prone to being turned into icicles in the face of midnight-snow, we decided to stay in instead of heading out to the inevitably packed local shrine (in this case, Hokkaido Shrine, in Maruyama Park). On a side note, I’ve made a grand total of zero new years resolutions. I guess this means I have a grand total of zero resolutions to break. So, I guess I’m ahead in that respect.
BOWIE & RICKMAN PASSINGS: With the passing of David Bowie (10 January) and Alan Rickman (14 January) within a week of each other, I can’t but think that January was off to a bit of a morbid start. Being “a little young” to appreciate the tantamount abilities of David Bowie, I only knew that he was a rock icon with a fabulous alter-ego (Ziggy Stardust) and my mother adored him. Honestly, I’ve had to do some catching up. After reading a pool or articles, listening to a equivalent pool of tracks and watching as many performances as possible on the youtubes, I’ve come up with a verdict of which is greatly shared by pretty much the whole world: David Bowie was an iconic innovator of music and stagecraft. He lived a life that was not without err, but preservered and fought his demons. He was essentially, a “good” man, blessed with influence beyond his own knowing.
In the passing of Alan Rickman, I found the loss of a captivating actor a strange surrealism – before the age of Harry Potter, I knew him as the Teutonic villain Hans Gruber in Die Hard. I noticed that he always got to play the Bad Guy – even with his enormous stage and screen presence, skill and wicked charm, he was always the Bad Guy. All I knew is that I loved his compelling diction, ambiguity and class – he was well deserved of critical acclaim.
HAPPY (?) AUSTRALIA DAY: Australia Day has come and passed with as much panache of a day-old pav plonked unceremoniously next to a bowl of fried noodles (I’m serious, I actually hate pavlova). I mean this in the most desperately honest way possible. As an Australian of Chinese/Malaysian descent, I find both the celebration of Australia Day as euphoric as I do offensive. A strange waft of the realisation that it actually signifies “Invasion Day” to those of which these lands I live blissfully in truly belong to, and also a great sense of appreciation for the nation that begrudgingly accepted my parents and their families into their borders. I know that if my parents had remained in Malaysia, the blessings that I have today would not be a reality, and I would probably not be typing this in slightly neurotic English. I would also probably just be borderline illiterate. And on some sort of farm. Just sayin’. So Australia Day to me is a day where I don’t know what to do with myself. I spent much of it at work. So, celebrations weren’t really on the books in any case. I did happen to wish a somewhat elderly nurse and patient a “Happy Australia Day” via the telephone, in which I received a hearty “You too, mate!” in both circumstances. I’ve been told before, by what I’m sure is a well-meaning co-worker, that I don’t “look” the way I “sound”. Interpret that statement as you will.
So now that I’ve caught up with the general affairs of this year so far, let’s hope I don’t fall behind again. I mean, how the hell am I supposed to sound “young”, “fresh” and “hip”? Gosh, it’s just too much.