Saturday, December 31, 2005

Yoio Nen O

"yoio nen o" I believe is the Japanese new year's greeting. I haven't been able to contact anyone who can verify that, though. I used to know it, I'm certain that Waka-sensei taught it to me on the trip where we went to Kamakura to see the giant Buddha. I knew it because I've said it people in Japan before.

New Year's is a significant holiday in Japan. It's the winter one. Everything shuts down, making it eerily empty and quiet. The way Christmas can during certain hours of the day. (Okay, I have to admit, that most of my memories of Niihama are of it being eerily quiet and shut down because I was coming home after 8:00 pm.)

It's strange, isn't it? It's not like a year feels different. It's not like you wake up January 1st, knowing that a new year is here because there's a taste of it in the air. For most of us, weeks will pass by while we still write the old year down.

Still, we imbue the day with meaning. We hope and promise that this year will be the year. Or at least it will be better.

I don't always look at years as the date. You know January 1st to December 31st. I often judge years by my age. September 19th to September 18th. For example, my 21st year was one of the hardest and most meaningful. But those events spilled eight months into what most people would consider the "next year."

Looking at it this way, it's easier for me to example why it wasn't 2005 that was awful. It's just been a horrible beginning to my 24th year.

2005 saw me graduate, go to see KT in England, accept a job and move to California.

But in my 24th year, I've lost my maternal great-grandmother and my paternal grandmother. I've been pulled from the safety net of my friends and acquaintances that build up after seven years in the same town, and left to flounder in the biggest city I've ever lived in.

I've had to grow up a little more. (Finally some might say.)

But still, we can hope, for that is what this season tries to impress upon us: hope. The hope that somehow, by throwing away an old calendar, we can start our lives anew.

1 comment:

KT said...

I guess it's just one of those times almost everyone can collectively draw a line under and turn the page. For most of my freinds this year (especially the second half of it) has been incredibly tough. Even though it's just an arbitrary little date, it's still nice to have that bit of 'Right, that's over, and now things will get better.'

Here's to an awesome 2006.