Thursday, 29 December 2022

Ending we started...

 So this is Christmas

And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun

And so this is Christmas
I hope you have fun
The near and the dear one
The old and the young

A very merry Christmas
And a happy New Year
Let's hope it's a good one
Without any fear

(John Lennon
So This Is Christmas)

Love this song. Poignant. Sad. Hopeful. Realistic.

Well, 2022 - for many of us the first ordinary Christmas after the Pandemic. People could travel again and meet family and friends. Groups were ok, international and domestic travel was ok.
In Japan we are all still wearing masks, and restaurants and shops still have plastic barriers on tables and at cash registers. In Hokkaido daily new infections are about 6,000, with a shockingly high death rate...yesterday 34 people died.
The last figure is confusing though. This is people who died BECAUSE of Covid, or WITH Covid. The media doesn't tell us. But one of my students lost her elderly aunt a month or two, the old lady had a heart attack in her room at the care home. And then the autopsy revealed she had Covid, and the family couldn't have the body for funeral rites - it was quickly cremated.
So, I keep wondering - was HER death included in that day's Covid Deaths on the news? She was a very old woman with a heart condition, so her death isn't that surprising. It may have been as an indirect result of the virus, but maybe not.

Anyway. The virus is still zapping around here as we all wrap up work for another year and enjoy a week of holiday between calendar changes. And Japan is starting to get nervous about millions of Chinese people who are likely to grab the chance and start international travel again, following this week's government announcement. We have the big snow festivals here in early February, which usually attract thousand of international visitors.
There's a slight feeling of deja vu - 3 years ago there was news of a virus spreading in China, and a kind of relief that the big tour groups from China didn't come to the Snow Festival as something called a "lockdown" began. 3 years on though, we do have vaccines.

But old people still locked away in care homes, unable to meet their family.

The Christmas card for Okaasan.
I motivated Dear Son. Found the card. We signed it. He delivered it to the care home.
We hope the nurses showed it to her with bright, happy voices. We hope she understood what it is.
We haven't met her since December 2021.

Our December has been a bit eventful.

My ongoing knee problems prevented any skiing or snowshoeing. But the knee is getting stronger, and I can do ordinary life...apart from walking more than about 1km. So, I've done a lot of reading, TV and online stuff.

Eventful was one of the cats. The fatty lumps around his neck turned out to be cancerous tumors in his lymph glands. Last year similar lumps were fatty lumps of an overweight, middle aged animal. This time they weren't.
Lots of stressy talks with our vet and an introduction to the expert vet at the big regional veterinarian teaching hospital across town. An operation was ruled out because the cancer was in several positions around the neck. Last week he started chemo and steroids.

The strange thing is that he is actually super fine thru all this. Eating, pooping, chasing his brother up the stairs. Noisy.
And after only two chemo shots the neck lumps have vanished. We go back to the vets for Round 3 today. He is 13 years old, and we hope he'll live into another summer of grass and flowers. I also hope my savings for old age won't all disappear into my vet's bank account. Pet Insurance has a $100 a day price cap.

What else?

Oh, yeah. Booked air tickets for England!! Back to the old country for the first time in 5 years. End of HUGELY expensive cost. But now, thanks to Putin's war and longer flight routes, the oil prices etc etc. Also it's direct  flights Tokyo/Heathrow. I can't do a long transit anymore. Just want to get there. The direct flight time is already over 15 hours!!!

So. This was Christmas 2022.
I'm home now for the next week. Eating too much chocolate and watching Netflix. Meeting a few friends. Prepping my accounts for February and the accountant. Monitoring the cat. Doing my leg exercises.

Happy Holidays to you. Let's hope 2023 brings joy to more people.


  1. Early Happy New Year. I'm so sorry that you haven't been
    All to visit MIL,hopefully soon in 2023. I've been in Kagoshima
    For several weeks visiting son and family. Have 2 more weeks
    Then back home.
    Hope the new year brings you good health and happiness.


    1. Thankyou Laura! Oh, I bet Kagoshima is nice and warm. And SO good to be with family!!! Onwards to 2023 :-)