The Dawning Year
This is it, the Year of the Dragon, and the end of the Mayan long-count calendar. Aside from prophecies of doom that always seem just around the corner and renew themselves every couple of years, there's another hotly debated American presidential election coming up, Facebook is set to be the hub of Internet social life and will reach a billion users at some point in the year, and there are lots of other things set to happen in politics, technology and society. To see a well-organised collection of predictions from sources of varying reliability, check out:
The most interesting section for me is 'Media, science and technology', with new innovations in computing and the Internet, and those newfangled gadgets everyone who's anyone seems to be toting around these days. (I'll be darned if I can figure out how to use those things. When I was a kid, nobody had mobile telephones or answering machines, and when you turned on a computer, you got a blinking little dot in the corner, and then you usually just turned the thing off.) In the health section, there are predictions of record highs of various disorders as global obesity continues to increase, and there are forecasts of trouble in the North after the chaos of the recent interregnum period (and there's some cool stuff about aliens if that sort of thing tickles your fancy).
In the meantime, we're all sluggishly getting back into the work habit and braving the wee blizzard we're having today. It's actually a welcome change, because all we've had is rain for the past couple of weeks, and it is kind of nice for winter to look like winter sometimes. I assume we've all done our hatsumode, the visit to the shrine as early in the year as possible to ring the bell and symbolically hope for a good year. (If the pictures I took last year survive on the blog, you'll see it was quite the winter wonderland, not this soggy autumn-in-January we've got going on most of the time.) New Year's Resolutions apparently aren't a huge thing in Japan, but I made a list of ten or so items that I'm going to work hard to achieve this year. For one thing, I'm hoping there will be more events to report on and that we get into more of the spirit of adventure in this numerically pivotal year.