Andrew V Parker's life one post at a time

2009 – the year that was

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Despite my intentions, I categorically failed to update this blog in 2009. So I thought I’d give a quick list of some of the memorable moments of the year. I’m sure I’ll forget lots, this is just what comes to mind.

合気道 – Aikido

I’m happy to say started training again in Aikido at 合気会本部道場 (Aikikai Hombu Dojo) in Shinjuku in late 2008. I had stopped training in Melbourne after only 3 months, which I will always regret. I started training once a week, but now train 3 or 4 times when possible. My classes are completely in Japanese, which is another plus.

  • February – Completed my first semester of Beginners Course in Aikido Gakkou and passed my first grading, to become 4級 (4th Kyuu).
  • April – Attended the annual Aiki-Jinja Festival in Iwama, where O’Sensei lived for most of his later life.
  • May – participated in the 47th All Japan Aikido Demonstration at Nippon Budokan with my classmates from Beginners Course. I’m sure no-one watched us, but it sure was fun!
  • August – Completed my second semester of Beginners Course in Aikido Gakkou, and passed my grading for 3級 (3th Kyuu).
  • October – Began my first semester of Intermediate Course in Aikido Gakkou.
  • Trained in the regular (i.e. non-beginners) class for my first time on Christmas Day – the last day of training for the year.
  • Saw in the New Year with 越年稽古 (New Years Eve Practice) at the dojo.

日本語 – Japanese

I’ve been learning for a number of years, but I’m still intermediate level. I felt like I improved quite a bit in 2009.

  • Read my first manga series completely in Japanese – デスノート (Death Note).
  • July – Passed 日本語能力試験2級 (JLPT Level 2).
  • Began watching Japanese tv shows with Japanese subtitles. Depending on the show I understand anywhere from 50-90%.
  • Sometimes at aikido training I forget the teacher is speaking in Japanese.
  • Finally started to feel like I can speak a little. It’s still frustrating a lot of the time, speaking is definitely harder than listening and reading.

色々 – miscellaneous

  • Unfortunately not much traveling around Japan, but there’s plenty to see and do in and around Tokyo.
  • Finally bought a digital SLR – a Nikon D90
  • Hired a dog for a day.
  • Ran 10km for the Run for the Cure.

Holiday in Bali

Spent just over a week relaxing in Bali. The weather was amazing, 32 degrees and sunny every day. Thanks to Bron for finding such fantastic places to stay!

Became an uncle

Congratulations to Penny and Ken, who had their first baby, my nephew Keiran, on 2nd November.

‘My nephew Keiran Fretwell’