2015.. Just a few days ago I was so excited to say good bye to you. But today, I am already missing you. We made so many happy memories together; faced a lot of challenges; and met a lot of nice people along the way. As I try to figure out what I should do with 2016, let me first look back to some of our fun memories.
1. A Glimpse of Mt. Fuji in Pink
Despite staying late on New Year's Day, my husband and I managed to go to Kasai Rinkai Park at 6:00 am to welcome the first sunrise in 2015. Unfortunately, it was very cloudy that day. We were not able to get a full view of the sunrise. But we were so lucky to see Mt. Fuji in pink! Read our story New Year.. Something Old and New.
2. More Japanese Traditions in 2015
2015 marked my third year here in Edogawa. Since then, my husband and I have learned a lot about Japan, its culture and traditions. Most of which we learned from our neighbors and friends.
Although Sakura came early this year and very rainy during spring, we were able to enjoy a Hanami-Barbecue Party in April.
We also enjoyed folk music and dancing during the Bon Odori Festival in August.
And finally, I was able to see the Hanabi or fireworks display near our house.
3. Reunited with Old Friends
It was a special year for me and husband because we got reunited with friends whom we have not met for quite a long time.
4. Establishment of KIDS Club
Together with some friends in Manila, we were able to establish KIDS (Keen Individuals for Development and Service) Club, a voluntary organization focused on creating better and safer communities for the children in the Philippines. In 2015, we were able to give basic school supplies to 100 students of Kasiglahan Village Elementary School, Rodriguez, Rizal; build two KIDS Toy Libraries in the same school; conduct three Christmas Community Gift-Giving in Tarlac, Laguna, and Makati; a Passion Test Workshop and a Field Visit for our members. To know more about the club and our projects, please visit KIDS Club's website.
5. New Places Explored
Aside from going to our favorite places on weekends and holidays, my husband and I were fortunate to explore new places here and outside Japan.
We both enjoyed the island vibe, sand, and shrines in Enoshima.
I got lost in Tokyo and discovered the beauty of Zojoji Temple and the Lily Pond in Ikebukuro.
We also discovered hidden treasures in Kamakura together with my English students.
Had a great Halloween weekend in Vancouver.
And enjoyed the night watching the spectacular Christmas illuminations in Tokyo.
6. Advancing in Ikebana
It has been a great 2015 for me as some of my Ikebana arrangements received recognitions not only from my family and friends but most especially from esteemed professionals.
My arrangement for our 2015 Autumn Exhibition in Seishincho Community Center was also a special one for me because it confirms my degree as a Fourth Level (Yonkyu Shihan) Ikebana sensei.
And this Christmas, I received my certificate! With it is my kanji flower name "an" which means apricot.
I now also offer Ikebana classes online and face-to-face for those who are interested to learn the Japanese flower art.