Hello internets and merry Christmas eve! This will be my first Christmas in Japan and my first Christmas away from my family. I hope everyone is doing well and makes a little time for their family (scratch that, a lot of time). I've really wanted to rent the Charlie Brown Christmas from Tsutaya, but other people keep beating me to it! It doesn't feel like Christmas eve at all, since I've barely heard any Christmas carols or seen any Christmas TV specials or anything. New years is the big family holiday here, so I guess I have to settle for the 28th to the 2nd being my Christmas time, when I get to rescue a pretty girl from the airport and take her to Tokyo and Kyoto!
    But let's move on to my...less than stellar attention to this website. I have a couple new pictures from a few of my excursions to different places over the past few months... Wow, it's really been that long? I'm surprised anyone puts up with me. I always have the intention of posting stuff, and then I don't. I feel like if I don't have a significant amount to write or it's not particularly relevant and interesting, I don't write. Sorry y'all. On the upside, I should take many pictures while I'm in Tokyo and Kyoto for the new years season, so it shouldn't be too long until my next update! After that...well, we'll see how it goes.
    Oh yeah, and it's almost 2013! The world's not over, by the way. I don't think I've made a new years resolution for years, but this year, all of my students have been making new years resolution cards for the English goals. I'm a language student too, so I'm gonna join them and try to achieve me language learning goals this year! Here are my goals for 2013 (in no certain order):

    1 - pass the JLPT 3 in June/July
    2 - have AT LEAST one 5-minute conversation in Japanese per day
    3 - read/listen to ONLY Japanese news and weather
    4 - learn 10 new vocabulary words and phrases a day and use them

    I'll edit these if I feel they can be expanded, but let me talk about why I chose these particular goals. 1) Passing the JLPT is the least important of those included, and I really don't think a test can accurately assess language prowess. This is more to encourage my students to do their best since many of them are taking the TOEIC and Eiken tests for various reasons. It's also the most easily measured with either a pass or fail. 2) This is what I consider the most important goal, and the time constraint is a bit arbitrary. My aim with this goal is more to get me out o my shell by talking to and meeting more people in Japanese. And it should be more than once a day, but having some number should motivate me to be more forward in instances when I normally wouldn't be. 3)+4) These two are really pretty similar to most language students' goals, and I think they're pretty self explanatory.
    And that's it! I'd love to hear feedback from anyone with ideas on other goals, especially those who have experience with or can speak other languages. I've also included some pictures of Aizu covered in snow! Again, thanks for reading, everyone, and have a great Christmas and new year! 良いお年を!