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Because it's over

Anno Domini Nostri Iesu 2014 is over. Sela. What did it deliver?

1)  Two cracked ribs. Hiking in Nagano. Bones broken. Ego intact.

2)  Two bloody knees. Hiking in Chichibu. Bones intact. Ego not.

3)  A total of 61 posts, a new record in non-productivity.

4)  Zero incidences of violence in class, but it was a close call.

5)  Average of 2 books per week = 104 books, give or take 10. I'm a speed reader and I don't sleep much. Still, not happy with this consumption rate. So many books, so little time.

6)  Number of times I rewatched BBC Sherlock: confidential. Embarrassing. 

7)  Hay fever attacks: zero. I implore the gods to allow me to repeat this achievement.

8)  Silent curses flung at sniffers, spitters, parasols, rude commuters, oblivious smartphone users, a dreary succession of passive students: ad infinitum.

9)  New clothes bought: zero. Meh.

10)  Best flower discovery of 2014: a suburban cherry blossom footpath in Saitama (link).

Best temple discovery: a rakan temple in Chichibu in late December. I haven't written about it yet, but here's a preview of a drunk Jizō and a breast-feeding Kannon who's got the weirdest boobs I've ever seen in my life, and hey, this is Japan, the land of nude onsen, so I've seen plenty. Never plenty on one woman, it must be added, but collectively.

11)  Biggest disappointment: the Sherlock Holmes pub in Kanda, run by Hayakawa Publishing for a limited period of a month (if I remember correctly) [I've deleted details from my Mind Palace]. I wrote a review after I visited it in August, but I ripped it apart so savagely that I didn't publish that post. Here's a shorter, remarkably polite rendition:

I fell in love with Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock during my school years; love Jeremy Brett's 1980s TV series; am a devoted fan of the BBC's modern adaptation. When I heard there was a Sherlock Holmes pub, I was in a rather chipper mood, but it was not what I had expected. It looked like a school cafeteria, with tables aligned regimentally and chairs packed tightly.

We went to the bar to order food (in Japanese).

Ru's long-suffering friend: "Do you have gin & tonic?"
Bar: "…"
Friend: "Do you have a drinks menu?"
Bar: "?!"
Friend: "Drinks?"
Bar: "You can have beer."
Friend: "What kind of beer?"
Bar: "…"
Friend: "?"
Bar: "Asahi Super Dry."
Friend: "Riiite, we'll have two."
Bar: "You have to order the set menu."
Friend: "What is the set menu?"
Bar: "Food and beer."
Friend: "What food?"
Bar: "Meatballs and beer or tofu gratin and beer."
Ru: "Tofu gratin?!"

Dear Sherlock Holmes pub in Kanda, one word: research. Couldn't you at least have the one food that we see BBC Sherlock eat, and that's chips? (Yes, chips. Not French fries. Chips. British English. Chips.) He also eats Mrs. Hudson's mince pies, but OK, it wasn't Christmas when we popped in. How about genuine pub drinks? Whisky? Guinness? Draft beer? You could also consider the possibility that ¥1500 for fried tofu and one beer might be slightly excessive, even in Abe's inflation-fueled utsukushii kuni (beautiful country).

Final verdict? Bollocks! It was a naff shite poxy cock-up of a place. (Yes, you've just read the polite version. Be grateful I spared you my original rant.)

The only traditional ale in that "pub" was on a towel. Or doormat. Whatever.

12)  Biggest dilemma of 2014 which remains unsolved: what to do on social media. I've been paying more attention to Google+ than this blog, which means more focus on photos and less on writing original content. Google+ is a platform for pretty pictures, not writing, and that is very much a bit not good. I'm trying to write more.

Twitter remains hit and miss, mostly miss.

I started a Tumblr blog mainly as a lark/experiment – it's for science, John! – and it's taken off. [No, you're not interested in its URL. It's a much abbreviated rehash of this blog. I tried it because I didn't geddit, and that's my credo: if you don't grasp it, low-tackle it. I still don't understand what the hell Tumblr is about, apart from porn and GIFs, or porn GIFs, but I have realized that it's like Google+, except that posts have a much longer life. It's easier than Google+ because there's very little interaction: just like, reblog, an endless loop. Post at the right time, draw the attention of Japanophiles, and a single photo launches into outer space.]

Then there's Facebook. Oh, gods, Facebook. I've got I've-stopped-counting-how-many invitations from people to join Facebook. You know how much I hate that idea, but ...

13)  Ru's word of the year: because. Not the Oxford Dictionary's vape, or Japan's dame yo (no way) or shūdanteki jieiken (the right to collective self-defense) or zei (tax). No. Because. That brings us to thirteen, which is good, because ten is dull, and twelve is boring, but thirteen? Thirteen is a because kind of word. Let's make it a list of thirteen.

PS)  I'm fully aware of the ambiguity of the headline. Evil grin. 

14)  Worst habit acquired last year: publish a new post before you respond to old comments. Get distracted for another fortnight. Apply best new emoticon¯\_(ツ)_/¯

PPS)  Shush. Zip it. I've never claimed to be able to count. Fourteen can be thirteen in my universe.

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