2004, A Year in Review

2004 wasn’t exactly what I’d call a tumultuous year, but it was certainly marked with some pretty big events for me, not the least of which was meeting Alex. If there was a number one in the list, she would be it. 2005 is already looking to be an interesting year, since there are a lot of things that will be happening for me. It’s not going to be an easy year, but if we always had easy years, we’d never feel a sense of accomplishment.

And on with my little year in review…

  • Tried my first hand at blackjack … didn’t do too well
  • Watched in awe as Luke paid over $1,000,000 (in funny money) to buy a coffee maker
  • Saw David Bowie at Calgary (Pengrowth) Saddledome from the eighth row
  • “Discovered” The Polyphonic Spree, and realized that, yes, Macy Gray is a bit of a freak job
  • Team built with the Mercedes-Benz USA marketing team in a frigid cold downtown Calgary, and got cheated out of a well-deserved win! (No, I’m not bitter about it, but I can’t resist noting that fact!)
  • Was saddened by the departure of my friend and physical health mentor, Arthur, from Critical Mass (and Calgary)
  • Got very, very drunk at his going away party
  • Started taking yoga
  • Realized that changes to my dental plan were downright ugly, and that I was quite literally paying through the mouth for it
  • Flew to Montreal to visit Therese and Stuart
  • Remembered French I had thought long since forgotten
  • Went to Oakville twice
  • Went to Waterloo
  • Went to Stettler
  • Went to Drumheller
  • Went to Banff (Bamf!) several times
  • Went to Japan for the second time in a year
  • Went to Yotsukaido
  • Went to Tokyo
  • Went to Toyohashi
  • Went to Irako
  • Went to Hiroshima
  • Went to Miyajima
  • Went to Kyoto
  • Went to Osaka
  • Went to Chiba
  • Went to Kamakura
  • Went to Kelowna
  • Went to Canmore
  • Went to Edmonton
  • Went to Fairmont Hot Springs
  • Went to Radium Hot Springs
  • Went to Invermere
  • Went to Cranbrook
  • Went to (or rather, though) Golden
  • Went to Ruskin (outskirts of Maple Ridge)
  • Went to Three Valley Gap
  • Went to Takkakaw Falls
  • Went to San Jose (California)
  • Went to Denver … sorta
  • Went to San Francisco … Airport
  • Took Montreal’s AMT commuter train for the first time
  • Visited Gare Windsor
  • Visited what was the Montreal Forum (home of Les Habitants!)
  • Roamed around Montreal’s underground malls
  • Ate at Schwartz’s Deli … I can still taste the corned beef (*droooool*)
  • Saw more of Montreal than I had seen in several previous visits
  • Took a VIA train from Montreal to Toronto
  • Saw VIA #6403 (the CBC locomotive)
  • Saw my friend Kathryn for the first time since Cathy’s wedding
  • Saw my friends (and old roommates) Ed and Brian (Ed, a year and a half; Brian, about four years)
  • Fixed my mother’s and sister’s computers more than a few times
  • Saw my friend Kim
  • Realized that the old Terminal 1 no longer exists at Pearson International Airport
  • Was happy to see that Peter Jackson got appropriate recognition for the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy
  • Took Jen out to Japanese restaurants to get her ready for eating in Japan (hey, it’s a good reason to try sushi)
  • Found getting into Japan a lot less stressful than last year (‘course, I was ready for it this time)
  • Took several shinkansen while in Japan
  • Met Chris’ friend Tony
  • Re-met Chris’ friend Shinichiro
  • Stayed at a hotel overlooking a beautiful bay on coastal Japan
  • Played in a Japanese bowling alley
  • Walked down a beach near the hotel
  • Went to Chris and Kaz’s wedding (I cried)
  • Went to five wedding parties for Chris and Kaz (four in Japan, one in Canada)
  • Saw Chris’ parents
  • Met Chris’ uncle Garth
  • Ate a lot of strange things for breakfast
  • Ate an unbelievable amount of food at Chris’ family reception (the first of the five)
  • Went to a restaurant barely four hours later for another large meal (reception number two)
  • Went to an izakaya for the third reception (all of these in a single day!)
  • Saw the Hiroshima Atomic Bomb dome (and surrounding museums and monuments)
  • Received blessings for happiness from an elderly woman
  • Traveled to Miyajima, and found what I can only describe as a slice of heaven on Earth
  • Caught a cab in Kyoto and worried for a moment that we would forever be lost inside the city
  • Took the Temple Lane in Kyoto, visiting Teapot Alley
  • Took several trains to get to Mt. Hiei
  • Visited Enryaku-ji temple
  • Visited the Osaka Aquarium
  • Broke an air hockey table at an adjacent arcade (oops!)
  • Visited Osaka Castle
  • Went up Kyoto Tower to take pictures
  • Went to the Kyoto Imperial Palace grounds, but couldn’t get into the palace itself (it was a Saturday)
  • Got to stay at Chris and Kaz’s new apartment in Yotsukaido
  • Helped move Chris out of his old apartment into the new one
  • Tried okonomiyaki for the first time
  • Saw “Zatoichi: The Blind Master”
  • Experienced my first earthquake that actually moved something
  • Went to the fourth reception party in Chiba
  • Did a load of laundry in Japan … a decidedly different experience
  • Took Jen around to some of the hot spots of Tokyo
  • Went to Tsukiji Market (twice, once to see the actual fish auctions)
  • Wandered through Ginza, seeing both Sony’s headquarters and the infamous Apple Store
  • Saw the Great Buddha of Kamakura
  • Marvelled at all the sakura (cherry blossoms)
  • Flew from Tokyo to Vancouver to Calgary to Kelowna … never doing that again
  • Saw David Bowie (again!) at Prospera Place
  • Went curling for the first time

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