Thursday, December 31, 2009

Checking My 2009 resolutions

1. Health
Take no day off due to catching a cold.
Concrete plan: I will go to my fitness club 1.5times a week on average. This frequency helped me keep in good condition last year.

I went to my fitness club 72 times, so I nearly achieved my goal. Unfortuynatelly I've caught a cold several times in 2009. So I consulted my personal doctor in the summer, and he priscribed me a tremendous amount of Vitamins (about three times of commercially available Vitamin pills). I caught few colds since the remedy.

2. Learn cooking more
Concrete plan: Learn how to cook meals suitable for a sick person.
Last year I increased my ordinary menu from two to five dishes to help my wife who looks after our one-year-old son. My wife appreciated that, but her imperative need is that I can cook meals for her when she is sick.

I learned how to cook rice gruel, udon (Japanese noodle which is easy to digest) with miso soup, and tofu miso soup.

3. Study and research for my family's future residence
Concrete plan: Making study sheet for as follows:
(1) Which is better, purchase or rent?
(2) What is the best plan to manage money for a residence for us?
(3) What are the important points for selecting a good residence for us?

(1) I made an Excel simulation sheet for comparing purchase vs. rent. If I live to be over 77 years old, purchasing is good moneywise.
(2) I selected a mortgage – the company which I work for supplies a part of its interest.
(3) My wife and I listed the important points for selecting a good residence for us. My list is as follows;
1. Its location is far from heavily trafficked roads: clean air is the most important
2. It takes under 20 minutes from the nearest railway station to Umeda (West Japan's biggest urban area)
3. It takes under 15 minutes from the residence to the nearest railway station by bicycle, without steep path.
4. It takes under 15 minutes from the residence to the nearest library and fitness club by bicycle.
5. 4LDK
6. A warm place in the Sun (In Japan, the house density is so high that it is rare that houses are open to the south side.)
7. My room is larger than 20 square meters.

So we found and purchased my house. It is now under construction. We will move in March.

4. Select one theme and study it for this year
This is Peter Drucker's method. I am learning his self-management method from my company's textbook, so I would like to bring in his good system.
What should I study? I want to know more about a theme which is concerned with politics. Last year, when I read a book (Robert B. Reich "Supercapitalism"), I thought that we should take part in politics more, in particular, the Japanese generation under 40, which includes me, politicians became less interested in their policies for younger citizens, because of the low voting rate of this generation.
I decided to study about tax system, one of the important parts of administration.
Concrete plan: I will make summary sheets of this study and show them to my friends (sorry, in Japanese)

I made an Excel sheet that you can use to calculate your taxes paid to Japanese and local governments and your taxes' use.

5. Be able to play a tune on the piano
Concrete plan: I will upload my playing to the web.
My ambitions through my life are improving my English and playing piano better. I got a TOEIC score of 825 last year, which I think it meant my English was a step up (even though I know my English is not advanced enough) . Next, I will turn to the piano, I will continue learning how to play the piano.

I entered a piano lesson club and I restarted lessons (the last lesson was in 1995 – 14 years ago). The tune I practice is Ryuichi Sakamoto's "aqua". Listen to this, even though it isn't completed...

6. Keep TOEIC score above 800
I would like to maintain my English ability, even though most of my free time will be taken up by some other studies and learning the piano.

My score in 2009 was 820.

7. Speak more slowly than now
Sometimes my Japanese speaking is too fast to understand.
Concrete plan: To begin speaking at a normal speed and for my friends to admit that in December.

Maybe I can't achieve this resolution. Anyway, I felt difficulty measuring for a non quantitative resolution like this.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Top tunes on my iPod in November, 2009

1. Paul McCartney / Getting Closer
2. Paul McCartney / Loveliest Thing
3. Elton John / I Want Love
4. Michael Jackson / Smooth Criminal
5. Stevie Wonder / Superstition
6. THE BLUE HEARTS / Jonetsu no Bara
7. Blur / Beetlebum
8. Falcom (Yuzo Kishiro) / Tower of the Shadow of the Death
9. Babaouo / Till the End of the Time
10. Bach, J.S. / Inventions No.12 in A-maj. BWV 783
11. THE BOOM / Shimauta
12. Cornelius / Music
13. Eminem / Lose Yourself (Soundtrack Version)
14. L<->R / Chokusen Cycling
15. Led Zeppelin / Whole Lotta Love
16. Mozart, W.A / Sonata For Piano No.11 In A Major (Turkischer Marsch) by Glenn Gould
17. Paul McCartney / Maybe I'm Amazed
18. XTC / Towers Of London
19. Ryuichi Sakamoto / intermezzo

1. and 2. are at the Top, because an amateur band whose members are my friends performed these excellent but not-so-popular songs! After that, I listened to these tunes time and again: while commuting and staying in the room of my flat. In addition, the band's brand new album contains 9. The song sounds quite like Paul McCartney, however, it is not an imitation.

3. is my most favorite of his songs which were released in these ten years. This song was performed at the 50th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's reign. and 15. are my jogging songs this month. I feel that 7.'s charming point is its drowsy guitar riff. 16. is intriguing for Gould's playing style is like mocking Amadeus. 19. is very Brahms.