Well, it’s that time of the year again. A lot has happened this year, but I’ll try to summarize everything in this post. Here we go!
This has been a hectic year for my family, with my maternal grandmother passing away this year and another member of our extended family also passing away last month. No matter what life throws our way, family will always play an important part in supporting each other in the toughest times. I am truly blessed to have such a supporting family and I hope that I was also able to support them during this year’s challenges.
Although I moved out with my brother this year, we still frequent our parents’ place for dinner. On weekends, we still go out for our weekly lunch at our favourite restaurant. It really takes a lot of extra work off of our lives: they always have dinner prepped and ready when we get there after work at 7pm. They also sometimes help us buy things while they’re out, from the essentials like toilet paper and various house cleaners to coffee filters for our pourovers. My brother also does a lot of the stuff at home, from dishes to folding clothes. I try to do my part, like vacuuming and putting things in the wash, but I still need to “pull my weight” a bit more.
Also part of my family is my girlfriend. She continues to be part of my life, supporting me during difficult times this year. Our communication has improved and was better this year in my opinion. We made many great memories, from going on an aquarium date to cooking meals together. I’m still learning new things about her, like her great influences on some of my figure purchases (I’m looking at bunny girl Lacus 😉 ). Jokes aside, I really admired her perseverance in pursuing her career in teaching, and I intend to support her journey, no matter the ups and downs that may come along in the future. As such, I intend to continue deepening our relationship in the upcoming year.
I won’t go into much here since I’ve touched upon it a lot this year, but interesting problems, great colleagues, and having my voice heard at my company have been great. They’re the reason why I’ve stayed at my company for three years and counting. It’s also the reason why I continue to observe people and see if anyone is a good fit. This year, I managed to recruit someone that I had the privilege to meet through their work on the SFU Anime Club to join our company. They were someone I could vouch for 100%, and I look forward to what they’ll accomplish in the future.
Work hasn’t been boring. My coworker from Edmonton, who works on the same projects as I do, moved down, so going into the office and working with him has been great. As well, there was always something new to learn, with every day being a new day. That said, it sometimes got stressful, especially when we had deliverables while having to balance the various tasks at hand, including dealing with customer escalations, code maintenance, or new project work. Here’s to another year to continue contributing to our products and features.
Internal infrastructure improvements
Outside of work, I continued to learn new things. Technology and coding are not just my career, it’s an important hobby that I enjoy exploring on the side as well. I’ve made great strides to get closer to “the times”. I’m privileged and fortunate enough to have obtained two additional “hand-me-down” machines, which allowed me to update the underlying Windows Server operating systems using the remaining keys I had redeemed from when I was still an university student, and went back to provisioning Ubuntu on another machine. Inter-site networking works great: I’ve pushed 1TB+ worth of data through my VPN tunnel to keep data in sync between my place and my parents’ place, so it’s definitely serving its purpose well!
I’m also making incremental improvements to my backup strategy. I now have offline backups of my important data on external hard drives, which I snapshot periodically. I keep a backup copy from my parents’ place at my place and vice versa, which should further reduce my risk of data loss in the event of a catastrophic failure. I have also proactively added two additional hard drives to my NAS a few days ago and switched to SHR-2/RAID-6 setup to allow for two independent disks to fail before losing data. One of my current drives was starting to show increasing bad sectors but hasn’t failed yet, so I’m just doing it out of an abundance of caution. If it does fail, I still have warranty to cover the replacement, but that’ll take some time to sort out if that happens. Having lost all my data in the past due to a failing hard drive with no redundancy, I would rather be safe than sorry.
There’s still a lot for me to explore. I intend to continue chipping away at the various projects I have on my mind, from running Plex in a Docker container to consolidating data at home with another NAS device. I also might migrate my large Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to a SQL database, which would give me some additional practice on designing relational databases and writing SQL queries.
Hanging out with friends
COVID-19 restrictions have eased this year with infection rates on the downward trend and many having gotten their booster vaccine shots. As such, I have had more opportunities for in-person hangouts with friends. Some of them have been at my new place, some have been at restaurants, and some have been elsewhere.
One memorable hangout was with some of my old elementary school friends, otherwise known as the crew. Our paths haven’t crossed much over these past few years, so we caught up over dinner and bubble tea. My friend, Ray, has been working in web development. My other friend, Andrew was working at Microsoft and managed to jump to Apple. He even moved to the US for work, so it’ll be a while until our next catch up. Missing from this group was my friend Franky, who was busy, but I still managed to bump into him at a local restaurant I frequent. Nonetheless, bubble tea and Taiwanese beef noodles will always be our staple get-together food, and I look forward to our next meet up some time in the distant future once again.
Another one was going out on a small road trip nearby with another group of friends in late-August, otherwise known as the squad. We rented an Airbnb near Hope, BC, hung out and made food together. We brought a Nintendo Switch and played some games together, and sat in a hot tub that was outside. It was nice to unwind a bit. We also had more opportunities to hangout over dinner and gather at each others’ places, so it was nice to have more of those opportunities this time around too.
I also had some opportunities to hang out with some other friends I made while working on the SFU Anime Club bot. Although we haven’t done too much with respect to bot additions this year, we have made strides to improve the overall code quality. I’m really grateful to have other people supporting the bot, as I will be continuing to take a backseat approach with bot improvements and focus on background infrastructural improvements.
Next year, I hope to go on more trips. I’m actually in the middle of planning a trip to Japan in May. I am planning to go to an onsen area and staying in a ryokan, which has been a bucket list item for quite some time. Excited for that!
Anime events came back!
As restrictions eased and vaccination rates continued to increase, anime-related events finally returned! This year, I went to various local anime events, including MiniComi, Anime Revolution and Anime Evolution’s Akimatsuri. I missed having a place to hang out with friends sharing similar interests and buying merch in-person, so it was really nice to have that back again.
I might go to Sakura-con this year again (the last time I went was in 2019, before I revived this blog back from the dead), but this time I might see if I can carpool with my friends instead of taking a coach bus down in the early morning.
I watched quite a bit of anime this year. After eliminating some duplicates at a glance from my personal database, I watched roughly 85 different series across 1100 episodes. This included rewatches of series from previous years and new watches from the current year and previous years. If I had to pick a few series that were memorable for me, then they would be Tsuki ga Kirei, Uzaki-chan ga Asobitai! Double, and Fuufu Ijou, Koibito Miman.
Tsuki ga Kirei has been on my backburner for the last few years, and I finally got around to watching it. It aired roughly five years ago, in 2017. I haven’t cried after watching an anime in a while, but it was a nice, chest-tightening and heart-fluttering watch. Touyama Nao also sang many songs in the anime, including the opening and ending songs, which were really nice to hear.
On the topic of romance animes, I really enjoyed watching Fuufu Ijou, Koibito Miman, which recently finished airing. The main protagonists Jirou and Akari really made me draw analogies to my relationship right now. As such, I found them to be quite relatable and I was rooting for them while watching it. The anime conclusion wasn’t the greatest in my opinion, but maybe it was a logical place to stop in terms of the source material and the 13-episode run, so I will look into the manga and catch up there.
In the same romance boat was the second season of Uzaki-chan, for which I have her Nendoroid and have taken with me to places for photos. The character developments throughout the course of this second season have also made me draw parallels. Oh, and Hana-chan’s voice actor, Oozora Naomi, is great and I love her contrast between Ogata Chieri from iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls and this series.
Aside from romance animes, idol animes have also been great. Admittedly, I’ve been more or less tuned out of the Love Live! franchise for the last few years, but this year, the Nijigasaki and Superstars series brought me straight back in. This is thanks to my friend, Lorenzo, for gracing me with Rouran! Victory Road during our carpools to and from Anime Revolution 2022. This song quickly became my headphone rave jams for the remainder of the year. My favourite characters from the series are Tennoji Rina and Tang Keke, respectively. I found Rina-chan to be quite relatable with her tech wizardry and inability to show her emotions at times. For Keke, her passion to keep pushing others to do her best, like when she got Kanon to be a school idol with her, was something I found to be quite admirable.
Unsurprisingly, music has been the backbone of my daily life. I listened to over 42,000 songs this year. As I alluded to earlier, I dived back into Love Live!, and it has kept me upbeat for the last half a year. Truly no regrets there. Not to my surprise, Ryoran! Victory Road was my most played song of the year, which I recorded over 740 plays on last.fm. Another Love Live! in my top 5 was Eutopia, from Lanzhu Zhong, a character from the Nijigasaki series. Thanks to diving back into the Love Live! franchise, I found myself buying numerous CDs, including those from the Nijigasaki sub-unit R3BIRTH. It was really great!
Aside from that, I played the same songs. I listened to Denonbu (電音部) songs, with Let Me Know being the most played song from that franchise on my list. The iDOLM@STER songs have also been on repeat, with #HE4DSHOT remaining my top played iM@S song for a second year in a row. This year, I also started to record 3D Rich MVs with the characters and outfits I wanted to see. The playlist for that is here, and will continue recording more 3D Rich MVs next year. Genshin OST albums also showed up on my top played, with the Liyue region being my favourite album.
I’ve also expanded my musical horizons a little bit. On our car rides to and from places, my girlfriend has taken the DJ role and enlightened with songs ranging from the Ensemble Stars franchise to Uchida Yuuma. There were some really great songs that definitely balance out my female-dominant artist palette.
This year, I continued to see new additions to my figure collection. I have almost doubled the number of bunny girl figures I had from the previous year: from 3 to 5, with more on the way in 2023. If I had to pick a favourite, then I would have to give it to VERTEX’s Cecil, followed by either bunny girl Lacus Clyne from Gundam Seed, or Barbara from Genshin Impact. EMS shipping also finally recovered after more than two years, with Demon Rem being the first figure that came following the service resumption. The aforementioned figures are all really nice, detailed figures, and I intend to write about them in the near future.
My figure spending budget this year was $3k CAD, and I was just under this amount. Next year, the budget will be somewhat the same, or maybe even less. I have no intention of letting go of any of my figures at this point in life, but I am starting to be a little bit more space-conscious. I am definitely running out of space with my DETOLF glass display cases, and with prices soaring (they now cost $150 CAD compared to the $70 when I got my other ones), I don’t anticipate buying another one any time soon. Perhaps I’ll move to a figure rotating model at some point in the future, but to avoid that, I will be more picky on the figures I want to pre-order (I say that as I still have a handful of figures on pre-order for 2023).
Another consideration is the collection consolidation between mine and my girlfriend’s in the future. She has many DC figurines and plushies from other series, so if and when we decide to get a place, we’ll need ample space to display our collections intertwined.
Well, that’s all I have for 2022. For 2023, I hope to be doing the following:
- Continue to deepen my relationship with my girlfriend.
- Travel to Japan again, and visit an onsen (planning in progress).
- Continue to study Japanese on my free time.
- Continue to oversee the SFU Anime Club’s bot development to the best of my ability, but take a more “laissez-faire” approach.
- Do more exercise, cause I’ve been so lazy this year.
- Continue to save money for my own place in the future.
This year’s midpoint was a definite low, but it has since recovered, and I intend to keep it that way.
I hope your year was more or less good, and if not, let’s strive to make changes to get ourselves back on the right track towards happiness.
Happy new year’s eve! よいお年を！
See you next year!