My body clock may be about two weeks late, but tonight I’ve been feeling kind of annual-review ish. I mean, not only has it just turned 2006, but also, I’ve turned 28.

I’ve just had a quick flick through my Mumble archives from last year – made me feel positively exhausted, I can’t believe I did so much.

January was dominated by exams.

February: oh yes, that uni-related anti-climax. I remember feeling really down because I hadn’t made any really really good friends. I mean I had, but we didn’t socialise much. More sort of study-friends who didn’t share much about our private lives. And I didn’t get any valentine’s cards. I hadn’t found a girlfriend – something that I had really wanted to do since settling back into the UK in late 2003.

March: got deeply engrossed in my course to make up for the lack of any form of social life. Rather enjoyed it. Went to a *pink party* hoping to meet someone. Ended up spending most of the evening whinging to some Russian bloke, getting very drunk on cheap red wine and dancing like a monkey in the corridor. Got quite drunk quite a lot that month actually. All connected with wanting to be wanted I seem to recall. Oh, went on that demo as well, outnumbered by police 10-1. Ah, then there was my teacher’s wedding, that was lovely…

April: Chased by a Giant Cornish pasty. Also, felt moved to write “Oh f*** I really really do want a girlfriend. It’s the having someone to cuddle up to at night. Never mind the sex, really , I am willing to sacrifice my sex life (you know, the non-existent one) if for some strange reason you, that lovely lady out there, does not like sex, I am perfectly happy just to have you with me at night to cuddle, and push out of my single bed onto the floor when it’s time to really sleep, like teddy at the moment. And believe me, soon enough you’ll become addicted to the sex too, in addition to being pushed out of bed when I’m on the brink of dreams. I give him a pillow to lie on on the floor mind – and I’d be willing to give you two. It’s just not natural is it, for a perfectly healthy, mentally unstable 27-year-old lad like myself to not have anyone to cuddle on a regular basis for, bloody hell, over TWO YEARS now!! That is shocking, is it not? … I tell you, it’s this being in England business. English women just don’t like me.

May: Became an uncle for the 2nd time. Started planning my trip to Japan. Set the microwave on fire. Felt sexually frustrated. Dressed up in women’s clothing to see if that would help. Had a huge epileptic seizure. Got burgled.

June: Took a load of exams, finished my first year of Uni. Flew to Japan. There, embarked upon an emotional rollercoaster, tying up loose ends from a former relationship. Killed a load of cockroaches. Lay on my futon for a whole week, drinking sake and watching Japanese TV. Met a tie-dye dog. Went to work as a volunteer on an organic charcoal farm. Built a log cabin.

July: Still in Japan, became embroiled in a very complex ‘relationship’ of sorts, whereby myself and a friend used one another as substitutes for things that were out of reach. Was shown incredible kindness, but also suffered a lot of emotional blackmail! Met up with old friends, found a building with a motorway that went right through the middle of it. Traveled 1000km west from Tokyo to become a volunteer on an organic mikan (Satsuma) farm in the middle of nowhere in the Japanese outback. Found myself in the middle of a flock of Jellyfish.

August: Set out on a 1000km hitch-hike back to Tokyo, which eventually took 27 hours, and involved sneaking into the back of a truck at 3am, being the benefactor of astonishing generosity, constantly being watched by a revolving police patrol car, hiding for several hours in a waiting room for fear of being discovered by station staff. Saw a VERY big bunch of bananas too. Ran out of money. Left my camera in a restaurant and subsequently missed my flight back to the UK. Went to a Welsh wedding (which involved a very embarrassing farting incident).

September: Fooled into thinking I was a stepladder by my epilepsy (had up to 40 seizures a day), discovered I had an unsupported personality, moved into a new cupboard in Sheffield. Wrote “Shit, I really want a girlfriend this year, I really do. It’s so dangerous though, getting together with people when one is feeling so needy. Can make such bad mistakes. Wrong reasons etc. And the timing! It’s not good, I’m going away for a year as of next summer… and I don’t want to ‘settle down’ yet, want to have fun…

…and then I think, but cripes joseph, if she was “The One”, not that you believe in “The One” concept, but say just for argument’s sake that she was, well, you know, if she was everything you dream of in a girlfriend (thing is, my list of requirements grows year on year, thus meaning that this ‘ideal partner’ is increasingly unlikely to exist! Bachelorhood Here I Come!), then there would be no fear of committing yourself to her …right? You would not lose your freedom, for you would not be left wanting outside of all that you share together. This fear of losing your freedom is your strongest motive for Not Getting Involved, no?”

A few days later I was invited to a Sushi party, and there, I met *cough*. A couple of days later, I met her again, and wrote “Had a really stimulating chat with Taku and Hiroko (not her real name, because if I told you Julia’s name she might get a bit upset about the exposure on the www), two of the exchange students here. I really like Taku, he’s so open, so open with his thoughts and feelings, and so open to others. And Hiroko… Her sisters went to a Scottish school modelled on Summerhill, whilst she herself went to a Japanese school also modelled on Summerhill. She has a really lovely smile …and I want to get to know her better. I want to work through that stage of getting-to-know each other, and reach the plateau of friendship with its cherry trees in full bloom and happy birds singing. I want to see her again and just talk and explore… but I’ll have to wait until Saturday, and I doubt I’ll have a moment to relax then as I’ll be runnng the show alongside Will. I should sleep. It’s almost 2am, and I’m very tired. Times are exciting, but I’d like them to get a little more so.”

A few days later I wrote “saw Hiroko today. *Sigh* She was looking so smiley and lovely again. I wanted to ask her for her number – it’s no big deal as everyone is swapping numbers at the moment, new term and all that. But I didn’t. Well, I’ll see her on Saturday. …ahhh. Sigh. Hmmm… Mind you, I don’t feel any sudden urge to jump into bed with her, I wonder if there’s something wrong with me? Mind you, I would like very much to kiss her, and perhaps cuddle and touch and… oh sod it I can’t kid myself – I’d love to sleep with her.”

The following day, I accidentally sent “Hiroko” an email with a link to the webpage on which all of that was written.

October: It was love – a complete stranger called Tony sent me an email reading “PLEASE GET BACK TO ME IF YOU CAN FILL MY LIFE WITH LOVE AND JOY BECAUSE THATS WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO GET FROM ME IN RETURN.” I apologized to Tony, telling him that he was 1 week late. The thing was, I had met someone, and she was the loveliest girl in the world.

November: The romance continued, but the stress of Uni started to mount up. Still, at least we weren’t following Japanese norms, as revealed by the latest Global Sex Survey results.

December: Although uni work completely took over all my waking hours, I somehow managed to find time to slip into a little red dress and strut my stuff for the benefit of 110 unwitting Japan soc members. Christmas was a lovely relaxing, drunken affair, spent with family and friends.

So, all in all, quite a year in the life of the Tame. A bloomin good year actually. Ok, so my epilepsy made a forceful return, but hey, these things happen, and I swear if I hadn’t had that seizure I wouldn’t have passed my Korean exam. Thing is, although the seizure resulted in me not being able to revise at all for my exams, I don’t think that I would have passed the Korean exam if I hadn’t had the doctor’s note, as I hadn’t done enough reading for it during the semester, and the exam paper was made up of really tough questions,. like, “What was the name of the King Chi’s second dog-in-law who liked to sleep a lot during the early 11th century.” I kid you not.

And, finally, many many months of alcoholic loneliness came to an end. I have never felt so settled and lacking in fear of the future in a relationship before now. I feel the time is right for this.

I’m still enjoying my course a great deal. Just wishing I’d managed my time more effectively last semester, and actually done the required reading! I really love my module topics, history has a hold on me now (where did that come from?) (although I don’t see myself using it career wise), and the language continues to provide me with endless hours of frustration and pain! Let’s hope it pays off next year..

Goals for this year: to try my hardest to get a good result for my second year at uni, a 2:1 will be ok..

To continue to learn more about my partner everyday, and to help her do the same with me.

To control my stress levels through effective time management, and by saying “NO” a lot more!!

To get a scholarship for my stay in Japan next academic year.

To learn as much as possible as I can from my course. Knowledge is a precious gift, and I must seize this opportunity.

To try my hardest in everyday life to develop my Japanese language skills, especially once back in Japan in August / September.

To continue to feel so damn lucky to have this wealth of opportunities, to be able to choose what I want to do, without feeling pressured by social constraints.

To continue to thoroughly appreciate the love, care and friendship given to me by those around me.

To stop writing lengthy Mumbles when I should actually be studying, or asleep.

Happy 2006!

Good night.