The World Championship trip to Japan last year was fantastic... except for the Worlds themselves. The Canadian government didn't come through on my citizenship in time, and so I was disqualified from our team, which won bronze. If I'd been able to compete, I would have had a match against Katie (the US champion) that would have determined who went to the finals, and possibly another against Andrea (captain of the US team) for a trip to the medal round in the individuals. As it was, I won a couple of matches in the International Friendship Tournament the following day, and learned a lot from the week-long INF seminar.
And I got to train at the Shubukan! It's the third-oldest dojo in Japan, and the home of Tendo-ryu. We had a two-day seminar, and I went back again the following Tuesday for the regular monthly Shin Getsu Kai practice. I'm sad that I don't have a teleporter to get back there regularly.
Japan was fantastic. Amanda and I had the time of our lives, and we can't wait to go back.
I got home to find a letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, inviting me to my citizenship ceremony, several weeks too late. So now that's done, and I'm a dual citizen.
My gig at Rogers ended when I left for Japan, and I took the rest of last summer off. A LARP friend and I drove out to Edmonton in August for A) another group's event out there, and B) to see friends along the way. It was a lot of fun, despite one 22-hour marathon stretch that we ran into on the way back because every single motel room in southern Saskatchewan and northern North Dakota was full. (Go figure!)
Mom broke her ankle at Labour Day at Chautauqua, so I spent most of the fall commuting to Erie every couple of weeks to run her errands and so forth. She was able to drive again in January. I managed to total our car in a low-speed collision on the way to a naginata seminar in October (the other car's bumper was much higher, and struck my engine and bent my frame), so I'm car shopping now.
I spent a week out in Cascadia last month on a big interviewing blitz. Both Amazon.com and one of its subsidiaries were interested in me, and I nearly wound up relocating to Victoria. Everything looked perfect, and I got the impression that they were going to make me an offer, but they didn't, and the Toronto Amazon office did, so I'm staying put. I fell in love with Victoria, and Vancouver Island in general, though, and we're going to keep it on our radar as a relocation target for the medium term.
I got back from the recruiting trip in time to drive down to Palenville for the March holy season, but I was exhausted and not feeling well, and wound up not going. I did make it there in November and December for the court case against the town of Catskill, who are trying to deny us a tax exemption for our temple property; a verdict should be forthcoming later this spring.
We had a particularly successful trip to the New York naginata tournament this year. I won the women's division, my engi partner and I won the Funahara Cup, and I was taisho of the third place team. All my students placed in at least one division, and I got some really good feedback from the accompanying seminar. And we had fun on the road trip.
I start my new job with Amazon.com early next month. They're flying me to Seattle for a couple of weeks, then I settle in with the team I'm managing here in Toronto. It looks like we've got some interesting things on tap, as well as management buy-in to clear out several years of accumulated technical debt.
Tonight, it's off to the opera. All in all, life is good. But really, I'm updating my Facebook more than I'm updating this journal.