The end of the year is always a good time to reflect and assess the year that has passed. One of my New Year's resolutions is always to visit somewhere I haven't been before. This year I had many chances to visit new places that I haven't been to before:
1. New Zealand: Queenstown and vicinity-Auckland.
2. Ko Samet, Thailand.
3. Cuba: Havana, Trinidad, and Santa Clara.
4. Kitakyshu, Fukuoaka-ken.
5. Izu Oshima, Tokyo-to.
6. Okayama, Okayama-ken.
7. Kagawa-ken: Shodoshima, Takamatsu, Naoshima, and Teshima.
I made a short trip to Kobe to present on Mikio Naruse's 1955 film Floating Clouds at the 2015 IAFOR Film Asian Conference (this is my fourth visit to the lovely Kansai city nestled in between mountains and the sea).
The Flower Clock.
This beer bar, Standdard, has several craft beers on tap.
Roger and Brent, the delegation leaders from my two Kyrgyzstan trips at home in Kobe.
Lai Young, Sora, and Ted at Public House the Rockin' Hearts in Uji for lunch.
This time around I really wanted to see the architectural wonder that is Byodoin, an UNESCO World Heritage site that is commemorated on the back side of the ten yen coin. The Phoenix Hall has been restored and there is another UNESCO World Heritage site in Uji that I wanted to visit as well, Ujigami Jinja.