There were several big changes to my life in 2012, so without further ado here are the top 3 in chronological order.
For a number of years my wife has been bringing up the topic of a car. But I always dismissed the topic as something that might be "nice to have" not a "need to have" item. The train systems in Japan are some of the best, safest, cleanest, and most timely in the world. We take the trains to work each week day, and even take the Shinkansen Bullet Train when visiting the in-laws in Iwate. So I found it hard to justify the expense of getting a car, however the happy news that we were to have a second child changed my mind. With one child I think it's possible to manage food shopping, travelling, etc. but with 2 the number of free hands decreases. So I reconsidered and agreed with my wife, with the only request that it be a Hybrid car so that it uses less gas and is more environmentally friendly. After a few test drives and some negotiating about the price with the car salesman, we signed the papers in April and became the owner of a new Honda Fit Hybrid in blue. My wife and I really like how quiet it is, and have had no problems with it thus far.
Now that brings up the issue of drivers licenses, I have a driver's license from the US however that is not valid in Japan. In order to get a Japanese driver's license you must take and pass multiple written and actual driving tests. These tests cost a fair amount of money and time to take, not to mention that in Japan cars drive on the Left side of the road, which is the opposite of the US. Actually given the choice I prefer to take the train or bike ride over driving, so the new car is essentially my wife's, and she does the driving when needed.
The next big change in my family is the welcome addition of my second son. He was born in a hospital in Iwate, Japan (where my in-laws live) via a C-section. Our first son was also born by C-section so it was planned and expected to have our second by C-section. He is cute, and healthy, and growing bigger each day! Though he did need to have an operation for a hernia, seems it happens sometimes that boys are born with a hernia, his large intestine could be seen poking against his stomach at times. But he had the operation last month and it went successfully, so the hernia is no longer a concern. Here's his first photo, he was born in August.
The last big change for the end of 2012 is I left my position as Chief Engineer/System Administrator at Namzak Japan. The company has struggled for a number of years to gain new customers, and frankly I was feeling like it was time for a change for a number of reasons that I won't get into here. So when the CEO sat me down and said plainly that my position in the company would be ending at the end of this year it didn't come as a total surprise, my wife and I are hoping 2013 brings a prosperous career change. Shameless plug since it is my blog, if you're looking for a System Administrator, software engineer, or help with testing your mobile or desktop app or web service get in touch!