I am now the proud owner of a ~30 Year home loan from Resona Bank.
Going into more detail:
We have been living in the same 4 room apartment in Kawaguchi (formerly Hatogaya) Saitama for about 9 years. When we first moved there it was my wife and I, but over the years we had 2 sons who also have their own clothes and lots of toys cluttering up the apartment. As they acquired more stuff there was less room for us.
The other reason we decided to move is because the public school system in Kawaguchi doesn't have a good reputation. Basically every person we talked to about school mentioned they aren't very good schools in the area. Both my sons are still in nursery school/pre-school so they haven't yet entered the public school system. My older son has 1 more year of kindergarten.
So it came time to move to a bigger place, in an area with better public schools. My wife did some research on the Web and determined that Urawa, Saitama has a good reputation for schools. After looking at a couple apartments (mansions as they're known in Japan) we decided we could pay a little more and buy a house. We decided to look for houses that already have been build for sale, rather than buying land and building a new house, or buying an old house, tearing it down, and then building a new one.
After searching through different house listing online for some time, we visited several houses in one day with a real estate agent and decided on a particular house that my wife and I agreed we liked.
Now came the challenging part, the loan. This part was the most stressful as my wife was doing much of the research and applications for loans but the loan would be owned by me. After some trial and error, and a huge amount of paperwork including me filling in duplicates and sometimes triple copy, in Japanese of course. Resona Bank agreed to give us a loan, unfortunately it wasn't enough to cover the cost, so in addition to the loan we borrowed from my wife's parents, we will of course pay them back.
We moved to the new house in November. The most challenging thing about the new house is our kid's still attend kindergarten/nursery school near our previous apartment in Kawaguchi. Reason for this is the new school season for Japan starts in April and we didn't find any feasible nursery schools near the new house before the start of the new school year. As such, we wake up every morning at around 5-5:30 AM so that we can get ready, get the kids ready, we all pile into the cat and my wife drives about 45 minutes to their kindergarten in Kawaguchi, then my wife and I take the train to work from there. My wife picks up the kids from Kawaguchi in the afternoon (as she gets done with work ealoer) then drives them home to our new house, I take the train directly to our new house after work since I work later hours than she does. You can imagine this early morning situation leaves us tired, and some morning go better than others with waking up 2 kids and packing them for the car ride to school. But it's just a couple more months until April when the new school year starts and the kids will be going to a closer kindergarten.
Several big changes happened this year with some of the Podcasts I enjoy listening to. Myke Hurley, who joined 5by5 along with most of his Podcasts from his 70 Decibels Network quit and left 5by5 to start his own thing bringing along with him the shows he was hosting. Myke then announced that he and Stephen Hackett were co-founding a new podcast network named Relay.fm.
Myke's old shows have been restarted under new names on the network. In addition, with the closing of the paper MacWorld magazine Jason Snell has moved the Clockwise Podcast to Relay.fm and started a new podcast with Myke Hurley.
Bigger personal changes yet for Myke, he quit his day job and now does Podcasting full time as his primary income. Congrats to him, I've been listening and following his Podcasts since 70 Decibels and am glad to hear he's achieving his goals.
This year Jorte Inc. has expanded our international team (with all members located in Tokyo), I was involved in the interviewing and selection process. Jorte continues to further improve on our crowd sourced localization/translation with native speakers on staff improving the quality, the new members also add to our customer support making support available in more languages/regions.
With these new hires my responsibilities have increased to managing the expanded international team, along with my previous tasks of business development of event calendars, managing development to sync with new Web services, and managing support for english speaking users & regions. As the saying goes I wear many hats, and juggle many tasks. =)
Downloads of Jorte in the US in particular have done quite well this year, with the number of New user installs becoming the 2nd largest region for Jorte. While Jorte's total user demographics continue to be the same: 1. Japan, 2. South Korea, 3. US, the number of Daily New Downloads in US has grown to surpass South Korea.
Looking ahead to 2015, at the beginning of this year we are planning to launch Jorte Premium, a new subscription service that allows Premium members to use advanced features, and download unlimited number of themes and icon sets which are included as part of Jorte Premium.
Happy TwentyFifteen! to you and yours, may we all have a great and prosperous year!
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