This is our belated greeting for a Happy New Year.
I would like to explain my excuse for this delay. After we moved within Honolulu City in January 1996, it seems that it has become our practice to move in December/January season. January 1997, we moved from Honolulu to Yokohama. January 1998, I moved from Yokohama to Brussels, followed by our family in March 1998. And in December 1998, my office moved within Brussels. I hope I do not need to move at the end of this year.
It has been already one year after I came to Brussels. Our life in Brussels has not been always easy. The weather is not too good (300 rainy days in a year), and we have difficulties in understanding the languages (i.e., French and Dutch).
However, we try to maximize this opportunity to live in Europe. For example, Brussels is very well located in the middle of Western Europe. It is quite possible to have a one-day trip to Paris or Western part of Germany. Spain, Italy and UK are also within 2 hours flight, and we can visit these countries easily (when we can afford to do so!). There are lots of locations with beautiful scenery, interesting culture, and historic legacy. We are looking forward to visiting these places.
In fact, we welcomed the year 1999 in a party room of a hotel in Rome, and it was very interesting experience. After the dinner, people started to dance with the sound of band music. When it came to the climax, people uncorked their bottles of Champaign and we noticed that it was the New Year.
Now, let me introduce some of the activities of my family in 1998. Takako has started to study French in autumn. Despite it is her first time to study French, she can now manage to use it at shopping and telephone conversation.
Anna has started to practice ballet dance besides her piano lesson. Also, she started Girl Scout activities among Belgian girls. It is quite amazing to know that she has grown up to do such activities.
I am surviving as an only Japanese staff among about 150 Europeans in the office. I have much to learn in this environment.
For more updates of our family, I will try to update our homepage at www.karaki.net. Please visit it when you have a chance.
I wish you a happy and health 1999.