Or nearly, anyway.
And it's been quite a year for me. A year in which I found out I would go to Japan, went there, and passed the exams so I could stay. Eight months I spent outside the Netherlands, beating my previous record of six weeks by a large margin.
I left behind friends and family, but made a lot of new friends, visited some great places, and generally had a great time. And I got to see my family again in the past week, and tonight I'm having a new years party with a lot of my old friends which is bound to be lots of fun too.
And there was work, dominated first by the Tokyo University entrance exams, then by lectures and the Rinko, and a lot of reading throughout. Looking forward I hope to get a more solid grasp on my research topic soon, and finish the lectures so I can concentrate on research. Work also meant learning Japanese, which I'm still nowhere near as good at as I would like. I have my moments, in which I construct compex sentences that surprise even me, but most of the time I'm still struggling, mainly lacking the necessary vocabulary to express myself, and the experience in building Japanese sentences on the fly.
What will 2008 bring? I can't say. More good times in Japan, I'm sure. Good progress towards my PhD would be nice too. :)
As I post this, 2008 is only 15 minutes away in Japan. Here I have another eight hours to go. But no matter in which time zone you are: happy new year! あけましておめでとうございます！ (akemashite omedetou gozaimasu)
I'm going back to the Netherlands for two weeks starting today. I must say I'm looking forward to eating decent bread again. :P
The disadvantage: I had to get up really early, it's 6:45 in the morning as I'm writing this. But I'll survive. :)
It's time to once again break my usual habit of not rehashing other people's news. Microsoft has remained very tight-lipped about what Internet Explorer 8 will be like, but just recently they've started trickling out information.
Today they announced that IE8 renders the Acid2 CSS compliance test correctly. This, and other work being done on standards compliance in IE8, constitute a major leap forward for IE, and this means good news for web developers like myself (although it'll be a while until we can truly use this stuff, seeing as how even now IE6 still outnumbers IE7, so no telling when IE8 will become the majority).
I hope they'll release a beta soon. :)
Every semester, the Graduate School of Information and Communication Engineering at the University of Tokyo holds a special seminar (in Japanese: 輪講 rinko) where the various students give a presentation on a topic that will likely be related to their research (although people switching subject entirely afterwards is not unheard of :P ). Basically you do a survey of some recent papers in your field. Since I'm a new student, I had to give a presentation as well (in the future I will need to attend this seminar but I won't need to do another presentation myself).
This presentation is taken rather seriously. Although it is only 25 minutes long, everybody makes an aweful fuss about it. I don't think there was this much to do about even my final presentation for my Master's degree. :)
They even made me do two rehearsals beforehand with some members from my lab. Although I'm not particularly fond of doing that, one positive result was that this is the first presentation in years where I didn't go over time. I had 25 minutes, and I did it in 23.
Now I've passed this particular hurdle, I should really start looking into what exactly I want to do for my research (I have a general idea, but nothing fixed yet). Not that I won't still be busy in the mean time: next week I've got another paper to do for the Web Engineering lecture, and I also have a presentation coming up for Distributed Systems. Neither of which should be anywhere near as time-consuming as the Rinko stuff, though.
On top of which, I seem to have cought a cold somewhere. :( It doesn't look like it's going to be too bad though.