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  • Kristina Elyse Butke

Let's Look Back: 2022


Glittering lights from mirror disco balls - let's look back: 2022
Photo by Fidel Fernando on Unsplash

I did one of these for 2021 and thought it was a blast, and I think I'll make a tradition out of it. It's originally from this article and I've updated my answers to reflect 2022. I hope these questions help you reflect on your own 2022 adventures, and I hope you enjoy reading about mine!


**•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚  ˚*•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚*


1. Three words to describe 2022.


Anxiety, Anticipation, Change.


2. What was the most memorable moment for you of 2022?


Getting an offer of representation from a literary agent.


3. What was your most played song of 2022?


I didn't listen to a lot of music in 2022 as far as I remember. In Japan it was probably "Pop Stars" by KDA (I was late to find that song) and in the US it was probably one of the film soundtracks I listen to, like Far From the Madding Crowd (end credits theme). It's really pretty classical music.


4. Did you take any trips in 2022? Tell us about the most memorable ones and why!

In June I took my final trip in Japan. It was a farewell trip to my favorite location, Takachiho in Miyazaki prefecture. I had been there several times but I thought it was important to say goodbye there because some of the most important shrines in all of Japan are in Takachiho, such as Amanoiwato Shrine and Amanoyasukawara. I got to see Amanoiwato (the cave) where Amaterasu hid her light from the world. The cave is so sacred you can't go in it, but you can view it behind the shrine with the assistance of a Shinto priest.


A japanese shrine in a cavern surrounded by stone piles (cairns).
Amanoyasukawara Shrine. Photo by Kristina Elyse Butke.

For my trip, I spent a couple days in a hotel. Unfortunately it rained for most of my days there so I did the bulk of my visits the first day while the sun was still out. I wanted to see Takachiho Gorge by boat but the rain ruined that. But on one rainy night I went to Takachiho Shrine and got to see their famous kagura (sacred dancing). That was really neat.


A masked man in ritual costume dances what's known as kagura.
Takachiho Kagura. Photo by Kristina Elyse Butke.

5. Something you’re looking forward to this coming year?


I hope to prepare Son of the Siren to go on sub and I want to finish rewriting The Name and the Key.


6. What was your favorite meme of 2022?


There was a Twitter meme that had a generic photo of a high school and asked people to share their weirdest high school memories, and people, instead of answering with true stories, answered with the plots to famous films set in high school (without identifying the name of the movie). Of course I can't find any tweets as an example, d'oh!


7. What was the hardest thing you went through in 2022?


The move back to the United States from Japan was pretty difficult. The preparation to move was extremely daunting but nothing prepared me for the adjustment I had to make coming back. Finding a job was very difficult. My mental illness symptoms exacerbated. Getting healthcare was also tricky, plus getting my driver's license again. All the while, it's the end of December, and I'm still having a tough time adjusting to everything. I didn't expect it to take so long, but then again...six years of my life was spent overseas compared to the five months I've spent back in the US.


8. Who/What are you most thankful for throughout the last year?

My mother has really saved me countless times this year. I owe her a lot.


9. What was the funniest thing that happened last year?


I'm wracking my brain but I can't remember anything particularly funny that happened! No, wait--the kagura I saw in June made me laugh. The last dance was about Izanami and Izanagi getting drunk and having sex, and the choreography actually simulated those acts. It was hilarious and completely unexpected. I and everybody else in the audience laughed.


10. What was your favorite series this year?


I got caught up with a lot of anime that I missed out on in Japan when I got back here, and I have to say I really enjoyed SK8: The Infinity. It was just a lot of fun all around.


11. What societal events or news stories shocked you this year?


The details coming out of the Uvalde shooting in Texas were pretty horrific, from the wounds the victim suffered to the police inaction (including how they treated the parents). That was a big one for me.


12. What are you hoping for less of this coming year?


I would like less anxiety and depressive symptoms.


13. What are you hoping for more of this coming year?


I hope to get more writing done and to make more money somehow.


14. What personal goals did you achieve in 2022?


I stopped drinking soda. I haven't had any since August 5, 2022. I also achieved my goal of getting a literary agent for Son of the Siren.


15. What is your favorite YouTube Content Creator in the last year?


I fell in love with Reads with Rachel this year. I really value her criticism of books and love the deeper dives she goes into, with topics such as abuse, motherhood, fundamentalism, the incel movement, etc. I enjoy her "Authors Behaving Badly" series and also enjoyed her review of Lightlark this year.


16. What are you/did you do for New Year's Eve?


We're planning to play Jackbox games with family and friends for New Year's! But not too late at night--my mother and I tend to go to bed earlier.


17. What was your most memorable New Year's moment?


In general, every time I did hatsumode (first shrine visit of the year) in Japan was special. It's a lovely, festive time. I always did Kikuchi Shrine since that was next to my apartment, but one year (I don't remember which one, it was the Year of the Boar) I went to Sumiyoshi Shrine in Fukuoka City (near Hakata) and one of the shrine maidens danced for me, ringing the bells in the air around me.


18. Where is your dream city/place to celebrate New Year's?


Japan is a wonderful place to go for New Year's. I never made it to the shrines on New Year's Eve because I was always tired, but I made sure to get there on New Year's Day. The first three days of January are devoted to shrine visits, so there's always something going on then. Good food, special traditions, lots of praying--it's a great experience. And a great time to get goshuin!


19. Do you celebrate New Year's with a kiss?


I have, but I don't really do that anymore.


20. In 2023, what are your goals?


Get a publishing deal for Son of the Siren and get a job related to education or writing.

21. Where do you want to travel in 2023?

Realistically, I don't see myself going anywhere special with funds being what they are, but I hope maybe to squeak in one more visit to Maryland to see family.


22. What film are you most excited for in 2023?


Oh my gosh! I have no idea what's coming out in 2023! Well...actually, there's supposed to be an anime BL film, Ten Count, but I don't know when that's coming out. And there is supposed to be another Made in Abyss movie following Season Two that I guess is coming out in 2023. So, if I got my dates right, I'm looking forward to those movies.


23. What do you think YouTube will be like this year?


I'm not really sure. I only go on Youtube for Booktubers, and they've been pretty consistent in terms of the content they produce, so I can only expect to see some of the same things for 2023. And that's what I'd prefer, to be honest. I go to them for specific information and they always give me what I want, so I don't want that to change!


24. What do you think 2023 is the year of?


It's the year of the Rabbit!


25. What are your New Year’s resolutions?


I want to be in an enjoyable, comfortable position with my job where I'm not financially struggling, and to finish The Name and the Key in 2023. I need to stop taking two and three years to write books.


26. How are you going to motivate yourself to stick to your goals this year?


For the job front, I have no idea--I feel like I'm at the whims of the market and the employers--but I think for The Name and the Key, I should go in with the mindset that professional authors pump out content regularly...so if I want to succeed as an author, I've got to keep writing.


27. What are your dream scenarios for 2023?


I keep saying it, but I really want Son of the Siren to get a publishing deal!


28. In 2023, what new things do you want to try?


I would like to try walking and hiking more regularly for my health. In the US, when I got back, I was really good about it, but then I just stopped once my depression kicked in.


29. What are you going to stop doing in 2023?


I want to stop "writing when I feel like it" or "writing when the muse hits" and try to write regularly in some fashion. I've always struggled with this. I just want to be able to finish a book in a year.


30. Three words to describe your upcoming 2023?


Hope, Fear, and Work.

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