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Osaka: What are your hopes for yourself, Japan and the world in 2013?

by Ray Franklin

Kuniko Sano
Housewife, 69 (Japanese)

I argue with my husband a lot, so I hope that diminishes next year! And I hope everyone stays healthy, especially my four grandkids and new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, since he previously quit for health reasons. I worry about Japan’s conflicts with our neighbors, and hope that the country can use its brainpower and high-tech knowhow to figure out ways to solve the various island disputes. Can’t we all just get along nicely?

Julie Kimura
Ph.D. candidate, 38 (Canadian)
My wishes for Japan in 2013 are that the Senkaku Islands dispute won’t escalate, the economy improves, the Fukushima nuclear disaster is properly treated, and the political situation stabilizes. (My expectations are just the opposite, however.) Personally, I hope my wonderful husband is related to 115-year-old Jiroemon Kimura of Kyoto, who is now the world’s oldest person, so we can enjoy a long healthy life together!

Francis Abbott
English instructor, 60s (British)
Well, I hope my loved ones and I stay alive and healthy all year long, for starters! And that old cliche of peace on Earth, obviously. Some might think 2013 will be bad because 13 is considered unlucky, but I expect it to be just another year, as usual. Worldwide, I wish people would rely more on their own common sense, rather than all the dogma and superstitions that we’ve been taught since childhood.

Yasuko Hashikawa
Mother, office staff, 42 (Japanese)
In 2013, I hope to exercise and diet more, to visit my friends who live outside Kansai, and to start learning something new, like calligraphy or singing. Additionally, I intend to take good care of my family and ensure that everyone stays healthy throughout the year. In the world, I wish to see the birth of a new country called Palestine and an end to the Syrian civil war.

Chris Sheen
English instructor, 40 (Canadian)
As a teacher, I wish people would use technology more productively — to educate themselves rather than just playing games on the train, for instance. On a personal level, my 4-year-old son is crazy about sumo, so I hope he can meet lots of sumo wrestlers at the Osaka basho in March. We plan to line up outside the gym to shake their hands as they enter.

Tomoyoshi and Rie Shinkawa
Burrito shop owners, 41 and 38 (Japanese)
We hope that health and business is good for everyone, not just us. We have enough foreign customers, but in Japan burritos aren’t that well known, so we’d like to increase our Japanese customer base. Beyond that, we try not to wish for much, because that could lead to disappointment if we get our hopes up. We just go with the flow, day by day, and do our best whatever happens.

Interested in gathering views in your neighborhood? E-mail community@japantimes.co.jp