What's New 2007
I hope everyone enjoyed a fantastic year end and had a memorable New Year's holiday. For those of you not involved, I spent my fourth (or fifth?) New Years atop Mt. Ikoma photographing the first sunrise over Nara, Japan. Unlike last year, the sky was clear and beautiful. As always I've got hundreds of images to sort through. I'll try to choose a few of the best and get a gallery up soon. It would be great if everyone could email me a favourite image or two of theirs and we can make it an event gallery though try to choose one that's not a straight-on sunrise pic or the gallery will be pretty boring.
Personal plans for 2007
I am planning to return to the States this year. I'm looking to work in marketing at a Napa Valley winery, restaurant, or resort. I fell in love with the Wine Country growing up -- the first time I visited my uncle and cousin in St. Helena. Living in the Bay Area, my family was near enough to spend a fair amount of time there over the years and I have often thought of ending up there. Napa Valley is a great place for all of my interests. The mountain-biking trails are world-class. The misty valleys beg for my camera and paints, and the gourmet food and wines will tempt one to prolong a mortgage. I've had a couple good leads so far but I'm looking for a position that might keep me busy for many years so I plan to make a carefully-considered decision and don't see myself moving before spring at the earliest.
I certainly have too many ties to Japan to tear myself away completely. I imagine I will be back for a visit every year or two but I think my globe-trotting days are nearing an end.
Future of OberroSafari
Jonny and Tetsu have expressed interest in taking over organisational duties for the domestic photo safaris so worry not, Oberro Safaris will not be leaving Japan -- only me, and I will certainly set up some adventures in California to inspire you to visit!
Feb. 10-12: Martin will be leading a group on a backpacking trip in the mountains of Wakayama. Unfortunately I won't be able to attend but email him for details.
Currently we are discussing dates and locations for the next international trip. Thus far, a late summer trip has received most interest and proposed locations include: Siberia's Lake Baikal, Myanmar, the Serengeti, and the very ambitious suggestion of Antarctica. As much as we would all love to go to Antarctica, I do not foresee that happening without a minimum of 10 members, all of whom able to shell out the cost of a modest sedan (airfare, extreme-weather gear, food, chartered boat, experienced guides etc.). Unfortunately I'd have to sit that one out but if anyone can figure out a way to bring such a trip into the range of affordability I don't think there will be any lack of signups!
If you're new to OberroSafari, check out this past trip for an idea of what to expect from one of our safaris.
Since most of us need several months notice in order to make arrangements and save up for a major trip, try to get your suggestions in as soon as possible and we'll narrow it down to the most popular requests and have a run-off vote to choose the destination and dates sometime in late February or early March.
I would like to express my thanks to Matt and Naomi for the very nice Christmas meal and I'd also like to say Congratulations to Rio (warning, baby picture!) for surviving all the cooing of friends and relatives (much to his dismay, you will remember Matt as the guy who had his fine Cuban cigar commandeered for personal use by the fishing-boat captain in the Japan Sea).
Chris and Sally, thank you for sending me the wedding photos. I put them up for you to share with friends and family. (To those of you who don't know, Chris married his long-time girlfriend Sally in Melbourne last year and I was honoured to be best man) . We wish you both a long and happy life together.
Akemashite omedeto gozaimasu -- Here's to a great 2007!
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