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If Sherlock Holmes were alive and "between cases," I think I could throw a bit of work his way. I'd love to know, for example, what happened to my hair. And my mind. Haven't seen either around the house for quite some time now.

But the case that is sure to have even the Great House Detective scratching his head and reaching for his best magnifying glass is the Mystery of the Missing Year. I mean, really now. What happened to the Year 2000? Where did it go? In years to come, are we going to look back and say, "Y2K? Never happened!"? Was it offended by our premature millennium party at the end of 1999, where we called it the youngest year of the new millenium when it really thought of itself as the grand matriarch of the old? And with eyebrows arched in high dudgeon did it decide, like Elvis, to leave the building?

If assigned to the case, I'm sure Sherlock would ask all the standard questions: when did we see it last, and what was it doing at the time, and did it have any identifying marks or say anything significant? And all I'd be able to show him are some home videos and a few photos. Sherlock would exclaim, "Come, Watson! The game is afoot!" And I'd reply, "Well, actually, they're mostly under foot. And none is called Watson. But I understand what you mean. I get their names mixed up all the time myself."

So, in proper sleuthing style, let's don our deerstalker caps and examine the evidence. Exhibit A: the home videos and photos. Yes, there certainly was plenty of action by the usual suspects during the year, most of it at high speed. If I look closely, I can identify the speeding blurs by name. There! That long blur in the baseball uniform is Calvin! He joined the 4th grade baseball team and now spends his weekends zipping around the bases. And there! That noisy blur is surely Brian, who does everything but his homework at top speed and volume. And that small blur must be Michelle, back from kindergarten for a quick change into her ballet outfit before zipping out the door.

And there, in the middle of the whirling action, sit Mom and Dad, easily identified by their glazed eyes and frazzled appearance. Poor things, they were born in a slower age and simply don't know what to make of this need for speed on the part of the pre-teen crowd.

Yes, Mr. Holmes, 2000 probably did stick around for its allotted 365, but don't ask the old folks for any details. I know that the year started out with the usual sojourn at the in-laws for the New Year holidays, followed by a trip to Nagano for some skiing and snowboarding.

And I remember Brian graduating from yochien (kindergarten) and entering shogakko (elementary school), and Michelle entering yochien. Big events in both their little lives.

I seem to recall baking out the winter chill on various beaches in Hawaii—that must have been during the kids' spring break—and then trying every-thing legal to cool off during the hot and sticky days of August. That was probably when we went to Doro Kyo for a couple of days of mountain-cool camping.

I remember playing ball with Calvin during warm autumn evenings, watching his throwing, catching, and hitting skills improve with each toss of the ball. That was a major highlight of my year.

I remember rediscovering a long lost interest in the night sky and buying a telescope to see what could be seen. Mostly clouds, haze, and the glare of city lights, (No wonder people in Japan walk around with their heads down!) But the rare nights of brilliant starscapes and the spectacular views of the moon, stars, planets, sun, and deep-sky objects made it all worthwhile.

Ah, yes, I do remember the work load in 2000. Lots of new and interesting projects, many with deadlines that seemed to come from the previous year's calendar. (Some of the web projects can be found on my business web site, kyomedia.com.) In fact, between the work and the kids' schedules, I often missed my daily swim, which has been doing wonders for my general health and dieting programs.

And I remember Yoko finding time in her busy schedule to absolutely devour the four Harry Potter books—after I had read them, of course. (I was beginning to think that she couldn't read anything that didn't have a P&G logo in the upper-right corner of the page!) Yoko also continued her weekly swimming classes, and started doing Yoga every morning. She's in fine shape.

I remember B being B, which means being top-gun goofy, whether he's imitating Calvin walking in the Kumano river, mimicking stone figures at Nachi Falls, or playing with the wind and waves on Kailua Beach, or...well, let's just say that B has few inhibitions. He approaches life as he does a ski slope—at full speed and straight ahead, without any bothersome turns or rest stops.

Sometime late in the year, Michelle began taking piano lessons together with the boys, and loves every minute. She also did a modeling job for one of the shopping centers on the island, and had a grand time, but Mom and Dad freaked when they saw the Shirley Temple curls that the hairstylist had given her for the photo shoot. Even when he had hair, Dad never had curls like that.

And didn't we end the year with another ski trip to Nagano before heading back to the in-laws for Oshogatsu? Hmm. I think I just got a clue...if we follow the tracks of the year, they lead right back to where we started. So that's what happened in the year 2000. No wonder we couldn't find it. It was right under our noses the whole time! Elementary, wasn't it?

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Happy 2001!

Steve & Yoko
Calvin, Brian & Michelle

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