Plans for 2022

A yearly stab at setting goals for the oncoming year.
Blog: whitabootery
Categories: 9-minute read

For the last few years, I’ve written a blog post at the start of the year and a summary post at the end of the year.  I’ve found it a very satisfying process and I think that doing so has actually encouraged me to achieve some of the stated goals.  That’s not to say everything I’ve planned has worked out, we all know how the global events of the past few years have caused many disruptions.  However, it seems to be a new tradition for me and one that I am happy to continue with, as such, the following are my initial thoughts for what I would like to achieve in 2022.

Prep house for sale, sell it and offload stuff

Several years ago we decided to have a double-garage renovated into a large livable space.. the contractors we engaged for this work did a half-assed job (at best) then vanished into the ether before completion.  Shortly afterwards we became parents and the renovation work was parked for a while.  I tried on numerous occasions to engage tradesmen to complete the job and almost all were devoid of any interest in finishing someone else’s job.. but we did find someone and finally in the second half of last year progress towards completion started.. the handymen involved have done some great work but the lead chap’s baby boy had emergency brain surgery a few months ago and (very understandably) this caused delays to the completion of the work.  We had hoped to be in a position to put our house on the market this month but realistically it will likely be closer to the end of February, if we are lucky! If we don’t acquire a completion certificate from the council then this project is likely to end up costing us chunk when we sell the house.

After receiving a quote from a Japanese removal company for shifting the little amount of our possessions we wanted to take to Japan, we have realised that we really need to cut back even further!  Already I was only really taking clothes, a few computers, books and brewing equipment so there isn’t a huge amount of scope for cutting back further.  Either way, we’ll have a large house full of stuff to either sell (big ticket stuff only), donate or recycle.  In an ideal world we’d donate everything but realistically finances are going to be tight for a few years in Japan so we need to try and make some pennies by selling some of our possessions.  Particularly, as the UK pound is likely to be comically weak against the yen.

Our current house is the first we bought so we have no experience of selling a house and as such haven’t the slightest clue about timescales etc.  I know that this is a highly desirable area and houses sell quickly but I am not sure about the administrative and legal timescales so I’ll need to look into that tout de suite!

Practice driving

Despite my reticence, I acquired a driving license towards the end of last year and have hence satisfied the contract prerequisite.  Whilst I still lack enthusiasm in this sphere, it is a practical reality that since we’ll be living in rural Japan, I will have to drive.  It is our strong desire not to add to the global fossil fuel consumption levels and hugely favour electric vehicles over internal combustion engine options, however we need to do a reality assessment when we move over to see how likely this is given our location.  It is also our preference to use public transport wherever possible and plausible and to walk or cycle for very local stuff. 

Regardless of what type of vehicle we end up with and how we use it, I need to get some practice in before we leave Scotland as I’ve only driven a manual car thus far.  To this end, we’ll sign up to enterprise car club which is the only real option for a new driver, and hopefully hire electric or at least manual cars somewhat infrequently so as to gain some basic level of competence.

Deepen my growing brewing knowledge

This aim is two-fold, on the one hand, I will continue with my postgraduate programe in Brewing and Distilling and complete the final (of four) courses in December this year.  However, up until now I have been studying whilst working full-time and satisfying many requirements for moving to Japan so I have mainly been studying only to pass assignments, and whilst I have learned a great deal from the courses, I intend to properly study and research many aspects of brewing once I have a lot more time on my hands.

On the other hand, I hope to gain industry experience during the few years that it will take to establish our own brewery.  As I’ve written about on this site a number of times, I have been in contact with a brewer in our future prefecture and he is happy for me to spend some time with him at his brewery!  The details are still to be discussed (in person over some of his delicious sounding beers!) but this is very positive and my hope is that I can similarly spend some time assisting other brewers in the same vein.

Move to Japan

This is obviously an easy one to achieve but there are still some prerequisites to be satisfied and stresses to overcome before we take flight and then we need to get services hooked up (superfast broadband) and furniture purchased for our new rental house, only after which will I consider the move complete.  Hopefully further down the road we’ll be in a position where we can build our own house but that will almost certainly not start in 2022.

Continue sustainability drive

For the past few years we’ve been trying to do our bit to lessen our impact on the global climate emergency, moving to rural Japan gives us a renewed opportunity to go even further.  I plan to write a dedicated blog post on our current and future efforts, we’re not experts but are doing our best and will continue to make improvements as we go forward.

Find brewery location and start the ball rolling

Once we get to Japan, we need to find a suitable location to build a brewery and lease or buy the plot.  Whilst it is possible that there may be a building in the area that might be suitable for our purposes, it is our preference to build our own place from the ground up so that sustainability is a guiding principle in the design and resource provisioning.  In addition to finding a suitable location and starting to build the brewery, we need to build a business case and do a considerable amount of paperwork to acquire licenses to brew and sell beer.  How much of this is viable in our first year especially given it’ll probably be in year three that our brewery opens is unclear, but efforts will certainly be made to make progress in this regard.

Collaborate with others for the benefit of the community

When I refer to community I really mean communities as there are distinct groups of people that I want to help, there is the local village community, the prefectural brewing community, the island-wide brewing community, sustainability-related communities and under-represented communities (women, LGBTQIA+, minorities, charities etc.).  In each case, I want to volunteer my skills (or lack thereof) to help these communities with their particular challenges however I can.

Spend more time with family

Work-life balance is key for this next year and all subsequent years!  We have another baby on the way and I want to be as much a part of raising her as I have been already (and will of course continue to do) with our first daughter.  Despite the work required to achieve all that we wish to achieve, this will be done via a framework that guarantees dedicated family time.  Our future life is going to be a simpler one, built around three very basic needs - family, food and drink.

In some regards this aim equates to normality and perhaps not something that necessarily requires specifying in plans for the year, I don’t think it is exceptional for a father to want to spend time with and share the responsibility of raising his family, but for me, I feel like it is of paramount importance that I reaffirm my commitment to family time at the start of each year as it will be a guide in the many decisions I will have to make in the coming year.

Spend more time cooking

Throughout the past year, whilst I have still been cooking a fair amount, I haven’t spent as much time planning and making delicious food, rather I’ve been cooking in order to share the load in the provision of household meals.  This is because I have spent so much of the time that I previously spent cooking, brewing instead.  This had to happen and I have no regrets but I love cooking and when we move to Japan, I’ll have a whole new selection of ingredients to learn about, which excites me. 

As our daughter Islay has developed she has, perhaps unsurprisingly, gained an interest in growing food and cooking and some of my favourite times in the kitchen of the past year have been spent teaching her how to cook and enjoying eating these dishes together.  I look forward to spending much more time in the kitchen with my wife and kids this year!

Become a forager

Since becoming vegan almost 4 years ago my love for mushrooms has exploded, to the extent that my daughter’s nickname for me is now mushroom.. Over the past year or so, thanks largely to a small number of people on the fediverse and to the accelerating climate emergency, my interest in foraging has also exploded.  I have already bought a number of excellent books and have started tentatively collecting small amounts of fungi from nearby woods just to start working on my identification skills, but time is currently a limiting factor.  When we move to Japan, I really want to hone this skill, I’m not just interested in foraging for mushrooms but the wide range of locally available wild produce (always gathering sustainably) and am developing thoughts around how I might use these in some experimental beers in the future.

Get fit(ter)!

I generally steer clear of this new years’ resolution trap, but I’m including it this time as I’m going to need to improve my fitness to be successful in my move from a desk-bound IT consulting hermit to a far more physical career in brewing.  So, once I’ve finally hung my IT boots up (for the second and last time!), I’ll don my trainers and start getting fit again.  Probably the most likely ways I’ll achieve this are through walking, cycling and yoga, though once we’re settled in Japan, I’d really like to add kayaking to this repertoire.

So there we have it, my initial list of aims for the next year, I will keep checking back on this throughout the year and do my best to adhere to them.  I wish you all luck in your own endeavours throughout the coming year.



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