Another year of COVID-19, but it seems to finally be less of a factor in our lives. I just got a booster shot and I asked the person who gave it to me if I would get a sore arm like I did previously and he ignored me. He also said that getting a COVID booster will be an annual event, just like a flu shot. Well, my arm still hurts a little, so I guess I’ll have a sore arm the next time too.

On the other hand, I never got COVID, at least to my knowledge, and I know people who have had it several times. But none died of it, so that is reassuring. We’re sort of back to normal. The unfortunate thing is that we now have another form of plague, one that is very dangerous and this one will be with us for far longer than COVID. This is the broad undercurrent in American politics that tends toward authoritarianism and it has welcomed a man as repellent and evil as Trump as its leader.

Why do I bring up the subject of politics in an essay that should be welcoming in the new year and all the bright prospects that the future year holds for us? Yes, I plan on eating mochi and sushi and spending New Year’s day playing hana cards with my family and friends. Yes, it will be festive and we’ll have a good time. If I were a drinker, I would get tipsy with toasts to the new year, but I’ll be drinking bubbly water. We’ll have a good time on that day.

Then, the actual new year will start, and we Americans will be facing the prospect of a Congress that can’t get its financial house in order so that our government can function, several wars that threaten a breakdown of world order, the possibility of Donald Trump winning the presidency, to mention a few things. In my neighborhood, the homeless encampment seems to have become a permanent feature of that space under the BART and freeway overpasses. For a few years, the police used to come and force them to move away, but that isn’t happening now. I wonder what I can do to help these people.

But I guess I’ll start out with some resolutions to improve myself since that is something I can do. I’ve had several falls this last year, and I am going to set a few goals to try and strengthen myself so I won’t keep having these accidents. I need to improve my balance and I need to be more deliberate in my movements so that I don’t make careless moves that cause these falls. After all, I can’t do much of anything to work toward peace and racial justice and all those good things that I would like to do if I have my arm in a cast or am nursing some sore ribs. I have to come to terms of not being a spring chicken anymore.

I’m also going to try to limit my intake of “news.” Of course, I want to keep up with what is happening, but I also realize that there is a lot of repetition and sensationalism in the TV news programs, so I can cut down on the amount of time I spend watching them. I have discovered the world of Korean dramas, and they have been a real escape avenue for me.

And so I have become interested in Korean history and society. I am trying out banchan recipes, and going regularly to my local Korean supermarket where I can get really good kimchee and Asian foodstuffs.

And now that we can more or less get out of the house and see friends and go out to movies and events, I will be doing more of those things. So, I foresee a busy life for me next year. Now, I need to open up the package of DVDs that contain yoga for old folks and exercises for restoring balance. I have to work on and finish an essay about the deep division in the JA community that came about because of our incarceration. I will do what I can to defeat Trump. That should occupy me for many months.

Happy New Year!

Nichi Bei News columnist Chizu Omori, of Oakland, Calif., is co-producer of the award-winning film “Rabbit in the Moon.” She can be reached at The views expressed in the preceding column are not necessarily those of the Nichi Bei News.

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