As the year comes to an end many try to reflect on the major events of the year. What has happened? What effects did it have? What should have happened? Its just a period of the year where one suddenly becomes more reflective. On the 15th of December since 1995 the Japanese have been selecting the Kanji of the year. Kanjis are adopted Chinese characters used in the modern Japanese writing system. This years Kanji, selected through a national ballot that takes place in the whole of Japan, is  ? ? KIZUNA (pronounced "kizuna") which means bonds between people. 

This year, Japan has suffered a lot with the natural disasters, from the Earthquake in east Japan to the typhoon and the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The Kanji of the year reflects the events of the year 2011. The Japanese chose bond as their kanji . It is quite amazing to see that in spite of all the suffering so many of them were able to identify and qualify this year as a year of bonding.

The second position of the kanji of the year in the ballot was "wazawai"(disaster) and in third position, "shin" (tremor). Every year the Kanji is chosen in a ceremony on December 12 (Kanji Day) at the Kiyomizu Temple which is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Tokyo. It is also considered as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

It is quite comforting to think that even in times of need and suffering, humanity is able to identify themselves with something much more beyond pain. To begin the upcoming year with a taste of consensus between is a similar feeling of being surprised by an unexpected cupcake. It brings a smile and a warm flow of energy through our veins for 2012.