(The kanji is 肯 which Murakami seems to use for unazuku, nod in agreement.)
2011 was a disaster internationally, nationally, locally, and personally. But personally it was still better than 2010, in the way that it's better to have a full-blown head cold that will eventually get better, than the vague pre-cold blahs and malaise that will only get worse.
My list of first times-- I planted a garden, which may not be a complete first as I vaguely remember some stubby carrots I grew at Bedford when I was eight or so, but I'm calling 50 years the statute of limitations, so my lettuce and three whole zucchini count as a first. I had Thai massage, which is umm an experience. I began embroidering, and I crocheted something I actually wear. I started something that charitably might be called meditation, and found it did make a difference. I sold stocks online and made a profit, though sinking markets have cut that right back to my initial investment. OTOH a year ago I'd lost a third of my investment on paper, so I'm still better off than I was. I had eye surgery, which is a first I suppose, though it seems just the latest in a series of age-related surgical interventions.
And maybe 2012 will be better than 2011.