Monthly Archives: August 2008

Last Minute

I told you I had big feet.

Just kidding, these are the unfelted versions of the Felted Clogs (AC-33) (by Bev Galeskas) I made for Japan. I noticed that there were more than a few places that recommended slippers for students going to Japan and decided to make my own, rather than throw myself at the mercy of Japanese shoe stores.

I know this is starting to seem more like a Knitting blog than a Going to a Foreign Country blog, but that’s mostly because knitting is what I’ve been doing instead of what I should be doing to prepare for my trip. Part of me is also worried that this is the last bit of knitting I’m going to be doing for the next four months.

Anyways, fear not, for I am leaving tomorrow morning at 6:30. There’s layover in San Francisco and the plane for Nagoya departs around 11AM. We arrive at 2:30PM (or so) on Friday and they’ll pick us up at the airport.

I’ve been thinking more and more about the orientation part of the first few weeks. From the airport, we’re almost immediately whisked off to the IES orientation outside of town. It’s mostly a “welcome to Japan, please don’t wear your shoes inside” kind of orientation and last about four days. Then they take us back to Nagoya to meet our host families and to start the actual Nanzan University orientation, which is more of the “register for classes, take placement tests” sort. That last a week. Classes don’t even start until the 10th. Yikes.

I have no idea when I’ll next have internet access, starting from when I leave tomorrow. I’m thinking, at the earliest, probably next Tuesday or Wednesday, Japan time. I’ll post when I first get the chance.

Oh, a note about time. Japan is all on one time zone, for whatever reason. They are currently 16 hours ahead of the west coast, 15 ahead of mountain time, 14 ahead of the midwest, and 13 ahead of the east coast. Arizona is currently 16 hours ahead, but that will change to 15 hours sometime in November. After this post is, well, posted, I’m be changing the blog time to Japanese time.

(That sounds about right. Is that right?) 

Okay, so maybe not. Arizona’s time difference doesn’t change, it’s always 16 hours. However, every other time zone slides forward an hour. Someone double-check that.

Pretty cool, huh? I used Knit Picks Wool of the Andes in Winter Night and Shoreline Twist, as well as some Arctic Pool Heather that isn’t visible.

See them on Ravelry.

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Mittens of Triumph!

BWAHAHAHAHA!

This post is to celebrate the completion of my set of winter items for this year – The Grey Album, we’ll call it. Every year, it seems, I go to knit myself a new pair of mittens, only to realize that the color/style that I have chosen doesn’t fit with anything I currently own. Unwilling to be seen in a red hat, grey mittens, and blue scarf, I usually dutifully cast on for a matching hat and scarf.

These mittens, however, gave me fits for a good month. They’re the Broad Street Mittens, by Janis Cortese, from the Fall 2002 issue of Knitty (free, online). The pattern is, oh, how to put this politely…poorly edited? There was much ripping back and cursing with these, more than I have had with a pattern in a very, very long time.

I spent most of today finishing the shell portion on the right hand, and finagling a pocket for the back of the left hand. Why a pocket, you ask?

For my transit card, of course. : ) This idea actually came from a different pattern, the Subway Mittens, by Colleen Meagher. It can be found in the Winter 2007 issue of Interweave Knits(not free, offline). I knit the mittens using the Ash colorway of KnitPicks Palette, a fingering weight yarn. The buttons are fired clay maple leaves, bought at Purls here in Tucson.

Scholar Collar, by Jared Flood (free, online). Knit in Misti Alpaca Chunky, color 403, a bulky weight yarn. Took two days.

Owl Hat, by Ruthie Nussbaum (free, online). Also knit in Misti Alpaca Chunky, color 403. Took one day.

See these on Ravelry, if you have an account – Transit Mittens, Scholar Collar, Owl Hat.

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Right! Postcards!

I have a bit of a list going for postcards from Japan right now and I thought I’d open it up to this audience. You can either reply to my original e-mail about this blog, or you can comment here and I’ll reply to you and you can reply to me with your address, keeping the privacy all around. Also, note in your comment/e-mail whether or not you happen to be a fan of the short-lived TV show, Firefly.

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Everything but the Cat

DSCN1434, originally uploaded by Maurimoii.

I spent most of this afternoon figuring out what exactly I’m going to be bringing with me. If you click on the photo, the Flickr version has (extensive) notes as to what is what, but a few salient points.

I decided to follow IES’s packing recommendations as they pertain to shoes – one pair of dress shoes (I chose a pair that can double as walking shoes), a pair of walking shoes, sneakers, and sandals. I’m planning on wearing the sneakers on the plane, due to their hulking size.

I brought exactly seven paperbacks, including Anna Karenina, a book I’ve been meaning to read for years. The others are sci-fi and/or alternate history, i.e. comfort reading. This is either too many books, or not enough. *sigh*

There’s enough yarn there for four knitting projects, all mostly portable, though the shawl soon won’t be. Again, too much or not enough, who knows? Presumably, there are bookstores and craft stores in Japan. ; )

All of this is planned to fit into three bags; a largish roll bag for checking, a backpack, and one of those small roll bags that can be carried onto the plane. I’m including an empty duffle bag, just in case consumerism takes over and souvenirs run rampant.

There are exactly four things missing from this picture – my camera, of course, the winter coat that has yet to arrive by mail, the duffle bag, and an as-of-yet unpurchased gift for my host family. Oh, and Boomer the cat of course.

Now I’m going to go pack everything I can and make a list of everything I still need for the next eleven days.

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Checked off.

That would be the status of the “get visa” item on my checklist. It arrived today by FedEx and I found it stuck in the screen door when I came home from work this afternoon. Basically, all they did was perform a few upgrades to my passport – my Certificate of Eligibility has been stapled inside, and on the facing page is the rather ornate sticker that is my student visa. It looks like a slightly more specific version of the inside info page of your average passport, but with a slightly less good-quality photo.*

Stapled to the back cover are letters from both IES and Nanzan University, telling them that yes, they know I’m coming. There’s an awful lot of paperwork involved, considering that I’m moving between two first-world countries that are on fairly good terms with each other.

Going back to that checklist, I should mention that it’s four pages long and getting longer. It doesn’t help that I’m the sort to write down things I’ve already done, just to check them off. Or that I’ve written “work” down six times, just so I can check it off every day. *sigh*

*I didn’t know that this was possible.

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See, I needed to experiment with posting pictures.

DSCN1408, originally uploaded by maurionravelry.

Therefore, you guys finally get to discover the fate of the giant white blob that has been hanging around my neck for the past 14 months.

It’s called a Feather & Fan Shawl and the pattern is by Eugen Beugler.

I used Flickr to post this, but I think I’m going to stick with Photobucket from now on. At least that way I’ll be able to blog about more than one photo at a time.

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Well. That was fun.

So today I had a very interesting phone call.

From the Japanese consulate in Los Angeles.

Telling me that I had forgotten to indicate whether or not I have a criminal record on my visa application.

Some bad words, a minor heart attack, a run over to the local PostNet, and a fax declaring that I, [insert full name here], do not have a criminal record later and I think everything’s going to be okay.

I hope.

I’ll know Friday.

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