Tag Archives: pre-flight

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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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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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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Catch Twenty-Shoe

Going on such a long trip, with almost as long a period in which to plan and prepare for it has led to my pondering some rather trivial-seeming issues.

For example, I doubt anyone who has not worked in the shoe industry has contemplated shoes as much as I have in the past twenty-four hours.

The main problem is the fact that I have larger feet than most women (and many men). So large, in fact, that going into a shoe store in Japan and asking for a pair in my size would produce some comical expressions. I wouldn’t even blame them, as a perfectly cute shoe displayed on a shelf in a size six can appear suddenly clownish in a size eleven. For now, we’ll leave aside the problem of ‘narrow.’

The situation that I face is that if I bring along shoes for every occasion, such as sandals, heels, sneakers, winter shoes, and plain old walking shoes, I’m probably going to have to pack two bags (see above mentioned large feet, therefore, large shoes), thus ruining my One Bag Out, Two Bags In* resolution. Also, the fates will intervene and I will have no need for four out of those five categories.

Leaving the shoes home also presents a problem, being that if I only pack two pairs of shoes and have a sudden, dire need for a third, I’m pretty much doomed. Japan is a land in which I am already the height of the average man and don’t need the added notice that searching for size 11 sandals would bring.

There is a third alternative, though unfortunately it depends on my being able to accurately predict the weather and my whereabouts for the next four months and pack accordingly. Not going to happen.

And now, hopefully, whining about shoes will kill the issue and I will be able to make my decision without remorse. With that off of my shoulders, I can move on to such important issues as, How Many Pairs of Jeans? and How Much Yarn is Too Much?

*The idea being that everything I bring goes into one check bag, along with an empty duffle. On the way back, both check bag and duffle are utilised.

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Welcome!

As I’ve written about three times now, this is my blog for the period of time while I’m in Nagoya, Japan, from August 29, 2008 to December 20, 2008. It is intended mostly for family and any friends I’ve decided to invite.

Right now, I’m setting the (hopefully) reasonable goal of posting to this blog at least once a week.

At the moment, I’m still in the preparation stage. I sent in the paperwork for my visa this afternoon and hope to see it some time around the end of next week. I had to wait this long because the university in Japan, Nanzan University, had to send me a Certificate of Eligibility, basically a document explaining why I was in Japan, for how long, and that yes, someone had made sure I wasn’t a free-loading criminal.

I also received my home-stay information. I’m going to be living with a young couple and their two-year-old son. I had all but requested a family with children on my home-stay application, so, needless to say, I’m pretty pleased. Expect that regrets will be forthcoming. *sigh* At least now I can decide what I’m going to bring them for gifts. I just remembered now that I might want to bring my former host-family, the Asakas, something as well. Maybe something from Nagoya will do.

Otherwise, I’m mostly studying kanji (the Chinese characters used in Japanese writing) and figuring out what to bring with me.

P.S. The picture used in my header is one from my first trip to Japan in 2004. It was taken by my mom on the pedestrian bridge in Shinjuku, near Lumine and Tokyu Hands. I’m hoping to replace it with something a little more high-res once I get there.

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