Tag Archives: whoops!

Bug-outs, Birthdays, and Burnt Popcorn

I know I’ve been a little scarce over the past week, but don’t feel bad, since all of my journals have suffered due to lack of attention recently. My LiveJournal hadn’t had any attention in almost two weeks and my paper journal is only caught up to this past Saturday, with the last three entries contained within being pretty sorry ones.

The main reason for all of this neglect was due to the fact that my Dad arrived in Nagoya on the 7th and I couldn’t very well tell him to sit still for the hour and a half it takes me on the days that I post/write in all three journals. In fact, internet activity in general was suspended as I was forced to participate in such mundane activites as ‘traveling around the region’ and ‘eating delicious food.’ Oh well. I’ll try hard to get caught up this week, which may be difficult, as all that traveling produced quite a few blog worthy photos.

Unfortunately, all of that was compounded by a much less pleasant subject – I moved out of my host family’s apartment and into the school dorms. About two weeks ago, the weather turned cooler and I started having problems with my left knee (which was injured in high school) on my commute to school, which, since the theft of the bicycle they were loaning me, had mutated into a half an hour of walking plus a twenty-minute subway ride.

On Monday, I told the program here that I would like to move into the dorm if possible. On Wednesday, I told my host family. On Thursday, my host mother called the program with the hope that I would be moving ASAP. This is where things got weird.

She asked to be compensated for the bike that had been stolen from me. The program worked out a deal to get a new bike and called her back with their idea. Probably encouraged by how easily that had gone, they said that they would forget about the bike issue…if I returned the camera that they had bought to replace the one that their kid had destroyed.

I’m fairly sure I marked that as the point that I decided that I never wanted to speak them again. The program ran interference while I packed my stuff and warp speed and shifted base to an extremely posh hotel (my dorm room wasn’t ready yet) Thursday night.

Yay.

Friday, on my 21st birthday, I finally got set up in what appears to be an extremely adequate single dorm room. My fellow residents seem nice, if not entirely sane, and I think I’ll be fine for the remaining 32 days in Japan.

Speaking of my birthday, it was quite nice, considering the circumstances and the setting. I had a brief moment of ‘butbutbut, no CATS, no Charlie, no Tasha, this birthday thing REEKS,’ but I’m over it. I chickened out on my first taste of alcohol because I didn’t want to spend money on something that I already knew smelled awful and probably tastes worst. Oh well. Lisa says she’s going to take me out for something that my taste buds might be able to stand.

Burned popcorn, you ask? I needed a third ‘b’ phrase and I’m eating it right now.

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I finished something!

Okay, technically, a half each of two somethings. Socks are complicated that way.

Some of you may have noticed that the knitting dropped off precipitously when I arrived in Japan. Probably because my sitting in front of the internet time was severely curtailed.

However, every year, I participate in 14valentines, a community geared towards raising awareness about womens’ issues. For the first fourteen days of February for the past three years (though the first year was a single person effort), people have posted stories, essays, recipes, and pictures to draw attention to specific issues facing women today. For the past two years, I have participated by posting about a knitted object of mine (or a group of knitted objects) each day for the whole period.

Just thinking about that and planning my list of items for 2009 was enough to get the itch going again. I promptly dragged out my needles and yarn…and finished two socks from two different pairs. Right. Whoops.

The blue sock on the left is the first of a pair of Naragansett Bay Socks, from the book A Fine Fleece by Lisa Lloyd. The yarn is the Dolphin colorway of Knit Picks’ Gloss. I love this yarn and wish it came in more colors. Knit up in this pattern, it’s very smooshy and warm.

I’ve already started on the second sock, because the pattern is easy enough to memorize and knit on the train. Gives the Japanese people something to stare at besides my hair.

The sock on the right is one of a pair of Slippery Socks, available free from the online knitting magazine Knitty. The yarn is Mountain Colors Bearfoot, that I got from a friend for my birthday last year. I’m a little worried that I didn’t bring enough to finish the second sock here in Japan, but experience has taught me that I’m almost always wrong about these things. The pattern isn’t too difficult, but it’s definitely not train-proof. I only finished it because there was only about three or four inches left to go when it made it’s international voyage. Definitely boot sock quality, so I’m looking forward to January in Minnesota.

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Be Prepared

After two years of living 15 minutes from classes/campus, I’d gotten out of the habit of making sure that I have everything I needed. What did it matter if I accidentally left my cellphone on my desk? At the most, I’d only be separated from it for as long as it took me to realize it and walk back from the science building.

In Japan, of course, ‘home’ is a fifty-minute (or more) commute and I’ve taken to making sure that I carry almost everything I could possibly want during the day.

Ha. Add my laptop to this and picture my back in fifty years time. From the back, left to right: blue binder for handouts (of which they are many), baby squirrel folder for Translation, red Translation workbook (may it die horribly), The Backpack itself, kitten folder for Japanese class, knitting bag, raincoat-inna-bag, purse with American wallet and spare pen, ibuprofen, Nintendo DS with kanji dictionary cartridge, name card for class, pencil bag, second wallet with passport and other important bits, as well as the bulk of my cash (muggers, take note), head scarf for windy days, coin purse, sunglasses, notebook for noting new vocabulary, notebook for keeping track of expenses (usually snacks), fan for days when the air conditioner isn’t reaching your desk, enevelope with various maps (North Ward, Nagoya, Japan), folder with pending part-time job paperwork, planner/schedule book, Japanese textbook, notebook for random scribblings, notebook for Japanese, and kanji practice book.

All of this is occasionally augmented by the aforementioned laptop, my journal and/or sketchbook, camera, iPod, umbrella, and recent shopping acquisitions.

Anyways. I was loading my recent pictures onto the computer and came upon this:

Okaaaay. Nice, tree-lined street? Could be anywhere in my neighborhood and there was nothing particularly interesting that caught my eye. Then I clicked to the next picture.

Oh. Right. This was the photographic evidence of my walking past the sign for the inn that my dad hopes to stay at in November. Five times. Though, as you can see from the first picture, it didn’t exactly jump out at me.

Finally, a request. Do any of you guys have any things that you want me to write in particular? Any topics or questions that spring to mind. I’m definitely okay with doing an occasional (or one-off) ‘Reader’s Questions’ post. Please leave a comment, or e-mail me with your suggestions.

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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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