Saturday, November 24, 2007

tradition, hoooo!

My Thanksgiving was pretty great. It involved my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and three cousins as well as ye olde nuclear family; my grandmother told us the story of how she and my grandfather met (the long version... again...), and my uncle and the boy cousin showed us all how you can make an awesome soda-pop volcano with Diet Coke and Mentos (seriously, try it--our best one shot up 7 feet!), and I introduced the whole family to Japanese television personality Hard Gay. The last of which resulted in our gathering around my uncle's laptop watching youtube clips for over an hour and then ending all of our sentences with "HOOOOOO!" for probably another hour. I really hope that becomes a tradition.

An already-established tradition is that of me starting my Christmas knitting in July or August, going like gangbusters, and then stopping for some reason and waking up mid-November realizing how little time I have left. This year it's a sweater for my father, an Elizabeth Zimmerman saddle-shoulder in Cascade 220, sort of a slate-grey color. And this year's reason for stopping was the aforementioned disaster. For almost two months before I left Japan, we were pretty sure that the end was near, but hoped that it wasn't. Our mid-September paychecks were late, and I just gave up, because I didn't want to knit the fear and indecision and general negativity into my father's sweater. Well, really, I was too depressed to have the energy to keep working on it. So I have barely touched it in almost two months, and it's just this torso-tube, and I can't find more than two size 7 dpns to start a sleeve, and I braved the Christmas-shopper traffic today to go buy some with my dwindling funds, and the craft store didn't have any. I mean, come on! Are they unaware that I've just been through an international unemployment incident? Do they know it's Christmastime at all? Won't somebody please think of the children?

So I've rooted around and somehow come up with a couple of fives and a couple of sixes, and I'm going to cast on with those and see if they'll get me through the ribbing, after which I can switch to a hat-sized circ.

Hope your Thanksgivings were as full of joy, food, sugar explosions, and hip-thrusting as mine was.

Friday, November 16, 2007

let's do this organized

Thanks for the nice supportive comments, guys. It means that much more since I haven't been able to keep up with your blogs/lives since I've been computerless.

Today and yesterday I tried to ignore my jet lag and get some things done. I exchanged money, which took an hour in my small-town branch bank, because they don't do it that often and had forgotten how, and because Linda (the teller, whom the whole town apparently knows) had to chat to everyone who came in, and because everyone who worked there had to come over and see what yen look like (for which I really can't blame them because foreign currency is pretty interesting). I drove around alternately soaking in the fall colors and being outraged at the pace of development ("Oh my GOD, the LAST time I was here this was all TREEEEES!"). And today I am alternately IM-ing my old roommate, who is still in Japan, and freaking out over grad school applications. Later, if I ever get out of my pajamas, I'm going to visit some temp agencies in an attempt to alleviate my extreme poverty.

But hey! What I don't have is poverty of experience! Today's photo is a subway station (obviously). Totally original observation: Japan is the cleanest, most organized place I have ever been. You can see your reflection in the floors of the subway cars. I went to one of those horrible big-box discount stores with my mother to stock up for Thanksgiving and found myself wishing it were as clean as a Japanese subway station bathroom. And that it smelled as good. I can't believe we're going to eat food we bought there. The little feet in the picture are where you line up. The dark bar on the ground is where the door opens, every time. It's so orderly. Unlike, say, CHICAGO O'HARE.

It is totally weird having culture shock in your own country. (Hey, check me out, I'm going to be one of those people who, for the rest of their lives, is like, "Well, when I was in JAPAN...")

Thursday, November 15, 2007

this is the ceiling

in the main area of Terminal 1 at Narita Airport, at which I stared for hours on Monday. I took the midnight bus to Tokyo (it actually leaves at 10:50pm but "midnight bus to Tokyo" sounds so much better) the night before, arrived at the airport at 6:30, and had to wait til 11:45 for United's check-in counters to open before I could ditch my overweight suitcases. Literally overweight, I mean, I had to pay extra. So I had plenty of time to watch the shadows on the beams change and contemplate the disaster and my future. I'd been trying not to think about either. But now I have to. I'm at my parents' house in PA, a jet-lagged charity case.

But at least I got six months.