Days 1-4: Travel and Tokyo

Hello from China!

Well, I’ve been in Beijing for a day after a week in Japan and another couple days in Shanghai, but if I don’t start blogging now I might never catch up. So, a brief bit about our trip to Tokyo! I’ve got to write fast because we really need to get to bed, so here I go…we’ll see how far I get, but I’ll try my best to catch you all up.

We left Toronto on Sunday January 18th early, and despite a bunch of delays in leaving Pearson, we were able to make our connection in Chicago to get on our Japan Airlines flight. The plane was pretty underbooked, so we had three seats for the two of us, which was nice – but 13 hours is still way too long to be sitting on a plane! I think I watched bits of Mamma Mia and Wall-e a bunch of times.

We landed (thanks to the time change) in Tokyo on Monday in the afternoon and took the train from Narita to Tokyo, then the subway to what would be our home-base train station, Ikebukuro. I had a bit of a freakout in Shinjuku station when we needed to change onto a very crowded train in rush hour.


First impressions? Well, definitely disbelief that we were in Japan! There were lots of lights and lots to look at. The first night we just went to the hotel, then took a bit of a walk around the area, and tried to find vegetarian food (a theme for our trip, really).

The next morning we headed out and took another walk around, checked out the Ueno area, had soba for lunch (turning a blind eye to whatever was in the broth, probably fish) and walked around Akihabara. Akihabara (Electric City) is an area with a ton of shops selling all sorts of electronics and such.


Wednesday we were able to meet up with an awesome reader, Rhonda, who offered to take us (okay, me) yarn and crafty shopping. We went out to a cool neighbourhood whose name escapes me at the moment – at any rate, it was a really cute, interesting neigbourhood that we wouldn’t have ventured out to on our own. First stop? Avril – aka Habu!

at avril

My photos kind of suck, but I did end up with some yummy yarn – photos of that will have to wait though. Rhonda was awesome enough to look up a nearby vegetarian restaurant, which was probably the first really satisfying veggie meal of our trip. After lunch, we headed to Yuzawaya, a crazy huge department store which was all crafty stuff! They really have everything – yarn, fabric, beads, everything.

yuzawaya craziness!

No yarn for me here, but I did pick up a bunch of Japanese books.

When we split from Rhonda, we headed out to Tokyo station to walk by the Imperial Palace and out to Ginza to check out some shops.

Tokyo station

(Tokyo station’s under rather major renovation/restoration.)

Whew. Long post! Up next, an excursion on the bullet train!

top-down shoulder warmer

It’s been busy around here, trying to get everything ready and organized for the trip – getting together everything we need, preparing to leave for a goodly amount of time, and of course, deciding on knitting! I *think* I finally know what I’m going to take, but I’m still second guessing myself. Well, more on that later.

The big excitement/panic for the week was the disappearance of my passport! That was a little too exciting, actually – Vig (my travel partner and best friend) got his from the Indian Consulate with his Indian visa on Tuesday, while mine….didn’t show up. Not on Wednesday either. And the Canada Post website was showing it as successfully delivered on Tuesday at 11am. Uh oh! Since we needed a day for the rush passport, and a day each for 2 rush visas, we had to start the process for getting me a new passport on Thursday – but as soon as I started that process, if my old one showed up it would be invalid!

Wednesday night, freaking out quite a lot, I went and got new passport photos and filled out a new passport application and the declaration of a lost passport form. Thursday morning we went to the passport office and also called Canada Post a heck of a lot of times, and called my sister at home a bunch of times (to check the mail).

To keep this long story from getting any longer, the passport arrived in my mailbox on Thursday just before noon, at the Last Possible Second – I was at the booth at the passport office, asking the nice man how long the rush would take while he was looking over my application, when Vig ran up, grabbed me, and said “DON’T DO IT!”. He was on the phone with my sister, and the passport had just arrived at my house.

I bought my sister a treat – she was home sick from school and put up with us calling every 10 minutes to ask if the mail was there!

Anyway, hopefully that’s the most exciting (in a negative way) thing that happens re: this trip. We leave on Sunday morning early, heading out to the airport at about 5:30am, and we land in Tokyo on Monday at 1400 local time. There’s still a ton of stuff to do tonight and tomorrow, so I’d better get to the main event of this long and rambly post!

shoulder warmer

I’ve re-photographed, re-formatted, and re-sized this little shrug that I worked up for the store – and you can buy a copy for yourself!

Top-Down Shoulder Warmer
[Rav Link]

Whether you’re new to knitting garments or just looking for a little instant gratification, this top- down shrug is the place to start! Versatile, easy to adapt and quick to knit up in worsted weight yarn. Dress it up in something slinky over a fab outfit, or throw it on over a t-shirt with your favourite jeans. This Shoulder Warmer goes with anything, anytime!

XS (S, M, L, XL, 2X, 3X)
Back Size: 13 (14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20) inches, measured across the back from armpit to armpit.
To fit bust: 28 (32, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52) inches

Worsted weight yarn: 340 (400, 430, 475, 550, 620, 750) yards
Shown in Berroco Ultra Alpaca, size M, 2 skeins.

5mm circular needles, 24 inches or longer
5.5 m circular needles, 24 inches or longer
stitch markers
tapestry needle
waste yarn

20 sts and 28 rows = 4” in stockinette stitch on 5mm needles.

shoulder warmer, back


Download by Ravelry and payment by Paypal (registrations for both sites is not necessary).

$5.00 CAD

Note: As of July 5, 2010, sales tax will be added to this price for all Canadian residents only. The rates are: British Columbia 12%; Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador 13%; Nova Scotia 15%; and everywhere else in Canada 5% GST. Tax will be added in the Paypal payment process.

is this what I get for trying to rush?

So. My new Lucy was coming right along – got up to the yoke on the weekend. Pretty!

lucy is alllmost done

The yarn is Dream in Color Classy in Black Parade, and I did a slightly lengthened version with just 4 skeins! Motoring along, wanted to get it done early this week so I could give it a good washing and find some buttons (I’m thinking some little pewter ones we have at the store).


Pretty pretty texture. I finished the yoke, with a slightly different neckband treatment this time (more on that with the FO post) and went to graft the underarm.

uh oh!

Um, notice anything? I didn’t put enough stitches on hold for the sleeve gusset! Crap. I did notice that the number of stitches was off once I got up to near the top of the yoke (and there were a lot fewer stitches) but I kind of ignored it and kept going. And this is why.

But, since I’m REALLY not about to reknit the entire yoke, I fudged the grafting and it’s blocking now. We’ll see once it’s dry and I can put it on whether I decide to do something crazy.

Nah. I really won’t rip out the yoke. So near-FO it is!