1998 Travel Log
Exactly four years before I started blogging, I was sent to Asia for work and maintained a written travel log for some of that time. It seems the urge to blog was there years before I actually began writing a blog and well before I actually had the technical skills to do so.
Travel Log Transcription – First Three Entries
In case you’d prefer not to read a slideshow of the actual journal I kept, I’ll post the transcription of it here over the course of the next few blog entries (if you’ve already read it from the slideshow, or don’t care to read about this slice of my life, just skip down to “Current Knitting.”
My first full day in Tokyo and I’ve begun to be less nervous about the overall experience. In fact I was quite proud of myself for eating at a local noodle shop for breakfast this morning. I must admit that I almost walked away when the automatic door wouldn’t open, but I forged ahead. Being a foreigner was never so apparent as when I had to be told to use the food tick machine and then I had no idea what I was ordering. Taking my brother Jim’s advice of just eating what they put in front of you worked just fine…I had a delicious breakfast of Udon & Egg and other stuff.
The flight was very nice with a business class that wasn’t even half full. I got about 4 hours sleep which made the time go by more quickly. I do find I’m missing Thad more just because of the distance. It doesn’t make sense, but it’s true anyway.
Overall, Tokyo isn’t much different than most places I’ve stayed. The language has been the biggest challenge, but not too bad. Staying in a hotel that caters to English speaking clientele helps a lot. Also the hotel is very nice. Small room, but incredibly efficient. Great closet space, light switches that are convenient w/a master switch at the bedside table…even a kimono to wear.
Weather has also been tolerable…not too cold, about the same as NJ/PA.
Well it’s off to my first Japanese sushi tonight…I can’t wait.
Today I had many lesson; Polite meetings with Japanese business people, how to get information from clients about the political atmosphere, getting yelled at Japanese style and the most consistent lesson of all…I will always be geijen in Japan.
Meeting with Yuko Mitani and Masahika Ishida was interesting. We traded meishi (business cards). We asked the same questions 3 times before they would tell us the real answer. We dealt more with interpersonal issues than business. And we accomplished the objective of the meeting by gathering needs.
Asking probing questions from Grace, I was able to get a lot of very useful information. She gave me more dirt than I expected…I guess I have gained her trust (or she’s planning on leaving and doesn’t care).
Getting yelled at by Joseph Lee was by far the most interesting lesson. He politely kept pressing the same issue over and over letting us know how inconvenient we had made his life by having a client who changed their minds. The issue was brought up in front of the other staff and even though it was all said in the most polite of terms, we had clearly been disciplined. And if that wasn’t enough, he expressed interest in having me transfer to Tokyo for a year…what a joke!
The final lesson was how no matter what I said to the Japanese people I dealt with today, none of it was more well accepted than the chatting done by Hiroko. With a few personable words of Japanese, she forged a stronger relationship with clients, with support staff and even with the woman that brought coffee to our meeting than I could with hours of English. I actually resented it…I knew what it felt like to be disadvantaged for the first time. Not a pleasant experience.
15-Feb 1998 – Hong Kong
My second day in Hong Kong and I’m enjoying myself quite a bit. The flight here was long but pleasant. Arrived late Friday night and I was very tired.
Hotel (Mandarin Oriental) is magnificent. Very nice room with many amenities. Spent first day by going for dim sum brunch with Cindy. Came back to hotel and worked out (the gym was even great). We did some shopping but prices near the hotel seemed somewhat expensive. I even tried pricing a tuxedo, but 700 USD seemed too high for me. I decided to shop around.
Did some swimming in the pool, relaxing in the whirlpool and then had dinner and drinks w/Velter and his friend from Singapore. The club was very cool but clubs don’t really excite me all that much.
Today Cindy & I took the ferry over to Kowloon. What a mad house! I spent like a fiend. I bought a digital camera for 610 USD that they won’t discount in the states for lower than 700. I ended up finding a tailor who could make me the exact tux I wanted for about 400 USD…much better than the 700 quotes. I also go some shirts and a little Chinese chop souvenir for Thad. I also go carried away a little and bought my mom a pair of jade earrings. It’s the one thing I think I went too far on…but I did bargain for a seemingly very good price.
I thought a number of times how much Thaddeus would like this place. He could smoke anytime and anywhere he wanted and he’d love the hotel and the shopping districts.
I’ve made some additional progress on the Read Between the Lines Shawl by Tammy Canavan-Soldaat.
You can see in the next photo how the “illusion knitting” technique highlights a color patterning more from a different angle.
The pattern is very well written but on US1 needles, it grows very slowly. I will be showing progress photos of this project for a while.
Regarding the Shibui Cloud cowl, Kimakhya writes, “The scarf is indeed gorgeous, like your FOs in general! As a math teacher, I’m nitpicking your terminology just a bit. Namely, what you’ve got here is not merely an “infinity scarf” (i.e., an “endless” loop rather than ordinary two-ended scarf), but a “Moebius scarf”, since the loop has a half-twist. So your lovely scarf has no ends AND only one side!”
Thank you for writing this…I always assumed that “infinity” meant Moebius and that without the twist, people were calling it be the wrong name. Nice to learn I was the one who had it wrong.