私はビールを買うことを望む — I would like to buy some beer.

When I was in college, I decided to learn to speak Japanese. It wasn’t for the reasons you’d think, though. It wasn’t because I wanted a new challenge—though I already spoke German (quite well), French (less so), and Spanish (just a smattering). It wasn’t because Japanese was the “hot language” to learn at the time—though the Japanese economy was booming then, and the word in my little corner of academia was that you should learn Japanese or fall by the wayside.

No, I decided to learn Japanese to piss off my father.

Ah yes, the motivations of a late adolescent. You see, my father (who at times seemed like an Archie Bunker clone to me) had a thing about Japan. It all came from his own teen years—instead of spending them like me, worrying about getting a date and being cool, he spent much of his teen years in the South Pacific on a naval ship, trying his best to defeat the Japanese Empire. Needless to say, his experiences of wartime (especially as an impressionable 16-year-old) left him with a lifelong bitterness toward Japan.

Anyway, my father and I had a somewhat stormy relationship during much of my youth and young adulthood, and I took out my anger in the most typical of adolescent ways—by trying to be the opposite of my father. Hence, trying to learn Japanese.

As it turned out, my unlaudable goal of pissing off my father didn’t actually lead to Japanese fluency for me. A few key phrases stuck in my head, so that I could (maybe) manage to ask for coffee, beer, butter, or tofu in a market, but say very little else. Hmmpf!

Fast forward 20 years (okay, 25!). Today, I received this little gem in the mail. All the way from Tokyo:

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Yes, Knitting Patterns Book 250 from Amazon.co.jp. Delicious!

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These patterns are just phenomenal! I have a few pattern books already, but nothing holds a candle to this one. The good news is that there is very little text in this book. However, the charts will take some deciphering. I understand that Japanese knitting symbols are standardized, so once I learn them, I won’t have to relearn them from publisher to publisher. But the trick will be learning them in the first place.

I did find a book that describes the standardized symbols…but it, too, is in Japanese.

私はコーヒーを買うことを望む (I would like to buy some coffee.)
私はビールを買うことを望む (I would like to buy some beer.)
私は豆腐を買うことを望む (I would like to buy some tofu.)

Looks like my college-era-piss-off-my-father Japanese doesn’t help!!!

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4 Responses to “私はビールを買うことを望む — I would like to buy some beer.”

  1. It is amazing why we made the choices we did when we were young. That book looks amazing! Are you ready to cast on?

  2. Oh. Wow. I am speechless. I WANT that book. This may have to go on the birthday list. Those motifs are gorgeous!! Is there an online translator you can use? Of course, it’s probably all in kanji, so that’s hard to type (how did you do that, btw?)…

  3. The stitch patterns I showed are just the tip of the iceberg. I can’t even begin to think of where to start with this book! I did use an online translator for those phrases, by the way. Cut and paste! The trouble with this book, and other Japanese pattern books from what I understand, is that the charted symbols are standardized–which means they don’t actually explain them in the pattern. There is another book (in Japanese, of course) that explains what each symbol means. For now, I’m just scouring the internet to try to find English-language explanations.

  4. I can finally see this post in full enough to comment on it and so I shall. (Once each post gets beyond your sidebar, I can see it in full.) I LOVE THAT BOOK!!!! I love cables/travelling stitches, but the elegance of those patterns are so fabulous they go beyond love. Don’t forget to keep us apprised of how you make out with a translater.

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