Starbucks, knitting, and serenity

Frost on wood

Hitachinaka. It’s after 7:00a.m., so the sun is already up when I begin my walk to the other Starbucks. It’s near the city’s main attraction, Hitachi Seaside Park (part botanical garden, part amusement park).

I am trying to get the most out of my winter vacation, which ends tomorrow. The walk is peaceful, and there are fewer cars and pedestrians than I thought there would be.

Sunlight and sun

I am still longing for a quieter morning though. I need to wake earlier. There are many things, I realize, that I need to do as I move forward. In the past, there were many things I wanted to do.

Over the past year, I spent time working on personally defining need and want.

Recycling/Secondhand shop, Hitachinaka

To me, need means that I understand that I have no other choice but to take a specific action(s) in order to achieve my goals. It speaks to the essentiality of the action(s) to my further development.

Want speaks to my more nebulous ideas or actions for an idealized near or far future. When I say “I want,” it doesn’t mean I will. Whereas “I need” does.

By the way, if you have recently moved to Japan, always look out for your local secondhand shops. They are inexpensive options to buy the things you need or pass on the things you no longer want or need.

In Hitachinaka, we have a few, including the major ~Off chain (Book Off, Hard Off, etc.), as well as King Family.

Baked Sweet Potato Factory & Bakery

In addition to secondhand shops, look out for direct sales food factories, like the yakiimo (焼いも, やきいも) factory pictured above. You can often get good deals.

Last week, I bought three bunches of bananas for 90¥ from this place and a friend bought a deliciously warm baked sweet potato for less than supermarket prices.

Starbucks, Hitachi Seaside Park

7:45. It’s already crowded in the Starbucks, but it’s temporary. A group of cyclists are grabbing their pre-cycle coffee before heading out towards tattoo-friendly Ajiguara Beach.

It’ll be a while before the line to order will decrease. So, I suppose it’s time to start knitting.

Knitting for me

I taught myself to knit about 15 years ago. I was a fairly avid knitter from 2005 to 2010, a period defined by illness and loss.

I suppose that is why I put away my knitting for a long time, only knitting gifts for odd holiday or birthday, not for pleasure and never for myself. I didn’t want to be reminded of the things, people or parts of self I needed to let go.

I forgot about the serenity that knitting gives me. That with each stitch, I found comfort and balance. Without knitting, I am not sure how I would have gotten through that time.

I am glad that I’ve picked up my needles again with renewed enthusiasm and intention. I am glad to knit for others and even more grateful that I have arrived at a point where I understand that I can and need to knit for myself.

How about you? What brings you serenity? What do you need to do this year?

Thank you for reading.


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