My daughter gave me a book, Japanese Knitting by Michiyo and translated by Gayle Roehm. What a revelation! Since I love all things Japanese these patterns were right up my alley. However when I actually looked at the patterns I realized that people like me, who were raised on North American style patterns, have a lot to learn. My patterns hold your hand and give you instructions for every single stitch, usually with written and charting instructions. The Japanese patterns in this book are typically one short paragraph and a complex diagram. In fact the diagrams often require a magnifying glass to see the difference between a k2tog and a ssk. I ended up making an enlargement of the detail.
I chose the slippers to start as they were the smalled project and I have always thought it would be nice to be able to supply slippers to guests in my home. After a few mistakes and frogging and "oh, well, what the hell no one will be able to tell" I finished them and actually love them.
Next time Mariko comes to visit I'll be able to offer her a pair of slippers to keep her toes toasty. Now I'll have to make a pair for all my imaginary (and real) knitting friends.