ban⋅zai  /bɑnˈzaɪ, ˈbɑn-; Japn. ˈbɑnˈdzɑi
[Japanese, (may you live) ten thousand years : ban, ten thousand (from Middle Chinese muanh, uan) + zai, year (from Middle Chinese swiajh, suaj).]
1. (used as a Japanese patriotic cry or joyous shout.)
2. (used as a Japanese battle cry.)


Recently, I bought this book via Amazon.

More Occident than Orient

I had been won over by reading the reviews on Amazon with comments like:

“If you are a fan of complex socks, such as those of Cookie A, as I am, then you will love this book.”


“All in all, this is a book of BEAUTIFUL socks, probably not for the beginner or early intermediate knitter. It would be a great addition to any advanced intermediate or advanced knitter’s library.”

Now that I have the book in my possession, I have added the following review on

2.0 out of 5 stars Purely Occidental in Orientation, December 4, 2009

I bought this because of the gushing reviews I’d read here. I’m sorry to say that I was disappointed.

The “hook” for the book – in the words of the author “what would make my sock book different than the many that were already on the shelves” – is only developed in a very superficial way. She aspires to “introduce Western sock knitters to stitches and techniques they had never seen before”. As it turns out, the three new stitches the author introduces are so clearly explained that if you’ve knit a few socks before – be it by Cookie A or Nancy Bush – this book will not present you with too much of a challenge. If, on the other hand, you’ve made your own forays into working sock-designs out for yourself, either thanks to Charlene Schurch or Cat Bordhi, you’ll want to by-pass this book and get your hands on the Japanese Stitch Pattern books the author references.

The author’s description of her “crash course in Japanese culture” makes for cringe-worthy reading, I’m afraid. It becomes painfully clear that she has never visited Japan; neither does she appear to have plans to anytime soon: “One simple word would lead me to the far corners of the Internet, and often through thousands of years of history.” I’m sorry, thousands of years of history deserves more than a cursory nod.

The photography in this book may be beautiful but it is also completely useless. The photos are meant to be for a knitting book about socks and vastly different stitch patterns; and not a lifestyle book about sitting-around. The socks look baggy and unblocked; and many of the photos look like they were taken from the vantage point of the person wearing the socks.

I fear this may come across as arrogant but my sock-knitting skills have moved beyond this book. Don’t get me wrong, there are many beautiful patterns in this book. It covers a diverse range of yarn weights and sock styles. The photography and styling of the book are very pretty. It’s just that… I’m just not feeling the love. It’s not the book’s fault… it’s me… eh… I’ve grown in a different direction… and eh… right now… I need space…

You know me by now, whenever I fear I’m in danger of getting a bit too big for my boots I start to worry about re-balancing the Karma. So, I’ve decided to give this book away – set it free to find a better home where it can give happiness to others. And I’m doing it with a bit of a bonanza:

Orient Yourself!

In keeping with the Japanese theme, kitch as it may be, to be in with a chance to get your hands on this package you must write a haiku* in the comments for this post. I will enter all the names into a random generator and ship the package off by year-end – one of the two major gift-giving seasons in Japan “o-seibo”.

*The Wikipedia entry for Haiku is a bit too erudite and technical so I’ll include instead Judy Sumner’s description:

Haiku is a form of non-rhyming Japanese poetry in which simple words are used to “paint” an image in the mind of the reader. Among the most common themes are nature and the poet’s feelings and life experiences. Often in haiku, there are five syllables in the first line, seven in the second line, and five in the third, for a total of seventeen syllables overall. The challenge of haiku is to express the poem’s meaning and imagery in this sparse, strict format.

To start the ball rolling I’ll use the haiku she offers:

The Sock
Sock on the needles
Naked foot in its future
Warm and beautiful

14 Responses to “Ban-zai!”

  1. Mairin Says:

    Said I would never
    Be a fan of knitting socks
    But husband loves them!

    • undermeoxter Says:

      Fair play, Máirín for starting the ball rolling.
      And so true too – considering Men’s socks are so big I only keep knitting them for him because he appreciates them so much.

  2. undermeoxter Says:

    On Second Sock Syndrome
    I started a sock
    But it is not the match for
    What I just cast-off

  3. sarah Says:

    should I start again
    would it fix this messy heel
    to frog and re-knit?

  4. Bionic Laura Says:

    Click of dpn
    Knitters defence
    Against cold feet

  5. Haiku to you! « Under Me Oxter – coz that’s how I knit Says:

    […] you’d like to write your own haiku check out my Ban-zai Bonanza Post and put it in the comments. The entries to date have all been about the joys (or otherwise) of […]

  6. Muse on Monday « Under Me Oxter – coz that’s how I knit Says:

    […] forget my Ban-zai Bonanza. Write a Haiku and win a great* prize *even if I say so […]

  7. Katalysis Says:


    this genteel pastime
    has conspired to devour
    what cost – time and cash?

  8. Bemuse A Muse and Amuse « Under Me Oxter – coz that’s how I knit Says:

    […] title: “Haiku Knits – Serenely Beautiful Patterns Inspired by Japanese Design“. Once bitten, twice shy – as they say – so I have to admit I went straight for the more negative […]

  9. Sunday Miscellany « Under Me Oxter – coz that’s how I knit Says:

    […] Each name is the name of someone who entered a haiku in the great Ban-zai Bonanza! […]

  10. More U.S.A. today « Under Me Oxter – coz that’s how I knit Says:

    […] recent competition generated quite a buzz for me, personally, as well has here on the blog. Such a good feeling, that I […]

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