Thursday, April 24, 2003

April 24

Well, the WHO decided to declare Toronto a no-go zone because of SARS. Of course, the Canadian government blasted WHO calling it an overreaction....and besides, all that tourist money would be lost. Now I'm wondering if all those expected visits over here will also be curtailed.

Another long day in the salt mines. I finished off another one-day Intensive of very little necessity. Thanks to some good planning, I managed to pull one out of the fire although I had one smart ass who put a bit of spice into the pudding. I kinda wish that the manager hadn't scheduled me for that 2-hour night class; I may as well have telephoned in my performance there due to exhaustion. There's no respite tomorrow; I've got 6 hours of teaching to do, but at least the classes are good.

Tomorrow is also the big opening of this humoungous supercomplex in the foreigner's quarter of Roppongi. Called Roppongi Hills, this Tower of Babel is a glass and metal monolith overlooking the seedier establishments and contains 4 shopping malls and Wolfgang Puck's first restaurant this side of the Pacific. He may be on every Hollywood celeb's rolodex back Stateside, but he's an unknown over here; hopefully, his goat cheese pizzas strike a chord with the Japanese. Also, Virgin Cinemas have set up a mulitplex there. Branson himself showed up for the inaugural opening last night with the local showbiz types.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

April 23

I've been searching for hotels for my brother and sister-in-law when they come over in mid-May. Anything under 12000 yen a night in Tokyo is about as rare as common sense in the Japanese government.

Well, McDonalds entered a new phase today by debuting its new hip and trendy menu which includes the Premium Mac. Tried it out and decided that the only premium thing about it is the price. Just a slightly bigger burger topped with a gooey wasabi mayonnaise sauce.Thanks, I'll stick with the Big Mac.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

April 22

The week has been going by OK so far. The weather is still unusually cool for a Tokyo Spring.

My future relationship with my school is slowly starting to take shape. I just started my new course which will be the only company class that I will have once I go part-time in mid-May. Also, my manager wanted to talk with me about something but since I had to take off for the new class, he waved it off for another day; I caught a slight glower on his visage...if I've done something to offend him...GREAT!

It also looks like I'm having quite the reunion in May. A number of friends, a former student and my brother and sister-in-law will be haunting this side of the Pacific in the next few weeks. I gather that even SARS hasn't stopped them.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

April 20

Looks like it was a flip-flop weatherwise this weekend. The rain came on Sunday instead of Saturday.

After a nice day with the girlfriend, I caught up with an old friend back from Canada and had dinner at an izakaya that we usually haunt. Basically, our appetites got the better of us as we devoured fried chikcen, sashimi, eel, custard and beer over 4.5 hours. At the same time, we managed to get into international politics, a topic that I like to let go on but rarely get the chance to due to my work. It was good to give my thoughts about the US and the war.

It also looks like I might face a small onslaught of guests in the coming month, just in time for my semi-retirement. Along with a couple of friends, I may be seeing my brother here on business; it would be the first time he's set foot in Japan in over 20 years.