Friday, July 04, 2003

July 4

Hmm...let's see, I'm not sure but I may be in the doghouse via e-mail with a distant friend and my ex. I just made one cute little question to her about something and I got walloped with a huge NO! in response. As for the other guy, I received this rather terse letter of change of address in Japanese so I just answered in kind and told him I have the bottle of wine I was saving for him. I particularly care how I feel for either for them right now; that's their petty problem.

I had my second class with the oil company; this time it was with the A class, the cream of the crop. I guess it must be because of it being the first week of classes for them. The students sure didn't act like the A-team. A couple of them were sputtering their speeches like a couple of junior high school students. Then again, this has been the earliest I've ever been exposed to the oil group. I hope that things start gelling next week.

Well, after that interesting experience, I had lunch with the few remaining full-timers on staff and one pretty gabby rookie teacher who wanted to get the lowdown on the school. He's been here for a couple of years so he knows the politics that go with an English school. Hmmm...I'm starting to wonder if this exodus this time may take on a more potent edge.

Then afterwards, I went out to the bookstore to fish out some texts for my kids tomorrow morning. Man, I think this part of mynew job will be the least favorite but one of the most necessary.

Finally, I had my regular English circle with just one student. It was going OK for a while when an especially ornery and obnoxious idiot came in with his daughter and proceeded to harangue her about her future. Gad, if there is one thing I despise in middle-aged men here..

Man, I gather that I've been in a dour mood today. I don't know what it is...the heat, the fact that my new career is so far limping, the two e-mails and the loudmouthed guy during the circle or if it's everything put together. I just hope that things are better after a good night's sleep. It kinda helps that "Major League" is on right now; the scene where Wild Thing makes his entrance is arguably one of the best in a sports movie.

Arnie has come by for his usual promo jaunt for T3...well, let's hope that what he does best is what saves what remains of his career. I'm starting to get a little tired of the Austrian Oak, though, with his "I'm back" greeting. Well, in a good sign, it looks like th e movie has gotten some positive reviews. Perhaps he IS back.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

July 3

Kinda of a belated Canada Day present but Vancouver got it s Olympics! Hooray for them. I just hope they can handle it better than Athens has or Montreal did. Isn't Montreal still paying off the debts from the 1976 games?

Well, I started the easly wake-up calls from today as the new oil company classes have begun at my school. To be honest, I don't particularly mind...I'm not at the age to roust about at night anymore and the students from the oil company have always been a good bunch. I had the first bunch today; not a bad group but the personal dynamics are still gelling.

Speaking of classes, I finally ended my classes at the other oil company. I don't regret finishing them although I did make a few fans over there. Once again, the materials and the fact that the students simply didn't seem all that serious influenced my decision to tell my boss that I won't be doing them anymore.

And speaking of bosses, I finally had that long-awaited (is there any other kind in my school?) chat with the assistant manager about my salary increase. I did get it, and things are pretty much locked in. I'm now free to pursue other opporunities on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

July 1

Happy Canada Day back to my fellow Canucks at home.

The last day of June was pleasant if humid as all hell. I started it by trying out a trendy restaurant with the expats in Roppongi. It's called ROTI, presumably its claim to fame is the rotisserie chicken (a rival to the Farm Grill, I wonder?). The place was certainly quite a bit smaller than I had thought it would be. It's not one of these dark sprawling restaurants with all sorts of nooks and crannies. Indeed, it's quite a bright place with two windows acting as half the walls for this somewhat small brasserie. I think half the tables were outside on the patio. I can only wonder what would happen if it rained. I tried one of their lunch specials for 1300 yen, a relative bargain in Roppongi. The chicken quesadillas with salad fit the bill quite nicely. However, what I'm really angling for is their all-day Sunday breakfasts; I'm such a sucker for pancakes.

Then, it was time to beat feet all over Tokyo for textbooks, one of my new duties as a freelancer. After a few hours, I was able to get somethng suitable for my late night class although the bill was quite a heartpounder. Luckily, my students were very willing to foot the bill. Speaking of food, I'm so glad that there is a doner kebab wagon outside of Tower Records in Shibuya. For just 500 yen, I can get a mightily satisfying pita stuffed with juicy pork and veggies...a good 34 yen less than a Big Mac set. I guess also that lounging in cafes will probably be my lot in life as a freelancer. I ended up staying at the New York Cafe around the corner from the doner kebab wagon for a couple of hours before I had to hightail out west for my lat e class. Still, overall, it was a good experience.

Today was my usual school day. I did my private class then went back to the school for my conversation class before coming back all the way out to Chiba for my final bout with that oil company. Nice students but I won't be going back there. I was just spending too many hours there twiddling my thumbs. Also, my idiotic boss took me aside today for a minute and asked me not to spread around how much I'm enjoying my partial freedom. Hmmm....that's a switch considering he was more than willing to throw one of our experienced and popular teachers to part-time before she decided to fly the coop.

Good heavens...another old veteran goes to that entertainment venue in the sky. Marble-mouthed Buddy Hackett has died.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

June 30

Well, the Japanese media are having a field day trashing t.A.T.u. after the two kids and their Svengali-like producer pulled a fast one and suddenly cancelled all of their appearances for interviews and music shows. Not only that, they flaunted a police order not to film any footage of themselves in Ginza and Akihabara (although it was basically just a Handycam defying the order), and then finally at a press conference last night, the duo proceeded to act in a manner unbecoming of guests by openly yawning and cracking gum. Tabloid headlines like "Gimme a Break, t.A.T.u.!" and "Pissed Off at t.A.T.u." are screaming this morning. Geez, I guess that rebelliousness wasn't an act, after all.

As in any democratic country, the fourth estate wields a certain amount of power in society. Even more so in least where entertainment and sports are concerned. In America, t.A.T.u.'s behaviour would've merely amused or bemused the folks there, but in protocol-conscious Japan, the Russians committed a faux pas of huge proportions. Perhaps, the girls' new name will be b.R.A.t. from now on. It should be interesting what the departure will be like at Narita today.

All in all, I'm not a huge fan of Japanese journalism...a large group of which are either beholden to the politicians or to hack editors. And the idiocy with which they handle international cele b inteviews borders on the surreal. However, I do wonder if there is a certain amount of naivete as well. t.A.T.u. has based its career on being delinquents. Perhaps in Japan, a lot of bands act tough but they're pretty mild in person. Other countries' punks probably don't fool around in that way. They are either true rebele (please imagine if the Sex Pistols ever came here) or they will keep the hellraiser attitude in public.

On the other side of the spectrum, I just heard Katherine Hepburn passed away. Good golly..another legend leaves the silver screen and just a number of days after Gregory Peck dies. There goes a woman who lived life defiantly to her own drumbeat. There was a Larry King episode a week ago which focused on Hepburn. I wonder if CNN had some inside information about what happened.