Saturday, July 19, 2003

July 20

A very pleasant if humid day today. I taught my kid and her father. It worked out very well and the doctor was OK if somewhat less able than his wife.

Then, it was off to see T3 with Movie Buddy and his friend. We had a bit of a glitch at the beginning though when the three of us had entered the wrong theatre (the one we wanted was next door) and only realized the error after the staff had clipped our tickets. Movie Buddy almost went into a fit but luckily the staff taped the tickets together; they seemed rather nonchalant about it as if this were a common occurence. MB fumed a bit about how the staff should've realized that we had walking into the wrong theatre when we entered the place just a half-hour after the movie had already started. However, I kinda think we should've just kept our eyes more open.

In any case, we were able to rectify the error quickly enough so that we could scoot over to the right theatre and get some decent seats. The movie itself was OK but a shadow of T2. It kinda had that Star Trek "Odd Numbered Movie" syndrome; it had potential but it just ended up being a prelude for something more. For that reason, I would like to see a T4.

Afterwards, we had some coffee at the local Starbucks followed by dinner at an Aussie pub in Shinjuku. It was sure nice to chug down a Crown Royal while tucking into delights such as fish and chips, meat pie and swordfish. I rather enjoyed the outing today so much that I just sent an e-mail to some of our soon-to-be grads to see if they want to be part of the Movie Buddy system.

And I finally got that CD I had been searching for. No liner notes but I'm not complaining after 15 years of looking.

Friday, July 18, 2003

July 19

Well, we're into a 3-day weekend...not that it matters a whole bunch to me since I'm half on holiday, it seems, anyways.

I had my usual oil company class yesterday morning followed by the usual lunch in the lounge with the teachers. It was quite bustling today there. We had no fewer than 7 teachers gabbing away. I kinda wonder if the Teachers' Room on the 4th floor will go fallow once more. However, it was nice chatting with the lads.

I stayed for another hour there and ended up helping a few students in the senior class while the assigned teacher was talking with the other students before heading out to Akihabara. I basically went out there really just to kill time more than anything else since I had my regular English circle in Ichigaya. The clouds were looking pretty threatening at that point. However, I indulged in some massage, courtesy of the showroom massage chairs in the Yamagiwa appliance shop; gave myself a good 20-minute treatment for free. Then I decided to spend most of the next 2 hours just scouring around for old CDs. But alas, it looks like the days of the late 80s and early 90s stuff may be coming to an end. A lot of the stuff I saw there yesterday were used copies of fairly current artists.

I returned to Ichigaya and headed over to the Tea Room almost 90 minutes early for the session, so I just indulged in my crossword puzzles and had my dinner until the first person came...a good 20 minutes late. Both women who came had just come back from trips, one to Vietnam and one to a local hot spring. The custom of bringing back souvenirs reaped good dividends for me as I got a pack of instant Pho noodles and chocolate from one lady, and then some more chocolate from the other.

After I got home, I got the notice from the neighbourhood post office saying that my CD had arrived. My 15-year search will soon be over. Actually, I received a most cordial letter from the distributor responsible for getting me the CD ove r the Net today. He seemed impressed that I would choose such an obscure artist amongst all of the current hitmakers. Well, I bent his ear a bit with my explanation. Maybe this will reap dividends for me here as well.

In any case, I gotta head on out for my kid class, and then I meet Movie Buddy and his friend to see Terminator 3.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

July 18

My last class was a bit frustrating. I had a girl who had always been a bit of a problem with the other teachers, and up to that point, I really didn't have too much of a problem, but today, she completely shut down on me. The other women assured me that she's just a kid and that all teens act like that. Problem is that she's NOT a kid but a 20-year-old, and most teens don't join up with an English school for a whole year.

Caught The Bourne Identity last night. It was a good quiet spy flick much on the level of Ronin. I'm sure Robert Ludlum would've liked the way it was filmed although I had heard that there was some contentiousness during filming. Matt Damon may not quite have the charisma of a Tom Cruise or a Brad Pitt, but he can hold a film. As for Chris Cooper, I'm not saying that the Oscar winner phoned his performance in, but I think any number of actors could've had his part.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

July 16

Ugh....had to battle an allergy which my medicine couldn't fight for me, and have my lesson with my Wednesday nighter. Nothing worse than teaching with a runny nose. The worst thing is having the allergy finally fade AFTER the class.

On the way down to the Starbucks to teach my student, I decided to pop by the new Shiodome complex, yet another high-rise entertainment emporium built in the last year. It 's located next to the salarymen-and-pub soaked area of Shimbashi; quite a contrast. Looking into it, I see that it follows the Roppongi Hills example of lots of restaurants including the Oregon Bar and Grill but not a whole lot of shops.

Speaking of Roppongi Hills, my students told me that the complex may already have peaked in popularity. One of them said that her daughter had visited the place recently only to find a relatively small number of people going through the labyrinth-like nooks and crannies of the complex. My feeling is that having Mr. Mori design his baby like an amoeba may be counterproductive for the commercial residents. The place already has a reputation as a ritzy, exclusive mall. I don't think people would be all that willing to explore all of the cul de sacs if they knew of the expense. I could imagine some stores pulling up stakes in the not-too-distant future. At this point, th e only successful places seem to be the Virgin Theaters and the restaurants.

On a totally different note, my yeasr-long search for a CD by a certain artist may be coming to a happy end. I managed to find an online CD service which has a copy. I have the original vinyl album but since record players are pretty much a rarity these days, I had almost given up hope.

Let's see, I did decide to also purchase The Bourne Identity on DVD last night. I had caught it on the plane on the way back from Canada last year. The viewing experience on a plane is never that good but I did enjoy watching Matt Damon kick ass so I'd been waiting for th e past half-year for it come out. Will probably watch tonight after work.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

July 16

I hadn't intended to check my e-mail so soon after my last check just last night, but I unconsciously activated the Outlook. There have been times that I've done things just on a hunch which ended up becoming meaningful for me, so I decided to follow through. Sure enough, it was one of those times. My good friend, Chip Man, and his wife had just sent the message that they're now the proud parents of a baby girl.

A nice slow Wednesday today. I won't be doing my class until tonight so I can afford to laze back a bit.

Monday, July 14, 2003

July 15

Another binge fest last night. In fact, I ended up at McD's twice, a breach of a personal rule not to visit the Golden Arches more than once a week. But I just needed a place last night to hang out before heading to mylate class. And sure enough, just by this poky little station, there was a McDonalds. Of all the places... Also in between visits, I visited my student's Chinese restaurant in the Kanda area. It was a pretty good place not spectacular, but the service was very good, thanks to my student. However, I did notice that somewhat concealed icy look from the first waiter who had met me at the door. I guess I just struck him as a typical lousy oyaji in for a quick bite.

That was the bad news. The good news is that I actually saved some yen on my new, supposedly rarefied, lifestyle. Even with a wedding and some outings, and the expenses that come with them, I actually netted something.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

July 13

Woke up this morning earlier than desired because I was getting that distinctly dreaded feeling of throwing up. Well, not that far ahead but nausea was present. So I downed a bunch of baking soda with water to neutralize the acid that must've been bubbling in my poor stomach thanks to the 2 kg of beef I had ingested the night before with the students in Shibuya. Then I sat down in the doorway of the bathroom for about 10 minutes just to make sure that I was over the hump before getting back to bed. Luckily enough, it did the trick but I ended up feeling drowsy all day.

A few hours later and some rushed cleaning afterwards, Movie Buddy came by and we saw Angelina Jolie's TOMB RAIDER on DVD. The movie itself was OK but not a huge spectacle for me. There were just too many draggy exposition scenes interspersed with the action plus some herky-jerky pacing near the end for me to give it a thumbs-up. Hopefully, things will be better in the sequel.

Then, MB and I met up with his girlfriend a couple of stations over to go over to her friend's place for curry. Marilyn was chastising herself about her curry contribution all throughout the afternoon despite our encouragment. She even went so far as to say that it was a bunch of horsestuff. To be honest, in a way, it did have that color and certain chunkiness but it was actually pretty good when poured over rice. She was so relieved when we gave our compliments. Her friend made a somewhat more lighter and more vegetable-laden curry which was no less spicier. I unfortunately had the misfortune of chewing down on one of the green chili peppers which rendered my tonsils radioactive for a short while. It was a bit of a feast since we also dove into a giant fruit tart that MB had bought, and then we finished off with some takoyaki (deep-fried octopus balls) at the nearby mall.

I may have also scored another job lead although I'm not sure what the asking price will be thanks to the help of Marilyn's friend. Keeping my fingers crossed.

My weekend has been a feast. 2 kg of beef which threatened to blow me up and then curry. But it doesn't end today. I'm heading out tomorrow to a Chinese restaurant in Tokyo where one of my students is working at her invitation. I kinda wish I didn't have to go alone, though. It's always so limiting when there is only one to order stuff from a Chinese restaurant.