Saturday, July 26, 2003

July 26

The kids were good today...thank heavens. Plus I met that former student at Starbucks near my school.

We've had a few tremors today sprouting up in the northern Tohoku area. They were pretty strong suckers as well...up in the 6s according to the Shindo scale. For comparison, the quake that leveled Kobe in 1995 was a Shindo 7. But true to the Japanese technology protecting us from the big ones, there was damaage but not any injuries. Without gloating, I note that there have been many casualties in other countries from smaller quakes. NHK has been giving some major attention to the quake for the past hour.

I'm trying to figure out what I'll do for the next week. Since my regular school-based classes will be on hiatus, I have huge patches of time. I may just decide to catch up on some movies or explore a little. There is that modern conference area, Makuhari Messe, not too far from my place that I've been wanting to take a second look at. Plus, they've included quite a few more places since my last visit years ago including two megamarts, Carrefour and Costco.

I forgot to mention about that new Tuesday night class nearby. This ball of energy has been running this combination tiny English school and juku (cram school) for 3 years from the second floor of her house. I teach four students in two classes. The first sclass has three very low people including a traditional couple; I almost forgot that people like that still existed. The second class has just one businessman who want s to head overseas to work. It's pretty laid back; I've basically been given carte blanche as to how I teach them and which texts to use. I would've liked more in point, the students are just given photocopies of the lessons I want to teach. Hmmm....not too pro but if they don't mind, then I'm OK. Well, it is a new challenge.

Friday, July 25, 2003

July 25

Well, the week has once again come to an end. I just taught my regular morning oil class, had the regular kaffeeklatsch with the teachers up on the 6th floor before heading out to the Farm Grill for the first time in a month. Got my fill of food although I wasn't too impressed with the servings this time around.

I checked out my phone messages after lunch and got one from my ex. Apparently, her time with my Friday night English circle will cease because of her work schedule. I'm disappointed and admittedly, a bit suspicious. I'm ashamed to admit that since she was always up front with me during our relationship. However, my suspicious nature is sadly a permanent part of me; that part thinks that she's pulling away from me of her own volition or has found a new boyfriend. Of course, I will not dare tell this to her.

Feeling somewhat grumpy, I took a long walk in the spitting showers through Ginza, Yurakucho and Marunouchi. I finally came up to the new Maru Building complex, another one of the new vertical commercial behemoths growing in Tokyo, although it has been overshadowed by the complexes in Shiodome and Roppongi. Looked like your usual glass-and-metal ode to 21st-century conspicuous consumption.

I even decided to traipse through the Imperial Hotel. I had gone to the basement before with a friend of mine a year ago but it was the first time in the lobby. It had that classic flavor. Even the bathroom stalls were fitted with real oak-and-brass doors with lights that turn on and off automatically. Now, that's class.

I finally gave into temptation and bought that issue of Entertainment Weekly from the Yurakucho HMV. First, it had a goodly-sized tribute to Katherine Hepburn, and it was only 799 yen plus tax....the lowest price for a foreign magazine anywhere in Japan.

Then, I returned to Ichigaya to the Tea Room where I waited for my lone visitor for 2 hours of English banter. Happily, the talk went pretty much non-stop without any major embarrasing lapses.

When I got home, I had my schedule faxed over to me. They needn't have bothered. I basically have nothing next week except for the oil classes due to the fac t that the regular classes are having tests almost all week. I'm just lucky that I've got my privates to prop me up. But the lack of income for that week will hurt. Perhaps I shouldn't have given in to temptation.

Anyways, it looks like my social calendar is building up. This weekend is fairly dead but the next couple of weekends could get busy with a grad party, a movie buddy outing, an outing to a Chinese restaurant with some students and a goodbye party for a former student.

At least tomorrow is Eel Day. Eel is great to build up stamina. All of the supermarkets should be having barkers yelling everybody to grab some grilled eel on rice. Also, the annual Sumida River Fireworks Festival will be held in Asakusa. This brings up the next mystery. For the past 7 years, I had been invited to a former NOVA student's apartment right next to the river itself for fireworks viewing. However, I didn't hear a thing this year. I hope everything is alright with my student.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

July 22

Feeling pretty sleepy right now although I think a combination of vitamin drink and caffeine is propping me up. And of course, when I'm sleepy I also get rather down with life generally. Hopefully, the feeling will pass since I'll be starting my new gig in Urayasu later tonight. I've got very little info about this class outside that they're using American Streamline. Hmm...I just hope that this isn't a fly-by-night operation.

Yesterday I had a pleasant afternoon at the Tokyo Hilton with a friend of mine for that cake buffet. Good, friendly staff and a wide variety of food helped the experience. I'll definitely have to try it again and perhaps I'll even go for the other buffets they have. They're all very reasonably priced.

Just glad that I've got most of the day off tomorrow.