Friday, October 03, 2003

Sat. Oct. 4, 6:57 a.m.

Oh, the O. Henryesque ending crossed with a bit of Hitchcockian malice. Here I was yesterday ranting about my friend who wouldn't put out the money to pay tribute to our former student and friend and the fact that I would, and now today, I'm 15,000 yen poorer.

Two of our supposed confirmed guests didn't show up, so I had to pay their share of the tab as per the regulations of the course. Of course, I didn't mention anything to the others. Somehow, the Force was able to blur everyone's vision as I put down the money during cheque time. Our waiter who had been pretty dour because everyone trickled in instead of showing up at theappointed time was one happy SOB after I gave him the ton of money. Perhaps he had been expecting some sort of resistance since heand I knew about what was up. Well, at least everyone enjoyed themselves. And I'm still an appreciated guest there.
The secret will always stay with me.

One other secret that will remain that way for a little while longer is our knocked-up student. She couldn't make it to the party after all due to morning sickness. Ironically, she called up the Madam (one who loves to gossip) to send her regrets. She never realized since the kid just told her that she was just sick.

Afterwards, most of our number faded to the four winds while four of us decided to put in some karaoke nearby. Movie Buddy joined us after his class. It was your conventional 2-hour songfest but it looks like our guest of honour showed how little tolerance she has for alcohol once again. The first sign was when she kept slamming her glass on the table like an irate sailor. Then, the Jerry Lewis pratfalls began once we started to head for the station. Glad I wasn't part of the detail to get her home. I already gave at the Y .

I've got my kids today. Man, I hope I can get through the 2 hours without going nuts. I feel so tired...and poor.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Thurs. Oct 2, 6:56 p.m.

Well, in the last 24 hours, I've had to put out a fire. Looks like that former teacher who had complained about the expense of tomorrow's party venue decided to give me a comprehensive, bulleted explanation why he has pulled out. I told him straight out that I didn't like his decision; his reasons were all negative: he hates 1) Shibuya, 2) crowded trains 3) getting ripped off financially 4) smoke-filled bars and 5) the comments that our dippy teacher makes. In other words, he basically hates going out. The man had stated in the past that he really disliked Tokyo life and that he shouldn't have to endure such horrors.

Now for the democratic rebuttal. Though I do understand his reasons (certainly, I'm no fan of getting ripped off or riding on crowded trains), this party is for a former student and friend who will be leaving for several months, and I think the slight expense of the party is immaterial to the sentiment of celebrating a good friend among good friends. Also, i f he doesn't want to come out because all of the social inconvenience, that is his right; however, he would have a bit of heart and perseverance to say goodbye to a friend. I think what really got me steamed was just the coldness of his response.

However, he did send a short letter later this morning apologizing again. I then told him that I appreciated the fact that he pulled out instead of inflicting us with his misery at the party. There's nothing worse than a determined party pooper. I kinda vented myself through an e-mail to the Madame. I feel rather bad about that but she understood how angry I got.

Well, in any case, I made the final confirmations to the restaurant, and now all that's left is just to show up. There could be a bombshell announcement by one of our former students tomorrow, though. In fact, it may be quite obvious even before she says a word. She has apparently gotten pregnant outside of wedlock in the past few months. A few of the guests for tomorrow know about it, including the guest of honor. The real shocker is that she is all of 20 years of age. There could be some awkward moments.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

Wednesday Oct. 1, 8:40 p.m.

Midweek. I had my two classes today and found out that one of my students' ex-hubby got arrested for DWI and driving without a license after he had "borrowed" her Jaguar. And I thought such incidents of delinquent husbands were exclusively an American thing.

Speaking of the US, is it me or did the President's picture on the CNN website look noticeably more haggard? Let's see...Iraq is not going well, his popularity is sliding and now this thing about a leak. Hmmm...I'd probably have the Presidential Surgeon on speed dial if I were the Chief of Staff.

Since I had the morning off today, I took a look at the X2 DVD while I was ironing. Strangely enough, it's been already released although it has yet to make it out in the US. Not a whole lot of extras, but still after giving this movie a second look has strengthened my opinion that it is still the only movie this year that I've given a full nod to.

Well, two more days before the farewell party for one of my students. I have to ensure the final numbers tomorrow to the restaurant. In the you-can't-satisfy-everyone department, one of those invited got on my case for making the reservations at an izakaya that didn't give a great deal for a large group. Well, it IS expensive but I am considering it a special event, and over here special events and expense go hand in hand.

And speaking of restaurants, looks like we've got a couple of new eateries at the mall underneath the subway station. One replaced the greasy ramen place that had been there for years; it opened today as a small grill for hamburger steaks and regular steaks. It certainly looks a lot cleaner in there, and I'm wondering if I should give it a shot tomorrow since I'm coming home early. Then again, I think I ought to give it a couple of weeks of seasoning so the staff can work out any growing pains. The other place will be opening up on the 10th as a new conveyor belt sushi restaurant to replace the one that had been there for 3 years. In a way, it was a pity about the other one since in recent months, it had tried its best to get the customers back in through lunch specials but such was not to be, and such is the ruthlessness of running a restaurant.

Well, it's been 5 days since that quake. So far, so major tremors.

Sunday, September 28, 2003

Sun. Sept 28, 11:33 p.m.

SWAT? It was more of a bloop single. The Movie Buddies caught their latest flick today in Shinjuku. It was a smaller group this time out: just me, the Madame, a former fellow teacher and another grad.

I remember the TV show just as a few scenes and the catchy theme song. In fact, rumour has it that SWAT was the only TV show created around a hit song. And the only reason I remember it so well is not because of the series itself which only lasted one season, but because of the theme song that was used as the background music from my elementary school French teacher's grand contribution to our school's gymnastics team. The song was just played ad nauseum day after day.

Well, in 2003, the song has pretty much been sublimated to just a few bars within a rap song. So where did the story go? For an action thriller, it just seemed rather conventional and by-the-numbers. Those adjectives are great for a real SWAT takedown but not too good for a movie. The characters and the story were born out of a dozen other police flicks so there was really no investment of our attention needed. Just sit back and real need to hold onto the armrests. And it's the first time that I've seen two good actors, Sam Jackson and Colin Farrell, end up in their umpteenth lame movie (well, Colin did have Minority Report).

But the real reason behind SWAT's limp performance is the same reason that brough the original TV series down. The Special Weapons and Tactics team is employed for just one thing: to get rid of an unusually intractable opposition in a building. Now, how many episodes can you do of that premise before things get boring? Even if you pack some juicy backstories and plots for the characters, they would still be hanging on a very limited string. The same goes for the movie.

After the movie, the four of us just went for a bit of dessert and then we tried out a Turkish restaurant on one of the side streets on the teacher's recommendation. Everything worked out well except for the yogurt drink, which was an acquired taste.