Saturday, October 18, 2003

Sat. Oct. 18, 11:03 p.m.

Had the morning class with the kids today; this time, it was the younger child who seemed listless although we did have a few lighthearted moments. Time to get a bit more creative. Luckily, the mother cancelled the class for next week.

Then, I met up with Movie Buddy in Shinjuku this afternoon, and met his ex. They are still good friends (unlike my situation in which my ex has seemingly decided to wash her hands of me), and the banter is still there. When she left, the two of us just had a browse through Kinokuniya before catching LXG.

LXG will probably be known as a small curiosity starring Sean Connery instead of the big classic it had hoped to be. It can be likened to Dick Tracy and Warren Beatty and their reaction . The atmosphere and the characters were there in good gusto but the writing and the pacing were sadly not up to par. However, I did like it a bit better than the critics who basically lambasted it.

Afterwards, MB and I had a quick burger and fries before heading down to Ginza and meeting up with the Actor and some other students at the 300 Yen Bar. All very nice but I do have to hit bed for that early morning wake up for the BBQ in Okutama.

Got started on a couple of interesting projects from yesterday. One is my venture into the world of Pilates, that exercise regimen that a lot of the stars have been into. It involves a lot of stretching and yoga-like maneuvers. Tried a few moves last night before bedtime. Not too bad. The other project was a culinary one. My Monday morning student gave me some yogurt starter to make my own creamy version. I mixed the stuff with a liter of milk on Thursday and tried to leave it a warm spot (of which I have few right now) overnight. Well, it was still pretty watery when I woke up in the morning, so half-thinking that my foray into yogurt production would be a brief one, I just left it out all day to see what I would come up with. Well, luckily enough, by the time I got home, I was the proud father of a coffeepot of yogurt; the stuff just needed more time to gel since it wasn't too warm in my apartment.

I've noticed that I've been getting more spam now to the extent that I will probably have to check my e-mail twice a day just to prevent my in-box from getting swamped by the cockroaches of the Internet.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Fri Oct 17, 7:37 p.m.

For the first time in several months, I actually have a Friday night at home. Now that my Friday night circle is a fond memory, I can actually come home and perhaps even have a homecooked meal. And when there is an extracurricular event, I won't feel any guilt about cancelling anything. Basically, my Fridays will now end with my newest student at the tea room in the late afternoon. She's another former student of mine from the school, and since it IS a real lesson, I'm getting a lot more money from her than I did from the circle.

Looks like with the regular students on test week next week, I'll just be restricted to a lousy 6 hours at my school. Hmmm...I have to wonder about getting more new students if this keeps up. Well, at least I've got more hours at my Tuesday night juku and the two new students for now. Those referrals really do help.

My birthday has come and gone. I'm now a sprightly 38 years old. No major fanfare except for the usual gifts of clothing from the parentals, and a surprise gift of baked goods from my Wednesday nighter along with good wishes from my closest friends back home.

There's joy of sorts here in the baseball world as the Yankees made it to the World Series today. Everybody was rooting for Matsui. That's a nice bit of news to compensate for the bombshell announcement yesterday that the skipper of the Hanshin Tigers, the man who yanked the team from zeroes to heroes in one season, announced his retirement for health reasons. There is no joy in Osaka tonight, though the Japan Series is ready to go tomorrow.

There was another tremor, and this time it hit dead center in Tokyo but I didn't feel a thing. I was in Akihabara at the time which shouldn't have made any difference considering that it was a Shindo 4. However, my apartment quickly let me know via some fallen CDs and an entire shelf of books.

Well, I've got my kids for teaching tomorrow, and then I catch The Legend of Extraordinary Gentlemen with the Movie Buddy. I go there with some trepidation because of the ghastly reviews. However, MB is probably one of the most optimistic people there is. But afterwards, we head on down to the Ginza to the 300 Yen Bar (finally, a place that's even cheaper than the Farm Grill) to meet up with some of the other teachers and perhaps even some students.

It will have to be an early night since the next day will be the BBQ in Okutama with some more students and teachers, including those who will be imbibing at the bar.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Wed. Oct. 15, 8:03 a.m.

Well, strangely enough, I actually managed to save a little something according to my monthly budget. Perhaps onl y a third of what I saved last month, but considering that I had expected to be in the red, it's still a monumental achievement and I'll consider it another birthday present. Today is payday, so I wonder how much my old school will let me have this month.

After Monday's deluge, it's still cold and wet out there but without the histrionics. Got a morning class and an evening shot and a lot of nothing in between.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Monday Oct. 13, 10:11 p.m.

Looks like God decided to recreate Noah's journey to Mount Ararat today. The whole Kanto plain got deluged by a sudden supersquall...and true to my luck recently, it managed to hit while I was en route from my 1-hour lesson in Yokohama. I had quite the spray come into my face on the platform. And of course, the main victims in this storm were the commuters coming back home from their trips over this long weekend. My line was shut down in the afternoon. Instead of waiting and brooding at Otemachi Station, I just decided to do a bit of window shopping in the Ginza area for a few hours. I figured that even if the station resumed business, there would have been some major crowding on the subways for a few hours until things settled down.

So I decided to indulge myself at the Farm Grill once more. Sure enough, I had to pay the dinner price, and I did purchase a magazine and a Sinatra CD at HMV, but I figured that since my birthday is a couple of days away, I might as well enjoy my 38th a bit early. Sure enough, the trip home was much smoother and less crowded.

Still, I'm dreading the fact that when I do my monthly budgeting tomorrow, I will be seeing my first dip into the red since I went freelance. But I figured early on that that would be a probability.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Sun. Oct 12, 9:23 p.m.

A bit of summer crept in, if only in the form of humidity. Met up with Ms. N. today in Ikebukuro to do a bit of looking around at the Tokyo English Book Fair. First, though, we went to a spicy ramen place near the station. Really good stuff. Another notch on my restaurant stick.

Looks like Ms. N's invitation was well worth it. I was able to pick up a free inspection copy of a travel-based text to use with my very low students on Tuesday. My partner in crime just ended up browsing, and then afterwards, we just chatted at a Cinnabons for an hour. Looks like the craze for cinnamon rolls has definitely died down since their boom a few years ago. Plenty of seating.

Well, it looks like the other shoe has fallen where my Jiyugaoka class is concerned. Before I took off for Ikebukuro today, I had received a call from the one fellow stating that because of his team's failure to meet quota for the past couple of months, it looks like he and his mate won't have time to have classes until the problem is resolved. Hmmm....I wonder if this is a curse (I was getting quite a bit of money from them) or a blessing in disguise (the cost/performance ratio had never been that great). In any case, considering the culture here, I also just wonder if they're just letting me down easy and cutting me out, although I have to admit that I have some faith that they wouldn't do that. In any case, I'm going to assume worst-case scenario and keep taking offers for teaching.