Saturday, November 22, 2003

Saturday Nov. 22, 10:59 p.m.

It was one of those classes with my kids. The older kid was pretty much useless. But I did manage to get some apples from the mother.

I felt really tired after the class. I ended up sleeping on the subway once again and I just slept for the two hours I was home before moving onto my friends' place for dinner. Once again, the five of us were treated to a gorgeous feast of seafood and wine. Unfortunately, it looks like the house cats also brought out a case of allergy attacks amongst most of us. Luckily, I had the luxury of having some medicine.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Fri. Nov. 21, 11:26 p.m.

Well, speak of the devil. After mentioning my ex in my last entry, she gave me a call after 3 months of no contact. It was a typically emotional call, all of it on her side. I'm not sure if she had been drunk or not, but she was gushing forth the waterworks initially asking whether I was doing OK. When I assured her I was, she settled down. With the balm of time, I can now wonder how I was able to hold a relationship for as long as I did with her. After communicating with her for several minutes, I do realize that ultimately she wasn't the one for me. She has a new man in her life; I am very happy for her since it is someone who's in her company and shares the same age. Perhaps now we can finally get on with our lives.
Friday Nov. 21, 10:09 p.m.

My day was spent, as predicted, just lazing around watching CNN. It was nice but I also had a hazy flashback of my lengthy period of unemployment back in 1997. It wasn't all that bad but still I watched my income peter out. Sure enough, the scheduler called to inform me that I will not have any classes at the main school next week because there are no day classes due to the tests. Well, I figure that we're slowly entering the dry period with Xmas and New Year's coming up.

At least tomorrow, I will be meeting up with friends nearby for dinner. I actually haven't visited their place in several months. My ex and I were still going out at that point although things had pretty much cooled off between us by then. The hubby will be off fishing for our dinner; since he's an expert, I'm pretty confident that we'll have a bountiful seafood feast by this time tomorrow night.

Thursday, November 20, 2003

Friday Nov. 21, 11:09 a.m.

Nice end to a steady work week and nice beginning of a long weekend. In this country, getting a full 3-day long weekend is still a relative rarity since a lot of the employed have to devote at least one weekend day to work, so you imagine my glee at getting the full four days off. Since my oil class is off at their last intensive, and myregular Friday afternoon student is off on vacation, I've got this nice sunny Friday off to veg out. Still, I have my kids on Saturday but that's just for 2 hours.

I was actually able to get a bit of cooking done last night. Tried my hand at gratin for the first time. This country seems to have a love affair with the cheese and white sauce dish. They've got recipes for just about every type of gratin imaginable: potatoes, macaroni, and even tofu which is the one I tried out. Worked out pretty well.

Being the big (breaking) news junkie, last night was a pretty banner one with the bombings in Istanbul and then the Michael Jackson arrest. Even the local stations here made it one of their top stories, though I think most people know the man more as the eccentric freak than as the King of Pop nowadays. My 2 cents? Jacko is a peculiar man, no doubts on that score. In fact, I would peg him as the extreme form of celeb excess; however, one isn't arrested for being an eccentric. Let's see if the man is indeed guilty of molestation, then I'll know.

Kinda interesting at my school today. Fridays are always speech days with our regular students, and today's topic is on capital punishment. And sure enough, right now in the States, a jury will be deciding on that very point for sniper John Muhammad.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Wed. Nov. 19, 9:55 a.m.

It is getting quite cold in Tokyo. I had to bring out the electric blanket for the first time this season. Just waiting for those first few snowflakes to come on down. Unsurprisingly, I've gotten a few sniffles, so I've taken the old medicine. Thankfully, the stuff works quickly; not so good is that prolonged use can damage one's liver.

It'll be pretty quiet today. Just my two afternoon and evening classes. The rest of the week should be similarly slow. Just have one class on Thursday and then Friday will be free and easy.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Monday Nov. 17, 11:26 p.m.

I was feeling rather tense with this first corporate class today and then that rather bittersweet trip to Hakone yesterday, so I went in for that massage nearby. Boy, did I need that rubdown. Like any good service, the staff there recognized who I was and what I usually wanted.

As for the corporate class, my tension quickly dissipated as the students, which included the president, were all pretty low and eager to learn....a very good combination. It was the first time that I've been to the company without having to get involved in another firefight between my friend and the president which was a nice change. And as a nice bonus, he took us out again, this time to a swanky sushi bar in East Shinjuku. I really felt like I was in a truly down-home Japanese setting. There were just six of us at the counter with our group making up 50% of the customers. The staff was very chatty and accomodating, even to my friend's insistence at using dilapidated Osaka dialect, much to his boss' bemusement. At one point, everyone in the bar got into a nice little conversation. It almost felt like being in a Japanese equivalent of CHEERS. I was almost thinking about coming here with a few of the students, when my friend took a peek at the check, which again the president paid for, and told me afterwards that it came to a grand total of 35000 yen. I realized that sushi was just too good to be true.

Happily, tomorrow I'll be able to start later than usual since my regular Tuesday morning folks canceled the class. Not that I'm tired of seeing them, but it is nice to get that extra time to sleep in once in a while.

I bought the DVD of CHICAGO. It and X-MEN 2 are the only movies that I've enjoyed this year, which just emphasizes what a disappointment the blockbusters have been in 2003. Yet, even with the DVD, I was somewhat disappointed at its sneaky technique of "padding". They put in too many trailers which resembled each other and a lot of the cast interviews pop up in bits and pieces in all of the other extras. There's the usual backpatting and gladhanding which I can only take in small amounts, even for a worthy vehicle like this one.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Sun. Nov. 16, 9:38 p.m.

We had our trip to Hakone today with me and 4 other students and a teacher. It included lunch and dinner at the local spots, a trip on elevated railways, an atmospheric experience in a tea house, a walk through a lovely garden of fall colours and a tour through a museum. The chat was lively and engaging, and everybody got along well. And yet, I feel somewhat guilty about the day. I was the one who set up the plan and organized the meeting spot, but then after that, it was all the students' efforts to get the train tickets, notably one student in particular, and to keep all of us together. I realize that they handled the ticket purchases much better than I would have, but still I had the responsibility to do it, and I just ended up standing around like a lord over his vasssals. I did thank them profusely for their help, but I just don't think it's enough.

Tomorrow, I start that first corporate class in my new bohemian career. I really have no idea how things are going to go and what their expectations of me are going to be, but I'll be working on the plan for most of the day before I head on out.