Saturday, January 24, 2004

Saturday Jan. 24, 9:36 p.m.

I had the kids as usual this morning. The older girl was off on her noncomittal mode today. She was probably more interested in her afternoon get-together with her volleyball buddy. Luckily, her younger sister was more cooperative. I also got a bit of a surprise when the mother had recommended me to a friend of hers who's looking for a tutor for her daughter. Hmm...I'll have to see if I can accomodate her on my schedule; it may be impossible, though I don't want to disappoint either mother.

My monthly get-together with those former night students was a pretty lively and fun chitchat. I always appreciate those especially after the rigors of teaching kids. But, I was pretty exhausted by the time I got home, and yet I still had to clean up my living room in preparation for Movie Buddy's arrival tomorrow for The Two Towers. I'll probably hit the hay early tonight. I still gotta clean up the bathroom.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Saturday Jan. 24, 7:07 a.m.

Well, another one of my favorite restaurants fell by the wayside apparently. My suspicions were unfortunately proven correct when I went down to BEMI in Hiroo and discovered that they had gone under even earlier than the Farm Grill. Too bad, since I did want to take a couple of the students for dinner tomorrow; and there were a group of current students who also wanted to go there as well. Ah, I guess it'll just be COCA in Yurakucho from now on.

Since I was in the area, I decided to take a look at the much advertised National Azabu Supermarket. I must admit that it is pretty impressive; it has even more of a foreigner's feel than Kinokuniya, probably because it is totally enclosed within the diplomats' enclave. I even saw a car with the familiar diplomat's plates in the parking lot. Quite a number of the foreign population were there, and there were some pretty huge frozen turkeys which made me wonder how big those diplomats' ovens were. There were a lot of cans of real American Campbell Soup types such as Chicken Noodle. In my supermarkets, the Campbells varieties are just restricted to Minestrone, Corn and Onion. I was very tempted to buy a couple of cans.

I met up with my Friday afternoon student for the first time this year at the Tea Room. It wasa good lesson. She informed me that one of her old classmates at the school was heading over to London all of a sudden because of her husband's transfer there. We both agreed that this classmate's temperament was such that she may be a bit overwhelmed and homesick, so I decided to give The Ballerina a heads-up about the situation. Perhaps if she has time, she can give her a call sometime.

Afterwards, it was up to Shinjuku to meet up with the old Tea Room ladies for dinner. It had been a few months since I've seen I haven't seen since September, but she's been busy jetsetting all over the world on business. We went off to El Torito where unlike the last time I was there, we did have to wait quite a while. I was a bit annoyed internally at the friendly maitre 'd when he asked me if we had reservations since I had been told that I couldn't make them on Fridays. However, he was the consummate professional at how he handled the customers. The food was indeed good, and the bottomless basket of salsa and chips was the overall theme. The size of the fajitas was a bit disappointing considering the one-pound version that I used to have back in T.O.

Woke up a bit earlier than usual since I have to teach my kids an hour earlier than usual. Then I have my monthly get-together with the former night students at the Tea Room. Hopefully, my stomach will be pretty empty by that time. I'm still digesting last night's fare.

Tomorrow, Movie Buddy will be coming by in the morning to see The Two Towers. He must have a destiny with that movie; he's seen the thing five times in the theater here and yet he wants to catch the extra scenes on the DVD I borrowed from Chip Guy. Then, I head down to Ginza to meet up with the two students for dinner. As an alternate to BEMI, I've decided to go for COCA. At least, it'll be closer to get to than BEMI was.

I watched a video that my fellow Diana Krall fan from the school had lent me. It was the modernized verison of GREAT EXPECTATIONS with Ethan Hawke, Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert De Niro. I was frankly not all that eager to watch it, but as a favor to my student, I did. And the verdict is that I don't particularly regret having seen it, but I just shrugged my shoulders after all was said and done. I don't think updated Shakesperean movie adaptations have ever really done all that well. My student even gave me the CD for the movie; I think I'll pass on that one.

Well, off to the salt mines.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Thursday Jan. 22, 7:42 p.m.

My student cancelled tonight so I find myself with an early night. So I just indulged myself at the rolling sushi place. Not a whole lot of variety but it was cheap. Pretty darn cold tonight; it's supposed to be hitting the big zero. I may just take my shower just before bed just so that I don't face any frozen water lines in the morning. I can always eat and do the toilette elsewhere but the shower can only be done in one place.

I've been kinda striking out on the restaurants seemingly. I'm supposed to be meeting with the former Tea Room ladies tomorrow for dinner at El Torito but they won't take reservations on Friday nights so there's a bit of a risk factor going there directly. And I tried calling up a Chinese restaurant in Hiroo to make reservations for Sunday night but noone is picking up; that's not a good sign. I'll have to come up with alternatives.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Wednesday Jan. 21, 9:32 p.m.

Met up with my ex for the first time in 6 months. She took me to a hidden tonkatsu place nearby which was really very good if tiny. It looks like she's moved on very comfortably with her life, and she even gave me some good advice about my taxes. I also got some insurance advice from my other student tonight. I may try to cover myself a bit more; however, the earthquake insurance will still have to be a separate issue.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Monday Jan. 19, 11:13 p.m.

Just about ready for bed here. That powwow between the Iconoclast and the boss turned out unexpectedly well although it lasted a good 2.5 hours. The main reason was that my interpreting skills were primarily needed just to take care of some simple requests that the boss had for my friend. All in all, it was probably my smoothest attempt at interpreting. The only tragedy is all of this smoothing over of ruffled feathers has taken place about a month before the Iconoclast's scheduled departure from the company. If this had taken place three years ago, things would probably have been much better in the office. Well, in any case, I'm just happy that I didn't suffer any major nervous breakdown.

I made my first purchase on Amazon for a Star Trek book thanks to GC's present of a gift certificate. The whole process to get the product was a real pain in the butt, though. I'm just happy that I only needed to do it once.

I guess with all of the exertions today with the meeting and the fact that I couldn't get much sleep last night, I'm feeling pretty exhausted right now. It serves me right for having Starbucks coffee last night. That stuff becomes so much sludge in the coffee urn; I can only imagine how much caffeine it must have.

Got confirmation from my newest student that Wednesday morning starting from February is a go. Some more income in the pot.

I may have averted a close call, relatively speaking. I was in Shibuya this afternoon having lunch. Just on the NHK news, I heard that police cordoned off a certain area there that same time due to a couple of unexploded firebombs in some buildings.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Sun. Jan. 18, 10:14 p.m.

A nice quiet Sunday in advance of my first really busy week this year. It'll be good to have one considering my low take from the school this month. Basically I spent it on watching some more episodes of 24, and helping out my friend with some translation work. Over dinner, I watched my Diana Krall concert DVD. Great music, but I have to admit that one has to be a real patient jazz aficionado to sit through a jazz concert. Since there are minimal pyrotechnics and no choreography, the eyes tend to wander or just glaze over at times; the music is so soothing at times, it can lull me to sleep. It didn't help that dinner was well on its way through digestion.

We may be getting a second chance at precipitation tomorrow, but the choice will be better. We may get snow, rain or just plain sleet.