Saturday, April 10, 2004

Saturday April 10, 11:05 p.m.

Well, the Anime King left this morning. I helped him lug one of his bags up to the subway station and then saw him off. Then I treated myself to a McD's breakfast before heading out for the kids. I had some vain wishes that the older sister at the first house would gain the desire to speak but such was not the case. She was her usual sullen self. My best kid in the afternoon seemed pretty tired after a bout of swimming.

Last night, I took Arwen and Ms. 77 down to the Ginza to meet up with the Anime King and his associate, the Exporter, for dinner. I rather wondered how the combination of my two worlds of English teaching and university buddydom would mesh. But I needn't have worried. Everyone got along swimmingly. AK had mentioned the Exporter for years but last night was the first time for me to meet him. He and I are the same age, and he's quite personable. He's been shipping Japanese pop culture goods to the Americas for a number of years now. Arwen and AK especially hit it off quite well since Arwen is also of AK's world by association.

We ended up going to Ten-Kuni, a reasonable tempura place in the Ginza just across from where the Farm Grill used to be. We were a bit surprised when the maitre 'd pegged me immediately for a foreigner although I was a stealth gaijin. He just merely shrugged his shoulders and said that after 40 years working there, he could pick out foreigners just like that.

Arwen's hubby, Aragorn, actually showed up after dinner since he was working close by. He's also quite a good guy and I was also amazed that both he and the Exporter were just as willing to converse in English with each other. The Exporter made the same remarks as well.
I think the two guys would've made good students at the school.

Well, now that the King has left, I've got my bedroom back so I can save myself the backaches. However, I do think I'll be doing my fair share of cleanup tomorrow. Luckily, I don't have anything slated for Sunday, although I did get a message from Movie Buddy for the first time in a couple of weeks. He may have wanted to come over here to watch a DVD, but I rather preferred to just be by myself tonight so I haven't responded back yet

I caught the new, improved and much darker version of Battlestar Galactica thanks to my buddy's videotape. Let's say that it isn't my youth's Battlestar Galactica with the repeated effects shots, droning Cylon voices and mullets. I could compare the two versions like comparing Frank Miller's Dark Knight to the Adam West Batman. Everyone in the newer version comes off with a deeper, more complex and not as nice personality which makes for a lot of tension amongst the characters. Plus, they have thrown in an X-Files-like twist ending, to boot. I'm not really sure if it will be picked up since I've got the feeling that viewers are now kinda burned out on the sci-fi TV after 15 years of Star Trek and Babylon 5.

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Thursday April 8, 12:46 p.m.

Another lazy day today. I just have that one class at the juku. I checked my e-mail. There was no cancellation notice from the juku owner so I assume that I'm on. Not much to plan anyways. The Anime King and I didn't get up all that early this mornng. He took off about an hour ago to meet up with his associate, K-Books, in Akihabara.

It looks like I have two attendance lists to mind over the next couple of weeks. There's that party for the Ballerina. The Rapper is the latest one to join the group. Then there's the going away party for the Chip Guy. I've received 5 positive responses for that get-together. That brings the grand total to 10 already. I'm just wondering how all of us are going to squeeze into the place.

My nose is acting up again so I've activated the air cleaner. The Anime King has declined The Iconoclast's request to take it back to Toronto due to its size...something that I don't mind considering my allergies.
Wednesday April 7, 9:49 p.m.

I had my biweekly Wednesday morning student for the first time in about a month since she was off in Hokkaido for a few days on a scheduled lesson day. The Stylist is not a super gabby person but she does like to talk. The problem is that her structure threatens to fall off the track.

Afterwards, I decided to visit Odaiba for the first time in a few months. I went over to the Sunset Beach restaurant which has a decent lunch buffet. A lot of pasta, meat and salad. I basically engorged myself. Ironic, since the Stylist advised me about eating less and exercising more. My actions at the restaurant illustrated how little I like to listen to authority. However, I did follow up my binge with over 2 hours of solid walking through the area including three malls and Fuji-TV. I noticed that there was still some solid construction going on near the main Tokyo Big Sight convention centre. There's even a gated area near the TBS which consists of a chapel and classic-looking buildings for weddings. After my walkabout, I got on the Yurikamome train at the end stop so I was able to sit in the front seat and snoozed during the 30-minute ride back to Shimbashi at the other end of the line.

I had another 20-minute walk from Shimbashi to Toranomon where I had the Office Lady. She's been rather busy with the accounting so she's been hoping for a holiday soon. Speaking of holidays, I'm now thinking about heading out to Hokkaido a week after the Golden Week holidays. I've been wondering about taking the famed Cassiopeia Express from Tokyo to Sapporo. It's about as close to the Orient Express as it can get here, and apparently the prices approzimate its more famous counterpart as well. But I figure that if I let the prices scare me, I'll never be able to make the trip, and I think this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Now that I'm back home, I received a message from the Anime King not to wait up for him for dinner. I'm thinking about seeing if we can do some lunch or an early dinner tomorrow since he'll be taking off on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Wednesday April 7, 12:42 a.m.

This must be a weird week. First, it was the crazy lady in Shinjuku Station, then the rude geezer at Pepper Lunch, and now coming back from work tonight, it was the fighting couple on the subway platform. A small woman was chewing out her boyfriend about something in what was a textbook spat. The woman was doing most of the yelling while the man was alternately muttering or doing a slow burn. I knew what was going to happen next...the man then slightly exploded at her as a pheonmenon known in Japanese as "gyaku-kire" or counter-blowup. Then he went back to his sullen self while the woman continued to admonish him. I would've loved to have seen what happened next but the train arrived. It's been several months since I'd seen a couple arguing in public outside of the battles that my ex and I had. I can only imagine what's going to happen the next day.

The classes at the juku went pretty normally. The juku owner was back to her ebullient self, especially since she found her second wind and proclaimed that she would be taking the juku into a new direction by next year by moving the place to Shin-Urayasu and expanding it into a full-fledged school. I wish her the best of luck. Certainly, my fortunes would be tied into anything that she would do.

Well, I got back home from the spat to see that Anime King had arrived here over an hour ago. It was good that we could talk so that some of the tension could drain away from me. It was also nice to see the music channel on SkyPerfect play some of those old J-Pop songs from my childhood. Got me into a better frame of mind.

Apparently, Doctor Who is back...or will be back...on BBC. I remember watching the good Doctor and his adventures on TV Ontario and PBS back home as a die-hard fan of the series years ago. The stories were quite good in the prime Jon Pertwee/Tom Baker years. The new Doctor is supposed to be played by some fellow named Eccleston. I just hope that the effects are much more improved. I think I'm a bit too old now to accept the gold spray-painted styrofaom ball as a rotating planet anymore.

Monday, April 05, 2004

Tuesday April 6, 12:21 p.m.

Another lovely day outside. Another old boor to observe. I had just gotten my rubdown at the quick massage clinic when I decided to have lunch at Pepper Lunch, that mix between fast food restaurant and grill. An old fogey sat two seats away from me. He wasn't openly antagonistic but he just alternately muttered or growled his order to the waitress. Plus, he ignored her when she asked if he needed anything else. Man, are a lot of these Japanese men genetically predisposed to become jerks as they age? The current generation of young punks aren't exactly my cup of tea either but at least they are sullenly polite.

I have yet to hear from the Anime King since he left his message on Sunday night. As far as I know, he's coming back here for the rest of his stay. He's got the spare key and a map to the apartment, so I'm not particularly worried about him.

Well, I've got a few hours before heading out to the juku so I might as well enjoy the afternoon and listen to some CDs and do crosswords.
Monday April 5, 10:09 p.m.

I was on my way home through Shinjuku Station when this woman several metres out in front was screaming epithets into her cellphone, and screaming at the cops who looked her way. Obviously, she wasn't exactly playing with a full deck but trailing behind her, but I just felt like smashing her face in with my fist. There have been a number of these very angry half-sociopaths walking through the streets of Tokyo recently, and they've certainly raised my blood pressure lately. On the subway home, a typical middle-aged geezer was sitting next to me just huffing his stink breath. I was getting some rather nasty thoughts about him, but it was also possible that he may have had a pretty bad end to his day. However, I'm starting to wonder if it is time that I took a REAL vacation, and not just spend my days off at home. Otherwise, I may end up becoming one of the walking insane.

My day was otherwise OK. I had a full slate today with three classes. I thought I had a pretty good chance to meet up with the Anime King tonight after class since he was planning to call up the President for dinner. However, I found out that the Prez was off on business in Shikoku, so obviously no dinner.

Well, tomorrow, I'll have nothing until my juku classes so hopefully I'll be able to rest up adequately although I plan to get a rubdown in the morning.

Sunday, April 04, 2004

Sunday April 4, 9:48 p.m.

Cold and wet as a dog's nose today. Unbelievable this season! I'm still suspecting that we'll get a few flurries tonight.

I had my dinner today with those juku students at that hidden restaurant in the wilds of Tsudanuma, Takimoto. I got to the platform of my station at 3:55 p.m. and ended up having to wait 20 minutes. Women...well, at least I was graceful about it.

Man, if anyone from home ever comes to my neck of the woods, I really have to take them to Takimoto. The place is truly a culinary gem out here in the burbs. I was a bit concerned about the Zen-like map but it was a lot easier than expected to find the place. And then, I had wondered about the course we had selected. It was the cheapest one at 4,000 yen per person so I thought that we weren't going to get that much. I was absolutely wrong. We got a ton of dishes consisting of sashimi, tempura, shellfish, etc so that we were actually stuffed by the end. The ladies were also impressed by our little room, incidentally, the same room that my Tsudanuma students and I had when I first went there. All in all, we were a very satisfied group. No wonder there was a month-long waiting list.

Shivering on the way back home, I invited the ladies to come up to my apartment for a bit of coffee. We picked up some dessert from the local convenience store. Luckily, I'd had the foresight to clean up a bit before I left the apartment. We looked through the satellite TV, and I made Chai. One lady enjoyed it while the other one wasn't too big on spices so she couldn't really complete the cup. Still, it was nice to entertain company.

Well, back to the mundaneness of prepping for lessons tomorrow. The Anime King may be calling up the Iconoclast's old boss to have dinner then since he knows that I 'll be teaching class at the company on the same day.