Friday, May 21, 2004

Saturday May 22, 7:51 a.m.

Looks like my classes have been cut in half. The mother of my youngest called up last night to say that today's lesson is a scrub. So, I'm off at 1.

The Scarecrow also sent a message stating that he's also a scrub for Sunday's TROY outing. He'd thought that the outing was for today. Ach, but he is interested for the 30th for brunch. So, we're looking at 4 right now.

The Weather Office noted that yesterday was the first day in a week that the sun actually deigned to show itself. It's decided to go into hiding again for at least the weekend.

It also looks like I'm still negotiating between the Iconclast and the Prez. Now, it's just trying to arrange how the two are gonna meet in Hong Kong.

The big news here is that the PM has headed for North Korea for another rescue mission: this time to scoop up the remaining family members of those 5 former kidnapees from over 25 years ago. If he is successful, the weekend news should be focusing on that fact almost exclusively.

On a totally different note, I see that "Enterprise" has been saved from the axe and given a 1-year reprieve. It'll probably be the final year for the show, the shortest duration for any of the Treks. It's kinda too bad since I've liked Scott Bakula as good Captain Archer, but I think the show was just one show too many for the exhausted Trekkies.

And on a related note, it looks like the next and presumably final Star Wars movie is getting the first good title since "RETURN OF THE JEDI". It's apparently going to be called "BIRTH OF THE EMPIRE" although admittedly I don't think that will improve Hayden Christensen's acting any.
Friday May 21, 8:19 p.m.

Well, barely half an hour after my last entry in which I described the Sturm und Drang of Typhoon 2, the rain stopped and the sun came out. It was almost like a Tex Avery version of a sunrise..that dramatic. So my lesson with the Teacher was on.

From our lesson today, I gained a bit more insight into her character. She's definitely got more high-falutin' tastes than me. She's into Italian antiques and somewhat more esoteric movies. She even mentioned M. Butterfly, a flick that had been filmed more than a decade ago at my workplace at the U of T. She was relatively flabbergasted at that admission, so I said I would bring over some photos from the location next week. On a totally different note, she has a way of speaking past me...not quite answering my comments didn't quite annoy me like the Stylist did on Wednesday.

Then I sped off to the Tea Room to teach Arwen and 77. It was an earlier-than-usual slot for them since Arwen had an engagment to see jazz singer Chie Ayado with the school coordinator and Jazz Expert. At one point in our lesson, we were all rather surprised to see Jazz Buddy and the rest of her old classmates in the top class of the school come traipsing into the Tea Room. I'm not sure if this were going to become a regular thing with them. I also started the ball rolling on a potential brunch with them and some other former students for brunch at Fujimamas on the 30th.

SR then entered and we started talking on singledom vs. marriage thanks to some of the material I provided her. We also wondered how the rest of the alumni from her year were doing. It was quite the school reunion today at the Tea Room since lo and behold Movie Buddy dropped in for a few minutes. He also gave his promise to show up for TROY on Sunday.

I used that postcard I got from my kaiten sushi place the other day for dinner there tonight. Not too bad. I was able to get a free plate of BBQ eel sushi.

Gotta get started on my kids' lessons for tomorrow. Right now, the regular edition of MUSIC STATION is on TV Asahi. I hardly ever catch it since I'm out most Fridays with Arwen and occasionally 77 but since I've got an early night off, I have it on for old times' sake. The usual hitmakers like Glay and Morning Musume are on. I can't say that I give it the same devotion that I used to since my interest in J-Pop has waned over the years.

It looks like I got swamped with school classes next week. Tuesday should be especially exhausting since I'll be teaching 8.5 hours worth. least I'll be getting money for my troubles and I've got that trip to Hokkaido the week after. Plus, I've pretty much equaled the average monthly expenditure for miscellaneous items thanks to the payment for the trip so the extra money will be welcome.

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Friday May 21, 7:23 a.m.

T2 has arrived. I'm hearing spates of heavy rain and howling winds out there. I already received a midnight message from The Teacher after she got my e-mail; it looks like she'll be a scratch today. Can't say that I blame her. However, the other two students should be OK since the afternoon bodes well for the sun.
Thursday May 20, 11:00 p.m.

Well, Typhoon No. 2 is coming on into the Kanto with the closest approach slated for 9 a.m. tomorrow. However, once it passes, the afternoon should be nice and sunny. My only concern is for the first lesson with the Teacher, so I sent off a message to her. I'll probably be taking down the clothes poles lest they get blown away overnight.

It looks like another storm of sorts has been slowly simmering over the months at my old school. I had a chat with the DJ this afternoon while I was just knocking back time in the lounge. With the decrease in classes and some danger of retaining some of the company clients, the DJ has told me that there has been some rumbling between the top two idiots. Neither of us are surprised at the current events; this has been coming for years now. The DJ is the longest-serving SANE teacher at the school. Our most veteran teacher seems to be slowly stretching apart at the seams. We both wonder why he continues to remain as the staff's whipping boy. I kinda liken it to a wife who continues to remain with an abusive husband.

My class with the oft-absent student tonight went pretty well. However, his next class will be with the other only foreign teacher in about 10 days since he has to make up a lot of missed classes and I'm not available on Saturdays. I hope everything is OK; I've only met her once and she's very nice but she's also very no-nonsense. My student comes off a bit Gomer Pyle-ish at times.

My juku boss also informed me that that rather argumentative student who's part of that trio I teach in my middle class on Tuesdays is coming back in June. She has apologized for missing out on the last few classes, but my juku boss, in one of her very few instances of frustration, could only shake her head. She told me that in the past three years that the student's been with the juku, none of the other teachers had really liked her because of her somewhat dour demeanor. She does have that side to her but she also has shown a lighter side as well. I can also understand some of her frustration at having to wait for her two lower classmates to catch up but she could use a bit more patience.

The Prez actually CC'ed a message to me which was targeted for the Anime Master. He wanted to find out how to get to the Iconoclast's wedding party on Monday. Hey, that was my assignment. I don't think the Prez would be that smarmy to actually give me a shot across the bow to get me to hurry up on that answer, so I'm assuming that he was just trying to milk all the udders, so to speak. In any case, the timing couldn't have been better since the Iconoclast did reply. He said he would pick the Prez up whenever and wherever he arrived in Hong Kong. I just hope my reply reaches the Prez in time.

In any case, I've got to fill out that report on my student. Then, I have to take a quick look at tomorrow's lessons before hopping into a shower and then bedtime.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Thursday May 20, 8:34 a.m.

Looks like that steady rain is a mere prelude to the second typhoon of the season which will sideswipe the islands in the next couple of days. The last couple of years, we've been getting our dose of heavy rain and winds a lot earlier, and Tokyo seems to have inherited Typhoon Alley from Okinawa. Well, Typhoon No. 2 (they number their storms here instead of giving names) is expected to hit us sometime tomorrow afternoon. I'm just kinda wondering how this will affect my classes for Friday since Fridays are usually among my busiest days. I'll be smack dab in the middle of work when this storm hits. I may face some cancellations.

Well, at this point, I've got The Madame, Skippy and her buddies, and the Scarecrow coming for TROY on Sunday. Strangely, I haven't heard anything from Movie Buddy for a couple of weeks. Not even one of his terse e-mail messages. Curry Master spoke of a possible falling-out between him and her last week, but I'm not sure how that would influence this situation.

I was going through my Japan travel book last night. It is pretty comprehensive. It even included who the hot singers and TV personalities are. Good heavens...even Morning Musume was mentioned, but admittedly, they've become a permanent fixture in local pop culture. Yet another spinoff group has been spawned from the main tribe of pre-pubescent and post-pubescent girls. Two of the most popular members, the twins-who-are-not-twins, Ai Kago and Nozomi Tsuji, have flown from the nest to become W. The entire MM phenomenon is the J-Pop equivalent of the X-Men comic book franchise, although I think W is most akin to the Wonder Twins.

The last couple of days, there had been a case of a Yakuza gangster holed up in an apartment with a hostage keeping police at bay. Apparently, the mobster had done the same sort of thing before several years ago. Well, this time was his swan song. The hostage apparently committed suicide and the Yakuza is dead after police finally stormed the apartment. Not a happy ending but at least a piece of scum is out of the way.

Wednesday May 19, 9:22 p.m.

The Stylist was in a bit of a strange mood today. I'm not sure if she had been ticked off at me or not, but a couple of times during the lesson we were discussing about the fact that she didn't like me waiting for her at the salon. I said that I didn't mind doing so since I could always rely on my crosswords or magazines to keep me company. I also asked if I were cramping her style by having her clean up quickly while I waited inside. She stated that that wasn't the case; it's just that she felt a bit pressured as if I were one of HER customers waiting for her. Whatever...then she acted with some surprise and a bit of dismay when she found out that I would be paying 35800 yen for my trip to Hokkaido. On both topics, she seemed to dwell a lot. I'm not sure if she had been trying to get back at me with the second topic for the first topic. On top of that,I was playing a bit of Counselor Troi with her Spring Lethargy. Maybe menopause is coming a bit early for her. In any case, I got a bit stricter with her about her English which got her structure back up.

Rather happy to get out of the salon, I went off for lunch at the nearby Chinese place before getting over to Towers. I was able to get that new book on Japan for my Hokkaido trip. I did make a few more purchases which will probably mean that I'll be breaking the bank this week for miscellaneous stuff.

The rain is coming down pretty steadily tonight. A bit of a pain while carrying two bags plus a bag of groceries and an umbrella. However, I am reminded that there is a summer coming and we need to save up as much water for that.

I got a postcard from that kaiten sushi restaurant under my station. It looks like they're having some sort of "thank-you" campaign. When I show up with the postcard, I'll get a complementary plate of sushi. Time to get that eel!

I finally got those times for TROY by calling up the theater. I don't know why they were being so secretive about it. Anyways, I got the word out to the rest of the bunch. So far, it'll be a party of five.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Tuesday May 18, 10:15 p.m.

Another long day comes to a close. I taught the fourth and final class of the school today; good crew..a mix of quiet and chatty students. Then I had my juku folks. The boss actually did remember the fact that I'm heading out to Hokkaido. The mock phone interview with the first student was OK; I could only ask general questions since I have no idea about auditing. It looks like that trio of students that I usually have in the middle is now permanently down to a duo. That one student who had always complained about when we would finally get to her level of text finally gave up the ghost apparently. The boss and I agreed that it was good that she had left since she could now go somewhere she would be properly taken care of and I wouldn't have to worry about trying to balance an unbalanced class.

I've just got my two students tomorrow, The Stylist and the Office Lady. It'll be kinda nice to have that type of Wednesday again before I got my posting back at the school. Not that the scheduler hasn't tried to get me back for more classes. Looks like they've been kinda tight on teachers recently.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Monday May 17, 10:08 p.m.

A pretty full day with three classes, two of which I haven't had in about a month. Unsurprisingly, my Monday morning ladies ended up just gabbing with me for the entire 90-minute session which is something that they tend to do after a long absence. One of the ladies kindly lent me a cookbook by that American fave Japanese chef and toast of New York, Nobu. Taking a quick look at it, I found that the recipes are quite easy to read and of course, the pictures look suitably appetizing, but I'm still not sure if I can get some of the more exotic ingredients.

During my break between classes, I went out to Towers only to find that it was taking a rare day off. I tried HMV to see if they had a book on Hokkaido but it's not nearly as comprehensive as Towers, so I just made a quick beeline back to the McDonalds closest to the lady's house for lunch.

My second class went pretty well. The student was still full of beans in spite of or because of the absence. I found out that I will indeed be having the ladies next week instead of having Monday morning off which means that my expected lunch with Automan next week is now off, so I've sent off a missive to him to see if we can reschedule. His time is rather limited so things are pretty iffy right now. It would be a pity if cannot meet him.

My final class today at the Iconoclast's company was back to slogsville in contrast to the pepped-up one last week. I'm not sure what they put into the water today. The Prez showed me an invitation to the Iconoclast's wedding reception in Hong Kong next Monday. He would like to go except that the Iconoclast failed to give directions. Also, the data that he gave me to give to the staff to access his old computer didn't work. If he's trying to drive his old mates up a wall, he's doing a pretty good job.

It was definitely an early summer day today. Pretty warm and muggy in my shirt. It didn't feel like an August day though thankfully since the night has cooled down. We don't even get that luxury in the dog days.

I got a couple of calls in terms of work. The juku boss called me up to see if I can start teaching my regular final student at 6 p.m instead of his usual 9 slot so that he can practice his telephone interview. Hey, anything to get home a bit earlier. Then, the scheduler at the school called me to see if I can teach on Wednesday. I gave her a straight NO via e-mail since I've got the Stylist on Wednesday morning. There's no way I would even want to attempt to get back there in time.

I got some more mail from The Persian. He wanted to know how his old flame was doing. She actually lives not too far from me but we've had a parting of the ways several years ago, partially due to temporal drift and partially (possibly) due to her husband who may not be too fond of me. I wasn't too impressed with him when I met him initially and somehow a message hinting at my feelings got over to the flame's mail server. It was supposed to have just gone to someone else completely but the CC must have been feeling pretty ornery that day. In any case, she responded back with a seemingly innocent response asking for clarification. I did some hemming and hawing but the damage was done. For some reason, until recently, she still kept inviting me to her annual glee club concert for a number of years but that was it. No other communication. Well, I'm not much for keeping that sort of relationship, so I just stopped replying. It's a pity...she was one of the core members of the gang back in the early 90s in Toronto.

I've been trying to find out what time our favorite theater will be playing TROY this Sunday but those guys refuse to put anything up on the screen. Speaking of the movie, Brad Pitt dropped by Tokyo this past weekend to a throng of 1000 squealing fans and clicking cellphone cameras.

This stupid pension scandal is claiming more politicians. Of course, it would be happening during the annual announcements of celeb taxpayers. In the singer category, one half of the rock duo, B'z, got the top spot while in the TV personality category, (annoying) announcer and host of the Japanese version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, Mino Monta, was number one. He's even more annoying than Regis.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Sunday May 16, 10:43 p.m.

Well, I got the place all fixed up this morning for the arrival of the Persian's friend all the way out from Tokorozawa, Saitama. She even brought her sister with her. At first, I wasn't quite sure what to make of her on the phone since she seemed to always be giggling. However, after an afternoon with them at the apartment, the sisters turned out to be really nice folk. We looked over some old photos of the Persian when he used to be the master here. The friend remarked that the Persian has gotten somewhat bigger in the decade hence.

We stopped by at the neighbourhood ramen shop with the Mao pictures and the Anne Murray music for dinner before they had to take off for Tsudanuma for another bunch of friends. Hopefully, we can see each other one more time before she has to take off for Taiwan again. Her sister apparently will be staying in Japan for another several months, so perhaps we can keep in touch periodically. I'm considering whether to introduce her to Party Hearty's BBQ.

Well, back to work again as of tomorrow. I've gotta pick up a guide book for Hokkaido during my break between classes.