Saturday, November 13, 2004

Sunday November 14, 12:55 p.m.

Cool and overcast...typical weather. But I still threw out my futon on the ledge to air out, if only for a short while.

Finished taping for the parents; I was lucky enough to find a couple of enka shows to throw on. And I even had enough space to tape a mystery drama.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, in his new capacity as governor of California, made his 20-somethingth trip to Japan to promote the joys and wonders of the Golden State. Instead of his old leather-and-sunglasses getup, he was sporting some major shiny suits. But his hoary trademark line was still spouting from his lips. Now that he has political clout along with the Hollywood one, he got to meet with the government boys including the PM.

The big news today is that Princess Nori is engaged. I always wondered if she were going to fulfill her spinster status but that can finally be pitched out. The way the news announcer is putting it, it sounds like she's leaving the Imperial Family and becoming a commoner, though. It'd be a perfect premise for a reality show back in the States. How does a princess cope with mundane life?

And speaking of my life, I'll be doing some cleanup and ironing today along with the usual prep work for my lessons tomorrow. However, I intend to take advantage of the 20% off special at the sushi restaurant.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Saturday November 13, 1:56 p.m.

Lazy, lazy Saturday. Still, I managed to get up at around 8 this morning. I find out that Scott Peterson finally got his comeuppance. Nancy Grace was snarling like a banshee on Larry King. What else is new?

Had a long chat with Movie Buddy this morning. He's still nagging me to get that microphone for the computer. I still say that we have a telephone, and he doesn't know that I get pretty intractable when someone tries to push me into anything. Apparently, he and his girl are off to see "The Phantom of the Opera". Nothing says marriage is closer when a couple heads off to see a musical.

Just got a message from Arwen. Looks like she's also good to go for DTE's second farewell. I guess DTE isn't thinking of putting up stakes here after all.

Thought I was going to stay all weekend at home but I have to make one outing tomorrow to check books out for a new student, The Hawaiian's aunt, since I won't have any time between then and Wednesday.
Friday November 12, 10:48 p.m.

Man, was that some funeral for Arafat in Ramallah! Reminds me of the chaos that surrounded Ayatollah Khomeini's funeral years ago. Well, he got the sendoff he would've loved.

The day came off as expected with the students. Pretty rainy and chilly, though. It should be better tomorrow so I can do the wash. I find myself with two full days off so I hope to get a lot of relaxation in.

I got my first message from Shard for the first time in several weeks. I've always looked forward to his messages since our missives to each other are in the form of long pop cultural exchanges. And this one was no different. I think I spent a good 30-40 minutes responding to his one message.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Thursday November 11, 10:39 p.m.

Well, I gotta backtrack on my opinion about that mystery sub which infiltrated Japanese waters yesterday. Apparently, it could be a Chinese sub not a North Korean one. My bad.

It was another stint as counselor with Jazz Buddy this morning. She looked even more hangdog than last week. She's been getting down for various reasons such as work and her sister from Hell. But notably, she's just frustrated from her dinner with a friend and some Indonesian acquaintances since she had some trouble keeping up with the English side of the talk. I tried to reassure her that if she just keeps up with her practicing, there will be dividends. I'm just worried about how much she's been working; she has always looked somewhat, she just looks plain exhausted.

I had those several hours to kill between JB and The Carolinan so I used the first of those hours to have my occasional ramen lunch at Foo Foo. The spicy soup worked well today considering the coolness of the weather. Then, I headed down to the Ginza area for the first time in a few weeks via Shiodome. I'm pretty glad I did so. However, I saw that where the late lamented Farm Grill used to be, now stood a Don Quixote discount shop...oh, the sadness. But at the same time, I discovered a possible new replacement for the good ol' Grill. Out of curiosity, I went up to the third floor of the Shiodome City Center, that big green tower which also houses the Oregon Bar and Grill steakhouse all the way up on the 42nd floor. On that third floor, I saw a sign for a "Calfornian cuisine" restaurant called LAST. In this country, a "Californian cuisine" restaurant usually translates as all-you-can-eat buffet. So I just went down the corridor and saw the entrance to this place. There was also a large placard with photos of what they served. Hey, looks good to me. I'll have to do a recon trip sometime next week...maybe next Wednesday since my schedule will be pretty sparse. I obviously couldn't go today since I was still digesting my ramen. Then, up in Yurakucho where that large Fujiya tower is, I found out that a new dessert buffet restaurant has opened up. Gotta let the gang know.

I had some time to check out Yamano Music and HMV. I let go of my disicpline a bit and bought a couple of CDs there. Yamano Music seems to be the only major CD store to sell re-issues of J-Pop albums from the 70s and 80s, so I bought a Junko Yagami disc. Yagami was one of those artists who didn't fit into the bubblepop idol; instead, she fused in some Latin, disco, R&B and jazz influences into her pop. She now goes by the name of June Stanley and lives in the US and releases the odd album. The second album I got was from HMV in Yurakucho and it was that swing jazz disc I had mentioned a few days ago.

I checked out the nearby Bic Camera, ostensibly to find the new location of the Coca restaurant, that eatery which was well known for its dim sum and Thai hot pot options just behind the Mullion complex in a non-descript building. It doesn't seem to be a move, though; the original restaurant seems to be still up and running. The new place, though, looks rather sleek and urbane unlike the rather old Chinatown look to the original.

Finally, I made my way up to the Tea Room. It started raining a bit then but it wasn't enough for me to bring out the umbrella although every other sentient being did so but then again over here, if a drop even appears on a sleeve, the brolleys open up. I spent a good 2 hours there before The Carolinan showed up. It was a pleasant lesson and we had a brief chat with the owner about some of the celebs who've passed through the cafe over the years. She also remarked about how worried she gets when those big patches of no business hit the place. It would be a great pity if the place had to close down.

Well, tomorrow will be my usual lessons with The Teacher and SR. Then, it'll be trip to the gym. It'll be needed. I looked rather bloated in the mirror today.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wednesday November 10, 9:06 p.m.

Looks like we had a little taste of invasion today. Some unknown sub entered Japanese territorial waters which put the SDF on full alert. Nice to know some country is considerate enough to test our defenses. We'll have to send Kim some extra rice in return.

Had an extra treat at the house where I usually teach The Class Act this morning. Since there wasn't too much time between their lesson and the one for SIL, the lady of the house was kind enough to have lunch made for me in the form of a bowl of hot soba. The lesson itself was notable for the fact that one of the two got a bit frustrated at the large amount of indecipherable slang in the article. I wasn't too depressed since she was the one who had supplied the material in any event. However, I defused things a bit by introducing the wonderful game of Solitaire with my deck of cards. Can't believe that neither of them had ever heard of the game before. Then when I mentioned about how my old junior high school kids back in my JET days used to play card games during field trips on the bus, they pointed out that those days are long gone. The kids nowadays are too involved with Game Boys and their cellphones. I remarked that I still had my Solitaire. The same lady told me about her family's dinner outing at the New York Grill in the Park Hyatt (that hotel where "Lost In Translation" was filmed). It seems as if they were all thrilled by the jazz trio playing dinner music there. She offered to put in a reservation if I were ever to go there. Very kind of her but I'd probably only go if I had a date and I think that's very unlikely considering my romantic disinclinations right now.

After SIL, I did my usual jaunt to Tower Records. I once again held off on my CD purchases though I did buy TIME and EW. TIME went into its post-election analysis about what happened with Kerry. I'm sure a lot of people worldwide are still thinking about that as well. I did take a listen to a bit of that soundtrack for The Polar Express. The first track had Tom Hanks doing his best Rawhide impression along side a bunch of kids. The CNN critics didn't seem too hot on the movie saying that the animation looks creepy; well, it is different but I'm willing to give it the benefit of the doubt.

Since I had that coupon for The Maple Leaf, I went there for dinner. I basically risked undoing any benefit that I got from my gym outings by ordering a Sloppy Joes and poutine, otherwise known as the Cholesterol Couple. However, I enjoyed every messy bite, heheheh.

Shibuya is already into Holiday mode. All of the Xmas trees are up and the displays are showing that festive spirit. Just like in the US.

Getting to the Starbucks where I teach the OL, I found the place initially packed for some reason. Quite a few gaijin in there as well. However, by the time I got back from the washroom, there was a major exodus of customers thankfully.

I've got the Jazz Buddy and the Carolinan tomorrow. Just hope that JB is in better form. Not quite sure what I'll do in the intervening 6 hours. Almost feels like an old full-timers day at the school.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Wednesday November 10, 7:38 a.m.

I was taking a look through Michael Moore's website to see whatever became of Moore after the election and I came across a link to the website, "Sorry Everybody". When I went over there, I found a whole bunch of photos with sad people and their written apologies to the world for how the election went. It's gotten coverage on CNN, and apparently when I told some of the guys back home about it, The Anime King sent word back that he couldn't get through. I figure that there was a sudden deluge of hits after the CNN feature went to air because I could access it again with no problem. Although I can understand the feelings of those who sent in the pictures, in retrospect, I think it can come off as a bit smarmy so I'm not surprised that there has been a huge amount of hate mail from the Bush voters.

Looks like another Tom is making multiple trips over here for a movie. Tom Hanks will be heading here tomorrow to campaign for The Polar Express after having come here VERY recently to plug The Terminal. I recollect that years before Bill Murray's trumpeted star turn in Tokyo last year, Hanks was in the Big Sushi to film scenes for Ron Howard's Gung Ho. Apparently, tne New York debut of The Polar Express took place last night with the stars coming out. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith greeted the Fuji TV rep in the Big Apple with a hearty "Konbanwa" and "Sumimasen"; his pronounciation wasn't too bad. I wonder if he'd picked some of his Japanese up from Liv. She's been doing commercials here for an iced coffee company for months.

Was lurking through a J-Pop website. Just can't believe how many people internationally are into the genre. Kinda scary at how relentless their search for information on Morning Musume can be. From the messages, I can assume that it's still not all that easy to get a lot of info from here outside of Japan. Every little episode from any show is fully dissected and fully appreciated like a drop of water in a desert.
Tuesday November 9, 10:03 p.m.

I got to the juku to find out that the Beauty Pair had suddenly canned their lesson due to cold. The boss was profusely apologetic but I didn't particularly mind. In their stead, the boss had her lesson before that nice couple came in. Speaking of them, they evidently had a very good time in Portugal last week, and it was heartening to hear that they were much more secure in hearing English.

Hope to hit the hay by 11 since I've got a slightly early start to the day tomorrow. I've got The Class Act and SIL and then the OL. In between SIL and OL, I've got a few hours so I will take advantage of a coupon and head to The Maple Leaf for dinner.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Tuesday November 9, 1:55 p.m.

After my lesson with the ladies this morning, I headed over to City Hall to pick up my new ARC. Took less than 5 minutes. Then I just headed back home and got a pretty large lunch from SUBWAY. That should tide me over past dinnertime.

Kinda glad that I'm not heading to the gym today. I'm still feeling pretty achy and I can also laze about a bit longer before heading to class. The couple that I usually teach in the second slot will be back from their short vacation in Portugal. Their story should be good practice of the Simple Past...I hope.

So I hear that Bob Geldof is finally having the legendary Live Aid concert released on DVD after almost 2 decades. Good golly...has it been that long? I remember catching it when I was in university that one fateful weekend in July. Should be worth buying to see some of my old favourite bands.
Monday November 8, 9:04 p.m.

Straight in and out from The Company today. Feeling exhausted; I hope it's just because of all the lactic acid from the workout today.

Watched some footage of the Emperor and Empress visiting the beleaguered evacuees in Niigata today. The majority of them seemed to be elderly folks so they were very appreciative of the visit...some were openly weeping. The symbols of state always visit disaster-ridden areas such as the 1991 Mt. Unzen volcano disaster, the 1993 Hokkaido quake and the 1995 Kobe quake.

That class at the school that I was supposed to teach got canned according to the call from the Scheduler. A bit disappointing but at least I can head out to City Hall tomorrow and pick up the gaijin card with plenty of time to spare.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Monday November 8, 1:36 p.m.

Had my outing at the gym. It was my first Monday morning stint there, and sure enough, not too many people which was great for me. I had lunch at the neighbourhood Pepper Lunch. Low quality beef and my clothing always smells like a brazier but I can't beat the price.

I just have the one lesson over at The Company tonight so I have a couple of hours before I head out the door again. Apparently there was another Shindo 5 aftershock off in Niigata.

The Doctor let me know that The Incredibles is one great movie. The CNN reviewer was even more glowing. Gotta see it.