Saturday, December 11, 2004

Saturday December 11, 9:06 p.m.

Well, I got my pizza delivered by a guy in a Santa suit. He looked rather nonplussed when I reacted to it by asking about it. The kid was pretty lanky so the suit just hung off of him. Talk about paying one's dues.

I got my Giga Meat pizza, a basket of Tater-Tots and a Caesar salad. Since I didn't really have any lunch, I was able to gobble the whole thing down without too much problem. Glad I don't have a bathroom scale, though.

Quite a bit of e-mail traffic including a letter from Egg. I hadn't heard from him for months. He's made a request for a couple of CDs. I'll try and help him out if I can although I don't think I'll have any time to check out the major CD shops in Tokyo before I take off. Then, GC had the strange request for Krispy Kreme donuts. I think that will be in the "Improbable" department.

Will probably hit the hay a bit earlier than usual for a Saturday night considering that I will have to start cleaning stuff early on Sunday. Not that I have all that much to do since I already got the bathroom cleaned up and that tatami vacuumed. Then, I have to pick up The Stick at the station later on in the afternoon. I may ask her about the tax package I got last week. I'm gonna have to pay the bills as well and pick up my contribution for the potluck Xmas party with the Beehive on Tuesday.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Saturday December 11, 1:49 p.m.

Had my final haircut of the year at the usual place. I now look properly presentable for home...aside from the spare tire. And the Chipmunk dropped by for a few minutes to give me the bankbook. I was also able to unload some stuff that I didn't need on her such as the yuzu, the spray-on cheese and one bottle of BBQ sauce. Now, the next delivery should be the air tickets within the next couple of hours.

Got a message from The Salesman just now. He's wondering when we can get together once I get back home. Looks like the social calendar is filling up nicely.

I wonder if I'll have pizza tonight...just one more pie from Dominos before I hit home.
Friday December 10, 9:12 p.m.

Still slightly stuffy but I am getting better. However,the trip for those final presents still took a lot out of me. Sure enough, the delivery guy brought the ticket over just when I was starting to teach The Teacher. However, I'm having the guy bring it over tomorrow when I'm actually home. I may have guests in the form of The Chipmunk and her hubby at the time.

Also, I finally got a response from The Stick whom I had initially contacted as a possible alternate when the juku boss turned me down. She's asked if I could help her out with her upcoming interview at the Tokyo American Club. She asked for help on Sunday, my day to do the big cleanup. Well, I'm certainly not going to cancel that for someone I haven't seen in well over a year as cold as that may sound. I don't have any other day to do it. But I did offer for her to come over my way so that I can help her out here at home. At least, she'll hopefully learn in a much cleaner environment.

"Spirited Away" is showing for the second time within a year on NTV. NTV has always been the go-to station when it comes to showing Hayao Miyazaki films, and always on Friday nights. I'm still not sure, seeing it for the first time in its entirety, that I would have been able to last through the entire thing in a theatre, but in the comfort of home, it's a lot easier to take. It does bear some similarities to "The Wizard of Oz" in terms of the fantastical nature. Hard for anyone to imagine some of the weirdest imagery to ever show in an animated feature.

Well, still gotta clean the dishes and the bathroom before I hit bed. I'm gonna try the vitamin drink treatment again and see if the cold can be totally knocked out before I head out for my haircut.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Friday December 10, 8:26 a.m.

Still feeling a bit of that cold but I'm much better than I was yesterday. Took all 3 sips of that enhanced vitamin drink (that's 136 yen a sip), medicine and then wrapped myself in a couple of layers of blankets with the electric blanket turned on. Sure enough, I started to come out of REM sleep feeling pretty sweaty and my nose was still a bit stuffy. However, the runny nose was almost gone and the stuffiness has subsided a bit. Have the heater on as well and drank down some OJ so I'm starting to come out of it. Hopefully, by midday, I should be almost back to normal. I sure hope so since I'm gonna have to head out for shopping today after my lone lesson with The Teacher.

Happily, the Chipmunk has agreed to keep an eye on the apartment while I'm gone and I will update her bankbook back in Toronto. She'll be popping by tomorrow after my visit for a haircut....which means that I'll be starting that big cleanup when I get back home today. Nothing like a visit to finally kick me into some domestic engineering. Mind you, nothing will get started until that plane ticket gets delivered. The agent told me that it will be arriving sometime this morning. I really hope he means before 10, but with my luck, I doubt it.

Some good news from Canada. It sounds like the NHL may actually reach some sort of deal with the Players Association to end the hockey strike. It'll be great timing if I can get home and watch some good ol' Maple Leaf action.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Thursday December 9, 3:05 p.m.

Well, back here a lot earlier and more empty-handed than I expected. I ended up just chatting with Jazz Buddy which was just as well, since I now have a full-fledged cold. A dose of medicine, a bottle of vitamin drink and tons of tissue couldn't fight this bug so I've had to cancel my lesson with The Carolinan and cancel the latter half of my Xmas shopping. In fact, just got a call from her right now. She sounded somewhat disappointed which doesn't improve my feelings but from previous experience, I would've been even more miserable if I'd gone ahead and tried to teach the lesson tonight. My nose is still dripping like a leaky faucet. I guess the shopping will have to wait til tomorrow at least.

The Chipmunk contacted me to see if I could update her bankbook in Canada. Then, it dawned on me that she lives even closer than my juku boss. The boss had to reject my request of checking on the apartment since she has to take care of her ailing father. If she can do it, I'd be very grateful.

Well, since I'm homebound for the rest of the day, I'll probably hop into the futon and rest up some before dinner. Just hope that I don't have to cancel on The Teacher either.
Wednesday December 8, 10:25 p.m.

I finally got my gym workout in. I was rather relieved that I actually registered the same weight that I did last time...even with that huge ingestion of the ribs at Tony Romas on Sunday. However, after all the stuff I did today, I didn't even lose half a kilo.

After the gym, I went out to KFC for the first time in a while. And I realized why I don't go there much. I paid quite a bit more for their set than I do at McDs or Wendys. Plus, the lunch there probably didn't help the results of my workout since the chicken had enough oil to make OPEC swoon.

Had my final lessons of the year with The Hawaiian and The OL. The former will send me a letter to check over. It's supposed to head for a prospective homestay organization. I kinda told her about the instability in quality control when it came to homestay families since I don't think a lot of governments regulate them. She knew quite well the trials and tribulations of potluck homestay. One family she stayed several years ago gave her just a piece of toast for dinner. Bloody scumbags. Over the years, I've heard my share of wonderful host families and just the opposite via various students and friends.

The OL was almost a half-hour late but I wasn't too miffed since she has earned my trust. And besides, the lesson was quite fun. Looks like her company will be having its 2nd annual etiquette training thanks to the JAL Training Academy.

I had to send my regrets to one of PH's gang who is planning a year-end party. When I saw the cost of going there and thought about the fact that it was going to be one of those huge affairs, I decided to pull out. However, I did get the official invitation from The Quarterback for his wedding in February and I'll be giving him my confirmation. Also, although I did tell PH that I really couldn't help out with her request to transport some stuff for her back to Canada, she was still kinda trying to subtly push the issue with some more goods of her own. Well, I won't be at the party so she'll have to deal with it somehow. I'm gonna be grumbly enough just lugging my own stuff to the airport.

PH did tell me that CNN's Bill Hemmer won't be doing any remote broadcasting from Roppongi Hills from Monday. He'll just be reporting from within the TV-Asahi HQ, so I just relayed the abort order to Arwen. At least, I can save myself the extra time and head home straight after the final class with The Company. That is, if the Prez doesn't decide to invite me out for another dinner. I do hope I can get paid.

The big news tonight is that those ashes of the supposedly late Megumi Yokota, the largest-profile abductee to North Korea 30 almost 30 years ago, turned out to be bogus. You can imagine the rage that seethed out of her parents who have spearheading the effort to get the abductees out of Kimland. The government is now considering economic sanctions although when it comes to North Korea, any sort of belligerent action has to be applied very, very carefully. In related news, Charles Jenkins and the family are now starting their long-awaited life of relative normalcy on Sado Island. All of the members gave some words and I even heard the two daughters speak for the first time in Japanese. To a lot of the people here, this family could be considered to be this country's version of The Incredibles.

Looks like I'm coming down with a cold according to my stuffy nose and slightly phlegmy throat. I was thinking of buying one of those ubiquitious vitamin drinks and imbibing it before bedtime and see if those rumours pan out but couldn't find one so I'll just use the regular medicine and hope for the best. I've got Jazz Buddy and The Carolinan tomorrow. Not sure if the session with JB will be another chatfest but I'll have something ready.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Tuesday December 7, 10:42 p.m.

Visited the neighbourhood massage clinic for the first time in 3 weeks. As usual, the tech mentioned how petrified my shoulders felt although I'm not sure if that's what the staff is supposed to say to a customer. Still, I enjoyed the rubdown although those who are more accustomed to the Swedish style may find the Japanese version akin to torture.

Ended up rearranging my CDs instead of heading out to the gym so I will definitely have to head out tomorrow morning before I have The Hawaiian and the OL for their final classes of the year. The juku classes were OK although I wonder if I committed a social faux pas in front of the Beauty Pair. They had come back from their trek to Cancun and Vegas with a souvenir in the form of a box of Kahlua chocolates. I actually offered to share the box with the ladies since I'd thought that they would enjoy trying them out. I'm not sure but I may have at least surprised them by my "offer"; I remembered too late that souvenirs here are usually meant for the recipient and the recipient only since it is a gift. Their initial reaction was a bit of hesitance but they accepted the offer. On the other hand, Japanese etiquette has been loosening up over the past few years and gift-giving hasn't had quite the gravitas that it had, so it could be another case of paranoia.

I got the fax from my ticket agent so I quickly sent the money over. So hopefully that ticket will be here within the next few days.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Tuesday December 7, 9:11 a.m.

Well, it's 63 years since Pearl Harbour. Not that the anniversary will get much press here. Maybe the right-wing fanatics will celebrate, though. Speaking of those nuts, I wonder how they're feeling about this current love affair with all things Korean. Some of them have got to be steaming.

My day got off to an annoying start. Was doing my laundry when the entire box of detergent fell over. However, I didn't pull a tantrum; I just pulled out the ol' vacuum and sucked the fine powder up and back into the box. However, let's say that there are a few extra strands of hair. Perhaps, it wouldn't pass muster if it were food but since detergent is clean anyways...

PH contacted me to see if I'd be willing to serve as courier for some toys. I first thought NO WAY, but the pesky spirit of Xmas infected me so I told her that I would with a caveat...if the toys are just a couple of figures.
Monday December 6, 8:49 p.m.

My day turned out to be shorter than expected when one of the students at the Company called up this morning to inform me that class had to be cancelled. Apparently, both guys were out on assignments.

And even The Class Act was halved. The woman of the house was out on some sort of errand so I just taught...or chatted, to be more accurate...her partner. Gabbed a lot on the ups and downs of her family. SIL did show up, though.

I was able to develop those photos from the Xmas party and the outing to Namjatown. Some winners in there. I was tempted to get the Shrek 2 and Spidey 2 DVDs but I figured there was a small chance that I might get either or both of them as Xmas presents so I held off. Besides why increase my expenditures unnecessarily? Even if I don't get them for Xmas, I'll grab them once I get back from Canada.

Speaking of...I got the call from the travel agent and everything is pretty much confirmed. I just have to wire the money this week and then the ticket will be in my hands soon after. Also, I made my bimonthly appointment at the hair salon for Saturday. Want to get that out of the way.

Tomorrow will be only the juku classes so I've basically got the whole day free. I had been thinking about finally catching Sky Captain but the movie won't be playing at the neighbourhood theatre until late Tuesday. Plus, when I checked exit polls for the movie at the TokyoWalker site, it didn't look too good. So I think I'll probably wait for the flick to come out on DVD. Well, in any case, I've gotta send out The Iconoclast's package, then get a long-awaited rubdown and perhaps even get some shopping done before one of my last workouts before I take off.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Sunday December 5, 10:21 p.m.

A little more than 12 hours after the last party fest, I was out to meet another bunch. The morning, though, had quite a bit of Sturm und Drang in the weather department. A lot of wind and rain were blowing through my area...I wondered if my laundry pole was gong to fly off at one point. And the early morning subways were canned for a while. However, by the time I left the apartment, it was downright warm at 24 C...kinda Indian summer for a day.

Met up with Skippy, Movie Buddy, The Hawaiian and Frodo at the east gate of JR Shinjuku and bought our tickets at the discount shop before having a bit of lunch at an Italian place just a few dozen metres away from the theatre. Actually, we needn't have worried about any lineups for The Incredibles. Looks like everyone else and his brother were lining up for Howl's Moving Castle, the latest Miyazaki opus. Good for us...I never really could get myself to actually pay up the money for one of his movies; just a bit too esoteric for me.

The Incredibles was simply incredible. It was an amazing marriage of CG and superhero action, and somehow they were able to incorporate likeable characters and humour. Critics on the other side of the Pacific noted that the first hour was the slightly laggy one, while one wag over here thought that the second hour was the one to let down the side with the so-called mindless action (the guy probably just LOVES Ingmar Bergman). For me, it was all good. I never thought I'd start a sentence with "Craig T. Nelson IS..." but he is indeed Bob Parr. I think it will be inevitable that a sequel will be coming around.

I underestimated the length of the movie by about half an hour which actually turned out to be fortunate since I'd been a bit concerned that I made the reservations for Tony Romas a bit too late after the movie. The subway and the walk to the restaurant got us in there right on time. DTE was already there waiting for us. And Arwen, and later Miss 88 with her new beau, and even another old alumnus joined us. I once again showed off my new nickname of Mr. Incredible by devouring the LARGE rack of baby backs along with a salad, Irish Coffee and some good spoonfuls of the brownie. I should be gaining weight even before heading home. Found out that Skippy is the second alumnus to make into the media although unlike our French nudie model, she kept her clothes on. Apparently, she was able to get her pic into an advert for our school. Also, Arwen has got herself a couple of part-time jobs. I told her about that Bill Hemmer, that CNN guy, is coming here next week for that weeklong stint at Roppongi Hills. I've decided to ask PH to see if she could find out from her TV Asahi friend, whose company is a CNN affiliate, if Bill would be broadcasting outside. Apparently, Arwen has a certain amount of like for the man and I'm just interested in the celeb factor of catching him at work, so perhaps the two of us may traipse down to the Hills after work on the 13th.

Still gotta prep for tomorrow's lessons. Would rather hit the sack right now but considering how much I've eaten, I probably shouldn't do so for a couple of hours.