Saturday, September 03, 2005

Sunday August 4, 12:43 a.m.

It's a sunny day in New Orleans right now and with it some glimmer of hope. I just saw the lead military commander, General Honore, kick some major butt at the expense of some soldiers' and cops' pride to get some law and order back into the city. I've been hearing that it is being scoured of some of the scum and villainy that had been terrorizing whoever was left, including whatever was left of the police. Generally, things seem to be improving somewhat according to the less tense tone on CNN. However, the road ahead is still long.

Over here in thankfully more mundane Tokyo, it's been a quiet night. Dinner was a souvenir from the sisters' Mom. It was a package with which one can make flavoured rice with eel. Since I missed out on the Eel Day festivities in late July, I considered it my compensation. Yeah, it worked out pretty well for an instant dish...kinda like a Japanese version of Rice-a-Roni. Afterward, it was just some TV and some CD.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Saturday September 3, 3:00 p.m.

It's dry but it's also so hot that it doesn't really matter. At least any laundry that goes up today will dry by the end of it.

The kids were fine today. The elder sister was still her usual laconic self but at least she did show some abililty to use the target grammar. I played my homemade board game with the younger sister; it was a hit thankfully. After her 2-week trip to Oz, her comprehension has improved...still not the most forthcoming answers but they're coming that little bit faster. I didn't expect that I would get any insight directly from her about what she'd like to do in the near future and sure enough, I didn't get much. However, when I gave her the choice of grammar or conversation, her answer was the latter. I've got my marching orders, and now I get to work on it.

My body is reminding me that my 40th birthday is fast coming up. I've been nodding off a lot on the subways over the last several days. I've been reading through "Ringworld" by Larry Niven. I can't say that it's been an amazing pageturner; it's very much a plot-driven story instead of a character-driven one. But then again, aren't most sci-fi novels?

I decided to hit the neighbourhood Subway for the first time in several weeks. Looks like the place got some cosmetic touchups. Gone are the posters of the mock early 20th-century New York scenes. In their place were big ads for their latest sandwiches. I tried one of those made-only-in-Japan ones (I couldn't imagine it being a huge hit Stateside): the Korean bulgogi subway. Not bad...still I made sure my second sandwich was the tried-n'-true tuna.

Got home and checked the e-mail. The Satryr will indeed be coming for dim sum but not for the cruise (thank heavens for that since I couldn't get a ticket for him in any case). The Madame also gave her intention to come out for the cruise but flat out rejected me for The Lady's party on December 9th. She told me she didn't want to give me the reason but her final suggestion that I take a non-Japanese woman instead spoke volumes. Her answer made me re-evaulate my thoughts about going to the party. The reason I don't want to attend alone is because, based on my past experiences there, the other attendees are all the well-to-do and well-heeled...people that I don't normally relate with outside of The Class Act. Heck, I have enough of a problem relating with people within my own sociological stratum. Well, if that is the case, why would I even invite my true friends to such a place? The only reason would be to show off the grand life. Mind you, I've already told Speedy about this wingding. Well, perhaps I should just stay mum and then when the date nears, I'll just have to reject her invitation politely.

Now I know that New Orleans has become the equivalent of a Third World nation. CNN has sent Jeff Koinange, the guy whom I usually think is the go-to journalist for African crises, into the hell that used to be a medium-sized US city. And even he was horrified at the conditions in the convention centre. The other thing is the sad fact that a third of the police force have allegedly deserted. I say allegedly since I'm not sure how many of those cops have ended up dead or injured. Still, the fearful thing is that there are a certain number of cops who have now gone rogue. Rogue cops?....the equivalent of some small land mines.

I spoke with the kids' mother today after the lessons about the situation in New Orleans. She and her hubby had lived there some years ago as I had mentioned a few days earlier. She related to me how the family had lived close to Lake Pontchatrain when Hurricane Andrew came knocking on their door. They voluntarily evacuated to Alabama with another Japanese family where they turned lemons into lemonade and had a grand old time at their hotel and a nearby mall. As it turned out, Andrew didn't destroy anything in their area although just to make sure they lugged their piano to the highest point in their large home. What miffed the mother royally was the fact that the Japanese Consulate in New Orleans (wasn't even aware that there was such a thing in a regional city) had cleared out even earlier than they did. Well, Andrew is now looking a lot more different than Katrina.

Well, I guess it's time to get some of that laundry done as well as clean up the apartment. Gotta do something to burn off some of those calories from those sandwiches.
Saturday September 3, 6:47 a.m.

It's the first time I've been up this early in a while. But I've got those classes with the kids at 9:30 today. It was somewhat tough to haul my carcass off the futon but the coffee has helped. I was busy making this board game with cards for the younger sister. It should provide a good review for her and then I can decide where to take the young lady conversationally after 2 years on the Longman Picture Dictionary.

The situation in New Orleans is still pretty dire. Aside from the hurricane damage, the place still looks like any American city but the conditions are apparently on a par with Somalia with snipers, rape gangs, corpses and human waste. I was truly shocked when I heard that Fats Domino rode out the storm; I thought he'd died years ago.

In an earlier entry (weeks, months ago?), I mentioned about the late journalist, Frank Reynolds on ABC, going ballistic live during the Reagan assassination crisis. Well, I can't speak about how the major network news divisions are doing these days but it certainly looks like we've been seeing a few meltdowns on CNN over the past few days. Miles O'Brien is fast becoming the dreaded Mike Wallace of his network. He had another fight with another governor, this time with Governor Blanco of Louisiana. His namesake, Soledad O'Brien, has also been in spear mode with certain guests, notably with the head of FEMA and the Homeland Security Secretary. Anderson Cooper bawls out a senator over the air for being part of the venal pack of politicians congratulating each other for an "excellent" job. A couple of the reporters have shown themselves breaking down at the situation. And then I heard about this event which may have replaced the famous/infamous Jon Stewart takedown of "Crossfire" as the CNN blowup of the year: a little shouting match between Carol Costello and Chad Myers on air for some little faux pas. I'm sure it was an indirect result of the crisis and that hopefully Myers and Costello have patched things up; they used to work literally side by side in Atlanta before she made her way up to New York. According to the other blogs, it certainly looks like Costello is the villain of the piece. Admittedly, her personality can abrade many (including me). Still, after reading about this, I did notice that Myers, after a number of days covering the weather in New Orleans, was off from "American Morning" last night. I have to wonder if he's been given a well-deserved day off or if he's been reprimanded for throwing down his notes in front of a live audience. Most likely both.
Friday September 2, 8:04 p.m.

Got to see a couple of people I hadn't seen in about a month. The Teacher has been rather busy with a number of projects including her husband's attempts to build a house somewhere in the country. She also told me of her own blog for which I have the address. And then I got to see SR. She's in the first few months of her pregnancy and therefore will be limiting her lessons with me to just twice a month. Morning sickness hasn't seemed to be a big problem with her but she's been getting pretty darn tired. On the blog theme, I just informed her of the two blogs run by the celebs Eriko Sato and Sonim.

In between lessons, I stopped off at Maruzen once again to pick up another one of those I SPY books to use with the younger sister. Looks like I'll be making up a board game to review the past couple of years' worth of grammar. I'm hoping against hope that her trip to Australia opened up something in her.

On the good side, Speedy left a message saying that he was able to get those tickets for me, Skippy and The Madame.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Friday September 2, 7:26 a.m.

The media has been talking about breaking points in the aftermath of Katrina. I think one is about to be reached between FEMA and CNN. Yesterday, Anderson Cooper and the journos O'Brien were starting to get on their soapboxes and tear pieces out of the Federal Emergency Management Authority in their interviews. I guess with Lou Dobbs away from his desk, somebody had to do the crusading. So far, the reps from FEMA have been on the defensive about the seeming slowness of their efforts to get aid to the devastated folks on the Gulf Coast. However, I managed to see one testy little exchange between Miles O'Brien and the governor of Mississipi, Haley Barbour, last night in which the latter was starting to gouge into the media via the flustered O'Brien for being unfairly critical of the FEMA boys and girls. I'm sure they were pumping their fists when Barbour lowered the boom. Still, I think Barbour and FEMA reps aren't gonna win too much sympathy for using the fact that a lot of citizens didn't heed the warnings to evacuate before Katrina roared into town.

I'm once again quite Libran on this point. I cannot imagine how the stranded citizens along the Coast must feel as they wait and wait for supplies which don't seem to be coming fast enough. And CNN feels that they're the white knights sticking up for them and sticking it to FEMA to get their asses in higher gear. And things seem to be getting direr by the hour as once-proud citizens are digging through garbage now to find some food or drink; snipers...probably folks who have gone beyond their breaking points...are shooting everyone and everywhere; and doctors and nurses acting like they were in an especially intense episode of MASH. The area resembles more like a military action in a 3rd-world country rather than a cleanup in the United States. On the other hand, I'm sure FEMA isn't intentionally dragging its heels on this disaster. The Authority is going above and beyond the call of duty to get vital help to places like New Orleans and Biloxi but I think the sad fact of the matter is that Katrina was such a huge phenomenon that even the most-prepared rescue organization could not have reacted any faster. Still one wonders...after the horrors of 9-11 four years ago, what has FEMA learned?

The only recent equivalent we have here to Katrina was, of course, The Great Hanshin Earthquake from a decade ago. Now I'm not sure about the circumstances here...the society is different which therefore will affect everything from how people react to disasters to how media covers those disasters. However, I can't recall turmoil of this magnitude that is currently affecting the hurricane-hit areas showing up in Kobe in the immediate days after the quake had hit there, and this was a city which lost five thousand of its citizens. I recall some criticism of the Murayama government for slowness of reaction but there didn't seem to be this open verbal warfare. Also, one factor was that the regional Yakuza...and if I can add further elucidate, Kobe is perhaps Yakuza Central...was openly helping out to keep law and order at the grassroots level. And no one says No to one of those guys. I can only say that FEMA will probably be doing a lot of soul-searching once they get enough time for a breather.

To be honest, this disaster has once again gotten me thinking about what if and when The Big One hits Tokyo. Would things end up like what is happening in New Orleans? Just cannot be sure. One thing I am sure about is that I'm gonna start thinking about making up that quake survival kit. And it's not as if we'll get days of advance warning with a quake...aside from these so-called earthquake clouds. Ironically, yesterday was the annual Disaster Prevention Day in Japan.
Thursday September 1, 9:32 p.m.

Didn't teach a single class today but this was the most exhausting day this week so far. Allow me to give you a recap.

I think one factor is that I put on the good suit for that lunch in Roppongi Hills with The Lady and The Chef. I just carried the jacket for most of the day since I didn't want to broil in the 32-degree heat. But I figure just knowing that I was wearing a Made-In-Canada suit was enough to get the sweat going. I made my way down to Azabu-Juban, the same ritzy neighbourhood where The Quarterback got married earlier this year and where I had that special Korean dinner with The OL and Betty Boop. This time, I went up the slope to the Gate Tower, the first building of the Roppongi Hills complex coming up from A-J. I arrived there an hour early so I just looked around the Tsutaya CD/DVD rental shop. Tsutaya, if I haven't mentioned it before, is the Japanese equivalent of Blockbuster Video in the States or Rogers in Canada. I know the flagship store in Shibuya just across from the JR station. But the A-J branch was suitably more upscale-looking with wood paneling and artsy-looking chairs to sit down in. There was a Starbucks on the 1st floor so I just grabbed a Tazo Chai Tea Latte, one of my favourites there and just drank away and started reading Larry Niven's "Ringworld" for about 20 minutes before taking the elevator up to the restaurant.

When I got up to the 3rd floor, I was mentioning to the well-dressed maitre d' of Sadler about the reservation when I saw The Chef and The Lady seated in the lounge ahead of me. The three of us were then led to our table. I'd already known from the night before that Sadler was a pretty ritzy place from the sky-high prices and the "raging debate" surrounding its status as the premier Italian restaurant in Tokyo. However, the point was further hit home when our little group was escorted to the table surrounded by a fleet escort of suited waiters, and then our bags were placed on small benches....or I should say, settees in a place like this. Even the inanimate objects get pampered! I won't get into too much detail about what we'd eaten since that would frankly take too long and I certainly can't remember the names of the dishes. For one thing, they were in Japanese and Italian...and the two descriptions took up several lines for each dish, another indication that I wasn't in McDonalds.

Suffice it to say that the food was scrumptious. One of my highlights was appropriately the main dish, a surprisingly big medallion of Sendai Beef wonderfully seasoned and garnished. Our lead waiter, an Italian, even put on shavings of actual truffles on my dish. Wow! I'd seen and heard of truffles for decades...and watched them being applied to various dishes on "Iron Chef" over the years, so it was with some delight that I finally got to eat some. Actually, there wasn't much of a taste to them but still, I can finally boast that I got my taste of the fungus.

In fact, I was quite surprised at how long the lunch and how plentiful the servings were. I was quite stuffed by the time I finished dessert. Also, the alcohol was liberally flowing. I was quite red after downing a glass of champagne and white wine each. I tried to compensate with some sparkling mineral water and a delectable peach smoothie.

The conversation was anchored by The Lady herself since neither The Chef and I are particularly all that vociferous. However, all of us managed to keep things pretty balanced. I was kinda hoping for a bit more education from The Chef about his feelings about the dishes and how to prepare them. But I had been warned beforehand by The Lady that The Chef's forte was in his cooking not in his skills of regaling. At the same time, though, what prevented the lunch from being perfect occurred a little after the midway point of our 2.5-hour gastronomic odyssey. The Lady, through smiling teeth, confessed that she wasn't impressed at all with our Italian waiter's attitude, which internally shocked me. I thought the old boy was very professional, polite without being overly fawning, and very knowledgeable about the dishes. I'm not sure why The Lady was so unhappy with him (perhaps she wanted someone a bit more on the friendly side) but she didn't mince any words. She shot out that perhaps he was the reason that the restaurant wasn't so crowded during lunch, and then when the elevator doors were just closing, she mentioned that she probably wouldn't come to Sadler again if that waiter were there (as I said before, Sadler is arguably the best and most expensive Italian restaurant in town). The two times that her criticisms came out, I was wondering if she had meant them to be overheard by staff. And to top it all off, she said that her husband would probably have stood up and gone straight to the exit. For the same service, I would have given the guy a generous tip! Both The Chef and I stayed rather mum during her quiet tirade. Just goes to show that despite our long relationship, The Lady and I inhabit two different worlds that a solar system apart. Having had my own thankfully brief experience in the food service industry many years ago, I'd have to empathize more with the waiter. Rich people can be very demanding.

The Lady and The Chef made their way to the car. The Lady offered me a lift to the subway station but since it was less than a kilometre either way to Roppongi and Azabu-Juban stations, I demurred politely and waddled my way back to A-J. I made my way over to Akasaka-Mitsuke and once again I found myself with about an hour to kill before meeting The Barmaiden one last time before she made her way to The Great White North next week. So I just browsed through the Belle Vie store before meeting her in front of the First Kitchen. She was her usual ebullient self. For an hour in the fast food shop, we talked about her upcoming 3-month stay in my hometown. And I provided some photographs of Toronto just to show her what the place was like. Luckily, a lot of the photos were of places that were quite close to where she would be studying. She also spoke about how the last few weeks before her graduation were. In a sign of the times, her graduating class only had 4 members including herself. No fancy restaurant for her. It was just takeout pizza in the student lounge. Talk about pathetic! Strangely enough, she will be attending the same school that 002 from Speedy's will be attending in Toronto. The Barmaiden encouraged me to get 002 to make contact with her. I think it would be a good idea, too, since The Barmaiden can act as a vanguard for 002 before the latter's departure in October.

Finally, I made my way up to Speedy's to get some paperwork done. Speedy was also rather surprised about the coincidence concerning The Barmaiden and 002. I checked my e-mail while I was there. I got my third surprise of the day when I actually got positive responses from Skippy and The Madame about this cruise on Sunday. Well, actually, Skippy was pretty gung-ho. The Madame hasn't been in the best of health this past week so she's not sure about it. Well, as it turned out, Speedy underestimated the availability of tickets for the cruise. When I told him that my two friends were interested, he had The Morning Girl call up the ticket office. She then got the bad news that the tickets were pretty much sold out so this whole cruise thing may not come off for us after all. He was properly chastened by the realization although he hopes that there will be a few tickets left. However, I hope to hear from him about it either way.

As I said, I was plenty exhausted by the time I got home. Perhaps I wasn't teaching folks today but I was still meeting students and teachers alike. Also, it's interesting to note how different the meetings were. From the high life of Sadler to the fast food conversation with The Barmaiden to the hanging out with Speedy. I gather that my life isn't all that dull.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Thursday September 1, 7:56 a.m.

The situation in New Orleans and elsewhere is deteriorating pretty badly. It's hard to imagine that the home of jazz and Cajun cooking is in serious danger of becoming extinct. Certainly, it won't be the same New Orleans if and when it does recover. It'll be interesting when I see the parents of the two girls on Saturday since they had lived there years ago. It's been well over a decade since they left the area but I wonder what they must be thinking. Watching "War of the Worlds" when I did, a full 2 months after its release here, has been strangely prophetic considering the scenes of moral breakdown in that flick. Downtown New Orleans has become a similar microcosm of what happened to the planet in Tom Cruise's movie: bewildered people walking in a helpless funk, looting and lawlessness are rampant. To be honest, I couldn't blame most of the people there who steal the stuff and I think what police remain there are just as sympathetic. The fact is that these people are hungry, tired and desperate, and really when it gets this bad, humans will become just as ruthless as wild animals to survive. The problem is that humans also know how to use firearms.
Wednesday August 31, 11:06 p.m.

Hard to believe that we're at the end of August and tomorrow will actually be September. The official first day of Fall won't be for another 3 weeks but I consider entering the 9th month as a turning point into the final full season of the year.

Went to the gym today and sweated like a fountain once again. Definitely didn't smell like a bed of roses when I finished up but at least I knew I pumped some iron. I'll probably be feeling pretty sore tomorrow. Pampered myself by heading back down to that 2nd-floor restaurant for lunch.

It was another pleasant time at Speedy's. The Secretary and the Morning Girl were taking pics for the new bulletin board. I did my best to mug for the camera. Speedy also informed me of this cruise thing that he and his wife would be taking on Sunday evening. It's apparently starting from Takeshiba Pier, just across from Odaiba, at about 6. A sushi joint and a bar that Speedy frequents are behind the venture so the price isn't too bad at 2500 yen per person for all-you-can-drink on the ship. I was tickled enough by it that I even sent a missive to The Madame and Skippy just in case (I doubt it, though) they would be interested. The Madame still has those overprotective parents of hers...still on a curfew...Good Grief!

The Barmaiden got back to me about Thursday. Looks like I'll be meeting her in the tony Akasaka-Mitsuke district, near her workplace, tomorrow afternoon for coffee. I'll bring some pics of the ol' hometown to give her an idea what she'll be looking forward to. Not sure but I may be making a lightning stop between the lunch with The Lady and the coffee with the Barmaiden to Speedy's since I have to get a little paperwork done.

I also finally got word from The Teacher. Looks like I'm still on the payroll as far as she's concerned. I have to also think about what I'm gonna do for the kids on Saturday. Yep, they're back on my schedule. I'm not too worried about the older sister since the texts are pretty much set with her. However, I'm gonna have to think about the little one. Do I continue with the baby stuff or do I finally graduate her to something a bit more adult and therefore something I can more easily handle?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tuesday August 30, 11:36 p.m.

We have been getting our own version of "outer band precip" to borrow some jargon from the Hurricane Katrina coverage. Throughout the evening at the juku, I was hearing some pretty heavy rain off and on. Unfortunately, I was caught in one of the bands heading home tonight so my shoes are pretty waterlogged. Luckily, I have my sneakers for tomorrow.

I had lunch, or a very early dinner, at that cafe where The Teacher and I have our chats. I went for a curry special: a plate of naan, rice and two kinds of curry with salad and a wedge of melon for just 930 yen. No, it's not exactly the Maharajah but the plate did good by me. I didn't win out on the discount though since I actually had one more spot to fill on the card but it seems like I have an ally in one of the waitresses. She's the one who usually serves The Teacher and me so she just got me a new version of the card, all filled up with an expiration date of sometime in 2006. My old card was due to expire tomorrow.

I had a better time with The New Kid today. Just basically kept it to the English Proficiency stuff so he appreciated the lesson more. The Beauty Pair was fun as usual and I actually got to see The Milds for the first time in a few weeks. McKid was off at her punk rock concert in Shibuya (can't really imagine her slamdancing). As for the Siberian, it was another sloggy one but at least I don't have to blame myself. The guy had only 5 hours of sleep, worked 10 hours at his juku, downed a gyudon (lots of carbs in that one) and had to head on out to a drinking party after the lesson. He was definitely not at the top of his game. Still, his fluency is still much better than before.

I'm gonna make another play for the gym tomorrow, have lunch and then head on out for Speedy's. I gotta at least take a little look at what I've gotta do for 001 and 002 before hitting bed in 40 minutes.

Checked out that restaurant where I am supposed to meet The Lady and The Chef on Thursday. It's called Sadler. It specializes in Milanese cuisine and the place has lunches starting at 4900 yen! Ay-ya!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Tuesday August 30, 1:51 p.m.

It's starting to cloud over somewhat. The forecast said that rain was likely this evening so I've got the collapsible umbrella in my bag just in case. I'm gonna try and get that gym time in since I haven't been there for a week. I got word from The Lady about this Thursday. I'm meeting her and The Chef at 12 in Roppongi Hills; she said that I can just come in my regular duds that I wear for her lesson but I think I'll err on the side of caution and even bring my jacket..though I know that the heat will kill me.

I got word from The Madame as well. Looks like she's OK for the movie outing on the 17th. But I've still got that dim sum thing with her and Skippy on the 4th. I've yet to hear from The Teacher about this Friday. I hope if she is deciding to drop me (which wouldn't, outside of the financial loss, bother me that much since it was pretty much gab for money anyways), she will at least give me a "Dear John" e-mail.

Things got pretty sober as I was watching the coverage on Hurricane Katrina, especially hearing Jeanne Meserve's often tearful report on the devastation in New Orleans on Newsnight. There are a lot of people in dire trouble out there. It will really make any issue I have this week pretty pathetic in comparison.
Tuesday August 30, 10:27 a.m.

I was awakened by one of the Lady's early morning messages. Mind you, she called after 8 a.m. but if I'm still in bed, it's early. She's upgraded her restaurant journey to this Thursday. Well, I don't have any plans the day after tomorrow and The Barmaiden has yet to respond to me about coffee so I sent a fax to The Lady giving the OK. I would've liked to have invited The Madame but that would have been presumptuous of me. Plus, we do have that dim sum thing this coming Sunday.

I've been running late on some things. I have yet to start prepping for the juku classes tonight and I still have no idea how to handle The Siberian and his newfound fluency. I was planning to hit the cafe today that The Teacher and I use on Fridays since she gave me that discount coupon for lunch but it looks like I'll have to put that off til tomorrow.

CNN is now out of Red Alert mode although the entire news is still dedicated to Hurricane Katrina. I can actually see the reporters fully without having them obscured by debris and rain. Looks like New Orleans, as bad as the hit was, still managed to get lucky in that it wasn't a direct one. I just read on the Canadian websites that what remains of Katrina willl be hitting Ontario. Hopefully, all that it will amount to there will be just some heavy rain.
Monday August 29, 9:37 p.m.

Not too bad today here in the Big Sushi...unlike in New Orleans. I just had The Lady today. She was quite gabby which can only help her fluency. And I'm glad that she's decided to take a more proactive role in her English education. She'll be reading and listening more. I also encouraged her to talk more as well although I can understand that she may be intimidated by the better prowess of her husband and daughter. Considering what she's told me about the inner strength of her family members over the years, I definitely wouldn't want to be on the wrong side of these people.

I was lucky enough to get The Chef's fare again. Today was some cold tomato pasta with corn on the cob and salad. I was even luckier when The Lady proposed that she, I and The Chef could try out a restaurant that he knows in Roppongi later in September. Any place that The Chef suggests must be in the excellent range.

SIL was having a rollicking good time this afternoon with the cusp of the fun being a rather morbid joke at the late Sonny Bono's expense...something about the way he passed on and The Cartoon Network.

The Company just had that same student again. The first hour was pretty good but again he slammed into a vocab wall in the second hour. Also, his energy levels dissipated pretty quickly after the break. We had a bit of a chat in the middle of that second hour on the upcoming general elections here. Basically, we were of the opinion that despite all the media hoopla that will cover the campaign as of tomorrow, the results and the consequences will still be the same: corrupt and logjammed.

Got home and had that leftover pasta from last night so it was basically a heavy carb day (sorry if I offend those Atkins Diet surfers), and for that matter, a free carb day. With the free lunch and the leftovers, I didn't have to pay that much for food today.

I've been getting answers to my announcement of my Taiwan trip. Miss Perth of the Beehive answered back; I'll back with those ladies as of next Tuesday but Perth herself I probably won't see until October due to various things. SR also got back to me and put me down on her schedule for this and next Friday...always nice to get that extra income. And the Prez wished me well on my trip although he wasn't there at the Company today. Speedy let me know about the next big movie outing for the 17th. It's been confirmed as Johnny Depp's latest. I'll see if Movie Buddy, The Madame and Skippy would like to attend.

Getting back to New Orleans, it's sounding as if the worst-case scenariou won't be coming to pass after all. Still, it's gonna be pretty dire for The Big Easy. And I just heard that not only has the power in The Astrodome gone out but it has actually sprung a leak. I sense a future made-for-TV movie. Once again, the intrepid Anderson Cooper is out there right in Katrina's way.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Sunday August 28, 10:07 p.m.

Made that ton of pepperocino spaghetti with an assist from The Carolinan's gift of white wine. Swigged a bit of it myself which made the cooking all that much more fun. Luckily, nothing burned down. Kinda too bad that I could only get through a third of it...well, maybe it's not such a bad thing after all.

I've been keeping updated on Hurricane Katrina which may transform New Orleans into Atlantis as of tomorrow night my time. Here we were in Japan fretting about last week's typhoon when in actuality Typhoon 11 rates a poor third against Katrina. Well, all I can say is that like many things there, when the US gets or does somethng, it does it big.

I've sent out the Japanese version of my heads-up announcement to my lower students concering my trip to Taiwan in a month. Man, I got a semi-frantic call from the juku boss asking about this week's schedule. I sighed because I knew what was up. She must have thought I was heading off tomorrow. Well, I called her and set her straight. Speaking of weather and Taiwan, I'm a bit concerned about this trip on seeing the latest typhoon making a beeline toward the country. I hope that the situation is much better at the end of September.
Sunday August 28, 4:15 p.m.

Went out to Daiei to get some shopping done. I cleaned my old glasses in that electrostatic solution machine at the optical department. Just saw a huge atomic cloud emanate from my glasses...goes to show how much of a civilization was able to grow during that time in the nooks and crannies of my spectacles. Saw some of the prices of the glasses WITH lenses. Not too bad at all...just around 18000 yen. But I'm gonna continue searching around. I also bought some gym socks since a lot of my pairs are getting rather holey.

Kinda broke the bank today buying stuff for my pasta tonight. Ah, well....I might as well make a great dish and go a little overboard on the money instead of settling for something mediocre and just being under the budget line. Saw a couple of kids who looked to be in desperate need of a fat farm. Paddy once mentioned that he couldn't tell men and women apart from behind since they were both so thin. He won't have to worry about the next generation, though.

Sent off some missives to students who have been largely absent this month. Just want to make sure that I still have them come September.