Saturday, April 08, 2006

Sunday April 9, 10:50 a.m.

Well, I guess I have seen everything now. The most unlikeliest Hollywood celeb to ever do one of those silly Japanese commercials actually did a commercial according to what I saw an hour ago. Tommy Lee (suffer-no-fools-gladly) Jones did his usual glare in a gyudon restaurant at a couple of young guys before stepping out soberly in his suit and drinking a Boss canned coffee. Mind you, he didn't say anything stupid. Even Anthony Hopkins couldn't escape that several years ago when he was plugging a Japanese car by saying in a zombie-like state, "Let's have a wonderful time!" Still, I guess the economy must be on the upswing if male Hollywood stars are doing ads here again.

Times are definitely a-changin'. The Sunday 9:30 a.m. slot on Fuji-TV isn't exactly the time for frenetic hilarity. In fact, I think aside from 5-and-under kids, I don't think there would be too many people up-and-at-'em. The slot used to be filled by this long-running show starring three not-quite-young but not-quite-middle-aged female tarento who just sat around on a living room set and just gabbed for 30 minutes (that was Chip Guy's big beef about Japanese TV...there seemed to be just shows that had people on to only talk). Currently, those formerly nasty boys, London Boots, have now taken over their slot with a fairly harmless little half-hour show which resembles any happy-happy Saturday morning variety program.

That's quite a thing to say about London Boots, the live Japanese equivalent of Beavis n' Butthead. They were notorious for doing a lot of nasty stuff although not quite on the level of MTV's "Jackass". They were more manipulative on the emotional level. They once had a show on TV-Asahi on Sunday nights (now occupied by the home-remodeling show "Before/After" ) which often featured them screwing around with real romantic couples with a "Temptation Island"-like theme, and a segment in which a pretty girl had to guess amongst a group of 10 guys wearing Michael Jackson masks who the only handsome guy was. The other 9 were pretty hideous...and the worst thing was that the girl had to kiss her choice. It was interesting that this was the only program that Chip Guy raved about in his years here in Japan. I'm sure he would cringe at finding out that the boys are now just introducing cute segments like the best bakery serving curry rolls in Tokyo.

Things have slightly changed on the set of "Waratte Ii Tomo", the noontime Fuji-TV program. Every Sunday, there is a 90-minute wrap-up digest of the week's shows. There have been a couple of additions to the lineup of of whom is the daughter of the late Toshiro Mifune of "Seven Samurai" fame. Mika Mifune is just 23 years old but she's already a veteran actress and a wife/mother to boot who's also recently broken into the morbidly happy world of the tarento. She's entered one of the key tarento agglomeration spots by joining the "Waratte Ii Tomo" family.

In a few hours, I meet up with Skippy, The Kid and one other person for that fateful trip to a maid cafe in Akihabara. I may not be the same after that.
Saturday April 8, 8:35 p.m.

What's something that a single guy in his 40s without any hope of getting a girl can do with one hand? That's the Internet. My problem is that my search engines of Yahoo and Alta Vista don't seem to be working very well. After several seconds of waiting to get an entry up on the screen, I get one of those 404 notes. However, seems to be in good order. Just goes to show that my computer may be on its last legs.

However the weather seems to have stabilized. I haven't needed to make a sudden rush to the balcony to snatch off any clothing in danger of getting re-moistened. However, it looks like much of next week will be rather gloomy. That's something The Lady doesn't want to hear for the Korea trip.

Being a Saturday night on TV Tokyo, it's another 2-hour special on food. However, unlike the usual travelogues by B and C class tarento, the special today is just on visiting various sushi bars all around the country. Well, I just have to tape this thing and the usual 1-hour of "Admatic Tengoku" which follows to get my first complete tape for the parentals. The show is one of the flagships on TV Tokyo. Every Saturday at 9 p.m., the show spotlights a certain sector of Tokyo and strip mines of it for all the information on shopping and eating and other interesting goings-on in that neighbourhood.

Well, time to wash the dishes...

Friday, April 07, 2006

Saturday April 8, 2:25 p.m.

Very unstable day out there. It was sunnier earlier today then I came home to a cold drizzle then it was sunny again and now it's clouded over. It's weather like this that decreases the life expectancy of weathercasters.

JJ was fine although she was getting tongue-tied on her prepositions. Had to hold her the hand (figuratively, of course) to keep her confidence from plummeting.

Looks like this month's weekends could be filled with The Madame...ironic, considering that she was virtually missing during the first two months of the year. We're probably heading for the 100% Chocolate Cafe next Sunday and then we could be catching "The Libertine" at Times Square the following Sunday. In between, we have that day trip to Yokohama. Hmmm....

Just did Sapporo Ichiban for lunch. At 68 yen a package, even the Lotteria's bargain basement Hamburger Set couldn't beat that price. For dinner, I've decided to have that sesame pork concoction I made up a couple of nights ago. Scrumptious, that was.

My brother contacted me to offer to get a special Star Trek DVD set which includes all the series finales of at least the sequel TV shows (I can live without the series finale of Trek Classic, "Turnabout Intruder"...I'm sure George Takei must have been giggling at Bill Shatner's take on a woman possessing Captain Kirk), and the Trek Classic classic "City on the Edge of Forever". That episode of Kirk, Spock and McCoy was deemed to be the best that the original series had ever made. I think it was a good ep but it was a time travel show. It would seem that the much-ballyhooed episodes on any of the Trek shows were all time travel oriented in one way or another...probably because the performers were so grateful to do some thespian stretching away from the oft-straightjacketing influence of the Star Trek bible. Still, for me, the best Trek Classic episode will always be "The Doomsday Machine". You got your undefeatable enemy in the form of the planetkiller, a commodore with an Ahab complex (William Windom as Matt Decker whose scenes will just wow anyone accustomed to seeing him much later as the McCoyish Dr. Seth Hazlett in "Murder, She Wrote"), two starships battling said enemy and some of the best music ever heard on a TV series...ever.
Saturday April 8, 8:02 a.m.

I kinda figured that this was going to happen in CNN. Ever since John Roberts came on board as this overqualified national correspondent, he seems to have gained more and more of his old job back. He's been the go-to guy as replacement host on "American Morning", "The Situation Room" and even "Anderson Cooper". And he's done it faster than anyone else new on staff. John King must be feeling quite green right now. And then I see on TVNewser that one contributor has been crowing about the temporary team-up of Roberts and Heidi Collins on Anderson this week stating that although she doesn't think he has a particularly likeable screen persona (yeowch!), Roberts is a top-notch interviewer. It's good to know that all those chats with Iggy Pop and David Bowie all those decades ago have served the former J.D. Roberts well. Anderson may have to look over his shoulder but I think Wolf Blitzer will be getting his bags packed very soon.

Interesting thing...just one year after former Canadian Peter Jennings gave his sign-off from ABC, we got former Canadian John Roberts becomign the star quarterback for CNN. Americans must be scratching their heads about who these people are. Do all Canadians sound so stentorian and uninflected? Then again, as an antidote, you can take a look at former Canadian William Shatner.

Still, sticking with the wonderful world of American network news, I heard about the impending jump of perky Katie Couric from "Today" to the coveted throne of Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather on CBS. She would be the first sole female anchor of "The CBS Evening News". It would also make her very first nighttime CBS anchor to have had a cameo in a Mike Myers movie ("Goldmember") can Cronkite and Rather boast about that, huh?

As for news here, there was a scary reminder to that sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subways 11 years ago when a Korean pickpocketing gang tried to escape from the cops by spraying a whole bunch of people with some mace-like substance on the platform of Nishi-Nippori Station on the Yamanote Line back on Thursday morning. Well, at least, the officers got one of the guys. About 27 commuters and at least one cop had to be treated.

In my own little (and hopefully, far more peaceful) world today, I should just be meeting JJ for her appointment and then coming straight back home. I checked the Japanese Immigration website for any potential hiccups about getting that re-entry permit. Nope, I can still get it on the same day that I apply. So off I will go on Monday straight after The Class Act. It'll cost me 6,000 yen to get the multiple-entry, though. But I absolutely know that I will have to return home this Xmas at risk of being written out of the family will...not that there's any guarantee that I'm even in it as it is.
Friday April 7, 9:40 p.m.

It was pretty cloudy when I met The Madame at the West Exit of JR Suidobashi Station this morning...rather gloomy, in fact. I thought we were gonna get another douser. However, we were saved from the wet stuff although it stayed overcast for the most part. And The Madame likes it this way since she's a bit sensitive to the sun. We made our way over to the Tokyo Dome area for our afternoon at L'Aqua, the shopping/spa complex next to the Dome.

Our first stop, though, were a couple of the rides. The Madame was armed with some free passes for both L'Aqua and the amusement park area. We chose the Ferris Wheel known as The Big O for our first venture. The Big O is called as such because it is the only Wheel on the planet that doesn't have any hub or radii filling in the ring. And it was an auspicious ride for me since it was the very first time that I'd ever been on a Ferris Wheel of any sort in my life (you can start oohing now). Each cab had a stereo piping in the latest J-Pop hits from a device bolted to the wall resembling a cell phone. Although I didn't let her know, I was feeling a little antsy at first as we made our 15-minute rotation up and down. My fear of heights is still there.

Afterwards, we used the remaining ride passes for the much tamer carousel. The Madame opted for riding the gorilla for some giddy reason that she couldn't really explain. I, on the other hand, just chose a nice little loveseat for the gentle ride around.

Then, it was off to the wonders of the spa itself. The Madame had free passes for those. We had quite a few attentive...almost unctuous...staffers leading us the way. L'Aqua the Spa is one of those places that just yells class and naturalness. All the lockers were tastefully apportioned in faux-wood and browns. And the general theme seemed to be a mix of resort inn and spa. At the front desk, the two of us received our spa clothing that we were to wear inside the grounds. I went to the Men's locker room; the male staffer kindly spoke to me in broken English and led me to my locker. I had received a a numbered wrist bracelet which acted as locker key and internal credit card. I stripped down to nothing and donned on my brown-fiber clothes and joined my barefoot companion outside. As with my gym in Urayasu, most of the folks walking around all shriveled like were of the geriatric persuasion.

The Madame and I decided to make the low-heat saunas our first stop on the 8th floor. We went for the room with the lowest temperature...40 degrees C. It was a darkened circular room with a bench running around the circumference. We sat there for about 10 minutes. It was quite comfy there since as any standup comedian would say when it came to the topic of Calfornia summers, it was a dry heat. To be honest, I didn't even really work up a sweat. Then, the two of us tried to go into the hotter 45-degree chamber which looked more like the typical sauna. The Madame took just two steps before bailing out. What a difference 5 degress can make for some.

Instead we went back out into the main hall where there were some chaise longes just laying out there as if they were on the Lido Deck of a cruise ship so we just laid out on them for a little bit before heading all the way down to the 5th floor where the massage areas were. We decided to go for a bit of Taiwanese reflexology at a clinic called Wu Lai. This did cost us some yen, to the tune of 3675 yen for the 30-minute basic, for which we beeped our bracelets at the reception. Remembering our somewhat turbulent time at that foot massage place in Taipei several months ago, I was a little nervous about having my feet pummeled again. However, this time, the masseur was quite a bit more gentle on my tootsies although there were a few instances of wincing (such as my left big toe). It was so relaxing that the 30 minutes just seemed to fly by. The last 5 minutes had my feet wrapped up like a mummy. And we got a record sheet telling us what was ailing us via the feet. I was surprised at how accurate the chart was considering some of my aches and pains. The chart got my wizened shoulders and neck right along with a spot-on diagnosis of my sinuses.

Then, it was time for lunch so we ended up at this wabisabi place just across the floor from Wu Lai. We both had the special which was basically miniature versions of penne, hamburger, very mild chicken curry and stewed eggplant. It was all quite good. The Madame remarked how odd it was to be having lunch while dressed in pyjamas. Well, it is a spa after all...

We went all the way back up to the 8th floor to a small cafe where we just drank some rather steeply-priced drinks. I paid a hefty 550 yen for an Iced Caffe Latte. We followed that talk up with another descent back to the 5th floor (I think we were getting our exercise that day) and to the lounge area which was filled with snoring folks in reclining chairs hooked up to small flat-panel TV screens. The Madame and I took adjoining seats. Just by luck, there was a Korean language learning program on NHK 3 so I practiced a bit of my greetings there before switching to the big political news of the day which was the voting for the new leader of the Democratic Party of Japan. The procedure which involved handing in slips of paper either for Ichiro Ozawa or Naoto Kan had the media attention of a coronation. By the end of the counting, it was indeed the elder Ozawa who got the top prize...although considering the longevity of previous DPJ leaders recently, I'm not sure if it's much of an honour.

We finally decided to get ourselves back into our civvies again. All in all, I paid 4,625 yen for the day at L'Aqua. Not exactly a cheap experience but again it is a spa...I think I would be more worried about the amenities at a cheap spa. And I think if one considers the experience as an annual treat instead of a regular workout, then L'Aqua will not be a disappointment. The Madame and I spent another hour walking through the Tokyo Dome area. We came across Bubba Gump, that restaurant built to the theme of Tom Hanks' magnum opus. The Madame had been to the one in Universal Studios Japan in Osaka and fell in love with the menu. She was slightly disappointed that Bubba wasn't part of the spa complex but I think its inclusion would rather defeat the purpose of a healthful resort. The items on that menu seemed to scream "Cholesterol!" To add insult to injury, there was another restaurant owned by former sumo wrestler Konishiki, who hails from Hawaii, which boasts this mammoth hamburger. In fact, most of the items could have conquered some of the lower-ranked sumo. We agreed that we would make a beeline for Bubba Gump's in the near future and headed our separate ways.

I made my way over to the Toranomon Starbucks for the first time in a few weeks and for what would probably be the final time. The chirpy manageress was there again plying customers with some new blend of coffee. The OL did come and to her credit, let me know immediately that this would be the final class. To be honest, I didn't react too much to the revelation. I kinda figured that our days together were numbered since it was fast approaching three years since we first met, and the fact that she was now juggling full-time work and night studies at Aoyama Gakuin University. There just wouldn't be any time or energy left for me in her schedule. Still, it was kinda sad since The OL was the very first student in my freelancing career (The Beehive and The Class Act were carryovers from my ol' school). And she was a most loyal student. In fact, she made nice by stating that her place would probably be taken over by her older sister who has expressed an interest in learning from me. If everything works out, I could be teaching her sis most likely on a regular basis after Golden Week back at The Tea Room in Ichigaya since she works in the area. And The OL left some hope in that she may have some time during the summer to see me during that time. Still, I'll miss the old girl. Not sure if I am depressed about the fact or not, but I did end up having some comfort food at the Lotteria burger joint in the station mall when I got home tonight.

I checked my messages. The Satyr sent a slightly snarky mass mailing to me and some of the others from the ol' school about his plan for a drink out tomorrow night. Apparently, the replies have been slow in coming. Well, I definitely gave him my regrets. After today's draining of my finances at L'Aqua, there won't be anything for drinking in Shinjuku even with payment from JJ tomorrow morning and I am desperately trying not to siphon anything from my account. At least, he knows how I feel whenever it came to some of the planning that I've had to do in the past. I also got a couple of messages from The Madame herself. Looks like she really wants to go to that 100% Chocolate Cafe on the 16th. I've also sent word to Skippy. Her second message asked whether I would be game for "The Libertine" with Johnny Depp. She pegged me right when she pointed out that this wasn't my type of movie. But I said that I would go. Maybe we can fit in that Bubba Gump's afterwards.

Well, finally, I don't think this will cause any major problems with my trip to Korea but I realized today that I haven't gotten my re-entry permit yet. I was mentally kicking myself for that oversight while at the same time sighing relief that I did realize it in time. I'll have to head down to Immigration on Monday to buy that. The good thing about those permits is that I can just hand in the application form and get that stamp on the same trip. I'm glad then that SIL decided not to come this Monday. Again, I'm not too worried about it but it's good to know that even if in the unlikely event that I can't get it on Monday, I still have two more days to go for it.

Ugh...long day.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Friday April 7, 7:40 a.m.

GC sent me his message in as many days. The two of us were commiserating about our belt-tightening needs. I think it's rather true that nowadays whenever I purchase something, I ponder how tax-deductible it is. GC's friend has been applying for a couple of positions in Tokyo. One is an accounting job at none other than Studio Ghibli, the magic factory that legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki of "Princess Mononoke" and "Spirited Away" fame built. Actually, I saw a short documentary on Miyazaki's No. 2 man, Toshio Suzuki, on NHK last night. It was done as a "day-in-the-life" special. He basically comes off as the prototypical grumpy/lovable father/martinet type who populate most of corporate Japan's middle management.

Speedy also sent me what was frankly an unnecessary message forwarding 006's apology for pulling off a dotakan, or sudden cancellation, on Wednesday. I'm already well aware of 006's busy schedule at her company. He also wanted to show me a small prepositional error in her message to further give me some insight about how I can help her. As soon as I saw that part in his message, my temperature started rising a bit. It might be as irrational as all hell, but I've never been too good at taking backhanded advice from anyone and the way he phrased it, it seemed to go into that direction.

Well, I do have that outing with The Madame for L'Aqua today. I checked the website for the complex. Hmmm...there doesn't to be much for me there; all the amenities seem to be geared for women. I'll just hold my tongue. I am bringing the spoon so that she can prove to me her Uri Gelleresque power.
Thursday April 6, 10:33 p.m.

Managed to make it through another Thursday OK. One of these days, though, I'm gonna have to realize that coming too early to class is almost as bad as coming too late. I kinda gave the juku boss a bit of a scare when I came to the house 45 minutes I often do during the night sessions on Tuesday. Problem is that the boss and her hubby were still in wake-up-and-brekkie mode when I arrived. I think the boss was just a little panicked that she hadn't put on her make-up. I don't particularly care about such things but then again, I'm not a woman. I'll promise to be a bit less diligent on that score next time.

Went to the local family restaurant for lunch before doing the hour at the gym. I sometimes wonder if working out there just once a week is really worth it. I haven't seen any sort of progress in my spare tire in months. Really, I should be doing this three times a week but I just don't have the time nor interest. The night before during 001's lesson, 001 told me that during her drinkathon with the erstwhile 002 and their mutual friend last weekend, she had related the news that I was going to the gym. The reaction was one of disbelief. I knew it was just a jest but there was a bit of it that still stung. Having been a regular member of the gym for over 18 months and not having anything to show for it doesn't really sit well with me. Sometimes I just think fate has intended me to stay fat.

Anyways, I got home, did some laundry and made dinner. I then headed to the Starbucks in Mitsukoshimae for the third lesson with B2 and B2B. It was probably the most successful lesson so far although I think we still need to settle down a bit more. However, the banter was much more easier amongst the three of us, and B2B seemed to really appreciate the extra text on basic English conversation I gave him. I joked to B2 that she may have gained a rival for her affections in the form of that book. Still, I'm just happy I got through the hour intact.

The Satyr has kept me updated about how his plan for that little drinking outing is going on Saturday. I'm still undecided about whether to go or not; I just have to be careful about these things from now on. But he has stated that I was doubtful for the event so at least he's made it easy for me to pull out.

The Kanto has been getting a few soft jolts over the past half-hour. I hope it's not a sign of much stronger things to come.

Looks like the race for the leadership of The Democratic Party of Japan is gonna be between two veterans and former leaders, Ichiro Ozawa and Naoto Kan. The vote is tomorrow, and I'm betting even money on Kan since there are quite a few of young turks in the party that wouldn't be too happy with Ozawa and the man himself has some health issues. However, I probably won't hear anything until I get home tomorrow night. I'm off with The Madame to that Korakuen spa, L'Aqua, from the morning, and then I've got the OL for her first lesson in almost a month.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Thursday April 6, 7:12 a.m.

It's brilliantly sunny out there once more. I hope it stays that way. But I may have to watch out for pollen again. Just another month, I tell myself...

I got a letter from ol' GC for the first time in several months. He came out with a rather sad bit of news. The school that he's been with ever since he arrived on these shores years ago may be on the slow fade to bankruptcy. The kids have just not been coming in. I wonder if it's a matter of changing demographics or perhaps the scourge of NOVA has entered even that little pocket of ruralism. I'm kinda surprised that he hasn't gone for his Permanent Residency; he's been here even longer than I have, so he's well over the minimum time of residency to apply.

There was a bit of a kerfuffle on the Keio commuter line last night. A couple of trains "grazed" each other which caused one of them to derail. One person ended up dead but aside from a few other cases of light injuries, the biggest damage was a lot of very unhappy commuters trying to get home.

Well, I gottta head on out to teach the juku boss at 10. Then it'll be my weekly visit to the gym, a bit of dinner before heading out to see B2 and B2B.
Wednesday April 5, 11:11 p.m.

It looks like NHK has changed its lineup. I was expecting to see the usual 10 p.m. news but instead, it was some sort of This Day in History-type program followed by some sort of artsy little show which seems to be espousing some slow life themes while sporting jazzy/Latin background music. Sigh...time to check the TV guide again. Anyways, it seems as if the host for this month is none other than perennial tarento, Marina Watanabe. And tonight's theme is Spring Cleaning. Ahhhh...I'm relaxing already. Mind you, I do like the fact that the program is playing a lot of Chet Baker.

It was rain for most of today but thankfully that stopped by the evening. I had lunch at the neighbourhood tonkatsu place then stopped at Maruzen to get that text for B2. I ordered the CD for the text which will eventually cost me 5 Soseki's (that would be 5,000 yen) once it arrives on my doorstep. Man, what voice actors must get paid for a disc to cost that much.

006 had to pull out so I only taught 001 tonight. It was the first time that the former cancelled with a little more than an hour before class time so I'm not sure what this will mean for my money. My ol' school, being the chiselers they are, would only compensate teachers, even if a student pulled a no-show within a few hours of the scheduled class time, only if the teacher were willing to come all the way to the head office to pull computer duty. Considering the clients have already paid all of the fees to the school in advance, I've had quite a few epithets for them about their policy.

001 was her usual fun self. She confided to me that she had gotten together with 002 (Speedy and I are still hoping that she'll return to take some classes, but according to 001, the school is just too darn far for her friend) and another mutual friend known to me. Looks like I was one of their many gossip topics to laugh about (or at).

I just heard that PM Koizumi has become the 3rd-longest serving Japanese leader in the postwar period. Hmmm...that should make him want to leave even more quickly before his supposed departure in September.

Well, I ought to hit the shower now since I gotta hit the hay and then wake up to get ready for the juku boss' lesson in the morning.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Wednesday April 5, 9:40 a.m.

Welcome to my 1500th blog entry! I was about half a day behind schedule but I was just feeling too tired to bother last night. Maybe I'll celebrate with an extra Big Mac....nah, on second thought...actually, the last couple of days have seen me without much of an appetite at night. I haven't bothered with dinner at all. Not sure if this is the male version of menopause coming on. Maybe if I start getting heat flashes or mood swings, I'll get a better indication.

I had a half-hour trial lesson at the juku last night before The Milds and McGirl showed up. The potential new guy is a pretty energetic fellow with a love of French cuisine and a gift of the gab. If he does decide to join our humble abode, it'll just be a half-hour at first. With his personality, those 30 minutes should just zoom by. The big word is IF, though. He was a little surprised that our little school is in a small room in a house.

The OL is back on my schedule after almost 3 weeks away. And B2 is still being a glutton for punishment; she will indeed be coming for her 3rd seesion with B2B in tow. Time to get that text for her. Skippy has also gotten back to me about that trip to the Maid Cafe on Sunday. She's been able to wrangle The Kid for the outing. I guess in his case, it would be appropo for him since he's still a pretty young fellow. The Satyr has also thrown out an invitation for this Saturday seeing if he can get some of the ol' school gang together for drinks. I gave him a wait-and-see since I'm not exactly sure if I can really afford these benders anymore....and yet, I'm still going to a Maid Cafe and yakisoba on Sunday.

The Wild Guy is indeed going to be tying the knot pretty soon. I do wish the man well...a lot of us had thought that he was nigh-unmarryable due to his...shall we say...volatile personality. But I'm still skeptical about him getting married so soon after meeting the girl. As far as I know, I may be the only one outside of his family that has been told of this upcoming wedding. It will be quite the talk of the town.

It's pretty wet out there but the rain has let up. Should have washed away most of the dreaded pollen. There may even be some mood-lightening negative ions out there, too.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Tuesday April 4, 1:39 p.m.

Just enjoying my brief time before tackling the lesson plans at the juku. Well, they're not exactly the most pressing things. I really only have to plan for one lesson, that for The Milds and McGirl (if she shows up...she may be stalking her punk rock singer again somewhere in the country). And I just have that half-hour trial lesson when I come in for an guy who needs it at work. He wants to do a group lesson but that will depend on how he does in the trial. If he's too low, he stays a solo act. Of course, The Siberian doesn't need a plan. As long as the cat is there, he's happily distractable.

The Beehive was a bit subdued today although my pics of Toronto informed Ms. Tulip. She showed me her copy of the TTC map so she's already started getting ready for the big move. As I thought, her hubby's company will take care of the accomodations which will be a great boost for them financially. However, we were missing Ms. Alp and the de facto leader, Ms. Travel. Ms. Travel has been away for a few weeks since her younger brother has been in a coma for some time. So basically, it was the chattier pair of Ms. Perth and Ms. Tulip alongside the quieter pair of Ms. Jade and Ms. Tea. Unfortunately, the group will be even sparser next week so it was decided that there would be a rare Tuesday morning off.

As for B2 and B2B, I'll see what happens tonight on the e-mail. If she doesn't say anything by the end of tonight, I'll start assuming that our brief relationship will be null and void and save myself any further handwringing (and money) for a teaching arrangement that wasn't looking too good in the first place.

TV Tokyo is showing "The Devil's Own", that early 90s suspense flick with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt as Irish-American cop and IRA terrorist respectively. Well, at least I have been reminded that there was at least one other celeb who hadn't gotten along with Pitt even before Jennifer Aniston and the rest of the Friends. The movie almost looks like a prequel to Ford's latest thriller, "Firewall"...same grim-faced man having to go to extreme measures to protect his beleaguered family. Margaret Colin is portraying the wife du peril in this one.

Another small story in the local news. Often reporters have to cover some sordid stuff like rapes. Well, it looks like one Fukuoka TV reporter wasn't satisfied covering just sexual assault cases. He had another life secretly taking part in them thanks to some victims over a cellphone dating service. He's made his 15 minutes now...he's been arrested by the police and fired by his station. In a way, his case reminds me of the one last year in which another intrepid TV reporter who always seemed to scoop his rivals at city fires ended up getting arrested for setting them himself.

Anyways, gotta get back to duty...
Tuesday April 4, 7:48 a.m.

Just finished off that Sacher Torte that I'd received from The Matron yesterday. Yep, it was well preserved. And the taste is a bit different from the Starbucks variety (yes, I will dare compare the original from The Hotel Sacher to a version from the Seattle-based cafe); it has a bit more of a liqueur kick. Still, it shares that heaviness so I can understand when The Matron warned me that I shouldn't eat it at night. I think I may be more animated at The Beehive today.

Shard and I had our first real conversation in many a month. Recently, his correspondence had been more in the form of forwarded links to articles or websites. He'd sent me an article clipping by snail mail a few days ago pointing to defrocked CNN barfly Robert Novak getting "Tool of the Year" honours. Apparently, it had been a point in one of our threads. Despite Novak being a tool that has outlived its usefulness, I still kinda missed some of those political shows that used to populate CNN such as "The Capitol Gang" and the Judy Woodward show although "Crossfire" was one show that needed to be jettisoned and was by none other than Jon Stewart.

The Dancer sent me some further advice to give to the soon-to-be Toronto-bound Ms. Tulip. Housing prices in the T.O. are apparently ridiculously in orbit. Yup, I'd heard about the rarefied rents but I'm pretty confident that Ms. Tulip's hubby's company will be taking good care of the family in terms of accomodations.

Looks like along with the rest of Japan, the satellite channel SkyPerfect has also started to rejig its lineup. It's now "The Brady Bunch" and the very first "Star Trek" episode filmed (not aired) with William Shatner, "Where No Man Has Gone Before". Interesting how this episode and the allegedly final episode of the entire franchise, "These are the Voyages..." from "Enterprise" have their titles based on lines from the original "Space, the final frontier..." intro.

I've yet to hear from B2 about the next lesson, supposedly slated for this Thursday. She hasn't gotten back to me about the time. I did send off a message to her yesterday. To be honest, if she doesn't get back to me, I won't be too disappointed. It doesn't seem to be working out.
Tuesday April 4, 12:00 a.m.

Came home to find that there was a massacre on my laundry line. I'd forgotten the part in the weather forecast yesterday about the gale-force gusts. As a result, I had a few casualties in the form of downed clothes including one good bathtowel which has been demoted to the second floor apartment. I'm not sure if I'll make my good neighbour call downstairs. The guy can keep it if he wishes or he can just put it on the mailboxes for someone to pick up.

The full Class Act was back. The Matron has come back from her tour with her daughter in Europe. She got me a nice little souvenir in the form of a true Sacher Torte...not the Starbucks stuff that I'd been noshing on. I guess the stuff must keep quite well. It was packed in a thin wood box. It must be all that chocolate coating which keeps it fresh. Anyways, I know what I'm having for breakfast later today. The Matron actually bought it from the Sacher Hotel in Vienna, the supposed birthplace for the rich dessert. Nice of her to put it in the original bag.

SIL was in her usual good spirits but I won't be seeing her for a couple of weeks. I guess she needs a bit of relief from the shenanigans that I often wreak in her lesson.

The Part-Timer was in good form as usual. And I had my second student for the "English in Cooking" program last night. Nope, the new one isn't as fluent or as accurate as her predecessor but she does put out the ol' college try. Hey, that's all I want in a good student. Certainly she's a far cry from the Denmother's kid.

I got mail from The Wild Guy for the first time in a long while. Looks like he and his girl are still lovey-dovey. In fact, he intimated that he has a big announcement in the next few weeks. Ooh, boy...I hope he hasn't gone off the deep end and decided to get married already. That's a sure road to the dark side.

I sent out mail in turn to The OL to see if she's OK this week for a lesson since she's cancelled the last couple of times, and I sent a missive to Skippy to see if she's still intent on heading to that Maid Cafe on this coming Sunday. I'm also interested if The Madame was successful in sending that telepathic message over to her. Yeah, you heard me....

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Monday April 3, 7:36 a.m.

Just four entries away from the big 1,500. Should reach it by tomorrow night at the latest.

Well, the sun is out and it looks like it's gonna be a nice day out there. Last night, we had a rather major spate of thunder, lightning and squall activity for a few hours which wreaked a bit of havoc with the satellite TV. However, things calmed down so that I was able to watch 3 hours of J-Pop oldies. Such was my Sunday night.

Physically speaking, I have been better. My neck is still suffering either from chronic pain or just from that overzealous masseuse. My tongue is sore for some reason and I've developed a few pimples here and there. Well, either I've been unconsciously sexually active on the spectral level or my body is doing some major rejecting.

The two major national stories right now are still the capture of the murderer of that 9-year-old boy and the search for the new leader of the Democratic Party of Japan. As for the first story, the suspect said that he'd wanted to kill anyone he could get his hands on. As for the second story, the leadership choice won't be made until Friday but the media seems to be predicting it will be former kingmaker Ichiro Ozawa.

It'll be a long day today but at least for half of it, things will be pretty laid back. The Matron will return after a couple of weeks away due to the one-year anniversary of a relative's death and that trip to Europe. She should have quite a lot of stories to tell. And SIL is always a laugh-a-minute.