Monday, May 01, 2006

Monday May 1, 6:14 p.m.

One thing that did happen during the enforced silence is that Takafumi Horie, the Japanese version of Kenneth Lay, finally got out on bail last Wednesday night. I recall in one of my entries of last week that I'd wondered how the big guy was doing. Well, the the guy ain't that big anymore. Looks like 3 months in The Big House did wonders for his weight. The media quickly got the scoop that Horie had lost 8 kilos, or 16 pounds, in the pen. He did look somewhat sleeker when the media did their full court press outside of the prison gates. And apparently, he's somewhat humbler although he still believe that he hasn't done anything wrong. The reports say that he's now gonna think about trying to slow down the pace of his pre-prison life. He is appreciating the smaller things, that's for sure. He even relished the taste of good convenience store beer and sushi. That's a far cry from his days going to the most expensive, swankiest restaurants in town.
Monday May 1, 4:47 p.m.

It's been a while. One thing about not being connected on a regular basis...I don't get withdrawal symptoms. I'm not envisioning cockroaches crawling up my arms nor do I break out in cold sweats (although I'm doing a bit of that right's been the warmest day of the year so far). I can actually live without having to check my e-mail or blog everyday. Mind you, I still have to pay my KDD Internet bill monthly so I'll have to find some sort of resolution to my computer problem within the next 30 days.

Not much to report...not that nothing had happened in the last few days since my last entry but I just can't remember all of it. Ah well, if one of those stray memories manages to re-surface, I'll jot it down someday. I do remember that I met The OL and her elder sister, The UL, on Saturday afternoon at The Tea Room. It's hard to imagine that these sisters had been in a cold war of sorts a year or so ago. They were just backslapping each other and giggling away like close buddies; almost felt like whistling the "Sisters" tune from "White Christmas". The UL is at about the same level of linguistic prowess as her sibling so it shouldn't be too difficult teaching her.

Saturday was quite busy. I had the kids as usual in the morning. I think the parents are getting too comfy with me in the house. I was teaching the Junior when it sounded like the two folks were having a little lovers' spat in the kitchen. I know that it's their house but it's my class and sanity. After The OL and UL, the one M came for her occasional session with me. She's been out of work for close to 5 months after her seemingly dramatic departure from her company for "personal differences", but it looks like she's been doing OK for herself. I gave her the remaining Korean nori so at least if she's in need of food, all she'll need is some rice for that seaweed.

Yesterday was the usual session with JJ. And then I headed on out to Sangenjaya, just west of Shibuya. I met up with Movie Buddy, The Satyr, Skippy and Speedy and his wife for that lunch at Baker's Bounce, one of those unusually-named eateries. Considering that it's now Golden Week, someone apparently had forgotten to tell the residents in that neighbourhood that it was the time to get out of town for vacation. There was quite the crowd. The main street was closed off to vehicular traffic and so it took a bit of time to negotiate the pedestrian traffic to find this burger place. After about 10 minutes of walking, we came to this building with a mock-up of King Kong built into its structure and turned left onto a side street. Another couple of minutes later, we saw the lineup which quickly identified it as the destination.

Part of the reason for the lineup (along with the fact that it was so popular) was that Baker's Bounce was just the 1st floor of a small 2-storey building. Not too many people could fit in there; just not on a McDonalds scale of size. However, we were able to while away the half-hour of waiting with some lively conversation amongst the cinema cognoscenti within some of us.
I was impressed with the fact that there was a water cooler in front of the restaurant providing cups and spring water. There was even a hot water tap and tea bags in a plate on top of the cooler. Now that's service!

The waiter first told us that because of our large number of 6, we had to be separated into two groups of 3. However, after some further negotiation by Skippy, he was able to get all of 6 into the booth right by the door. And it wasn't even a matter of squeezing us in there. The waiter just needed to grab an extra chair for my wide girth and we were all set.

Well, we were there for burgers so we just ordered straight away. Whilst everyone chose some normal stuff, I decided to go for the big one, The Double Burger. Little did we know that the regular fare was big enough, but my order was a rather awesome creation of two homemade patties slathered in cheese and veggies with a soft-boiled egg on top. The groans came on cue when that baby was brought in for weighing. Mmm-mmmm...dem's good eatin'! I tried to eat it with my hands as all burgers should be eaten, but it proved to be a near-impossibility with all that those meat juices, melted cheese, and the other condiments just creating a river down my hands, so I had to do it Japanese style...knife and fork. Also, I think the ground meat needed to be ground just a little more. At certain points, I was wondering if I were eating a hamburger or a steak sandwich. But I'm merely quibbling like an anal food critic. Miraculously, we were all game for dessert and coffee. Skippy did a Madame and begged me to share her apple pie a la mode. As it turned out, the pie wasn't nearly as big as the burger so I was a bit disappointed. So I held my tongue (it was too busy). I can certainly say that Baker Bounce deserves a second visit. The menu held quite a few more items that I can go for. As for The Madame, she did that pullout last week. The Satyr was a bit bemused that she would pull out a good 5 days beforehand due to a fever. I think the little lady thought it would be a waste of time and money for her to put her hummingbird appetite on a burger even the normal size at the eatery. I'd have to agree. Before we even left, Skippy had already bounced off the walls talking about this great restaurant in Shimo-Kitazawa, the boho area for university students. Looks like we know where the next destination will be.

Our sextuplet didn't stay that way for long. At Shibuya Station, we lost 50% as Skippy had to go off to see a movie, and Speedy and his wife decided to head on home to digest. So it was just the three of us former teachers from the ol' school to traverse the side streets of Tokyo's Teen Mecca. It was its usual horrendously overcrowded self. We were looking for some theatres with some promising viewing fare. was just the treacly Japanese and Korean stuff, and the other Western movies were stuff we'd already seen. MB stopped off at the Western comics shop just across from the Mandarake otaku manga store for some browsing, and then after another round of walking, we stopped off at the 7th floor of Tower Records for browsing. After the better part of an hour there, we decided to call it a day. Unfortunately, we had to contend with an annual MayDay parade snailing its way through the main intersection of Shibuya so the sidewalks were even more packed with pedestrians. Oh, if the pedestrian paradise could come back to that place.

Further miracles happened at home. I still had enough room in the ol' tummy to down a salad. I figured with all the carbs and protein, I needed the veg to keep me regular.

Well, with Golden Week in full force, I didn't have any of the Class Act or SIL. And even The Part-Timer was off so I just have the EIC class. But instead of the one woman, I may have as many as three students tonight so I had to get stuff ready accordingly. Surprisingly, Speedy told me that he actually got a bit hungry last night despite the feast at Baker's Bounce. Not quite that old yet.

I don't know my next time (b)logging in but hopefully, it'll be in a more relaxed state of mind. I'm feeling quite sweaty right now since the temps are up to 29 C today.