Friday, May 19, 2006

Friday May 19, 9:25 p.m.

It's been another wet one out there. Any more like today and I can be reassured that Noah will pop outside. I had to hang up the laundry inside which will probably increase the humidity quotient in the apartment. No relief tomorrow either.

The reviews for "The DaVinci Code" have come in, and they're decidedly mixed. Some like it, some don't. But the fact that it's gotten so much hype and controversy for so many months with a huge star-studded cast has meant that even so-so comments will probably label it not only as the first blockbuster of the year but also as the first big flop of the year. Not too hot for Tom, Ian and Jean. But I feel sorry for Ms. Tautou....she's apparently said that she had been thinking about hanging up her acting chops.

The juku boss called me this morning just as I was about to leave for her place. She told me that she had to cancel her lesson due to fatigue. Hmph....less than an hour before showtime and she runs out on me. I can only hope that she'll reimburse me half the fee as per her policy for the other students. The Fortune Teller, on the other hand, was quite good. I thought it would be a half-hour of grammar followed by his analysis of my name. However, it turned out that the entire session was devoted to a fortune-telling session. I taught him the tricks of how to handle clients generally since he was sorely lacking in the language. And he can also do with some work on his structure. Work in progress, he is. But he has picked up the business, thanks to the juku boss. She spread around the fact that we've got a fortune teller as a student and it looks like he's gonna be raking in some of the yen.

Afterwards, I headed on out to Otemachi and the bookstore Maruzen to pick up another "I, Spy" book for the Junior sister tomorrow. And I had my occasional Vietnamese Bun-Bi at Com Pho. I spent an hour or two just walking around the Yurakucho-Ginza area. I saw that The Pet Shop Boys have released their first new album in about 4 years. Ahhh....wish I had the money to revive my CD-collecting hobby.

I got back up to The Tea Room to see The UL. She's doing fine with me. I'm not sure if I'll be able to see her next week since I may have to continue spelling for Speedy. Not too crazy doing the commute from there over to Speedy's at 6 since the worst of the rush hour is apparently on. I taught SB's brother for the first time tonight. It was Role-Playing Night since that was what Speedy suggested I do with the guy. He's fairly button-down like his sister but he did a pretty good job in the 90 minutes. He's ostensibly signed up with me again next Friday which neither Speedy nor I had expected. He'll let me know any requests.

I still have to get ready for tomorrow's lessons with the kids and then JJ. Plus, there is the possibility that I will be meeting up with Movie Buddy for something later on. His request to me a few weeks ago to keep the night of the 20th open was a false alarm according to his call last night. His friend's event will be happening 15 minutes before I'm set to teach JJ. But MB said that we could still do something later that night.

Skippy sent her first e-mail to me in about a few days talking of the drab reviews for "The Da Vinci Code" and inviting The Satyr and me to see her acquaintance during Open Mike Night in Harajuku next Friday night. I sent in my regrets due to the Speedy classes but I'm not all that sorry not to go since my last experience as an audience at a Yuk Yuk's in Toronto years ago was not all that great.

And then The Madame got back to me about catching "Poseidon" on the 11th and then dinner. I'm not all that eager to see the remake of "The Poseidon Adventure", perhaps of my irrational comparison to "Titanic", but I gave her my OK. I should show her The Fortune Teller's written report of my session today.

I've yet to hear anything from my friends who were supposed to arrive in Tokyo tonight for a 2-week stay in Japan.

And to finish off, I had my class with B2...and only B2. Apparently, she and B2B had a row over something so he was summarily banned from last night's proceedings. I had to pull out my Dancing Bear routine to get her spirits lifted. Again, if there is anything that will keep me perpetually single, it is the griping of a scorned woman.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Thursday May 18, 3:40 p.m.

Another 20 minutes before I get another crack at one of Speedy's students whilst he's away on business. I taught the first two last night...sandwiching 001. The first one was this sweet old lady with whom I talked cuisine with. I got some good notices from her. And then the other one was this young bookish salaryman whose statements came out at the speed of molasses. Nice fellow, and I was warned well in advance about his slow delivery by the boss. So I wasn't too phased when I finally taught him. However, I was very exhausted. The salaryman, in the course of our lesson, told me that he doesn't live too far away from me so he recommended that it would be faster if I went with him by transferring at Monzen-Nakacho from the Oedo to the Tozai Lines. Yup, perhaps it was faster but it was also much more crowded and I would've liked to have had a seat...something that would have been possible with my old way of transferring at Iidabashi Station. Well, live and learn.

I was able to get up somewhat groggily this morning. The rains are still hitting us off-and-on. I wonder if the rainy season has already started unofficially. There won't be too much of a change tomorrow either.

It looks like "The Da Vinci Code" has already been getting its pans from the critics a few days before its premiere. I just wonder if those critics are devout Catholics.

After my lesson with Speedy's student, I have to rush out to Mitsukoshimae Station to see B2 and B2B after about a month's hiatus due to Golden Week. Although the last lesson was our best one yet, I'm still holding my breath about how things are going with those two. And then tomorrow, I've got another busy day with the juku boss, the Fortune Teller, the UL and finally SB's brother at Speedy's. I'm certainly making my yen this week.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Wednesday May 17, 2:33 p.m.

"The Force is especially influential on the weak-minded."

Well,'s not just the Force. Try buffets. I fell into the Dark Side around noon today when I decided to have that 1,000-yen all-you-can-eat viking (that's what they call buffets here in another hilarious example of that linguistic phenomenon called Japlish...I guess somehow "viking " was easier to say than "smorgasbord"). at the restaurant LAST in Shiodome City Centre. I'd been going there infrequently over the past couple of years. I think today was the first time that I could actually give the fare a pretty decent grade although the chefs really do believe that chicken is the only meat in existence (well, to be fair, there was a plate of heavily seasoned salmon steaks). I also realized that my aging process is continuing apace. After my second round at the trays, I was feeling mightily bloated. Even during my worst excesses at legendary Farm Grill, I didn't feel like the planet Jupiter after just a second round. Still, I had that little bit of extra room left for a couple of small (and I mean tiny) cakes with coffee.

I'm getting ready for the first two of my temporary stint of taking care of Speedy's own students here at the school. Should be OK. The first one is an older lady whose behaviour in class, according to Speedy, is rather akin to that of The Lady. A lot of nattering in Japanese with bits of English breaking through. And then after 001, I have this fellow whom I've met in a couple of social events. He's apparently rather slow on the uptake so I'm to teach accordingly. I'm thinking of trying to teach him "Let's see..." or "Ummmh..." so at least there won't be those awkward silences.

I see that "The West Wing" has finally gone to that rerun bin in the sky. Over here, we're still getting through the earlier half of the 2nd season. President Bartlet is having marriage problems with Abby, Sam is trying to handle that little sparkplug Ainsely, and that snarky personal secretary is still alive.

There was a slight misunderstanding in semantics on Monday night after I'd taught those sisters in the EIC class. The two of them are rather like chalk and cheese. One is fairly shy and not too confident in speaking in English while her sib is quite outgoing and talkative in fractured English. Anyways, after the class, I asked Cheese (the quiet one) what she would be having for dinner in the purest sense of the word; I only wanted to know since it was connected with food, which was, after all, what I was teaching in that class. Somehow, Cheese got it into her head that I was inviting her and Chalk to dinner out. Before I could re-phrase, it was a done deal. By that point, I couldn't get out of it. We were all going out to dinner. So, 4,300 yen and 90 minutes later, I was heavier in my stomach and lighter in my wallet (I couldn't go Dutch with remaining bit of chivalry demanded that I treat the ladies since I "invited" them). I'm gonna have to be careful with my words next time. We ended up going to a Chinese izakaya so at least the food and drink were fine.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday May 15, 4:56 p.m.

Quiet at Speedy's since the boss man himself is off on a 2-week business trip. However, I'm gonna have the lion's share of classes since he's assigned me his students. I'm grateful for the income. It's the first proper Spring day in Tokyo so far...not too hot and not too cold. There's a nice bit of wind coming in through the window of my classroom, thereby I don't need the fan. Perfect weather, especially after a dreary weekend.

My Hirohito's Revenge sorted itself out by the end of Saturday, thanks to the kids' mother's medicine. I'm not hitting the heavy artillery, foodwise, until I know I'm 100% though.

JJ was her usual giddy self yesterday. Not surprisingly, Mrs. Alp's BBQ party was given the can due to the rain so it was just a quiet day at home just prepping away for the week's classes. The Class Act was another gabfest. I found out that SIL will be back as of next week. The manager at The Tea Room was a bit surprised to see me there on a Monday but I did have The New Yorker. I finally got her started on Simple Past which was far from it for her but she tried hard. Slow and steady, I say. I'll be having The Part-Timer tonight and then it'll be the second of three for those sisters in the EIC Programme. I'm praying that things will go much more smoothly than they did when I had that other student in there with them.

Aside from the big news about the Team Japan player announcements for the World Cup this afternoon, the only other sports news of note has been Hideki Matsui's wrist injury. Got the full court press here. It almost sounded as if the big guy was the only Japanese Major Leaguer.

We had another one of those bizarro murders. Some woman killed and dismembered her boyfriend after having had to suffer a lot of abuse from the thug. It's a pretty sad state of affairs when I have to admit that this case comes off as a lot more "normal" than some of the other horrible cases I've been hearing about for the last few months.

It looks like The Madame will have to go off on her lonesome to Odawara to pick up that medicine. Our schedules couldn't mesh this time around. A pity but not much I could've done about it with my heavier workload for the next 2 weeks and the fact that I've got a couple of friends coming in from Canada.