Friday, June 16, 2006

Friday June 16, 6:57 p.m.

Back at Speedy's again, this time in a purely off-duty capacity. SB is having her last day here before she goes onto bigger and better things next week. But a few of us are gonna share a drink with her. She and Speedy sent out the ad searching for her replacement and it looks like there have been a lot of nibbles out there. Speedy will be swamped with interviews next week.

It's been a slightly easier week for me. There have been some changes in the juku lineup. It seems as if The Fortune Teller will be wrapping up things with me this month. I asked the boss if it had anything to do with a bad lesson since I hadn't been made aware of any temporary status. She reassured me that he was fine with the lessons but that was about it. I think it's just that he came to the realization that all of his lessons would probably be the same ol' translated fortune telling sessions. However, The Milds and McGirl will be getting a new classmate as of next Tuesday. I did a model lesson with The Salaryman. He's a fairly fluent fellow which makes me a bit nervous about how he'll fit in with the other three since McGirl is still hopeless as a self-starter and Mrs. Mild easily succumbs to nervousness.

With Speedy, I actually did start with Student 007 this week, just before 001's regular lesson. He's a nice old guy...a chairman of his own company. I was a bit nervous since Speedy gave me his usual "pep talk" about him being the buddy of the school's financial benefactor. However, 007 seems to be a congenial hard worker...the best kind of student to have after a slogfest with the kids. In other good news at this venue, 002 officially gave her OK to start her home lessons from July.

Last night, I only had B2 and B2B. Actually, the lesson went well but I think it'll always be a a bit of a land mine with them.

The rainy season continued to make its presence known. This morning, we got walloped with a huge deluge which drenched my shoes, socks and feet thereby necessitating a quick change at home after my lesson with The Fortune Teller. Just lucky that things have dried up considerably since the afternoon. Not sure what tomorrow will be like but next week looks like more of the wet stuff. At least, Saturday will be fairly easy with the ever-dependable if at-times-fragile JJ, and then I meet up with Skippy in Shimokitazawa for that curry bun fest.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Wednesday June 14, 9:42 p.m.

Well, it's almost 48 hours after the fact but I've yet to put in my two yen in about that first game of Team (Zico) Japan against the Aussies. Man, what a turd of a match...for the Japanese, that is. The Aussies almost fully deserved their win against the Japanese Zeroes...the boys somehow forgot that soccer also includes an offensive component as well as a defensive one. I knew they were in trouble when I saw the rather lopsided shoot count. There was a brief glimmer of hope when the Japanese got the first goal of the match but the reality of an offenseless team caught up when Australia got their first goal which apparently was a signal for Japan to also let their defense go home for the day. It's not totally hopeless yet but a lot of that giddy excitement in the country has quickly dissipated like flat champagne after that loss. I figure that if Japan doesn't scrape a win this Sunday, we'll be looking back at sumo and baseball again.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Monday June 12, 2:57 p.m.

Instead of doing this entry free at Speedy's, I'm paying my 1300 yen for access at the Shinjuku Kinko's since I don't have any classes there today. Say what? I could just go there and still access the Net...? Well, let's say that I don't particularly want to take the services there for granted. If I don't teach there, I don't go there.

My weekend was a bit of a mild rollercoaster. On the work side of things, I could've been excused if I had harboured thoughts of pediacide after my kids on Saturday morning. Ugh...both sisters were dead to the world. Hey, I made my 7000 yen. But luckily, JJ shored up the side. She's always good for effort. Then I went out to Speedy's to head out with him to Mr. Influence's place a few stations away for his gourmet party. However beforehand, we met 002, my once and future student for the first time in several months. If all goes well and she doesn't chicken out, I'll be heading over to her place every week starting from July to teach her lessons. Y'see...she has a bit of a phobia about being taught at cafes.

Then, Speedy, SB and I made it over to Mr. I's place. He already had quite a few people there in his 2-floor apartment. And he basically stayed in his kitchen all night cooking up his trademark goodies. I would've felt badly for him (in between bites of his chicken wings, French fare, and other stuff) except that I know he really likes to stir and slice. Considering my growing dislike of parties, I actually did enjoy myself since the folks there were pretty open and friendly. In fact, I may have started yet another future excursion to that first stop on MB's epic burger tour: Baker's Bounce in Sangenjaya. I may be dragging three young ladies, and perhaps even Skippy there early next month. One of the new faces there is apparently a huge fan of US pop culture which includes the culinary fare. One of the other new ladies I met there was a rather unique young lady: petite, button-down and conservative in dress but I could sense there was something more lurking underneath her staid exterior. In any case, Speedy told me that she could rival even me for large amounts ingested. I could surmise that she has a black hole as a stomach. And so, I've recruited her for the second trip to Baker's Bounce. I stayed there until about 10:30 after the World Cup game between England and Paraguay had been under way for half an hour and then made my way back home.

Speaking of the World Cup, I have a feeling that there will be some bleary eyes and yawning faces at work tomorrow for the Tokyoites since Team Japan led by former WC champion himself, Zico, will be going up against the Aussies at 10 tonight local time. Well, at least, the game won't be starting at 1 or 2 a.m. I'm not sure how far Nakata and the rest of the team will fare this time around but I figure if they can make it into the top 16, it won't be a loss. Speaking of Nakata, apparently the supposedly coolest Japanese soccer player will be staying in a swanky suite room in a hotel instead of deigning to bunk with his teammates. I'm sure morale must be great.

Sunday was one of my rare days with no classes whatsoever. I met The Madame at JR Shinjuku and had some lunch before the movie. She's now showing a few cracks in her armour when it comes to her status as 21st-century out-of-body spiritualist; she said that she'd like to come back to Earth and just be a regular housewife someday. Will ones never cease?

"Poseidon" was just one of those harmless blockbusters masquerading as a Chinese dinner. After an hour, you won't need to remember it. It copied some aspects of the old version with Gene Hackman in terms of death scenes and characters, as well as movies like "Armageddon" and "Titanic". Kinda hard to believe that Kurt Russell is now playing fathers of adult women, since I used to remember him as the go-to teen in those throwaway Disney comedies or as Little Tarzan in an episode of "Gilligan's Island". Come to think of it, it's hard to believe Richard Dreyfuss as the old guy. Relentless pacing and mayhem must have been the two catchphrases during the direction of the movie. Things were going at pretty frenetic speed since a couple of potential sources for friction amongst the survivors were swept aside like the ship after the wave hit.

The trailers before "Poseidon" were interesting. The one for James Bond caught me off-guard. It started off rather quietly before the famous theme song came on. I'm still not quite sure what to make of the new guy. And then there was the new one for "Superman Returns". After that great fan-made one on the Net, the official one doesn't seem to do the movie justice.

Afterwards, Skippy met up with us and the three of us headed to a Vietnamese place for dinner. It was the usual fare of Fresh Spring Rolls and Pho. Since both ladies are into the spiritual cause, a lot of the conversation focused on that. And after Skippy had all of us do a special cellphone-based fortune telling, she discovered that all three of us shared a lot of things (no snickering, please). As usual, Skippy was always keeping her mind rolling for new things to do with us. It looks like this Saturday will be a go for this trip to Shimokitazawa, and then she wants to have her second otaku tour in Ikebukuro in early July.

After all the hijinks this weekend, I called up Mom. Apparently, Grandpa may be ailing a bit so if he sinks further, she may come here a bit earlier than scheduled. But I'm hoping that it'll be later in the year so that both she and Dad can come over.

Well, in any case, time is just about up for me here. So time to go home and have a very rare Monday night dinner in my apartment.