Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Wednesday August 9, 5:04 p.m.

It's been a rough time for my sleep over the past few weeks. For one thing, my midnights are often spent on "The Cartoon Network" catching the episodes of the latest incarnation of The Caped Crusader, "The Batman". Nothing ages one more when one realizes that this is the 4th or 5th version of a superhero one's seen on TV. "The Batman" is a straight takeoff from the latest Batman movie "Batman Begins" with a younger, funkier Bruce Wayne and an Alfred Pennyworth who's a lot more engaged in his employer's exploits. Then, there is the rather eerie theme song by The Edge. I can just see the fanboys on the forums debating this Batman show with the previous, more gothic version spun from the Michael Keaton movie. Discuss.

Then, there's the fact that my mornings start from 7 a.m. on Super Drama TV with the old episodes of "The Untouchables" and "Mission: Impossible". Mind you, it doesn't help that it's just too hot and uncomfortable in my bedroom right now. And the piece de resistance of my TV mania is that "The West Wing" is just flying all over the schedule on a nearly daily basis. Yup, the channel is still showing the 2nd season; each ep of the week is rerun 4 or 5 times a week, just to make sure that none of us miss out on seeing ol' Mrs. Landingham again. To think, we're another 5 years away from seeing Princess Leia's father become the next President...and Hawkeye Pierce become the Secretary of State.

Not sure what I'm gonna do tomorrow. I've got 002 in the morning at her apartment but then that's it. I'll be done by noon. Money is gonna be tight this month but I've never really gone through the Makuhari Messe convention area before. Most likely I'll bite the bullet and head on over....when it comes between money and an infrequent opportunity to see or experience something new, I usually choose the latter.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Wednesday August 9, 3:05 p.m.

Just recovering from the onslaught of Typhoon No. 7 today. Actually, it wasn't too bad. There was plenty of rain but no wind. It was the first deaf-mute typhoon I've ever come across. So, the noise levels were low along with the temps which is always a welcome thing.

Yesterday was probably the busiest day of the week for me. I had The Sisters of State back-to-back before the juku classes. The New Yorker is still struggling mightily along in the mysteries of Simple Past; her sister, The Carolinan, is still doing pretty well, though. My juku classes were down by one. Seven took a day off, presumably to enjoy some quality time with her beau at a fireworks festival. However, I did have The Frenchman, The Milds and The Siberian. The last guy actually got into a good conversational groove with me for the 90 minutes considering last week's teeth-pulling hour.

Today, I just have 001 at Speedy's. Looks like 007 is gonna be a perpetual scratch. That massive influx of admin staff is already showing signs of attrition. That one portly lady has decided to fly the coop after discovering that she's just not getting the hang of computers. A pity, since out of the entire group, she seems to be the closest to a professional secretary in demeanor. However, Speedy tells me that the other three are coming along nicely. I'm gonna try to get out of the school right after 001. Just wanna grab some dinner and go home.

I once again turned down another PH party invitation. She's planning some sort of BBQ on Saturday at her place. But I've got my classes at Speedy's and I think the weather is not gonna be too conducive for grilling outdoors anyways. Not that I would go in any weather in any event. I'm no longer into these huge parties.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Monday August 7, 4:17 p.m.

Well, that anorexic chihuahua I'd mentioned in one of my last entries last week to describe the dog days of summer has now reverted to its gargantuan Great Dane size. Yup, things have reached a certain equilibrium once more between the climates of Toronto and Tokyo. The former was at a more reasonable 28 C after a major heat wave the week before whereas we Tokyoites and expats are sweating profusely again at 35 C.

I guess this week is the start of my pseudo summer vacation. I say, "pseudo", since it isn't really by my choice. A lot of my regulars are on their real summer vacation which means that I don't have much choice in the matter. The Class Act are off in Hawaii once more while SIL is tending to her mother; even The Part-Timer is enjoying her time in Vancouver. I just have a special tonight....a young lady who'll be heading off to The Big Apple in a few days. I met her yesterday briefly while Speedy was waiting nervously for my true student, another EIC recruit, to show up. I'll just be doing a lot of final role-plays with her....not a really high student but there's no place like New York City to kick a tourist up to speed. I told her about some of the places I'd visited, and then I remembered good ol' Lindy's in Broadway...the home of the New York-style cheesecake. I definitely recommended it to the student. I also mentioned Egg Creams although it wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement. I think it's very much an acquired taste. In any case, I hope her visit there doesn't preclude any major tragedy such as mine...I was walking through NYC a couple of weeks before 9/11.

Speedy, his wife, and I caught "Pirates of the Caribbean 2" yesterday after our respective classes. We just hopped onto the Oedo Line and went up as far as Toshima-en...the site of the locally famous amusement park. There was also one of the more modern cineplexes there. As for Johnny Depp's latest, well....I guess it was OK. It was certainly better than the first one. Still, I thought it was lacking a certain something, and the Keith Richards-as-pirate act wore thin. But I was a bit surprised at the sudden act of treachery by one of the main characters but not at all surprised by the scene that was supposed to have been the shock cliffhanger ending. Well, I guess I should have my ticket ready for next year.

Afterwards, the three of us hopped onto the train again and headed to Higashi-Nakano and down Ginza Street (kinda hokey name but at least I can remember it...good for the commercial establishments there). The street was one of those narrow lanes which had a number of restaurants and small shops. Near the end of it was our eventual destination, a Korean restaurant called Insadong, named after the Asakusa-like area in Seoul. We hit paydirt with this place....we had some good bibimpap, kimchi and chijimi among other things, and the best part was that it was absolutely empty when we got there. Usually that would bode a bad tiding but in super-crowded Tokyo, we were very grateful.

Speedy and I talked a little about the return of pumpkin carving into public consciousness after a couple of years of dormancy. Apparently, The Baker had already beat me to the punch, thanks to an e-mail to him. I have to admit that Speedy didn't look too enthusiastic about it since any party would be a bit touchy in what is a residential, and not commercial, building. I reassured him that my thing had never been one of those wild parties. Then there was the concern about the mess...he's not quite ready to sacrifice his carpets to the eventual assault of pumpkin pulp and seeds. So it looks like any creation of Jack O'Lanterns will be strictly in the kitchen. Speedy said that he could make the announcement in the monthly newsletter but I think he needn't bother; with the small kitchen, I very much doubt that we could fit very many people there. A work in progress.