Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thursday September 21, 3:50 p.m.

Another stint at the Ai-Cafe in Akiba. It's been a quiet day so far since the Eggs are off in Sendai for another day. I used the time to clean up the place a bit and plan for B2's lesson tonight. Treated myself to lunch at the station tonkatsu joint. Not surprisingly, I ended up taking a nap on the subway over here. Speaking of deep-fried pork cutlet, I've been wondering if I'll be able to take the Eggs for one last dinner to that smash hit of a tonkatsu restaurant, Kimukatsu, in Ginza on Saturday. The place is pretty popular and they don't seem to take reservations. And unfortunately, we can't pull off Skippy's technique of having the staff call us on a cellphone since none of us have one. In any case, the pair will be back sometime during my daylong odyssey of teaching tomorrow so perhaps they can just try the place out by themselves.

Yup, my Friday starts and ends at the juku. I've got the juku boss for two hours first thing, followed by 002, and then The OL/UL combo in Ichigaya before I finally finish up with The Salaryman. I'll make the money but I won't be in any shape to use it. And I've got The Younger and her mother on Saturday morning. Luckily, The Younger is still (barely now) the more willing of the two sisters to ingest my lesson, and the mother is always good to go with an article.

Whoever said that the Japanese live in rabbit hutches certainly hasn't been here recently. I was looking through some apartment/condo guide yesterday that I'd picked up in Otemachi. There are some pretty swanky....pretty huge...units up for grabs all over The Big Sushi. I'd say the folks who live in these palaces could fit whole units of rabbit hutches. I'm talking about apartments starting from 75 square metres: tons of rooms, huge living/dining and system kitchen. Mind you, the costs are also rather dear. I don't think I would ever see an English teacher living there.

Looks like Dubya and his country were getting blasted out of the UN verbally by the current Two Bad Boys from Iran and Venezuela. The latter president was especially blistering; talking more like Al Capone. However, these guys' predecessors, Castro and Khaddafy, have pretty much gone the way of the dinosaur...the latter guy getting cut to size in no uncertain terms by Ronald Reagan via some bombing raids.
Wednesday September 20, 9:42 p.m.

Well, got through the two classes. Naturally, 001 was the more jovial of the two. As I said, she and her two cronies had a rollicking time at an onsen in Yamagata Prefecture. Paid 30,000 each for the privilege of sipping from a barrel of sake right by the tub and get some of that Yamagata Beef. It also included the Bullet Train fare so I guess it is rather reasonable but Speedy and I agreed that it would be a while before either of us would try anything that ambitious. As for 007, he was very studious and button-down but it'll be a long process.

Speedy informed me that it looks like I've got a customer for this comatose video thingie that I had the unfortunate opportunity to come up with months ago. For the last few of those classes, it's just been a chance for The Ramen Lady to come over and chit-chat with me. Now, at least for this session, I'll actually have to show an episode of "Friends"...something that neither The Ramen Lady nor I have been great fans of. Well, at least, it'll probably be a one-off.

It was a week late in coming but last weekend was Super Drama TV's chance to pay homage to the 40th anniversary of "Star Trek". Saturday was the day to show the 15 most favourite episodes of Trek Classic ("City on the Edge of Forever" was the top ep, to no one's surprise) followed by Sunday's showing of half of the 4th season of "Enterprise" along with some documentaries on William Shatner and a rather bizarre dialogue between an aging Shatner and Leonard Nimoy. It was all so very pleasant...of course, the 75-minute lovefest was produced by Shatner himself. Then the holiday Monday had the 2nd half of said 4th season. I caught a bit of the new remastered Trek Classic episodes with the improved visual effects at Star Hm...sounds promising.

I hear that Brad Pitt might take over the "Mission: Impossible" franchise since the Cruise ouster. Yeah, well....if you belive that now, I've got some Everglades property to sell you. Mind you, at least with Brad Pitt coming aboard, you know who he's gonna choose to be his Cinnamon Carter. Angelina Jolie sounds like a perfect character name for the IMF.

I almost forgot to mention that US beef is back in Tokyo again after that kerfuffle with BSE and inspections. But the Tsukiji branch of beef bowl franchise, Yoshinoya, is the only one to serve US beef full time. The other stores have just been given occasional status. So, all of the salarymen and starving students can now rush back to have their favourite mix of incredibly fatty gyu on rice. In related news, the incidence of death by cholesterol has gone up...

Time to go home...
Wednesday September 20, 5:20 p.m.

Well, it's been a while...about a week, I dare reckon. Like any other week, it's had its share of ups and downs. First, the downs...both of them professionally. Last week's model lessons were a split. Ironically, it was the one for which I'd planned over a few days that was the big failure. For that one, I kinda felt like the USAF plane after it had accidentally bombed the Chinese embassy during the Serb War...I had faulty intelligence. I had been told that the student in question had a better speaking ability when it turned out to be quite the opposite. In other words, that one hour was a test in pain and flop sweat. Not surprisingly, she canned the second model lesson. I wasn't too happy about that. Speedy tried to allay my frustration but unfortunately he has a bit of a tendency to make anything sound backhanded at times. However, the first ML was a homer out of the park; I just pulled out one of my own readymade lessons. The second downer was having to teach a couple of kids last night at the juku in place of the usual kids' teacher. The juku boss neglected to tell me a couple of key being that the mother always sat in on the class. Another kilogram lost unnecessarily. I held my gorge in although I did tell her that I wasn't too happy about how things developed; she felt suitably bad about it. Sometimes, she can be a real scatterbrain. Let's say this...I wouldn't be too kindly inclined if today were "Be Kind to Your Boss Day".

Between those two exercises in futility, The Egg and his wife came into town. Last Thursday, I went all the way to Narita's Terminal 1. Not surprisingly, AC001 was delayed by about an hour so I had time to check out the new mall sandwiched between the two wings. Yes, it looked like any one of those shiny shopping emporiums that have now liberally sprinkled themselves all over the Kanto. I saw a Thai restaurant, a ramen eatery and a conveyor belt sushi place along with the usual McD's and a Tsutaya bookstore. Not a bad thing to have while waiting for that flight.

When the Egg and Mrs. Egg finally came through the Customs barrier, it looked like the former gained some more yolk. Such is the passing of age. To rationalize it, there's more of us to love. For the past few days, it's been alternately getting on with my regular life and getting used to having two roomies. Strangely enough, it hasn't been too bad bunking on my sofa. I haven't had the usual backaches.

Right now, both Eggs are out of town. Off in Sendai to meet the in-laws. So I have my own place again for at least a couple of days. Then, my friends come back for two more nights at the Hotel H before taking off for The Great White North on Sunday. But in the meantime, I've got 001 and 007 tonight. 001 should be another funfest since she, 002 and the Baker had gone off on an onsen outing last weekend.

In the news, today is indeed Koizumi's last day as President...of the Liberal Democratic Party, that is. It should be a cakewalk for Shinzo Abe; even the media hasn't been too hyped up about the passing of the torch. Abe's accession to Prime Minister will be happening officially at the end of the month. I was reading in The Japan Times yesterday about Japan's No. 1 Elvis fan's legacy according to the international media. The best he could get was that he gave off a rock n' roll image. Otherwise, he was really just sizzle, no steak. And even Koizumi couldn't make it through his time as PM without an ewwwww moment...the one in which he was playing air guitar at Graceland in front of a bemused George Bush (Dubya must've secretly whooped it up at seeing someone else being called goofy for that week) and Presley clan. And here I thought that Koizumi's predecessor, Yoshiro Mori, took the cake when he had that cringeworthy conversation in English with Bill Clinton at the 2000 G8 Summit. Well, at least Koizumi had that rebel image (if only superficially); Abe just strikes me as being a cigar store Indian.

And of course, last Wednesday, the Imperial Household Agency proudly crowed the new name bestowed on the future heir to the Chrysanthemum Throne. The kid gets to be called Hisahito, which apparently means gentle. There was a bit of a hue and cry in the media since one of the hit singing duo, Yuzu, happens to have the exact same kanji as the little prince (though his name is pronounced differently). Also, the name can be said as "Yu-jin" which is analogous to the English "Eugene". So, when the prince eventually seeks higher education in an English-speaking country, he can invite his classmates to call him that. And his classmates can just paste the "Kick Me" sign on him as well.