Saturday, November 25, 2006

Sunday November 26, 2:03 p.m.

The holiday Thursday, Labour Thanksgiving, wasn't much of a holiday for me but at least my students were two of the good ones: The Polynesian and The Carolinan. The Polynesian had met MB the week before for the first time in a couple of years. MB was later to tell me that she'd broached him on the topic of doing some language exchange but he never heard back from her. So I gather that some of the flightiness of her past self was still there. In any case, there has already been a slight change in plans between us. Poly got herself a full-time job at an accounting firm in Shibuya starting from December so it looks like she'll be sharing the same day with the kids since they all live in the same neighbourhood.

As for The Carolinan, it looks like the Tully's not too far away from Ichigaya Station may become the new base of operations for at least some of my lessons. I met her at the station and brought her in. Since Ichigaya is a commercial area, the holiday meant that the basement of Tully's was barely occupied so it wasn't too difficult setting up a lesson there although the interior reminds me of something of an underground laundromat. As for the old Tea Room, strangely enough I took a walk past my late haunt before meeting up with The Carolinan. The place still had all of its furnishings despite the fact that it had closed its doors for good a couple of weeks ago.

Friday was back to a fairly full schedule. I met up with 002 and then scooted over to Otemachi where I was to meet another Tea Room refugee, The UL. She picked out Cafe Croissant (love the name) in the Asahi Seimei Building since Otemachi was central for both of us. However, the place was obviously a smokelovers' paradise and so my jacket just absorbed the smoke like a desperate nicotine freak during withdrawal. Cafe Croissant was more like Cafe Emphysema. What complicated matters was that The UL was dead tired; she couldn't even absorb a bit of English (although I'm sure her clothes could pick up the smoke). We're gonna give Cafe Croissant another shakedown next Friday but I did see another Tully's down the corridor along with other choices. No smokeless Starbucks though. I then went to my last class of the evening at the juku where I was to teach The Ace. I also had to contend with the boss' choice of sub teacher on Saturdays. Since I'll be heading back to The Great White North next month, the boss wanted to get a teacher to do a couple of those classes that otherwise the students would be short on in December. I'm a bit sensitive on the matter. Of course, there is the natural overprotectiveness that a teacher gets when an interloper comes in. But I'm also a bit worried about Mrs. Mild who's just a bit overly nervous with new faces. However, I've been in e-mail contact with the guy so I'm giving him as much ammo as I can when he does his first session with them next weekend.

Saturday was my biweekly session with Tully and The Coffeemaker. Hmmmm....I think things are going fairly well with them but I was wondering if Tully wanted something a bit more leaning on the business side of things. So next time, I'll bring over the telephone conversations. Then it was off to Speedy's to take care of The Ramen Lady and that new EIC student. The Ramen Lady was her usual jovial self but I think she was fading out near the end. As for the EIC student....well, she should be going through her first class with Mr. Influence at the school right now...not sure how she's doing.

I sped off back home last night to meet MB and The Satyr for our final DVD outing at my place for the year. We did our usual Domino's dinner. The menu for our eyes was: "Transporter 2", "Nightwatch" and "After the Sunset".

"Nightwatch" was that surprise hit movie from Russia a few years ago about these two sides representing Light and Dark battling it out over and under Moscow. It had garnered quite a bit of attention since not only was it an effects-heavy movie from the land of Lenin and former Communism but it wasn't a movie about the glory of totalitarianism and tractors. The three of us thought it was somewhat overrated, though. The story had a lot of potential but the execution kinda lacked. We kinda did double takes a few times at some of the twists and turns in the plot and just shrugged that it must be a Russian thing.

"Transporter 2" was (or should've been) a straight-to-DVD feature. I could hear the Career Freefall Warning Siren for Jason Statham after watching this overly CG-stunted flick. It just seemed to emulate Denzel Washington's "Man On Fire" a little too closely with worse acting and stunts. As for the stunt casting of 80s relic Matthew Modine, I think his Career Freefall Warning Siren exploded from overuse.

"After The Sunset" was by far the best of the 3 which made me feel a bit bad for The Satyr since he had to run for his final train back home halfway through this flick. Pierce "post-Bond" Brosnan made a good foil for Woody from "Cheers". Some good laughs, sunshiny locales and Selma Hayek lifted this movie considerably.

MB did his usual sleepover but we had to actually race out of the apartment fairly early this morning since I did have the kids today. We went over to the Skylark near the station. I hadn't been to the family restaurant for breakfast in years although MB and I have made a fair number of lunch visits on Sundays. There was no more breakfast buffet like back in the old days but we still had our access to the drink bar. We had our umpteeth talk on what was right and wrong about "Superman" and "X-Men 3". As I'd predicted, "X-Men 4" is on the board.

I'm sure MB and Frodo are somewhere not too far away in Akiba since MB said that he was supposed to be meeting his compadre for some software shopping. As for me, I'll soon be heading home to make some dinner and then getting ready for the week's lessons.

I just have to finish off this entry with talk on an "Untouchables" episode that I'd caught last week. As I've mentioned before, the Robert Stack series is now showing its overall inferior 4th season. The show was actually the one that had started off the final season, "The Night They Killed Santa Claus". When I saw this title, I just thought that it would be the cutesy/comic show with plenty of schmaltz. Boy, was I wrong! Folks who are looking to get as far away as possible from the saccharine-sweet stuff of "White Christmas", "It's A Wonderful Life" and "A Christmas Carol" should watch this show as a very ice-cold bracer. It is almost unbearably bleak and shows a very helpless Eliot Ness. In the ep, Ness' men look at him mopingly for being torn away from their Xmas' dinners, all of the characters' are just plain losers or evil sociopaths, and the guy in the Santa outift who was supposedly a kindly ol' buddy of Ness' posthumously turns out to be just as bad as the rest of them much to Ness' shock. Heck, not only do the last few minutes of the unrelenting gloom show the main villain just laugh and laugh at Ness as he gets off the hook but maybe there were tears filling up in Ness' eyes as he drove the thug away to the police fully knowing that the bad guy would get away with the murder of Santa. The episode took place in 1929...early in The Untouchables days, so it kinda served as the glimpse of how Ness became such a hard man. It was even reminiscent of the early scenes of Brian DePalma's "The Untouchables" in which Kevin Costner's naive Eliot Ness majorly screws up a raid before Sean Connery takes him under his wing.

Well, on that note....

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wednesday November 22, 4:53 p.m.

Quite at the ol' Speedy corral. Looks like the school is only gonna have 007 tonight so Speedy's hoping that once he's out of here, we're all out of here. Then again, he's done a dotyakan about an hour before showtime so we may be out even sooner.

Earlier in the day, I met up with The Anime Chamberlain for yet another buffet...this time, right by the main intersection in Ginza, known as 4-chome. We went to The Siam, a Thai restaurant up on the 8th floor of one of the buildings. There was a huge gaggle of middle-aged women lining up at the elevator. But I didn't have any qualms that they were invading our space. They were all going for some wa-fu eatery on either the 4th or 5th floor. It had been several years since I've been to The Siam; actually, today was just my second visit there. My first time there was with Betty Boop and a couple of other former students. I enjoyed the buffet there but for some reason, I'd never got the opportunity to head there again until today. Since The Chamberlain and I got there at just a few minutes past 11:30, we were pretty much the first ones to hit the trays and fill them up with Green Curry, Pad Thai and Tom Yan Kung. It was all suitably spicy and by the time our first hour came and went, the restaurant filled up to the rafters. I realized that The Siam wasn't just for the salaried drones of the surrounding companies since it stayed packed beyond 1 p.m. Once again, my eating companion mentioned that the Thai food here was a little unlike the stuff back in Toronto's Thai restaurants but that's no surprise. Pretty much any culinary import here gets the Japanese twist.

Speaking of food, MB has also started the planning for the next and last burger outing of the year in Kasumigaseki, strangely enough, the central business district in town. Looks like he, The Sylph, The Satyr and I will be game. I haven't heard anything from Skippy and of course, The Madame politely declined the invitation. She will be meeting me the next day for something easier on her delicate palate.

I got those photos finally developed yesterday. The one at that tarento's house came out pretty well. She actually looks fairly pretty outside of the small screen; on it, her trade du guerre is to distort it as much as possible to make people laugh. I also found out why she had re-scheduled my presence there from last Sunday to last I was having my dinner on Sunday in front of the tube, there she was live on a cooking program trying out the latest foodstuffs with her fellow panelists.

Well, I reached another musical milestone recently. After years and years of searching, those nice folks at MySpace gave Chas Jankel his own forum and there I found and heard the legendary "Questionnaire". Better yet, it looks like the singer has released a disc of his best hits. Hopefully, I may be able to find that somewhere here before I head back to The Great White North. Still haven't come across the weird video which accompanies the song but I'm sure that'll be just a matter of time.

I had The New Yorker this afternoon after my Thai binge. This time, instead of going to the noisy Starbucks over Ichigaya Station, the two of us opted for To The Herbs, an Italian place across from the cafe. I had to wonder again why she has lasted this long with me. After 18 months of steady teaching (she's yet to cancel a class), she's still low and slow. I've got her sister might be To The Herbs also or I may just drag her to the nearby Tully's.

Looks like that Seinfeld curse can truly be malignant. Michael "Kramer" Richards' career has taken an even steeper nosedive than those of his former comrades, Jason Alexander and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I saw that really squirmy piece of film of him going into racist stage rage after some hecklers got under one layer of his skin too many. To his credit, he did apologize live on "The Late Show" but considering the content of his rage and the country he went ballistic in, he may just as well end up only doing KKK gigs.

Well, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in America and Labour Thanksgiving Day in Japan. Both places will be offering places to serve turkey although I won't be frequenting any of them. Plus, I do have my two lessons tomorrow. At this stage, I need all the cash I can get before I head on home.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday November 20, 10:32 p.m.

Had a bit of a surprise with The Part-Timer when we tried to enter that cafe...our supposed new base of operations...and we couldn't. Speedy was even more surprised when we came back up like lost puppies looking for a home. Well, at least for tonight, we were able to use the confines of the school one more time. Speedy later found out that the cafe is indeed closed on Mondays. Back to the search again...

008 was her usual happy-go-lucky self. We had a good round of chat and found out that we do share the same experiences...ahhh..if only I wasn't her teacher. Still, I think she's already got a beau in any case.

Got a message from The Anime King. He's now safe and sound in Taiwan...provided there's no imminent coup. I'll be meeting his cohort, The Anime Chamberlain, for another round of buffet on Wednesday. It'll have to be a shorter jaunt though since I've gotta teach The New Yorker later in the day. However, it may be a very short day. 001 is off this week and I found out that that temporary student heading off for Australia won't be on my schedule. And 007 has been rather scarce of late.

The Madame contacted me to see if I were open for an afternoon but I told her that I've got my Saturday classes here at Speedy's and then there's the final DVD outing with MB. Looks like it'll be either the 3rd or 10th.

Time to head on home....
Monday November 20, 5:28 p.m.

Gonna have to be typing this at a slightly more accelerated rate since I gotta go pick up The Part-Timer at the subway to lead her to our new "classroom".

The weather has been another wet one. I got a reprieve this morning when the clouds decided to dry up. My sneakers (more like overdressed sandals now) were grateful but I think the raindrops have started to fall again according to what I'm hearing out of the window.

I had my regular Monday sessions with The Class Act and SIL. The Class Act was once again on gab mode...this time on art. The Lady had just purchased some rather ancient Chinese artifacts and was showing them off. I can believe that she had the moxie and the money to pull this off. She also mentioned that she has a Picasso somewhere in the house...figures. She asked me about my artistic tastes. I don't really have any so I just went with who I knew from my trips to The Art Gallery of Ontario as a lad....Henry Moore. The Lady was quite satisfied with my answer; apparently, Moore has a cult following here, too. As for SIL...well, let's say it wasn't one of our more prolific sessions. She rejected my article on the TomKat wedding although she asked if she could take it home for further perusal. When a teacher finishes up a class with a talk on vomit, it's a pretty dire class. I noticed that although SIL said that she would be available next week, she also landed a caveat that she would tell me if there could be no session. Not a good sign.

I'm still having my Desilu mornings on Super Drama TV. "The Untouchables" is in its fourth and final season while "Mission: Impossible" has entered the Leonard Nimoy years. Both transitions have shown that the shows have "jumped the shark". Robert Stack's magnum opus is no longer all that watchable although this morning's episode, "Blues for a Dead Goose" was a step back to the old days, thanks to the film noirish antihero played by a young Robert Duvall. However, it's evident that Ness and the boys were now taking a back seat; Hobson and the rest of the Untouchables hardly have any lines at all. As for "Mission: Impossible" without Martin Landau and Barbara Bain....well, let's say that Nimoy himself has admitted that even he doesn't remember too much about his time there.

Well, as TomKat have given their Scientology nuptials in Italy, I was given some rather interesting news about weddings on the local scene. Actress/model/pneumatic beauty Norika Fujiwara has announced her engagement to some popular comedian...not the usual company president or handsome thespian or baseball player. I'm sure while Fujiwara is stating that she feels like the luckiest woman in the world, the guy, and many other guys, must be saying that he feels like the luckiest bastard.

I did forget to mention that The Engineer called up past midnight (so of course, I wasn't answering the phone) to ask about my availability during Xmas vacation. He needn't have done it since he had already asked about it via e-mail some weeks ago. Maybe he needed someone to talk to.