Thursday, November 30, 2006

Friday December 1, 4:54 p.m.

Well, here we are...the first day of the final month. It's suitably cold and gloomy out there. Just waiting for that first flake of snow to wreck up the JR.

Yesterday, on the final day of the penultimate month, I was heading toward Kinokuniya Books in Takashimaya Times Square. As I went up the escalator, I saw the horizon of the big building across the tracks looming up in front of me when a building also rose up in front of my eyes. It had been an Italian restaurant until it closed down some months ago. But now, I could've had the theme from "2001: A Space Odyssey" as BGM since the restaurant's replacement will be none other than...Japan's first Krispy Kreme franchise! A ripple shook through me as I saw this vision of loveliness surrounded by construction workers. After months of speculation, the rumours are now truth...if they build it, it will come. However, I have my doubts that it'll arrive by the end of the year. The future donut emporium still looks very unfinished. But it'll only be a matter of time before we have yet another excuse to endanger our cholesterol levels.

Of course, I told this info to B2 and B2B later that night. B2 confided to me that as a member of the grand Mixi conference, she's part of the Krispy Kreme community. I couldn't imagine what these guys would talk about, but she said that a lot of the chitchat (or chewchat) was wondering aloud about when oh when the first shop would alight on these shores. The news certainly helped the lesson last night, that's for sure.

Before the lesson at the Mitsukoshimae Starbucks, I was browsing around the area for a dinner place. I'd already had my weekly dose of McD's so I eschewed another visit at the Golden Arches and Freshness Burger for that matter, but I did come across this small sandwich shop called Intermezzo. The sandwiches looked fairly big although they didn't approach the Subway level of things. The place looked rather deserted but during the course of my chicken katsusando dinner, I noticed that a few dour-looking suits came in and out. The lone master of the shop also had that well-weathered look. Although I was able to stay and finish my meal with little problem, I did feel slightly out of place. I realized that the shop was mostly for the middle manager types. There was none of that manufactured politeness that all of the main coffee chains' staff get indoctrinated in.

The Anime King is still enjoying his otaku life in Tokyo. He actually called up the ol' President, my former employer for 2 years. And I even had a few words with him. Looks like I'll be meeting him for lunch along with The King...and perhaps the Chamberlain, tomorrow before I head over to Speedy's to do that last of three with the EIC student.

My "lesson" with the juku boss turned out to be a bit more serious than normal. We both commiserated about how lousy 2006 was for us. However, the boss had the worse of the deal with not only financial problems but also some personal problems as well. I also found out for the first time that she's a batsu-ichi...a divorcee. Looks like her first hubby was a bit of a philandering creep. Amazing how the woman still keeps her cheer. Although I didn't feel any better about my situation, at least I know I'm not alone.

I'm now here at the Otemachi Kinko's writing this after having a good spicy soup at Com Pho and then picking a new text for the UL, whom I'll see in about 2 hours. I'll be heading over to our new base of operations at Cafe Croissant.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wednesday November 29, 9:31 p.m.

Yup, the classes went pretty well. 001 was her usual giddy self. And 007 was his usual button-down self. But most likely next week will be my final week at Speedy's before heading back home for the Holidays since both students will be away...which may benefit me in that I can get some last-minute holiday shopping done. However, my pocketbook will be hurting me some.

Looks like the staff revolving door is starting to turn once again. We're gonna be losing one staffer who'd been here for several months, and our cute one will be taking off once she graduates from college next March. But I got the glimpse of the incoming help. She's apparently more Western than Japanese despite her roots; Speedy claims that she's just like us folks..native-level fluency. Well, it'll be nice gabbing with someone once again.

Anyways, time to close up shop...

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Wednesday November 29, 4:37 p.m.

Well, the Anime King has arrived. The pickup was as smooth as a baby's bottom. Between The Beehive and the juku classes, I got him at Keisei Funabashi and just took him back home. After about 10 minutes of chitchat, we both got on our respective ways....I to my lessons, while The King went off to meet the Anime Chamberlain and the Anime Duke in Akihabara. My lessons came off well as usual but I'm still wondering about this Saturday guy who will be teaching them.

This morning, the Anime King and I went off to Ikebukuro. By sheer coincidence, we saw the Chamberlain walking on the right Otemachi Station platform. The Duke was somewhat late at our rendezvous point in front of the Animate Store across from the Sunshine 60 Building. It didn't matter...we got to Namjatown and the Gyoza Museum without seeing the huge crowds. It's always good to bring a group to this place; it's just like going to dim sum, you need the numbers to sample all of the different kinds of dumplings. The only down side is that everytime you order, you have to wait around for 10 minutes for the stuff to cook up. Well, at least they are dekitate (freshly made). The four of us then took a look through Ice Cream City and the Cheesecake Exhibition. Unfortunately, my compadres don't have huge sweet teeth so we didn't bother with dessert. At least, we saved ourselves some empty calories. We also passed by Riraku no Mori, the massage oasis in the centre of all that food emporia. However, I wasn't going to douse my masseuse with garlic so we left the building.

The Duke was looking for this liquor store nearby which had this rare commemorative bottle of sake; it was a longshot and sure enough, a local when asked replied that the store had been long gone. So, instead we turned our attentions back to Animate where the Duke assuaged his disappointment by buying a whole ton of anime goods. Gotta admit, though, that some of the goods were just bordering on porn...yeesh.

Then, I further entered the world of otaku-dom when we went to this game centre across from Tokyu Hands. At the top of the building was this ode to the legendary anime, "Sakura Taisen", one of the classic examples of steampunk with lovely lady warriors before going down one floor to the game floor where the Anime Duke heartily started this game called Idolmaster in which he becomes the Svengali for a digital aidoru. At that point, I decided to take my leave and head for Speedy's.

I've got 001 and then 007 for their two. Tomorrow should be another busy day especially since I'll be doing another multiple crosstown commute to see The Polynesian, then 002 and finally B2 and B2B.

Well, I finally paid off the balance for my Air Canada ticket. It's just dread doing the deed but when it's done you feel somewhat better for it. Mind you, I've got some more dry heaves coming up since I still have that tax payment and the monthly NHI premium to take care of as well.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Monday November 27, 5:02 p.m.

Another gray wet cold November day. Yep, it's definitely starting to look more like Xmas in Tokyo. Pretty lucky that the major rains have so far been restricted to the overnight hours.

So far, so good on the classes today. The Class Act and SIL were up to speed. In between lessons, I went to Tower Records and finally put my filled point card to use and bought a couple of discs, both of a Yuletide nature. One is J-diva Ayaka Hirahara's cover of "My Christmas List"; if there's anyone who could pull it off, it would be her. The other is just a compilation of J-Xmas songs...yep, Japan has had a long history of its own musical tributes to the Xmas season along with covers of the classics. I'm not surprised...considering how in thrall Japanese audiences are with the AOR genre, Xmas songs are a cinch here.

In about an hour, I've got The Part-Timer. I got lucky again. One of Speedy's students canned so I've got my old room here to teach her in. Then, it's 008. Should be OK.

Tomorrow could be interesting. Between The Beehive and the juku classes, I have to wait for The Anime King's arrival...which means I've gotta get the hotel all gussied up. I'm hoping that the guy does arrive in good time but I've already put in the requisite checks and balances with him so if something bad does happen, I can still make it to the juku, guilt-free.

Glad to see that Nancy Grace(less) is getting a bit of comeuppance from that lawsuit thrown against her. I'm also thankful that since she got her own show months ago, CNNj hasn't had to show her to us here in Japan. Although I don't think the suit will go anywhere (it would set a deadly precedent on all journalists), Grace is now duly warned.

Well, back to dinner...