Friday, January 19, 2007

Saturday January 20, 1:52 p.m.

Had one of those almost-out-of-the-door cancellations. Just as I was about to take off for the kids, I got a call from The Polynesian stating that she had come down with a cold. So it was just the Younger and the father. I'm starting to get the impression that the Elder has finally had enough of me.

Pretty overcast and there may be a small chance of getting some snow here in the Kanto...just a slight sprinkling, mind you.

There may be some hope on the horizon in terms of job opportunities. The juku boss informed me that I could be seeing 1 or 2 new adult students and those two kids I did a demo lesson with on Tuesday may sign up....or at least, their mothers would. According to the boss, the mothers were impressed that I actually assigned homework.

Tomorrow, I meet The Madame for the first time in 2007. Probably more of her New Age talk.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Friday January 19, 1:40 p.m.

Saw B2 and B2B. Looks like the couple will be undergoing some changes in the next few months. Not only will B2B be dropping out (a pity in a way but makes my life easier in terms of teaching) but it looks like B2 will be moving out of B2B's place and making a place of her own not too far away from him. But the point is that B2 is still my student and I'll have to see how The Baker is gonna be able to have my lessons, if she can at all.

The UL cancelled her lesson today so I've only got Jolly and The Ace for their lessons at the juku tonight. Saves on commuting fare.

I seem to be in an industrious mood today. I aired out the futon, vacuumed the apartment and even decided to de-grout the kitchen fan filters. Guaranteed that mood won't last.

I used the last couple of gift certificates at Takashimaya to buy Jamirioquai's Best of CD. Here's an artist whom I've known about for more than a decade and yet never got around to buying. His stuff's got the type of groove I always liked...disco/R&B but it just slipped beneath my radar. Well, I finally got it and I think I made a good purchase. I was a bit surprised that "Virtual Insanity" was actually a condemnation of the circumstances bringing about Dolly The Sheep. Tells you how much I'm into lyrics.

Just some stuff from here: convenience stores finally got into the habit of selling raw fish. You would think that sashimi would've been de rigueur in places like Lawsons or 7-11 but nope; yesterday was the first day. Considering the taste of konbini sushi, though, I'm not holding much hope for sales.

Also, the Japanese Olympic Committee got Sen'ichi Hoshino to manage the Olympic baseball team going to the Beijing Games in 2008. Who he? Well, he's the archetype of the old-school coach from the Japanese leagues: a tough-as-nails guy who's been awarded one of those "Best Father in Japan" accolades by the folks who seem to love awarding celebs for anything like jeans or jewelry. He's appeared on TV commercials as his gruff self exhorting the meek to show some guts and buy insurance. As the award indicates, his style has got him respect from the locals but in the West, his draconian methods would probably get nearly jailed. I know that one sports columnist for The Japan Times, Marty Kuehnert, has labelled him a thug in a uniform. As for me, though I'm glad he's not directing me in anything, I think he would be the guy to lead a team who will be heading into the lion's den...filled with rabid lions. Considering how much the Japanese soccer team was hassled in a game over in China a couple of years back, the baseball team will need a fearless fellow like Hoshino at the front.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wednesday January 17, 5:33 p.m.

Well, another one of my quests has come to an end. A few months after finding and listening to Chaz Jankel's "Questionnaire" on the Net, I finally found the video for the legendary song on... YouTube, of course. Just finding lots of gems there recently. I think "Questionnaire" is one of those songs that just merits having a video paired with it. The video itself was made just on the very beginnings of the MTV era so there was definitely an "anything goes" feel to it: oddly quaint computer graphics, strobe light mouth organ and glow-in-the-dark Latin dancing. Match that up with a bouncy Cuban-type song about asking poll questions, and you've got a video classic. Certainly the responses to it on YouTube are agreeable. Now, I just gotta wait for the album itself to be re-released.

Also, I came across the Pet Shop Boys' "Flamboyant", another brilliant synth-pop piece by the fey lads, on YouTube. I would've thought that the accompanying video would've shown gorgeous supermodels traipsing down the catwalk but instead there is an inspired story of a Japanese salaryman dweeb finding his muse to get his colleagues to join him in a bizarro talent competition which really does exist on the wonderful world of Japanese TV. Pair that with intercut scenes of the Boys starring in great parodies of Japanese commercials and, voila, another classic of J-Pop culture.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Wednesday January 17, 4:23 p.m.

First not-so-decent day since I got back but it hasn't been raining during my time outside. Just overcast and the ground is still damp.

Looks like my wayward students have finally come out of the woodwork. Jolly did a sudden show-up last night despite even the juku boss, an up-with-people type, writing him off as an escapee. A combination of having left his cellphone back in his hometown and some e-mail problems was apparently the culprit but that didn't get him off the hook where the boss was concerned. She gave him a mild chewing-out for his absence. I played good cop and just let it slide. As for The Siberian, he did show up for his regular. I think it was the first time that I ever did a rerun...the two of us actually rehashed an older topic of discussion since the expressions "Oh, yes, you did talk about this before.." popped up more than once. In any case, he'll be absent next week.

And then B2 finally decided to respond to my hails. Well, I'll be seeing her and B2B tomorrow night as originally scheduled but in her message she said that B2B will be history. Again not a bad thing since he and she are so disparate in terms of speaking ability. I also hinted at her that it might be time to talk about what else she would like to do in future lessons. I'm glad that I held off and gave her a chance to get back to me since I was just about to send e-mail over to The Baker to offer biweekly Thursday nights.

I've only got 001 for her regular tonight. Planning to get back home as soon as I'm done with her. There's a recipe that I wanted to try with some Chinese BBQ sauce that has actually gone past its due date by 18 months. Always like a challenge...

Monday, January 15, 2007

Monday January 15, 5:10 p.m.

Halfway through the month already and into my first full week back. I had The Class Act for their first lesson of the year. The Lady enjoyed my souvenir in the form of a Lauren Harris calendar. For those not into art history, Lauren Harris was one of the legendary Group of Seven, that collective of Canadian artists from the 20s and 30s which included Tommy Thompson and Emily Carr. She did a bit of an analysis of the paintings in front of The Matron and myself...a bit art deco here, a bit French Impressionism there...I was just happy that she liked it. As for The Matron, I got her a calendar of cats since she's quite the purveyor of the felines. Not surprisingly, much of our 90 minutes consisted of talk on their holidays in Hawaii. I swear that I will never need to spend my cash on going there since I can live vicariously through them. The Matron's daughter seems to have found a new crush...David Bowie of all people. It would seem that the little one has a thing for tall, thin and pasty. I did my part by rattling off the movies that The Thin White Duke has appeared in.

SIL cancelled out of her lesson today so I had some time in Shibuya. I'd thought I would be able to merge my HMV point card with the one that The Egg had so kindly given me to get that 2,500 yen discount. Nope...verboten there. But the cashier took some pity on me and shaved a 1,000 off on my 2 CDs, both of them female, Canadian and jazz. I got Diana Krall's latest with her big band, and a disc of the best of Holly Cole. They'll probably be the last discs I get until my financial picture improves.

I'll be having my first with The Part-Timer within the hour. I may be able to bring her back here to Speedy's since it's gonna be a tad sparse tonight. And then, I get 008 back after almost 2 months away. Her structure wasn't all that stable before the long layoff...not quite sure what I'm gonna get tonight.

Yesterday, I had Tully and The Coffeemaker for their first. Worked out pretty well...had the entire basement of the cafe all to ourselves; nothing like a freelance English class to clear out the patrons. And then I rushed over to teach The Polynesian. Good there as well. And then I went out to Akiba where The Satyr met me. We did a bit of walking around on the main strip which was closed off so that all of the dancing and singing maids could congregate with their adoring geek fans. I actually took the lad up to the 5th floor of the Don Quixote Bldg where the very first Maid Cafe to be established was located. Just when I thought that the Maid Cafe boom was seeing its last lacy days, the floor was packed with yelling and stomping boys-with-no-life in front of a quintet of barely tuneful Maids. As we made our way through the sweaty crowd, The Satyr and I were exchanging some rather bemused looks. I think I saw a tongue poke through his cheek. After another several minutes of walking through the area, we ended up having dinner at a tonkatsu place (after the events of 002's party, I really needed my meat fix) up at the top of the Yodobashi Camera building. Of course, we gabbed on the latest movies and he gave me some advice on digital cameras.