Friday, March 16, 2007

Saturday March 17, 2:25 p.m.

Well, Tokyo finally got its first snowfall on Thursday morning. Yes...a snowflake was seeing staggering out of a Shibuya izakaya at 3 in the morning before collapsing and melting in an alley. Actually, it was a small flurry just around the morning rush hour. Of course, Chiba was spared all the excitement.

So, it was ironic on such a blustery day that Takafumi Horie, the flamboyant & wallbusting ex-CEO of Livedoor Inc., got his decision as to his fate: 2.5 years for securities fraud. The media wags were stating how unusual it was that the portly Horie (looks like he gained back some of that weight he had lost in his first stint in prison) didn't get anything suspended; at this point, he has to serve the whole 36 months. The customary thing is that a defrocked business magnate would get a suspended sentence on the judges hearing massive amounts of contrition (genuine or not). Well, Horie, true to form, never played that game. He always insisted on his innocence which probably made it easy for the trio of judges to throw the book at him hard. Some people would say that Horie got what he deserved for being so arrogant at the expense of investors who had ended up losing their entire life savings. On the other hand, some say that Horie was the nail who ended up getting whacked down deep into the wood for daring to shake up Japan Inc. Of course, Horie is appealing so the trek isn't over yet.

Friday was basically a free day for me. I only had The Ace at the juku late in the evening. The juku boss pleaded with me if she didn't have to see me off at the door since she just had to see the saishuukai (final episode) of "Hanayori Dango 2", one of the more popular of the winter season's crop of dramas. Then when I got home, there was a message from Skippy that she would call me back once she saw the end of "Hanayori Dango 2". I recollected that my two sisters were also pretty big on this show. So I just flipped on TBS at 11 p.m. and saw the Budokan filled to capacity with folks celebrating the hero and heroine confessing their love for each other in the centre of the world-famous Tokyo landmark, replete with confetti and the Wave going through the audience. Bleech! As soon as the ep was over and drank down some water to dilute some of the existential sugar, I called up Skippy. Sure enough, she was wiping away tears from the tender moments, and we got our plans together to catch "Happy Feet" on Sunday. Looks like we'll be trying out one of the new theatres in of those modern multiplexes just a little away from the south exit of the station.

As for me, my TV pleasure has been pretty much restricted to the late night stuff. I've mentioned it before...the variety shows after 11 have been much more entertaining to me than most of the prime time stuff (not that I can catch any of it due to work). I've recently discovered another couple of shows that have been catching my fancy. One is "Gekkou Ongakudan" (Moonlight Music Gang), basically a televised version of a girls' house party (it's not what you think) hosted by the irrepressible Becky, one of the increasing number of binational tarento, and her posse of former gravia idols (they're clothed, thank you very much). The other show is on Thursday nights called "Ame Talk" hosted by the latest comic duo to become ubiquitious on the airwaves, Ameagarikesshitai (geseundheit). The lads have a theme to their guests whether it be super fat tarento or celebs who are otaku about Gundam robots.

And of course, there is the granddaddy of late night shows, "Tamori Club", hosted by the Johnny Carson of Japanese TV, Kazuyoshi "Tamori" Morita. The ever-sunglassed fellow has had quite a surreal thing with "Tamori Club" over the many years that the show has been on. Last night's topic was the zither...yes, that's right...he had some rather famous tarento on the show trying their hand on the arcane instrument. I did find out that the zither was used for the theme of one of Orson Welles' movies, "The Third Man", a little ditty that is much more famous as the Ebisu Beer jingle. Along with the "Soramimi Hour" (actually barely 5 minutes) that has been getting lots of uploads on YouTube, Tamori has had a lot of out-there topics ranging from locomotive otakus doing show-and-tell to the more imaginative vibrators out on sale (I think the Disney-themed one with Mickey Mouse on the tip was a classic); I'm sure that topic got a lot of phone calls in....I don't think I've seen anything as racy on the show since then. And of course, there are the opening credits of dancing female butts in bikinis to "Who Wears Short Shorts?" Now, can even Letterman top that?

Ah, such is life....

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday March 15, 5:22 p.m.

Just finished the 2nd of 3 of EIC with that happy-go-lucky lass. Always nice to have that type of students to get through the hour. Now, from cooking English to job interview English with B2. We're down to just monthly sessions since she's no longer with her boyfriend/bank.

After her, I'm basically on my weekend. I only have The Ace late at night tomorrow at the juku and I've got bupkiss on Saturday so I'll be able to catch up on that rest.

I went over to The Siam at the main corner of Ginza this afternoon for my lunch buffet. Now that LAST has joined the The Farm Grill in that buffet in the sky, The Siam may become my all-you-can-eat-of-choice. But boy I think I overindulged in that one. I felt rather titanic downing all that tom yan kun and Thai Curry so I needed to head up to the outdoor lounge on the very top of Mitsukoshi to digest...and comprehensively use the facilities. After about a half-hour, I was sufficiently deflated to hop on the subway to Speedy's. There were the usual American tourists on the train taking in the sights. One of them decided to sit beside a couple of tiny elementary school girls in their uniforms. The tourists were just gawking at how cute their hats were so they took some pics of the guy and the girls. However, the girls weren't having any of that and stragetically placed their readers in front of their faces. When the tourists got off the train, the girls were whispering to each other in rather snarky tones about their perceived invasion of privacy. Ah...tis a wonderful thing to be a stealth gaijin in this city.

Well, off to Mitsukoshimae...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Wednesday March 14, 3:44 p.m.

Well, looks like I was rather wrong on "Heisei Manners" or "Heisei Sex Industry", Ringo Shena's album. Apparently, the album did debut at the No. 1 position on the Oricon charts although it's currently at No. 13. Still, I'm glad I was proved wrong.
Wednesday March 14, 2:55 p.m.

Pretty run-of-the-mill Tuesday. However, I got word from Mrs. Travel and Mrs. Perth that The Beehive and I will be ousted from our longtime classroom over the bowling alley as of May since the owners have new plans for the space. Well, the room has always been a bit more of an oversized equipment locker than a classroom anyways. Not quite sure where my flock will be headed...but if worse comes to worse, we can always use Perth's apartment.

By the way, Travel and Perth had a great time in Morocco a couple of weeks back. Their sleep habits were quite different but other than that, they did enjoy their time in the desert. On a somewhat more sinister note, my suspicions about some possible strained relationship between Mrs. London (whose stay with us will be temporary since she has to return to teaching foreigners as of April) and Mrs. Jade further deepened when one of the ladies said that Jade would return from April.

I took care of my taxes right after the lesson. Very efficient and fast. I was there for the grand total of 10 minutes. Mind you, a lot of bills quickly turned into coins.

The juku group was fine. I finally dispatched the last of my White Day the form of a bottled Kit Kat to Seven. I'm so glad that she's not the Godiva type. Jolly had his struggles with the TOEIC, and I think I tried to shove too much down the kids' throats.

Today, I've got my latest for EIC. I met her briefly a couple of days ago. She sounds pretty high so I may have to push the envelope for her. Then, I've got 001 as usual. It'll be a nice finish to the day but unfortunately, I've gotta finish those lesson plans under the wire to reap the full benefits of my curricula money.

Strangely enough, Michael Jackson is still in town....albeit only for another few hours. For the past few days, I assume, he's been safely ensconced in his hotel, after his last official event at Camp Zama, one of the American military bases near Tokyo. I can only wonder what the grunts must've thought seeing this fellow enter their domain. Even the morning wide show panelists were wondering aloud about Wacko Jacko deciding to put up stakes in Japan. The host of one of the shows just rolled his eyes and wished to move onto the next topic.

Skippy got back in touch concerning catching "Happy Feet" on Sunday. So far, it's the two of us but I did send MB mail. Most likely, he won't be catching it with us (I don't think he's really the dancing penguin type) but he and The Sylph are up for dinner.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Monday March 12, 9:22 p.m.

Well, after a flurry of scheduling negotiation with Speedy with all of these new students coming in and just lesson planning with my privates, I'm ready to head on home. Not sure if I'm gonna be in any shape to do any ironing by the time I get there, mind you.

Forgot to mention that I received reports from two different alumna of two different "generations" from the ol' school that The Coordinator has finally given up the ghost and quit the place. She and the rest of the muckety-mucks (emphasis on muck) never got along too well and I figured it was high time to fly the coop. The Coffeemaker first told me about it before I got the e-mail from Skippy later that afternoon. It's just like The Coordinator to send her farewell to just about everyone who had ever graduated.

Did another round of listening to Shena Ringo's latest, "Heisei Manners". Yup, really gotta hand it to her: swing, torch song, bossa nova, techno...she's got it all. Too bad that it hasn't done a thing on the Oricon charts. I guess it's just too adult a move for most of the listeners.
Monday March 12, 8:13 p.m.

Today was another seasonably cold day in The Big Sushi. I guess that balminess of a week and a half ago will be coming back at a more normal pace.

A pretty full day today. Everyone was back...The Class Act, SIL and The Part-Timer. Looks like I've become the nexus for Hawaii travelers. The Part-Timer and Tully just got back from their time in the sun and The Polynesian will be heading out at the end of the month. The Part-Timer gave me the requisite tribute in the form of salted macadamia nuts, and she's definitely smitten with The Aloha State.

Well, my underemployment blues seem to be receding in a hurry. Speedy has suddenly gotten pretty flush with model lessons for which I may be getting the lion's share. I had my second model lesson in five days and apparently she signed up despite my attempts to scare her out of the school...ah, well. Plus, I've got my newest in the form of The Cook after her model lesson on Thursday afternoon; that one was definitely a clicker. Glad she's on board but she's had to cancel her first official lesson due to of the things she's warned me about. A third model lesson scheduled for after 001 on Wednesday has also become a scratch. I met her briefly last week; she's quite the gabber, a very good sign. Speedy's assured me that both her and The Cook will come back. In fact, a blast from the past is also coming back....a lass whom I prepped for her trip to New York last summer has decided to sign up with us instead of renewing with her old school.

Yesterday after my lessons with the two teen sisters and The Polynesian, I met up with The Wild Thing again for the second consecutive Sunday. Last week it was Shinjuku....this week it was Akihabara. Unfortunately due to the rain, the street couldn't be closed off so that the wild n' wacky Maids and other costumed folks weren't out. I could only imagine what The Wild Thing would've said to that spectacle. Instead, we looked for a lunch haven from the wild n' wacky wind and rain. We found a burger joint in the UDX Building, one of the two monolithic towers that sprung up a year ago. Good Seattle burgers but we did wonder about the two cockroaches that popped out of the seats nearby; we'd thought about informing the staff but the arrival of two guys into that booth made the point moot.

One of the Wild Thing's biggest requests while he was back at home was that I look into Gundam figurines. Well, since he's here we decided to finally have him come face to face with his robotic heroes. I took him to one of the bigger stores (in terms of variety of goods not actual floor space...we were doing a lot of pushing through other customers) where he not only got to examine the merchandise but also came across some WWII model vehicles which are also a fancy with him. He was most definitely intrigued...I did bring him back down to Earth by mentioning his wife's name. There's nothing like a spouse to cool off any frivolous spending. BTW, his wife seems to be a bit of a nervous Nelly...he needed to check in with her as soon as he caught up with me.

Then we checked out the second floor of a huge building directly across from JR Akihabara Station, a place that was packed with different shops of character figures, import DVDs and other stuff. Looks like they already have "Babel" and "The Departed" selling there; "Babel" won't be showing up in the theatres for another 2 months. Kinda wonder if the government knows about this. Of course, we traipsed over to Yodobashi Akiba, the massive electronics department store. After looking at some of the wares there, we ended up drinking some tea at the Tully's nearby before going back up the elevator at Yodobashi and having our last meal at a tonkotsu ramen place. Ironically, The Wild Thing had been having some stomach trouble due to something that wasn't agreeing with him from breakfast...had to find the facilities pretty quickly twice during our walk. Still, he could down his thick soup of noodles. Double ironically, although I was good during my time with him, I was having some stomach woes of my own after getting home. Luckily, some of that wonder medicine I'd received some months ago from the kids' mother got me back as right as rain.

Skippy got back to me about catching "Happy Feet". Looks like this upcoming Sunday will be it but I'm not sure if I'll be able to convince MB and The Satyr to catch it with me. And I don't think The Wild Thing will be one for dancing penguins either.