Thursday, April 19, 2007

Friday April 20, 2:31 p.m.

Had a nice visit from an old friend whom we haven't seen in a while...may I introduce the Sun? Yes, ol' Sol finally returned after several days of rain yesterday afternoon. My eyes almost fried under the sudden exposure to long-absent segments of the EM spectrum.

Basically, I'm in the middle of a 4-day weekend. I virtually had nothing yesterday except for B2. Looks like she's in better spirits now that she got that interview past her. Last month, she was fairly tense. We spoke of our mutual friend, The Ballerina, who's continuing her long residence in London as a flight attendant. Apparently, The Ballerina went to her friend's wedding up in Scotland since her friend got hitched to one of the Highlanders up there. I'm curious about whether the lass did have her first taste of haggis.

B2 and I also got onto the topic of Brit music. Nothing ages me more when students and I get into the topic of music in general, and the UK was no different. I mentioned about a certain Nissan commercial in which the jingle is "Just Can't Get Enough" covered by Anna Tsuchiya, the current "It" grrl of Japan. B2 was rather surprised when I told her the original artists were Depeche Mode, and the song was considerably more technopop back in the early 80s. Didn't get around to mentioning that "Angel" song by The Eurythmics that's also getting heavy coverage on the Japanese commercials.

Today has been the domestic engineering stuff here although I'm taking a break right now to do this. Tomorrow will be the latest home party at 002's. 002 has asked me to bring along my Scrabble game (she saw it in my bag once several weeks ago). Should provide hours of fun.

Skippy contacted me for the first time in a while to check about "Spiderman 3". She suggested mid-May since she didn't want to deal with the huge crowds of Golden Week. I was actually gonna try for that time, but I'll be patient instead. Speaking of GW, I'll be working during that time since there will be a couple of days in the middle which are technically non-holidays (the juku and 001 at Speedy's). Not complaining since I've got these 4 days of nothing right now; could use the extra money.

While America is dealing with the Virginia Tech massacre, the cops here may have finally gotten their man in a case which had dropped from the media radar. Earlier this year, some poor young woman was stabbed to death in an underpass tunnel around midnight in Kawasaki. Well, the police arrested some fellow in his 20s today who may have also been plying his evil trade in some stabbing assaults. Over here, stab-and-runs seem to rival hit-and-runs in number. Still haven't heard any progress in that Lindsay Ann Hawker case.

Well, it'll be pork kimchi night tonight...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Wednesday April 18, 10:21 p.m.

Sounds like the rain doesn't intend to give us a break. Not good since I'm taking that load of hand-me-downs of brand name clothes that The Lady had given me back on Monday. Luckily, I didn't bring the black bag.

As it turns out, I'm just gonna have B2 for her monthly 60 tomorrow night. The Dentist can't make it for her 60 tomorrow afternoon. I thought I was gonna have a replacement in the form of The Cook but she can't make it out either, so I'm basically homebound for most of Thursday. And Friday is a complete day off. I may end up with a very long weekend.

001 was her usual happy-go-lucky self. She was just swooning when her favourite actor, a man by the name of Kitaoji, popped up on Bistro SMAP on Monday night. He had just been in that Winter TBS Sunday night drama serial with Takuya Kimura so it was a homecoming of sorts for the pair. As for Japanese drama's million-dollar man, KimuTaku is coming back in a much more lighter role...actually, it's a return to one. He's currently filming either the motion picture version or the second TV coming of the series "Hero", one of the guy's more popular entries.

Anyways, getting back to 001, the two of us are looking forward to the latest soiree at 002's this Saturday...provided that the deluge doesn't consume us all. 001 has been a very good sport about all this considering she has to come out all the way from Kanagawa Prefecture to Chiba Prefecture for 002's parties.

For the past few hours since 001's departure, I've just had some conbini dinner and worked on the curricula stuff. Since I'm basically on holiday as of tomorrow, I think I can afford a bit of extra time here. Of course, Speedy is burning the midnight oil as he usually does. It's never easy being the head cheese of a fledgling company.
Wednesday April 18, 4:28 p.m.

The week has stubbornly remained cold and rainy. Came out of the station again needing to bring out the umbrella. At this rate, the Japan Meterological Office in Otemachi may have to recant its statement that Spring officially arrived last month.

Looks like Jolly is out of the juku picture. The boss moaned again that her latest missive over to his e-mail address didn't get any sort of reply. Well, I already wrote him off last week. In any case, the boss, true to her optimistic nature, told me that she may have another person in the wings in the form of a 1st-year high school student who has had homestay experience in one of Urayasu's sister cities. As for the students who have remained loyal to me, Seven did her usual thing and brought over some sweet potato pies for us to nosh on during her lesson. It's been just about a year since she arrived on our doorstep, and she's comfortably settling into Present Perfect. She's definitely been going farther and faster than the folks who had recommended her to me, The Beauty Pair. Mr. and Mrs Mild finally came together as a couple for the first time in a few weeks, but they were both ailing from some sort of cold. I was honoured that they would still come for my lesson under such conditions. And The Siberian was back for his hour of gab.

Since The Nurse had her weekly 60 yesterday afternoon, I was spared the early morning torture of having to come all the way here but I will have to do just that again next week. So, I spent most of the morning watching all that news on the horrors that Virginia Tech have just gone through. Because of my days and nights out, I only heard about the shooting rampage several hours after the fact. I woke up on Tuesday morning (which would be Monday night in Blacksburg, VA) and caught some of it on the Fuji-TV morning show in which the hosts were having a satellite talk with their American correspondent on the scene concerning the safety of the Japanese students there. A female student by the name of Uno was providing all of the info.

Of course, Japan has been no stranger to mass murder/spree killings although we barely have the gun culture that the US does. About a few years ago, there was that notorious case of Mamoru Takuma, a sociopath of the worst order (as redundant as that may sound), who stabbed to death eight elementary school students in western Japan; rumours have it that he was basically cackling all the way to the gallows about his evil deeds. And of course, there were the Aum Shinrikyo sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway system back in 1995.

I was doing a bit of snooping around the Net, including various blogs about the deranged killer at Virginia Tech, Cho Seung Hui. So far, it looks like the reaction to him has been more about his unfathomable acts than the fact that he was a Korean immigrant doing these things. I have been worried about the backlash against Koreans, and perhaps even Asians in general, because of what happened on Monday morning. I think there'll be some sort of negative reaction since there is always that disturbed segment of society which is just itching for an excuse to get back on a minority Stateside. Hopefully, though, such a reaction will be minimal relatively speaking.

Then, I come home last night from the juku and turn on the tube and went....WTF? The mayor of Nagasaki gets assassinated by a yakuza oyabun?! Man, I really gotta be home more often at nights. Apparently, the assassin was the second-in-command of a local gang who had some issues with the city (which is of course represented by the mayor) over his car driving itself into a manhole some years ago. Well, the guy got his retribution by pumping a few slugs into Mayor Itcho...yep, it was actually a front of Itcho's campaign headquarters across from JR Nagasaki Station. Actually, this isn't the only time that a Nagasaki mayor has been targeted for assassination. Some rightwing lunatic tried to do something similar about 17 years ago to the mayor of that time. Attacks on politicians are nothing new here. Not a year goes by without some story involving a lone ultrarightist ramming his car into the Diet gates or sending a Molotov Cocktail into a politician's house. Of course, for all those who have gone into Japanese Studies at university, there is that infamous blurry black-&-white photo of politician Asanuma after he just got stabbed by a high school kid in 1960. In any case, this ought to be an interesting Sunday when the latter round of elections across the country takes place.

With these two stories of deaths by Japanese organized crime and American psycho, the latest chapter in the saga of Daisuke Matsuzaka was buried...something that would've been unthinkable last week. Dice-K was up against my Jays in the Skydome, and didn't exactly overwhelm anybody. Mind you, the Bosox only lost by one run in a low-scoring game, but if this guy drops another one on a non-tragic day, I can guarantee that the media here will be starting to wonder aloud. Still early to tell, though...

With elections, new corporate cogs and lots of rain....another season that has arrived again is the one for moving companies. I've been seeing the huge trucks of companies labeled "The 0123" and pictured with cute elephants, black cats, pandas and even Doraemon lumbering around my neighbourhood. New salarymen and veteran transfers have been moving in and out like chess pieces.

Well, I've got 001 in about an hour and then I gotta do a bit more on the curriculum bit.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Tuesday April 17, 1:52 p.m.

Looks like The Admin has to do some office stuff with The Nurse before the lesson, so I have a few minutes to continue on the "Spiderman" series. As I said, the interview rounds here between Hollywood stars and local journos can be rather weird. My clone, Mr. Karube of the morning news show on Fuji-TV, had the three mains on the couch. Not sure if the three had become rather jaded with our folks here but Kirsten and James looked distinctly blase. Only the Spiderman himself was still pretty peppy. James Franco appeared as if he were heavily jet-lagged or he had already hit the bar in the Premium Lounge of Virgin Theatres.

Ah, more later...
Tuesday April 17, 1:39 p.m.

Cold and dry...kinda wintry out there with that diffuse overcastness. Yup, my day is on a roller coaster. I got started with The Beehive...or perhaps I should say just a couple of bees. Ms. Perth and Ms. Tee were the only ones to show up. The others seem to be ailing...not surprising, considering the ups and downs of the climate over the past several weeks. We spoke somewhat on soon-to-be homeless standing. Next Tuesday will be our very last time in the enlarged storage room that we've been using as our classroom for 8 years. Apparently, as of post-Golden Week, it becomes a darts room. Our nomadic experience will have perhaps one temporary oasis in the form of the food court at the JUSCO shopping complex on the other side of JR Tsudanuma Station. However, I am hoping that a more permanent solution avails itself in the next few months.

Received an old-fashioned letter with photos from Ms. Tulip who's now residing in Toronto with her family. I shared them with the ladies today. Actually, Ms. Tee will be heading over there as part of a tour in a couple of weeks, some months before the whole hive does its much-awaited Canadian tour. So, I pegged the bashful Ms. Tee as the vanguard before the invading army.

Speaking of Toronto, I just saw on CNN that apparently a filmed documentary has been made about non-Torontonian Canadians hating Toronto. All I can say is that I'm just surprised that it hadn't been made sooner.

Hopped on the Sobu and whipped over here to this side of the Big Sushi. I've got The Nurse for her 60, and then I'm back on the transit again to the juku. Whenever I got the kids, I've gotta plan a lot of stuff even for their 30-minute class. So, my shoulders feel like granite.

Well, noone else has been saying it so I will. "Spiderman 3" had its world premiere last night at Roppongi Hills in Tokyo. Everyone showed up: Tobey McGuire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco...I think I even saw Aunt May on the red carpet. Of course, the three leads have been here before to do the often bizarre interview rounds with Japanese journalists.

Anyways, the Nurse is here...
Monday April 16, 8:24 p.m.

I've got the characteristic aroma of Doutors infused within my clothing again. The Part-Timer was steady as usual and it was good that the final part of the review was taken care of tonight since she's gonna be unavailable for the next couple of weeks. So May 7 will be her test day which I duly warned her about.

Well, that's a switch! Looks like Japan will be jumping the gun ahead of virtually every other country when it comes to releasing "Spiderman 3". Peter and his gang will be coming out on May 1st instead of the 4th like everywhere else, but only because the Japanese theatres want to take advantage of Golden Week, the holiday consisting of Green Day, Children's Day and Showa Day along with the other days of the week to cement everything up. Ironically, May Day (perhaps it should be called Aunt May Day, in honour of one of the characters in the movie) is one of the few days during that week not officially designated as a national holiday but a lot of the companies are just letting the folks go. In any case, Japan, or I should say movie fans living in Japan, usually get the short end of the stick and have to wait as much as a whole year before a movie gets here; the whole year is pretty much the extreme, though. The big releases get out a few weeks after the initial release Stateside. Still, that's an eternity for those geeks who are dying to catch their latest superhero in action on this side of the Pacific. So, with the previous Spiderman movies, we had to wait til midsummer for the webslinger to make his way here. But this time, the fans will have to hear from us now. Not sure if Tobey or Kirsten will come over all the way to inaugurate the release but if they do, they can be duly impressed by the Spiderman Museum that's been set up in Roppongi Hills.

Speaking of the movie, I was trolling through YouTube. I was rather glad not to have seen those grisly videos of Mexican drug gangsters getting executed "Hostel"-style. Instead, I got to see some enterprising fellow make his own Spidey video using Michael Buble's jazzy rendition of the Spiderman theme against quick cuts from "Spiderman 2". As the comments said, I give the hard-working lad full marks for trying...his sense of timing is pretty good, especially considering the syncopation involved in the song. The video itself could've been a lot clearer, though, and usage of some scenes from first movie would've helped, too.

Tomorrow could be another long haul. Along with the Beehive and the juku classes, I've gotta fit in The Nurse in the afternoon. So it will be one of those crosstown adventures. However, I am grateful that I won't have to wake up in the wee hours of Wednesday morning like I had to the last couple of weeks. I've yet to hear anything from the juku boss about the fate of Jolly, though his insistence of not answering speaks volumes. Also, I haven't heard anything from The Polynesian, so I think that class is also in doubt, too. Geez....and all I did was just slap her wrist for standing me up twice in 3 weeks.
Monday April 16, 5:11 p.m.

More of that alternating weather pattern. Whereas yesterday was warm and sunny, today is cold and rainy. Any more of this, we'll all end up in hospitals without needing a major cataclysm. Speaking of which, Mie Prefecture was the latest area here to get smacked with a Shindo 5 or above. I'll have to give GC a holler and see if he's OK since he's living in that area. First, it was Ishikawa Prefecture a couple of weeks ago and then Mie yesterday. If there were a god over us, I'd swear that he was torturing Tokyo with The Big One.

Today has been the usual round of Monday classes thus far. I had The Class Act from which I got a bunch of hand-me-downs from The Lady. Since her hubby slimmed down, she's giving me some of his old fat clothes. I'd hardly call them hand-me-downs since the labels have such names like Christian Dior and a couple of Italian names that I'd never heard about. SIL was her usual self. We spoke on some of our old discoing days. I've got The Part-Timer in about an hour. That TOEIC fellow won't be coming today but he's threatening to come over next week so at least I've got a week's headstart to load up on Bufferin.