Friday, March 21, 2008

Friday March 21, 6:20 p.m.

Ironic....we had days last week and early this week which were very Spring-like, and then when the big day came yesterday, it was back to feeling wintry and rainy. Still, it was a holiday so I enjoyed a good 8 hours' worth of sleep and nothing to do with teaching. Even re-watched Tom Cruise's "Minority Report" on DVD. As much of a tribute to Film Noir as it was (or should it be Film Bleu, considering the colour filters used), I kinda noticed all the little Indiana Jones-like touches of humour that Spielberg tried to tap in, such as the scene where John Anderton accidentally drops his eyes. Definitely had that Kubrickian feel to it and more successful than "A.I.", the actual Spielberg-Kubrick fusion.

Today has also been basically a day off. I just have Miss Disney for her 60 in about 90 minutes. Just gotta do some worksheet prep. Really, the next couple of days will be rather relaxing. I've only got Tully & The Coffeemaker tomorrow, and then it's The OL followed by M+M for our long-delayed meeting at The Keio Plaza. Hopefully, the winds will finally die down by tomorrow so that I can get some laundry done. It was a virtual typhoon in Chiba last night and this morning.

Next Wednesday will be a big Hump Day. I've got no less than 6 lessons. The latest addition came from BC's call today about a model lesson sandwiched between The Nurse and The New Yorker.

CNNj, the Japanese distributor of CNN, will be making a few changes to its lineup. For the past few years, we've been getting the lion's share of the US programming such as "The Situation Room" and "Larry King Live". Well, it looks like from April 1st, they may be dropping Lou Dobbs and throwing Larry King to the dinner hour. Maybe ol' Lou's shoutouts were starting to wear thin with the audience here, or the Japanese fans of Barack Obama decided to declare war on the independent populist.

Well, Matsuzaka and his Boston Red Sox did make it over here after all. There had been some concern that a boycott by the Bosox was looming since the management had basically welched on a deal to pay the coaching staff for the trip over to Japan for a few games. Crisis averted, apparently.

Yesterday was the 5th anniversary of The Iraq War. Well, yesterday was also the 13th anniversary of the sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo Metro. And there are still plenty of victims suffering from the gas.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wednesday March 19, 9:00 p.m.

Well, I'm beyond the donut now, and I'm not alone. As for the first point, I finished up with The Diver about a half-hour ago. It was another one of those struggles with some basic grammar; she just tries so hard. I gave her some homework which she'll do after she gets back from her Okinawa vacation.

As for the "alone" part, there had been a possibility that I would have to hold down the fort all by my lonesome since The Amazon could've been bogged down at her day job, and Speedy wouldn't have returned for the rest of the evening due to some schmoozing around for business. After The Admin's departure, I was alone for about 30 minutes but then The Amazon did arrive...and in heavy rain. And then during my lesson with The Diver, I heard Speedy come back as well. So it's kinda back to normal now.

Got word from The Entrepreneur. He's made his first mass e-mail for me, The Doctor and The Dancer this year. It looks like he and his bride of 6 months are still very much in the honeymoon phase. They even dined on heart-shaped sushi. Awwww.... Can't even imagine what married life would be like now.

I'm not all that perked to head back home right now since it is raining steadily out there. I'll take a bit of a wait-and-see for the next hour or so. Plus, it's a holiday tomorrow.
Wednesday March 19, 5:41 p.m.

Nearing the end of the donut. The Diver should be arriving in less than 2 hours. It's been quiet as expected. A few hours earlier, The Admin and I shared some coffee and discussed a bit more about any potential lessons together. Looks like she'll be another floater like The New Yorker, and we may be heading for another family restaurant. It'll be a fair challenge to teach her since she's pretty high as an English student...some passive errors, though.

True to an imminent transition in the seasons, when I went out about 45 minutes ago, the day had gone from sunny to pretty cool and rainy out there. At least, my nose won't be bothering me today. Just bought a couple of rice balls and a small salad. Trying to keep my purchases down until I get my next cash payment from Tully & The Coffeemaker this Saturday. I know that it'll be corned beef and cabbage tomorrow. Speaking of which, it'll be a national holiday to celebrate the Vernal Equinox. I'll most definitely be sleeping in as late as possible to catch up on the sleep. It'll be good, too, since the weather will probably be dreary then as well.

I got word from The Carolinan. She and her sister, The New Yorker, got back from Bali last night. They had a good time. Unfortunately, that revised date of the 29th for Spyros in Roppongi won't take with the Sisters of State due to other plans. I've asked for other possible Saturdays and even proposed one of their Thursday nights, provided that The New Yorker has the night off then in April.

Basically, spent the time just looking through those Time Lord files, and then just Wiki'ed. Another new fact from the I-Encyclopedia: I learned that it was director Barry Levinson of "Rain Man" fame who had been that enraged busboy who attacked Mel Brooks' psychiatrist character, a la "Psycho"'s famous shower scene, in "High Anxiety". I also attempted to play I-go on the computer, via Facebook. Lost pretty badly...but no surprise there.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Wednesday March 19, 1:04 p.m.

Well, finished up wth those grandmothers that Speedy usually teaches. Man, nice ladies both but they really took the energy out of me. The first grandmother is the prototypical nice little ol' lady but being in her early 80s, the listening comprehension just isn't there anymore. As for the second grandmother, she has a tendency to digress from the text...kept me on my toes. So any effect from the coffee has now largely been nullified.

Now, I'm in the empty zone...the "hole" of Donut Day. It's just The Admin and me for the next several hours until The Diver shows up. By that point, I hope to be filled with some food to keep me going. Speaking of The Admin, it looks like she's still holding out hope for me to teach her privately. It's possible that late April could be the earliest available time for us to meet. Nice to have another customer....and she's very willing to pay transportation money.
Wednesday March 19, 9:33 a.m.

Hump Day once more. Feeling buoyed by the Mac coffee but that should pass by the afternoon. Yep, it was another late night with Jolly followed by 6 hours of sleep and then out the door once more. Jolly was feeling lighter in spirits after about 2 weeks of corporate horror. At one point, he'd been wondering if he would be on a flight to China to investigate some problems concerning his company's products but that crisis was averted.

Will be diverting from my usual lesson with The Nurse since she came on Monday morning, and will be having the grandmothers. It won't be quite the Donut Day that Monday was, but I'll still be having several hours before the last lesson of The Diver. I'll see if I glean some more info from the Time Lord database.

Speaking of epic sci-fi, I just heard that Arthur C. Clarke of "2001: A Space Odyssey" fame has passed on, at the ripe old age of 90. Perhaps instead of just going to Heaven, he's evolved into the Starchild and gone on to a far better place.
Tuesday March 18, 9:30 p.m.

Waiting for Jolly who'll be 15 minutes late. Great...and I've got an early start to Wednesday. However, anyone who's willing to learn from me at such a late hour deserves the best. I had The Milds...Mild Jr. from 7-8 and then the parents themselves afterwards. Mr. Mild has been wondering about how he'll occupy his time now that he's one of the millions of retirees in this country. I extended one potential option...I gave him The Yogist's business card, and he may just give her a contact for a lesson. He's a bit trepidatious but that's not too surprising. Hope the two connect into a new student-teacher pairing.
Tuesday March 18, 6:45 p.m.

Well, had the penultimate class for Chip N' Dale just now. Looks like they're leaving me at the right time. Dale just got her first cellphone...a shiny Softbank number with e-mail, Internet and digital camera. It's like giving a psychopath his own fully-loaded AK-47. She's already talking the girly talk with her buddies. Of course, neither of them bothered to do their homework, so which means I'll be quite happy to see them go next week.
The reason Dale got her first keitai is that she's not only having a birthday tomorrow, but she's heading for junior high school next month. She's taking that first step into adolescence; meaning that she'll be getting increasingly insufferable. Again, good to see her go. No, I mean she's an alright kid but when it comes to the student-teacher relationship, teens and I will never mix.

Didn't have to worry about dinner tonight, thanks to the juku boss. She was kind enough to make me some leftover curry. She was worried that it might be a bit too spicy, but heck, I can handle my chili. And this dish was no exception. Certainly saved on the money front as well.

Chip N' Dale were the big hurdle. Now it shouldn't be too the Mild family followed by Jolly...perhaps.
Tuesday March 18, 4:39 p.m.

Thought I would be going through another day of Hay Fever Hell, but the meds kicked in a little later than usual. So, the fellow coffeedrinkers at the Tsudanuma Becker's had to deal with my sniffling for a bit before Mrs. Travel showed up. But afterwards, my nose settled down nicely. Mrs. Travel was indeed the solo Bee to show up...not often that happens. But out of all of the Bees, she's the one I chime with the best. Looks like Croatia isn't the only big destination for her this year; just a few weeks after that big tour, she'll be headed for the ruggedness of Arizona...that's right, John McCain country for a few days. Man, she can give 001 a run for the money in terms of air miles.

But there's also another one. My old friend, DTE, who used to be one of our fellow teachers at the ol' school has been doing her tour of Asia. And guess where she ended up in a few days ago...embattled Tibet. Well, she couldn't stay all that long since the Chinese security forces made traveling a tad difficult. Still, I'm glad that she's safe...she even Superpoked me on Facebook.

002 was also suffering from hay fever when I did my weekly house call. Otherwise, she was her usual jovial self. I won't be seeing her til April Fool's Day for her next lesson, though. And in about 75 minutes, I've got the usual juku gang. So far, we haven't heard anything from Jolly about whether he's gonna make it or not.

I got a much-belated present of chocolates for The Admin tomorrow when she does one little favour for Speedy and help out at the school tomorrow. She's now officially unemployed from our school since she needs to help out her hubbie, but she was kind enough to pitch in for the 19th.

I heard that SMAP heartthrob, Takuya Kimura, will be playing the Japanese PM in the next round of Spring dramas that start next month. So, fans can look forward to another scintillating rendition of Angry Snarly Young Man. I shall pass and stick to CNN, thank you.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Monday March 17, 9:55 p.m.

Amazing how quickly I've reached the half-century point of the 2,100s. Just burning those entries.

Well, I've finally reached the other side of the donut day. I just finished with Medicine Man and he's off to do his test of the first three chapters. It's been a day and night of just looking through various homepages...I think it used to be called "surfing" back in the day...most notably through the history of the Time Lords. Yep, extremely geeky of me, I know. But the guy who wrote up the stuff beats me several times over in his encyclopedic results. However, I actually did get some planning done for Tuesday's lessons. Not sure if Jolly will be showing up, though.

001 called in to say that she'll have to cancel this Wednesday's stint. It's gonna be a pretty light week overall. I'm just lucky that I'll be having Speedy's grandmothers to make up for the shortfall, although it'll be another repeat of Donut Day. Speedy says that it's gonna be light for the entire school schedule this week since this Thursday is also a national holiday.

M+M called up to ask about changing the venue for this Sunday. The Elder M suggested a cafe inside the Keio Plaza Hotel, my old stomping grounds in the JET days. It's possible that I've even frequented the place back then. I gave them my approval. I just hope that they remember that they usually pay for my coffee.

I bought some more Benza Block for my hay fever although I'm not having any major sneezing fits right now. However, the bossman noticed that my left eye is looking pretty livid. Just another sign that Spring is around the corner.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Monday March 17, 11:59 a.m.

Finished up with the lesson with The Nurse. As usual, we ended up going 20 minutes overtime. But that's a good thing...the last lesson seemed a bit tense; she struck me as being nonplussed about something. I gave her the White Day present for which she was duly appreciative. And now, I have about 8.5 hours of nothing but there will always be things go to.

Because of The Nurse's lesson, it was another early commute on the subway. It is always an interesting subway ride early in the morning...quite unlike the commutes home. At night, there are always gaggles of folks, fueled by alcohol, cigarettes and stress, gabbing away; especially on Friday nights, the subway could almost be mistaken for a moving party lounge.
Not in the mornings. The subway has a near-cathedral silence, a lot of it due to the fact that a lot of the commuters are in still in sleep mode. It's much easier to squeeze into the seats between folks; they just tend to conform to the shape of my butt entering their space instead of getting all huffy. Still, I'll be happy not to the morning commutes if possible...I would prefer to sleep in my comfy futon at home. However, although The Nurse came in for this morning, I'll still be required to come in on Wednesday morning, The Nurse's usual slot. Since the bossman will be off on one of his study-abroad conferences, I have to teach his pair of grandmothers.
Monday March 17, 9:34 a.m.

Ahh....yes, it is St. Patrick's Day, isn't it? Leprechauns, Pots O' Gold, and all that Irish. Well, it's a Monday so I don't expect any more major celebrations. All that was done over the weekend, but I'm sure some of the more enterprising establishments will still offer green beer on tap tonight, and there will be enough barflies to try them out, I'm sure.

Yesterday, it was just The OL for her 60 at the cafe in Nihombashi. She gave me a book report on "Jane Eyre". She didn't really like it since she thought noone in the book was all that sympathetic, although her sister (and my former student), The UL, had a very different take on it. My only exposure to the Bronte Sisters was the SCTV parody, "Jane Eyrehead".
We did have the same opinion on "Catcher in the Rye"...which was that it was more of a novel of its time than a timeless classic. Nowadays, we can see Holden Caulfields all over the world.

Took me a few minutes but managed to pick up something for White Day (although that was back on Friday) for The Nurse, since she got those bath salts for me on Valentine's Day. They were labeled "Long-Life"...not quite sure what she was getting at, although she knows about my habit of eating McBreakfasts whenever she's slated for the morning lessons. In any case, I mirrored her choice by not getting chocolates but a couple of scented candles at an oh-so-trendy store called Serendipity in the Coredo mall where The OL's cafe is located. Speaking of The Nurse, I've got her in a few minutes. In fact, I've got a bit of a donut day...not that I'll be heading for Krispy Kreme...the lineup there is probably still snaking its way around the corner. What I mean is that I have one of those days in which I've got several hours of nothing between classes. This is definitely one of the biggest scheduling donuts I've ever had: 8.5 hours between the end of The Nurse and the start of Medicine Man's class tonight.
Well, I will be keeping busy...or trying to, anyways. BC was kind enough to send me a couple of revisions to her stuff from last week, although I think since they are second drafts, there won't be as much to correct. I'll also be doing a bit of hard drive moving on the computer here, and of course, planning for Medicine Man and for the Tuesday lessons. I do have Chip and Dale for two more lessons.