Friday, June 06, 2008

Saturday June 7, 12:38 p.m.

Finished off my lesson with Slim about 40 minutes ago. He was suitably dressed in blue tee, jeans and that other horrible fashion item...ankle infest the world (the other is Crocs) since it was a Saturday. I'm assuming he's now en route with his family to Inokashira Zoo to watch the elephants, his daughter's favourite animal. I would have been envious but I'm not exactly dressed prim and proper myself...wearing a denim shirt, chinos and no tie. As expected, he's made the next lesson for Monday night, so no free evening for me, but for a guy this studious and decent, I would unreservedly go to bat for him.

I've been reading up on that secret cabal between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton the night before. Wolf Blitzer couldn't help chuckling at how skillfully the press was hoodwinked. First, the press corps ended up flying off in the plane without Senator Obama which got them frothing at the mouth and grumbling at a new aide. And then, there was a massive presence of Secret Service agents, Suburban Cruisers and news crews around Senator Clinton's Washington residence where it'd been assumed that the meeting was taking place, only to find out that it had actually taken place a couple of miles down the road in Senator Dianne Feinstein's house. I think at both times, that muted trumpet which usually signals the notes of cock-ups was playing rather mournfully. Always love it when the so-called probing eyes and ears of the fifth estate don't exactly work.

I was also reading, in a totally different arena, the Wiki entry on that old chestnut, "Hawaii Five-O", and how Jack Lord truly befitted his family name. I'd heard over the years about his near-iron control of the series. And the Wiki reported that anyone not pulling their own weight on the show got the wrath of the Lord. A number of the surviving actors admitted that Lord's tough standards did make them better actors...although I could feel the word "grudgingly" somewhere in that statement. It kinda reminded me of a late-show I had caught a few days ago about the rise of this new Japanese tennis phenom, Kei Nishikori. It showed him as a young boy some years back with his fellow tennismates at an academy run by former World Tennis Federation pro, Shuzo Matsuoka. There was one scene in which Matsuoka, not exactly the most laid-back fellow at any time when one sees his appearances as a commentator on TV, was berating his young charges for slumming in the courts. But soon after, there was another scene with Matsuoka firmly praising young Nishikori on his performance. Perhaps Jack Lord also had that sort of approach with the cast.

Still pretty quiet around the office. However, Speedy should be here in about another hour or so.
Saturday June 7, 10:28 a.m.

Waiting for the intrepid Slim to come in for his lesson in 30 minutes. I've got basically a regular day here at Speedy's. After Slim, it'll be a 3-hour holding pattern before The Dentist comes in and then it's The Bostonian to wrap up.

Last night, it was another case of Jolly not needing to show up. However, it was truly an ailment that was killing him. He looked somewhat like Death Warmed Over, the second person in as many weeks that I've labeled (BC was the other one, but that was more of an emotional problem with her). He said that he had a slight fever; by the end of the lesson, both the juku boss and I were wondering if I would find him lying in the street outside the house on the way home. And yet, true to the usual plight of the average Japanese salaryman, all talk about getting a remedy has to take a backseat to his duty of playing golf with his colleagues this morning which meant a wake-up call of 5:30 a.m. That just can't be good. The boss put on her mothering cloak and advised him to head to a hospital. And just like the usual son, he just nodded and yepped and ignored her advice.

I was kinda wondering how he was doing, when lo and behold, The Anime King sent me an e-mail just now. Looks like Toronto is going through what Tokyo has been getting for the past couple of weeks: an up-and-down meterological situation. Today will be nice and hot before the rains yet come again tomorrow.

My coming week looks to be rather lighter than this past one. At this point, I've only SIL for Monday, but I figure that Slim will be getting in his lesson in the evening. I was rather hoping for a night off but considering how dedicated he is to his English education, I think he'll snap up the Monday night opportunity, especially since my Wednesday night will be filled.
Friday June 6, 7:33 p.m.

Back on Wednesday night, when I was teaching 001, we had our little talk about her idol, George Clooney which prompted all that searching on YouTube for young Clooney in a mullet. However, the most senior student at Speedy's also noted that she had a thing for Orlando Bloom which prompted his Japanese commericals for Shiseido cosmetic line, UNO. The BGM was a variation on the Chaz Jankel classic, "Ai no Corrida", which was then made into an R&B hit back in 1981 by Quincy Jones. Since I was already at the site, I also keyed up that song for her.

If you'll bear with me, I am getting to a point of sorts. "Ai no Corrida" was also the Japanese title of the notorious Nagisa Oshima erotic drama based on the exploits of one Sada Abe, a real-life figure back in early 20th-century Japan who loved her man so much that after his death, she decided to lop off a little flaccid souvenir. In a weird sort-of coincidence, I'd be seeing this poster of a movie with sexy tarento Aya Sugimoto in flagrante delicto with her starring man for some weeks. I rolled my eyes as I thought "Here she goes (and comes) again" since for the past few years, she's spackled up a new reputation in Japanese showbiz as a woman who would just about show and do anything in terms of sex. Madonna's "Sex" looked like a Peanuts comic compared with the stuff she pulled off in "Hana to Hebi" (The Flower and The Snake)...Freudian slip sold separately. In any case, the new movie is called "Johhnen" (dunno the translation) and it just so happens that it's also about Sada Abe, this time with Sugimoto in the role. To be honest, I did see the original "Ai no Corrida" but only the heavily butchered one with many of the really hardcore scenes taken out; still as it was, it was definitely not a version to be seen anyone under 35.

A couple of headlines I've just read on "Japanese melon sells for $6,000" and "New York Promotes French Pop"...I guess I must've read this through the Brane into the Bizarro World. Speaking of Branes and Braneworlds, I've been slogging through "Warped Passages" still. Well, it hasn't exactly as I expected....Lisa Randall is still trying to explain quantum physics to me; despite what the tributes have implied about how she makes it so easy to digest, I still find my eyes glazing over.

Got into Urayasu to find some place to eat dinner before heading to the juku. But my go-to family restaurant was undergoing renovations, as well as the second choice of KFC (yup, I know quite a drop down). The ramen row across the street didn't look too healthy, so of course I ended up going once more to The Golden Arches. Not that Mickey Dee's is all that healthy either.

I got a call from my real estate agency...the same one which contacted me about that rent error back in February, thus causing that financial crunch. Believe me, I had no love hearing that woman's voice again. However, it was entirely my fault this time; apparently, I pressed the wrong keys during the transfer of the rent last month at the ATM and ended up not paying enough. I was only a few thousand yen short, so I transferred it quickly before they sent any thugs over. If the agency checks its accounts again, the money should be there on the other side since I didn't get any notice on the ATM that the amount wouldn't show up there until Monday. I haven't gotten any further phone calls so I think they caught it. I realize that the folks there aren't bad people (or at least, that's what I tell myself over and over), but the adage "Kill the messenger" looms large in my mind. I'm sure the staff does have to deal with welchers time and again.

Well, it'll be another 90 minutes before Jolly comes on over.
Friday June 6, 4:30 p.m.

Well, The Nurse was back to all sweetness and light. She even gave me a gift in the form of a small packet of black rice grains. It's a health food....she bought it at a drug store, of all places. I just have to add a teaspoon of the stuff to my regular white rice in the cooker to have a nice batch of more nutritious...and pink rice. My peace offering was far more down-to-earth...a bunch of mini-chocolates from Speedy's cache. In any case, I'm feeling far better although I still have to hang around for another several hours before I teach Jolly.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Friday June 6, 1:33 p.m.

Daddy's home! Speedy's back in the house after his 2-week business trip in the wilds of North America. We got our generous tribute of chocolates: Twix, Reeses, 3 Musketeers, etc....enough to leave us solidly diabetic. He had a bit of time to catch the new "Sex in the City" movie in NYC. He said the fans will be very happy...non-fans should look away. I gave him the prelim report on all of the students I'd taught for him.

The sun's back out and so is the heat. It's feeling pretty warm out there at 27 C. I was lucky to finally get the laundry out there hanging. I've got The Nurse...keeping my fingers crossed about her. And then, Jolly said that he would show up tonight for the 9:30 p.m. Ugh!

Mrs. Travel of the Beehive called up about my availability on Wednesday mornings to teach one of her other English classes in her neck of the woods. I don't think that's possible since I've usually got The Nurse in the wee hours on that day.

Obama and Clinton had a private meeting at her house about the future of the party. But how private can it be when there are dozens of Secret Security, a fleet of Suburban Cruisers and oodles of media hovering outside?
Thursday June 5, 10:09 p.m.

I'm done like dinner. Wrapped up with Slim tonight. Looks like he's been going through the wringer tonight. As for me, it hasn't been nearly as hectic, but as they say, waiting can also be exhausting. I was waiting for about 4 hours between Bunny's and Slim's lessons. I think the rains have finally stopped but it's still plenty wet out there. I spent a lot of the down time just reading Wiki entries for "Cheers" and "Frasier", and then I went to see the "Frasier" quotes. I think this sitcom basically beat every other show in the number of witticisms.

I'll actually be able to catch up on a bit of sleep tomorrow, but I gotta get back here tomorrow afternoon for The Nurse's lesson. It wasn't too good last week; I've got her make-up test all made up. Just hope we're both in good shape. Then, I may have Jolly tomorrow night. I hope the boss doesn't tell me to teach him 2 hours.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Thursday June 5, 3:14 p.m.

Guess it's time for pi(e)!

Finished up with The Yogist a little over an hour ago. She was her usual very giddy, energetic self...quite unlike my usual image of a yoga teacher. I found out today that she's an enthusiastic chocoholic and an avid participant in hot springs. Hope things go equally as well with Bunny, who should be here in about 10 minutes. My first time with her a couple of weeks ago had us sidetracking all over the place due to our shared interest in movies. so it's looking hopeful.

BC and I made use of the last of the McDonalds coupons which expire today. Amongst my purchases, I actually bought the first McFlurry in my life. It was the Kit Kat one...pretty good, sweet, and teeth-wincingly cold. Found out that BC will be leaving us at the end of June with her final departure for Canada in August. Told her about the Doctor Who-ish nature of our assistants leaving us after several months each time. However, there may be another one waiting in the wings to take over; Speedy had once told me about this cousin of The Dentist's who's just come back from Canada and may be willing to fill in.
Thursday June 5, 12:00 p.m.

Got through the grandmothers. Grandma Dynamite certainly lived up to her name. Kept me on my toes. My first thought after she left was wondering how I was gonna survive teaching her from week to week. Speedy's already hinted that he doesn't want to have to do the same when he gets back. I don't think he's gonna get his wish. Having Grandma Tango was naturally a lot more calmer. But that'll be the last time I teach her for the next several months.

Looks like there is that intermediate lull right now between Obama clinching the Democratic nomination yesterday and the start of the final battle against John McCain and the Republicans. Hillary Clinton is still keeping her cards close to her chest while Barack muses about who he's gonna pick for his running mate. The list for Vice-President is being bandied about while the biggest elephant on that list is the person Barack had just run against. The Japanese media have also picked up on the significance of this long-awaited result. Fuji-TV's "Mezamashi Terebi" morning show put up images of McCain and Obama with their stats listed up beside them just like they were digitized sports trading cards. For the record, McCain is 174 cm and Obama is 182 cm. McCain likes hot dogs while Obama is a potato chip man.

Got The Yogist in less than an hour. BC and I are planning to make a McDonalds run...without Speedy since he's still yet to land back at Narita...our coupons are running out today.
Thursday June 5, 8:48 a.m.

Well, as inevitable as swallows and San Capistrano, the cockroaches have returned to roost in my apartment, just a few days into this month. One was walking around aimlessly in my bathtub until it sought refuge in the drain, much to its doom. And then there was one medium-sized mini-tank crawling around the bedroom wall last night. I activated the electric repellant, set up the roach motels (or would they be called roach ryokan here?) and gave the bedroom a bit of a spray. Sure enough, as I was leaving for work this morning, that roach was writhing on its back by the door. Looks like he got hit with the pesticide cloud. I'm sure as Rainy Season continues, I'll see more check-ins into the motels.

My schedule will be nicely staggered. I got Grandmas Dynamite and Tango followed by a little break, and then it's The Yogist followed by the chatty Bunny in the afternoon. An even longer respite follows before Slim wraps it all up. Slim hasn't exactly been the miracle man but he's been progressing very nicely.
Thursday June 5, 8:08 a.m.

Another McBreakfast and an early arrival at Speedy's this morning. I've got Grandma Dynamite at the near-obscenely early time of 9:15. Speedy got back to me last night about what to do with our prodigal geriatric...basically humour her was the call. I wasn't too enamoured by his aside that he would prefer that I teach her for the 2 hours that she wants each time since I was looking forward to decreasing my early calls. But we will discuss this when he comes back in next week. I think at the very least, I should get my own keys to the school.

It's been a while but I actually had my first down class with 001...relatively speaking, that is. She wasn't too enthused about the advanced forms of using Future (Future Perfect, Future Continuous, etc.) but it was a simple matter of getting to our usual snappy banter and then she was as right as rain again. She has definitely gotten hooked onto "Heroes". I believe she's just seen Episode 5...apparently, she's witnessed D.L.'s use of his phasing power for the first time. Of course, I was mean and tantalized her about the future episodes about who may or may not die by the season ender. She was especially intrigued about what Micah's ability is. I just answered that he'd be the go-to guy for all your electronics repair needs. We also went over some old ground and talked about her love affair with George Clooney. I decided then to take her over to YouTube and searched for his early days in TV...not on "ER", but "The Facts of Life". Found excerpts of Blair and Tootie but no Mullet George (maybe his agent sent a cease-and-desist order to the site); however, Yahoo was able to pull up several images of his slimmer days. Needless to say, she wasn't too impressed with 80s George.

As for The Diver, it was another roller coaster ride of angst and handwringing going over the review before I finally handed over the test. Amongst her problems is apparently memory loss. I had to remind her that she could take home the test and do it there. But it was nice to end a very long day with the calmness of Medicine Man. I'd already realized it but he said he wasn't too fond of parties (we were doing a chapter based on them). He's a pretty introverted fellow...friendly, but introverted.

The only local news I caught in my brief snatches at home over the past 48 hours is that Tokyo managed to pass the 1st stage in being considered for the 2016 Olympics along with Chicago and Rio De Janeiro. I think Governor Ishihara and a few other pols were the only ones to jump up for joy; the rest of us merely yawned and got ready for work. Believe me, we don't need these Games.

The Cat contacted me via e-mail to say that she was interested in picking up those English texts since she was getting back into the studying game and teaching kids again. Good for her.
Wednesday June 4, 5:18 p.m.

Just digesting my conbini meal...saving my energy up for the bottom half of Hump Day. I finished up with The Big Lug a few hours ago and then whipped up the make-up test for The Nurse. Looks like The Big Lug has gotten used to me now; he ensured that I would be teaching him in a couple of weeks. We got into talking about housing in the Tokyo area. He mentioned that a lot of the housing in the Takadanobaba/Waseda University area was pretty reasonable since it is a student area. It may be decades old, which would therefore bring in some concerns about quakes, but a lot of the interiors have been redone. Yep, I'm still interested in finding some new digs after nearly a decade and a half in the same apartment but there is the case of inertia and of course money.

I guess it was a matter of time, but I finally got drafted by the local medical profession. I got a summons of sorts from the government imploring me to get my cancer checkups by the end of the year. The Class Act pointed out in my summons that since I was on National Health Insurance, I could the checkups dirt-cheap. I'm not a huge fan of checkups but I figured that I would need something like this to force me to go to a clinic. I looked up the Ichikawa City website, and it turns out that there has been a push by the goverment to get its residents nice and healthy. The cancer checks will include stuff like colo-rectal which does wipe out a lot of my age group's male members. This will probably mean that I'm gonna get the silver snake up my shaft...not looking forward to that. Perhaps I may be lucky, though, in that there has been this new computer-operated capsule that a person ingests so that it can take pictures of his entire GI tract before it comes out the other end. Of course, the potentially messy part comes in digging out...ahem...the device from the stuff. Well, I just gotta find the right hospital.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Wednesday June 4, 12:34 p.m.

Well, I'm sure the champagne corks are flying around in Camp Obama (perfect name for a camp, doncha think) right now, and the news studios are crammed with talking heads since Barack Obama...finally...became the Democratic nominee for President. Trying to imagine how the Clinton folks are feeling right now. I can guarantee some of them aren't feeling particularly charitable.

I've gone through a third of the gauntlet for today. I had Grandmas Fado and Enka just now. For both, I just had to balance between the book and light conversation. Grandma Enka definitely prefers the latter...she was cordial but she made it plain in no uncertain terms that she was no fan of the current text. The colours are too bright, she says. I guess Speedy will just have to grit his teeth since he couldn't find anything to give her as a new book. Still, that will be somethng he can handle since I'll be handing them back to him next week. It'll probably be a year before I teach them again.

I've been going through that new book, "Warped Passages" by Lisa Randall. As the tributes have said, she has managed to make concepts such as Braneworlds and bosons actually palatable. I had been expecting more about alternate worlds...she's still very much explaining quantum physics at the current stage of the book...but at least I've been able to go through the book far better than my previous attempt at "Closing Time", the sequel to "Catch-22" which was frankly a little too Ionesco for my tastes.
Wednesday June 4, 8:23 a.m.

And thus another Hump Day begins. No longer raining cats and dogs but the remains are still here. It'll only be a respite as well...they come back tomorrow.

As expected, during the Milds' lesson, Jolly called in to cancel his lesson. He's said that he would come in for Friday. In a way, I was hoping that he wouldn't since otherwise I would have a night off but he said he would, so so will I. Apparently, the lad's been sick which explains his absence last Friday. The juku boss was kind enough to offer a way out but I declined; however, I did ask her to confirm his arrival just in case that illness turns out to be an epidemic.

As for the Milds, Mrs. Mild went to some concert of a 16-year-old phenom named Daichi Saotome who's a kabuki artist who takes on female roles (he actually looks a bit like current "It" actress Yu Aoi)...kinda reminds me of that old Elizabethan tradition of having only males perform in The Globe. Anyways, Mrs. Mild isn't really a kabuki fan; it's just that her buddy is and she really wanted her to come along. Apparently, Mr. Saotome has his own cadre of rabid middle-aged female fans. Mrs. Mild was on one of the many buses hauling the fan club to the hall in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture. There was a near-riot by many of the rabidettes on her bus when they felt cheated by some perceived slight from the management. I remarked that Mrs. Mild had finally gotten a taste of what the otaku (or would that be, otakette?) world is like.

I was also quite surprised to see that the Milds had lugged in a couple of boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts. I did get a reward of one chocolate ring at the end of the lesson. I'd assumed that Mrs Mild had bought them at Krispy Kreme Japan's 3rd outlet in Saitama (where BC lives), but actually she said she bought them at the 2nd outlet in Yurakucho, downtown Tokyo. Apparently, she only had to wait 20 minutes in line there. Is the fad finally falling?

With Jolly out of the picture last night, I met that intriguing student the juku boss had told (or warned) me about. Yup, she's a firecracker all right. I spoke with her for about 30 minutes. She's picked up a Portuguese accent from her ex-boyfriend from Brazil. Pretty low but she's quite sharp and already started using the new vocabulary that I'd taught her a few minutes previously. It'll be an interesting test since it'll be a tag team effort on both mine and the boss' efforts. She'll teach her the grammar; I just have to answer her questions and get her to converse as much as possible.

However, today, it'll all be Speedy's gang. I've got the grandmothers for the last time before Speedy gets back (although Grandma Dynamite will be back on my regular schedule from tomorrow), followed by The Big Lug, then the usual nighttime lineup of 001, The Diver and Medicine Man.

Barack Obama is getting tantalizingly close to that magic number. Even the Clintons are subtly getting and giving out the message that it's almost all over. CNN is reporting that Hillary has, for the first time, not scoffed at a possible VP slot behind her rival.
Tuesday June 3, 6:37 p.m.

It's all over except for the writing on the reported that Hillary Clinton is about to concede to Barack Obama after months of initially exhilarating and then recently acrimonius battle between the two. Not sure if that means Hillary is gonna be willing to be Barack's No. 2 or even if Barack will consider her as Veep. Kinda wonder what the fallout will be considering what happened over the weekend with the DNC deciding to give just half-votes to Florida and Michigan.

Had my dinner of spicy Thai rice, Chip Star, mini-Mille Feuille and a Green Apple Tea straight from the conbini. Yep, that could be a recipe for Montezuma's Revenge. I really gotta get away from that tender trap of whipped cream in that dessert. I could barely finish that one. Still that cream helped cool down the heat from the Thai rice.

Actually got a message from my old friend in Nagano, The Cat. Looks like she's interested in checking out the major bookstores here for English-language texts. I guess she may be starting that side business of teaching little kids. Of course, I recommended the main Maruzen branch across from Tokyo Station as well as Kinokuniya in Shinjuku. It would be nice if she and her family came down to the big city for the day.
Tuesday June 3, 4:40 p.m.

Typhoon No. 5 gave us a glancing blow from the Pacific, but it was enough to snarl up the JR this morning. I made it out to Tsudanuma to see The Beehive for the first time after their epic trip to Croatia. It turned out that the ladies got back at 4 p.m. yesterday; rather surprised that they even bothered to hold a session this morning considering that they probably would've appreciated a day off. Mrs. Alp showed up some five minutes after the session was supposed to have begun, and then Mrs. Travel (usually the first one to arrive) ran in like a bat out of hell after having overslept about an hour later. That was all she wrote for attendance. Mrs. Perth was in the neighbourhood as well but she joined us for lunch nearby instead. I was finally able to give out some of the presents that Mom had asked me to dole out so I had to lug two big bags in stormy weather since my attempts had been thwarted for the past couple of Tuesdays due to bad weather.

Croatia was a good trip for the ladies. Apparently, the weather was the equivalent of the dog days of summer there. Mrs Alp, as the official diarist and photographer of the tour, took some remarkably postcard-quality shots of Dubrovnik, Split and Zagreb. It was a very scenic tour. Aside from a snotty restaurant staff and one welcher, they found the people there very pleasant. And I was surprised to see that Croatia definitely possesses some beautiful examples of nature, considering that this was a war zone a decade or so earlier. All in all, for the Beehive, the trip was very worthwhile. And Mrs. Travel isn't done yet; she's heading out to the States in a few days for a private little trip of her own. So, no Beehive next week. In fact, the first two days of next week look pretty bare in the cupboard. So far, I've only got SIL as an official slated lesson for next Monday. The Class Act, The Full-Timer, The Tippler, Slim and Mr. TOEIC will not be showing up. Speaking of the last guy, he's back and he seems a bit more fluent and confident in his abilities. He remains a lowbie, but since his recent transfer to the Overseas section, he's been getting a lot of opportunity to speak English at work.

I saw 002 today. She was her usual self...very giddy and giggly. Now, I've got the juku classes. Since Suzanne is now off for the next few weeks, I'm starting up at 7 with Mild Jr., the Milds and Jolly (maybe). And I've got an unusual model lesson squeezed in between my most senior juku students and Jolly. The boss is in the midst of teaching this very low young lady who had a Brazilian boyfriend and will be headed off for Sweden in a few months on business the very basics of grammar. I'm to answer any questions and branch off there for conversational practice. No texts whatsoever.

Looks like the Trekkies may be putting their flag up half-mast. Director Joseph Pevney and composer of the original theme from "Star Trek", Alexander Courage, got beamed up to that starship in the sky. To be honest, I didn't even know they had been still alive.

Speaking about deceased, I've been getting vibes via CNN that the Hillary Clinton campaign may finally be running aground. The New York senator has been sounding a bit fainter these days and rumours abound about a lot of backstage negotiating between her camp and Obama's. I think we should all know by this tomorrow. I wouldn't be surprised if the Obama-Clinton ticket is made official considering how much of a band-aid the Democrats need right now.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Monday June 2, 7:07 p.m.

Just finished with The Full-Timer. Looks like she's getting that itch to move on overseas...perhaps Singapore. I'm all for it...really, it's the final acid test to bring that English to full fluency.

We've had a couple of interesting visitations by foreign celebs. Just last Saturday, Yon-sama, that Korean actor who's the inexplicable darling of millions of middle-aged women here arrived for the umpteenth time. This time, he landed at Kansai International Airport to be mobbed by over 30,000 crazed females...which probably some sort of record. The way the press described it, I would've thought the description of the chaos there was due to a bunch of middle school girls, not middle-aged women. A number of them were openly weeping after having a touch of their god. Then, there was some sort of massive talk fest with him and even more women in Osaka yesterday. Apparently, The Lady was also in Osaka to attend a relative's wedding only to have trouble getting back home by The Bullet since all of the JR trains were packed with rabid women her age.

Then there was another visit by crazed Mariah Carey...the chanteuse who's been allergic to clothes lately. She brought her new hubbie in tow and even used him as a chair during an interview with Fuji-TV's Mr. Karube. I'm sure my clone was somewhat mystified...and aroused at the same time. She also threw out the first pitch at a Giants game at Tokyo Dome. She threw like...a girl. I think the ball went a whole 2 cm before hitting the ground. Of course, millions of cellphone camera-sporting fans didn't mind at all.

Anyways, The Tippler should be here any minute...
Monday June 2, 5:30 p.m.

Another one of those blue Mondays. Pretty gloomy out there and rain will be coming back tonight. Another chatfest with The Class Act and SIL today. But I'm running the gauntlet tonight here at Speedy's with The Full-Timer, The Tippler (she's opting out after tonight due to her schedule...maybe she'll come back during the summer), Slim and Mr. TOEIC to wrap up. I haven't seen the last guy in months.

Yesterday, I managed to catch a couple of sequels which were merely OK. First off, I saw "Ocean's Thirteen" on DVD on Sunday morning. I never caught it at the theatre since I'd heard it was mediocre, and I did go through that horror that was "Ocean's Twelve" a couple of years back. Both MB and The Satyr did say it was OK, though. So with some of that money Mom gave me, I decided to splurge. Looking at it, I can compare "Thirteen" to a reunion at a school that one doesn't have much nostalgia for. It was nice to see the gang one more time but it's time to move on. It was certainly better than "Twelve". The other observation was that while "Ocean's Eleven" was a loving tribute to the Las Vegas of the 50s and the original Rat Pack, this second sequel was more a reflection of the current Disneyfied version of Vegas today.

I also did catch the latest Narnia sequel, "Prince Caspian" yesterday with MB, The Satyr, Skippy and Miss Ivory. I was never all that enthralled with the first was a nice diversion but that was all. This new one was much the same. It was a mix of "Lord of the Rings" and "Harry Potter". Kinda dragged at the beginning and then I found the ending (though it did hew with the books) rather lame with the older Pevensie siblings being banned from Narnia since they refused to see Aslan...kinda petty for a lion, if you ask me.

Afterwards, The Sylph joined us (she isn't much for sword & sorcery flicks) and we went to MB's birthday wish restaurant, Samrat in Shinjuku. The Indian restaurant is one of the best in town. The service was kinda like the old days...nice friendly waiters with a chatty manager telling us about the specials. Of course, we all went for the Curry Buffet with complementary naan and tandoori chicken thrown in. Considering that I didn't have much for breakfast and lunch, I managed to stuff myself silly with all the naan, butter rice and curry.

Also purchased a couple of more CDs during the mini-splurge. One was the techno outfit, Justice's first disc. I basically got it just for the single "D.A.N.C.E." since for some reason, the single is no longer selling. The other is an old re-release of PSY-S' "Mint Electric". Also got "Afro-Samurai" for my brother since it was the only one I could find with English dubbing.

It'll be another busy week since the bossman is still off in the States. And the Beehive is back in the house tomorrow after their trip in Croatia. Guaranteed the talk will be all on that.