Saturday, August 09, 2008

Saturday August 9, 4:34 p.m.

And another day is finished. Mr. TOEIC was OK though his usual slowness kinda brought my metabolism down to a crawl...digesting lunch at the same time didn't help. We did get some of that ubiquitious pineapple cake from his trip to Taiwan. The Dentist was pretty fun as usual. She told me that one of the customers at her regular oden shop nearby just happened to be one of the potential victims of that psycho Kato from The Akihabara Massacre about a couple of months ago.

I am feeling tired and am ready to head on home. Just one little peek into Facebook and I'll be done for the day.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Saturday August 9, 1:37 p.m.

So far, so good. The first two students were very pleasant. The Businesswoman was at her understated best. Looks like her bossa nova guitar lessons are bearing fruit. She'll be helping at a concert in a couple of weeks. Then, PR's first official lesson went off to a good start...she's gonna be a sidetracker since she not only has a great interest in movies but she is in the movie business herself. I even got a free press kit in Japanese for "Get Smart". She remarked that noone less than 50 would know about the original TV series which came out as "Sore Ike Smart!" (Go For It, Smart!) in Japan decades ago. Well, I'm not exactly a spring chicken myself, but nowhere near 50.
Saturday August 9, 11:06 a.m.

The Businesswoman called in to say that she'd be about 10 minutes late so I'm back here. Actually, I did forget to mention that on the way from the station to the school, I ran into the Pessimist and his family at the bus stop. He was a very polite chap; his 6-year-old son looked at me with some trepidation...a common occurrence when it comes to kids and me. I'd like to think that they have good reason.

The Lens also contacted me yesterday asking if I I had time today to meet him and The Romantic for an early birthday dinner. I kindly declined since I frankly just wanted to veg out at home.

Ah, but The Businesswoman has arrived...
Saturday August 9, 10:18 a.m.

First one here at Speedy's. Luckily, the AC kicked in via timer earlier this morning. When I left the apartment this morning, I was absolutely mugged by the humidity and heat. Yep, it looks like my air conditioner will be on high alert for this month.

The New Yorker was fine yesterday. Still low but no longer mute.

I enjoyed my rare Friday night off with some karaage bento and Pepsi...nope, not healthy in the least but I was happy. And I turned on the AC but at least I tried to stay within reasonable parameters by only setting at 26 C instead of the insane 15 C temps I'd done in past years.

I did catch The Opening Ceremonies on NHK. It was the usual redundant blather by the NHK folks...sorry, Yuko Aoki, you are a vision of loveliness but your statements on the obvious border on criminal. And for some bizarre reason, the special guest in the booth was folk singer Shinji there some sort of lottery for celebs promising a trip to these ceremonies for the winning person?

As for the opening ceremonies themselves, it's kinda like going to a friend's house and being asked to watch his kid perform "I'm A Little Teapot" for the first time. It's awfully cute but really the only ones who are gonna go ga-fa for it are the parents themselves. Otherwise, it's the same ol', same ol' with the millions of people participating and the bland Olympic song. I was indeed switching between it and the Japanese TV premiere of "Batman Begins" on Fuji-TV. Of course, there was the usual slashing-and-cutting of the movie for it to fit in 2 hours but it was still enjoyable to watch. Having broadsided the opening ceremonies, it was still an interesting lesson in international relations during the 2-hour long parade of the athletes. Of course, the audience at The Bird's Nest went hog wild for the Chinese team but they gave very warm applause for Team Canada. As for Team Japan, there was merely muted polite applause and I swear that maybe there were even a few catcalls as well. And I have to admit that it was the first time I've ever seen an Olympic Flame-lighting ceremony done the way it was at close to 1 a.m. JST.

After "Batman Begins" finished, I still found myself switching but this time it was between The Opening Ceremonies and a far more dire drama happening via CNN between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia. I saw both the Russian and Georgian Olympic delegations walking into the stadium; they had no idea what was happening. They really don't need any more pressure like this.

Then, this morning I found out that Senator John Edwards, the Richie Cunningham of the US Democratic Party, was really Eddie Haskell. He was caught with his hand in the cookie jar...or the honey pot (ouch!) to speak, when the truth came out about his little affair a couple of years ago. The guys in "The Situation Room" were wondering aloud what would have happened if he had been the Democratic nominee for President instead of Barack Obama. It was kinda lucky then that, along with good common sense, he also lacked a couple of other facts this election year: he wasn't African-American and he wasn't a woman. I think it's safe to say that his political future is pretty much in doubt.

Well, I've got a foursome today. I got The Businesswoman, then new student PR, followed by a couple of students that I haven't seen in a couple of months: Mr. TOEIC and The Dentist.

It was

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Friday August 8, 12:35 p.m.

It's another horrible scorcher out there. All memory of that deluge-level rain from earlier in the week has probably disappeared. I'll be guzzling down the soft drinks once again.

Just finished off with The Pessimist. He aced the test but he also took an accounting test which he's far less confident about. The problem is that he won't hear the results until Xmas time. I've got The New Yorker back in Ichigaya in another few hours. I've got a feeling that the 5 minutes for us to walk from the station to the Tully's will be a re-enactment of The Death March in Bataan.

And then after that, I've got the night off. Incredible as it may seem, The Ace will not be at the juku tonight and Jolly certainly won't be present so I get to hit home at the ungodly hour of 5 o'clock. It'll mean an increase in my air conditioning consumption but I'll be happy to just spend a rare nice evening at home. And my TV viewing choices will be split between the Opening Ceremonies on NHK or the national premiere of "Batman Begins" on Fuji-TV since the sequel opens wide tomorrow. The Chinese authorities made sure to schedule that first day of The Olympics on a very auspicious day: the 8th day of the 8th month of the 8th year of the 21st century. The number 8 is a lucky number in China and we can all hope that the date will augur some very good fortune for all concerned in Beijing. I really hope so, although my cynicism believes that there will be an incident of some sort somewhere in the other cities during the next couple of weeks.

Fuji-TV has already sent out one of its veteran announcers, Tomohiro Ogura, to Beijing to cover the festivities. Ogura has already made a reputation for himself as a "tell-like-it-is" guy; not one of those younger announcers who'll act all smiley and sycophantic. Even so, I did feel that he was being ingracious by already panning the Bird's-Nest and calling the swimming venue as just a gigantic mass of o-furo tiles.
Friday August 8, 12:13 p.m.

The group and I went to some sort of non-descript building in Ningyocho...a traditional commercial quarter near Suitengumae and The Royal Park Hotel. It's also home to the best burger place in Tokyo (so far...there have been so many of these burger joints popping up in the Big Sushi over the past couple of years), Brozers. However, the place that The Lens and I were taken was trad Japanese. The fact that it was located in an unremarkable building got me thinking that it must be a pretty exclusive place...which meant plenty of yen to lose. And sure enough, things were not helped by the fact that we were greeted by a kindly and pristinely polite middle-aged woman in a kimono. The Lens thought he felt quite underdressed for the occasion. I was in Cool Biz mode so all that I was missing was a necktie.

It was a Thursday night so things weren't too crowded but the 6 of us had to be seated at the counter instead of a regular table. As it turned out, that wasn't bad at all. It was 3 men and 3 women so it worked out perfectly...the girls could gab about what they wanted while The Lens, The Romantic and I gabbed on the heat, old times and kendo. The restaurant itself (at least, part of it) was on the 3rd floor and was a mix of old and new. Our counter was in front of where the sushi chef was plying his trade. But the ambience was distinctly 21st-century Modern. The walls were cream and the tables were Ikea-grade light brown...gave a distinctly light and bright air. And did I mention the automatic sliding door into the kitchen?

Going through the menu, I could see that this was no regular izakaya. The courses themselves started from 5,000 yen...exactly the amount I had in my threadbare wallet. The Pragmatist, in her businesslike way, was kinda pushing for that which got me knocking my knees a bit. However, The Romantic decided that the boys would go a la carte for which I sighed relief internally. We had some great dishes to go with our draft beer: the marinated maguro on rice was wonderful for The Lens and me while all three of us shared a large platter of sashimi. Then, there was grilled duck, a salad with shabu-shabu pork with a sesame dressing, and some sauteed cubes of steak. That last dish was incredibly tender and juicy....this was one fine cut of beef which summed up the experience of that restaurant. Unfortunately, I never did get the name of that place. And the wonderful thing is that The Romantic picked up the tab. He was just happy that the cost (22,000 yen for everyone) was so inexpensive. For a place like this, I could agree: that would come to approximately 3,600 yen per person...not bad at all. I just thanked my lucky stars that I did get the opportunity to partake in some fine dining.

We decided to call it a night then and there but we made a pit stop at the nearest conbini, since The Lens was interested in seeing if the place sold some sort of eel-based drink that he'd heard about before coming here. Alas, that drink wasn't there, but there were two other just-as-intriguing drinks: one based on royal jelly and something called White Coke (sounds suspiciously like something Cheech N' Chong would love), but it was actually what it was...a somewhat cloudy drink which tasted like a mix of regular dark cola and cream soda. The label was designed hair-breadth's close like a certain famous red-and-white label for a more auspicious drink, but the addition of a penguin has probably prevented any potential lawsuits.
Friday August 8, 10:17 a.m.

Another potential foot-in-mouth moment for me yesterday. It's a disease that I seem to get more often than the common cold these days, regrettably. Speedy was given a disc of some sort of 20-minute documentary on Winnipeg being the Slurpee Capital of the world. My initial response at the bossman's invitation to watch it with him was to say that I would rather play my games on the computer...yep, snarky answer but then my personality has been approaching that of Jack Cafferty over the past few years. Unfortunately, I found out that it was Ray who'd given the disc to him thanks to her filmmaker sister. Well, I didn't exactly apologize since I didn't really know if I had to apologize, and we all actually did watch it together. It was a tongue-in-cheek documentary...faintly amusing to me, but like a Chinese dinner, something that I would forget an hour later.

Since I was finished for the day, I took off for Ginza. The concrete threw up all that heat into the pedestrians' faces. I bought a birthday card for my brother which I then promptly sent out via the post office next door to Ito-Ya, the stationery store. The pencilhead at the post office dweebily told me that I had to fill out a parcel form and pay 260 yen to have it sent...just a birthday card. Well, since I was in no mood for a fight with the government, I paid it and got out of there. But I'm gonna have to check that out at my local post office sometime.

I did the usual things in Ginza...checked out the music stores of Yamano Music and HMV Sukibayashi. I also noticed an ambulance on parked standby in front of the main police box...I guess it must be there just in case there are any calls for heatstroke victims...all too possible yesterday. I bought the latest EMPIRE magazine at HMV since it had that special feature on "Watchmen".

Then, I made my way over to Suitengumae Station where The Lens and his wife were staying at The Royal Park Hotel again. I got there a good 90 minutes early and since I didn't want to make hotel staff there suspicious about being sitting on their good lobby furniture for an hour and a half, I just cooled my heels for an hour at the neighbouring TCAT...that would be the Tokyo City Air Terminal which has limousine buses going to both Narita and Haneda Airports. I would've stayed there for the full 90, but then a few obnoxious gaijin women came by and started trash-talking with each other so I silently wished them extra roles as fodder for the next "Hostel" movie and walked over to the hotel.

At about 6:30, everyone met...The Lens and his wife, along with the Automan's sister, The Pragmatist and her husband, The Romantic, along with yet another acquaintance from the old days of university. I got the usual bag of Canadian newspapers and chocolates from The Lens as tribute, but I also kindly received a couple of graphic novels of Daredevil and Batman, two of the darkest superheroes there are. The Lens remarked at how he has been virtually melting from the heat...such as I when I first made contact with this city.

More on the night's events later.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Thursday August 7, 9:16 a.m.

The Opening Ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics are now a little over 24 hours away, and China is getting the final touches done: showing the athletes, journalists and other spectators in, touching up some of the venues, getting that final dress rehearsal in, and of course, beating up any wayward dissidents or foreign journalists into submission. Apparently, the Games have already started for some of the sports. Canada beat Argentina 2-1 in....something.

I was feeling pretty beat last night. It was the gauntlet of the three women. I was able to banter with 001 better than last time. She's not too sure whether she'll be able to make it out for this proposed Burger Tour thingamajig at the end of the month, but she'll send word out to The Baker. The Diver is indeed getting better at her English although she'll never fess up to it. She's been hitting other platforms to improve her language skills such as Nintendo DS. Good for her. And then I had The Fashion Designer for her first official lesson. I rather tuckered her out by the end of the night with all of the vocabulary that was thrown about. But I would rather have that situation than a student who was bored out of her brains.

BC actually did e-mail us from her Air Canada plane. Apparently, due to some scheduling snafu, she was part of a double-booking incident which had her bumped up to Business Class. Both Speedy and I were remarking that this could augur well for her fortunes in British Columbia. Believe me, I really hope that things are better for her over there than they were over here.

I'd been hoping for a bit of time off from teaching. Looks like The Temp may be helping me with that. She sent word that she's quit her job due to some differences there and she'll have to cancel the lessons with me for the time being. I have no reason not to disbelieve her since she was rather detailed about the reasons for her quitting, and I'm not particularly dismayed since she was only seeing me once a month....not exactly a regular.

The Lens has finally contacted me about getting together for dinner tonight. He and his wife are staying at their usual hotel in Tokyo. I was surprised to hear that there's absolutely nothing on the slate after the early afternoon...not even for Speedy. I guess the O-Bon holidays have finally started.

Shakespeare must be rolling over in his grave right now. I know some of the more snobbish critics are. But the sci-fi geeks are crowing with delight at the news that there has been a Bardian meeting of Captain Picard and Doctor Who. Or should that be more like Professor X and Doctor Who? In any case, Patrick Stewart and David Tennant are together doing "Hamlet" in London. Comic Book Guy and all of the other otaku are rubbing shoulders with the usual stage hoi polloi to catch these SF icons thesp. The folks at the theatre are taking no chances, though....they said that no TV-related paraphernalia will be signed.
Wednesday August 6, 5:47 p.m.

It's been a pretty quiet afternoon after Prissy's lesson. As for the lesson itself, it wasn't too bad but still some adjusting to do. Still not totally comfortable with the text. Basically, it's been a jaunt with Facebook and Wikipedia. Meanwhile, Ray still has a thing for playing with her hair. The bossman seems to be out somewhere.

Just waiting for 001 to show up. The Angels (001, 002 and The Baker) and I have been wondering about getting together for one of my favourite shops on the Burger Tour...namely, Baker Bounce in Tokyo Midtown. It may be scheduled for the end of the month, but The Baker is gonna be the wild card...her free time is rather precious.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Wednesday August 6, 11:23 a.m.

Finished with The Nurse after 2 weeks' absence. Not too angst-ridden this morning but she was a little trepidatious about her and her husband's upcoming move to a new house in Shin-Koenji in September. Moving to new digs is a pretty big deal for any family anywhere, but especially in Japan which seems to revel in bureaucratizing everything, it can be downright traumatic. And that's especially so here since paying off the mortgage is often a multi-generational duty. I'm simply envious that the couple can even think of buying a house.
Wednesday August 6, 9:24 a.m. bumped out of the ol' Blogger with all of the Japanese lettering for about an hour; now I've been exposed to all this clean English.

Last night was apparently one to remember weatherwise. Tokyo got majorly flooded; the sewer system at one point became the world's largest Zoom-A-Floom ride. Unfortunately, for four or five sewer technicians, it would be the last ride they would ever have. One is dead, the other four are still missing. Urayasu was also given a good dousing around the 6-7 hour...basically during Suzanne's lesson at the juku, but by the time I got out at around 10 p.m., all was indeed quiet on the Eastern front. Although it seems to be clouding over right now, the forecast is considerably drier and sunnier for the next several days.

Jolly indeed did dotakyan, and the indication last night was that he wouldn't be coming for Friday night which means that I've got a very rare free Friday night off which would also mean that I can watch The Opening Ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics. Not that I particularly look forward to the overly gushing prose from the otherwise sober-sided announcers on NHK.

That model lesson student was a wide-eyed, soft-spoken and very low student. She couldn't even make full sentences although her comprehension is quite a bit better. I guess my Travel English lesson worked wonders on her. She will be signing up, but on conditions that I'm not too thrilled over. The juku boss contacted me about an hour later after I'd gotten home and told me that this new student, Bright Eyes (best name I could think of off the top of my head), wants to join a group lesson. The only group lesson I have is The Milds. I protested mildly that it would be a disaster in the making since The Milds, as soft-spoken as they are, are heads and shoulders above this girl. The business side of the boss came into this decision since this was Bright Eyes' request and she gave me an out by saying that if Bright Eyes is totally hopeless during her first class (pretty much a foregone conclusion), I should let the boss know lickety-split.

It's the 63rd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, so I assume that NHK has given the live coverage of Peace Park including the speeches by the Mayor of the city and Prime Minister Fukuda. This morning, before I left my apartment at the way-too-early hour of 6:30 a.m., I saw a feature on the early morning NHK news about a 74-year-old hibakusha who's been doing his own kami-shibai (literally, "paper plays" in which a storyteller gives children tales via handmade paintings depicting various scenes) on that hot day in 1945 when the bomb hit. It was very poignant to watch since the children kinda made those blank-faced comments of the play being "scary". I very much doubt that they can truly feel or imagine what happened on August 6, 1945. And the thing is that the collective memory of the world's first nuclear attack and its aftermath is slowly dying off, much like the rest of the hibakusha. I'm pretty positive, for instance, that NHK was the only channel giving any sort of lip service to the anniversary; the other channels were probably covering The Olympics or the latest news on trendy restaurants. Not that I'm gonna get on my soapbox and tongue-lash everyone to always remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki; Japan and the world have organizations to do that far better than any individual, for one thing. And no matter how hard we try, even events as horrifying as 9/11 will, over time, be thrown into the dusty heap of history. We will remember these events but the true feelings of horror for them will slowly disappear. And so I'm left with that chilling adage about those not remembering their history being doomed to repeating it.
Tuesday August 5, 7:01 p.m.

The skies finally poured forth an entire menagerie of rain onto Chiba about an hour ago. It had the character of an Ark-level flood. Suzanne managed to get into the juku slightly damp but otherwise unbowed. I can only imagine what some of the unluckier commuters must've gone through. All is quiet on the Eastern front...for now.

Suzanne had one of our usual chat-lessons although we did get down to some business via TOEIC. She improved her score on the last test so she wants to go for the much vaunted 700 points which shouldn't be too difficult since she managed to reach 655. But I kinda wonder how much longer she'll last with me. Our lessons are pretty but not too sure whether they'll mean much in the long term. It was kinda similar to the case with Seven a couple of years ago; Seven was far lower in ability than Suzanne but she was more into the chat than anything else and chat will only take one so far before he/she decides that enough is enough. I may decide to propose a more structured approach.

Since Mild Jr. will be off tonight. I've got about an hour before his parents come in for their lesson. It'll probably be half a lesson, though, since they've got photos to show me of their trip through Germany last month.

Those Uighur terrorists are still making life tough for the Chinese security forces just a few days before the Beijing Olympics. A couple of them blew up some policemen and started stabbing the rest before they were finally taken down and arrested. Beijing, of course, is taking no chances and has clamped down even harder on the Olympic sites. I have no doub that the city itself will not suffer any incidents (unless there are some really deep moles underground), but the other regional cities such as Xian, Shanghai and even Hong Kong could be targets.
Tuesday August 5, 4:31 p.m.

I had my lunch at the tonkatsu eatery after the I-cafe. The television was showing the latest in the Koshien High School Baseball Championships, a summer tradition in these parts. Keio High School won. As I was watching, the screen was surrounded by a blue frame...which always meant an ongoing bulletin. Sure enough, it was that Tokyo was being flooded again. The Weather Office has also given an alert for all of Chiba. It was spitting a bit but I was still in the to speak. However, for the past few minutes, I've been hearing rumbles like large furniture being moved above and there was the briefest moments of a squall. Not sure what it's gonna be like tonight. And will this affect the attendance of my students? The humidity is back, though. I feel like that wad of gum again.

Nothing from Jolly yet, but the boss had a rather unsure look on her face.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tuesday August 5, 12:52 p.m.

When I left this morning to see 002, I felt not unlike a sticky wad of gum under a guy's shoe. It was really that humid. You couldn't have fit a piece of paper between my shirt and my skin. Not a pleasant commute although the subways were air-conditioned. Then, during the lesson itself, the thunderboomers sounded, the rains came and when I stepped out of her apartment, it was a different sensation. It was dry and cool(er). Such a difference, but by the time I got out to the I-cafe, that humidity was starting to insinuate itself into the air again.

I asked 002 about some terminology about that physical checkup that I'm due to take next week. She was kind enough to make the call to that clinic. It won't be closing over the O-Bon break over the next several days. It seems that I don't need to make an appointment; I just have to show up at 8:45 on that Friday morning....of course, with nothing in the tummy. That could be rough.

On Sunday morning, while MB and I were just laying about after seeing "I am Legend" on the DVD, we did some YouTube surfing. And I came across an old Morgan Freeman video during his early 70s gig on "The Electric Company". MB had never known about this "Sesame Street"-like show on phonics. It was an eye-opening experience for him, to say the least. He saw his Easy Reader character strutting, sashaying and singing to a funky beat. Several times, MB just gave me this "Are you kiddin' me?!" look. Yup, from some humble beginnings...

So it was with some surprise that I found out about Freeman's accident on "The Situation Room" this morning. His car apparently did a flip on a highway. Just glad that he's alive although his situation remains rather serious.

I've got the juku crowd tonight. Everyone with the exception of Mild Jr. will be there. And I've even got a quickie model lesson to do there as well. Just half an hour to convince the newbie. The boss told me that she wants to study Travel English so I'm bringing out the PASSPORT texts. I'm hoping that Jolly doesn't want to come out this Friday to make up a lesson. I'm starting to think that after well over a year of coming to my lessons, it may be time for him to leave the coop.
Monday August 4, 10:49 p.m.

Well, Medicine Man was his usual button-down best. Man, when I showed him out, I was hit assaulted by a wave of humidity out there. It's gonna be a tough ride home tonight.

I have to admit that I was rather surprised that the actor who had played Porkins (Red Six) in "Star Wars", that G-man at the start and end of "Raiders of the Lost Ark", and the corrupt Lt. Eckhardt in Tim Burton's "Batman" back in 1989 were all played by the same actor, William Hootkins. There's always a surprise in Wikipedia.

Now for that long unpleasant commute home.
Monday August 4, 9:00 p.m.

Feeling truly tired after that model lesson. Model lessons really tucker me out. Not that this one was a hardcase. Far from it, she was a good egg. Got along quite well with her. She was quite interested in the fact that I was interested in dialects, Japanese and American. Speedy wasn't sure if she's gonna sign, though.

Still, I have one more lesson with Medicine Man. Shouldn't be much of a problem. Just have to fight fatigue.
Monday August 4, 5:32 p.m.

The scorching weather is back here. It was feeling mighty torrid as MB and I made our way to Jiyugaoka Station yesterday. It didn't help that I'd had stuffed into my bag, "The Making of Indiana Jones", that coffeetable book that I'd given him for his birthday. MB was generous enough to lend it to me.

We got over to Roppongi Hills within 30 minutes to catch "The Incredible Hulk" at the Toho Cinemas. We actually arrived a couple of hours before post time so we spent some of that time at the bookstore and then had some coffee at the local branch of Segafredo.

As for "Hulk", it did work so much better than the Ang Lee predecessor since there was none of that navelgazing artsy stuff. It was pretty much a chase picture from beginning to end. The opening credits even left me somewhat me the entire origin of the big guy in about a minute. The romantic interludes were pretty much forced and about as thin as urine in a Petri Dish (love that quote by Montreal Canadiens coach, Bob Berry), but I didn't come to watch a Hulk romance. I wanted see Hulk smash...and that's what I got. When I saw some of those final scenes between him and The Abomination, I had some reluctance about the film since I thought the CG there didn't look too good. However, on seeing the whole deal, it strangely did work out. At least, it worked far better than seeing the big green guy go up against two Hulkified poodles and his father-turned-jellyfish in the first movie. And there was actually some humour to go with the Sturm und Drang....Stan Lee getting a bit of that Hulk formula, "You wouldn't like me when I'm...hungry" and mousy Betty Ross going medieval on a New York cab driver. And there was some interesting continuity points dealing with The Super-Soldier programme, Tony Stark's cameo and his little hint of putting together a team. I would actually like to see a sequel with Ed Norton now.

But the surprising thing about watching "The Incredible Hulk" was seeing that some of those battle scenes at Culver University actually took place right on the big lawn in front of my alma mater, the University of Toronto. Saw Med Sci and University College right then and there.

After a satisfying movie, MB and I decided to have a satisfying dinner at Tony Roma's in Roppongi. Yep, the whole dinner with the ribs and steak cost me 5,000 yen, but once in a while, you just gotta treat yourself. I've been a pretty good boy over the months since the financial crunch so I think I deserved this one. I did hold off on dessert, though. Even the apple pie would've ruptured my GI tract by that point.

MB talked about some of the exchange programmes that have been going on between his school and a girls' school in his native land, Australia. Looks like there have been a few examples of growing pains over the past few years. I would probably say that dealing with teenage girls themselves in any situation will entail pain.

Woke up this morning bathed in sweat. The big towel under me was pretty damp when I woke up, so I knew that this was gonna be a really hot day. And the high temp for today was 35 C. OUCH! No choice...had to activate the AC to remain sane. Since I only have a model lesson student (yep, they keep on rolling in) and Medicine Man tonight, I decided to take the risk of crisping myself and head on out for some lunch at Nathan's, the hot dog place in Shiodome, right under the headquarters of NTV. Had no choice but to eat al fresco since I couldn't see any access to the 2nd floor. Survived OK but left my handkerchief and wet wipes at home, so I was getting pretty salty.

Took the Yurikamome from Shimbashi to head over to Odaiba for the first time in a couple of years. It's been 13 years since I first took the chance of going over there for the first time and, although the computer-operated monorail had already been pressed into service, the place had looked like a giant Meccano set (that would still be Fuji-TV HQ) in the middle of a giant sandbox. Now, the place looks like a gigantic city on Tokyo Bay. There have been a few more modern buildings plunked down onto the area like a couple of additions in the future phase of a SimCity game. Visited the DECKS and Aqua City malls. The former has been continuing its morphing. One floor has become a place totally dedicated to esthetic and massage salons; very chic and totally unaffordable for idle English teachers. The Little Hong Kong mockups are still there, though. On the other side of the complex, another floor has become Muscle Beach, a playfloor for the kiddies.

Aqua City was filled with the families and teens since school is out. However, I still enjoyed walking through the area. I was surprised to see that Cinnabons with its wafting aroma of cinnamon was still there on the ground floor. Didn't fall prey to it, though. Braved the heat emanating from the concrete and filled myself up with pop from the vending machines. It would become the undercurrent theme for my day...I don't think I'll be eating any really substantial tonight since it's just too darn hot. Liquid nourishment will do me just fine.

I actually could walk across the half-kilometre with a pit stop at a conbini for some wet wipes to Palette Town and VenusFort. Not much has changed about this mall supposedly made for women (and apparently still strong enough for men). The interior was still made up to resemble faux-Italy. However, the powers-that-be have added a casino (!) into one of the nooks. The Village Vanguard still existed on the ground floor. This has no connection with the legendary jazz joint in New York, or, for that matter, the burger place up in Kichijoji. It's a shop filled with some of the strange knickknacks that would occupy an attic or bedroom of an otaku. For example, I did see some half-inflated Dutch Wives...and Husbands hanging (heheheh) up in the rafters of the shop, along with some Star Wars paraphernalia. The Perfume CDs were racked up while the video clip of their latest song was playing nearby.

I discovered that VenusFort was not only female-friendly but also dog-friendly as well. A couple of the restaurants actively encouraged the presence of the canines. I actually played a pinball machine (still some of those left over) which featured The Simpsons. As expected, I only lasted a few minutes....well, it only cost me a hundred yen.

Finally decided to come back to reality so I took the Rinkai Line over to Osaki Station before transferring to JR Yamanote Line and coming over to Speedy's. As I said before, I'm not all that hungry...just bought a so-men bento and yet another drink from the vending machine.

Had to make up one of the tests for 002 tomorrow since it apparently has yet to exist so that had taken up a good portion of my time before doing this entry. Lulu has been pretty much under Speedy's charge since she's taken times that I'm simply not available for. She came in today and flashed a slightly embarrassed smile.

Tomorrow will be another slower day since The Beehive is on hiatus for the summer. I've got 002 earlier in the morning and then it'll just be the juku bunch in the evening. Even so, Mild Jr. will not be there and Jolly continues to be the missing man in the formation.