Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sunday January 18, 2:02 p.m.

Just finished knocking off those translations for Cozy. He tried to get me at 9 last night but I said that I probably wouldn't make that time getting home and he had some plans soon afterward. Still, I fulfilled my duty by coming over to an empty Speedy's.

Around this time yesterday, as I was getting ready for The Businesswoman's lesson, there was a bit of a Keystone Kops farce going on outside in the outer office...and the lobby. Speedy has been interviewing prospective teachers for lessons that neither he nor I could do for the past few days. The 2nd guy in line for the interview caused a bit of an uproar with the superintendant of the building when he screwed up the intercom to let him in and then proceeded to try to force open the door in the lobby...which was the door to the super's apartment. The nimrod could've used his cellphone to contact Speedy upstairs, but no, he had to stir up Hell. The super was far from pleased and gave an earful to Speedy; the super and the nimrod ended up in a "Lost In Translation" situation with neither speaking the other's language although a lot of confused, angry communication took place. Basically, Speedy had to rush down from his interview with the first guy to sort out the situation and then apologize profusely to the super. Not exactly a great day for him. Nimrod looked rather forlorn as he sat out in the outer office while Speedy ended the first interview; I'm sure he was thinking that he lost any chance at a job with us. Speedy pretty much reached that conclusion last night.

Movie Buddy contacted me about getting together for "Quantum of Solace" next Sunday. Yep, the flick is just gonna reach these shores next Saturday. Looks like I'll be getting a bunch of souvenirs ready for he, The Satyr and Skippy. I gave my calendars to Tully & The Coffeemaker this morning. Had a good session with those two.

Now, as I finish this, I'll be heading back home before the rains come in to see if I can get one of those plastic binnies for storage at the neighbourhood Daiei now that I've got room in the apartment.

Almost finished the Linehan bio. The book seemed to cleave away into four sections: the life of the Linehan family in Hamilton when Brian grew up, Brian Linehan the legendary interviewer and his jetsetting years, the Zane Wegman suicide, and then Linehan's doomed battle with cancer. Did get some insight into suicide and dying from it.

It may just be a cold weekend here in The Big Sushi, but over in the States, it's Obama Weekend. I've never seen such a big media deal made over the inauguration of a president, even a US president. I think CNN should just change its first letter for the next few days to "O". Well, I shouldn't be that sassy. I'm planning to be up at 2 a.m. Wednesday morning to see Barack take the Oath of Office. I'm just praying that neither The Nurse nor any other student will be making any lesson requests on Hump Day. I may even consider stating to the bossman that I won't be available on Wednesday.

Anyways, ready to head on home.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Saturday January 17, 11:04 a.m.

Here for another round of lessons at Speedy's. Fairly chilly here...which would translate as frigid for Tokyoites. I would transplant all 14 million of them over to Toronto right now and then they would realize what COLD really was.

I'm reaching the end of Brian Linehan's biography written by his good friend, George Anthony. I guess the best two words I could use to describe the late interviewer is "Glorious Bastard" an indirect crack at Quentin Tarentino's upcoming movie. He was a great guy to see in his element but probably someone I would end up avoiding like a plague outside. I could only imagine that perhaps someday someone might be tempted to make a made-for-TV movie of this guy...only in Canada, though.

Walking through the darkness of old Urayasu where the juku is located, I've been noticing that things have been getting a bit seedier there of late. The area has always had that inner city sheen about it, especially compared to the relative luxury of new Urayasu which is closer to Tokyo Disneyland. But on Tuesday, Suzanne and I heard a brief but intense argument outside the house and on my way walking to the juku, a couple of ladies were having a major fight on the sidewalk. And of course, the area around Urayasu Station at night is pretty raucous with kids. Not gonna say that the neighbourhood is approaching Times Square circa 1980 or even Kabukicho but I am noticing.
Friday January 16, 6:45 p.m.

The two-hour session with Swank was pretty relaxed though she still got an educational workout. As it turns out, she won't be taking the Eiken 1 test at the end of the month after all since she feels that she couldn't devote enough time for study so the next time will be June. Either she'll be hanging out with us at Speedy's for another half-year, or she'll be saying goodbye in a couple of weeks.

Had dinner at the usual Urayasu family restaurant and then I popped up here at the juku. The juku boss did some mock panicking at the fact that I'd come so early. I recall sometime last year that I arrived a little past 8 and she almost accused me of being later than usual. Just can't satisfy women.

Now that I've got a chunk of tatami space where there used to be a beaten-down sofa, I've gotta think about the storage space that I'd like to put down there along with one of those low-to-the-ground recliners. It certainly felt a a bit weird this morning sitting down.

Speedy attended that wingding at The Hotel New Otani (where I used to teach The Class Act before I went freelance) for the Prime Minister of Ireland. He was never sure why he had been given his golden invitation. STill, he went and tried to schmooze as best he could. I gather that his work for study-abroad programmes in the Emerald Isle didn't go unnoticed. Still, he felt like a fifth wheel there. I can sympathize...before I started the custom of bringing an entourage to The Lady's Xmas parties, I didn't feel too in place there.

I'm making some headway on that translation for The Corner. I've yet to hear from Cozy about my submission for his translation request. I remember him telling me that there may be a lot more to come my is approaching tax season, after all.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Friday January 16, 7:55 a.m.

Yep, here bright and early. Already feel like I need another 3-week vacation. I think I did put down as one of my New Year's Resolutions that I would try to get myself out of these late night-early morning transitions...don't think that's gonna happen anytime soon. Unless my translation gigs get really enormous so that I can actually take a sabbatical from Speedy's. However, I did successfully carry out one Resolution...well, half of it soon as I got home...past midnight...I wrestled out one of my two sofas all the way downstairs to the garbage pick-up zone. I had been thinking about doing it first thing this morning but I think it was far better to get it over with last night. Not exactly the easiest thing to do and I was worried that someone would decide to make off with it overnight but it was still there when I left the apartment at the crazy hour of 6 a.m. It was just too cold last night for anyone to go for free furniture, I guess. There has been a penchant for folks to rummage around to see if they can find some freebies...not just used manga. At this time, the sodaigomi people should have picked up my compressed furniture by now. As I left, I gave the sofa the gold-watch equivalent of a pat.

Speaking of interior transitions, the White House is now down to its last 4 days before Bush goes and Obama comes. The Inauguration of the Century seems to be taking on Hollywood proportions in the pomp and (dire) circumstances that the US is going through right now. President no. 44 is facing a Middle East crisis, a belligerent Russia, the usual threats from Muslim extremists, a couple of embarrassments in his Cabinet picks, and of course, the global economic meltdown. However, it looks like the first First Lady in American history to get a key Cabinet position will be doing so. And what got my eyes opened was hearing that Obama may be tapping Dr. Sanjay Gupta to be his Surgeon-General. Not sure if this is true news or not but if the telegenic Dr. Gupta does become Top Doc, he'll be the most famous one since his mug has been popping up almost daily on CNN.

As for me today, I've just got my usual students in the form of Prissy, the Eiken student and the bunch at the juku tonight. I'll be properly exhausted by tonight. Just grateful that Mr. TOEIC has officially switched his lesson to the last slot tomorrow instead of first thing in the morning.

Did break my first resolution of not going to McDonalds by having McBreakfast there this morning. However, I'll still hold off as long as I can from having Big Macs. And in any case, I figure if you're gonna load up on empty calories, you can do so for breakfast. Pretty nice rationalization.
Thursday January 15, 9:04 p.m.

Well, I was able to get that translation rush job done for Cozy. Hopefully, it passes muster but I think there will be a bit of a discussion back-and-forth before it's finally accepted. I've yet to really get into The Corner's translations; I may have to come in on the Sunday to get that done.

I went down to the Excelsior Cafe in Shinjuku to see The Carolinan. She's lost weight since I saw her back in mid-December. I've only got Medicine Man tonight and then I have to get back home to throw out one of my two sofas. Yes, after 14 years of good use and a lowering of several centimetres, it's time to make some more space in the living room. Paid my large-garbage payment stamps (was surprised that it doesn't cost all that much to pitch a sofa out...just 2,000 yen). But I'll be struggling to bring down the two parts early in the morning since I'll probably be groggy, and I have to be out and on the subway by around 6:30 a.m.

The big news here today is about a stabbing death of a professor at one of the big universities in Tokyo. And it happened on campus in one of the buildings which has gotten the students there pretty nervous. I have a feeling that this isn't a random act, though...maybe it was an ex-student with a grudge.

I managed to track down that YouTube video of the Vocaloid version of The Ielvan Polka that The Anime King had introduced during my Xmas vacation. Apparently, the tune originally came from one of the Nordic countries. Well, it's managed to insinuate itself into my brain like termites in a wooden house.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thursday January 15, 4:33 p.m.

I've been doing a rush job for Cozy. I told him that I would probably be able to get it back to him on Friday or Saturday, but with a bit of luck, I may even be able to get it off to him before I see Medicine Man tonight. However, I'll be taking off in a few minutes for The Carolinan's lesson at a Shinjuku cafe. I don't want to always depend on this school to house my private students.

Looks like we lost a couple of old-time celebs: one who used to run an island, another who just desperately wanted to get off one. First off, Ricardo Montalban, famous for Mr. Roarke, Khan Noonien Singh and Corinthian leather, finally passed on. And Patrick McGoohan of "The Prisoner" has gone to that Village in the sky. I guess it'll have to "be NOT seeing you".

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Wednesday January 14, 4:59 p.m.

Just finished up revising The Stick's resume. Yep, my former student sent me over her English-language of her CV for proofreading. So, happy to have gotten that done.

And it looks like Grandma Dynamite did give the cancel order to her lessons with Speedy and me for tomorrow. Well, at least I can get some more shuteye in the mornings...that is, unless The Smile requests her early morning classes again. Haven't heard from her yet since I got back. Dynamite will be keeping a low profile for the next 2 months at least.

Saw The New Yorker in Ichigaya. She had a good session today...applied the grammar pretty well. She also appreciated the calendar of Toronto. Looks like she had a fairly quiet New Year's.

Well, I'll be having my usual Wednesday night crew starting in an hour. 001 is back along with The Diver and The Fashion Designer. The Diver will be the one to keep an eye on since I'll be starting that crash review of the entire text from tonight. Not sure if the month's absence will have her revert to her Nervous Nellie of almost a year ago.

Finished the Season One DVDs of "Get Smart". Gotta say that Don Adams gets my respect for doing a lot of his stunts well despite his character as a bumbling CONTROL agent. That was him fighting a KAOS agent in the pool. That was him doing the punchups with stuntmen. I listened to the lone commentary by Barbara "99" Feldon; it was interesting to hear how she had to slouch and wear flats so that she wouldn't tower over her co-star.
Wednesday January 14, 12:38 p.m.

So far, so good for my first Hump Day of 2009. Just had Grandma Enka for the monthly chit-chat. She liberally mixes Japanese with her English to the extent that I'm never sure if she's actually getting anything out of the 60, but she seems to be quite happy. She told me that her sister, Grandma Dynamite, has been ailing of late so we're not quite sure of her status for tomorrow morning.

I'll be heading out in about a few minutes to teach The New Yorker in Ichigaya. I've got her sister, The Carolinan, tomorrow night. It's been over a month since I've taught The New Yorker so I'm not sure what her ability will be like. Probably very rusted. I did get word from Tully that he and The Coffeemaker will be OK for Sunday morning. Looks like I'm getting back into the swing of things.

And the translations are starting to pop up as well. Cozy gave me the heads-up on some work heading my way in the next few weeks. I've already got stuff from The Corner.

I heard that Mr. TOEIC will be shifting his lesson from early Saturday morning to late Saturday night. Well, at least, I'll get some shuteye on Friday night.
Tuesday January 13, 5:25 p.m.

Had my first Beehive session with the ladies. They thanked me for helping them relay the gifts and good wishes to Mrs. Tulip back in Toronto. Mrs. Travel suffered a bit of a concussion after falling on some icy ground up in Karuizawa the other day. The topic of discussion was on the effects of the plummeting economy. Each of the ladies told me about neighbours they knew who had been laid off. A couple of them were from Honda. I figure that the crime rate will go up. And CNN is reporting that the number of homeless has also gone up. I think for a lot of people, recession will be a new and disturbing feeling.

The long weekend was good for relaxing. Had a binge of shopping in Shibuya and Shinjuku. I've been trying to keep my New Year's resolution of trying to get fit again after 3 weeks of noshing back home. I've been sticking to as many stairs as possible in lieu of elevators. I've been proud of the fact that I haven't hit a McDs in almost a month.

KDDI is getting on my tail about my disconnected line since I'm now with Ichikawa Cable. They sent a notice asking for my modem back. No particular problems there....I even called the customer service centre but I could only get 50% of what the guy was rattling off his tongue, so I just went with my original plan of writing them a letter. Hopefully, I won't be getting any more red tape.

I've got the usual suspects tonight. I have Suzanne and then The Artist followed by The Milds. The juku boss is still coming back from her operation.