Friday, January 23, 2009

Saturday January 24, 12:24 p.m.

Finished with Mr. TOEIC who's currently Yahoo'ing something on the laptop. During the lesson, we were rather surprised when we saw a sudden flurry of snow whipping by outside. It lasted all of 10 minutes but it was something to behold in a town not known for any sort of white precipitation. As for Mr. TOEIC himself, he was having a little more trouble than usual trying to get his words out accurately. It was almost as if I were dealing with The Diver.

The next time I get that "Woe is me" feeling, I just have to remind myself of a Brazilian model, all of 20, who's had to have her extremities amputated along with her stomach because of some horrible disease.
Saturday January 24, 9:04 a.m.

Back at the salt mines a bit early today since I've got Mr. TOEIC in about 45 minutes. Even on early Saturday mornings, the subways, though not packed like sardines like during the weekdays, are still devoid of free least on the notorious Tozai. However, I was lucky on the Marunouchi since that's full only for the weekday commuters.

I've got just the three guys today: TOEIC, The Intellectual and Mr. Pronounciation. The only thing is that they're spread out over the day so I'll be here until past 5. A bit of a drag but at least the down time will provide me with an opportunity to get some more material made up for Swank's next class.

I've been going through Season Six of "Family Guy". Peter Griffin's take on "Shipoopi" from "The Music Man" has been burrowing through my brain like Brachonid larvae through a caterpillar. I've actually got some free time tonight after work so I'll probably burrow through some more.
Friday January 23, 8:42 p.m.

I'm feeling pretty knotty right now but I finally got that translation off to The Corner. Hopefully, it'll basically past muster. At least I'll only have to worry about tomorrow's classes at Speedy's instead of trying to race through a translation.

The Ace is running late so he'll just have the half-hour tonight. No particular probs. I kinda figured that he may not be able to make it out early.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Friday January 23, 1:28 p.m.

Well, sent off the bill to Cozy, do the meatball surgery version of translating The Corner's stuff and finish marking those high school essays. Just gotta type up The Corner's stuff at the juku and then send that off.

Talked with The Admin last night on the phone. It was the first time I had a chance to talk with her since she'd left Speedy's well over a year ago. She had been interested in taking private lessons with me for some time but apparently could never get around to it until now. She's keeping this on the QT from Speedy, probably to prevent the same thing that hit the fan between me and 002 last year, although she was never aware of that kerfuffle. I said I would meet her on Wednesday morning or afternoon since that's really the only open time I've got left on my schedule, and even then, she's gonna have to move over for Grandma Enka on the first Wednesday of the month.

I see that the Oscar nominations came in last night. Heath Ledger did get his nomination for "The Dark Knight" as did Robert Downey Jr for "Tropic Thunder". I guess Tom Cruise's dancing didn't quite bowl the Academy over. Still, it was nice to see Scientology's most famous disciple showing that he can still bust a move some 25 years after "Risky Business".
Friday January 23, 11:15 a.m.

For a Friday, it's feeling a whole lot like Hump Day. I've gotta hand in my translations for the Corner, then get back some marked high school essays to Speedy, and then take care of the three lessons for Swank, The Ace and The Restauranteur. Nope, not quite President Obama's schedule, but still... Speaking of whom, I saw that little awkward moment when VP Biden's mouth got the best of him at that swearing-in ceremony for the White House staff. Barack must've been second-guessing his choice as running mate at that point by the look on his face. Then again, I think I'm probably more like ol' Joe than Barry.

Went over to Akiba and had my dinner at the kaiten sushi on top of Yodobashi Camera. I realize I could ask for whatever sushi I wanted but still I was disappointed in the lack of variety going on the conveyor belt. Then, I went downstairs to check out the digital cameras. The cheapest they had was going for close to 20,000 yen. The neighbourhood Yamada Denki has gotten something for almost half the price so I'll probably go along with them.

MB got back to me about "Quantum of Solace". It'll be a late-afternoon gig followed by another round in the Burger Tour.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Thursday January 22, 11:15 a.m.

It's kinda nice not having to come in bleary-eyed in the morning...although it is too bad that Grandma Dynamite has been ailing so. I'll be having Grandma FON in about 15 minutes and then Miss Sedona before I head on out to see The New Yorker in Ichigaya once more. It's been raining off and on for the past 12 hours. Definitely feels like normal Vancouver out there. Speedy is off to the local city office to beg for money since apparently PM Aso has started giving financial helping hands to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Will be heading out to Akiba once I finish with The New Yorker for the first time in over a month. I've been kinda looking out for a cheap digital camera. I saw one at the neighbourhood Yamada Denki yesterday but just wanna see if anything in Akiba can beat that price of 11,000 yen. Plus, I'm in the mood for kaiten sushi.
Wednesday January 21, 9:38 p.m.

Just the evening classes but they've been concentrated. 001 was chock full of laughter after a somewhat lackadaisical session last week, but it was pretty intense with The Diver. Not quite a reversion back to baby steps but she hasn't mastered a lot of the basics....and she's on her last lesson next week. Not sure how that's gonna go. Luckily (or unluckily...would like to go home at a decent hour), The Fashion Designer has called in to say that she'll be 20 minutes late. Well, at least, I don't have The Smile or Grandma Dynamite early in the morning...I can be more leisurely coming in tomorrow.
Wednesday January 21, 5:25 p.m.

Well, I witnessed all of the pomp and circumstance last night leading up to the 44th President putting his hand on the Lincoln Bible and saying, "I, Barack Hussein Obama..." at 2 a.m. JST. I'd never seen an entire Inauguration Ceremony before...just saw bits and pieces live while saving the rest as highlights. But I would have been damned not to see this one. And I certainly wasn't disappointed with the crowds...although there was far fewer than the 3 million predicted to come, there was nothing wrong with having 1.5 million all along the Mall. It was still a stirring sight. The big highlight was seeing President-elect Obama placing his hand on the bible and getting sworn in, thus dropping the "-elect" part, and even a linguistic fumble by the Chief Justice couldn't obscure the history laden in "The Moment". As for the speech, it wasn't Obama's most soaring one but then again in these times, there is nothing wrong with a relatively quietly reassuring word instead of something wholly pithy. I think it was more than enough to see an African-American taking the Oath of Office on the steps of a place that had been built by slaves more than 150 years ago.

As I said, I caught all this in the wee hours of the morning, so I couldn't see the parade on Pennsylvania Avenue live but was happy to see the highlight reel this morning. The CNN coverage was still going on like a telethon; last time I saw it before leaving the apartment had the President and the First Lady dancing at two of the ten balls they were supposed to be attending.

After two years of the most historic campaign in US history, it's now time to see if Barack Obama can actually get down to business and, even more importantly, if he can actually succeed.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tuesday January 20, 12:59 p.m.

Well, it's Inauguration Day...or it will be in a couple of hours Eastern Standard Time. The significance of the moment is not lost on the Japanese media. NHK and Fuji-TV at least are planning to have live coverage from the wee hour of 1:40 a.m. tomorrow of Obama's swearing-in. Today's session with the Beehive was pretty rousing with everyone just throwing new vocab at each other concerning the Inauguration. I've been lucky so far since I don't have any classes scheduled tomorrow until 001's night class. I'll be having a similar session with Suzanne since she told me last week that she's pretty interested in these sorts of events.

Nearly had a problem getting to Tsudanuma this morning when I saw a massive crowd of people at the entrance of my station. Apparently, there was a signal problem at Nakano Station on the Tozai Line which shut down any traffic in either direction. I had to give a call to Mrs. Alp just in case I'm late or not coming. But within a few minutes, the crowds suddenly flowed into the station like an unplugged bathtub drain. Mrs. Jade informed me that there was a problem on her line when the train overshot the platform by a good 300 m. Some conductor probably got the chewout of his career.
Monday January 19, 7:30 p.m.

Met up with The Full-Timer at the usual place...smoky Doutors. Full house there which meant full smoke. I think she was having a problem with her allergies. We traded gifts; my calendar and maple cookies to her and then a bag of whitebait with peanuts from her in care of her family New Year trip to Hong Kong. It was a miracle that she could get accomodations during that time and as it turned out, her family got housed in a dumpy hotel above a duty-free shop. At least, they got their money's worth in terms of food, such as the delectable Shanghai Crab. I would love to go back to HK...that is, if I can scrounge up the money. Don't think that I'll be going there anytime soon.

Heard rumours that President Obama may come over to Japan as early as this year. I can only imagine all of the hullabaloo that would follow his arrival. It would be a Second Coming on the order of Princess Diana's trip here 20 years ago. Obama City would absolutely demand or beg an audience with the Change man. But with an unstable leadership here in this country and the fact that the new Prez will be enormously busy saving the world, I think that trip will probably stay a rumour.
Monday January 19, 5:23 p.m.

The first day of the first full week since getting back from the Holidays. Not too bad a feeling; and certainly the weather has been cooperating. A really balmy 16 degrees C and sunny. I can get used to that.

Being a Monday, I had The Class Act for the first time in more than a month. The Matron stayed in Tokyo for New Year's while The Lady and her family did the usual pilgrimage over to Hawaii. Like everyone else there over the Holidays, they had to contend with power outages. However, with a President-elect there, the powers-that-be made sure that the electricity was back on ASAP. The Lady finally used the big "D" word to describe the breakup between her daughter and her son-in-law. We won't be meeting next Monday due to family obligations on The Lady's part but a week later, the three of us will be hitting some restaurant nearby for lunch to celebrate The Matron's birthday. I'll have to think of some sort of gift for The Matron since her family has been good to me over the years.

Had a good rap session with SIL as well. Usually I get a bit dozy even with the proffered coffee but this time, the two of us were catching up on a month's worth of news. We covered everybody from Barack to the late Ai Iijima to that Chuo University professor murder. I think we should have our own daily show.

Back at Speedy's. I met AK for the first time this year. We gabbed a bit on our respective holidays. I've got The Full-Timer and then Medicine Man. Hopefully, I'll have some more time between lessons to get further on those translations from The Corner. I printed out stuff about the Inauguration for The Beehive who'll have us working on his acceptance speech from November. I also made the same printout for Suzanne since she showed a keen interest in this event.

Yup, looks like Barack Obama's Inauguration (or should I say, Coronation?) is taking on epic proportions...even more epic than would be usual for a US Presidential Inauguration. Washington D.C. has basically sealed itself off from the rest of the States for security reasons for what could garner more ratings than the best Super Bowl game ever played. It seems to be kismet with a capital K that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is just before Inauguration Day.

I've now been going through Season Six of "Family Guy". Man, that show can sometimes even outdo "South Park" in terms of hilarious vulgarity. But Seth McFarlane can really come up with some great show tunes.

Finally caught "Holiday Inn" last night on the DVD. I'd seen bits and pieces of it over the years but it was the first time that I'd caught it whole. Yep, I'm well aware that it has the very first rendition of "White Christmas" on the big screen. What I was surprised about was that it had so much whimsy in it. Around the usual cheerfully unbelievable premise of Der Bingle open up a hotel only for national holidays, I got to see Fred Astaire as a gleefully dirty, rotten scoundrel trying to screw Bing every which way, a number of special effects including an animated turkey battling the calendar, and a meta-scene of a film of "Holiday Inn" within the movie itself. Too bad I didn't get the copy with a commentary on it.