Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday February 20, 7:58 p.m.

Just finished some more stuff for The Restauranteur. I came across that article on that Doctor Who website about that new companion who'll be played by an actress named Lindsay Duncan. I saw her picture and had remarked that she was closer to Donna Noble than Rose Tyler in the age sweepstakes, thinking she must be in her 40s. Then I Wiki'ed her and was rather surprised to find out that she's 58! Pretty darn good for 58! Wasn't William Hartnell 56 when he became the first Doctor?! And considering that the new kid on the block after David Tennant will really be the new kid on the block...well, that oughta put the Doctor-Companion dynamic right on its pointy ear.
Friday February 20, 7:13 p.m.

Enjoyed a good long sleep...actually got out of bed at the downright decadent hour of 9:30 this morning. Good day to stay in, too. It had been raining steadily outside though it subsided several hours ago. Just picked up some extra hangers and envelopes for some photos to be sent back home. Listened to Chaz Jankel's Best Of...still think the Quincy Jones' take on his "Ai No Corrida" is the one to beat.

The juku boss had initially informed me about a possible translation gig through her friend who's a member of some volunteer group taking care of stray dogs who would otherwise be put down. Apparently, someone there wanted a 68-page book translated. But after talking about it with her friend on the phone just now, things still seem unsettled especially when it comes to remuneration...there may be none. Sorry, can't afford charity right now, especially where 68 pages are concerned.

There was some sort of kerfuffle over Narita Airport today when a Northwest plane from Manila to here had gotten caught in a bad patch of turbulence just over the Pacific Coast. There were several people injured, mostly because the idiots didn't bother to put their belts on even when the sign was on. Not a whole lot of sympathy from me.

The other patch of turbulence is in Nagatacho. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, the last head of state here who actually gave the appearance of doing a decent job, stirred up a hornet's nest in Moscow earlier this week (I've got no idea why he was there) when he said that he would abstain from a vote on a bill allowing bailout money to be sent to all citizens (just 12,000 yen...a mere pittance). Well, the man's still an MP in the Diet so his remark caused a noisy rip within the LDP and more headaches for current PM Aso who really can't afford even a twinge of pain right now. Unfortunately, he'll need to get an extra bottle of Advil since it's been reported that recently-defrocked Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa had done a 2-hour tour of The Vatican in Italy right after he had given that Foster Brooks/Dudley Moore impersonation instead of a press conference in Rome. Even the Italians were saying "What was up with that?"

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Thursday February 19, 1:55 p.m.

The lesson with Miss Sedona was fun and laugh-filled as always. She's now the 14th student on my White Day list after her belated gift of chocolates. She even got one for Speedy which got some quiet groans of "Not again" from him...of course, out of eyeshot of Miss Sedona. Well, I know the sources of chocolate; it's just a matter of how much money I have to get the stuff.

Ray and Bay (especially Bay) have been griping about some matter on the other side of the business...most likely about some unreasonable request from a client. Time for Speedy to work his diplomatic magic.

The emergency translations for Cozy have been proceeding slowly. I've even sent a small SOS on one word to Cozy himself. Hopefully, he'll have some time to respond before I head on out to meet The New Yorker in a couple of hours.

Looks like a few weeks after the new Doctor Who actor has been selected, some actress has won the Companion sweepstakes. Kinda closer to Donna Noble than Rose Tyler in the age category by the picture I saw.
Thursday February 19, 11:20 a.m.

Still back in the relative cold of the season. Gotten back into the routine of downing three pills and donning the surgery mask to keep hay fever at bay.

Pretty quiet Thursday...just have Miss Sedona and then The New Yorker later on.

Glad to say that The Diver passed her test on the level of an Obama over a McCain. Speedy had made a make-up test just in case, but it was pretty obvious as I was marking that she didn't need to do it. Of course, she was wincing each time I came across an error. So, now she's graduated to the next level. The Fashion Designer had to come in about 10 minutes late; ;no problem since I rarely leave the office on Wednesday before 11 p.m. (really gotta do something about that in the next year or so). Not surprisingly, having gone through another night of overtime, she was tired. Still, I gave the lady her own take-home test.

Speaking of the world's most popular Head of State (for now, that is), he's going over to the Great White North in several hours. I've been watching some of the coverage about his arrival in Ottawa. Man, I guess Canadians are gonna be Americans for one day, at least. And then I came across one of the most hilarious headlines on "The Onion" (and that is saying a lot) in which African-Americans are getting majorly creeped out by the tear-filled eyes and wide-as-the-Mississippi smiles they've been getting from white Americans since Obama's election. I can just imagine that from now on in any awkward multiracial conversation, Caucasians will no longer fall back on "I like hip-hop and Stevie"; instead, they'll just say things like "I voted for Obama" or "Yes, I can".
Wednesday February 18, 6:46 p.m.

Received some more Cozy translations, and this one is on Priority One...and much to my luck, it's got tons of arcane financial expressions. Well, at least I've got the one that Cozy had assigned me last week translated through its first pass. I'm all translated out right now, so just gonna enjoy some surfing before The Diver gets here in about 80 minutes. The Fashion Designer may or may not show up tonight depending on how much overtime she gets through. But Bay said that she'll be getting the call sometime during The Diver's lesson.

Looks like Facebook lost a bit of its first four letters in the past 24 hours when it came up with its rather unseemly and quiet changes to its Terms of Use. Well, people power was in session and Mr. Zuckerman has decided to revert back to the old ways...for now.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Wednesday February 18, 3:15 p.m.

Well, the big 2,800th entry. Am celebrating with an ice-cold peach nectar.

While I was making that earthquake analogy for the Nakagawa Incident, I did forget to mention that we did have a wake-up jolt of a Shindo 4 in Chiba yesterday morning. Tells you how jaded I've become when it comes to earthquakes. I wonder how Secretary Clinton reacted in her hotel room; she must've felt something in bed (insert your Bill Clinton joke here). There has been a rash of tremors recently, and I gather that if we do have a rash of them, it means that the earth has released enough energy so that there won't be a huge one in the Kanto for the next number of days, at least.

After The Admin's lesson, I decided to try out the curry buffet at the Indian place downstairs. Pretty good for 1,000 yen. I got my choice of three different curries (keema, vegetable and bean) along with saffron rice, salad, naan, and tandoori chicken. Got my money's worth of stuff and I'll probably not need any more food for the rest of the day.

I walked most of it off by walking through Shinjuku. Noticed that Takashimaya Times Square was all closed; still, took some pics of the area including the front of the very first Krispy Kreme branch in Japan. The lineup is now down to a miniscule 15-minute wait. Compare that with the near 2 hours of just a year ago. Ended up browsing through Tower Records across the street.
Tuesday February 17, 9:21 p.m.

Well, to noone's surprise, the Japanese Foster Brooks known as Finance Minister Shoichi Nakagawa decided to fall on his own sword and leave the Cabinet. I think when he got his 15 seconds of fame via CNN's "The Situation Room" this morning, that pretty much did it for him. That may have improved PM Aso's standing a bit but that's kinda like saying that Shindo 7 quake was really just a 6.9 after it had destroyed Kobe. Still, in the typically Japanese determination to make sure that still waters run deep, Nakagawa refused to acknowledge that alcohol was the culprit...instead blaming it on "...too much cold medicine...". Well, he can take all the Nyquil he wants now with that chaser of whiskey.

Of course, the Beehive ladies were grousing about him this morning and I made a little dig at him tonight in front of the Milds. Mrs. Mild was back after her spate of dizziness subsided. And Suzanne was back in the house after her 5 days of R&R in Australia. She was luckily nowhere close to those horrendous fires, and she had a very nice time just relaxing on the beach on The Gold Coast. She brought back a box of Black Forest Tim Tams which made for an especially decadent snack. She's really gotten the bug about possibly studying and working abroad sometime in the near future. I'm glad that she took my advice and got the Japanese version of "What Colour Is Your Parachute?" I'd like to think that my advice has some merit sometimes. The Traveler also came by...she's doing quite well wiht the numbers.

Finally got through all of the "Futurama" DVDs and commentaries. It kinda sounded like the guys on those discs had more fun than the "Family Guy" folks with their commentaries. It's hard to believe that over 5 years have passed since Billy West and Maurice LaMarche actually did them....tells you how much of a television Rip Van Winkle I've been. I definitely have a soft spot for HypnoToad. I did take a look at some of the surprising music clips the guys put in...such as the Pizzicato Five tune at the end of "Leela's Homeworld". Made sure I checked that out on YouTube. And then there was the theme tune itself done by The Beastie Boys.

Well, now it's Season One of the original "Mission: Impossible" and I almost forgot about all those Marvel movies that my brother had given me for Xmas. At this rate, I may not be finished til Golden Week.

It'll be another quiet Wednesday. I've got The Admin in the morning and then The Diver and The Fashion Designer tomorrow night. I just hope that The Diver was able to handle the test. It's been a quiet month which has gotten Speedy starting to chomp on his fingernails again. Well, I kinda figured that with this economic mess, things weren't going to get too crazy as time went by. However, I do have those Cozy translations to take care of.

And I picked up that expenditures sheet from the Tax Office today. Looks like I'm really into the season now...the tax season, that is. I've already started Hay Fever season. Had to ingest the pills and put on the mask this morning.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday February 16, 7:23 p.m.

More chocolate via The Full-Timer. Had to leave her Hershey's Kisses and SIL's Pierre Marcolini on the kitchen table, lest I really go into sugar shock. However, I am keeping The Matron's chocolate spoons for myself. Lots of choc to go around here, though.

The Full-Timer had a bit of gastrointestinal distress during yet another trip to Korea which would explain her absence last Monday. Had to cut short her travels. I also asked her about the trials and tribulations of Finance Minister Nakagawa, and she thought maybe he was having a stroke due to the slurring of his speech; in which case, I hope that he did just have a lapse in judgement and overdid it on the wine.

Feels like the bottom fell out on the temps. Feeling pretty cold out there.
Monday February 16, 5:27 p.m.

Continuing to get the chocolates after the fact. SIL gave me a small box via Pierre Marcolini, a chocolatier (now a word in the Japanese vocabulary) located in Ginza. I passed by the place once last year...tons of women were lined up for a taste of their wares which included ice cream cones. I think I'll be paying a lot come March 14. Actually, The Matron also gave me her contribution for Valentine's the form of pure chocolate spoons. That is to say, four spoons made of chocolate. They are designed to be stirred in coffee to impart a mocha flavour. Pretty nifty...surprisingly, they're not from Japan but from abroad.

Looks like hay fever season has started for me. I was sniffling a lot yesterday morning before I went to see The New Yorker but my wonder medicine kept me sane although I had a brief relapse for a few minutes at the beginning of the lesson. I took the trio of tablets just now since it looks like I'm coming down with it again, and the last thing I need is to be horking up snot in front of The Full-Timer in a place that's already unconducive to the nose.

Just wrote up a letter to my cable company. When I signed up with them last year, the bills were supposed to be deducted straight from my account, but for some reason, although the company has been sending me the account deduction notices, they haven't been deducting and my first bill has been in the form of one to be paid at a convenience store. Not a huge problem but I just want to make sure of the payment policy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Monday February 16, 4:17 p.m.

I know one Japanese politician who is looking for a room at the Under-A-Rock Hilton. Apparently, the mass media here is abuzz about that bizarro press conference that Shoichi Nakagawa gave yesterday...or tried to give in Rome . The press wasn't sure whether he was drunk or high on something else but he certainly wasn't coherent. And photogs were also snapping shots of him sleeping at a meeting of the finance ministers. One thing for sure...the guy is gonna have one big hassle going through Narita when he gets back home, and it won't be the Customs and Immigration guys.

The Lady was the first to bring up the topic with me this morning. She said that she'd caught part of it on YouTube. I tried to look him up but couldn't really find it. I'm wondering if the authorities decided to do a sweep under the rug, so to speak. SIL also mentioned him as well. Nakagawa should count himself lucky, though. His antics could've had longer play if it weren't for the fact that Hillary Clinton wasn't coming into town. She should be coming in pretty soon tonight. SIL thinks she'll be staying at the Hotel Okura since it's one of Tokyo's most venerable hotels and it's just across from the US Embassy.

Nakagawa's cockup can't really help PM Aso's standing right now. According to one of the Canadian newspapers, his popularity rating is now in the single digits....just barely under 10%. I think PM Mori had a slightly higher rating and he got dethroned. Wouldn't be surprised if The Diet were dissolved in less than a month.

The Class Act has decided to have another day off next week...which makes me wonder if twice a month will become the new schedule for me when it comes to them. It's really just chatting in half-Japanese/half-English now so I can't be that surprised. SIL is still hanging in there. It'll be a regular day for me, though. I've got The Full-Timer today and then Medicine Man to wrap up tonight.

Yesterday was a disappointment, though. After The New Yorker, I headed out to Akihabara to see if the hokoten were running. It wasn't exactly beaming in sunshine but nowhere near gloomy; however, no whirling costumed women or grungy otaku with cellphone cameras to be found. Just a lot of cars zipping by on the main drag. Ah, well...will have to look elsewhere for scenery to be shot by my new camera. Speaking of the New Yorker, it looks like she may have an opportunity to gain in fluency. She told me that she may be heading to The Big Apple for a week or so to meet up with a nail artist there. If everything looks right, she might be looking forward to a 6-month stay there later this year. And speaking of students staying over in New York City, Speedy tells me that The Singer's fluency has shot up somewhat after her 2 months there; didn't say whether she sounds like Joan Rivers, though.

Ethereal actress Rie Miyazawa is apparently going to be tying the knot some 15 years after breaking off an engagement with yokozuna Takanohana. It's one of those shotgun weddings; she's 6 months into pregnancy. I'm not sure how her hubby feels about the fact that most every guy in Japan saw her naked (via her "Santa Fe" photobook) before he actually did.