Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sunday March 29, 3:30 p.m.

We've been lazing around the apartment for most of the day here at MB's apartment. Had a nice Sunday breakfast with sausages, bacon and toast with a couple of coffees.

Compared to the orgy of violence we got from "Rambo" last night, MB, The Sylph and myself watched the 2nd half of the double feature in the form of "Knocked Up", the Judd Apatow flick with Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl. This was an interesting one perhaps more for the reaction it got than for the actual movie itself. A lot of the critics put it up as one of the best comedies of 2007 but it cleaved opinion amongst the public; the naysayers called it stupid, condescending and sexist. For me, I found it funny and realistic in terms of what I thought a typical relationship between two essentially decent but flawed (i.e. human) people. The whole story is sparked by a condom misunderstanding but it's really just the usual culture shock that occurs in a long-term romance. It has the shy, giggling first approaches at romance tempered with the inevitable nagging and knockdown dragouts before a certain balance results. Some of those naysayers said that with the exception of a rotund Harold Ramis, everyone else in the movie was unlikeable. Well, yep, Ben and Allison had their jerk-off moments but I've yet to see anyone on this planet who hasn't acted like an ass anytime in their lives. I think the only truly unlikeable character was Allison's sister, Debbie, and even she showed a bit of niceness toward her sister. Nope, it wasn't always the most comfortable movie to watch but I'm starting to get the message that it is those movies which really get me to think. And at this point, I'd say that it just emphasized that marriage is definitely not my path.

In any case, we'll be heading out soon to catch another way-different movie..."Watchmen". However, it does share one thing in common with "Knocked Up" in that opinions for this flick have also been rather divided. If we're lucky, we may be able to grab a bite at Baker Bounce in Tokyo Midtown.
Sunday March 29, 2:25 a.m.

Yes, you saw correctly. That is an "a.m." for the time entry....which means I'm spending another night at MB's for DVD night. Actually, it's a somewhat shorter version since we only saw one movie tonight..."Rambo", the 4th in Sly Stallone's series about a misunderstood Green Beret. If this flick were food, it would be a very rare steak indeed. There was more blood in this one than in the first three combined plus an addition of "Friday the 13th". I mean, this would be an excellent primer for a medical student in Anatomy class. MB and I were just marveling at the lengths that John Rambo and his strike team went to prove that the enemy did indeed have such things as brains and viscera. Just one of those great Saturday night movies with the guys. We also got "Knocked Up" snickering, please; it's late....but that will be best viewed later this morning.

Earlier yesterday morning, I saw The Coffeemaker for the first time in 2 months. Tully didn't show up on account of some stuff he had to do concerning his move into his first company dormitory. According to The Coffeemaker, Tully never made it to Europe for some reason. I could only assume that there was a family emergency which is too bad. Now that he will become part of the regular workforce in a few days, it could be quite a few years before he can do anything approaching a continent-wide tour.

Afterward, I went out to Komazawa Park, one of the big areas of green in Tokyo...home of several Olympic facilities from the 1964 Games. MB and The Sylph were part of an O-Hanami party there. Once again, I felt a bit insecure about just bringing a bottle of tea and two canisters of Pringles considering that there was quite a spread of homemade food. However, I did remember that I'd brought The Ace's omiyage from his trip up to Kusatsu Hot Springs...a box of manju. The party consisted of The Sylph's former work compadres who've gone on to bigger and better things. The weather was pretty fair but the cold was still refusing to take its leave a week after Spring officially began. So, there were a few of us who were shivering on the blue tarp. All of us eventually ended up in the host's apartment for an hour or so while we played with the frenetic house dog.

MB nodded off several times since he had quite a lot of picnic food inside of him and a lot of the women were engaged in Japanese gossip. However, I may have gained another couple of private students in the form of the host and his wife. The only thing is that I would have to come out to Komazawa Park on alternating Sundays....ay ya. Well, I gave the host my e-mail address and asked to give me a contact sometime if he and his wife were really interested.

MB and I left the party at around 5, leaving The Sylph to do some further gossiping with her girlfriends. We caught the bus back to Jiyugaoka....not very far away...and crashed over at the apartment for a couple of hours while playing that hit game, "Little Big Planet". Man, I was already exhausted just going through the three training levels . However with MB's tutelage, I was able to not embarrass myself with Sackman. We later met up with MB's wife at the nearest video shop to get the two discs and then we had dinner at a new Italian restaurant that MB had discovered. It's called "Imola" and has some really good pizza and pasta. The crust on those pies were very tasteworthy and the smoked salmon cream pasta was so rich that we probably didn't need the cream for our after-dinner coffee.

MB has been able to secure the tickets for "Watchmen" later this afternoon at Roppongi Hills. Even here, the reaction seems to be mixed. Giovanni Fazio, the reviewer for "The Japan Times" wasn't too kind to the movie but he acknowledged Alan Moore's laudable deconstruction on comic superheroes. However, we've learned not to let the critics get us down. We'll take our own look-see.

Starting to feel the wooziness of sleep trying to break down my walls. Best think about retiring.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday March 27, 7:19 p.m.

Well, things kinda kicked into high gear after I met The Bow. We unfortunately had to spend the first 10 minutes of our time together searching for another venue to talk since the Maynds Building Starbucks was bastards. So we ended up at the other Starbucks closest to Krispy Kreme...outside. Nope, not the ideal location considering the weather. Felt badly for her since near the end she was shivering a bit and my legs felt creakier than an old door. I ended up paying for both our teas as an apology. As for The Bow, she's an intermediate lady...not quite as smooth as her old co-worker, The Carolinan, but has good potential. She's quite the musician...not only does she play the Chinese niko, but she also has experience on the flute, accordion and one other similar instrument which apparently can cost upwards to $7,000. Now, that's dedication. Well, despite the shivery first meet-&-greet, she's still willing to give me a shot so we're gonna try for Maynds Starbucks again, but this time, I'm getting there nice and early and grab a table and plant roots.

I must've burned quite a lot of calories keeping warm outside since I nearly conked out several times on the way back home. I had to pick up my scheduler since I had left it back in the apartment, and I'm pretty much blind without it. There was a message on the machine from the juku boss who threw in a sudden trial lesson; at first, I tried to think of ways of trying to duck it since I was pretty tired and had less than an hour to eat dinner before heading out to the juku. But I said what the heck since it would only be a half-hour thing anyways before The Ace comes in. Apparently, the lass works at Tokyo Disneyland and she needs the English to take care of the foreign customers. So my brain came up with approaches but when I arrived here, the boss dolefully told me that she cannot get a hold of her now to say everything was hunky dory. I figure that with my luck today, she'll probably pop up at the front door so I'm still ready to go.

With dinner and a Snickers in me now, I'm pretty juiced up although with the chocolate bar, I may end up crashing halfway into The Ace's one-hour lesson.

Just wondering how Tully & The Coffeemaker will be tomorrow morning. I haven't seen them in almost 2 months since Tully went on that European excursion.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Friday March 27, 8:15 a.m.

Kim Jong-Il (to Japan): Would you like a Sword of Damocles with your WBC win, sir?"

Yup, the Master of the Hermit Kingdom is once again gonna throw over one of his Taepodong missiles, under the guise of launching a satellite with an even longer, more unpronounceable name. Well, the US has stationed a couple of its cruisers off these shores just in case he decides to flip us. More to come, I'm sure.

Another early one...decided to go for the more expensive but probably healthier breakfast from La Vie De France. I've got a bit more lead time before the first student, Prissy, gets in. Still gotta hit those translations from The Corner, plus see if I can quickly concoct a handout for Prissy. Then, a few hours later, it'll be The Bow's first meeting with me, followed by the usual Friday night juku tandem.

Had just a bit of time before bed to read the forward for the latest "The Complete Peanuts" I got yesterday. It was by actress/singer/bon vivant Kristin Chenoweth who won over even the most antisocial critics with her performance as Sally Brown in the stage version of "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown". The forward was in the form of an interview instead of the usual monologue by past celeb fans such as Diana Krall. Just to show that the publishers were updated on the current pop cultural calendar, they mention that her tour de force tune as Sally, "My New Philosophy" was on YouTube. So I just looked at it...pretty hummable and she does seem like she's got the patent on the character. She's slightly less than 150 cm tall, so I guess the best intro for her would be "Give a big hand to the little lady".

Thursday March 26, 10:33 p.m.

Our Music Man has been rather coy about his field of business, but I'm getting hints that this guy is in truly in the music industry...perhaps he may be a concert pianist. Not quite sure. However, he's said that he would be renewing for more, which is good news. Also, it looks like 001, my very first student here at Speedy's, is gonna put herself up for continued torture and renew for more lessons for me, although I'm not sure if she's gonna sign up for another huge package. I was rather surprised since she's been with us since the very beginning and one would think that she would've gotten pretty tired of us by now. There may be hope that The Fashion Designer and The Businesswoman may also re-sign instead of resign.

As for that big package on the right, that's the jaga buta from Hokkaido I was telling you about and the stuff that The Restauranteur was raving about. It's potato dumplings with a ground pork centre, kinda like Chinese soup dumplings or sho ron po. Yup, pretty tasty stuff as I remember it.

Anyways, gotta head on home to come back here.

Thursday March 26, 8:51 p.m.

Well, you heard about the Octomom. I'm the Octoteacher today. I had my fingers in quite a few pies over the past several hours which included a back-to-back-to-back with Miss Sedona, The Big Lug and The Carolinan. Then there was the new batch of translations from The Corner, making up some sheets for tomorrow's lesson with The Restauranteur, sending a confirmation e-mail to the Carolinan's friend, The Bow, and then uploading my pics into Facebook. And I find out that I've got a model lesson next Thursday.

Pretty tired but I still got The Music Man in about 30 minutes and I've gotta repeat the process again tomorrow since I've got Prissy first thing in the morning. At least, I've earned my money today.

The Carolinan was in better spirits today. We talked a bit about her sister, The New Yorker, who has just left for The Big Apple for a brief solo trip. I think we're both a little worried about the lass.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Thursday March 26, 2:10 p.m.

Pretty glorious day out there but still a lot colder than it usually would be. I think we could give Toronto a run for its money for coldest metropolis right now.

Up above is where I was last Friday...the 7th (I believe) Annual Tokyo International Anime Fair at Tokyo Big Sight in Odaiba. Again, pretty nice to have seen some of the old stuff like Macross and Yamato, but I wasn't really into the new stuff. Still, tried to get some photos of the affair. Would be interesting some of the more grittier stuff later in the year; I believe the manga fair should also be happening at the same place sometime in late Summer or early Fall. Most likely, the families would probably eschew that one.

Last night ended up pretty well. Usually The Fashion Designer and I would try to slog ourselves amiably through the lesson as we battled hay fever and fatigue. However, I amped up the humour level so we were able to cruise through things a bit more smoothly. However, it was one of those early wake-up calls for Grandma Dynamite and it was a double so it took some major muscular control to hold the yawning. However, I did get some nice homemade preserves from her.

Went out for a few hours since Miss Sedona decided to take a rare late afternoon class. Used that 10,000 yen to purchase some DVDs, a CD and the latest of "The Complete Peanuts" which just came into Kinokuniya. Then it was lunch at Foo Foo. I think I'll be all set until after the triumvirate of Miss Sedona, The Big Lug and The Carolinan; I've got a few hours between them and Music Man for a small dinner.

Team Samurai Japan came home to a heroes' welcome of 1,200 ravenous baseball fans last night. Strangely enough, formerly married Norika Fujiwara also came back to a gauntlet of reporters. Despite the barrage of questions, she looked quite happy, but then again, she would be after dumping the creep.

Wednesday March 25, 5:40 p.m.

One of our own has returned to the roost. After several months away in Romania, Kay came back and has started regaling Speedy and Ray about her adventures in Europe. I've just downed a carb-heavy dinner of a cheese dog, sesame chicken salad and iced marble bread. That should just about soak up any gastric juices.
The picture on the left is my completed recreation of a classic game between two I-Go masters. Still really can't play the game without consulting books.
More new apartments are popping up in my neighbourhood. The latest one has been set up beside a newspaper distribution facility. A decade ago, it used to be the only 7-11 in my area, but it has since moved to north of the station. Anyways, this new 3-story apartment building has taken on a Roman Column type of look. One wonders if the architect had been inspired by Barack Obama's backdrop when he accepted the nomination for President back last year.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wednesday March 25, 3:58 p.m.

It's been a cold wet day. Still the news about Japan's win over the Koreans in yesterday's WBC Final has been keeping everyone warm. I have to admit that despite my snarky comment yesterday on the game, I did catch the rerun of the last few innings and found them pretty nailbiting. It actually was somewhat of a classic game. My only worry is that Kim Jong Il may use that as provocation enough to aim one of his Taepodong missiles at Tokyo.

The former Mr. Norika Fujiwara timed his mea culpa press conference perfectly so that it took place while the WBC buzz was going around. Still, he had some mighty crow to swallow from the press as he apologized for causing the divorce. If there is anything good to say about him is that at least he took sole responsibility for screwing up his short marriage. But he'll probably go back to the same things that were responsible for putting his union on the rocks since he's back to singledom.

Had The Admin this morning. I lent her the Miki Imai "Fiesta" CD since it contained two covers of Carpenters songs. It was another gab fest for the most part which is starting to make me wonder if she's already gotten tired of the text. I'm just wondering if she's already gotten tired of me. Just gabbing is a easy way to get money but it's also the short path to losing a student. She did tell me about the ski resort that she and her family had gone to the past weekend. They went to the New Otani NASPA hotel near Echigo-Yuzawa Station on the JR Joetsu Shikansen Line....just one station north of my old station in Gunma. I'm not a skier by any means and will not be hitting the boards anytime in the near or far future but I was thinking of taking some R&R after Golden Week, perhaps using all of that handout money. Just would like to hang out in some classy suite while reading and then take advantage of all that fine dining and massage.

It would seem that my Wednesday seems to have fallen into a new routine. Usually after The Admin, I head on out to that Chinese eatery in the Maynds Building for the 950 yen lunch before walking over to Kinokuniya. I was stunned to see that the Krispy Kreme lineup had gone down to just a few short metres outside the door. I realize that it was raining but even during the worst of weather, the KK lineups were always at least 30 minutes long. This lineup looked like it could get swallowed by the store in a few minutes. I guess the honeymoon may finally be over. After Kinokuniya, I went all the way up to HMV next door before making the 5-minute walk to Tower Records and then I head on back to Speedy's.

The next edition of the "Peanuts" tomes has come out. I'll see how my pay looks like before I make any decisions.

President Obama made yet another big appearance via press conference this morning. He gave CNN's Ed Henry some late frost for doing his job, which was to ask why it had taken Barack and his bumbling Treasury Secretary so long to react to the AIG Outrage. Well, I say good for Ed. No easy passes for Barack. Not that I have soured on the President but I think the love affair between him and America should cool down a bit. I'm frankly not sure about him being the Everywhere, Everytime chief of the US....especially if he's gonna put his sizable foot into his mouth each time as he did on Leno.

Anyways, I got the usual Hump Night lineup of 001, The Diver and The Fashion Designer.
Tuesday March 24, 7:02 p.m.

Well, pulled out either my Counselor's hat or my bartender's cloth out for Suzanne tonight. Just glossed over that part of "Desiderata" that we'd already done last week before we got into this deep discussion about her and her boyfriend, and the meaning of marriage. I started polishing the table top with my tissue....all this over the Meiji chocolates that I'd brought and the cake donuts she'd brought. To be honest, though, I've always found these psych one-on-one sessions one of the perqs of my strange little career. To be able to talk with various folks from various backgrounds on matters of life and death as they mean to them is definitely a bonus for me. Can hardly wait then for next week since she'll be the only show in town at the juku and it'll be a 2-hour session. Of course, I can only charge English teacher rates. I would love to have her talk with The Milds since they are a couple who are totally comfortable with each other and have been so for decades.

Now that The Traveler isnot coming, I can perhaps enjoy a bit of Net surfing and crossword solving before The Milds do show up. No chance of deep philosophy with them but they're still good folks to talk with.
Tuesday March 24, 4:31 p.m.

The juku boss got a new computer screen to replace the old one that had been damaged by leaking plasma. It had been like looking through a storm-drenched windshield all these months. Still, the computer needs an overhaul since I can't get into Hotmail or Facebook. Well, every little bit helps.

Had my last Beehive session for the month. Mrs. Travel got herself some funky new glasses, courtesy of a Ginza optician called Kamuro. I was kinda interested in seeking the place out myself until I heard the prices for getting a pair there. I think Megane Drug will be my ultimate destination. Mrs. Jade was back after a week away; apparently, last week she had suffered some internal bleeding in her hand(!); she's OK now but it does stress her fragile constitution. And speaking of the walking wounded, Mrs. Alp was more like her old self after suffering a bit of overextension in her exercises. The ladies will be away next Tuesday since all of them will be taking another big trip together. But it will be domestic this time; they'll be heading over to Okinawa where Mrs. Pottery now lives. Mrs. Perth will making her all the way from the other end of Japan as well.

So at this point, it looks like next Monday and Tuesday will share the unique trait of having just one lesson each. I've only got Medicine Man since The Class Act, SIL and The Full-Timer will be absent on Monday, and for Tuesday it'll just be a 2-hour session with Suzanne at the juku since The Beehive will be off, and the Traveler and The Milds won't be in for their regular lessons. I do have some plans though for those two days...still thinking, though.

As it is, I've only got two lessons tonight. Just Suzanne and The Milds. The Traveler called in sick. Suzanne has been on her poetry kick, so once we finish "Desiderata", I've got a Margaret Atwood piece called "In The Secular Light" for her to nosh on. Gotta keep some Canadian content in the lessons.

Once again, it must be that time of year when Speedy gets all frustrated about the school's fortunes. Our great benefactor and venture capitalist had lowered the boom on the bossman since our place seems to be still bleeding money after 4 years of operation. And so, Speedy was openly commiserating about what to do; he even thought of the idea of opening up a kids' wing near another station. Well as long as it's a wing and it stays away from me, I'll still be around. I'm no financial genius but, although...yes...having to follow deficit spending to survive for this long is not good, I don't think there are many new companies who've been around for 4 years that are particularly runaway successes. So, we are not alone, and perhaps our benefactor is protesting a doth too much.

Well, apparently Samurai Japan, the team in The World Baseball Classic, got to take home all the marbles once more after winning over the Korean team in the States. Excuse me, while I stifle a bit of yawning here. Still, the Korean team must be fuming about this.

The other big piece of gossip in the geino pages over the past few days has been the divorce of actress Norika Fujiwara and comedian Takanori Jinnai. Geez, who didn't see this coming? When they got hitched a couple of years ago to huge media attention and a rental of a major temple, even back then the oddsmakers were laying down some ratios about when, and not if, the big breakup would occur. Apparently, Jinnai has been doing a bit of Chris Brown on his now ex-wife along with seeing some other women. Hmmm....I think Jinnai's next gig will be at a suburban ramen shop near you. Odd, though...I had always thought that it would be Norika who would be beating up her hubby black-and-blue.

I've been reading that "Star Trek" novel about the proto-Kirk, Christopher Pike, in "Burning Dreams". It'd gotten some pretty short but not sweet reviews on Facebook. Kinda like MB whenever he sees flicks that critics have savaged, I don't think it's nearly that bad. Aside from one overly florid opening line and some atypical characterization of Sulu (a bit too flippant toward Ambassador Spock), it's been a good read.

Anyways, the juku boss' kid should be showing up in the next 5 minutes so I'll end it off here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Monday March 23, 7:22 p.m.

Well, got the translations done and hopefully they'll pass muster with The Corner. In any case, I got them in within the deadline. 19 more pages to go. Grateful that The Full-Timer decided to cancel tonight, and it was just as well for another reason. The Doutors that we usually use is undergoing renovation this week to separate itself into smoking and non-smoking sections. We would've been homeless nonetheless.

So, I've got 2 hours to decompress before Medicine Man comes by. There must be a full moon out there waiting to rise. The winds today caused a Fedex plane to crash (tragically confirming my prediction that the two personnel aboard had died), and screwed up train systems. Plus, I saw CNN and NHK announcers making some rare screwups of their own. I almost lost one student, the New Yorker, due to the wind-ravaged JR schedule, and The Full-Timer canned. And Speedy's student has cancelled for the 4th week in a row.

I had The New Yorker's final class before she heads on out to the Big Apple this Thursday for a bit of recreation, a bit of research into a potential future out there. She's going there solo; she's not the best English student in my flock so I'm hoping that everything goes well for her. My own schedule was getting tight since The New Yorker cut it close and then I had to race out to see SIL. Luckily, I got there in a nick of time for another rousing talk on everything under the su n.

And now, about the long weekend. Friday the 20th was supposed to have been the official First Day of Spring but started out as one of Noah's 40 days of rain. It was miserable as I made my way out to Odaiba to see if I could catch one of the two Governor Ishihara projects that weekend. When I arrived at Tokyo Big Sight, the upturned pyramid had its huge mass of acolytes, consisting of men, women, children and otaku, waiting in the hundreds. There was no way I was gonna join that mass. But I didn't give up; I just decided to come back a few hours later.

So I made my way on foot from the Ariake area to the main mall area where Decks and Fuji-TV were situated. Took me 20 minutes on foot, a trek that I would be doing twice more during the course of the day. I know I must've gotten to Odaiba way too early when even the malls weren't open when I got there; had to wait about 10 minutes. There were also some crowds waiting for them to open, presumably to take advantage of the restaurants. I ended up having an early lunch at a place called ATU in the mall that wasn't Decks. It had a decent though not spectacular buffet which filled me up by noon. When I hit the first floor of the mall, I noticed...or didn't notice a once-familiar smell. The Cinnabons aroma would always assault me like Dino did to Fred anytime I came, but the smell was gone because the store was gone. Does that mean that this franchise has also gone like Nathan's? Maybe wornout American franchises also have a limited shelf life in Japan. Well, the cinnamon roll has established itself via other stores so at least the seed has been planted.

I went across the street to Fuji-TV, the Meccano-like building complex. Inside there was some sort of awards ceremony for some kids' artwork being emceed by a cute announcer that I've seen on Channel 8. I would've taken her picture but I didn't want to take a risk of being attacked by camera-averse staffers so I decided to save the shots for the quick walking tour of the 5th floor upstairs.

By the time I got out, the sun had actually come back and the day was looking very promising. Walked back toward Tokyo Big Sight but made a pit stop at VenusFort, the mall that's apparently strong enough for a man, but made for a woman (to quote an old deodorant). As usual, the Italian piazza 2nd floor was pretty enough for one shot on my Exilim but held little more appeal than that since I don't have a girlfriend or wife so I just dipped down to the 1st floor and visited that home of kitsch, Village Vanguard. Nothing like the legendary jazz joint in New York, this place is like Weird Al Yankovic's attic on steroids. Of the entire VenusFort, this is the only place that I would stop at.

Made my way back to Tokyo Big Sight and, lo and behold, it was simplicity itself to enter the convention hall and make my way to the Tokyo Anime Fair. Tokyo Big Sight should've been called the Hall of Shintaro Ishihara that day since it wasn't only hosting his legit anime festival but also the final meeting of all those running in the 3rd Annual Tokyo Marathon on Sunday, another one of his pet projects.

Just paid my 1,000 yen and entered into the world of anime and otaku. Actually, although there were plenty of the young, backpacked and geeky walking the aisles, the scene was also tempered by a lot of families as well. I caught exhibits in tribute to the works of Osamu Tezuka, the father of Astro Boy, as well as one devoted to my old favourite anime, Space Battlecruiser Yamato. There was even a young shapely lady dressed up in Yuki Mori's black-and-yellow skinsuit. She was pretty but I still think the only one who could approximate the same look as the animated woman is Gwyneth Paltrow. There were some other similarly attired women strewn all throughout the three auditoriums but they were officially there to look pretty and present the various exhibits. I did my duty and took their pictures (which I will show in a later entry).

Basically, I made my tour of the fair in little less than an hour which kinda made the point that I'm not really into the contemporary stuff. I don't think I'll be spending my hard-earned yen on any upcoming productions. Still, at least I can say that I was there.

I made my third walk across the man-made island to the nearest subway station since I didn't want to find myself stuffed onto the Yurikamome with tons of otaku. As it turned out, though, the subway station nearest the Big Sight wasn't all that crowded after all since it seems like folks were still lingering around.

Saturday was just a working day for me. I just had The Businesswoman, The Intellectual and The Big Lug. The Businesswoman will be heading out to Chicago later this week; she only has one lesson left on her current batch, a point that Speedy was sure to indicate to her as she was going out the door. Not sure if she's gonna renew, though. The Big Lug had a whale of a time in New York City, his first time there. He wants to go back for another trip sometime in the near future. He received another bonus in the form of a promotion and a transfer of sorts over to the Tamachi head office which, according to him, means that he will be able to come and see us more regularly.

Yesterday was the Tokyo Marathon as I'd mentioned before. This time, the race was scheduled a full month later to accommodate those who didn't want to end up freezing. It didn't mean too much, at least for this year, since the beginning of that windstorm was smacking the runners around. Another African won it, a fact that I'm sure chagrined Governor Ishihara no end as he shook the champion's hand.

So, I think I'm caught up now.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Monday March 23, 11:36 a.m.

Would be teaching The New Yorker at this moment but unfortunately she's been delayed on her train due to the high winds buffeting the Kanto since last night. I was afraid that I would be delayed as well since my station is on the outside part of the Tozai Line, and the line was indeed affected but nothing that destroyed my chances to get to Ichigaya. In fact, I got there a full half-hour ahead of schedule.

So, I'm cooling my heels in this Ichigaya I-cafe run by a guy who look like a clean-shaven Weird Al Yankovic, Japanese version. The New Yorker tried to leave her number on my message machine but I couldn't get all the numbers despite listening to it a number of times; hence, the emergency visit to the cafe. Luckily, her e-mail is still working. She'll be hitting here about 12:10...hopefully. That should still get me to Ueno for SIL's lesson, although lunch may be problematic. I may have to get something at Tully's although I don't really like eating and teaching at the same time...doesn't look too good.

The winds have disrupted more than subways. The morning news was suddenly hit with bulletins about a Fedex plane which crashed at Narita around 7 this morning. The crash looked pretty bad....the small jet bounced once off the runway before hitting the tarmac again and bursting into flame and flipping upside down. There wasn't any official word on casualties but I then saw emergency personnel with the big blue tarps escorting the stretcher to the ambulances, and that doesn't usually bode well for the chances of living people. I kinda thought that something bad would happen today after hearing some louder-than-usual airplane sounds last night during the windstorms.

The Full-Timer also contacted me to say that she would be cancelling this and next Monday due to overtime. Her soon-to-be former employers are apparently squeezing every little ounce of work out of her before she finishes up. Still, that means I have a good chance to get those translations for The Corner written up and sent off since I will now have 5 hours of computer time between SIL and Medicine Man.

Got a lot of catching up to do but I'll have to leave it here for now.