Friday, June 05, 2009

Saturday June 6, 1:02 p.m.

Got that double lesson with Mr. TOEIC done. He even arrived a few minutes early. Rusty as all hell but not that noticeable since he's pretty roughshod over his structure in every class. He'll be coming in again for Thursday, sandwiched between Miss Temporary and The Music Man. I'll be drinking the Yunker for sure.

Surprisingly enough, Ray is in the house as well. Nice to keep Bay company. Still gotta prep for The Smile's lesson in a few hours and I gotta get started on those translations. Doesn't look too easy.
Will be heading to see that movie again up above tomorrow. Checked the TokyoWalker times. I'll see about catching at Roppongi Hills...I think I should be able to get in this time. It apparently has gotten a very good score according to the site's exit polls. Nice to hear but I think it'll probably fizzle out by the end of the month. Plus, watching it at the Hills will put me in proximity of Tokyo Midtown where I'm supposed to be meeting The Sisters of State for burgers at Baker Bounce. I would ask them to see the movie with me, but The New Yorker is working and I never thought that The Carolinan was much of a Trekkie anyways.
Found out that there's gonna be a "Doctor Who" convention in the ol' hometown on the 13th. Aaugh! And here I am. Ah, if there were only a TARDIS nearby....
Friday June 6, 9:48 a.m.

The rain continues...and I had to trudge myself back to Speedy's since Mr. TOEIC just needs to have a morning lesson. Bay is also here...a bit grumbly, can't say I blame her...since she'd wanted to get some personal stuff out of the way, but here we are. I can only hope that Mr. TOEIC doesn't dotakyan; I doubt that he would do it on a Saturday but I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I would rather not face an angry Bay. However, I did promise her that if the unfortunate happens, I would order a Pizza Salvatore pizza on my tab.

Got those new translations from The Corner...looks like I've got 2 pages of work ahead of me. Plus The Corner isn't in charge of this project; he's shuffled me off to his colleague...The Cornerette.
Friday June 5, 7:56 p.m.

Kinda glad that this week is coming to a close. It was a pretty filled couple of days. Didn't really have time to go over the stuff for The Bass. The lesson this morning wasn't bad but the grammar section had a point that was pretty advanced even for me, and I've been doing this for 22 years now. Aargh! However, our new venue is working out pretty nicely so far. It's a cafe near JR Funabashi...not too crowded and has a decent Continental Breakfast for 500 yen.

Afterward, I got back on the train and headed for Shinjuku. I picked up the latest translated copy of "Hikaru no Go" (No. 15), so now I'm officially caught up. I'll have to wait for 3 months before the next issue comes out. I passed by Krispy Kreme; yep, I think the 12-1 slot is the sweet spot to get into the shop without having to line up. Saw The Bow at Starbucks for her lesson; ironically at the same time and just next to our table was a couple doing the same thing we did, except that it was a young lady teaching a North American guy Japanese. The Bow gave her regrets on not being to make it out for Sunday's Baker Bounce outing with me and The Sisters of State.

Made my monthly visit to The Restauranteur's pad in Urayasu. I got back my reputation as ameotoko again since the skies were spritzing precipitation. I went for the Beef Stroganoff at The Restauranteur's recommendation; yep, it also fit the bill quite nicely. Now I'll be stuck whenever I come in...will it be the Stroganoff or the Chicken Saute? I may have to do alternates. I was pretty much the only body in there until a fellow came in while I was having my after-dinner tea. Fridays are slow there. Glad I could pick Friday night for that juku dinner party late next month.

The Mixi career is booming along well. Looks like I made a friend out of a high school girl no less (OK, no calling security here....I've been a perfect gentleman); we were writing a bit too much English on the regular forum so she subtly hinted at me to switch it over to the message forums. Looks like for a kid, she has a bit more on the tact thing than I do. I seem to have also found allies within the Doctor Who and 80s Canadian Pop communities as well. I put up a topic in the Star Trek community about people's thoughts about the soundtrack for the new movie. I uploaded a literally warped picture of the disc up and the first few comments were focused on how to alleviate the problem. I thought I was gonna end up having to ditch the topic but things seem to have gotten back on track.

I heard about the death of David Carradine in Southeast Asia while filming there this morning. It looks like suicide. Man, he was 72 as well. Sad way to go considering he'd reached a certain amount of cult status, thanks to "Kill Bill".

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thursday June 4, 9:30 p.m.

Finished the day....glad that The Music Man did cancel. I was becoming rather peaked even with the vivacious Cracker in front of me. I can only shudder if I'd had one of those mute students instead of her. That new student will only be a temporary, Miss Temporary has landed.

To be honest, I did have quite a bit of down time between Miss Sedona and Miss Temporary...probably around 4 hours or so, so did some more Mixi-ing. Found that the guy managing the Canadian 80s Pop community is very welcoming. Talked about The Spoons at length...ahhh, miss that "Nova Heart".

La Fille has just left the office so I'll be closing up shop once again in about half an hour. Then, I'm headed back home and this time, I hope to get some more sleep and spend some more time in my apartment. Relatively easy day tomorrow with The Bass, The Bow and then The Ace and The Restauranteur at the juku.

Got the final word from The Action Freak about the lessons. Yep, she's finally made the decision to cut ties with me which is just fine with me. It was pretty untenable to begin with, and so I know that I won't be taking any more students until there are some major changes in my current lineup.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Thursday June 4, 2:20 p.m.

Like yesterday's lesson with The Big Lug, today's lesson with Miss Sedona was a bit of a glass-wiping, peanut-serving bartender counseling session. Apparently, she's been having some problems with a senile woman from Hell and an irate fellow worker. Well, she'll just have to hold on for another 6 months before she takes off for The Great White North.

I've got a hold for a few hours so I'll probably just prepare for The Bass' lesson tomorrow morning as well as the final two lessons tonight with that new student and The Cracker.

I had been hoping for a Saturday morning off since The Intellectual cancelled but Mr. TOEIC has filled in the space with a double class.
Thursday June 4, 10:47 a.m.

Well, looks like I have had my schedule ends shaved off. Not only did I lose The Music Man tonight, but due to some sort of scheduling mixup, Grandma Tango isn't showing up. So, first up will be Grandma FON. Ray rather sheepishly apologized.

Thursday June 4, 9:43 a.m.

Another long day ahead of me, although somewhat less long than had been scheduled. I saw that The Music Man has cancelled according to today's slate. I'll have to confirm with Ray about that. If it's true, then I can go home a bit earlier....something that I will always welcome considering my days.
Last night was the usual Wednesday night lineup of ladies of 001, The Diver and The Fashion Designer. The chat with 001 sidetracked (as is usually the case and usually to her liking) to 80s videos. Incredibly, she'd never seen the music video for "Ghostbusters", so I showed her Ray Parker Jr. via YouTube, and then we went beyond the point of no return with Cyndi Lauper's "Goonies are Good Enough" and A-Ha's "Take On Me". She obviously was never exposed to MTV, so I may have lit a fire of revelation since she has a computer at home and has the day off today. The talk also lit a fire in me and I searched and joined a Mixi community dealing with 80s culture...unfortunately, it seems that the last message there had been written some weeks ago.
The Diver was her usual fidgety self with the smallest details on grammar. And The Fashion Designer came back after a few weeks away. Since she's always the last person, she always looks somewhat fatigued. I decided to get her a vitamin drink...this one with some fortified taolin. She told me that she's not a morning person. Neither am I.
Today, I've got another pair of Grandmas: Tango and FON. Then, Miss Sedona comes up followed by a few hours of respite before I've got a new student who is coming in several weeks after the initial model lesson. I can't really place the face but at least I know what she wants to work on via my log. Then, The Cracker will probably finish things off for me.
I read on the site "Trek Today", and yep, it's about that show, about an interview with former Desilu head, Herb Solow, about the new movie. I had no idea that Sulu was named after Solow. He gave his thoughts on all of the characters. He wasn't supremely impressed with the new takes on Sulu and Chekov (ouch!) but did love Kirk, Spock and McCoy. However, I have to say that all of the hoopla about Karl Urban's characterization of the irascible doctor is a tad overrated. I have to go with my original opinion of him from that one scene I'd seen of him and Kirk in the shuttle....he may be saying the famous quips but I didn't really think he resembled DeForest Kelley's "Bones".
And I just caught on CNN that the mysterious J.D. Salinger, who had written "Catcher In The Rye" all those decades ago, has surfaced to sue some fellow who is supposed to have written a sequel of sorts with a geriatric Holden Caulfield. Personally, I was never all that impressed with "Catcher In The Rye"; it just seems to be a novel of its times.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Wednesday June 3, 2:07 p.m.

Yes, 3,000th entry and I'm talking about being a counselor, not a teacher. Grandma Fado was the conventional lesson, although we had a nice little aside about the wonders of community within a sento. With Grandma Enka, it was talking about her free time going to karaoke or movies. And I ended up putting on my counselor's cap for The Big Lug since he's been having personality conflicts with his new boss. The way he described it, it was like he was Kirk and his boss was Spock...both being from the new movie. Perhaps it's no wonder that he barely made it through the line for a pass on his test. Ugh!

Well, Miss Honolulu will be coming in the next 5 minutes so I wonder what kind of session will come of that.

Wednesday June 3, 9:37 a.m.

Sent word to the bossman about Ray's hopefully temporary situation with her eye. Just didn't want him to start panicking if he called here during my lesson with Grandma Fado and noone picked up (I don't do phones, sorry).

Another warped upload...sigh. Well, I think you can still figure that this is a big pan of cream pasta with asparagus and mushrooms. This was Mrs. Tee's creation....very tasty and filling, thanks to the heavy cream involved. Mrs Tee and her family are vegetarians due to their membership in a rather ascetic religion (I've got no idea what it is, but it isn't Scientology). Believe me, I didn't miss not having any meat in it at all, and I'm a devout carnivore.

Well, next entry will be my 3,000th. Hopefully, it'll merit the number.

Wednesday June 3, 8:53 a.m. a call from Ray right now; unfortunately, she may have the Mother of All Stys inside her left eye right now so she's heading for a doctor. Means that I'll be serving tea to Grandma Fado today although Ray should be coming in about 11. Certainly don't want her coming in looking like Popeye.

Not a particularly good night with The Milds. Tried to test them on the material covered in the text....frustrating, frustrating....Mrs. Mild was never one of the quickest students in my flock but couldn't believe she couldn't even answer a Yes/No question adequately. And I think I did try to teach them over the past year. Of course, they got rather dejected about least, they could afford to look that way. I can't since I'm the teacher. Perhaps I approached it in the wrong way. They always came in to study English as a pastime instead of anything really serious. Promising to test them probably contravened the atmosphere. Well, I'll have to think of something else before Mrs. Mild especially ends up slinking away into her house on Tuesday nights.

Super Hump Day today. 7 lessons' worth including the usual 90 with 001. I'm definitely gonna hit the vitamin drinks tonight, lest I end up collapsing in front of The Fashion Designer. Then again, she's always looked like she would do the same too.
Tuesday June 2, 7:38 p.m.

It's been a good day for errands. Managed to pick up my cleaning and buy a new pair of leather shoes since the old ones are pretty much exhausted...and fragrant, if you know what I mean. I'm of course at the juku now, awaiting my only students of the night, The Milds.

It seems that another couple of restaurants that I knew and frequented a number of times have gone over the side. Fujimamas announced that it had closed down; not sure why...either the economy did it in (doubt it, it had a dedicated clientele) or the owner/chef Mark Vann decided it was time for a new project. The Sunday brunch there was good although I had a very sour time there a few Xmases ago due to a rather stupid waitress. Then, back on Saturday, after the bunch of us had caught "Star Trek" in Shinjuku, we ended up going to the Aussie bar, The Clubhouse nearby only to see the place thoroughly gutted; not sure if it was fire or something, but it was gone. So we just ended up going to the Indian restaurant closer to the station. I did enjoy the Clubhouse for its Crown Royals and pub fare, but got the impression that it was on somewhat shakier ground than Fujimamas.

Well, a week after all that hoopla about North Korea spouting missiles, the Hermit Kingdom has spouted a rather telling announcement. Kim Jong Il has exhorted that his successor would be his youngest son, Kim Eun (or I think that's how it's pronounced). Not sure what that means in terms of senior Kim's health or the proximity of his retirement as dictator, but I'm sure something is gonna be heading our way pretty soon.
Tuesday June 2, 4:11 p.m.

Man, a whole hour on Mixi just answering various communities, and I'm only on 15 of these places. Some of these folks are in the hundreds.

Well, we've got the first truly good day for weather and probably it'll be the only one for this week. It's darn warm out there. Very slow day today since I only had The Beehive and that was the occasional luncheon that happens whenever Mrs. Perth comes to town. We had the lunch at Mrs. Travel's place. Seriously, these ladies could open up their own little eatery with their skills if they had the inclination. They don't. Tonight, I only have The Milds since Suzanne is off with her boyfriend to watch a Lotte Marines game. I'd already told the juku boss that I would be coming in late since I just have that one class but it's probable that she'll have completely forgotten about it and start panicking about where I am.

Had a model lesson last night that I'd be prepping for during the latter half of last week. Fortunately all that hard work paid off; the lady was quite happy with the lesson on distinguishing between casual and formal Business English. She had spent a year in Oklahoma and has a slight accent from the area.

Picked up the novelization for "Star Trek" yesterday at Kinokuniya. Reads rather quickly. The boys (and girls) in the Star Trek community on Mixi are still raving about the movie.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Monday June 1, 6:14 p.m.

To continue on with the review of "Star Trek": yep, I enjoyed it thoroughly despite some of the cringeworthy writing. Abrams was more in his "Cloverfield" mode than his "M:I 3" one for this movie. The intro with the Kelvin, the fleeing shuttles and the transition into the title card along with the Michael Giacchino music must've gotten the Trekkies back home into full whoop-and-clap...I actually got goose pimples and a bit of a lump in the throat. One of the things I miss about the movie experience back in Canada is that the audience gets full caught up in the proceedings. I could see when the audience would've been laughing, clapping and cheering for Kirk and the gang: McCoy's entrance, Spock Prime's appearance, the Enterprise to the rescue in the last 10 minutes, and finally, Leonard Nimoy's second rendering of "Space, the final frontier..." at the end.

"Star Trek" will never be accused of being an Oscar-grabbing picture but it is a great summertime event.

Monday June 1, 5:39 p.m.
Well, what was the quote from the trailer: "The wait is over."
The wait is indeed over. On Saturday night, I caught "Star Trek" after what has to have been several months of trailers, rumours, and pictures. It was almost a pity after becoming comfortable seeing the USS Kelvin for so long to see it getting trashed in the first 10 minutes of a 2-hour movie.
In any case, I digress. I caught it with Movie Buddy, Frodo, The Satyr and MB's new buddy teacher at his school at Wald 9 in Shinjuku. We had our own short crisis just 20 minutes before showtime at the theatre when for some reason, MB couldn't get the tickets from the computer due to some password snafu. However, our Starfleet training kicked in and none of us so much as lifted a Vulcan eyebrow and once we got up to the 11th floor, MB spoke with a staffer and the tickets were in our hands with 5 minutes to spare.
As for the movie itself, I have to give J.J. Abrams full kudos. He should get a Golden Globe nomination for being able to craft a fun movie that I want to see a second time despite a smirkworthy and eye-rolling script...even for a Star Trek flick. As one reviewer over here put it, Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman are pretty pulpy writers. I'd been warned in advance of the amount of suspension of disbelief needed to accept the fact that a Starfleet Academy cadet, and a failed one at that, could become Captain of the USS Enterprise in less than a day; well, that suspension bridge snapped near the end of the movie. I've heard of fast track promotions but warp track?! The number of coincidences that popped up in this movie was such that there must have been a major rip in the probability field to accompany the space/time one that brought over the Narada.
I've been to enough movies with Movie Buddy to know whether he liked or disliked a movie. When he likes a movie, he's absolutely still and then as we're filing out of the theatre, he gives his compliments. When he dislikes it, he puts his head into his hands and silently files out of the theatre before letting me have the quiet diatribe (et tu, "Sweeney Todd"?). For this one, it was leaning toward the latter. I could see through my peripheral vision during the latter half of the movie that MB was starting the cephalic cradle which had me thinking, "Uh, oh". MB has always been more attuned to and demanding about directing and writing. By the time the credits rolled, he and Frodo were snickering and giggling away. Yep, the two of them were taking some well-aimed potshots at Orci and Kurtzman (deservedly so) but they still enjoyed the flick as "the most expensive comedy" they'd seen this year. Well, they may get some death threats from the diehard Trekkies, but I can see their point.
However, as I did say in the first paragraph, it is a flick that I could...nay, will...see again. The reason is that despite the film's glaring flaws (and even The Entrepreneur, a huge Trekkie, has even stated so), "Star Trek" was fun. This was a Kirk film from the get-go, and I'm not referring to the plot. This was a Kirk film in that J.J. Abrams has seemed to have shaped it in the mold of James Tiberius' personality: bold, bombastic, fun-loving, emotional, and often devoid of logic. This was a guts movie. More later...