Friday, June 19, 2009

Saturday June 20, 1:47 p.m.

I'm halfway through the lessons. I had the guys earlier with Mr. TOEIC and The Intellectual. Mr. TOEIC and I didn't make much headway into the text since we got into our occasional sidetracking. This time, it was hats since he was sporting one when he came in. Looks like he's been into Trilbys lately. As for The Intellectual, he has the constitution of Mr. Freeze. Even earlier in the winter, he always came in profusely sweating. I can only imagine the hell he goes through during times like these. I turned on the air conditioner extra strong for him.

Bay had quite a thrill the other day at her other job working at a museum. Apparently, former PM Koizumi...the charismatic Lionhead himself...strode in for a look-see at the exhibits. She assured me that he didn't get into any Elvis renditions.
Saturday June 20, 9:16 a.m.

My shoulders are feeling especially granitic today. Don't know why...maybe age is sending me a message. The juku boss noticed my groaning as I tried out that yoga move that The Yogist had taught me last year. She took a few pokes at my back and proclaimed that she found a new geological formation. Well, another surprise came in the form of The Ace who actually didn't come. Just about 10 minutes passed into his lesson time, and he's the one who usually shows up 10 minutes ahead of time. Well, with only a half-hour lesson, that's a mighty large chunk of change that he's given up. Then at the 15-minute mark, the call came in to say that he was just leaving work at that moment.

I've got four today...Mr. TOEIC, The Intellectual, The Publicity Assistant (it's been almost 2 months for her since she'd come in last time) and The Smile. Then, it's a French dinner for us here at Speedy's...La Fille came up with this idea since she's the local expert on all things Gallic. We're supposed to be going to this place in Shibuya after work. So, I had Italian last night and it's French today. It's gonna be a high-cholesterol weekend.

Strangely enough, The Bow and The Bass were talking about mortality yesterday, and this morning the news came in that the world's oldest man finally bought that long-awaited farm...of course, he's Japanese. For a 113-year-old, he looked pretty more than 105, I'd say.
Friday June 19, 7:24 p.m.

The sun was back which means so was the heat. Definitely needed the GATSBY wipes today. The nights are still cool (sounds ominously like an Air Supply lyric).

It looks like my alternating Fridays will have both The Bow and The Bass. Strangely enough, though the two have never met and several kilometres separate them in terms of teaching venue, we ended up getting into the talk about whether they would be willing to live to 100. The Bass said what most people would say in that as long as he was fairly lucid and walking about, he wouldn't mind. As for The Bow, she came up with a rather interesting answer; she said that she would probably like to die within 20 years. I guess living with one's parents that long would do that to one. If I had still been doing that, I wouldn't haven't been every sense of the word.

Between The Bass and The Bow, I stopped off to get the final phase of my passport renewal done. And that was to drop off at Ichikawa City Hall and get my gaijin card updated with the new info concerning the new passport. The young lad who took care of me didn't retch when he saw my passport picture....rather sporting of him. Now, that the passport is now officially in service, I'll have to get that Air Canada ticket.

A better part of an hour later after that interminable ride on the Sobu Line, I did my regular visit to Takashimaya Times Square. It was definitely a typically June day in The Big Sushi...sunny, plenty of strategically placed green trees, and a thin film of smaze throughout the atmosphere Didn't see anything worth buying at Kinokuniya so just went over to HMV. I was a bit interested in the latest Shena Ringo single...the one with her provocatively looking rather lacking in clothing and showing her back scar from a childhood operation. However, it wasn't the song that I'd seen via her latest video clip on MTV Japan last night...I guess she may be in her mid-Madonna or mid-Cyndi Lauper phase...y'know, do a video without any clothes (maybe I should also mention Alanis Morrissette)...she seemed to have been just wearing a silk sheet for the entirety of the video and making some rather suggestive moves with an electric guitar plug-in cord (you just have to see it). In any case, I'm pretty certain she'll be going completely starkers one of these days. I held off on the purchase since there is a full album coming out next week.

Along with the topic of mortality, The Bow and I also spoke on prodigies, since instead of joining The Sisters of State and me for burgers a couple of weeks ago, she went to see a virtuoso violinist perform. Apparently, the violinist had been one of those child geniuses. Also, there was that news of that homegrown 20-year-old blind pianist recently who had gotten one of those huge world prizes. When I mentioned that tried-&-true proverb about that fine line between genius and madness, the name Yayoi Kusama came up. She is this artist who's had this reputation for using nothing but polka dots in her works. She's also probably a schizophrenic and currently lives in an asylum. The Bow had gone to an exhibition at a cafe in Roppongi Hills a few years ago. I'd also heard about this exhibition. The cafe chinaware and even the dessert had the signature Kusama polka dots imbued in them. Also, she told me that there had been a song writte and sung by the artist herself on heavy rotation within the cafe. The song was on suicide and apparently the lyrics were so appalling that the staff begged to just play it once per hour...lest the song became self-prophesing. Another local on the fine line that came up in conversation was Fujiko Hemming, a famed classical pianist. Apparently, her choice of clothing comes from a century ago and probably hasn't been washed in that time frame.

Had my usual dinner at The Restauranteur's place again. I went for the Chicken Saute. The place was slightly more bustling with one middle-aged lady nearby, and a mother with her two children in front of me. That's about as busy as I'd ever seen it there.

"Terminator: Salvation" is coming our way from tomorrow. The crusty reviewer in METROPOLIS gave it a firm thumbs-down, calling it boring. Meanwhile, the folks in EMPIRE Magazine gave it a very big thumbs-up. So, anything goes really.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Thursday June 18, 11:14 a.m.

The student dropout rate least, where my schedule is concerned. Now, Miss Honolulu has cancelled today....which means I'll be done by 1:45. At this rate, I may even enjoy an aperatif before the sun goes down. Nah, I exaggerate...still have to get on the second batch of translations. And I have to get some exercises done for The Restauranteur for tomorrow night.
Wednesday June 16, 7:55 p.m.

Ugh! What a night last night. Stepped out of the juku to head back home...ended up soaked to the bone within 2 minutes, thanks to that deluge. Some of my texts were partial victims. Luckily, things are a lot drier today.

I met The Admin for the first time in over 2 weeks. Both of us have been busy. We had a great time chatting about music once more. However, the nice fuzzy atmosphere in the family restaurant was somewhat shattered while The Admin was paying the bill when what looked like another yakuza-esque thug was in the lobby screaming into the phone. If there was one thing that I would've loved to have seen exterminated during The Occupation, it would be these monsters.

I got those last two articles done for The Cornerette. Most of my afternoon was devoted to getting all those kanji changed into English characters. I was so lucky that Mr. Mild provided the furigana; otherwise, my work would've gone far into the next day. As it is, I sent the completed translations about 30 minutes ago. The Cornernette threw me another batch, but it looks like these ones are far smaller than the behemoths that I got earlier this week.

And it looks like I'll be getting a lot of time to get them done in. Both The Cracker and The Music Man, my Thursday evening students both cancelled today. Which means I'll be done by mid-afternoon. If I get those translations done, I may actually enjoy an early Thursday night off.

The Diver should be headed into the door any minute now. And then it'll be The Fashion Designer to wrap up. Both have got tests coming up, but as usual, I'll always be worried about The Diver.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday June 16, 9:21 p.m.

Well, the Rainy Season has truly made its presence felt in The Big Sushi. Right now as I type, it's just pouring just about every cat that's not Toonces along with every dog out there. I'm trying to delay my departure for home until I get a lull in the maelstrom; with my luck, that probably won't happen. Yesterday was pretty bad, too, but tonight is taking the cake with a lot of thunder and lightning.

The Milds came in with Mr. Mild having a lot of legwork for me with that translation on Japanese ceramics from The Cornerette. He also informed me that there were some vital errors in kanji in the original which (sigh) explained why I spent several minutes racking my brains on the weekend about them. He was even kind enough to throw in pictures and furigana, which basically cuts my racking time in half.

About that new guy....The Man From Glad....he's prematurely gray, as I have mentioned. The juku boss gave me some further insight about him. Apparently, he was a real go-getter in his company; certainly, I saw some of that tonight in his model lesson. But he burned himself out which would explain his hair...the man's younger than me!

Tomorrow (weather permitting) should be a strangely quiet day for me, compared to the Hump Days that I'd had recently. Not only will I not need to get in early, but I only have three lessons tomorrow: just the morning kaffeeklatsch with The Admin and then two-thirds of the usual Wednesday night crew since 001 is now showing up. Should have lots of time to get that last batch of translation work done.
Tuesday June 16, 7:39 p.m.

Well, Suzanne was atypically irritable. Not that she took it out on me or anything but she seemed to be ill at ease. Not sure if it was that stalker co-worker of hers or some consternation about her upcoming trip to New York. However, I did say that I would concoct some stuff to help her prepare.

As for that model lesson student, he's a pretty gregarious fellow...prematurely gray for some reason; he did say that he's had to take time off work due to some sort of illness. However, he seems promising but said that he won't start til July, so the jury's still out whether he will truly become a regular.
Tuesday June 16, 4:22 p.m.

Good news on Toonces the Juku Cat. He's back at home, safe and sound. The boss told me that the poor puss had gotten himself trapped in an abandoned house not 50 m away from here on Friday night along with a black Persian. The boss was lucky that her neighbour had heard Toonces' plaintive wails and called her up. It was then just a matter of heading over there and plucking him out.

I got that model lesson in about 40. Just a half hour, though, so not all that much we can do. I made copies of the 1st chapters of a few texts, but I think I'll do my old faithful of Adverbs of Frequency.

Happily, my cable company has finally been able to solve that automatic bank transfer problem with my monthly bills.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tuesday June 16, 12:39 p.m.

Incredible though it may seem, we're already halfway through the 6th month. Incredible thought it may seem, I survived a 20-hour day yesterday. Yup, woke up at the eye-blearing hour of 4 in the morning so that I could have breakfast and head on out to Immigration in the boonies of Shinagawa to get my visa and re-entry permit transferred into my new passport. It was the usual snake-like line of foreign residents in front of the doors of the massive centre (I think if the government ever allows Hollywood to film there, the Tokyo Regional Immigration Centre can easily pass for the Japanese equivalent of the Pentagon). At 8:30, the line quickly turned into a gigantic scrum up the escalator. Luckily for me, my task didn't necessitate speed. All I had to was fill out a Transfer of Information form and then line up initially at Station A. And then 15 minutes later, the transfer took place. I was out of there by 9:18 a.m.

One of the reasons that I can tolerate the early-morning trek to Immi is that afterwards I can have some sort of meal in the restaurant area of JR Shinagawa. As expected, Nathan's the hot dog chain was officially dead and buried, in terms of its life in Tokyo. Now there was a New York's Subs. Took a look at the menu...didn't seem like the stuff that I would have for breakfast so I ended up having a buffet brunch at the larger restaurant...the one that usually becomes an oyster bar in the evening. The brunch there cost me just 880 yen; it wasn't a particularly rich selection: no greasy sausages, no pancakes or Belgian waffles. However, it did have the requisite toast, corn soup, and various other carbs. I had a Japanese-style pasta with shirasu...the tiny white was slightly disconcerting eating my noodles while several dozen pairs of eyes were looking up at me, but I got over the guilt trip pretty quickly.

Took the Yamanote Line up to Yurakucho and walked around Ginza for a while. Picked up a Father's Day card at Ito-ya the stationery shop and mailed it out a few minutes later from the adjoining post office. Often on the main corner of 4-chome, there is a TBS film crew getting some man-on-the-street interviews done; this time, there was a bit more of a celeb element in the form of bilingual TV personality Lisa Stegmeyer posing the questions. She was able to wrangle a trio of well-heeled middle-aged ladies into talking into the microphone. Before I hit the Yamanote again, I took a look downstairs in the basement of Itocia. Krispy Kreme #2 was doing business...not at the huge lineups that it had to handle last year but still it was too long a line for me to wait. I'd been thinking of perhaps grabbing a dozen for the gang at Speedy's.

SIL was fine. We spoke on the usual news of the day including the sudden resignation of the Internal Affairs Minister, Kunio Hatoyama. Not sure if he was trying to emulate the ministers in Gordon Brown's beleaguered Cabinet, and not sure if his dropping out will start a chain reaction. I doubt it, but PM Aso must not be in a good way.

Hit back to Speedys. Had The Full-Timer; she's in the middle of meeting up with a temp agency. Then, I had Mr. TOEIC for a night time class. I lent him my CD of the legendary Japanese salsa band, Orquesta de la Luz, since he had shown some interest in the genre. Finally, the Medicine Man came to wrap things up. Man, still like molasses when he answers.

Over the weekend, I contributed 6 hours of Internet time to help get those translations done for The Cornerette. I finally got a draft done last night at the very end of my shift at Speedy's. It's not very pretty but at least I got it in the day before it was due. May have to do some tweaking here and there. During that time, I met up with MB for what was supposed to be another DVD night but it actually ended up being a nice dinner with him and the missus at a great Italian restaurant near their place. Then, I just played some computer games with him on his PS3. I've been out of the PS loop for over a decade, but I had to admit that it was fun playing "Watchmen", "Lord of the Rings" and the latest "Star Wars" game.

Found out through Mixi that my old student, The Ballerina, was having some problems. I couldn't quite understand what she'd written in her diary so I sent her a private message asking what was up. Apparently, it's some labour problem at her workplace; I know all about those things too well.

This morning, my session with The Beehive was particularly lively since I showed them what I was translating for The Cornerette. Ceramics is just up their alley so they had a ball discovering how to say all that jargon in English.

Got my model lesson student at the juku tonight, just before Suzanne comes in. Have to lug in all the books. I hope the juku cat did return home.

The Bass told me about yet another student who wants my services. Well, after the protracted effort with The Action Freak, I'm gonna have to decline this time. Unless he's got time during the daytime, he's out of luck, and I believe The Bass said that the lad had just started work at his company.