Friday, July 17, 2009

Saturday July 18, 3:22 p.m.

Just on the verge of heading home. Ray is still here and may be for some time. I've only scratched the surface of figuring out what I'm gonna charge for those 6 weeks of translation. Yep, it's already looking like I might get a small winfall...provided that The Cornerette still wants to pay me after running behind by over a week.

Still have to teach The Jyuppies tomorrow. Not sure about the husband; he's been having that crisis of opportunity. I may have to seriously re-adjust how to teach him.
Saturday July 18, 1:20 p.m.

Well, just a couple of weeks after Michael Jackson's passing, another legend, this time in the broadcasting industry, has died. Good ol' Walter Cronkite has just gone to that anchorman's desk in the sky. He's been pretty much out of the spotlight for the past decade or so but I'm sure all of the news shows right now in the States are giving a full court tribute to Uncle Walter, The Most Trusted Man in America.

Some 6 weeks after I got onto this Japanese ceramics project, I finally got that last kanji translated and sent over to The Cornerette yesterday afternoon. Like with any relationship, there were some ups and downs, and The Cornerette was getting fidgety about when I would finally get everything in. Well, it's in now, and I just have to now tackle the arduous task of tallying up the cost.

Got a long weekend, although I did that one lesson today with The Publicity Agent and then I have two with The Jyuppies tomorrow afternoon. Found out that she'll be putting in her hours this weekend, too. Has to do some filming with the comedy team known as Kyaiin tomorrow. And I found out that her uncle got himself into the Guinness Book for being to fold a rice grain into an origami crane.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thursday July 16, 12:39 p.m.

Just two more topics away from finally doing away with that mammoth translation, and I just couldn't have enough time to do it. Well, looks like there will be a Part C. However, I did send Part B to the Cornerette. She'll have to wait til tomorrow to get the whole thing.

Just a few minutes away from Miss Sedona's lesson. Speedy is counselling her on that trip to Canada.

My apartment agency has been leaving messages on my machine about something. They left two yesterday...didn't say what it was about so I wasn't particularly enthused about calling them back since I had that problem with them early last year. Finally, I got that third message this morning. Apparently, they want to put in a chain lock on my door and just wanted to confirm a day and time, the workman can come on over. Could be a bit dicey but it's looking like the holiday Monday will be the only one close by.
Wednesday July 15, 7:17 p.m.

Yup, plenty hot out there. I was crazy enough to walk down from Nakano-Sakaue to Shinjuku in blazing 30-degree-plus heat after meeting up with The Admin and then lunch. But the weather was kind to throw in some stiff winds to cool us down. I ended up browsing at the Book First branch in the Coccoon Tower for a while before I took off for Ichigaya to teach The New Yorker. Actually, had three different people come and leave beside us while we had our class; I think that's a personal best for me. Not many people can stand sipping coffee next to an English lesson.

Heading back home on Monday night strangely felt like a Friday night in that I witnessed a rather nasty set of fisticuffs in Iidabashi Station (one guy flipped the other a la judo) and there was a drunk salaryman splayed out on one seat on the Tozai Line home. Of course, the surrounding people didn't disturb him. If this had been in New York City, the poor fool would've been missing several things, including teeth and limbs.

I seem to be making good progress on this last article for The Cornerette. I don't think I'll finish the whole thing off by tonight but I can probably send half of it to The Cornerette to appease her further. But I still have The Music Man's lesson at 9:15.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wednesday July 15, 8:51 a.m.

Still plowing away at the translations; I've just got one more article to do. Luckily, 001 has cancelled her lesson for today, so after The New Yorker, I've got several hours to bash that into shape.

Last night, the juku boss showed me some of that endearing scatterbraininess that she's often famed for. She had a talk over the weekend with a potential substitute English teacher for the kids whenever I head off for home. Apparently, he's just a 20-year-old greenhorn from Hungary who's pretty much into the Japanese language. The boss was so impressed with his Japanese abilities that she didn't even bother checking into the most important attribute...can the guy speak English?

Mr. White's second class went off without a hitch. As for The Milds, we kept it nice and light. They're still not masters of Past Continuous/Simple Past contrast but after two weeks and several exercises, I don't think they're gonna get any better. On to Present Perfect next week.

I don't have The Admin until 11 today but made the trek over to Speedy's as if I had an early lesson since those translations and The Cornerette have been breathing down my neck. Afterwards, I've got The New Yorker and then it'll be The Music Man for the last one tonight.

I actually have got another O-chugen package from The Matron (remember her?) coming to me. It's now been three months since I last saw The Class Act, but I still get the little cakes. Still not sure whether The Class Act will ever get together.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday July 13, 10:50 p.m.

Well, finished with Medicine sole student of the entire day. Still feeling a bit down about what all of those weeks of trying to translate the ceramics website have culminated to. I never had this much trouble with hot springs, contracts and even tax lingo. But ceramics has thrown me for a loop with all of that arcane language. I've sent the message out to her...didn't give any excuses to her. So the ball's in her court.

Time to head on home.
Monday July 13, 8:57 p.m.

Well, it took a while but it looks like I finally got that e-mail of exasperation from The Cornerette just now about how long it has taken me to get through those translations. At least, I think I got's hard to tell since her English is not nearly as good as The Corner's. I sent over an apology letter. I don't think it's gonna get the translations done any faster. I informed her that I wasn't a professional translator and certainly wasn't a ceramicist; I just hope that Paddy didn't pad his recommendation of me when I was first introduced to The Corner over a year ago. Well, I figure that I'll probably be no longer contacted by The Cornerette or The Corner once this assignment is truly over...hopefully by the end of this week. was a good gig while it lasted.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Monday July 13, 3:56 p.m.

The first truly summer day has arrived. I woke up sweating...a sure sign, and yet I'm holding off the first official usage of my dinosaur of an air conditioner until tomorrow. Yep, it was about 31 C in my living room but wasn't sweating too profusely...more like a skin-shield of sweat. I've certainly gotten accustomed to the infamous Tokyo summers over the years. Another sign of that was back on Friday when The Lens and I had met in Akiba. He's far more healthier than me, thanks to his long years of kendo training, and yet he said he was mightily wilting under the sun. And the last sign that the dog days of summer have arrived: my first of two showers of the day.

I went down to my branch of the bank to transfer some funds over to the parentals. The lady who's helped me ever since I first arrived in Japan was busy with another guy, so I got a native who had a fair-to-middling ability with the language. First, she told me that I didn't need to deal with her and that I could actually go to the ATMs and get it done there. Well, quite a change, I thought...only to find out I couldn't get access to any Canadian banks on the machines. I caught the lady's eye again and told her about my predicament, and after shooting up some question marks over her head, she realized that she hadn't told me enough information....about the special bank transfer booth across from the regular ATMS.

After going through the process, I kinda wondered what was actually easier....just getting the transfer done the old way with that American employee who's been at my branch longer than probably Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama combined or this newfangled way. I sat into the booth which reminded me of my regular visits to the I-Cafe and had that other lady looking over my shoulder while another bank employee showed up on cameraphone to take my order. As I took the receiver, the new lady instructed me to put that piece of paper on which I'd jotted down the info for my parents' bank account (and boy was I lucky I'd had the foresight to do that) and put into the scanner right in front of me. Then came about 10 minutes of digital data taking before the money was on its way. This lady's English was somewhat better than the first person, but I could hear a bit of tension underneath the professional voice of reason. Wasn't sure if she were nervous about handling my order in English or if she were terrified of my face. My default expression isn't very pretty and unless people get to know me well, they usually think I'm in a ticked-off mood....which I was, slightly. However, she assured me that the data is now a part of record, and that if I ever needed to do the same thing again, I just had to press one number and the whole structure would pop up again automatically so that I would just need to press "Confirm" and then how much I money I would send. I'm sure she was quite relieved.

Got out of there and walked up to Roppongi. Ended up having lunch at the local Wendy's. It was up to 32 C by that time and it had only passed 11 o'clock. Still, walking up the rebuilt area of Roppongi Hills, the presence of trees made a big difference in cooling things down, in contrast with the mostly concrete of Old Roppongi. Took some shots of the area.

Then, I took the Metro up to Ginza. Ginza is all concrete so the temperature was definitely closer to 40 C with all of the juicy air to boot. Took a look in both HMVs and Yamano Music for the better part of an hour there. All places were playing Michael Jackson on speakers. Next, I went inside the whale skeleton that made up the Tokyo International Forum; just aching for pictures. Then I went up to the Yaesu Book Centre across from Tokyo Station. Was surprised that I could survive all that walking in that heat. But I kept myself hydrated, thanks to the vending machines.

The week's looking pretty light for me. Just have Medicine Man tonight...yep, one 9:30 class will make up my entire work output for the day. Still, I've got translations to do. The Cornerette asked...politely...about when the last of those translations will get in. I answered...politely...that they'll be in by the end of the week (although I left out the word, "hopefully"). Basically, the only really busy day will be Wednesday...which I guess is appropriate since that was Hump Day, but even then, it's just 4 classes with plenty of space in between. Thursday (and I am keeping my fingers crossed here) may just have me having 2 classes in the afternoon: Miss Sedona and The Bow.

I got home from the latest stint at the I-Cafe last night and turned on NHK to see how those Tokyo Assembly Elections were going. And sure enough, the Liberal Democratic Party was getting trounced. I'd say it was like Hannibal Lecter sinking his teeth into those hapless guards in "Silence of the Lambs". The Democratic Party of Japan was just mauling Taro Aso's party all night, and by the end of the assault, the DPJ became the No. 1 party in Tokyo for the first time in 40 years and also got an outright majority for the first time in many years. I'm sure there was a party at DPJ headquarters. Meanwhile, the LDP could only start to lick its wounds. It took its national partner, the Komeito Party, to somehow make things from looking totally disastrous.

And the vulture was looking at Taro Aso, as it had for ex-PM Abe and Yasuo Fukuda before him. Sure enough, I saw the newspaper kiosks in the subways screaming out the headlines of the announcement of the dissolution of the Diet next week with a general election to be held in August. So, I think the country's highest manga lover will hang on and himself at the bitter end, since there is really noone there to take over. The media has apparently been doing the LDP's thinking for them and throwing out names such as Yoichi Masuzoe, the Minister of Labour, and Governor Higashikokubaru of Miyazaki Prefecture, since both have relative popularity. But Masuzoe has always gotten increasingly grayer over the months since he took over his post, thanks to that pension scandal, so I'm not sure if he could literally survive the top post, and as for current comedian-in-chief Higashikokubaru, I'm frankly not sure if CNN and the rest of the international media could survive pronouncing his name on a regular basis. Plus, Japan would wince mightily if Higashikokubaru actually got the top job and started telling President Obama to just call him Sonomama Higashi, his old comedian pseudonym. In any case, politically speaking, it's gonna be a blazing summer here.
Sunday July 12, 8:38 p.m.

Another weekend is coming to an end. Did another round at MB's place. And this time, The Satyr showed up as well and we got to see a DVD. We watched "Hot Fuzz", the latest movie with Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, the British Laurel and Hardy of the 21st century. It was chock filled with a lot of the latest Brit thesps (Timothy Dalton, Paddy Considine, Bill Nighy, etc.) who've made their way across the ocean to Hollywood, and even one Aussie, a disguised cameo by Cate Blanchett. MB and I had been hoping to watch it for several months, and I guess we had our expectations ratcheted up a bit too high. After the first 15 minutes, there was nary a laugh out of the three of us, and I started to think whether we had picked up a dud. Things finally got going in the 2nd half so it wasn't a total loss, but I think "Shaun of the Dead" still wins out by a good margin. However, I think the big casting shocker was portly old Edward Woodward...yep, "The Equalizer" himself...playing a seemingly cordial Neighbourhood Watch commander.

MB did get that huge screen and has been enjoying his games online and off. I must admit that although I'm absolutely a putz when it comes to playing them, it's still pretty enjoyable. Still don't think I'll dust off my Playstation 1, though.

My session with Mrs Jyuppie was fine but Mr. Jyuppie basically put me into counselor mode once more. Apparently, he's gone into a mid-life crisis almost a decade too early. He's been wondering about how satisfied he's been with his career and the fact that he's gotten a couple of potentially good but risky opportunities. Hmmm....I listened and then referred him to "What Color is your Parachute?"

Today is the Tokyo City Council Elections...a bellweather vote in terms of the health of the governing party. It'll be interesting for me to look