Friday, July 24, 2009

Saturday July 25, 3:22 p.m.

Well, got a bit of a disappointment in that The Smile decided not to renew her contract with us. But she's one of those rare students who came up front and told me flat, which I do respect. I have a feeling that Suzanne from the juku will take the other tact and just not show up anymore. In The Smile's case, it's just that the money was a tad too much for her, although Speedy will insist that our school is the most inexpensive. Still, conversation schools by nature will never be known as being particularly cheap. The other disappointing thing is that she was a fun, hard-working student.

Just have The Intellectual in about 30 minutes, then I'm finished.

Saturday July 25, 11:30 a.m.

To your left, may I proudly introduce Kirin Cola? For those people who may be scratching their heads, yup, one of Japan's preeminent beer companies has decided to release their own version of Coke. I came across this one at a vending machine in Tokyo Station, and since it was a broiling day outside, I plunked in my 120 yen. As I guzzled it down like any mug of suds, it did seem to have that tinge of hops. Maybe it was a subliminal thing.

Got that party thing cleared up with both the juku boss and The Restauranteur. I even had dinner at The Restauranteur's place. I had my usual Chicken Saute. The only thing different was that it was a full house. Usually when I've dined there, I was the only one or one of two people; The Restauranteur figured that since we're officially on summer holiday time, the restaurant managed to haul in some holidaymakers from Tokyo Disneyland.

I had Mr. TOEIC for the first time in a couple of weeks. In the interim, he had gone with his family to Okinawa and so, as an omiyage, the school got some beni imo tarts. Beni imo happens to be red potatoes. Just imagine purple potato pie and you've got the right image.

It's a hot one out there...perfect beginning to the annual fireworks festival season. The Sumida River Fireworks Festival...arguably the biggest one in the country will be launching tonight...which means that close to a million guys and girls dressed in sloppily arranged yukata will be amassing in Asakusa from about 4 p.m. for a 7 p.m. start. There are also the Urayasu and Matsudo Festivals in Chiba at the same time. I've never been a huge purveyor of fireworks, despite the fact that the festivities here far outstrip anything we have back in Canada. Folks here ooh and aah over each explosion, but I'm kinda the opinion that once you've seen one festival, you've seen them all. I had my live viewings of the Sumida River Festival years ago and then had to contend with the worst commute home in my 15 years here. So, now I'm rather content to watch it on TV Tokyo in air-conditioned comfort. And since this is Eel Day No. 2, I may do it over an una-don.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Friday July 24, 9:05 a.m.

I was mugged by a squall this morning. When I was walking over to the subway station at the bleary-eyed time of 6:30, it was overcast but with nary a drop. However, I come out the other side, it looked like monsoon season. My umbrella was pretty much useless against the onslaught of wind and rain but I managed to get my McBreakfast.

Saw the Fuji-TV headlines that stated that President Obama may be making his first trip to Japan in November. Well, I can just imagine the media here having 3 months' worth of wet dreams before his arrival. Of course, the TV crews will be again heading toward the town of Obama in Western Japan where the mayor will be pleading with Nagatacho to put his town on the presidential schedule. The commercial networks, like the aforementioned Fuji-TV, will be breathlessly showing off his hotel suite and restaurants that he and perhaps Michelle and the kids will be going to in Tokyo. I suspect that Ten-Ichi, the famed and overpriced tempura restaurant, will be a must go-to

As for Speedy's, I just have Miss Prissy in about 90 minutes. And then a film crew will be doing a feature with the bossman. If I'm lucky, I'll avoid all that coverage and make my way home.
Thursday July 23, 10:46 p.m.

Just about to get out of here...only to come back here in about 8 hours. The Music Man was fine; found out that not only is he a big fan of Kylie Minogue, but he's also a follower of Formula 1. He gave out a lot of info about how the late Gilles Villeneuve was basically made a pariah in this country, but I'll explain all that tomorrow.

Apparently, one of the morning shows has taken an interest in Speedy. So, a film crew will be here in the morning after I'm done with Miss Prissy to do a small feature. I'll be hiding out in the kitchen but I'll make sure I get back home pretty soon since I've got laundry to do.

Thursday July 23, 8:58 p.m.
Well, there he is. The 11th Doctor Who by 26-year-old Matt Smith. The pressures the actor must be having...I bet even Peter Davison didn't face this level of minute analysis and criticism when he took over for Tom Baker 28 years ago. The folks online have already started squabbling over his new costume. However, I'm sure the tweed sellers must be celebrating their lot right now. Hmm...I guess he looks sufficiently different from David Tennant's geek chic...definitely more geek than chic. He's got more of the Ivy League professorial tonsorial mixed in with a floppy hairdo and cheekbones you could cut bread on. However, I'll be looking out for what kind of personality he will be exhibiting. Hopefully, it'll be a little less manic than that of his last two predecessors. We could use a bit more Obama-like calm from this new Time Lord. And hopefully, the powers-that-be won't have me killed for using this image.
Thursday July 23, 7:13 p.m.

I'm not sure what causes these psychedelic trip-ups in my photo uploads but sometimes the results aren't too bad. This is indeed a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts from about a month ago. Ray and La Fille were quite happy.

The Carolinan showed up as scheduled at 6 tonight. I had been initially worried about her after she got word of her company going out of business at the end of September. However, true to her O-type blood, she's taking things in stride. The sounds of Hello Work are now ringing once more. Hello Work happens to be the most famous employment placement agency in the country. Kinda like Manpower back in Canada.

Now that I've gotten that mammoth translation assignment out of the way, I've been getting back into Mixi again. I made my open diary entries concerning those tsukudani grasshoppers I've been munching on along with pictures. And I've already been getting comments. There's nothing like sensationalism to bring in the masses. Speaking of which, someone from Nagoya took a look at my profile and has struck up an e-mail friendship of sorts since we both have connections with studying in Canada and jazz.

Well, time for dinner...Chip Star and soumen.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thursday July 23, 2:28 p.m.

I do hope wherever you are taking a look at this, you haven't just eaten a meal. If you look closely at this pic, you'll find that these are finely roasted grasshoppers in soy sauce, mirin and sugar. Mmm-mmmm....dem's good eatin'. Called inago in Japanese, they've been given the tsukudani technique which refers to the stewing in the above ingredients.
Actually, they aren't bad at all. Quite chewy and the sauce pretty much obliterates any authentic grasshopper taste that may have come through. I got the package from Grandma Fado a couple of weeks ago. Apparently, inago tsukudani are quite the delicacy in some of the more far-flung prefectures. And Mom has told me that eating locusts was quite the necessity in the war years since protein was rather hard to come by. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to munch on some antennae...
It's been a fairly quiet day so far. I've only had Miss Sedona. She's been getting pretty hyped over her trip to Canada in a few months. Speedy has been counselling her for the past few weeks now. I should be seeing The Carolinan later this evening, and then it'll be The Music Man to wrap things up. The Carolinan has fallen on some hard times...actually, she and the rest of her company staff have known for a while that the axe was gonna come down, but the unfortunate announcement came a couple of weeks ago that her company will be shutting its doors at the end of September. Not sure how the lesson's gonna be like today. May have to get the tissue ready.
I've done the accounting for that huge translation project for The Cornerette. Well, if she's still willing to pay the full amount, I may be in for a pretty winfall at the end of this month. But that's still a big if. And strangely enough, Paddy, the friend who had first introduced me to The Corner over a year ago, got back to me about another possible project involving 100 pages! I sent him the immediate caveat that I would need to find out what the material involved and what the deadline was. After having to deal with pages of ceramics, I'm not quite sure if I'm gonna be up for hundreds of pages.
I checked my machine and got a rather breathless message from the juku boss last night concerning this little dinner next Friday night I had first proposed a couple of months ago for all of my students at The Restauranteur's. Unfortunately, it seems like The Restauranteur and Mr. White called her up about a number of things involving the "party". I never gave too many details to the boss since, for one thing, I never intended this thing to be nothing bigger than a few students and me having a little din-din together. However, forgetting to realize that anything called a party in this country automatically demands planning on a NASA-like level, I had the juku boss talking my ear off about how she's arranged things. I couldn't really even get half of what the boss was babbling about. And at that time, The Fashion Designer was coming into Speedy's for her lesson. I told the boss that I had a student coming right up but she just kept nattering away like a jackhammer so I just finally had to tell her that the student was here and clicked off. I was annoyed that my little get-together got bumped up higher in social status and the fact that the scatterbrain wouldn't let go, regrettably made it easy for me to hang up on her. Hopefully, she won't be ticked off at me on Friday night.
Wednesday July 22, 8:55 p.m.

There was supposed to be one of the biggest solar eclipses in human history, and Tokyo was completely overcast. Bad, Tokyo, bad! Looks like we'll have to take it on the road for the next big one. 001 told me that it would be on Easter Island. I've got a feeling that the Moai Statues will not feel so lonely in the not-so-distant future.

I had just tallied up the cost of those 6 weeks of translation when The Cornerette came back with some corrections I had to do to the original drafts. So, it's not quite over yet.

Saw the new 11th Doctor Who in his new getup. Not too, too bad although I was kinda hoping for something a bit more different than the slight variation on the theme of geek chic that David Tennant had brought in. Still, the tweed and bow tie with folded trousers makes Matt Smith a Doctor.