Friday, November 06, 2009

Saturday November 7, 3:18 p.m.

Finished the classes. No big problems there. I decided to try purchasing my concert ticket online but that verdammt "Verified By Visa" program has screwed me over again. For some reason, whenever I tried to input my code, the numbers wouldn't show up. Looks like I'll have to do it analog and buy it in Kanda.

Well, I'm gonna get out of here before tickets totally sell out.
Saturday November 7, 9:10 a.m.

Well, I had my first dinner at my old neighbourhood tonkatsu restaurant in a few months since I'd boycotted the place due to what I thought was reneging on a coupon. It was nice to have a mouthful of hire katsu once again.

When I got to the juku, the boss was once again mewling about her computer illiteracy. This time, it was about some "dreaded" message from Norton Security. All it turned out to be was an offer to upgrade her current software; obviously since her computer is brand new...there's no urgent need right now. On a somewhat more serious note, since I'm now down to just The Milds for one hour on Tuesdays, the boss has broached the topic of perhaps moving The Milds to Fridays from next year. may be possible although I'm not sure whether the couple may be doing stuff on that night.

Today is relatively busy at Speedy's. I've got Mr. TOEIC in about an hour, followed in quick succession by The Intellectual and The Publicity Agent...basically, the usual Saturday crew. But I'll be done by 2 o'clock. I'm hoping to pick up that ticket for the Ruiko Kurahashi concert next month at the Ticket Pia machine in my local conbini. I guess on that note, convenience stores truly are what they say.

Newswise, I'm sure Hideki Matsui is basking in the glow of not only his team's World Series win, but also for getting the MVP title. Once all of the confetti and champagne have been washed out of his hair, he'll be arriving in Japan to a hero's welcome. I can imagine that Ichiro is just biting his chin stubble in absolute envy.

Ichihashi...that name is an unfortunate blast from the past. He's the young punk who murdered that English teacher, Lindsay Ann Hawker, near my neighbourhood a few years ago. I'd always thought he had killed himself, but apparently the police are now saying that he has undergone plastic surgery in Nagoya, and have now shown possible new looks. My question is how Ichihashi could not have been noticed by staffers who are supposedly trained to look at faces critically.

Then, just this morning, we got word that the head of a missing co-ed from Shimane Prefecture was found in the forest near Hiroshima. We may not have a lot of crime in this country, but a lot of what we go through is pretty grisly.

20 years ago, a Wall came down. But 40 years ago, a Street went up. Sesame Street, that is. Apparently, they're having their anniversary from next Tuesday. I think I still have the original record album somewhere back home. I'm still not sure about that Bert & Ernie cohabitation thing.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Friday November 6, 4:27 p.m.

Pretty quiet couple of days...almost feels like a weekend, especially since I often work on them. Case in point, I saw The Bow as my only student of the day yesterday in Shinjuku. Looks like since the launch of Dyson's Air Multiplier, there has been some blowback of sorts. The London Telegraph has dug up some stuff from years back stating that Toshiba may have come up with the idea of a bladeless fan some 28 years ago. And apparently, some of those famed Dyson vacuum cleaners have been literally burning customers due to some poorly insulated cording.

I did pick up a couple of discs from HMV and Tower Records. The former had me pick up the 8th DVD of Ken Burns' "Jazz"...mostly focusing on the birth of Be-Bop and Charlie Bird Parker. Watching this series kinda feels like getting the university-level education on the genre.
Then at Tower's, I got "Star Trek". The official release is today but Tower Records often starts selling awaited goods a day ahead of schedule, bless its red-and-yellow heart. I did love the gag reel in which apparently between takes, the Bridge served as an impromptu disco. And who'da thought that Zachary Quinto would be such a cut-up?

Nothing today until the juku classes tonight. Looks like my Tuesdays there are just shrinking; a few years ago, I could look forward to 4.5 hours of classes, but now it looks like I'll only have The Milds for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately but not surprisingly, Mr. White is pulling out for November. After seeing him in his emotional state over a week ago, I just couldn't see myself teaching him until he gets some serious help.

MB is once again itching to have DVD Night, and Skippy is itching to catch "Inglorious Basterds" which will come out later this month.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wednesday November 4, 10:48 p.m.

After nearly 15 hours here at the school, I'm about ready to go home. I never thought I would be pulling these hours after a decade and a half in Japan. But hey, it's a living. Didn't eat dinner but didn't really need to, after engorging myself on free sushi and chocolates. Not exactly a healthy diet but it was great on my wallet. However, I've got a sneaking suspicion that my stomach may give me some rumbles by the time I hit home.

Good night!
Wednesday November 4, 8:11 p.m.

It's been a lazy daisy type of evening. 001 came in, gave me a peace offering of sorts in the form of caramel corn from 002 since they had all met for hot pot a few weeks earlier, and we just caught up on the 3 weeks that she'd been absent from class. Meanwhile, Bay has dropped in and been chewing the fat with La Fille. Apparently, they're talking about the model-turned-tarento in Japanese showbiz. Get the swords out, will ya?
Wednesday November 4, 5:50 p.m.

I got plied with the goodies today...chocolates from Grandma Fado, sushi from Grandma Enka, and then Ray got generous by getting La Fille and me some chocolate eclairs. I haven't gotten dinner and I don't really feel like it right now.

Saw The Nurse for the first time in a few weeks. She was rather out of it today; only had 3 hours of sleep before coming here. She said that she was used to the inordinately small amount of shuteye, but considering her performance today, I would have to disagree. She was heading out to meet her hubby for dinner at some all-you-can-eat tempura place in Shinjuku. That was probably the most useful piece of information I got from her all hour. Afterwards, Ray, La Fille and I had some of that chitchat that has become rather commonplace among us, especially when the bossman is not around. Apparently, Ray has to update the company blog...the theme is supposed to be based on Xmas, so I had to come up with some seasonal vocabulary.

Tomorrow will be anything but Hump Day. Grandma FON called to cancel her lesson tomorrow morning since she's marooned out in snowy Nagano. So 50% of my lessons have gone by the wayside...just The Bow in Shinjuku.

001 should be here in another 5 minutes. I'm hoping that 001 will be her usual happy-go-lucky self.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Wednesday November 4, 2:15 p.m.

Well, on this 15th anniversary of my landing, I celebrated with some store-bought sushi that Grandma Enka had kindly given both Ray and me. She'd had no idea about the day, and strangely enough, an hour earlier, Grandma Fado had given us some chocolate. If The Nurse gets us something, we'll have hit the trifecta.

Both Grandmas were was all just gab in the lesson which suits me just fine. However, it'll be down to business with The Nurse since I gotta give her a test at the end of the lesson.
Wednesday November 4, 9:06 a.m.

15 years ago today....sounds like I'm giving The Gettysburg Address...but still, it is true. 15 years ago today, I arrived on these Pacific shores as a to-be-minted NOVA teacher. Well, 15 years later, I'm still here incredibly enough...and even more incredibly, NOVA is back, but in a much humbler capacity. I just remember getting off the airplane and being greeted by a British staffer from the former Harajuku regional office before getting whisked to an apartment building in Shibamata (the home of Tora-san) in which several units were being leased by the company. I was with an Aussie couple for a couple of weeks in that apartment in a 2LDK before I ended up getting my current place in Ichikawa. Pretty interesting days back then.

Yesterday, I just had a pleasant day at home since Tuesday was Culture Day. For most people, it was just Lucky Sleep-In Day, but some wizened Japanese got their Imperial Blue Ribbon for Culture at the Imperial Palace, including a rakugo storyteller and a kabuki actor. Somewhat younger guys got some awards as well....Jo Hisaishi, the composer behind all of the Hayao Miyazaki anime was one such person, and slightly eccentric but veteran singer/songwriter Miyuki Nakajima was another.

Caught the Cole Porter biopic "De-Lovely" on cable last night. I'd wanted to catch this flick on the big screen when it came out 5 years ago, but on hearing the scathing reviews from critics, I held off. And yes, though I think I still thought wisely about holding onto my 1800 yen, "De-Lovely" wasn't too bad at all....that is, as long as you're not too steeped in Porterlore. I think the problem just lay in the melding of musical and drama. I think the musical genre is just better suited with the lighter touch of comedy or farce, and though the talent on screen (Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, Jonathan Pryce) was great, the very downbeat second half just seemed a bit too incongruous with the songs that Porter had composed....especially that jarring "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" at the end. Still, a noble failure. And it got me to listen to Jane Monheit's rendition of "In The Still of the Night", probably the best version of the Porter classic. I think I may just search for Ella's "The Cole Porter Songbook" soon.

From the (somewhat) sublime to the ridiculous...I also caught the last half of "Jason X". I guess after 9 sequels to the 1980 horror classic, "Friday the 13th", the producers just couldn't be that serious about cinema's favorite killer in a goalie mask. I mean, I don't think anyone was really trying hard anymore with was more comedy than horror. But then I did see "Jason vs. Freddy", the next sequel...and that was basically done in "Looney Tunes" style.

I've got a pretty packed lineup I guess it's Hump Day. I've got Grandmas Fado and Enka...the former because Speedy is away at a study-abroad fair. Then, it's The Nurse mid-afternoon, followed by 001 and The Music Man to finish. So, I'll be here virtually all day and night...or should I say, "Night and Day" ?(another Porter classic). Speaking of which, being the "Doctor Who" fan, I did see John "Captain Jack" Barrowman as one of Porter's paramours in "De-Lovely"...strangely enough, his character name's was also Jack. Along with Ashley Judd who will always be Ensign Robin Lefler from TNG, I guess there are a couple of sci-fi connections in there.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Monday November 2, 7:00 p.m.

Just the scene outside of Don Quixote, the Tokyo equivalent of a Wal-Mart or, if you're a Torontonian like me...Honest Ed's, back on Halloween night. A whole bunch of young'uns doing that last-minute Halloween costume shopping before heading off to their respective parties. Yep, went down to Roppongi to check out the action. Actually, did see a number of Japanese and foreigners decked out in various get-ups like witches and ghosts. Also saw a Lupin III fellow walking around. Kinda wished that I could've been involved in the action so that the pictures would've come more easily, but I just ended up having some smelly but tasty tonkotsu ramen in the passage between Roppongi Hills and Roppongi Station before heading home.

Sunday was even more insular...didn't leave the apartment at all. I just ended up ordering in some Domino's in my own version of hikikomori...I don't think I've had that experience since I was laid up in bed due to sickness. I guess, then, that Sunday was the very first time that I actually pulled the shut-in act healthy.

Today was back to work. Had Cozy for his early lesson before I just headed back home for a few hours. Then I got to see SIL for the first time in 3 months. Her mother is still ailing with her broken her age, I guess it would be difficult for bones to heal quickly. Had lots to talk about with SIL due to the layoff. Of course, Noriko Sakai and Manabu Oshio were at the top of the list. By the way, Oshio got 1.5 years suspended for 5 years due to his drug use. I guess the authorities couldn't bear to see him his smooth features besmirched by becoming someone's bee-yotch in the big house. Then again, with his attitude, a little humbling wouldn't be too bad a punishment.

I've been here at Speedy's all alone since the staff are at some sort of job fair today. However, I've got Mr. TOEIC in about 20 minutes for the first time in a month, and then The Medicine Man later on. I was able to make a new friend on Mixi out of the blue by some lady who found me out and has a love for Canada and was born in Ichikawa.

Out of the strange news territory: Ai Haruna, everyone's favourite transsexual tarento, has now gotten elevated status in the geinokai. Even NHK was reporting that she won the International Transsexual Beauty Contest in Thailand over the weekend. Man, will he/she be getting the prime spots on variety programming for the next several weeks!

And right now, in crime news, all of the cameras have been focused laser-like on this Black Widow...this 34-year-old woman who may have offed 4 pathetically lonely guys through various means such as immolation and asphyxiation and taken their money. So far, her face has been obscured by the wonderful means of pixillation since she hasn't officially been charged quite yet, but she's been seeing the inside of a cell for the past week or so.