Saturday, December 05, 2009

Sunday December 6, 3:33 p.m.

Yes, as unusual as it may seem, I'm typing this on a Sunday...and at Speedy's, to boot. The reason being that in about an hour, I'm supposed to be heading for the annual school bonenkai (year-end party). I'm in my dress blues...a bit tight around the waist but I'm rather accustomed to long as the buttons hold for a few hours, I'm OK. Still waiting for the bossman to get in...he should've arrived almost 5 minutes ago, but then again, he's often late for stuff. I have to whip out the icebreaker game.

Got home and whipped up that dinner consisting of the food that The Beehive so kindly had gotten for me from Hokkaido last week. I think I went a bit overboard in cooking up the ikameshi and the miso ramen. I think either by itself would've been just ample, but I just had to get a little overambitious. Managed to survive not exploding by sitting very still for an hour. I'm sure I won't have to worry about that tonight at the party since we're being given a course menu.

Now, where is Speedy?

Friday, December 04, 2009

Saturday December 5, 2:11 p.m.

Got a good chunk of the Xmas shopping done today. Bought that DVD that all of the old folks here are raving about...a comedian by the name of Ayanokoji Kimimaro who apparently does Western-style standup schtick. My mother asked for it special...I have seen him on TV looking a bit like me with a ponytail (not sure if that resemblance had anything to do with her requesting it). In any case, his DVDs were rarer than gold until I found one single disc over at Shinjuku Tower Records yesterday...didn't waste time, I just grabbed it lest a senior citizen tried to wrestle me for it. Then, just before I came over to Speedy's, I hit Kinokuniya to get a ton of calendars for the bunch back home...grabbed 10 of the Japan-themed ones for 10,000 yen; the cashier advised to sign up for the point card but there was already a sizable line for it, so I decided to just scrap that idea.

Had my final Friday night at the juku for the year since I'm heading out next Friday to see Ruiko Kurahashi live. Heard some more from the juku boss about this potential new student I gotta give the model lesson to next Tuesday. Apparently, she's coming all the way over from Shinagawa and, as the boss suspects, she may be some rich, bored housewife. Shinagawa, as last week's party at Miss Honolulu's place would attest to, isn't just any old residential neighbourhood but does have a mix of fancy-schmancy condos, hi-tech company headquarters (including SONY) and the Tokyo Regional Immigration Centre...the only reason I go to that area. The boss and I are hoping that this lady realize that she may be schtupping down a bit on the social ladder by coming to our neck of the woods.

Yesterday also seemed to be "Give-Presents-to-Me Day" for some reason. I got a package of rice crackers and tsukudani from The Bow as omiyage to my parents. I guess her family is kinda old-fashioned that way. Then, The Restauranteur gave me an o-chuugen gift of Britsh tea. Never a bad thing.

Speaking of gifts, my dinner will be mostly consisting of that Hokkaido food package I got from The Beehive a few days ago. So, it'll be ramen topped with veggies and BBQ pork along with ikameshi (squid stuffed with seasoned rice). I did try that Subway seasonal menu of Roast Chicken with Melted Cheese...not bad, the cheese was quite gooey, though.

Since The Publicity Assistant canned her lesson today, I just have The Businesswoman in about 90 minutes.

Between The Bass and The Bow, I dropped off at Colton Plaza near Moto-Yawata Station and checked out the local Toys-R'-Us for a present for my niece. My sister-in-law was kind enough to send me some info via Internet about potential presents. Yup, they were there....luckily I could go during the weekday and avoid having to deal with harried parents and bratty kids on the weekend.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Thursday December 3, 10:46 p.m.

And the day ends like it alone to wrap things up. Daddy's Girl had the double with me. She needed some help with a meeting that she has to chair tomorrow morning so there was definitely a purpose to her scant arrival tonight. Nice lady but definitely not all that committed to the English cause. She conveniently forgot her textbook and didn't bother with the homework; didn't even buy the CD.

The Music Man came in looking pretty exhausted. Must have been a tough week for him...for whatever he does. He did wax eloquently about a classical concert he'd attended, though.

Well, I'm done here at the school for almost 48 hours since I've only got the privates....The Bass and The Bow before the juku gang tomorrow night.

Still sounds like it's raining pretty steadily out there. Luckily, I've got a bit of lead time before I head on out tomorrow morning.
Thursday December 3, 5:19 p.m.

Nearing the end of the holding pattern. Daddy's Girl should be arriving in little more than an hour from now. It's been miserable out there with all of the rain and cold temps. Apparently, Toronto is having similar weather which means that it's unusually balmy there. I got word from The Anime King for the first time in a while...he wants me to pick up some paraphernalia in Akiba concerning the latest craze called Dream Club. I guess The Idolmaster has finished its run.

I may be on the way to making my first enemy/rival on Mixi. On that SNS within a SNS, the movie community, some fellow wrote shabbily to some newbie when the newbie tried to introduce her own topic; basically the fellow slagged her off for putting up a topic which had already existed. I checked the newbie out...she's still new onto Mixi and could've used a bit more of a break. Then, I got a slightly snide comment from the same guy when I spelled my katakana rendition of "Death Star" wrong. For the past several months that I've been active on Mixi, I've met mostly fine folks on the various communities and some of them have become good Mixi friends, but I'm not totally naive on the fact that inevitably some crabgrass is gonna show up like the stuff that happens over at Channel 2. Well, I guess it's my time. So in my attempts to show that I'm not intimidated, I did leave a positive answer to the newbie's summons right under the crab's own comment.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Thursday December 3, 9:11 a.m.

Back for another early one, but it's not for Grandma Dynamite. Instead, I have Miss Prissy on tap at 10. Then, it's Grandma FON, followed by a long gap before I have Daddy's Girl for a double and then The Music Man to wrap up. I was gonna go down and get some early Xmas shopping done and perhaps get some shots of the LED lights in Omotesando but today's scheduled downpours have pretty much put a damper on those plans.

I got a message from the juku boss. I've got my first model lesson there in several weeks. And she apparently wants to start right from the alphabet...she's apparently that low. I may need to buy some Bufferin.
Wednesday December 2, 8:30 p.m.

Well, you see the silhouette on the right. Arguably, it's one of the most recognizable ones in all of science-fiction...probably right next to the one of the USS Enterprise. It is indeed the Space Cruiser of the most beloved anime ever made. On the heels of the current rebooting craze that has engulfed "Battlestar Galactica", "Tron" and "Star Trek", it looks like the Yamato is also coming back. But I'm mistaken by calling it a reboot. I went to the website to find out that it is actually a sequel taking place some 17 years after the last adventure done in 1983. I saw the trailer on YouTube and it looks rather thrilling...the animation doesn't look too bad at all and CG is definitely imbued into this production. And there have been quite a few changes made to the style and the characters. It comes out on the 12th, so I'm kinda chewing my fingers right now wondering whether I'll be able to catch it before I head on home.

I'm now done for the night after the lessons with The German and 001. I thought it would be a slower day tomorrow since Mr. TOEIC cancelled, but Daddy's Girl decided to come back for a double tomorrow night. I still have The Music Man so it's not as if an early night was ruined, but my attempts to catch some pics of Omotesando in all its illuminated glory may be curtailed a bit. Ach, it's still money in the bank for me.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Wednesday December 2, 3:58 p.m.

Had the Do-Gooder's very first lesson a few hours ago. Yep, she's a good conversationalist. Found out that she's a veteran Mah Jongg player. Nice to have someone who can hold her end of the bargain. And she's a 90-minute lesson, so she'd be my second of the day along with veteran student 001.

Just before I have 001, I've got The German in about 45...she's also another one who loves to sidetrack, a godsend for any teacher. Then it's the hijinks with 001. Mr. TOEIC has once again cancelled his next lesson which means I've got a huge hole in the schedule tomorrow between Grandma FON and the Music Man. Well, I've got time then to take some shots of the Omotesando Xmas Illumination in the early evening. It's the first time in 11 years since the lights last went on in the tony neighbourhood; they went off for good back in 1998 since the residents pitched a hue and cry about the garbage the crowds left. But apparently there has been a change in heart...or money changing hands. In any case, it'll be a different illumination since it'll just be trees strung up in LEDs instead of the more ornate stuff of the 80s and 90s.
Wednesday December 2, 12:37 p.m.

Probably the final day for this year's Indian Summer...or koharu biyori, as they express it here. From tomorrow, it'll be a gray rainy one. Just finished the monthly chat fest with Grandma Enka. She won't be able to make it for the year-end party on Sunday since her somewhat tyrannical husband demands her presence at one of his year-enders on the same day. As for the current numbers, Ray informed me that we're around 10 folks....halfway toward the numbers needed to ensure that we've got the venue all to ourselves...which will probably mean that Speedy will be padding things with a lot of his buddies.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Tuesday December 1, 1:07 p.m.

And now we enter the final month...a time of Xmas, bonenkai, depleted bonuses (not that I've gotten one in the past 5 years) and exposed bodily fluids on the train platforms. I've only got one more planned event for the coming Sunday...the annual year-ender with Speedy. Speaking of whom, yep, I still regret opening my big fat mouth about hoping that The Medicine Man would not renew his lessons since he has often made classes as fun as pulling teeth due to his reticence. I've always known that the bossman was the type to provide a thousand words when one or even none would've sufficed. Still, as we were both walking to the station late last night, I also found out that he's been getting even more stressed than he usually is...and from an unexpected source...La Fille. Not that we're going through the manic-depressive days of BC again but apparently, she's been screwing up on schedules recently for some reason. She'd been dependable up to that point but perhaps something...or someone...has been occupying her mind. In any case, Speedy stated that he's gonna be interviewing a couple of applicants for staff positions this week...hmmm...I wonder if that's an implied threat against La Fille.

Not surprisingly, the session with The Beehive was almost all on their trip to Hokkaido last week. They did the circuit of Hakodate and Sapporo with more food ingested than in a typical variety show with tarento. Mrs Perth, being a current resident of Sapporo, was of course there to host the ladies, but even Mrs. Pottery came up all the way from subtropical Okinawa to subpolar Hokkaido to join in on the culinary fun. They had the usual delights such as fresh scallops, clams, crabs and hokke. I also received a very nice omiyage package in the form of a ramen kit, ikameshi (squid bodies stuffed with seasoned rice) and other stuff. Gonna have to plow through this stuff before I head on home.

There was a bit of pathos in the Beehive's proceedings when Mrs. Tee admitted that she may no longer be able to attend the sessions starting from January. She's retiring from her job at the end of the year but she may help her tea master full-time on Tuesdays. It isn't such a shock for me since she has been absent for weeks at a time in the last couple of years but I think the ladies will definitely miss her.

I've only got The Milds tonight...they'll have travel plans of their own from tomorrow, since they'll head off to Vietnam for about 5 nights.
Monday November 30, 10:44 p.m.

Well, made the mistake of making my frustrations about the Medicine Man out loud. I got the lecture from the bossman about how important every student is right now to the school and that we need the money....yadda, yadda, yadda. Yes, I know that at this juncture that every student is pretty much vital to the survival of this operation, but that won't stop me making criticisms and making some rather unholy wishes. I guess I'm a bit of an anarchist as well as an atheist.

Monday November 30, 8:28 p.m.

It's been a quiet evening leading to the Medicine Man's lesson. Still have another hour to go. I've been Mixi'ing, Facebook'ing and, of course...blogging. That movie community on Mixi is almost its own social networking site with the action going there. I was doing the shiritori topic when one fellow asked who the heck Keye Luke was. I was happy to educate him on the former No. 1 son of Charlie Chan. Another topic asked about cinematic disappointments. Quite a few recent movies out there such as "Burn After Reading" and even Michael Jackson's "This Is It". However, my contribution was the horrid "Sweeney Todd" that MB and I had both pilloried early last year. How a musical whose songs all sound the same got to the Hollywood stage is beyond me.
Monday November 30, 5:03 p.m.

Came back from seeing SIL about an hour ago. Had another grand old time chatting on everything under the sun, from the latest tribulations in government to the boxing match between Kameda and Naito.

Was wondering a bit about that mystery surrounding Tiger Woods' overnight auto excursion into a fire hydrant and tree. He and his wife could've just come clean immediately and the media circus wouldn't have set up shop off his front door. Instead, they've been mysteriously mum, even with the local sheriff's office, so of course, the 4th Estate have started sniffing for blood. And what a target for them....perhaps the most well-paid athlete in the world with a squeaky-clean image.

Well, it's now just Medicine Man in several hours. I rather doubt that he will come. He's not all that forthcoming one-on-one with me, and he's gone on the record that he dislikes parties.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Monday November 30, 12:39 p.m.

It's certainly feeling more like Xmas...cold and wet like a dog's nose out there, although the rain has stopped thankfully.

My weekend of parties has come to an end. Saturday's nabe over at UB's had us gorging on plenty of Chinese cabbage, minced chicken dango and the like, but I guess my old friend wasn't into the ojiya. Met some of the folks there from the last BBQ months back. There was one couple who brought over their rambunctious daughter; nice kid but the mother was reprimanding her like an errant puppy every few minutes which I could've done without.

The other party was over at Miss Honolulu's pad in the Konan neighbourhood south of Shinagawa Station. Her two friends, one of whom did just a model lesson at Speedy's last year (barely recognized her although she remembered me well enough), met me at the main clock tower at the station, and then the three of us took the same bus that I always take to head to Tokyo Immigration. Miss Honolulu lives in one of those high-class, high-rise condo complexes that pretty much infest the shores of Tokyo Bay. We had the party in one of the rental party rooms on the 37th floor that was considerably bigger than her own apartment several stories down. Great view of the bay and Rainbow Bridge. The menu was more DIY with some of Honolulu's ratatouille, various snacks and an ordered package of pizza and stuff from Pizza Salvatore. Once again, I proceeded to engorge myself like a boa constrictor on a rodent. Speedy and his wife dropped by for a couple of hours. When they left, things got a bit more interesting when Honolulu ended up getting thoroughly soused from downing a bunch of plonk. She and one of the friends started boogeying down to some early 90s disco music (C&C Music Factory, Bobby Brown, etc.) and tried to get me to shake my own considerable booty. Fortunately, they calmed down and we ended up watching one of her DVDs of Janet Jackson's "Feedback" before catching the last few rounds of that big fight between bad boy boxer Koki Kameda and Daisuke Naito. Everyone had been rooting for Naito, who had won last year's championship in that nasty exchange with the other Kameda brother, Daiki. However, it was pretty obvious that the elder Kameda was hungrier for the belt and Naito looked like he could bite the inside corner of a house with that smashed-in nose. I'm sure there were a lot of folks who looked at the showboating Kameda Boys with some disgust last night, and I'm certainly no big fan of the Osakan natives, but if there were a chance at redemption for them, last night was at least a beginning.