Friday, January 15, 2010

Saturday January 16, 9:44 a.m.

Considering the hell that is going through Haiti after that major quake (as if the country couldn't get any worse), I kinda wonder how Tokyo would fare after The Big One. Tomorrow is gonna be the 15th anniversary of The Great Hanshin Earthquake which notably ripped through Kobe. As I was talking with the juku boss last night, she mentioned about how the Haitians were coping with their disaster and wondered whether the Japanese would develop some sort of "every-man-for-himself" mentality in a similar situation. I just replied that it most likely did manifest itself in some minor ways during the Kobe quake but the media didn't report it for national pride's sake. I've got no doubts that the best of Man will shine if and when a huge temblor strikes Tokyo, but I've also got no doubts about the worst of Man.
Saturday January 16, 9:25 a.m.

For a guy who spent an enviable (by Japanese terms, anyways) eternity on vacation, I'm already starting to get that exhausted feeling. For one thing, I received a somewhat nasty message on Facebook from a fellow back home who's apparently felt rather put out that I never contacted him while I was back in Toronto. This is a fellow whom I knew back in the early 90s at the university but since then lost contact and currently just do the occasional Facebook pokes with. I don't know...he's always had a rather...subtle, shall I say...sense of humour, so maybe he's just pulling my leg, but in any case, I sent a fairly lame response to him. I mean, what could I say to a guy with that sort of message?

And then, from one of the friends that I did meet over the Holidays has now been having a polite exchange with me via e-mail concerning her cousin. She's been oh-so-nudging me about getting me in cahoots with her for some "beneficial" business relationship in which she would basically act as my agent in getting me students while I give her some remuneration...that famous 10%. I have hinted that I'm a solo act when it comes to my freelancing, but it looks like she's not quite getting it. She says that her cousin isn't particularly interested in getting any money out of this so-called deal but my friend said that it would be in good faith if she could get something. Well, I'll just let her wait a bit while I come up with a polite but firm denial.

At least, I'm happy that I had a relatively quiet day yesterday in comparison with that major Hump Day on Thursday. It was just The Bow in Shinjuku and then the juku. And even at the juku, The Restauranteur had to make a rare cancellation due to a death in the family. So it was just the boss and The Ace.

As for the current situation at Speedy's, the bossman once again gave the usual "Woe is us" report. A couple of more declarations like that this Winter and I may find that I won't need to make up that letter of resignation...the company will just pull away from me.

I've gotten that first of the annual financial translations for Cozy done. I'm sure that I'll be seeing a lot more of those in the next several weeks as tax time comes along. But for today, I've got the usual Saturday crew of Mr. TOEIC, The Intellectual and The Publicity Assistant.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thursday January 14, 3:46 p.m.

Fully into the first Hump Day of the year. I've gotten through Grandma FON and The Nurse, and I should be seeing The New Yorker in the next few minutes. The New Yorker had originally meant to be here an hour ago, but due to some delay on the Joban Line, it'll be a 4 p.m. lesson. Lucky The German doesn't start til 5. Afterwards, it'll be The Carolinan, Mr. TOEFL and finally The Music Man to wrap up. The big planning was, of course, with Mr. TOEFL since it's basically all homemade stuff with him. Not easy. The bossman is again out at his conference.

The picture above is that of the water bus from Asakusa on the Sumida River. Took that for a 45-minute little cruise down to Hinode Pier, just across from Odaiba. Just part of my increase in whimsy. I hope I can try out that double-decker bus tour tomorrow. And perhaps I may just try that Reiji Matsumoto-inspired Himiko ship later on.
Wednesday January 13, 8:42 p.m.

Well, finished my first day at Speedy's in the New Year more or less intact, although I can't guarantee tomorrow night. Grandma Dynamite has cancelled this month's lessons due to a family emergency, but Mr. TOEFL has filled in the gap so it'll still be an enormous Hump Day but at least I can come in at a more leisurely hour tomorow morning.

The CEO had a good first class today...just hope that things continue like this.

The staff's been shivering over the cold today. It's nothing compared to the deep freeze in Toronto but still the cold over here in Tokyo is a wet one which makes things fairly uncomfortable. However, I've finished for the day; haven't even had lunch but strangely enough, I don't feel too hungry. Still, I may end up breaking my own resolution and grab something at Mickey D's.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Wednesday January 13, 2:22 p.m.

Back at Speedy's after almost a month away. Just caught the bossman himself as he was about to scoot out for some conference...basically Hi and Bye. I've already gotten through a couple of classes...two of the Grandmas, pretty easy, but in about an hour, I've got my official first with The CEO...that pretty high-powered, feisty president that I had done the model lesson back in November. Then, since 001 has cancelled, Mr. TOEFL is coming in for a lesson, and the bossman hasn't had time to tell me what he's been doing with him.

Yesterday was a simpler day with the first meeting of The Beehive...gave out the round of omiyage to them. Mrs. Tee celebrated her 60th birthday as well, which is an auspicious thing for the Japanese. Then I got my classes back at the juku. I mention "classes", since Mr. White came back for the first time since his meltdown in November. He's made a 180-degree recovery and was back to his original smiley self. Thankfully, he aced the test and did well. As for the Milds, we had a good ol' time talking about the Holidays. Pretty smooth Tuesday before the relatively busy Wednesday. Tomorrow will be a huge Hump Day...not that I can complain too much (publicly) since I've just come back from a 3-week vacation (unheard of in Japanese society), but I could be properly frazzled by the end of the day.

I've been going through the "Doctor Who" DVDs with Catherine Tate as the garrulous Donna Noble. Considering what I'd heard about her, I hadn't been looking forward to her as the last full-time companion of David Tennant's Doctor, but after watching a number of episodes with the DonnaDoctor, I find that she's probably the best one yet for him. I'd never been a big fan of the concept of companions falling in love with Earth's Most Famous Time Lord, and happily, a much-reformed Donna has been a fine foil for him....which makes it all the more tragic to see her to get reverted back to her unlikeable earlier self at the end of the season.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday January 10, 6:36 p.m.

The above two pictures pretty much summarizes my latest pilgrimage back to the ol' hometown. The above left shot is of that humoungous beef souvlaki dinner I had for my first Greek dinner a couple of weeks ago. Yup, my meals were in foodie paradise. The souvlaki dinner was just one example of how I feasted during my time back in Toronto. But I have to admit that must've been one whole calf that had been slaughtered for my culinary pleasure.

As for the CN Tower, it has now been superseded...way that Dubai monstrosity. And it truly is a Godzilla of a tower...over 800 metres in height. I think the architects were truly compensating for something...perhaps ingrown penises. So, our own Canadian National Tower is now only the 3rd-highest free-standing structure on the planet, having its 3-decade record usurped by the Burj in Dubai and that Shanghai structure. But that building in Shanghai will itself be shanghaied by Tokyo's own SkyTree within a couple of years.

The flight back home was not quite nightmarish, but we all had to endure a 5-hour delay at Pearson due to some electrical problems with the original plane. Still, I was entertained during the 12-hour ride by some interesting flicks such as "District 9", "The Informant", and Canada's own "Flashpoint". I even caught the pilot for "The Republic of Doyle" on CBC the night before takeoff. It's kinda like a mix between a teleguide for Newfoundland and "The Rockford Files".

The train back home from Narita gave me the refresher course on what a typical Friday in the Kanto is like. One car on the Tozai Line had its floor splattered in vomit from some overindulgent salaryman, and a young lady collapsed on the JR. The jet lag has been non-existent, as it usually is coming back from Canada, and I'm slowly starting to get back into life in Chiba once more. However, I am grateful that I've come home just on the cusp of the first long weekend of the year since Monday is Adulthood Day. So, most likely the news will be filled with scenes of young male and female 20-year-olds either dressed soberly in suits and kimono respectively, and perhaps a few scenes of future yakuza chinpira driving like idiots in parking lots or throwing stuff at the local politicians. But I will be mercifully saved from that must-not-see TV since I'm going through my DVD sets for the next little while. Regrettably though my first disc from Season 4 of "Doctor Who" seems to have suffered some major damage so I had to rely on YouTube to catch the conclusion from "Voyage of the Damned".

After engorging myself thoroughly on such stuff like the above souvlaki, one of the resolutions that I plan to keep is trying to lose weight. I actually had a good start yesterday, my first full day backin Japan, by just munching down on some salad. The other resolution is seeing about bringing back a bit more whimsy into my life...making things fun again. Another is making some changes in my life...perhaps that long-needed move may not be far in the offing; the other is something that Speedy may not like very much in that I want to be rid of coming home at midnight which may mean either requesting that I not work nights least at the school...or if worse comes to worse, just leaving the school altogether. First, though, I've gotta make sure that safety net is open wide.