Friday, January 22, 2010

Saturday January 23, 4:35 p.m.

The PA and I had a good time basically talking shop...her shop of celeb publicity, basically about which Hollywood stars are the nice guys and which ones are the real turds. Nothing particularly mind-blowing but some surprises.

Did some work on the latest translation for Cozy. Almost done there.

However, I'm currently battling a non-stop drippy nose. Perhaps hay fever has come a bit early this year.

The Businesswoman will be here in about 25 minutes.
Saturday January 23, 12:41 p.m.

Looks like those kids for the model lesson at the juku last night weren't too bad. I'd been fearing getting a couple of dyed-blonde furyo...rude little punks....instead, they were pretty normal high school girls. Did my dog-and-pony show for them so it's now up to them whether they want to sign on. As for The Ace, he's just moved into his first apartment from the company dormitory, only to discover that after getting all the furniture and other knickknacks in there, the place feels even smaller than his old digs. Live and learn.

Did my biweekly visit to The Restauranteur's place, and had my usual Chicken Saute. Always nice to have on a Friday night. I gave her the omiyage in the form of that methol-tinged soap from Canada.

My new proofreading clients have already sent me the first article which I coursed through in no time flat. Hopefully, the speed in which I did it will make up for that little logistical glitch with the contracts.

I've only got The PA and then The Businesswoman today before I head on out to Shibuya to meet up with The Bohemian for the first izakaya trip this year. He left his usual impolitic remark on Mixi but I was pretty charitable in my response.

The weather has gone back to cold again after two days of early Spring but not too hard to handle.

However, I've found out that the I-Cafe that I'd been frequenting for the past couple of years is either moving or has gone out of business in my neighbourhood. So I may have to return to the grodier place across the street which I did on Tuesday. At least, the staff are different and nicer than before.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wednesday January 21, 3:43 p.m.
Well, we did it. Ray and I made our way down to the Golden Arches and got ourselves a mess of Texas Burgers. McDonalds Japan has launched its 3-month campaign of introducing a regional series of burgers. This month, it's Texas. Early February will see the New York Burger, late February will be the California Burger and then finally, it'll be the Hawaii Burger in March. This is probably just a "Made-in-Japan-only" thing since I couldn't see anything like this in America without hearing hoots of derisive laughter.
The Texas Burger has got the three slices of bun but whereas there would be normally be a thin patty above the middle bun, there is a slice of bacon and some fried onions. The lone patty is a larger, slightly thicker piece of meat. And the other distinguishing features are two sauces: mustard and BBQ. The result was that I was OK with wasn't a spectacular new taste sensation but it passed muster. Speedy himself thought that the middle piece of bread was just in the way.
Obviously the picture above isn't the McDonalds variety but just couldn't find anything on Yahoo that showed the Golden Arches version. All I know is that my dinner tonight will merely consist of vegetable matter.
Thursday January 21, 1:25 p.m.

Finished my sole class of the day. Grandma FON said that she was tired but she still has drive verbally...definitely kept the class going. This 78-year-old woman also pulled off an overnight trip to Osaka to see a friend at a hot spring and go to a funeral and then running to her Bullet Train to avoid missing it and then taking the late train back home from Tokyo Station, all the while lugging a suitcase. Yep, she isn't the usual retiree.

Had to take care of a couple of annoyances last night and today. Last night, the juku boss informed me that I would be taking care of a couple of high school girls for a model lesson tomorrow night. I was rather irked about that since she knows that I don't like kids but on the phone, the ol' girl made a strident defense of her decision stating that they're close to adults anyways. Luckily, I have a better handle of my temper now than I did back in the early days but it was impossible to keep the skepticism out of my voice.

Then, I got word from that new proofreading client that the contracts I'd sent back to her wouldn't pass muster since they were the old ones. I have to use the new ones. Paddy did warn me that these corporate giants would be rather anal about these things. Well, at least, I can send over some nicer copies tomorrow.

Still hanging out here at Speedy's since I did say that I would be buying a couple of Texas Burgers from The Golden Arches for La Fille and Ray to try out. Yep, I'm trying to keep my whimsy up.
Wednesday January 20, 10:05 p.m.

Well, got through another night unscathed. 001 was her usual happy-go-lucky self. Over the Holidays, she's managed to thoroughly fall in love with one of the members of Arashi, the Johnny's Jimusho group that's threatening to usurp the throne currently used by SMAP. The lad's name is Aiba, and he's not the guy who had appeared in the Clint Eastwood movie, "Flags of Our Fathers". That fact alone fueled much of the class. And then, Mr. TOEFL kept us well exercised in terms of our brain cells. I think that teaching TOEFL is almost as taxing as taking the test itself.

As far as I know, I only have Grandma FON tomorrow, which isn't too bad a thing since I would like a night off.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Wednesday January 20, 4:13 p.m.

Looks like Spring has come early this year. It's apparently gone up to 18 degrees C...something that Torontonians can only fantasize at this time. So I may not have to worry putting on the heavy coat and longjohns for today and tomorrow, although Mrs. Mild told me that Friday will be going back to the big chill. Speaking of Mrs. Mild, the juku classes last night went well. Mr. White is still happy and The Milds themselves appreciated the Taster's Choice Decaf I got them. Decaf doesn't exist in this part of the world which may explain the reason behind 24-hour-working salarymen here.

I've only got a couple of classes tonight. The return of 001 for her first one this year, and then Mr. TOEFL for another round of question-answering. I'm gonna try hard and get his answers down below 60 seconds. Since I had most of the day off, I was able to purchase a collapsible seat for the living room. This is the one that doesn't exist in the's a legless backed seat which fits in tatami rooms. I needed another level of sitting besides the higher sofa by the coffee table. I used my gift certificates so that I only ended up paying a measly 980 yen. Gave it the test run watching the hilarious "Family Guy" DVDs.

Had lunch at the neighbourhood tonkatsu restaurant for the first time this year. Yup, the bad economy has even hit them. Went in at 1 p.m.....not a soul there. I ordered the mixed grill and found that the dish has shrunk by quite a bit. The bite-sized hire katsu was just two bites and the mounds of cabbage that are de rigueur along with the deep-fried pork were merely a small hill.

Then again, the tonkatsu restaurant doesn't compare to the trials and tribulations of Japan Air Lines. Yup, CNN was reporting that JAL finally bit the bullet and declared bankruptcy. I was surprised to learn that their domestic flights only had 50% occupancy on 80% of their lines. Far cry from my usual experience with Air Canada. Not surprisingly, JAL stock has either been delisted or is selling at the measly price of 7 yen per share. Heck, even I can afford that price, which means that it's absolutely useless for me to buy. Still, I'm not that worried about JAL's fortunes...the Canadian government has almost made it a standing order to annually save Air Canada's bacon from the fire, so I can imagine that Hatoyama and the boys will do the same with one of its corporate jewels.

There's nothing like a long holiday overseas and several days of watching American DVDs to realize how mindless Japanese TV can be. Taken time out from viewing stuff like "Family Guy" (OK, don't touch that series) and "Doctor Who" to see the Tuesday night late-night show "Pussuma" with SMAPster Tsuyoshi Kusanagi and loudmouth Yusuke Santamaria. It was one of their games involving trying dishes from various restaurants with some of the local tarento. And it was the usual sycophantic mewling about how seemingly great the latest round of penne was (good heavens, I am starting to sound like Stewie Griffin).

At the tonkatsu restaurant, the television had some sort of tribute to Audrey Hepburn...Audrey, the young version at least, is pretty much a goddess here in Japan, even more so here than in Hollywood. Apparently, today is the 17th anniversary since her passing due to cancer. I'm sure there will be a run on copies of "Roman Holiday" and "Breakfast at Tiffany's" in the stores today.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tuesday January 19, 1:37 p.m.

It was another late night coming home but at least I didn't have to leave the home at 6:30. In fact, as long as my luck holds, I won't have to leave in the dark for the rest of this week, especially since Grandma Dynamite has taken another leave of absence.

Looks like The Burger Tour will be ready to launch this Sunday. Skippy's found yet another emporium of beef near Ebisu. The usual suspects will be showing up. The name of the place has the rather unfortunate vocabulary mash-up of "black" and "cow" to create "Blacow"...sounds like the name of a villain in a sword & sorcery epic. The derivation comes from the fact that the beef involved is known as kurobe wagyu or Kurobe Japanese Beef "kuro" meaning "black". As long as it tastes good...

Well, I've sent off approval to that new client of mine for proofreading. Had the contract read by Paddy himself to make sure everything was on the up-and-up. Should be getting a ton of articles to be read in the next couple of days.
Monday January 18, 6:54 p.m.

Not too suffocating in terms of classes today...having that Mega-Hump Day last Thursday helped in "weatherproofing" me. Saw some folks for the first time since returning from Canada: Cozy, Miss Prissy and SIL. Got the good word from Cozy that the translation passed muster so I'll just send him my bill, and gave Prissy and SIL their omiyage. SIL and I had a good ol' talk since it'd been well over a month since our last meeting.

Just got Mr. TOEFL in about an hour and then Medicine Man. Not the two easiest students to finish up on since both of them have their own challenges...the former requiring a lot of homemade stuff for his TOEFL test, and the latter just being oh so quiet. I should be properly knackered by 10:30.

It looks like along with Cozy's translations, I've got The Croatian and one other client for proofreading now. That other client comes from Paddy's recommendation. She even sent me a contract to look at and sign.

One of the pop cultural ephemera that I hadn't caught wind of until I got back was the fact that J-Pop diva Namie Amuro and the weaselly half of comic duo London Boots, Atsushi, are now an item. Talk about your Beauty and The Beast pairings. I can certainly see how Atsushi can have the hots for slinky Amuro but the other way around...? Perhaps in a way, the guy gives us all non-handsome types hope.