Saturday, February 06, 2010

Saturday February 6, 6:43 p.m.

Yep, still here. But won't be for long. I'm tired and hungry.

Man, did I have the toughest model lesson in recent memory. I had a young lady who just seemed to channel the essence of Droopy the Dog...just so slow and sullen and sad. I'd had prior warning from Ray about how the lesson could go, and sure enough, she is one of the lowest students Speedy has ever had. I pulled out the easiest lesson plan I had and even that exhausted her. Strangely enough, the bossman himself will be doing the very first lesson with her since I have 001 on that night. Surprisingly enough, she actually decided to join up, but only because I did use Japanese with her. Apparently, she needs the lessons if she is to have any hope of getting promoted in her company but doesn't particularly want to learn the language...and doesn't want homework. Hard case.

But I wasn't moping around after that since I had The Businesswoman afterward, and she was a tonic, especially after getting through the arduousness of that model lesson. It was good to actually have a lucid conversation.

Just glad that I'll have a free Saturday next week.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Friday February 5, 5:43 p.m.

Just about done here at Speedy's for today. We went for the second round of new burgers coming out at McDonalds, so it was once again Ray and I who went down to The Golden Arches to pick up the 2nd entry, The New York Burger, amongst other things. I found that this second burger was tastier than The Texas Burger, I gather, because the previous dish had an uncomfortable mix of BBQ sauce and mustard. The New York Burger was more straightforward with its Monterey Jack cheese and zesty mustard. The patty seemed meatier as well. The bossman felt that the burger would've been further improved if the cooks could do something about the bun; it seemed a bit too pedestrian for the fillings.

Bay and AK dropped by. Aside from La Fille who was off today, it was a veritable reunion of staffers. Bay came in for one more appearance before she moves to Seattle for good to join her husband; AK came to see her one more time and also pick up some back pay. She hasn't been around all that much since her work has been picking up as well.

I just had The German. Whenever I have her, it's basically nearly an hour of gab. I have to give her over to Speedy just so that she gets a proper education.

Anyways, I'm off to the juku in a few minutes.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Friday February 5, 1:05 p.m.

Hot time at Speedy's today. Speedy has a weekly 500-yen session for interested parties. Usually, it's just the one person but today there was a grand total of 7 ladies. Ray and I were joking around that with the bossman's usual fashion sense, he would've made a fine addition in a Shibuya host club. I bet he's wishing that the rest of the English program would be just as bustling.

Well, the analyses have started all over the media spectrum about now ex-yokozuna Asashoryu. Since he resigned from sumo over all the sturm und drang that he's pulled off over the years, he may not be eligible for any pension or further compensation from the sport that he's been involved with ever since his teenage years (he's 29). He could've just hung in there and weathered out the storm, and in all probability, he would've survived. However, there are two flies in the ointment. One was that perhaps even the "sweep-it-under-the-rug" policy of the Japan Sumo Association had its limits and Asashoryu was quickly approaching them, and two was the arrival of Takanohana amongst its ranks. Takanohana is Eliot Ness to Asashoryu's Al Capone and comes across as a straight arrow ready to sweep out the corruption from the JSA. The JSA would've had to contend with a mighty media storm presenting that showdown if Asashoryu had not resigned and stuck to his guns, and the elders in the association wouldn't have long stood for that. So, the very first Mongolian to win the highest title in the land is now history.

Just have The German today and then it's off to the juku.
Thursday February 4, 8:55 p.m.

Well, sumo's enfant terrible's past has finally caught up with him. Asashoryu has decided to hang up his loincloth (considering that it has soaked up so much DNA over the basho, it can probably hang all by itself, y'all). After picking fights with fellow sumo wrestlers and civilians, plus playing a most public hooky in his home country of Mongolia, he basically went to the Japan Sumo Association, muttered his apologies, and has left the dohyo for good. Of course, the media is going absolutely nuts on this, so I can imagine that just about every station is gonna be covering this for the next few days.

In other news, The Anime King and his Court will be making the big pilgrimage over to Tokyo, home of Maids, anime and all things Akiba, in April. Looks like it could be quite the gathering.
Thursday February 4, 5:52 p.m.

Last night, the snows once more came down on Tokyo, but this time it was more of the usual kind of non-accumulating wet stuff than the snow that had come down on Monday. Still, the past few days' meterological action was enough for everyone to call this Winter an unusual one.

I think the British would say "knackered". Had another good if intense round with Mr. TOEFL last night and then today I had my second class with The CEO. She's the ideal student in that a teacher would never need to prompt her to talk...just wind her up and go. And she had quite the story to tell as well...spent the first 15 minutes talking about her husband trying to get elected to some position in an occupational board and facing some pretty petty political maneuvering. Almost felt like I was listening to an audiotape of a suspense novel. In any case, The CEO has quite the aura about her....just imagine Grandma FON 40 years younger. Ray and LaFille were laughing me afterwards since I must've seemed like a limp dishrag.

Well, in any case, I'm relatively coasting now since I've only got The Music Man a little more than 3 hours from now, and he's pretty laid back about stuff.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Wednesday February 3, 8:21 p.m.

Deja vu! The snow has come out once again in something that I gather is rather unprecedented in Tokyo. Not exactly consecutive days but close enough. Once again, Mr. TOEFL has called in to say that he would be late. And once again, I'm wondering what traffic will be like.

001 was her usual giddy self. She still has that major crush on one of the members of Arashi. Masaki Aiba. She likes him because he's handsome and rather thick. Ah, so that's the secret. I'm quite the diametric opposite.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Wednesday February 3, 2:50 p.m.

Well, today is setsubun...literally "partitioning of the seasons"; I gather that this must be the point between Winter and Spring in ancient calendars. However, it is probably more popularly known as the day when everyone gets together to throw beans at the devil to drive him out (beans were even more potent than they are now apparently) and eat the same number of beans as their age. I should be ingesting about 44 of the legumes in that case.

Grandma Enka cheerfully said that she and her husband would be heading out to the neighbourhood temple to see a ton of people come out to grab as many of the beans from throwing local celebs. My usual TV image of the event is a bunch of sumo wrestlers doing the casting. I'm sure certain personages within that ancient world would love to do the same to bad boy Asashoryu. We'll have to see what happens since former yokozuna Takanohana has gotten his wish and managed to get himself onto the Japan Sumo Association so that reform may be in the air. His entry into the august and hidebound organization had the media importance of a major political election. Not sure if he's actually gonna be able to pull anything off, but we'll see what the next several months bring.

Anyways, the Magician should be arriving in the next few minutes.

Wednesday February 3, 11:06 a.m.

Yup, it was a perfect scene for Groundhog Day yesterday morning. There was the snow from Monday's relative blizzard in the Kanto. We got about 3 cm in Ichikawa, enough to make things a bit slippery during the walk from home to the station. Still, in a tribute to Japanese efficiency, all that snow was melting away faster than confidence in Barack Obama, so by the time I got back home for lunch from The Beehive session, it was as if a magical snowblower took everything away. As much as I enjoy watching a Winter Wonderland in Toronto, I do appreciate the fact that snow in Chiba doesn't overstay its welcome and transmutes into the usual black sludge in March.

My Tuesday nights at the juku have suddenly gotten back into the busy after several months of just having The Milds. Those two high school sisters started their first session last night, Mr. White is back on the case and I'm gonna have a friendly businessman in the last slot after The Milds starting from next week. The sisters are great but I've got a feeling that I'm gonna need an extra shot of vitamin drink to match their youthful energies.

Well, for today, I've got Grandma Enka, The Magician, 001 and Mr. TOEFL on the slate today.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Monday February 1, 10:21 p.m.

Almost been an hour since I finished up with Mr. TOEFL. He was fairly happy about how he had done on the TOEFL test least enough so that he has signed up for another 12 lessons. He's quite a glutton for punishment...wants to have another model test on Wednesday to keep his skills sharp. Just not sure how much more material I can save for him.

Now, I gotta head on home through the snow. Not sure how the trains and subways are running, although I've heard that the JR is experiencing a lot of crowds right now. Maybe a bit difficult.
Monday February 1, 8:22 p.m.

Well, the relative blizzard has started. I give that qualified "relative" since in Toronto, the snow would be considered to be a nice steady fall. Over here, it's "batten down the hatches". Ray has already gotten a call from Mr. TOEFL stating that he would be (at least) 15 minutes late.

Ah, but he has arrived.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Monday February 1, 4:43 p.m.

February has started off in appropriate form. It's gloomy, drippy and cold out there, and that rain will be converting into snow supposedly by tonight. The temperature already feels like it's plummeting. Just hope that the Tozai Line into Chiba doesn't decide to give up the ghost.

Yesterday was seemingly a trip into Foodville interspersed by lessons with The Jyuppies. Just before I left MB and the missus, the three of us went to a place called J.S. Pancake, an eatery for the eponymous dish, near JR Jiyugaoka. As usual, our timing was impeccable since we managed to get the very last vacant table just before the hordes (mostly women) started lining up. I had the Scrambled Eggs and Sausage on top of my two flapjacks; was never a big fan of having savory stuff on top of my pancakes which should only be topped by butter and syrup. However, I managed to survive it OK although I was a bit disappointed by the sausage which was just the run-of-the-mill wieners from the local supermarket.

Then, after I had The Jyuppies, I made the circuituous trip to Koenji, just a stop west of Nakano on the JR Sobu. I've always heard of the place but never been there. It just seemed like another clone of Nakano but then I came across one of the longest shotengai (shopping streets) in Tokyo. Since I got there almost a full hour before the meeting time with the staffers from Speedy's, I walked down the strip for close to a half-hour. There were a lot of eclectic little shops and restaurants varying from a tacos restaurant (that La Fille has been to) replete with a luchador mask on the sign to a branch of The Village Vanguard, same name as the famed jazz bar, but in Tokyo, a chain of shops selling kitsch goods.

Made it back to JR Koenji. Noticed that huge hordes of people get off there and that was just a Sunday; I could only shudder at what a typical rush hour must be like. La Fille was the first to show up and then the outgoing Bay. Ray would join us some minutes later at the restaurant which wasn't too far away. It seemed to be a converted shop with a tiny entrance that I barely squeezed through and a flight of spiral stairs that Alice (of Wonderland fame) would appreciate. The second floor seemed a bit tight too but the four of us managed to fit in rather comfortably. There was even a loft for the more adventurous patrons that can only be accessed by ladder; I don't think female customers in skirts would appreciate the humour in that. The food was of the one-dish variety...personal pizza, gratin and taco rice. I went for the third choice, and the desserts were quite good as well. Definitely worth a second visit.