Friday, March 05, 2010

Saturday March 6, 12:53 p.m.

Yesterday was one of those warm Spring days that belong more in May than in March. It got to about 20 degrees C here in The Big Sushi. And strangely enough, I didn't get attacked by hay fever. Pollen usually love these conditions. But we're back into the cold and drizzly again, and there are even meterological thoughts of snow once more on the horizon. Just another in the series of ups-and-downs we've been having all Winter long here.

Got the annual elephant off my back and paid my income taxes at the Ichikawa Tax Office yesterday. Not too bad a payment although that means that I didn't earn as much last year. I'll have to try to remedy that. Of course, after contributing to Hatoyama's coffers, I went for the 500-yen lunch special at KFC near Moto-Yawata Station.

Today, I just had The Intellectual as the lone lesson here at Speedy's. And he decided to go for another lesson next week as the lone lesson. He had forgotten his homework and text at home, so he wasn't quite as confident in his answers as he usually is, but he can still speak rings around a lot of the other students.

I'll be meeting up with The Bohemian and his Japan-China study group in Takadanobaba today for dinner. He's been itching me to meet some of his friends for some time now, so I'm hoping it's worth trudging out in the rain, but then again a 3,000-yen all-you-can-eat & drink Korean BBQ dinner is pretty nice in this cold weather. All I hope is that The Bohemian keeps his mouth in fairly good control, although with an all-you-can-drink option, that's pretty debatable.

It'll end up being a weekend of yakiniku since I believe The Jyuppies will be doing the same with me tomorrow night. But I really cannot complain.

And White Day season will be upon me from next week. I'll have to get the first batch of chocolates for SIL since I've got her on Monday. At this point, it's looking like I may have Monday night off since neither Miss HGL nor The Medicine Man will be coming into Speedy's that day.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Thursday March 4, 10:47 p.m.

Sounds like it's raining its shares of dogs and cats out there. Could be a bit of a muck heading back home. Just the weather I need to pay off my taxes tomorrow morning....that is, if I can get up early enough.

Had a back-to-back with Mr. TOEFL and then The Music Man. Luckily 22.5 years of experience kicked in so that I didn't look panicked when I had to make the transition. Just kept the smile going.

When I went out for dinner at the conbini earlier tonight, the avuncular super was chewing out some young folk for some malfeasance....I bet it had something to do with the elevator, since the alarm bell had gone off for several seconds. These weren't errant teens but guys in their 20s...not sure where they came from. But when I came back to the building some 10 minutes later, the super was still verbally tanning their hides; to be honest, it was less frightful than some of the other beratings I've seen teachers give their students back on the JET days.

Well, gotta head on home before I completely crash from exhaustion.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Thursday March 4, 12:47 p.m.

Feeling especially crunchy around the shoulders. Would like a rubdown but I think Ray would balk at that (heh, heh). Still, it's been many months since I've had a shoulder massage; would consider getting one but I'm still licking some existential wounds from getting financially gouged at Riraku no Mori a year ago.

Just had Grandma FON for her weekly session. Lots of spunk in that one. Speedy will be handing off Miss HGL in about 10 minutes. HGL has opted for the cramming of 36 lessons by Golden Week since she'll be heading for Vancouver in May. So, it'll be a lot of tandem teaching between me and Speedy.

I also have got to get my tax return done and ready by tonight since I'll be heading over to the Tax Office tomorrow. With that done, I will have finished all of my big payments for the year.
Wednesday March 3, 8:37 p.m.

Almost time for me to shut down since 001 was the last lesson of the day. Speedy has already gone off home. It's just Ray and myself. 001 helped set up the quartet of pleasant, and let me emphasize, talkative people for today...not unlike certain physicians on Monday.

I did forget to mention that it was hina matsuri day today. That's the day that particularly superstitious folks put up several tiers of little dolls to ensure that their daughters can get married. The key point is that no matter how early the tiers get put up, they have to be put back into the closet by midnight tonight. Otherwise, there is a risk of future Old Maids.

Tomorrow will be another busy one. I've got Grandma FON to start off with, followed by another round with Miss HGL. Then, it'll be The German followed by Mr. TOEFL and finally The Music Man.
Wednesday March 3, 5:45 a.m.

Well, went through the bulk of the really talkative students today. I had Grandma Enka, Miss HGL and then The CEO. The CEO seems to be quite the mover and shaker. Had a meeting with a political bigwig this morning, and now has to do some networking in the diplomatic arena tonight. Kinda reminds me of a young Lady.

Let it all hang out with my grievances against The Medicine Man just now in front of the bossman and Ray. How does one teach a guy who just refuses to speak anything about himself? Of course, as I was explaining myself to him, the bossman gave me that familiar look of not liking what he was hearing but listening to it as a good boss should. I'm glad that I won't be seeing The Medicine Man for almost 2 weeks.

All I have left is 001. She'll be quite happy to know that I have an article for her from "The Japan Times" about her favorite band, Arashi from the Johnny's Jimusho stables. She'll be even more chuffed to know that the Beehive had informed me yesterday that they know the Chinese restaurant that the parents of her fave member, Aiba-kun, run in Makuhari, just east of my neck of the woods. One of the ladies said that she'd seen a couple of Arashi fans around the area looking for the place.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Wednesday March 3, 1:24 p.m.

You would think that with all of the alternating cold and warm days over the past couple of weeks, we as a people were being "tempered" like katana. We're in a warm phase once again. And I think before Winter is officially out in a few weeks, we may still see a few flakes and cold snaps.

Hay fever season has started in earnest, however. The cedar trees have been unleashing their WMDs on a fully suspecting public. No masks as of yet but I've been hitting the meds pretty hard. Made another purchase of that so-called herbal medicine from the neighbourhood drugstore; I'm always hoping that it's actually better than Benza Block.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Tuesday March 2, 2:03 p.m.

The hay fever is starting to plague me once more this year. Looks like I'll be stocking up on meds and tissue for the next couple of months. I've been trying to stay away from the Benza Block since I don't want to damage my liver too badly...I think alcohol would be a better substitute for that.

So I've heard that the Shat himself appeared at the Closing Ceremonies to give his jocular monologue. The Star Trek Mixi community was lathering at the mouth like rabid Trekkies at the news.

A not-so-busy Tuesday today. I had The Beehive for their usual 90. I got quite the goodies from Mrs. Travel and Mrs. Tee. From the former, I got some homemade marmalade...just hope that it doesn't need refrigerating since I'm not going home until after the juku tonight, and then from the latter, I received some homemade sandwiches. And here I thought Valentine's Day was last month. Then again, I'm gonna have quite the shopping list next week when I have to get chocolates for White Day.

It'll be the usual full slate at the juku tonight. Mr. White, followed by Sugar & Spice, The Milds and finally Mr. Nice Guy.
Monday March 1, 10:39 p.m.

It was probably the slowest, most subtle epileptic fit I've ever seen from a guy. Medicine Man was OK for the first little bit as we talked about the ravages of hay fever. But then we got into the textbook, he gradually lost focus and lost touch with reality for a few minutes. He only needed to make sentences out of two-word collocations....stuff that even some beginning students could do with little effort, but with him, it was just too much for him. He just begged off with some exasperation that it was just way too stressful for him to talk about his personality. I didn't lose my temper...I've been around too many students to do that at this point in my career, but I had to tell him that he only has a couple of lessons left in his contract and that he'll have to come up with some ideas about how I can help him. I also told him that there are very few textbooks that would actually not ask him for his opinion on things. Frankly, I'm not sure where this guy is gonna go, but at this point, I really wouldn't mind if he decided not to renew...knowing that Speedy won't like that dark thought, especially with the financial dire straits we're right now.

Aye...I think it's time for me to go home.
Monday March 1, 6:11 p.m.

It's kinda weird still talking about the Winter Olympics while we are now officially in March. But here we are. And it looks like I missed out on the grand opportunity on catching one of the all-time classic Olympic Hockey finals...well, there was really no opportunity to speak of in this country where hockey is only seen as a minor sports curiosity and not as the religion it is in my home and native land. Television here when it comes to the Olympics is the same as it is with every other national broadcaster....they show only the events that the natives would want to see, and hockey ain't it. I had been hoping to see the grand final between the two titans of Canada and the U.S. on regular TV in the wee hours, but just wasn't meant to be. Actually, it was on NHK satellite but I don't have that...just have the cable channels.

Speedy did have it, though, so he was able to catch the thrilling overtime win by Canada. CRAP! I could only find out only several hours later. Looks like I'll have to rely on the inevitable DVD which will come out....just in time for Xmas.

Meanwhile, what I did catch was many, many hours yesterday of the map of Japan superimposed on just about every channel as one of the biggest tsunami warnings in recent memory was issued for the entire Pacific coast of the country. Even Akio Toyoda's miseries couldn't knock out the Olympics totally, but rolling waves coming at the speed of an airplane could. NHK basically devoted its entire Sunday schedule to coverage on tsunami. As it was, although there were some areas which got flooded, the tsunami was far less dangerous than advertised...which was good to be sure, but I'm not sure if these waves totally deserved the TV it got.

Well, today was another busy day. I had Cozy for the early morning followed by those 2.5 hours with Swank...again, happy to say that the time flew pretty quickly. Then, it was another 1.5 with SIL. We really got silly, by SIL's own admission, with the conversation today..."discussing" the merits of a former and current boyfriend of a female pro golfer. I've gotten to Speedy's to find out that my scheduled lesson with HGL had been cancelled, so I just have to wait those 3 hours before The Music Man comes in.

Some months ago, The Romantic had practically begged me to help him with some research for some clients. Basically, it was to research for things via the Net that the clients couldn't do by themselves...which made me question how I could change things for the better. Well, 3 weeks ago, The Romantic sent me a couple of assignments asking me to search for information dealing with computer chips. I've tried to do so and just ended up scoring bupkiss. So, I sent word via his answering service that I couldn't help him. I've yet to hear back and I'm not sure what he will say.