Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday March 19, 4:44 p.m.
In this year of self-whimsiness, I decided this morning to head back to Shibamata. I say head back, since back in 1994 when I had first gotten here for my current tour of duty in Japan, I had stayed in this sleepy neighbourhood of Tokyo for about a month before moving into my apartment in Ichikawa. Since the move, I hadn't been back.
Shibamata is known for two is the Taishakuten, the local temple. The other one has far more far-reaching appeal. It's also home for the legendary Japanese movie character, Tora-san from the "Otoko ga tsurai yo" series (It's Tough To Be A Man)...perhaps the longest running movie series in the world in terms of movies made if not in actual time elapsed (and yes, that includes the Bond series). The actor, Kiyoshi Atsumi, passed on nearly 15 years ago, but he's been immortalized in bronze in front of the station in his characteristic uniform of an itinerant peddler. But while he was still on this mortal coil, he managed to get out 47 films...all having the exact same plotline of him coming back home to Shibamata to his long-suffering family, then storming out after a huge fight, finding the girl of his dreams (or Madonna) somewhere in Japan, and then losing her once again. It probably had no chance to win any Japanese equivalent of an Academy Award, but for millions of Japanese of my generation and those of the previous, it was the cinematic version of comfort food.
Pretty much all of Shibamata can't help but be tied up with Tora-san. There's even a museum made in his honor, and unlike the John Lennon Museum, I was able to take shots inside. It was rather reminiscent of going to the Ramen Museum in Yokohama since there were mockups of old Shibamata of the 60s and 70s.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursday March 18, 7:09 p.m.

Haven't had a Donut Day in a long time...certainly since last year. Mr. TOEFL did an uncharacteristic cancellation of his lesson today, and so I only had Grandma FON this morning and only have The Music Man later tonight. Hopefully, his hay fever is much more under control than last week. Basically the big hole in between lessons has been spent alternately working on the latest translation from Cozy and having fun with the latest applications on Facebook. So, now with Farmville, I've also got to contend with Cafe Ville and Social City. Plus on Mixi, I've got the Aquarium.

I actually got word from The Lens suddenly last night that he and the missus are coming back to this side of the Pacific for about a week, so it's entirely possible that we'll be meeting up for lunch in Tokyo on Saturday several hours before I meet The Manhattan Transfer at The Blue Note.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Wednesday March 17, 11:35 a.m.

The hay fever is doing its thing. As soon as I woke up, my nose started twitching and my eyes soon followed suit. Down went the three tablets. I've got to get my next batch of masks.

Last night, it was just the juku crowd since The Beehive had the week off. The juku boss and I were talking a bit on my newest student, Mr. Nice Guy. Apparently, he'd had another English-language interview for a company, and the boss told me that he didn't even know the term, "earthquake" when the interviewer brought up the subject of the recent tremors hitting Japan. She kinda threw her head back in mock frustration, but she does have a certain point. Mr. Nice Guy is taking English so that he can get ready to take himself and his family over to Hawaii in what is amounting to be a start to a new life. However, he's going there with no guarantee whatsoever of a job...a bit of a quixotic journey that has the boss scratching her head. The guy isn't a blank slate by any means but his ability is nowhere near getting him that ace position at a company...I think he can just get away with being a better-than-average tourist. And although I think I'm a pretty decent teacher, I don't think even I can turbocharge this guy's linguistic levels within 3 months. Still, I just gotta do my best.

As for the Milds, both Milds showed up. This time, Mr. Mild was suffering from the ravages of a cold while Mrs. Mild was still in the recovery stages.

I've got Miss HGL in 15 minutes, followed by The CEO and then 001. I've got 001's belated White Day present. Should be good sessions with all of them. They're all talkers, although the challenge will be with The CEO since it's kinda hard to know what kind of material she'd like to do.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday March 15, 8:19 p.m.

The Ides of March indeed. And sorry to say that Peter Graves, the one and only Jim Phelps from the one and only "Mission: Impossible" has passed on. He and his brother, James Arness, aka Sheriff Matt Dillon from "Gunsmoke", provided literally decades of calm, gallant reassurance to television viewers. Jim was the ultimate spymaster while Matt was the finest lawman of the West.

I would light a torch for Mr. Phelps but I'd be afraid that a fuse may be set off.
Monday March 15, 4:53 p.m.

The cable guy never showed up yesterday. This kinda indicated to me that that notice I got in the mail last week was perhaps just a little bait for anyone who hadn't signed up to the service. Well, at least, the notice gave me incentive to clean up the place.

Had an unexpected late start to the week this morning. First off, Cozy had re-scheduled his lesson for tomorrow morning instead of today, and then Swank called me suddenly this morning, just 30 minutes before I was to leave, to say that she would have to cancel the lesson due to illness. So I had the morning to myself and to watch "Star Trek" for the fourth time on DVD. Still holds up in my estimation....but that's natural for a Trekkie like myself.

Got a call from The Cat out of the blue last night. My old friend way back from university is originally from Nagoya, got married to Paddy's buddy in Ibaraki, and now lives in Nagano. She asked me for some English phrases but her main topic was about whether I was going to Paddy's wedding party (actually a celebration of the happy couple's 10th anniversary of being together) on the 5th. Still don't know exactly where and when the party is gonna be. I did ask Skippy whether she would be my accompaniment but apparently she's secured a job starting from tomorrow so she's probably out of the loop.

Anyways, Speedy should be coming out any second so that I can take over as HGL's teacher.