Friday, April 16, 2010

Saturday April 17, 3:03 p.m.

The model lesson with Swank's Husband went well. He's pretty good, though far from perfect. He and Swank make for an interesting pair. In any case, the classes are now set although now I may be heading for a scheduling quandary between my private lessons and any new ones from Speedy. I'm not sure if I can take many more new ones, and so I've sent the bossman a heads-up. I'm expecting a fully-winded reply.

I met up with The Anime King and his Court in JR Akiba along with Automan last night. The weather was pretty lousy...and a third of the Court was either recovering or suffering from the cold. We ended up going to the basement izakaya in the Mansei Building. The food was OK although I was slightly disappointed by the portions. The advertising should truly read "Images may appear bigger than they are." Still, I learned about what the Court has done over the past two weeks. The Anime King and The Anime Chamberlain will actually be sticking around Tokyo for another week, so I'm making it a plan to see them at least once more since I have to get a couple of things from The King.

Looks like everything's OK with The Jazz Singer. We just exchanged phone numbers and said politely that we really should do coffee in the near future.
Saturday April 17, 12:51 p.m.

Well, I guess Hell did indeed freeze over, since Tokyo did. I turned on the TV this morning to see that the outlying Kanto such as Utsunomiya and Saitama got smacked with snow and sleet. I was laughing at the maroons when I noticed that the patter of rain sounded a lot more solid than usual. I opened the drapes and saw that my neighbourhood was being sherbeted. I was able to grab a good handful of slush from my balcony. Being the herald of meterological efficiency that Tokyo is, pretty much all of it is gone now and the sun is even out, but seeing sleet and snow at this time of year is nothing short of breathtaking.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Friday April 16, 2:42 p.m.

Well, I sent in an e-mail to The Jazz Singer just to let her know that my invitation was just an invitation for dinner. Good wouldn't be a romantic tete-a-tete at all...not with a whole bunch of otaku around her.

I also committed a mechanical faux pas of sorts as well just over an hour ago when I accidentally let the copier cover drop a little too hard and the hinges fractured. Luckily, Speedy is a pretty mild one when accidents happen but getting those fixed could take a bit of yen...yen that we really can't afford to be paying much of right now.

Should be heading off to see Swank's husband in about 15 minutes.
Friday April 16, 12:49 p.m.

Only up to 7 degrees C. Even in Toronto, that would be cause for some alarm at this time of year; I can only imagine what the locals must be thinking.

Got a wake-up call from Automan to confirm meeting time and place. He's not all that familiar with Akiba, especially when he's coming up by Hibiya Line which is slightly farther from the main drag. So I told him that I would meet him at the usual JR exit for Akihabara Station. The Anime King and the guys said the front of Gamers, a famous anime shop very close to that exit; Automan, being far more into F-1 than sentient robots and cute saucer-eyed girls, has no idea where that is.

Before that, though, Speedy and I have to head over for a model lesson with Swank's husband in his company. He apparently owns a place that is connected with environmental stuff which may explain his wife's interest in the topic. My word...another captain of industry to teach. Even if I am successful with the model lesson, I'm not quite how we're going to finagle a regular series of lessons with him since my schedule is riddled with my private lessons, Speedy lessons and the juku.

A side topic to tonight's meeting with Automan and The Anime King. I had a bit of banter between me and The Jazz Singer on Mixi throughout the evening last night...which kinda culminated in me kinda/sorta inviting her to join us tonight, since I had some vibes (imagined or otherwise) from her that she may have wanted to come out for some yakiniku. This is definitely not a date since she would be surrounded by otaku. Still, there was a bit of trepidation on my part since my history of dating can fit into a memo-size sheet of paper. After sending out the message, I rather expected a polite "No" due to a busy schedule or a half-embarrassed written guffaw at my little "joke". Instead when I checked a few minutes ago, she gave me a "Well..." and asked to continue this via e-mail. NO. Although I'm pretty sure she won't show up tonight, I'm not sure what this non-answer may lead to. And that e-mail may never come.
Thursday April 15, 8:45 p.m.

Well, the Carolinan has come and gone. She was a little less dour than usual. She'd had her angler hot pot dinner but The Bow pretty much gave all of the report on that one. And tomorrow, she and her sister, The New Yorker, will be having dinner of their own somewhere in this big city. As for me, I'll be meeting with The Anime King and his Court in Akihabara (where else?) for probably my one and only dinner with them. However, since it will be TGIF, I think looking for a restaurant that could hold all 8 of us (Automan and his wife may be coming) will probably be daunting at the very least. I'm thinking the only possibility for us is the Mansei Restaurant Building just on the border between Akiba and Kanda.

MB has finally gotten to us about where Sunday's birthday dinner with Miss Ivory and Skippy will be. Not surprisingly, to kill two birds with one stone, we'll be celebrating birthdays and continuing the years-long Burger Tour. The venue is some place called The Great Burger in Harajuku. I'll get my stomach prepared.

Just The Music Man and then it'll be back home.
Thursday April 15, 5:28 p.m.

2 more weeks until Golden Week is upon us, and it still feels like the middle of January out there. More like Golden Week with Silver Bells. Ryokan will probably be keeping the nabe option handy for guests.

Ms. HGL finished off her last classes before her takeoff for The Great White North on Saturday. We took care of the rest of the text and I helped her with her self-intro when she meets her new classmates on Monday in Vancouver.

Just waiting for The Carolinan in another hour. May end up using one of those quizzes that I used on The CEO to pretty good success on her...just for a change. Of course, the quiz vocabulary will have to be toned down for her level.

In the world at large, it looks like Prime Minister Hatoyama is looking more and more like the world's lamest duck...or at least the G8's. President Obama held his Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, and Hatoyama just had 10 minutes with Barack and that was just because the two men were sitting side by side at dinner. There was no breakthrough over the watercress salad concerning Futenma Base, and the media is playing it up as the PM coming home from a fishing expedition with nothing in his creel.

There have been quite the rash of celeb deaths over the past month or so. TV lost Charles Townsend himself, aka Charlie from "Charlie's Angels" aka John Forsythe. Then, over here, we lost a famed writer and a baseball coach with virtually the same name as SMAP's Takuya Kimura. And then there was the plane death which claimed a good chunk of Poland's elite, including the President and his First Lady.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Thursday April 15, 2:00 p.m.

We're all a little tired here today at Speedy's. I ended up having to teach Ms. HGL an hour ahead of schedule when the bossman gestured at me to take over since he had to take care of a client longer than scheduled. Speedy is feeling a bit piqued since he had to take care of that client and then rush in to take care of Ms. HGL's second hour. Then Ray had to handle that same client for a total of 2 hours and take care of one of the bossman's associates coming in while getting chewed out by the superintendant for not informing the associate of the entry code to get into the building. The super has a bit of a short fuse when it comes to procedure.

I am grateful though that I have a few hours before The Carolinan comes in, and then a couple of hours after that before The Music Man wraps things up.

Speaking of Ms. HGL, it's her final class with us before she takes off for her 3-month homestay in Vancouver. It ought to be interesting what life will be like in post-Olympics Vancouver.

I got word from The Anime King that we'll all be meeting tomorrow in Akiba for dinner at 7. Ironic that I can only meet the Court at the end of their trip despite being here for almost 2 weeks.

Wednesday April 14, 9:00 p.m.
Just about ready to go, but I just had to upload this picture of what the tourists can get when they go to Kyoto. Two of the Anime King's court managed to indulge in some mile-high parfaits during their time in the ancient city. I rather think that the Heian Court could never have anticipated food on this level back a thousand years or so ago.
The thing is, though, these parfaits are quite the common gimmick dish in a number of restaurants throughout the country. One either has to have the stomach of a Gal Sone or dethroned hot dog king Takeru Kobayashi, or have a few friends to tackle this monster. And wouldn't that be one heck of an ice cream headache!
Well, as for the day, I'm happy to say that The CEO's class went well since I was able to find and download a survey on one's political performance indicator which then segued into a talk on the rise and fall of former Livedoor honcho Horie. The class with The German was the usual chitchat for an hour, and then it was the typical barrel of laughs with 001.
Found out that Grandma FON has cancelled her lessons for the rest of the month since that cold of hers is just not going away. At her age, I can't be that surprised. However, I've got the rest of the folks: Miss HGL for her last one before she takes off for Canada for 3 months, The Carolinan and then The Music Man. Should be a fairly straightforward day.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Wednesday April 14, 12:32 p.m.

It was a regular Tuesday. Had The Beehive...Mrs. Tee wasn't there but Mrs. Travel was back from her trip to Monument Valley and The Grand Canyon. She had a great time and discovered that she could enjoy solo journeys without daughters or husband. Could open new vistas for her. I found out that Mrs. Ballet, the lady who had introduced me to the Hive all those years ago will be making monthly appearances at our fair little kaffeeklatsch.

The juku was back to normal after the kerfuffle between Sugar N' Spice and the juku boss last week. But found out that Spice also has a Mixi account which got her and her sister all excited, which suits me just fine since things were a bit dull up to that point in the lesson. In no time flat, I've become her Mixi friend and she's even joined my foodie community. My own little project just has me, her and one other Mixi friend. For some reason, The Bohemian has completely vacated Mixi for some reason.

In a bit of a switch, it was Mrs. Mild who was with me for most of the lesson. A lot of mistakes but a lot of heart as well. Apparently, she and her husband had been doing some cherry blossom viewing in Yasukuni Shrine when they just happened to see a ceremonial sumo match taking place with all of the bigwigs of the industry: the Estonian ozeki Baruto and Mongolian yokozuna Hakuho included. Mr. Mild did come in eventually...he'd come straight from his home prefecture of Fukushima after a visit with the relatives there. He was appropriately exhausted after 5 hours of driving. He wasn't exactly non compo mentis but he was definitely not in the learning mood. And Mr. Nice Guy did a dotakyan; found out from the boss that his wife had come in over the weekend for her kids' lessons and admitted that plans for the family to make the big move to Hawaii this summer have fallen through. So, in a way, Mr. Nice Guy's raison d'etre for his English lessons have at the very least lessened. The boss says that his lessons will still continue but we shall see.

I've got three lessons today: The CEO, The German and 001. Gonna have to ramp up the lesson for The CEO since last time was a bit laggy. Mr. TOEFL was supposed to come in as the cleanup batter tonight but had to cancel since he has to take care of a dog patient in intensive care; should clarify by saying that he is a vet by trade. Meanwhile, the bossman, Ray and The Cockney are all dudded up for some sort of trade fair this afternoon...which means that AK will be making a rare appearance as substitute staffer for a few hours. AK has basically left the school since her translation business is booming apparently.

I saw the first three parts of "The Beast Below", the second of Matt Smith's episodes as the new Doctor Who via YouTube. For some reason, the last two parts have either yet to be uploaded or some wanker has taken them down. It's another Steven Moffat production but it seems as if the Mixi Doctor fans haven't been as enthused about this ep. I'm still OK with it and so is GC, my old estranged friend in the wilds of Mie Prefecture. According to GC, the new companion, brash Amy Pond may have a rather interesting storyline along the lines of Donna Noble.

Anyways, should get onto planning The CEO's lesson.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Monday April 12, 9:08 p.m.

It's always interesting to watch the original pilot episode of a long-running series. And so I did with "NCIS" last night. Over the past few months, Fox Japan has been showing eps from the 2nd and 4th seasons, plus now the 5th season. Well, they went all the way back to Season 1.

There was no Angry Gibbs, no overCaf-Pow'ed Abby, no overly horny DiNozzo and just no McGee. Instead, I was treated to a Jethro Leroy Gibbs who was pretty much the same Mark Harmon that we'd come to expect from his roles on "St. Elsewhere", "240-Robert" and even his short time on "The West Wing", and both Tony and Sciuto were nice and calm. Heck, even the theme song started off mild. Original pilot Gibbs even seemed to have a bit of the lothario that DiNozzo would later inherit. I guess it would be no wonder that there would be a slight adjustment in his personality.

It was back to the usual Monday. I had Cozy, Swank and SIL earlier today and then I will have The Medicine Man in about 15 minutes.

Monday April 12, 8:30 p.m.
Quite the antithesis of last Monday's wedding party in downtown Tokyo. Went up to the wilds of Minami-Kashiwa in Chiba Prefecture (not as far away as it reads...just 40 minutes from my area by JR) on Saturday with Automan to see Shrek's place for a nice BBQ. The original plan had been to take Automan out for lunch in Ginza at Genkatsu, the tonkatsu place famous for its mille-feuille cutlets. Instead, I got a call from the lad on Friday night stating that he'd gotten a call from our mutual friend Shrek inviting us for some good ol' fashioned barbeque up in his neck of the woods. So of course, we went.
Met Automan who had also invited another friend from Jiyugaoka who will be called Skippy 2 since she reminds me of the original in her vivaciousness. Shrek picked us up at the station and it was just a 5-minute ride to his relatively new house shown above. Quite a nice home and the backyard has a view of a peaceful looking marsh with cherry trees all around it. Not bad as far as Tokyo neighbourhoods go.
Shrek recently welcomed another addition to the family last month so we got to see the new kid. And the other two were appropriately rambunctious. The elder kid has even started to mouth off at the parents a bit...which I'm sure will get him learning some hard lessons soon enough from Daddy if I know Shrek's temper.
BBQ was great....we made our own chicken fajitas and sausages...plenty of fixins. Ended up staying there for close to 7 hours. The ending consisted of Automan, Skippy 2 and Shrek's son showing us their abilities via the Wii.