Friday, August 27, 2010

Saturday August 28, 10:13 a.m.
Rather incongruous pictures above, eh? The above left photo is of my breakfast at Jonathan's's a carbon copy of Denny's. I had a rather decent scrambled egg set with a salad, bacon, hash brown and a sausage that snaps. The pic also signifies that I'm now on my 3.5-day vacation. Nice to relax...or try to relax. I've gotten so accustomed to working literally every day that I can't easily snap out of work mode. I actually have to work at relaxing...remind myself that there is no need to look at texts or come up with lesson plans in my head or on paper. I will certainly try to achieve that before I head on out to Yokohama on Monday. But sure enough, one of my translation clients has sent me an e-mail asking for some document to be translated, but since I'm not the only translator in his flock, it's an open call. I'll politely let him know that I'm off for a week.
The picture on the right is The Photog's new project. The title reads "Eigo de Twitter" or "Twitter in English". Yes, for those intrepid students in The Land of The Rising Sun, they can now write freely write in nonsyntactical utterances and they won't get tsk-tsked for it. For The Photog, this is truly a godsend since he can only speak nonsyntactically.
I saw Mr. Swank for the first time in a month. He and his family had just gotten back from The Aloha State only the day before, and he looked like a guy who had just indeed returned from Shangri-La (the mythical land, not the hotel)...tanned, slightly out of it due to jet lag (I had a similar experience with The Artist on Thursday), and with a goatee. He was definitely not up to doing a regular lesson since he so conveniently forgot to bring his lesson notes with him and therefore any chance of looking at completed homework went out the window in the first 5 minutes. So it was just aimless chatter. I had kinda figured that it would be going this way since he has that rather laidback personality, but still I get rather uncomfortable about getting my money by just talking with a student. I mean, could he be thinking about why I hadn't been strong enough to wrestle him into a regular lesson? But a part of me was happy that I could start my holiday with an easy class.
So I got home early Friday and turned on the AC and made up some of my famous Kimchi Chicken Sandwich and watched some "Music Station" on TV Asahi. I've been watching the premier Japanese music show since the late 80s and it's been interesting to see how J-Pop has changed over the decades.
Today is gonna be a hot one. It already felt like 30+ degrees just coming here to the I-Cafe and we're still a couple of hours away from noon. But again, that should be the only thing I'll worry about for the next few days.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Friday August 27, 12:47 p.m.

Had my free-for-all lesson with The Photog. I was able to settle him down a bit to boost his vocabulary on illnesses and recommended restaurants...not that there was any connection between the two. He's apparently coming back for September with hopefully a more structured approach to his learning. And he's started his English career on Twitter and Facebook. I think Twitter will be more to his liking since that SNS apparently doesn't need syntax.

Got The Shareholder in about 40 minutes, then I have run off into West Shinjuku for Mr. Swank. Never got any response from him but I assume that he'll be there.
Friday August 27, 10:07 a.m.

Miss London is back in the school after several days of summer cold. The bossman was slightly miffed that she was about 10 minutes late but that's the Marunouchi Line's fault, not hers.

And apparently, another guy is back in the fold of controversy. Ichiro Ozawa, the former (and perhaps current) superpower in the Democratic Party of Japan, gave the announcement that much of the media had been speculating about...that he will be running for the leadership of the party against current president and Prime Minister Naoto Kan. Considering that this is a fellow who not only has had a long reputation of (supposed) dark deeds throughout his career but also had to step down a few months earlier along with ineffectual previous PM Hatoyama for some other perceived misdeeds, Ozawa's maneuver has to rate as one of the ballsiest and most mysterious moves. He doesn't have much public support because of his reputation but I don't think Ozawa much cares about anyone outside of his support group. The mysteriousness comes from the fact that he had always been more of a backroom type of guy...controlling the more personable pols like a puppetmaster. But if he actually wins the presidency, he becomes the de facto Prime Minister. He'll now be the one out there, not the one behind the curtains. However, not everyone is moaning about this new state of affairs; some folks are hoping that his years as a cagey powerbroker may actually bring some oomph into the ruling of the nation since Kan hasn't really made much of an impact since he took power in late Spring.

Friday August 27, 9:15 a.m.
Unfortunately, the upload didn't quite take, but the sign says, "Please use the escalator on your behind." Yup, one of the reasons that I love living in this country so much.
I'm doing another one of those late night-early morning transitions...basically, just going home to sleep for 5 hours between sessions. Kinda regret assenting to teach The Photog this morning at 10:45. He is a nice guy but, frankly, his stream-of-consciousness sessions yield mere nuggets of education for him. My lesson today is his last lesson on his contract; the bossman and Miss Efficiency are fairly confident that he will re-sign although part of me wonders if it would just be better if he resigned. But again, I'm just grumbling because I had to come in early.
Still, this is my last day of work before I have my 3-day holiday weekend. And the wonderful thing is that I just have The Photog, The Shareholder and...perhaps, Mr. Swank for my shift today. No juku lessons tonight since The Restauranteur has cancelled tonight's session.
It's been a bad year for The Restauranteur. She had already lost a couple of relatives earlier this year due to old age and disease. Now she can add accident to that list. The reason that she's not coming tonight is that she and her family are mourning the loss of her nephew due to a senseless motorcycle accident last Friday. Her nephew had just been newly engaged, and he, his buddies and his fiancee were finishing up a party. One of his friends asked for one more ride on the ol' chopper when his fiancee practically begged him not to go in fear for his safety (as would be expected with a party with a bunch of 20-somethings, there was a fair bit of alcohol involved). Initially, the nephew listened to common sense and declined the offer but apparently went with his buddy to his house for some guy time while everyone else went home. Tragically, at his buddy's house, he was invited one more time for one more ride and this time the nephew succumbed to his friend's harpings and went on that bike. The two of them on that bike put in a bit too much speed and ended up wiping out permanently on a stretch of road. No more engagement, no more wedding, no more future. And the idiot buddy's family now has to forever carry the burden of forever apologizing to everyone for what the son did.

Thursday August 26, 8:42 p.m.
Yup, the above are from my trip to Khazana on Monday for that curry buffet lunch. I really have to refrain from engorging. And yet, the dishes just tempt me too much.
It really has been a busy day here. Although the gaggle of staffers have all gone, La Fille was kept on her feet taking care of two incoming business students for Mr. Sydney, another new teacher, and a new student to whom I'd given a model lesson a couple of weeks earlier. She handled them like a pro.
The Carolinan informed me that she'd taken her sister, The New Yorker, for lunch at a Chinese buffet place for her birthday before catching "Inception". Yep, as expected, The New Yorker ended up sleeping through a lot of it.
Just The Music Man before I finally head on home. I sent word to Mr. Swank about his lesson tomorrow but I have yet to hear anything from him. I hope that he has returned from his month-long trip in Hawaii.
Thursday August 26, 6:22 p.m.

Ah, did forget to mention that The Entrepreneur and his wife are now the proud parents of a baby son. It's been a good half-decade for my old friend. He not only has his own thriving business, but he's gotten the love of his life and now a kid to play catch with eventually.
Thursday August 26, 6:18 p.m.

We had a full house in terms of administrative staff. Along with Miss Efficiency, we had Ms. Schmooze, the new staffer Ms. MBA and La Fille filling up the desks. It was a situation that Ray or even The Admin wouldn't have imagined during their times here. And another new teacher, The Brit, is taking care of a student right now. It would seem that Speedy is starting to grow.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thursday August 26, 2:34 p.m.

Got through The Photog's lesson. He's a very stream-of-consciousness type of guy when it comes to his lessons. No structure, no set topics. Just let it go. We spoke on everything from movies to his camera to cockroaches.

Just The Carolinan and The Music Man although I won't be finally done until 10:15 tonight.
Thursday August 26, 12:59 p.m.

Well, I've gotten through the first two of my quintet. The Patent Attorney was as smooth as usual. The Artist was about half an hour late...kinda disturbing trend from her, but then again, she IS an artist. And she looked pretty heavily jet-lagged from her trip to New York last week. She had a good time at the museums but felt that the food was largely lacking, except for some supermarket-bought lasagna.

I have The Photog in about 15 minutes. I hear him right now gabbing away at Speedy. Hopefully, the bossman will have some sort of insight for me as to how to approach The Photog.
Thursday August 26, 8:27 a.m.

Only a few minutes before The Patent Attorney comes in so I'll have to type fast. Yesterday was pretty much a Hump Day...5 lessons. And I've got the same amount coming up today with The PA, The Artist, The Photog, The Carolinan and The Music Man. But the classes will be a bit more spread out which is a relief for me.

Just counting the days before my vacation begins.
Wednesday August 25, 5:53 p.m.

Feeling a bit tired right now after getting through The Photog and The Overachiever. For their own reasons, both guys are pretty challenging. The Businesswoman was fine as usual. I don't feel like doing much except for just getting through my remaining two classes which are 001 and Miss Sony.

I gather that it's not a good idea to travel overseas right now. Hong Kong tourists were murdered by a deranged police officer on a bus in Manila, there was a hostage-taking incident involving Brazilian drug gangs in an expensive hotel in Rio, and a Nepalese flight crash-landed in Nepal killing at least one Japanese national. And everyone here thought that bus crash last week in Utah was bad.

Just counting the days before my long weekend. At least I got paid today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wednesday August 25, 11:41 a.m.

I'm currently typing this while Speedy and Miss Efficiency are having a small argument about duties and expectations. Kinda like the immovable rock versus the unstoppable force. Ray wasn't quite the type to withstand the bossman's stubbornness, but Miss Efficiency looks like a good match. She has that usual brittleness in her delivery that denotes irritation.

Finally picked up those new glasses between The Beehive and the juku classes. They fit like a charm and I don't have to worry about slippage. My old pair is now officially retired on the coffee table.

I've got a long day today with 5 students: The Businesswoman, The Photog, The Overachiever, 001 and Miss Sony. With the exception of 001, everyone else has his or her own challenges. Anyways, I gotta get ready.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday August 23, 8:23 p.m.

Finished up with Miss Genki...she was as she is named. We had a nice talk about the days of black-and-white TVs and "Sesame Street". We are indeed in the age of nostalgia.

Speedy and I had a small talk on our newest employee, Miss Efficiency. I'm still not totally sold on her and I let the bossman know directly about that. She seems to have that latent streak of insecurity that I'm not sure about, but the bossman countered with the fact that she has brought in a lot of business since she started. I can't deny that...there has been a noticeable uptick in business since she's willing to do what Ray, LaFille and Miss London were never all that keen on, which is to make cold calls and follow them up by phone. I think what it is about my reluctance about her is that her weak points are made quite clear by her proximity to my desk. The bossman told me that she's not nearly as computer-literate as Ray was, which causes no end of frustration to her. And Miss Efficiency is more than willing to vent about it...not too loudly, thank the heavens. Anyways, both Speedy and I know where we stand concerning her.
Monday August 23, 6:05 p.m.

The lesson with The German was once again basically 80% gab followed by 20% textbook. Some of that gab was on the sultry weather out there. I think a lot of us are wondering when the crisp cool Autumn air is gonna finally descend upon us.

I listened to the fourth album from that Manhattan Transfer 5-pack last night. This time, it was "Swing", a 1997 album dedicated to the swing tunes from the 30s and 40s. I think by this time, the group had now settled into its permanent niche of jazz/Latin tunes, getting away from the 70s/80s AOR/pop biz. Fun but perhaps not as great as "Vocalese".

Definitely not feeling hungry right now. That curry buffet is still churning away in my stomach.

It's gonna be a busy middle of the week for me, but the good news is that I'll be finishing my Friday and beginning my holidays right after Mr. Swank's lesson. Yes, he'll be back from his month-long vacation in Hawaii.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Monday August 23, 3:42 p.m.

Well, after a few relative days of cooler weather, the steam jets came back on full power from yesterday. After my lesson with Cozy, I decided to head out to Odaiba for a bit of R&R since I had several hours before The German's lesson over at Speedy's. Ended up having a curry buffet at Khazana in the Decks mall on the island for which I may be paying dearly later on tonight. Luckily, I've got a doctor, The Medicine Man, in the final slot tonight. The buffet was pretty good but the service was fairly surly...not to me, but to a couple of young women next to me. But I guess that's part of the Indian ambience. As usual, I stuffed myself a little too much and had to sit it out for several minutes on the bench before I could risk moving myself. Made a tactical error by waiting several more minutes for the free shuttle bus around the island since I actually only had a few minutes at Palette Town before needing to grab the train for Speedy's.

Just read that a famous local entertainment reporter has gone to that word processor in the sky. His name was Nashimoto and he passed earlier this morning from liver cancer. I had taught his daughter for a few short months back in 1997 at their house in Yoyogi-Uehara, and just met the man for a few seconds. In a way, things were rather timely since I had been visiting the place just when Princess Diana had died in that car crash; things got pretty busy there since the man had to get his suitcases all packed to head on over to London for the funeral. I read in his obituary that the funeral will be strictly limited to close family; probably because he made a lot of enemies during his time as a reporter amongst the geinokai. His daughter once told me that the security had to be pretty tight around the house.