Friday, September 17, 2010

Saturday September 17, 3:27 p.m.

I just had The Intellectual for the one lesson today. We have more staff than students in the office today: La Fille, Miss Prim and The Kewpie Doll (she'll be heading to the new school) plus Speedy. I'll be taking off pretty soon since I've got washing to do.

The Corner has sent me a new translation assignment of a website. I don't know quite yet how long I've got to get this done but the next week will be relatively un-busy because of the two national holidays and some sparse scheduling. I may actually get enough sleep.

Still, I will have to get up early tomorrow and Monday for Yajima and Cozy respectively. A bit of a pity, though both guys are nice guys and students. Ah, c'est la vie.

Saturday September 18, 3:10 p.m.
A tale of two junkies today. The first one is Manabu Oshio, the guy right above me in the police car. Strangely enough, until his arrest a year ago for MDMA possession and letting his lover die of an overdose, he was frankly not exactly on the A-list of Japanese celebrities. He was a tough-guy actor and "singer". Since then, he's popped up on TV over the past 12 months as his case finally culminated in court over the past couple of weeks, culminating in his conviction yesterday with a 2.5-year sentence. A lot of folks feel that he got off easy, but he and his legal team are screaming appeal.
However, the true tragedy is represented in the two pictures on either side. It's a Before-After thing involving the very former tarento Masashi Tashiro. The Before side is to the right with him parodying the announcement of the new Imperial reign period from 2 decades ago. He'd been a member of the 80s doo-wop band The Chanels (later to be horribly re-named Rats & Stars) with lead crooner Masayuki Suzuki before he really hit the big time as a TV personality in the late 80s and 90s,usually alongside comedy legend Ken Shimura. He could've ended up being as big a host as any of the big 3 of Beat Takeshi, Tamori or Akashiya Sanma.
But as the left side After pic shows, things really turned for the worse for him over the past decade. First, he got caught taking pictures up a high school girl's skirt back in 2000. And then came a series of busts for illegal weapons and drug possession. Finally, came the news a couple of days ago that Tashiro was arrested in a parking lot right by the Aka-Renga buildings in Yokohama (a place that I'd visited a couple of weeks ago) doing cocaine in his car with his girlfriend by the cops. Things take a sadly humourous quality in that they were doing this as whole hordes of cops were patrolling the area in a tune-up leading to the APEC conference in Minato Mirai in November. As he was taken away for booking, the After picture shows him as a combination of his old self and Munch's "The Scream" picture. Acquaintances had suspected that he was doing the stuff but Tashiro kept denying it.
This man has hit rock bottom. Oshio should take a look at Tashiro and thank his lucky stars. Noriko Sakai, the poster girl of aidorus-gone-bad, should also look at Tashiro and just thank heavens it was merely her career that has been destroyed. Tashiro has repeatedly bleated his intention to repent only to get thrown back into the gutter. Now, I think there's a pretty good chance that he's not going to survive much longer. He's lost his family, his friends and his career. There's really nothing left but his life to sacrifice now.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Friday September 17, 1:06 p.m.

Quite dry for the first time in a few days here in The Big Sushi. I was indeed able to confirm that The Journo did cancel on me and the juku boss once again...this time for the remainder of this month. The boss relayed to me that The Journo was worried that I might be rather furious. No, I'm not but I do wonder what possessed him to take lessons with us if he were going to be this busy.

The Bass is still recovering from his injuries after that wicked motorcycle accident he'd been involved in a few weeks back. He had some X-rays done and luckily there were no broken bones but just residual pain. But he's also asked me for some legal help since he's been having problems with an errant American distributor. I'll be calling up The Matron's husband sometime soon.

I've got The Shareholder in about 20 minutes. Then I have to run off to Shinjuku for my session with Mr. Swank. Both guys have their challenges. The Shareholder is a self-admitted humorless fellow while Mr. Swank has a very Tahitian attitude toward studying. In any case, I think The Journo's dotakyan is a blessing in disguise. So I don't have to run off at warp speed from Shinjuku to get to Urayasu in time.
Thursday September 16, 10:48 p.m.

Been another long day. Finished with Mrs. Thursday and The Music Man. Both had gone down to Guam last week. Both figured that English wasn't needed since the hospitality industry rightly pegged the Japanese as the main source of tourism. It'll be another 2 weeks before I see them since next Thursday is a national holiday.

Feeling pretty tired now, but I've got another long day ahead of me tomorrow since I've got The Bass, The Shareholder, Mr. Swank and then the juku classes. Luckily, The Journo did cancel once again.
Thursday September 16, 6:29 p.m.

As expected, I got a message from the juku boss concerning The Journo. Once again, he's cancelled...this time for the duration of September. I've got a feeling that this one's gonna be a goner. Well, at least that's one student I won't have to plan for.

I caught half of a movie yesterday called "Apt Pupil", a late 90s flick starring Sir Ian McKellen and the late Brad Renfro. It's about an old psychopathic Nazi (a redundant term, I know) hiding out in middle America who, in much of the way of Faust, teaches a latent sociopathic teen the ways of being evil. This was just before McKellen hit the big time with "X-Men" and "Lord of the Rings"; he was his masterful self, but I just thought the story didn't quite come to a particularly satisfying resolution. Todd, Renfro's character, uses his master's exact words to threaten David "Friends" Schwimmer...thus showing that he has made the successful transition to evil being at the end of the movie, but unlike what critics had said, I didn't think that Schwimmer looked particularly intimidated so that he would shut up.
Thursday September 16, 6:10 p.m.

The German and I had a half-gab, half-text lesson which meant that things went inordinately well. She'll be taking off for London next week for a few days of vacation. Hopefully, she'll be taking lots of pics there, so I can vicariously enjoy life in another country.

Miss Thursday is next on the list in a couple of hours.
Thursday September 16, 4:17 p.m.

Came back from my little recce on the rainy Tokyo streets. Took a short hop on the bus over to Tokyo Opera City between here and Shinjuku. As the name would imply, it is a centre devoted to concerts of a highly classical nature but the actual auditorium is surrounded by layers of corporate offices and restaurants. I ended up having lunch at the Hub, an English pub chain. With all of the chestnut wood and leather, it's ideal for the kacho class of executive. I had the Fish N' Chip plate which was actually fairly good...not an easy thing in this area of the world. However, the cooks could make the batter a bit more crispy.

Afterwards, I walked all the way over to Takashimaya Times Square and checked out Kinokuniya before I took a small break at Krispy Kreme #1. Yep, the place's heyday as an excuse to line up for 2 hours for donuts is now officially over. Got in within a couple of minutes. Still got a free sample of what I was gonna eat, the Apple Pie donut with a cup of jo. Lasted up on the 2nd floor for about half an hour before sleep threatened to claim me so I decided to head on out to Tower Records for a while before getting back to Speedy's.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Thursday September 16, 7:58 a.m.

I guess this is Number 3,600. And a rainy entry it is, too. The skies are just carpetbombing us with precipitation right now. Not sure how long it's gonna last but it makes for a fine contrast with some of the last of those torrid and horrid days of Summer.

It'll be a long day. I've got The Patent Attorney in half an hour but then there'll be a huge temporal void until I have The German at 5 this afternoon. Then it'll be a relatively quick lineup of Mrs. Thursday and The Music Man. I'll probably be going out for lunch later on, though I'm not sure where quite yet. May try West Park Cafe in Times Square for the roast chicken.

Japan finally had to get in on the act and sit on the yen like a frustrated tourist on an overstuffed suitcase. It has gone up twice to the 82 yen mark to the dollar. Frustrated tourists from overseas but a lot of happy Japanese ones going the other way.
Wednesday September 15, 10:47 p.m.

Just about ready to pack up for home...only to come back here in several hours to teach The Patent Attorney (sigh). Nice guy, but it's starting to be a drag to have to leave late and come in early.

Miss Sony is always pleasant to talk with...not quite as crazily happy as 001 but still very good at conversing.

At least, I've got a huge donut hole between The PA and The German. So I'll just head on out and enjoy Tokyo.
Wednesday September 15, 8:23 p.m.

The class with 001 was, unsurprisingly, all about attending that big concert of Arashi almost a couple of weeks ago. She had a blast with her friend watching the likes of Aiba-kun and Ono-kun. She only has a few lessons left on her current contract and she's spreading them out. I won't see her for about a month due to work and a trip to Turkey later this month.

Well, Miss Sony's here...
Wednesday September 15, 5:55 p.m.

Finished with The Overachiever an hour ago. Very good for conversation. He seems to have an interest in postwar American culture, if only for his GRE test. He may have given me some hooks for future lessons. Luckily, he has renewed.

It's cooler today although the warmth is still there. But the important thing is that Fall may finally be on its way.

001 should be here in a few minutes. She should have lots to talk about concerning her Arashi concert about a couple of weeks ago. With luck, it could last all class.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wednesday September 15, 3:45 p.m.

Looks like The Beehive actually hit a jackpot with a new place. From the next time we meet onwards, we will be meeting at a community centre near JR Tsudanuma. So, hopefully, we can have proper classes without having any irate old bitties telling us to be quiet because we're too loud (or Mrs. Alp, to be more accurate).

I'm starting to get that feeling of being slowly phased out at Speedy's. After getting that little talk from the bossman about giving priority to the female staff concering the computers, I'm now in his office typing this since the outer office is now fully occupied. I'm gonna have The Overachiever here in a few minutes, and then it'll be 001 and Miss Sony. I figure I'll have my Saturdays off from January and then in the Spring I'll let Speedy know that I'll be making my way out.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Monday September 13, 9:27 p.m.

Forgot to mention one obituary of sorts. A veteran fixture of local TV and movies passed away a few days ago. His name was Tani Kei...and I'm giving the name this time in the original Japanese way of family name first, first name last for reasons that will become evident later.

He was a member of an old 50s comedy group/band called The Krazy Kats, and Tani was the trombonist. He came across as a regular portly uncle that would be welcome anytime in anyone's abode and was famous for his catchphrase "Ga-chon!" which, I assume, is the way a 'bone blast would sound. In any case, even when his band broke up, he became a familiar face on television throughout the decades and the last time I saw him, he was doing a cute duet with J-Pop legend Yumi Matsutoya a few years ago.

As for the name, Tani Kei, the comedian formed his nom de plume by shaping it phonetically after US comedian/actor Danny Kaye who was a big thing back in the 50s. I also just found out that he had been the Japanese voice behind Charlie Brown, although I can't understand why they would choose a middle-aged man to voice the world's youngest loser.
Monday September 13, 9:14 p.m.

As it turned out, the e-mail came in from The Medicine Man that he will be AWOL for the duration of September. No reason given but I'm pretty sure that the current troubles with the Superbug at Teikyo University Hospital have something to do with it. In any case, next week is a national holiday so none of us will have to worry about it.

I should get going home. I have to take advantage of this early night off.

Tomorrow will be the election within the Democratic Party of Japan for leader. Will it be PM Kan or shadowmaster Ozawa? It's looking like Kan although this is pretty much a battle for the lesser of two evils.
Monday September 13, 5:47 p.m.

Well, that was a bit of a surprise. All of us realized that after Medicine Man's sudden cancellation last week that he hadn't officially booked for his next lesson. Technically speaking, there is nothing for me after Miss Genki's lesson. Miss Efficiency has called him on his cell (no response, no surprise) and has just sent an e-mail message over to him. He may not be coming at all or he may have done the same as me and just assumed that he had made the reservation. In any case, I am waiting.

Supposedly, The Journo will finally be coming for his first lesson, over a month after his first meeting with me. No cancellation as of yet. But I've got 4 more days to go.

After that Mixi friend's defriending of me last week, I decided to also do a bit of housecleaning of my own as well. I got rid of some more friends that I haven't had any contact with on Facebook and Mixi. I kinda figured like my former friend that if we're not communicating, why are we still sticking around? Divorce, I say!
Monday September 13, 4:50 p.m.

Well, Summer still won't let us go. Not exactly over 35 C, but definitely not below 30 C either. Needed the Gatsby wipes for sure today.

Strangely enough, the request to Speedy for Saturdays off from next January was given the OK. I had half-expected him to put his head in his hands and scream "WHY?!" However, he was cool with it although he did faintly hint at why I hadn't let go of Sundays. But the important thing is that I will have at least one day totally off from 2011, although I will have to sacrifice Miss Prissy, The Publicity Assistant and The Intellectual...all good students; a pity that they'll have to go off my schedule but I need my sanity still there for my remaining time on Earth.

My sessions with The Jyuppies went well. Unlike the last time, Mr. Jyuppie had a good time with me yesterday...whenever he says "Interesting...", it's always a good sign. As for Mrs. Jyuppie, she's starting to show with a little more than 2 months to go before she has her second child. I'm pretty sure that it might be hard to see them from the last half of November onwards, especially if I'm headed back for Toronto. The family invited me for a Sunday brunch on the 26th at a restaurant near their old place in Komazawa Park. It's called The Bowery and Mr. Jyuppie says that it's the probable birthplace of cafe culture in Tokyo, although Starbucks may want to rebut that.

Had my usual crowd so far for Mondays. Cozy was fine with the last test of his first textbook, so I've given him the big Final test before we start up with the next text. Swank and I had our usual kaffeeklatsch/lesson at Roppongi Hills. After that, it was just traipsing through Ginza, especially Yamano Music. There was one somewhat unhinged woman at one of the listening stations just dancing like the animated Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Of course over here, we just ignore her.

I've got Miss Genki and The Medicine Man...supposedly the latter will come, although with this problem of the Superbug killing patients at Teikyo University Hospital and his status as a doctor specializing in infectious diseases, he may just as easily dotakyan tonight.

Finally, Speedy also informed me that since things are getting a bit bigger and hopefully better at the school nowadays, I'll most likely be losing my Most Favored Nation status at my desk and computer since staff and future teachers will be fighting it out to work at it. Apparently, folks like Miss Prim and Miss Efficiency asked the bossman to delicately ask me to see if I could refrain from playing games and blogging so that they can get at it (I rather sinisterly like it when staffers are somewhat afraid of me) for work. Yup, no problems on that but I will take the change as a sign that perhaps my time at Speedy's is slowly coming to a close. I definitely got NOVA vibes when Speedy told me of the situation...and frankly, I'm never gonna enjoy working at a big place ever again.