Thursday, September 23, 2010

Friday September 24, 10:25 a.m.

Politically, it's still blazing here due to the current row between China and Japan. Now, China has detained 4 Japanese nationals on some unverified charges in what is looking like a tit-for-tat battle since Japan hasn't bowed down to Beijing pressure to release the Chinese captain. What it's starting to look like is that the incident will string itself out with a lot of hurt feelings and cancelled exchanges and culminate with a swap of sorts between the two brats. In any case, any sort of "prisoner" exchange is a face-saving ploy on the Chinese side.

Meterologically, Autumn has officially come. It's still nice and cool outside without any of the downpours that characterized yesterday's weather. Probably there will be no more ambushes by Summer for the next several months.

Athletically, it's been a good week. A Mongolian in Japan did himself proud earlier in the sumo dohyo (and is still keeping the winning streak alive), and just this morning a Japanese did the same thing in America. Ichiro Suzuki broke the record for the longest number of 200-hit seasons, and right in my hometown. It's hard to believe that he's been with Seattle for a decade now.

As for me, I got some early shuteye last night in the now-errant assumption that I would be teaching The Photog at about this time. However, with just 15 minutes before showtime, he called up to dotakyan. I could just imagine his reaction at having to cancel his lesson. He would be squirming all over the place and giving his deep apologies in that squeaky voice of his...just like Jerry Lewis in his 50s prime. Well, I still get paid and I now have a lot of time to plow through some more of my latest translation assignment from The Corner. Plus, I did get a nice scrambled egg breakfast at the nearby Jonathan's.

Had a near-meltdown on Tuesday over at the juku. That will teach me from having a Quarter Pounder Set for dinner and then a Peach Jelly with two Iced Coffees for dessert. While I was teaching The Milds...professionally and calmly as insides were basically threatening eruption. However, from vast experience, I was able to hold my intestines under control (though it was a huge matter of mind over lots of matter) for 50 minutes. As soon as I said goodbye to my senior students, I just rushed into the bathroom and finally let everything go. I could only hope that my sigh wasn't too loud.

Well, now that my 1st class has been wiped from the slate, I just have Mr. Swank at his company before the juku classes later in the evening. With my luck, he'll end up calling the school to cancel due to some emergency meeting or business trip. Plus, I've gotta go out to the post office to send off a letter to The Matron's wife...The Lawyer...since The Bass may need some help with that errant distributor out in California.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Thursday September 23, 12:37 p.m.

Well, the weather gods have fulfilled their end of the bargain very well. Yesterday it was officially the final day of Summer and it was sunny with a high of 33 C. Today, the first day of Autumn came in with a pet shop's worth of rain and temps are struggling to go beyond 18 C. So, within 24 hours, we've dropped 15 degrees.

It is the 2nd national holiday of the week since the Autumnal Equinox is deemed in this country as important enough to demand everyone...or almost take the day off. I'm sure a lot of people here will not refute that policy. I was talking with Miss Sony last night about her plans for today which are just to sleep all day. For a lot of corporate drones, sleep is now considered a pastime. She told me that on average she gets just 3 hours of sleep a night during the regular workweek. That would just have me jumping off a JR track. It is with some irony that I reacted to that since I had heard some 15 years ago that Japan would now be entering a period of leisure and try to unloosen their ties. But in the 21st century, it's still an inu-eat-inu world in The Land of the Rising Blood Pressure.

The Japanese government is also earning my above sobriquet due to its current and latest feud with China over its arrest of a Chinese captain for ramming its boat into a Japan Coast Guard ship. Friendship exchanges have been postponed at the very least and even SMAP cannot go perform in Shanghai next month....although I'm not sure if that is necessarily a bad thing. And then there has been news of a possible coverup involving a fellow in the Osaka Prosecutor's Office doing a bit of data-tampering.

However, Japan can take solace that it isn't in India's shoes considering the potential fiasco that may explode in about 11 days in Delhi, I believe. Less than 2 weeks to go before The Commonwealth Games arrive there and apparently less than 50% of the athletes' dormitories are ready and a major skywalk between a stadium and a parking lot has collapsed injuring several construction workers. A majority of the athletes are now considering to engage in one mass event....the thousand-kilometre walkout.

Back to Japan, Paris Hilton wasn't allowed to officially enter the country due to her little cocaine pouch in Las Vegas. At least, the twit could stay in a Narita hotel. 30 years ago, Sir Paul McCartney ended up in handcuffs for just having a bit of weed.

I've been catching bits and pieces of movies on cable....saw an old chestnut by the title of "The St. Valentine's Day Massacre" starring a relatively youthful Jason Robards, George Segal and Bruce Dern. It was an old-style tribute to the 20s with all of the characters all talking and sneering out of the sides of their muoths. And there was a bit of a "Star Trek" alert with Celia (T'Pau) Lovsky as one of the massacre victims' mother and Joseph Campanella who relatively recenty had appeared on an episode of "Star Trek: Voyager". Then, I also caught the tail end of "The Presidio", the late 80s movie starring James Bond and Agent Gibbs. I could see where Mark Harmon got some of his snarl as Gibbs. But it was the first time I'd ever seen Sean Connery cry on screen.

I'm taking it nice and easy today but tomorrow will be a relatively busy day...perhaps in quality if not in quantity. I've got The Photog early in the morning, and he's always rather loosey-goosey about what he wants to talk about. Then it's Mr. Swank who's just got that Tahitian vibe about him. I've made up a tentative curriculum for him which should corral him into line for the next several least up to Xmas.

But the important thing is that I'm happy it's Autumn...and it feels like it!
Wednesday September 22, 7:48 p.m.

It's been a light week thus far. The holiday Monday, the two lessons at the juku last night and only Miss Sony tonight at Speedy's since 001 is gone for the month and The Overachiever cancelled for the month. Plus, Thursday is yet another holiday to celebrate the arrival of Autumn. And the timing could be excellent. It was another hot one in the country...up to 33 C today but tomorrow supposedly promises rain and far cooler temps for the Equinox.

With only the lone student tonight here, I came in just a few hours ago and I've been doing a lot of other stuff along with the prep for Miss Sony's lesson. I've also been coming up with some sort of coherent plan for Mr. Swank since things have been getting a little too loose with him, and at the same time, I've been tackling the new translation assignment from The Corner.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Monday September 20, 1:23 p.m.
If there were something that the beleaguered world of sumo needed, it would be this news. And ironic that it would come in the form of a Mongolian. Mind you, this is Hakuho, the lone yokozuna. And just like John Wayne, he cleaned up by himself to possess the longest postwar winning streak since legendary Chiyonofuji The Wolf did it a couple of decades ago. He also won yesterday which means that he now has 55 wins under his mawashi. He needs 15 more to become the all-time winner. The original Futabayama still has that 69-win streak, unbeaten since the 30s. Now, every time Hakuho goes up from now until the 7th game of the next tournament in November, the media and everyone else will be focusing laser-like on him.
I actually did get my day off after all. I was supposed to have taught Cozy earlier this morning, but I got a call from him last night that he had to go some urgent business outside of the city so he cancelled. Got to wake up gloriously later than expected and had a 200 yen-combi for my MacBreakfast...a Sausage McMuffin and an iced coffee. The usual set with the hash brown comes to 440 yen...good golly, does that mean the potato costs more than then the McMuffin and coffee put together?
Got to teach Yajima yesterday in Den'en-Chofu. Usually during the break, the guy brings out some sweets to munch on. I actually got some coffee-infused chocolates straight from Buckingham Palace since his brother came back from a trip to London recently. Had no idea the Queen was into entrepreneurship.
It'll be a light week by any stretch of the imagination. I've got the 2 days off today and Thursday due to national holidays and the rest of the schedule looks pretty sparse. Basically just two or three lessons on the days that I am working.