Saturday, October 09, 2010

Saturday October 9, 6:14 p.m.
I've been here much longer than I wanted to but I had to get some things out of the way such as print out my e-ticket for Canada and stuff for The Jyuppies' lesson on the holiday Monday. Yep, I will be working on that day but then again, I've got all of Sunday to sleep in and explore Tokyo.
Yep, I'm still on that "Funny Face" kick after watching it for the first time yesterday on cable. It's not quite on the same level as "Singin' In The Rain" or "West Side Story" but it was still notable to see Fred Astaire in one of his last hoofin'-and-singin' roles while ironically seeing Audrey Hepburn herself whoop and hoof in one of her early roles. Never thought I would actually see the lass dance and sing all by herself, especially since I'd heard about her voice being dubbed over in "My Fair Lady", but that was indeed her trilling her plummy tones and indeed her kicking it about 50s-choreographic style. I would've loved to have seen her do more of those types of roles but I guess she will always be remembered as the gamine ingenue. Although I found out that Audrey would only do the role of Jo only if Fred was in the movie, it was still fantastical to see a lass fall for a guy in his late 50s. But it is a musical, after all.
I finally got rid of the old chassis TV from my living room. I lugged it down 2 flights of stairs when the guys from the recycling center came to the rescue. One of them just flew up the stairs and swept the TV from my grasp as if it were a feather. I think I may know the fellow from that Urayasu Mikoshi Festival from a couple of years ago. He was one of those guys who just loves to carry the portable shrines and has the humpback to show for it. If he was indeed the guy then he could probably lift two television sets without sweating a drop.
I just had the one lesson with The Businesswoman this afternoon. But the school was totally filled with staffers so I basically had lunch and spent my reading time in the kitchen. Didn't like that arrangement too much although I kept my mouth shut, but unfortunately Miss Prim seems to have sensed something and now she's got a bit of a guilt trip since she was using my usual station for her work. I tried to be good about it and told her that it was OK but with these fragile types, it's never all that easy to convince them. Well, it doesn't matter since I'll be away next week and I'll be away permanently from Saturdays next year.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday October 8, 8:49 p.m.

Well, I finally got the first Journo lesson out of the way after several aborted attempts in the past several weeks. He's a talker all right and I think a good third of the lesson (2 hours in total) was spent on him talking about his brief words with Al Pacino at The Emmys. For a movie nut like me, this was conversational gold. As a student, he does need help with Listening and overall structure, though.

Sigh of relief.

I also caught an Audrey Hepburn movie that I hadn't seen before. That isn't saying much since I've only seen two movies by the gamine, "Roman Holiday" and "Sabrina". But I have to say that "Funny Face" was pretty interesting in the look of New York back in the late 50s...much of what current hit TV drama "Mad Men" is evincing now.

But more later....the juku boss will be here soon for her lesson.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Friday October 8, 11:44 a.m.

Well, as it turns out, my schedule just got halved. I'd actually been informed a couple of days ago that both The Shareholder and Mr. Swank cancelled due to work and The New Yorker let me know she was feeling a bit like the cold yesterday via e-mail. I asked her to call me before 9 this morning. I guess she took that message a bit too literally since I was just about to go out the door at 9 when I got the call from her to cancel. I was caught a bit off guard since her voice didn't sound anything like she usually does in person and I thought I heard a different name so I may have sounded a bit cold to her. I sent an apology letter to her when I came to the I-cafe a few hours ago, so this is where I've been.

At least, I could rest up and have a bit of R&R since I felt like sleeping for a few years after yesterday's all-day stint at Speedy's. And I can approach The Journo's first lesson in somewhat of a relaxed state.
Thursday October 7, 10:37 p.m.

Long day here...came in at 7:30 this morning, will probably be checking out at 10:45 p.m. La Fille noticed that my eyes were looking pretty bloodshot. Hopefully, this wasn't too apparent to The Music Man. In any case, I'm feeling ready for bed.

The New Yorker confirmed that she would be there for tomorrow but she's also told me that she's coming down with a cold. I gave her a potential out by saying that if she feels sick tomorrow that she can give me a call to re-schedule.

Still haven't heard from the juku boss about any more cancellations from The Journo. So it looks like I may finally get to teach the guy.
Thursday October 7, 4:15 p.m.

Never left the school today. I'm just fiddling about on the computer. I've already gotten prepped for The Journo's lesson tomorow; that was the big worry of the week but I figure that I'm about as ready as I'll ever be. I've been monitoring the phone messages. Nothing that would concern him cancelling...yet.

Miss Revlon has left but Miss Efficiency and Miss Schmooze are talking strategy in one room while the bossman is talking with a prospective customer in the other. Still have about an hour and 45 minutes before The German comes in for her lesson.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Thursday October 7, 11:57 a.m.

Yep still here. After an animated conversation about an hour ago amongst Miss Efficiency, new addition Miss Revlon and myself on movies, things have settled into an easy calm. Speedy has yet to show up. I'll probably have to leave within the next few hours since we may have the arrival of Miss Schmooze and The Babydoll coming to fill up the desks here. Maybe at that time, I'll head out for lunch. I don't feel particularly hungry at the moment but then again when one is just sitting down and teaching/surfing, calories don't disappear too quickly.

Now that "Heroes" is slowly fading away from Japanese shores now that the final season is here, "Fringe" is getting ready to take its place. It'll be starting up on SuperDrama TV from the 23rd. Looks interesting and the station has been hitting the campaign trail for it for the past few months. Most likely, one or two of the stars will probably head over here.
Thursday October 7, 9:38 a.m.

Just finished with The Patent Attorney. Our conversations are great but slogging through those patent document proofreadings can be murder...especially for a teacher who only got 5 hours of sleep.

Part of our discussion was on the one piece of good news for Japan this week. Another two Japanese scientists got the Nobel Prize for Chemistry yesterday. Whenever any Japanese national gets some sort of international award, it's almost Pavlovian at how the media starts to salivate. A few weeks ago, it was gamine actress Eri Fukatsu who got Best Actress at the Montreal Film Festival. Now it's these two fellows, Professors Akira Suzuki and Eiichi Negishi. I heard Professor Negishi's English acceptance; he basically sounded like a Nisei or Sansei Japanese-American, and his Japanese had a bit of an odd delivery...I gather that was because of his decades-long residence in America. It was a bit unfortunate to watch on NHK News this morning to see his Japanese reply to his win mostly consist of his insistence that he was still Japanese to the bone.

Well, now that my first student has come and gone, my second student won't be showing up until 6 p.m. tonight. I've gotta prepare for the long-awaited inaugural lesson for The Journo...that is, if he doesn't yet again dotakyan. But I figure that I'll be going out at some point in the early afternoon just to refresh myself.

I received a rather interesting job offer from an acquaintance of mine through Facebook last night. Apparently for the past 6 months, he had been working under a former Minister in Prime Minister Abe's short-lived regime at some sort of science council but was planning to leave. He thought I would be ideal for the position. Frankly, it took me all but a minute to make my decision of NO. He did mention that it could be difficult working under a politician....I sensed some political spinning in that statement. My current job has plenty of ups and downs to keep me going here without having to work under some sort of nebulous personality.
Wednesday October 6, 10:29 p.m.

Thus, another day has come to an end. Miss Sony was charming as always. And Speedy wants to wrap it up.

Got an early start with The Patent Attorney but after that, there is this big donut of time and space until The German comes in at 6 p.m. tomorrow.

Wednesday October 6, 7:21 p.m.
The big lug here is ex-yokozuna Asashoryu...and I would like to emphasize "ex". This is a fellow who had become notorious in his short tenure at the very top of the sumo ranks by being seen on film playing soccer in Mongolia while he was supposed to have been out sick, inciting a major brawl at a pub, slagging off Japan right after his ouster, etc. In any case, he resigned before he was ousted by the Japan Sumo Association. Basically, he was persona non grata.
And yet a few days ago, he got the grand retirement ceremony that every rikishi gets when it's time to hang up the mawashi. It was obvious that his most ardent supporters (apparently around 300...not all that many) filled up...or tried to...the Kokugikan in Ryogoku on Sunday. And a lot of the current wrestlers came up one by one to snip a lock of his hair as is custom. Even his unofficial rival, yokozuna Hakuho arrived to snip a lock of hair although he only gave a very terse greeting. But it was also interesting that there was one old woman in front row who refused to applaud and just gave Hakuho a murderous glare while he was coming up to the dohyo. No love from her at least.
My beef is that if Asashoryu is a disgraced rikishi, then why did he get this extravaganza? I can only wonder what the other ranked sumo wrestlers must have thought. But then again, a lot of those folks are no longer as pure as the driven snow, at least not since this summer when the gambling scandals happened. Perhaps this was the "in" that Asashoryu needed to get his official goodbye party. If there had been no scandal, then he wouldn't have gotten it. It was something that The Milds and I were scratching our heads about last night in class. And it just makes the JSA look that much more ineffectual.
Wednesday October 6, 5:52 p.m.

My stint with The Overachiever went well although I think I'll have to set up something with him about boosting his vocabulary.

In the meantime, it looks like I've had a bumper crop in cancellations. First, Mr. Swank has to head off on a business trip this Friday. Now, The Shareholder cancelled this Friday which means that I'll have nothing to do with Speedy students. I just have The New Yorker at Starbucks in Shinjuku and then it'll be the juku...whether or not The Journo actually can make it. Not quite sure yet and the boss is also rather skeptical. And there has been an incident in which some young teenage boy got stabbed to death in Kobe...The Journo may have to head on out there.

And I did forget to mention that once again Grandma Dynamite has cancelled since apparently her husband has also ended up in hospital along with her brother-in-law. I heard that The Publicity Assistant will not be showing on Speedy's doorsteps for about a month due to work. She may in for a shock when I tell her that I will no longer be working on Saturdays from January.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Wednesday October 6, 2:57 p.m.

Not much of a Hump Day today. Just have The Overachiever in about an hour and then Miss Sony later tonight.

Ended up going to Ginza in the morning to check out Yamano Music. As it turned out, there was nothing that I really wanted to buy there so I just went over to Hong Kong Dim Sum, that Chinese buffet restaurant in Yurakucho that I frequent perhaps twice a year for lunch. I guess I really am slowing down in my gluttonous ways. In past years, I would've been going back and forth between the buffet tables and my table. But nowadays, I'm just taking it easy, chewing each bite the requisite 42 times, going up just three times and even getting lots of salad for bulk and vitamins. Not like the old days.

Before heading over to Speedy's, I dropped by Marronier Gate, the new Yurakucho complex which seems to be designed for the sophisticated (read: rich) ladies. Not surprisingly, the upper floors had tons of restaurants. There was a buffet at some place called Jim Thomson's which looks interesting.

I got the word straight from Mr. Swank that he will have to cancel his lesson this Friday due to a business trip. It'll be too bad to miss that one but at least I can breathe some sigh of relief since I was worried about the commute time from Shinjuku that day to the juku since I'm supposed to have The Journo for his very belated first lesson. Then again, The Journo may also cancel, too.

My bank account is now somewhat lighter as I transferred the money for my air ticket over to the travel agency. But the deed is done...I'll be heading over to Narita in December for the trip home.
Tuesday October 5, 6:47 p.m.

Peaceful interlude right now although it's gone back to humid. Went up to about 25 or 26 today. Not exactly the blistering temps we were getting a month ago but there's still a bit of Summer that's kicking about.

Sent off my niece's birthday card and present this morning. Apparently, she's into little white mice so my brother belatedly advised me to get something of that sort for her present but I'd already gotten her a Miffy book...not quite mice but still little and white.

We had the 2nd Beehive class in our new home of the nearby community centre to Tsudanuma Station. Instead of the small tatami room, we got the bigger room with table, chairs and blackboard. It reminded me of our old home at the Ace Lanes Bowling Alley that we had had to vacate a few years ago. Mrs. Travel, as is her nature, did a bit of downright civic traveling via the English-language Hato Bus tour in Tokyo. She had been so impressed with it that she suggested going on a similar metropolitan jaunt for one of our final lessons of the year as a field trip. Sounds nice to them but since the only tours available are either all-day or evening, I'm pretty much out of the loop. Mrs. Jade had a gripe...a very rare one and not too violent, although it was obvious she was consternated...about her other English teacher, a middle-aged British woman who also has a side business as a gaijin tarento in commercials. According to Jade, her teacher of 4 years is very self-possessed but tends to look down upon (at least to her) her students, and especially Japanese women apparently, since they seemingly come off as being shallow and too obedient (obviously, this British woman hasn't been to Shibuya although some of the young folk there are probably as shallow as they come). In any case, Jade and a few of her classmates felt that their teacher crossed the line when she assigned them the homework assignment of show n' tell; Jade felt insulted in getting a children's activity. I suggested to her that she and her classmates should make it clear to her about their feelings but Jade said that they will demur and endure for the remaining lessons in the year since their teacher will be leaving for home permanently after Xmas. After hearing that, I kinda wondered if the teacher had a point.

Then I was off to Urayasu City Hall to help out my old friend who wants to get a divorce. That website wasn't too helpful in telling me exactly where the Foreign Assistance Desk was. I first ended up at Shin-Urayasu Station, in the heart of Chiba's trendiest neighbourhood, where the nearest government building only had an International Friendship Association but nothing to help me about my friend. However, it was evident that Shopper's Plaza or MONA had gotten some major upgrading to match the surrounding area's rise to Aoyama-dom.

Nope, in actual fact, I had to take the bus for a couple of kilometres to reach my intended destination of City Hall where a kind lady from Poland took me down to the relevant desk and the staffer there hashed things out amongst the three of us. Basically, it ended up that my friend and I will be doing some correspondence tag with various documents unless the Canadian Embassy in Malaysia gets its act together.

My main gripe with Urayasu City Hall is that it's a devil to get to...although maybe that was the intent. Buses heading back to Urayasu Station come only once every 30 minutes and it's probably a 40-minute trek on foot. Most likely, I'll be making another trip there next week to follow up on my friend's request.

At the juku, I've had Mr. White. He's got a rather fragile constitution but was all smiles for today at least. The Milds will be here in less than an hour.

For tomorrow, I found out that Grandma Enka won't be making it for her monthly chat session with me. Speedy informed me that her husband had collapsed and was rushed to hospital. That doesn't sound good at all. So, she'll be away for the rest of the month. I kinda wonder how that might affect her sister, Grandma Dynamite, although unless things get really bad, I think she will still come for her lessons. Therefore, my first lesson tomorrow will be with The Overachiever at 4 followed by Miss Sony at 8:30. Yup, 001 will be away for one more week. My most senior student at Speedy's is coming perilously close to the end of her contract, and methinks that she's dragging it out. I think she may have two more left but I'm frankly doubtful that she would want to continue after 5 years.

On the nice front, Speedy also told me that Mr. TOEFL will be coming back for just two more lessons after his 3-month stint in North Carolina. He's actually supposed to be heading to Toronto in 2 weeks for another multi-month session so it's very likely that he and I could meet for lunch or dinner. Would love to introduce him to some of the folks back at home.

And after an absence of several weeks, The Satyr and MB have called in. The Satyr is planning a little BBQ at their apartment sometime in mid-October. And MB has asked me to do the usual DVD Night beforehand although I do have Yajima on that Sunday morning. In any case, it'll be great to see them again.

Anyways, I got a lot off my chest today.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Monday October 4, 8:46 p.m.

A fairly busy day. I had my usual tandem of Cozy and then Swank before I headed off to Ginza, but unfortunately Yamano Music was closed that day. Then I crossed the street over to the new Jenga-ized Mitsukoshi...I say, Jenga-ized since three new floors got built upon the original in the past several months. All of them are restaurant floors. As expected with something that is new in Tokyo, there were tons of lineups. Never meant to have any hope of entering any of them.

Then I ended up going to Shinjuku where I directly went to No. 1 Travel's office on the edge of Kabukicho to purchase my ticket for Toronto. Yep, for the third consecutive year, I'll be heading back to The Great White North for Xmas. When I checked their website, I'd thought that I didn't have a snowball's chance in Hell of getting an Air Canada ticket since I couldn't find anything there. However, as I made my request to the young lady at the counter, I could snap up one with no problem. As usual, all of the taxes and surcharges pretty much threw out the discount out of the ticket.

However, I'll be seeing my parents even more than average since I got the heads-up from Mom that she and Dad will be hopping over next month. And they'll be spending a few nights at least at my place...which means the next few weeks will be busy with cleaning, defumigating and exorcising. Nothing like the parents coming over to visit to spark a son into action.

Strangely, I've got The Medicine Man on the slate, and he hasn't called to cancel yet.