Thursday, November 04, 2010

Thursday November 4, 10:40 p.m.

We've come to the end of another broadcasting day. A long one, as usual, too. Finished up with Mrs. Thursday and The Music Man. Both have their bugbears involving fluency but they always give a good effort. It's just La Fille furiously tapping away at the keyboard since she knows that I can't leave until she's finished her work...I've got the only key and Speedy is not coming back tonight.

As I said, The Bass has dotakyan'ed his lesson tomorrow so I've got some time to get a big mat at Daiei to line some of the ruined tatami in my living room. Then, I'm off over to Uniqlo to get a couple of pairs of pants to replace some of my worn out ones. And from there, I've got my classes with Mr. Swank and the Friday night juku crowd. There is no exasperated call from the boss stating that The Journo has cancelled yet again so he may indeed show up for tomorrow.

Thursday November 4, 5:04 p.m.
That building is Harmony Tower, one of the many monoliths that reside in West Shinjuku/Nakano-Sakaue. However, for all of the hundreds of people and dozens of offices that must inhabit the place, I'm only interested in one store in the basement...the 500-yen bento shop. I got myself an interesting lunch today....keema curry (ground meat in a curry sauce) with some chicken fritters. Definitely kept me nice and satisfied.
Got word from The Bass. Looks like he won't be able to make it tomorrow, which means I'll be out 3500 yen but at least I'll have time to get a large mat for my living room in preparation for the parentals' arrival on Sunday. The mat will cover up a hole in my tatami.
Miss Efficiency was being hypothetical with me by asking what the possibilities were of me teaching a 6-hour (!) seminar on all of the facets of e-mail. In response, I was quite certain that I wouldn't be able to handle something like that at my age and level of incentive. Besides, I don't think a teacher should use 6 hours to teach an e-mail seminar. It'd be the short cut to a burnout. Plus, if one is gonna give as much practice as possible, then just make up a weekly short class.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Thursday November 4, 12:58 p.m.

I was somewhat dismayed to hear from Mr. TOEFL, who's now living in Toronto, that he had his bicycle stolen just a week after he'd bought it. As a Torontonian, I always feel bad when a guest has had some wrong done to him or her in my hometown. I can only hope that he's become tougher and wiser for the experience.

Well, I got my stuff done for Mr. Swank's lesson tomorrow. I'll probably check over the stuff for The Journo in a few hours. I did get my weekly 500-yen bento from that place under Harmony Tower but I won't have at it until I finish my lesson with The Shareholder. I tend to get quite groggy after lunch and having someone as taciturn as The Shareholder would possibly lead to some embarrassing situations.

Miss Revlon came back from her own lunch run to get some oden. I've never been a huge fan of the famed stew of fish cakes, tofu, and boiled eggs that are de rigeur at every convenience store during the Winter months but if invited by a friend, I'm always open for it.
Thursday November 4, 11:06 a.m.

Looks like we've got nearly a full crew right. It was just Ms. Revlon and myself when Grandma Dynamite came in, but coming out, we've been joined by the bossman, Miss Efficiency and Babydoll. And Speedy is quietly but frantically getting his model lesson stuff together since his model lesson student ended up coming a full hour ahead of schedule.

As for Grandma Dynamite, she was having some problems with retention and didn't seem as genki as she usually is. I gather today's cooler weather may be a factor.

Speaking of not feeling well, I'm sure President Obama and the Democratic Party are feeling the pain of getting politically slapped in the face yesterday after losing big in the Midterms. It wasn't totally unexpected...the media had been reporting that The Democrats would be losing The House of Representatives for some time, but I'm sure they were also stunned by the extent of the loss of the seats. That famous moment of 2 years ago when Barack Obama had become the first semi-African-American to become The Most Powerful Man on Earth has become even more wistful. I can just imagine when he comes to Yokohama this weekend; the other Heads of State will be greeting him a bit embarrassingly: "Ah, hi, Barack...ah, um, I'm sorry for your loss..."

Well, I've got The Shareholder in about 2 hours.
Thursday November 4, 8:12 a.m.

One of those days has just begun....woke up a half-hour late so I reached a personal best by getting dressed and out of there in 10 minutes. As it turned out, I got to the school only 20 minutes later. My professional start doesn't begin until 9:45 but Ms. Revlon is supposed to come and pick up some stuff here for the kids' school at about 9. The Patent Attorney had to cancel his lesson today because of his annual checkup.

Yesterday was Culture Day, and I actually partook of some of it, albeit it was British in origin. I watched the first 2 episodes of BBC's great miniseries "Jekyll" and the last 20 minutes of the finale. Unfortunately, I did have plans in Jimbocho which I wouldn't change so it'll be up to searching for the DVD series, perhaps back in Toronto. It's quite the treasure trove for "Doctor Who" fans since it was written by Steven Moffat, the best writer and now-showrunner for everyone's favorite Time Lord. Not only that, but it has James Nesbitt and Paterson Joseph, two actors who had been at least rumored to become the 11th Doctor, Gina Bellman from "Leverage", and even Denis Lawson, Ewan McGregor's uncle and much more famously, Wedge Antilles from "Star Wars" (couldn't recognize him until I saw the end credits). I could see why Nesbitt was considered to become the good the modern-day Jekyll and Hyde, he was able to show his two sides magnificently and with typical snarky British wit. The episodes that I did catch definitely had me glued to the TV (although it wasn't enough to keep me from heading over to Jimbocho) and had me wishing that it hadn't been such a short series...but isn't that a hallmark of a fine show? Although it was pegged as a horror-suspense, it came across to me more as a science fiction-mystery with some dollops of humor. All I can say is that when Matt Smith decides to hang up his TARDIS, Moffat should really consider getting Nesbitt as Doctor No. 12.

As I said, I skitted over to Jimbocho for the afternoon to head over to Tacto, that shop specializing in old 70s and 80s CDs. I did pick up a couple of them. One is by legendary chanteuse Hiromi Iwasaki; I've been collecting some re-masters of her stuff over the past couple of years. I picked up "Disney Girl" which is her tribute to some American and European standards such as "Niagara" by Marvin Hamlisch and "Umbrellas of Cherbourg". I think the album was released back in kinda presaged her career on the stage, singing in productions like the Japanese version of "Les Miserables".

The other disc is from Junko Ohashi, a pop singer who had a couple of huge hits back in the early 80s, and has been kinda just there over the past 35 years....never became a superstar but has released many albums and has her own loyal following. I picked up her 1980 release of "Hot Life" and listened to it last night....sounds like a typical New Music record of that time period...a lot of jangly guitar and some analog synths. I bought it solely on the appearance of one song, "Canadian Lullaby" which I'd first heard almost 30 years through the lyrics as I was listening to it. Didn't have a single mention of anything remotely Canadian or Maple Leaf, no beavers, no Banff, and the synthesized fanfare that I figured was to evoke a foreign Canadian-ness actually sounded as if it should be from Great Britain.

Today isn't too bad schedule-wise. I've got Grandma Dynamite, The Shareholder and then it'll be a donut before Mrs. Thursday and The Music Man show up. Still, I think I'll be able to fill up some of that donut with preps for tomorrow's lessons with Mr. Swank and....maybe, just maybe..The Journo, if he doesn't cancel yet again.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Tuesday November 2, 6:25 p.m.

Looks like after observing several students suffering from the cold over the past few weeks, it is my turn to get the germ. In a bit of role reversal, Mr White (who did come back today for his juku lesson after skipping last week) was in fine spirits while I was sneezing and sniffling through the lesson. Luckily, the meds have finally kicked in.

And it looks like I have a bit of egg on my face. Last night, Miss London had given me a plastic bag of Trick Or Treat chocolates to munch on, but she neglected to tell me that the bag was for everyone, not just for big ol' me. I did take them home and they're now residing in my fridge. Speedy asked me innocently about them via e-mail and I fessed up. Luckily for everyone at Speedy's, I hadn't gone to town on them so I will be able to bring back enough for all; but just in case, I'll probably buy some an extra bag of chocolates in Tokyo tomorrow.

Speaking of which, I'm wondering about heading over to either Nakano or Jimbocho to take a look at some vintage old CD shops. If I am to buy that extra bag, I'll have to take a look at a Sony Plaza shop or head over to Kiddyland in Omotesando.

Strangely enough, The Bohemian has contacted me after several weeks' absence. As usual, he would like us to hook up for some dinner, so I suggested the last couple of Sundays. Apparently, he has made friends with an English teacher who also comes from the place where he had gone to high school, Grand Rapids in Michigan.

In any case, I have dinner to get from the conbini.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Monday November 1, 4:44 p.m.
Well, it started out as a prototypical Tokyo November day...overcast, not too cold, not too hot and slighty misty out there. Then, the weather had to ruin it by bringing out the sun. Mind you, it was the first time in several days that we've actually sunny weather. I was starting to getting used to the idea of drying my clothes inside the apartment.
Yep, that is indeed Maxwell Smart Agent 86 up there on the left. I'm in the middle of watching Season 3 in the DVD series. Definitely some changes noted when compared to the first two seasons. Agent 99 gets a bit more openly exasperated at Max's idiocies as compared to her mere eye-rolling previously, there are more examples of stunt casting: Johnny Carson, Buddy Hackett, Joey Bishop, Don Rickles and even Bob Hope, and there's even some threat of real drama getting into the proceedings...namely when 99 announces that she's leaving CONTROL thereby breaking Max's heart in "99 Loses Control". There is also the episode "The Groovy Guru" which was picked as one of the Top 100 Comedy Episodes in history....sorry, but I've gotta agree with the guy behind the fansite when I say that I didn't find anything there that would put it in that august group alongside Mary Tyler Moore's "Chuckles Bites the Dust" or the pilot episode of "Mork and Mindy". It was only notable for three things: 1) it was Max versus the hippies, thereby giving future generations a glimpse at late 60's pop culture, 2) 99 actually gave Max a cute kiss on the lips...almost a half-season before the two finally confessed their love for each other, and 3) 99 dancing...I will never tire of Barbara Feldon shimmying.
So far, I've only had Cozy this morning since Swank is off again today. I actually got to meet the missus as I was making my way out of Cozy's office since she apparently also helps out. I've been hearing about her for over a year from the juku boss, and had the impression that she was this former beauty queen....hmmm, not really, just seemed like a normal middle-aged office lady.
Since the parents will be arriving here in less than a week, I've gotten started on the attempted beautification of my apartment (kinda like trying to make Woody Allen into James Bond...yep, I am indeed referring to his role in the first nutty "Casino Royale"). I bought some new pillows to replace the ones I've had for about a couple of years, and I've thrown out a lot of well-past-their-date seasonings that The Iconoclast had dumped on me back when George W. Bush was in his first term. I've been able to stuff a lot of junk in the small cupboard that had been lounging on the upper shelf like a bunch of squatters so the kitchen is looking a bit cleaner.
This week will be split into 2 mini-weeks since Culture Day will be on Wednesday. I kinda wondered why Culture Day wasn't made into part of a long weekend like some of the other holidays on the calendar, but then again if it had been done so, then probably everyone would treat it as an opportunity to hit the road for a domestic vacation. With it on a weekday, most likely everyone will stay put and therefore perhaps pay more attention to its significance....not that I particularly care myself. However, I am grateful that there are 2 mini-weeks.