Friday, November 19, 2010

Saturday November 20, 12:50 p.m.

Not a lot of time before my 4 hours at the I-Cafe are up, so I'll type fast. Got that checking of AK's translations done. Not difficult at all...just a bit time-consuming.

And I heard that one of the best coaches to take care of The Toronto Maple Leafs in recent memory has died. Good ol' Pat Burns succumbed to cancer. He was supposedly one of the scariest men to cross in sports history but he really did a fine job with our usually losing team and almost got them to The Stanley Cup in the early 90s. I'm sure the Air Canada Centre will be announcing that fact at the next home game.

Good on ya', Pat.
Saturday November 20, 9:13 a.m.

It was a fairly hectic Friday. I had The Bass for the first time in almost a month. He'd been pretty busy with his own business. His injuries seem to be healing steadily since that motorcycle accident a few months ago; still think his doctor was pretty la-di-da with his diagnosis. I suggested a second opinion but he said that it would be way too troublesome. In this country, I wouldn't be surprised.

Then it was off to Shinjuku. I had lunch at Foo Foo. It was the first time that I'd seen my favorite ramen place packed to the gills but then again, it was about 12:30. The operation was very smooth...the head guy was cheerfully exhorting customers to come in and try the noodles while the kitchen and wait staff did their things quietly and efficiently.

Next, I met up with my old colleague from Speedy's, AK. She's now fully self-employed as a professional translator of movie and TV shows. We met over at The Blue Square Cafe in the Cocoon Building...a cousin to the Gherkin in London in shape. She needed some fresh eyes on her latest translation for the American series, "White Collar". So, after this, I'll be spending the next hour or so looking and checking via the USB she gave me. I updated her on the latest machinations of Speedy so the new kids' school took up a lot of the conversation. I also invited her to that nascent plan to head to Tony Roma's next Saturday but she looked rather doubtful.

Of course, I had Mr. Swank later on. He was still pretty jolly but sent a friendly shot across my bow concerning his wife. She seems to be at a loss about what to do for future lessons with me on Mondays. So I took it as I should pull the reins a bit tighter and not engage in so much light banter with her.

Then, it was off to Urayasu and the juku since I had my double with The Journo. Looks like things are going pretty well. He showed his fairly tenacious approach in the art of interviewing during an exercise I concocted. He actually interviewed Kiefer Sutherland some days ago and today, he's got a few minutes with country star, Taylor Swift. I rather begged him NOT to ask her whether she likes Japanese men. I think my mission in life should be to teach local journalists not to ask Hollywood celebs what has got to be the stupidest question in this nation.

Strangely enough, I have no lessons today at Speedy and this wasn't at my request. It just so happens that none of the regulars filled up the space today. I plan on heading over to Shibuya since it is one of those special point days at Tower Records.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday November 18, 5:54 p.m.

Deep in the middle of this donut hole. My last lesson ended at 3:30 p.m. Don't have anything until Mrs. Thursday at 8 p.m. Would've liked to have just gone home but with the round-trip commuting time, it wouldn't have made too much sense to do so. I'll probably just go on and buy something from the conbini.

Found out from Mr. TOEFL, who's now residing in Toronto, that he's going regularly to one of my favorite eateries in Spadina Chinatown, Kom Jug Yuen. Kom Jug Yuen is just located on Spadina south of College St., so not far away at all from The University of Toronto. It's got great BBQ pork and duck on rice for a very pleasant price, and it has some of the greatest chicken soup this side of Canada. The interior and service would take a pampered Japanese customer by surprise but, heck, all I care about is the food.

Kinda hard to believe that in less than a month, I'll be back in The Great White North. Gonna have to start getting ready for the big trip.

Found out that my old friend, The Wild Guy, is now a father to a son. I'm very happy for him and his wife since they'd been trying for years to have a kid. And true to The Wild Guy's nature, his baby is wailing up a storm.

I've asked Shard about his friend's massage service. Found out the prices aren't too bad, especially since I've become well inured to the costs over here in Tokyo. I may take up the offer to get that full-body rubdown.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thursday November 18, 4:13 p.m.
Yep, I think I have fallen in love with this bento right here. Keema Curry is something that I hadn't known existed until I came to this country. I had been so accustomed to just seeing chunks of beef or chicken...and then came this wonderful minced meat sauce on top of rice. And even better, this whole bento comes for the grand price of 500 yen. Truly a one-coin miracle!
Had The Shareholder and The Artist in quick succession. No big problems. So I just have to wait until 8 p.m. for my next pair to come in. In the meantime, La Fille has come back from her research trip in Taiwan. Looks like she had the motherlode of food there according to her Facebook pictures. And strangely enough, Speedy was kind enough to present outgoing Miss London with some cakes from a Setagaya bakery as a goodbye gift. It is her last day today.
Looks like the trip to Tony Roma's is starting to gel a bit more. So far, La Fille, Miss London and Ray may be good to go for the 27th. And crazily enough, it seems as if I've got a completely unsolicited day off on Saturday since no students have reserved classes then.

Thursday November 18, 10:35 a.m.

Well, the past couple of days have been rather focused on this pairing. Yup, Prince William finally popped the question to longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton. Of course, BBC virtually declared a National Holiday when the news came in. Considering all of the dreary news that's been infecting The British Isles recently, something like a Royal Wedding was worth its weight in gold. But then again, data doesn't weigh anything so my metaphor is pretty much meaningless, isn't it? In any case, the Japanese here are also probably quite keen on this news since the Imperial Family over here also has some cultural cachet but not nearly the glamor that the British Royal Family has. I remember watching the wedding of Charles and Diana almost 30 years ago...ironically over in Osaka with the relatives. My memorable crack was about the laundry bill for Diana's wedding dress train.

Also, on this end, I guess all of us folks here must have caused a huge jinx on yokozuna Hakuho a couple of days ago. All of us were guessing that he would get the all-time winning streak in sumo. And then, guess what? He gets toppled on the 2nd day of the Kyushu Tournament. Still, there is nothing wrong with having the 2nd-longest winning streak either.

I took the day off yesterday since I had to pick up the parentals at Tokyo Station. Any thoughts of heading out for kaiten sushi went out the window as soon as Mom suggested that we get home. Plus, Dad preferred to stay home and watch sumo. Mom and I headed out to the local supermarket for about half an hour to pick up an eclectic mix of fried chicken, sashimi and salad for dinner. Still, it was nice having a family dinner.

Today looks like it's gonna be a sunny day...good for the laundry. My parents are at home today. I kinda feel bad about leaving them there but I gotta make my money for the trip home next month.

I had The Patent Attorney this started with the upcoming nuptials of William and Kate and then went into the nuts and bolts of The Royal Family. Grandma Dynamite cancelled her class, so I've got nothing until The Shareholder and The Artist come in back-to-back. Then, it'll be the regular lineup of Mrs. Thursday and The Music Man tonight. Would like to ask Mrs. Thursday about that episode of "NCIS" which debuted last week about the backdoor pilot of "NCIS: Los Angeles".

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday November 16, 6:45 p.m.

Yep, last night was cold. Not cool as in "Ha! I laugh at the Tokyo version of cold" cool, but actually cold. It went down to 4 degrees C which is pretty much the Tokyo equivalent of a deep freeze. I had the blankets on full standby and I even actually turned on the heater for the first time this season.

It wasn't quite a bombshell since I had been hearing the possibility of it from Speedy for some time now. Last night, just before I went out into the deep freeze, the bossman confided to me (he hasn't told anyone else) that it is very possible that by the time I get back from The Great White North in January, the school will be inhabiting new digs...about some 10 minutes walk away from our current location. Basically, it's come to the point that Speedy can no longer keep our current abode and his own apartment without causing some sort of financial meltdown. So, if everything works out in terms of guarantorship and financing, we'll be moving to a first-floor condo that's actually a bit bigger. And the kicker is that the bossman and his wife will be living in the part of it while the school occupies the rest of it. It'll definitely save on his financial wear and tear but those posters of our school showing the skyline of Shinjuku will be going the way of the dodo.

There was no Beehive session today. Instead, I had The New Yorker at our regular Shinjuku Starbucks meeting place this afternoon. She had just come back from Hokkaido to see her friend. Despite the frigid conditions up there, she said that she'd had a good time. I also got my omiyage in the form of scallop crackers...don't knock it. They are pretty good.

I also had Mr. White today. He was in fine form. No sign of any depression. But he was also feeling the chill outside. I've only got Mr. Mild before my day is done. Mrs. Mild is off on some sort of Italian trip again.

I finally caught the pilot episode for "Torchwood", the profane and grittier spinoff of "Doctor Who". It actually did work out pretty well, although seeing the "upcoming episodes" bit at the end of the show, I'm kinda wondering if Russell T. Davies did have sort of agenda by seemingly having every major character in the show shagging a same-sex guest character. I kinda wonder if Messrs. Hartnell, Troughton and Pertwee are rolling in their graves.

Anyways, I just downed some MOW ice cream and hot coffee...not my choice but the juku boss gave them to me. Now I have a sudden urge to hit the can.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday November 15, 9:14 p.m.

It looks like the rain has let up for now. I've only just realized that I had left the bathroom mats out on the balcony this morning. So I'm gonna be coming home to a pair of soggy fabrics that I'm gonna have to dry out by the day after tomorrow when the parentals come back (not an easy thing). Luckily, it looks like tomorrow will be a nice day.

Miss Genki was certainly her usual genki self, although she had a rather lousy bout with food poisoning over the weekend. Looks like that soft-boiled egg did some rather hard things to her stomach. Generally speaking, though, eggs here...even the raw variety...have a trustworthy reputation, which would explain why the Japanese love to use raw eggs for sukiyaki. Believe me, I'm not one of those folks who particularly likes using them, but I can tolerate the stuff if I have to. I don't think I would have that bravery back in Canada.

Looks like The Intellectual has joined my flock on Mixi. And he even joined my foodie community. Not sure if he's gonna give any feedback to any of my comments, though. Still, I am appreciative of his membership. Speaking of the foodie community, I would still love to have an event involving the members but the one person I would like to invite isn't available on the days I would like. Basically, Viva is looking at either the 21st or the 26th. However, I've already got plans with The Bohemian on the 21st (and I'm not quite ready to introduce Viva to someone as Bohemian as The Bohemian) and the 26th is a regular work day...if I'm lucky, I may have some time in the afternoon. I had been looking at American Thanksgiving as a possible incentive to have the first event but it doesn't look really possible.

Anyways, it looks like the bossman is about ready to give up the ghost in terms of his energy levels, so I'll be shutting off myself.
Monday November 15, 7:22 p.m.

Miss Genki should be here in the next few minutes so I'll keep this short. Just an observation. Tonight, Miss Efficiency is away for the next week on her trip to Las Vegas, so it'll be in the capable hands of Ray, who's officially an ex-employee of Speedy's, and even Miss London who will be officially an ex-employee as of tonight, but will still come in on Thursday to fill in. And La Fille is still out there somewhere on vacation. Is there anyone here who is so on a permanent basis?

And speaking of ex-employees, AK contacted me about some possible translation checking this weekend. One's work is never done.

Monday November 15, 6:26 p.m.
I was watching the latest in Season 6 of "NCIS" last night, and it turned out to be the episode "Legend" which was the backdoor pilot for "NCIS: Los Angeles". So, I got to see G. Callen and Sam Hanna with Gibbs and McGee helping to launch things off. I could also say that I got to see a former Robin and a former rapper.

Heard some rather tragic news involving a popular actor. Ken Matsudaira has been around for years and years but he had a bit of a boom a few years ago when a showstopping song called "The MatsuKen Samba" zoomed up the charts. And this year, he's been getting the attention again as a live action version of a beloved anime character. Well, any happiness he may have been gathering over the months just got blown away. His latest wife of a few years committed suicide by hanging in their own home this morning. Sometimes, you just don't know even the closest of loved ones.

In somewhat happier news, the sumo world is abuzz once more since The Kyushu Tournament started yesterday. Hakuho is still on the hunt to get the longest winning streak in sumo history. He got off to a good start by defeating his opponent. So he just has to win 6 more times. This will be done on Saturday. I would be very surprised if the sumo arena doesn't have a full house this weekend.
Monday November 15, 5:08 p.m.

Had another round of hilarious banter with The German instead of the text. She always ends up looking in shock when she sees the clock and the hour has already dried up. The first part of the hour was spent on her griping about her second trip to see the Japanese production of "The Phantom of the Opera". The big problem there was seeing Ken Watanabe's daughter, Anne, in the pivotal role of Christine. When I heard about the casting, I was rather surprised to see that a model was cast in a rather demanding role. Apparently, the encores were very few.

The rains have started falling, and Miss London is shivering from her brief trip to the conbini.

Did forget to mention that President Obama made his little excursion to Kamakura yesterday after all that was APEC had been completed. The lucky tourists who were visiting the venerable town...just several kilometres away from the thrill of their lives when they were able to shake hands and take pics of the Prez. And I'm sure that sales of matcha ice cream are going to go through the roof for the next few months since the media were taking tons of pics of him sucking on a matcha popsicle.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Monday November 15, 1:46 p.m.

Gonna be a rainy one later tonight...and the temps are gonna be plummeting down to about 9 C. That's not too bad for Toronto weather, but for Tokyo, that's considered late December, so the coats and scarves will be coming out.

Had a good session with Cozy this morning before heading over to the Yaesu Underground Mall underneath Tokyo Station and checking out this Genki Sushi place. I was doing the recon for my parents who are coming back on Wednesday afternoon. I could find the place easy enough but it's a fair walk from the station and even worse, it'll be an even further walk from the kaiten to the Tozai Line. I'm not sure if Mom and Dad will be that willing.

Then, I hopped on the Tozai all the way to the end at Nakano. Of course, I just had to drop in at Broadway and the Recomints discount CD shop on the 3rd floor. It was the first time for me to go there in the morning. Most of the places had yet to open since things really don't get going until noon. However, I was lucky with Recomints. Ended up getting yet another Yumi Arai CD, "Misslim", and a Ruiko Kurahashi album. Supposedly, Misslim is the best album that Yuming, whether Arai or Matsutoya, has ever made. Considering that this was 1976, that's not exactly a great sign, but I still think the Queen of J-Pop came out with some good stuff in the 80s such as "No Side" and "Love Wars". And "The 14th Moon" is still aces with me.

Looks like I've got an early night. I've got The Artist in a few minutes followed by The German in a couple of hours. Miss Genki gets in half an hour later than usual, but The Medicine Man won't be having any more lessons until the end of this month, so when Miss Genki is done at 8:30, so will I.

Although Miss London doesn't officially finish her time with us until tomorrow, it'll be my last time to see her today since I don't have classes at Speedy's on Tuesdays. It'll be sad to see her go since she's probably the closest in terms of our mutual like for popular culture.