Saturday, December 04, 2010

Sunday December 5, 11:52 a.m.

Well, as half-expected, it was a bit of a misunderstanding in that message I got from Ray yesterday. She was actually asking about last night's Speedy party when she was asking whether I would be showing up. Of course, I did not. However, she was asking whether La Fille and I can be available for lunch sometime before I head on out.

Last night, instead of heading out to a party that I wouldn't have enjoyed and would have lost 5,500 yen for, I just went home and enjoyed a nice small dinner of fried chicken, rice and salad. And just spent the night reading, listening to Xmas music and writing some more New Year's other words, it was bliss.

I came to the I-Cafe and got some stuff done for AK and Cozy. Now, I'll be heading on out to get some Xmas shopping done since I'm in my final full week before home.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Saturday December 4, 3:48 p.m.

Man, what a day! I made it halfway on my commute to Speedy's when I realized that I'd left the textbook for the first model lesson back home. I got into "24" mode and made it Jack-style back home after leaving a frantic message on the bossman's machine. I managed to finally get back to the school with 20 minutes to spare before show time. And luckily enough, the model lesson went swimmingly. She's signed up and will actually be having her first class with the bossman and will probably be seeing me in January. She'll be Miss X-Ray since she is an X-ray engineer.

The following two lessons went well although The Intellectual got a bit of a shock when I told him that I wouldn't be able to teach him anymore past December. I think I should've told him a bit earlier.

Strangely enough, Ray is still willing to meet me tomorrow for Tony Roma's even though no one else can come. So, after my stint at the I-Cafe tomorrow, it'll be downtown, get some Xmas shopping done and then meet up with the lass in Roppongi. I won't mention anything about my recent conflicts with Miss Efficiency but if she asks about her....
Friday December 3, 8:03 p.m.

When I woke up this morning, it sounded and it looked like the deluge that launched Noah's Ark out there. I don't think I've ever seen that much rain hit the dirt that quickly and that intensely since a 1995 typhoon. I'd thought that my chances of seeing The Bass were going to be severely hampered. However, by the time I got out of the apartment 90 minutes later, it was sunny and if Canada had lent us Indian Summer. I don't think I've ever seen that type of meterological switchblade snapback in this country.

It got up to about 21 C today...I had to remind myself that this was early December. Even at this latitude, having the temps reach early summer levels at this time of year was pretty darn unusual. And although the floods subsided, the winds were smashing bicycles and anything not lashed down on the streets. When I got out of Urayasu Station tonight, I was lucky in that as soon as I got out of the ticket gates, the Tozai Line promptly stopped service due to the winds. The line for taxis was reaching Krispy Kreme proportions. Hopefully, the subway will be back online by the time I finish my lessons at the juku tonight.

I was able to teach The Bass over at the Funabashi cafe. Looks like he's been having his usual mellow time with practicing with his band and taking care of his drum business. After my lesson today, I won't be seeing him until late January. Getting over to Speedy's, I had The Shareholder. He was a bit more sluggish today but nothing too surprising. Then I got over to West Shinjuku to teach Mr. Swank. He was as jolly as ever and we had a great time discussing about watching 2009's "Star Trek" again. I have one more lesson with him before the Holidays begin for me.

Once I escaped Urayasu Station, I walked through the gales to The Restauranteur's place. It was atypically bustling tonight, and I went for the most expensive item on the menu, which was the Veal Fillet in Mushroom Sauce. I did promise her that I would have it before I went back to Canada, and I gladly fulfilled my promise and filled myself up with some really tender meat. The Restauranteur was quite surprised by my order.

Anyways, as the winds are still whistling out there, I have to get one more sheet made up for The Restauranteur's lesson later. Yep, once again, The Journo has canned his lesson tonight and his lesson for next week. I take it that the Ebizo Ichikawa nonsense on TV has been keeping him busy. He was reporting on it yesterday.
Friday December 3, 7:24 p.m.

It's been a slightly tumultuous time at Speedy's. I had my 2nd spat with Miss Efficiency in as many days yesterday. On Wednesday, it was about the fact that she objected to my not attending the Xmas party. Yesterday, it was just the two of us in the office when she started her usual haranguing about the bossman and the state of the company. I was in agreement with a number of her issues but then when I tried to sympathize about the fact that she was having a tough time in the office, she unleashed an accusation that I was trying to get rid of her, which took me aback. I tried to explain that that was not my intention but she wasn't hearing anything of it from me, and so the temperature chilled rather suddenly in the office. And I don't think anything has changed today.

I was also slightly disturbed by a couple of statements that she spat out like verbal diarrhea. She said that she didn't trust a single soul; just herself. And then she spoke on her "friend" who she slightly denigrated by complaining that she always tried to change the environment and just listened when Efficiency started getting sore. A friendship without fighting is a fake friendship, she said. Although I know that friendships have their ups and downs, I think Efficiency's level of acceptable battling is much higher than most people would like in their relationships. From some other stuff she mentioned in her diatribe, this is one lady who has Issues.

After that rather tense discussion, I decided to leave the office since I had to teach The New Yorker in Shinjuku. And though I would like to give her a benefit of a doubt, I'm gonna increase the distance between her and me. At least, she and I apparently can still interact professionally since we did talk about work amicably enough.

But the last couple of days has taught me that Speedy may be right in that Miss Efficiency is not helping things by openly shrieking her grievances at anyone who may be in the room. The bossman has his faults but she is bringing morale down. And I discovered that I was starting to harangue like her when I got caught up in her discussion.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Thursday December 2, 8:20 a.m.

Nice crisp Autumn day out there...yes, I do realize we're in December but we're also officially still in Fall.

With the help of Shard, my old friend in Toronto, I was able to secure my very first appointment with a massage therapy clinic when I get back to the ol' hometown. I've had the shiatsu massages here in Japan before although my last visit to a kori toru clinic was several years ago (just didn't think that they were too effective anymore). Over the years via YouTube and several books that I'd bought, I've seen the Swedish version and have always wanted to experience that at least once. Perhaps, Shard's friend can finally reach those knots and untie them. Perhaps I may actually become a new man.

A bit of a Donut Day, as Thursdays often have been, for me. I've just got The Patent Attorney in a few minutes and then some hours later, it'll be The New Yorker and a couple of hours after her, it'll be The German, Mrs. Thursday and The Music Man. I'm sure Mrs. Thursday will have some insights about the second-last episode of "NCIS"'s 6th season.
Wednesday December 1, 8:04 p.m.

Saw 001 for the first time in a few weeks. She'd had a grand ol' time at the Arashi concert on the 19th and so a lot of the lesson revolved around that. But we did have some time to try a mini-TOEIC quiz. She'll be heading for the Honolulu Marathon next week with 002. She's got quite the schedule.

"Space Battleship Yamato" started up today in theatres nationwide. Kinda wonder how the tickets are selling. I still can't believe that Steven Tyler was convinced to give his very first solo song as the romantic theme for the movie. Maybe he was a "Star Blazers" fan 30 years ago.

Anyways, I've got Miss Sony in about 20 minutes.
Wednesday December 1, 5:38 p.m.

La Fille called in just now to say that she won't be coming in tonight since she's got a rather bad cold. Looks like the probability of that Sunday outing to Tony Roma's is getting lower and lower. I got word from Miss London that she can't make it on Sunday and my shot-in-the-dark choice of Skippy turned out to be just that. Well, I'll ask La Fille...if she can come in tomorrow...and if she says no, I'll send over my regrets to Ray and ask if she would like to re-schedule.

In any case, I'll have 001 in about 10 minutes. I haven't seen her in a few weeks, so most likely we'll be talking about her Arashi concert at Tokyo Dome last week. But she did request about TOEIC so I'll get something ready for that as well.

I'm just kinda wondering if all of us are in desperate need of some R & R.
Wednesday December 1, 5:09 p.m.

It was good that I had The Overachiever for the hour just now. While I was teaching the lesson, it did give me time to reflect a bit on what had happened between Ms. Efficiency and me a couple of hours ago. Basically after The Overachiever had left, I apologized for snapping at her and she took it gracefully. Neither of us apologized for our opinions however, so I am still staying away from the Xmas party this Saturday.

The Overachiever was his usual great self...he can carry on the class all by himself. I think the stress levels would've been much tougher for me if it had been someone like The New Yorker or The Medicine Man.

Still not feeling all that great right now despite the mea culpa. But at least I know I still have a nasty temper.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wednesday December 1, 3:34 p.m.

Well, I guess it had to happen sometime. Miss Efficiency has gotten into arguments with Speedy and I witnessed one between her and Ms. Schmooze. Now, I'm just doing a bit of simmering after a brief exchange with her concerning the party. I said that I wouldn't go since I don't generally enjoy parties anymore; unfortunately, I also mentioned the fact that there were two ladies whose company I don't enjoy. Miss Efficiency kept saying that she wasn't pushing the issue but she was. And finally after 5 minutes of back and forth, I just snapped at her that I no longer appreciated talking on the issue and wish that she would back down. She has and there is a lingering frigidity in the atmosphere right now. Miss Efficiency is definitely the first of her kind that we've had here.

However, before things exploded, she had told me that Kirk has officially signed up as a student and would be starting next Monday.

I really don't like to lose my temper although I rarely do. And I don't feel too good about it right now. However, I don't feel much like apologizing to her.
Tuesday November 30, 7:26 p.m.

The Ace came by as promised about an hour ago. It had been about 8 months since he last set foot in the juku. He has always come across as being a shoshoku ningen or herbivore, probably one of the few words that will get the prize of Catchphrase of the Year in a couple of weeks, but he is also a true gentleman. He dropped by bearing a gift in the form of some rather expensive cheesecakes...and this only for a half-hour visit just to say that he would like to come back into the fold in another 5 months.

There have been a few changes in his life during those 8 months. He has, of course, been continuing his education in helping the disabled and will be working next year in a special centre nearby. But, unfortunately, he has broken up with his longtime girlfriend. He also said that he gained a few kilos...I can't really see it myself but I'll take his word for it. However, he said that he will be rejoining my lessons from the Spring.

I've come to enjoy having people over for visits whether it be in the form of lessons such as I have at the juku weekly or a purely social event such as The Ace dropping by after a period of several months. I frankly like those much better than I do full-fledged parties.

Speaking of which, that little trip to Tony Roma's on Sunday may face cancellation since it seems like Ray and I are the only ones that can go. I sent quick word to Skippy but not surprisingly, she already has plans.

I've got The Milds coming over. Mrs. Mild has come back from her trip to France so I gather that the bulk of today's hour will be spent on poring over digital photos and talking about her trip to La Belle Pays. I'm sure that won't bother my students at all.

Tomorrow, the last of 2 packages for The Anime King will be landing on my footstep in the morning, so I may have to stay at home up until noon. I'd been thinking somewhat faintly about watching "Space Battleship Yamato" since Dec. 1 is the release date. But I can catch that anytime this week....and frankly I'm also waiting for the reviews from actual viewers.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Tuesday November 30, 4:31 p.m.

Tomorrow is December, eh? Oooh, boy. It's been a fast year. Well, it's appropriately chilly out there, and I hear that my ol' hometown got its first official snow in the last couple of days.

I had what could be considered by newest student at Speedy's. I think I'll call him Kirk. He's quite a fluent fellow and likes to talk about stuff on the international front as well as about other news-related items. But his delivery is interestingly disjointed....just like a certain Star Trek legend. Anyways, he could start as early as next week.

Met up with The Beehive for the first time in 3 weeks. It kinda felt like a vacation. Mrs. Jade had a touch of laryngitis, but otherwise the three other ladies: Travel, Tee and Alp were in good form. Actually, we didn't talk about the Korean situation but instead got onto a local topic: another celeb getting into trouble. A so-called genius kabuki actor by the name of Ebizo got his bare face reshaped into putty by three punks. Before you start feeling sorry for the guy, though, Ebizo was majorly barhopping himself into a drunken stupor (this on the eve of a major news conference) and ended up at his final bar and got chatty with those chinpira. Of course, the punks were also not too sober, and so one thing led to another, which included the actor smacking the lead punk's head into the counter and pouring whiskey on him. And obviously, the three took rather big exception to that and teaching him a rather major lesson. His relatively new wife had a major panic attack and called the police. Now Ebizo has ended up causing the cancellation of a major annual performance in Kyoto over the Holidays, and I'm sure the idiot will be making his prostrations to the flashbulbs of the media in the coming weeks. I wonder if all that training to become a kabuki actor will now include classes on maturity.

Monday November 29, 6:57 p.m.
"Don't call me Shirley".
That one line turned a character actor's career right around. Good ol' Leslie Nielsen passed away. Another Canadian goes to that Great White North in the sky.
Since I was born in the mid-60s, I knew Leslie Nielsen originally as one of those actors who popped up on just about every TV show that had been broadcast in the States...but in absolutely dramatic roles, whether it be "MASH" or "The Fugitive". But then when "Airplane" came out in 1980, a comedic hero was born.
Nielsen, as Dr. Rumack, came out and just slew everyone with his deadpan delivery, born of years as the straight man, and his hilarious asides including the one up above which opens this entry. Then a few years later, he cemented his newfound status as comedian by portraying the role that he would be forever known, Lt. Frank Drebin, in the original TV series of "Police Squad". The show only lasted 6 episodes, but an insane program like that one couldn't last too long. So, next came "The Naked Gun" several years later which I remember watching on the big screen. The laughter just poured out of us nonstop, as I remember. Regrettably, Leslie Nielsen couldn't really lasso his career into any more different directions and basically nullified any lasting effect by playing the same type of character in other parodies.
Still, he will be known as the character actor who didn't end up fading away in the 70s but ended up making us laugh right up to nearly the end of the century.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Monday November 29, 3:39 p.m.

I've got The Artist coming in about 20 minutes. And Ms. Efficiency and Ray are continuing a custom that has been going on to a disturbing extent since the former started a few months ago. They've been griping non-stop about the bossman's way of doing things, and I've been passively been picking up stuff about what has happened "behind the scenes" of the school. Apparently, Ray at some point in the past rather confronted the bossman about the possibility of a mass walkout by staff.

Venting is par for the course for any company's administrative staff. The president has his/her way of doing things and obviously it won't rub well on everybody. But Ms. Efficiency's tantrums have struck a sympathetic chord with Ray and perhaps a number of the other staffers here and at the kids' school. I think this is going beyond just simple stress release.

Strangely enough, back on Saturday, I ended up having dinner with the bossman, mano e mano, at a nearby ramen place. I softshoed some questions at him about his feelings toward Ms. Efficiency. And true to his personality, the bossman was somewhat less blunt with his comments, but it was also obvious that he also had some gripes of his own about his supposed major domo in terms of her own inefficiencies. And he also had some concerns about how her very open criticisms within the school are affecting staff past and present....and he has every right to be considering what I'm hearing right now.

Before the ramen place, Speedy took me and La Fille to see the new place around the corner. It's on the first floor so we lose the view of Shinjuku. But it is noticeably bigger (mind you, the apartment is unfurnished) and there is a pleasant enough brick patio. The way it was lit, it kinda looked like a jazz bar stage.

Well, anyways, stay tuned for another episode in "As The English School Turns".

Monday November 29, 2:49 p.m.
It was another lunch-movie-dinner Sunday for MB, The Satyr, Skippy, The Wedding Planner and me yesterday. Of course, the movie was "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1". MB and I had our trepidations about this one since we had been so deathly bored by "The Half-Blood Prince" a couple of years ago. But although The Satyr wasn't too happy with it, I noticed that MB and I were not griping nearly as much as we did about the penultimate entry in the Harry Potter series.
And to be honest, it wasn't as bad as "The Half-Blood Prince" although it was still a far cry from "The Prisoner of Azkaban", which I think was the best one in the series. I think the thing that put "Deathly Hallows" a bit above the previous film for me was that it came across as a gritty road more Etonian uniforms and little spats between the different tribes. The war between Harry and Voldemort has begun in earnest with a few deaths having already been committed.
The teen angst, though not completely eliminated, at least has been reduced considerably in this one which makes me quite happy. However, there was that CG rendition of Harry and Hermione doing the nasty that kinda got some of the audience tittering uncomfortably. I have to admit that I was kinda averting my eyes since it rather brought to mind of seeing my own kids having sex.
I will be watching the final chapter when it hits theatres here next August just so that I can say that I finally saw the whole thing.