Saturday January 22, 12:44 p.m.
Not sure if any of you folks back in the Americas are finding this in your local McDonalds, but the Japanese branches have started up the "Big America" campaign for the 2nd year in a row. Last year, the Golden Arches unfurled a series of 4 "Big America" burgers: the Texas Burger, the New York Burger, the Hawaii Burger and the California Burger to some success. I tried all four and found The New York Burger to be the best of the lot while The Texas Burger was more of a work in progress. Kinda wondered if George W. Bush had been the "inspiration" for that one.
Well, Mickey Dee's has decided to roll out the sequel, starting with Texas Burger 2. I tried it out at the neighborhood branch. It's actually an improvement on the original: it's smokier, has a bit more heat in its salsa sauce and the patty remains meatier. Apparently, the Idaho Burger is next although for the life of me, I have no idea what they would be put in an Idaho Burger (potato stuffing?).
It is indeed my 2nd Saturday as a free man...that is, with no more need to head over to Speedy's. I was able to get my laundry done, get a haircut and get some prints made to send back home. No way I could have gotten that done if I had still been mandated to teach Miss Prissy, The Publicity Assistant and The Intellectual. Having said that, I do miss those guys although it looks like Miss Prissy doesn't seem to want to let go of me that easily; she had her first lesson of the year with me last Monday and has done so for the next Wednesday. The Publicity Assistant will not be showing up until at least March and nothing has been heard from The Intellectual.
I've got that farewell party for Ray tonight over at the Shinjuku branch of Wolfgang Puck's. The burgers there are pretty good, but tonight Ms. Efficiency for the course option for 4400 yen.
Speaking of Speedy's....we got that tiny excerpt on our school on that variety show "The King's Brunch" on TBS about 20 minutes. A bit disappointing since it was basically just one question from the bossman followed by just some very quick shots.
January has customarily been DVD month for me since I've been going through all the sets that I'd bought back in Toronto. I've just gotten done with 2 sets of "Family Guy" which I think now is the animated comedy to beat, and Season 5 of "Doctor Who". Matt Smith's Time Lord has definitely made his mark on the fans....David Tennant hasn't been forgotten but his replacement has more than made himself welcome in my home. The 11th Doctor has that certain delivery in his voice; someone mentioned there was a bit of David Niven's Pink Panther in there, and I could certainly agree. I'm now gonna try out one more set of "SCTV" and "Futurama".
Because of all of the DVD viewing, I've missed out on quite of news. For me, the biggest one domestically has been the sudden resignation of Governor Hideo Higashikokubaru (probably the regional leader with the longest name, outside of governors of provinces in Sri Lanka or Thailand). Over the past 4 years, this former mediocre comedian under the wing of Beat Takeshi has been able to become the most popular governor in the country since he virtually threw himself into the Bird Flu crisis in his home of Miyazaki Prefecture. He earned the tycoon's worth of political capital from that point onwards. During my lesson with The Journo last night at the juku, we discussed about his future plans, and it's very possible now that he may go for the governorship of Tokyo in April after Governor Ichihara's long-awaited retirement. I'm a bit skeptical about what he could accomplish in the halls of Tocho; it's one thing to be the best salesman of a rural province of Kyushu but it's absolutely another to be the head rep of one of the world's largest cities.
The Journo had his trip to The Golden Globes last Sunday. He was just able to score a few minutes with Justin Bieber on the red carpet. What has made The Journo's lessons so interesting for me is that he has the inside track, of course, on what goes on behind the scenes in politics and entertainment. Plus I was able to help him last night figure out all of the snarky comments that Ricky Gervais had been firing as host. I taught him to understand about the host's traditional role as Chief Sardonicist.
Yesterday, I also had the rare opportunity to teach both Swank and Mr. Swank back-to-back. I learned that Swank is also a closet Trekkie, albeit more of a fan of one character in particular: Seven of Nine, which kinda knocked me for a loop. Then from her hubby, I found out that he is the only one who knew who Ruiko Kurahashi was right off the bat. Ruiko is that 80s singer that slipped through the fingers of superstardom and even stardom but has had a very loyal following.
Well, basically you and I are caught up now.