Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday February 10, 6:11 p.m.

Three classes smashed together and then a few hours of nothing. Such has been my afternoon. But The Carolinan should be here shortly and then it'll be another couple of hours before The Music Man comes in. I don't know but it certainly didn't feel like there would be a snowstorm coming in tomorrow when I went out to get my bento earlier. It felt pretty warm out there.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Thursday February 10, 10:50 a.m.

Got the phone that The Artist will be late by 15 minutes which regrettably means that she'll only be getting 45 minutes of lesson since I've got The Shareholder and Grandma FON back-to-back-back. However, I hope to remedy any loss by giving her those chocolates in recompense. When Miss Efficiency remarked that The Artist didn't seem to mind wasting her money whenever she decides to come in late, I just said that she's being an artist.

I was able to get Cozy's latest translation done although I can't be quite sure about the quality this time. However, I'm just happy that I can send over the draft before the 3-day weekend. They're calling for snow tomorrow here in the Kanto although I won't believe it until I see it for myself from the warmth of my futon.
Thursday February 10, 8:18 a.m.

It's the last day of the week since we've got that national holiday tomorrow, but it's also my Hump Day since I've got 6 on the slate. I'm gonna feel rather sorry for The Music Man tonight. Mind you, 50% of the lessons are bunched together so there will be some open spaces on either side.

I've gotten a little chocolate for The Artist since I screwed up on her appointment back on Monday. I know that I apologized profusely to her but I don't think it's quite enough for me. The chocolate should take my guilty conscience over the top.

Yesterday's two lessons went smoothly. The Overachiever had a good session prepping himself for his MBA interviews. It's always good when the atmosphere is more collaborative than just teaching one-way. And 001 was her usual jovial self. She appreciated borrowing my Mr. Boston book on bartending since she can look up the cocktails that her idol, Masaki Aiba, makes up on his "Bartender" show. I won't see her for about 3 weeks due to the vagaries of her work.

One thing I won't miss about this job is the long Thursdays.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Wednesday February 9, 1:35 p.m.

Just after I had logged off at the I-Cafe yesterday, I found out from the juku boss that Mr. White had once again cancelled his lesson which left me with my 2nd free Tuesday night in a row. I'll have to be careful not to get too accustomed to that. So, I didn't bother going over to The Restauranteur for dinner last night and just did my Spam and rice at home. Then it was just continuing my preliminary work on last year's taxes and otherwise relaxing at home.

I actually used for the first time in several years to purchase a couple of discs that I hadn't been able to find anywhere in The Big Sushi. The last time I used the site was to get Anita Baker's very first release; at the time, it was easy to pay COD. Now, things are a bit more complicated, but only a bit more. Instead, I had to go to some machine in the local Family Mart convenience store and punch in some numbers before paying at the cashier. Very quick and easy. Convenience stores here are truly convenient stores.

The discs that I purchased via Jeff Bezos' brainchild were both from The Manhattan Transfer, "Extensions" and "Bodies and Souls". These two, along with "Mecca for Moderns", make up what I call their AOR trilogy in the late 70s/early 80s. Speaking of the group, it looks like Hauser and the gang are once again making the touring rounds of Japan in March. I did go to that concert of theirs at the local Blue Note last year, and basically though it was thrilling to see them live, I'll have to see what they're gonna sing before I decide whether to spend the yen again.

Today, I've just got two students, The Overachiever and 001...pretty quiet for a Wednesday considering the last two of them. The Overachiever is prepping up for an MBA interview so I printed out several pages that he'd directed me to which contained all of the tricks of the trade for him to do his best. As for 001, I've brought over a book on bartending recipes since she's now watching her idol, Masaki Aiba of Arashi, star in a TV Asahi late-night drama called "Bartender". I also have to finish up that last translation for Cozy by tomorrow. And tomorrow will be another Hump Day with 6 on the slate.

Looks like we may have snow in the forecast for Friday. It's gonna be National Foundation Day, which means for most people, Extra Sleep Day.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Tuesday February 8, 1:51 p.m.

Like me, you probably grew up in the 80s in Canada or stayed up late on Friday nights on NBC at the same time, if you can recognize this fellow. Yep, it is indeed a young Eugene Levy (of "American Pie" fame) when he was doing Bobby Bittman on the legendary "SCTV".

"HOW are yuh?"

I've been continuing the viewing of all those DVD sets I got back in Canada 6 weeks ago. And Volume 3 of "SCTV" is on my screen right now after having gone through "Doctor Who" and "Family Guy". I'm also finishing up on "Get Smart", the original series with Don Adams and Barbara Feldon. The two are similar in that I'm not enjoying them for the laughs but basically for nostalgic purposes. Both of them do have their moments but a lot of the scenes have only managed to get just chuckles from me. However, I guess for me it's just seeing these beloved characters from my childhood and adolescence once more that have given me the pleasure.
The 5th and final season of "Get Smart" has been especially interesting for me since for all intents and purposes, it is the first time I've seen these episodes since I (barely) remember them being first aired in 1969-1970. For some strange reason, these episodes have never been put on reruns. So up until last week, I had only hazy snippets of the Smarts' twins being born; Max, 99 and The Chief being aged; and that opening sequence of zoom shots of Washington. As it is, though, I can see why this was the final season. Things were getting rather weird in terms of plot, even for "Get Smart", and 99 was becoming almost as goofball as her husband. Plus I can see where some fans started getting a bit disappointed when Max and 99 started searching for baby formula instead of KAOS agents. I'd say that the show "jumped the shark" once Max and 99 finally got married several years before the term became a part of Hollywood lingo via "Happy Days".
As for Cycle 3 of "SCTV", this was the final season for Catherine O'Hara, Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas. Although I think John Candy and Eugene Levy are comedic icons, "SCTV" jumped its own shark once those three decided to leave and "The Days of the Week" soap opera parody started.
Tuesday February 8, 1:39 p.m.

Looks like Winter has come back to the Kanto. Pretty brisk out there. And I heard that snow may be in the forecast for this long weekend.

Speaking of the long weekend, I'll be meeting up with MB and Skippy for the first time this year. In fact, I'll be doing another sleepover at MB's place on Saturday night although I'll have to teach Yajima on the following Sunday. The movie of choice on Saturday will be "RED", that mindless piece of escapism with the old guys: Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and John Malkovich. Should be fun for a few laughs. I'll have to see what Movie Buddy thought about "The Green Hornet".

My session with The Beehive had a temporary place this morning in the form of a place called Cafe Nard in Funabashi. It sounds like a coffeeshop in Eastern Europe. It was Mrs Jade's idea to hold it there since she passes by the place daily. It's actually across from the cafe where I usually teach The Bass and is located where a former supermarket used to be. That may explain the slightly unusual configuration. For a cafe, it is rather long and wide. I almost felt giddy with all of the walking room and legroom I had.

It'll definitely be a quiet day since I've only got Mr. White today at the juku while The Milds are off in New Zealand. We may end up gabbing on his trip to that Boa concert in Yoyogi about a couple of weeks back. Then I'll make another trip to the Restauranteur's place nearby for some dinner. It'll make for a pleasant Tuesday night.
Tuesday February 8, 1:26 p.m.

Sumo seems to be reaching a pivotal moment in its centuries-long history. A couple of years ago, there was that case of a stablemaster and some of his young charges beating a junior rikishi to death just because he wouldn't get with the program. Then last year came that scandal concerning certain wrestlers who were illegally betting on baseball games. There was some hope of redemption while yokozuna Hakuho was on that record-setting winning streak.

But then the bottom fell out once more in the last couple of weeks when it was revealed that match-fixing was the latest thing to afflict the sumo world. In Japanese, it's known as yaocho. For those who are fairly knowledgeable about the Japanese language, the word might seem rather familiar to yaoya, which refers to a vegetable stand. Well, back in the Meiji Era, an owner of a vegetable stand had been known to purposely throw I-go games to a friend so that the friend would have chances to balance the odds.

In any case, heads are gonna roll, mostly in either the junior makunoshita division or in the middle juryo division. No surprise there since the rikishi who inhabit these two lower levels don't make a whole lot of money; in fact, I'd say that life in the makunoshita is just about equivalent to indentured servitude. And when one is living in or near the world's largest city, all that temptation can make one desperate for the cash. So far, 14 wrestlers and stablemasters have been targeted in the investigation of which just a fraction have fessed up.

The Japan Sumo Association has cancelled next month's Spring Tournament. A tournament has not been cancelled in over 60 years and this is the first time that a tourney has been canned due to some malfeasance. And indications are that this may not be the only one to get canned.

I think the entire world of sumo now needs a major, major overhaul. It may take something like a year's sabbatical to get its house in order. I mean, Canada had to live without hockey for a year due to a strike. Why not sumo? It's not as if sumo is the most popular sport in the country right now, so any absence wouldn't cause a major panic in the streets. And I think with all the talk of ancient tradition, the sport probably does need some major updating in terms of regulations.
Monday February 7, 9:32 p.m.

Well, the past number of days have been rather up and down professionally. The up parts have been thankfully my lessons with The Jyuppies and Mr. Swank since they are always very engaging. As for the down part:

The first thing was back on Friday with this fellow who I'd thought was an acquaintance of Mr. Jyuppie. But I didn't read the fine print and it turned out to be a friend of Mr. Jyuppie's buddy instead. I'd thought that I would be meeting a guy who was about the same status and income level as my student, but when I met him at the Tully's in the Akasaka Twin Tower, it turned out to be a very fluent high-flying executive of a management consulting firm of a Director level. Imagine his surprise when he met this fellow in sneakers with lapsed business cards who often conducts meatball English classes. I'm sure he was expecting someone on the level of a one-man school replete with self-published textbook. We spoke cordially in Japanese and English for an hour, and then he quickly took off. Although I could be wrong, I got the distinct impression that I was probably not his cup of tea. Different tax levels, to be sure.

Then the second bomb came just this morning. I'd done something I had never done in my years at Speedy's. I completely screwed up the time I was to meet The Artist this morning. Even though I'd put it down in my schedule for 11 a.m., I stupidly assumed that it was noon. So it was with some surprise that I came in at 11:15 and saw a blank-looking Artist staring at me while Miss Efficiency burst out and asked with some shock about where I was. I felt lower than a centipede's corns and profusely apologized to my young student. She was very gracious but even several hours after the screwup, I still feel pretty lousy about it. I kinda feel like getting her an early Valentine's Day gift for her on Thursday morning in continued penitence.