Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Thursday February 17, 3:11 p.m.

The 4-hour break between The Artist and Mrs. Prissy is helping me get some stuff done such as prep for tomorrow's lessons at the juku. I have yet to receive any cancellation order from the juku boss concering The Journo, so I'm assuming that he'll be ready to go. I've also been able to check the translation response from Cozy. Basically I'm ready to go for Prissy and the evening lessons.

So I may just have some fun with the Mixi photos.

Dollface came by...the first time and last time I'll probably see her. It was only her second time to visit the new Speedy's since she worked at the kids' school. Her first time was during the big move. She has finished her time with us and will be heading to Hawaii for at least 3 months to help out in a musical there. The bossman told me that he'd been aware that her time at Speedy's would be temporary....just to help launch the kids' school. She left us with some scrumptious Japanese culinary tradition.

I bought the latest issue of TIME Magazine back on Monday at Kinokuniya. The cover story definitely peaked my interest: Singularity. Nope, it wasn't about my lone wolf marital status nor had it anything to do with a "Star Trek" or a "Doctor Who" episode. It came across as science-fiction possibly becoming science fact. Singularity, as coined by eccentric scientist Raymond Kurzweil (one wonders if "Ghostbusters" Ray Stantz had been named after him), is "the moment when technological change becomes so rapid and profound, it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history." As it is laid out in the magazine, it apparently refers to the hybridization of Man and Machine by the year 2045.

As a self-confessed geek who sometimes checks in for updates on "Orion's Arm" and who has a passing interest in futurism, I was rather intrigued by the possibilities of what might happen to us in the next few decades. I will be 80 years of age in 2045 so there's a fairly good chance that I will be around....whether it'll be in a retirement home or under a bridge, I'll leave that up to fate. However, Kurzweil will not. He's been on a daily regimen of hundreds of pills just so that he'll be able to make it 2045 in the further hopes that his soul/mind will be uploadable into a computer for immortality. Mind you, he himself will be age that is no longer seen as impossible...and especially in this country, it's an age that can be considered certainly attainable; Japan is a nation which may boast the highest number of centenarians even now. We can all imagine...barring any major natural or man-made many 100-year-olds will be around in the mid-21st century.

Having said that, there was one section in the article which referred to a group of folks who were very attuned to the concept of Singularity. That group kinda struck me as being a bit on the cultish side. And once again, referring to this country, cults aren't exactly seen as being too tu, Aum Shinrikyo? And despite the recorded evidence of the exponentially rising speed of technological progress, to place the moment of Man's greatest Technological Leap in history in a year that's decades away just strikes me as being a bit too sensationalistic on the level of a Y2K scare. It's certainly interesting to ponder but I rather doubt I'll be waiting exultantly in my wheelchair by a USB port ready to be sucked into a digital Eden.

Thursday February 17, 12:49 p.m.

Well, The Artist wasn't all that late after all. After having called us up to say that she overshot her transfer station, she managed to stumble in just 5 minutes late. Kept the lesson nice and happy. Found out that next lesson will be her last on her current contract, so she'll have to talk with the parentals about whether to renew or not.

One down, three to go.

I may have mentioned about this relatively new restaurant which opened up in tony Minami-Aoyama called Fatgroove. And as the name intimates, it is an all-you-can-eat place for 2,800 yen, not a bad price at all in this burg. It also has the southern American dish, known as turducken....the Matrioshka Doll of Western cuisine since it involves stuffing a chicken inside a duck which is inside a giant turkey for a major roast. I'm frankly not sure how a behemoth like this will play inside the behemoth of cities, although over the past several years, buffet restaurants and burger joints have swept through Tokyo like a major typhoon. Still, the gimmick factor is there...and Tokyoites do love a gimmick.

I may give it a try sometime this weekend....perhaps after my lessons with The Jyuppies this Sunday.
Thursday February 17, 10:45 a.m.

With The Patent Attorney out of the daily equation, I actually don't have a Hump Day Thursday; just 4 lessons. I've got The Artist, followed by Miss Prissy, Mrs. Thursday and then The Music Man to clean up as usual. And The Artist has just sent her usual phone call to say that she will be late since she got lost at Tameike-Sanno Station (a big station, to be sure); I just said that well, she's an artist.

A couple of weeks ago, La Fille came to me in some frustration to state that Ms. Efficiency got a bit snippy at her about some sort of administrative function. Basically, it seems that a snip from Efficiency has become a trial-by-fire for all staff here. Now, Ms. Efficiency has just come to me admitting that she's a bit intimidated by La Fille because La Fille seems to come across as being some sort of impatient know-it-all....which rather surprises me since La Fille has always been very sweet. However, I do realize that being an administrator and being a teacher are two rather different things. I concealed some mirth at Efficiency's admission. Not sure what I'll do....just stay out of it or talk a bit with La Fille later tonight.

Thursday February 17, 10:22 a.m.
Back at Speedy's after a very rare Wednesday in which I didn't have to head to the school at all. The Overachiever had to cancel, and since 001 couldn't make it last night, I only had The New Yorker over at Shinjuku Starbucks. And then Ms. Efficiency called me up to inform me that The Patent Attorney had to bail this morning due to a cold, so I was spared the usual Thursday early-morning departure. Not too bad.
So I had the fine pleasure of watching the last of my discs in Volume 3 of "SCTV". Got to see the season finale of "The Days of the Week"...which is actually growing on me as I review it for the first time in a couple of decades. Then the disc had a roundtable discussion amongst the cast at some television museum in California back in 1997, some 14 years ago and some 13 years after the very last SCTV episode had aired in the mid-1980s. There were some great moments in the discussion, including a hilarious Andrea Martin moment in which she impersonated the disfigured Ralph Fiennes from "The English Patient".
However, along with the accolades, there were a few awkward moments which just shows that these comedians are very human after all. One was when Catherine O'Hara not-so-smoothly remarked that the day of the roundtable was the anniversary of John Candy's death. She quickly tried to lift things up by also stating that it was also her birthday...which didn't quite work. I guess her improvisational gifts couldn't quite help her out there. In addition, there just seemed to be a bit of tension amongst some of the cast members, notably Eugene Levy who has struck me as being rather tense in the commentaries, especially with the very jovial Joe Flaherty. And then, Rick Moranis stated that the move back to Toronto from Edmonton was the beginning of the end...which may have struck Martin Short a bit since he had joined from the Magder Studios era. Still, I'd have to concur with Moranis' assessment, though Martin Short did bring a marvelous Jerry Lewis, Brock Linehan, Ed Grimley and Robin Williams. It was also notable that even though Robin Duke was up there on the stage, she ended up just being a middle-aged audience member.
Basically, though, when a huge cast comes back for a reunion, I think some family-like discomfiting moments are inevitable. "Star Trek" reunions with the cast on CNN and ABC several years' back were certainly no exception to this rule.
I've enjoyed Volume 3 so much that I've gone back to re-view Volume 1's discs.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tuesday February 15, 2:58 p.m.
On Sunday, after my lesson with Yajima, I met up with MB and The Sylph in front of Den'en-Chofu Station, and we all went to Katsukyu. It was the second time I'd been to this tonkatsu restaurant just down the road from the station.
It's a fairly narrow place but there were actually not too many people in there at the time and by the time we got our dishes, the place was nearly deserted. I don't think it was because of the quality of the food since it was pretty high on my list. I had the hire katsu course which consists of a leaner cut of pork. I've been pretty much dedicated to hire for the past several years since I now find rosu as just being a bit too oily for even a glutton like me.
The interesting thing for me is that instead of one big hunk of deep-fried pork, I got my dish with three smaller pieces. Perhaps it's just perception but I was somewhat more satisfied with this arrangement. And of course, I had all the rice, shredded cabbage and miso soup I can down, although with all this pork, the one order of sides was all I could fit.

Tuesday February 15, 1:20 p.m.
Yep, this was the scene outside my apartment last night and this morning. Over a period of 9 hours, the Kanto got walloped (by Kanto standards, that is) with some unforecast heavy snow on Valentine's Day of all days. One would think that a new holiday should arise called "Chrismatine Day". But of course, what I haven't shown you is that it's going up to 11 C and 90% of the white stuff has disappeared. That is the efficiency of Tokyo weather. Snow doesn't shrink and blacken into stuff that ought to be carbon-dated like in Toronto. It never overstays its welcome.
Last night, as the white stuff was initially floating down, I had Miss Genki for the first time in about 3 weeks. She hadn't been too genki during her absence since she had been wrestling with a lingering cold but she was in good enough shape to have her lesson. Meanwhile, Kirk was his usual talkative into a good conversation about the Egyptian situation.
Today, since I don't have The Beehive today, I could get 8 hours of shuteye. I just have the juku classes, although I am keeping my ear ready for any further cancellations by Mr. White. If he does come, it'll be the first time in almost a month that I've had a normal Tuesday night there. The Milds are back from New Zealand, so I'm figuring that the lesson will be on their trip to Mordor.
I got word from Ms. Efficiency that The Overachiever has canned his lesson for tomorrow, which means that I effectively have no classes at Speedy's on Wednesday, which is about as rare as a major snowfall in Tokyo, but apparently both have happened. Perhaps it may be time to buy that lottery ticket. However, I have The New Yorker in Shinjuku, so no midweek coccooning for me.

Monday February 14, 6:27 p.m.
Yep, it's Valentine's Day today...and I did get my fair share of chocolates and other sweets over the past few days from folks like Skippy and Swank. It means that I'll have to return the favor in a month. I'm gonna have to budget.
Speaking of things that are red, we had the Movie Gang's first major outing on Saturday when MB, The Wedding Planner, Skippy and I caught "RED" at the Picadilly. However, "RED" was frankly more off-pink; in other words, it wasn't quite the crazed blockbuster that I'd hoped I would get. I think MB put it best when he said that the movie tried to reach for things that it couldn't quite attain. The acting talent was there but there wasn't much good red meat to chew on. MB and The Satyr had caught "The Green Hornet" earlier in the week, and it was basically the same for that movie as well....some good ideas but not much in the execution department. I guess movies with colorful titles might be a bit faded this year...which doesn't bode well for "The Green Lantern".
Afterwards, the four of us went to Moyan Curry, that curry place in Shinjuku that boasts of huge portions and very hot spice levels. Actually, we went to the 2nd branch since the main one is inexplicably closed on Saturdays. The food was still great, though. I'm definitely gonna have to demote myself lower next time since it seems that I can't even handle the regular size anymore; mind you, their "regular size" is about the size of a medium pizza.
After the girls left, I had my first sleepover of the year at MB's place, although we didn't actually catch a DVD until late into the next day....after my lesson with Yajima and lunch over at a local tonkatsu place in Den'en-Chofu. We saw "Jonah Hex" which never made it onto the big screens here in Tokyo and went straight to DVD. Our expectations were about as low as a centipede's belly due to the critical drubbing it had received back Stateside. Perhaps that was the savior since we didn't find it all that bad...although it still rather ranked where we placed "The Green Hornet" and "RED". It was just a story that didn't really get much steam going for it. Heck, we could even endure Megan Fox.
This week is also looking a bit slower than usual since I don't have the Beehive tomorrow. It'll just be the juku duo of Mr. White (hopefully) and The Milds since they are back from their New Zealand sojourn. It's one of the rare cases in which I didn't have any juku classes in a week that wasn't Xmas-related. Also, it looks like Wednesday will be a rare two-lesson day with only one lesson at Speedy's...that being with The Overachiever....and my regular with The New Yorker in Shinjuku.