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Sunday, March 11, 2007

It was a grey and stormy morning in Shibuya-ku today, as I hiked down to teach at 10 am. You know its raining too hard to go out cheerfully before noon on a Sunday morning when the sound of the rain pounding wakes you up at 6:30 from a cozy sleep in your nice cozy bed with your cuddly dog (yea, no troubles going back to sleep!). Sure enough, it was a soggy slog down to the New Yorker's Cafe, and I even managed to do in an umbrella. For the first time in my life, which is pretty impressive given that I live in what must be one of the WETTEST locales in the world. Actually, I just never used an umbrella before this year (Yikes, I hope this doesn't mean I'm turning into a softie!) In any case, it was a sorry sight!

Teaching was, as it tends to be with this guy, boring and more of the same. Try as I might to steer the conversation into more exciting waters, we always end up discussing the customers that annoy him the most, make his life more difficult, and in general annoy him, as well as possible small talk topics (he's disproportionately fond of discussing the weather). Nevertheless, he's on time, doesn't cancel, pays me extra (it was his idea), and leaves promptly, so I really, really can't complain too much.

After we finished, the sun was sort of peeking out a little bit, so I wandered around Shibuya randomly for awhile, swung past Tower Records (mmmm books!) for a bit and then headed home. In the bookstore, I found a really cool photographic book about this neighbourhood in an inner city area (in Philly?) where there are hundreds of horses, mostly off the track, being ridden by all sorts of guys who would otherwise probably be in gangs and stuff. It seemed like a pretty cool grass roots sort of thing, and some of the photos of the horses walking around by gas stations, sketchy areas, scary alleyways etc. were pretty interesting and 'juxtaposy'. Did I write down the name of the street? No. Do I remember the name of the street? No. Damn it! I guess I'll just be going back next week ;).

Came home and spent a couple of hours lounging around, trying to decide what I would do if I went back out. Eventually, the sun came back out (it had rained for awhile again), and so Venus and I went to Shimo Kitazawa. I went down a street I'd never been down before and discovered a great part of the area! This is more the sort of thing that I'd been expecting from Shimo but had never quite found on the other side of the tracks (yea, literally - the Odakyu Line cuts it in two). Venus also made friends with three girls running a cute clothing shop. I would have gone in to look but I didn't want to tie V up outside, and they probably would have invited her inside, but then she may well have knocked over a display of purses or something. I'll just have to go back, sans kids.

I was listening to This American Life as I walked, and they had a cute show about the very special sort of logic kids come up with. The last act was sad though, as it was about a husband/father who was diagnosed with frontal lobe degenerative dementia at the age of 38 or something like that (not long, he died at 40 I think). He had a 4 year old son, and when his wife was talking about him, it very much evoked a sad sense of deja vu.

In other, slightly related news, does anyone know if the new This American Life TV show on Showtime (Trailer) is going to be broadcast anywhere in Canada? On Bravo maybe? If not, its definitely heading up my seasons of TV to buy on DVD list (a surprisingly short list, actually!)

We got home at about 6:00 and made pancakes for dinner. I mixed two kinds of pancake mix from Hawaii, so I had Kona Coffee-Chocolate Chip-Mango-Macadamia Nut pancakes. Sooo yummy! Certainly no syrup required!

After that I hunkered down and watched Babel, which was pretty complicated! I'm kind of glad I read the summary on wikipedia before I watched (I needed to know when to hide my eyes from the scary bits, after all), but it was pretty interesting - not as 'what the hell was that?' confusing as Syriana which was just weird! My favorite subplot was, not surprisingly, the Japanese one with the Japanese sign language (no hope of understanding any of it though!)

During the slow bits, I did yet more research on possible markets to submit to. There truly are an overwhelming number of them! I've been finding some cool magazines though-I do love them! Too bad they get marked up like no other over here! But yea, how cool would it be to be a reviewer for Quill and Quire (with their 21 point list of things to keep in mind for a 300 word reveiw, yikes!). Also found a cool mag called maisonneuve based in Montreal. I had no idea how many publishing groups there are in the magazine world, which I suppose makes sense - like a publisher has more than one book on their list at any one time, it makes sense for companies to put out more than one magazine (we do it!) but it really never occured to me before...

Anyway, Venus is looking hungry, so that's it for today...



jack said...

We love This American Life, but I personally feel it is a big mistake to try to do it on television. Over the years I have seen popular radio personalities try to cross over and it seems like it always fails.
The beautiful thing about good radio and this american life in particular is the interaction of imagination as it is guided by the narrative. Like a good book, the listener (reader) is an active component of creating the story ambiance. I don't really want to see Ira Glass on television-in my mind I already have an image of him
he has such a distictive voice,
I know what he looks like in my mind-reality won't match.(just in the these type of cases I don't care about reality, not as a general rule!)

Nikki said...

Jack's right - not that I'm an expert on This American Life, but I do have CBC radio favourites and I cringe when I see the voices I love coming out of preposterous bodies on TV... I won't name names, but it just feels weird to see the wrong shape of lips moving. Same thing with much loved books being made into movies - though, I am really, really trying to see film as a whole new interpretation of material rather than a faithful visual recreation. Sometimes that helps... but not always. How, for example, do they think it is a reasonable change to switch the genders of the main character in My Friend Flicka? What are they thinking?????????