A day-to-day, true to life drama of a Jamaican male, living and working in Japan.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day 41 - Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Day 41

The person for the rent, came today...this is the same guy who took me to meet his big wig friends on Day 11...So now I paid my first rent, phone bill and light bill, eleven more to go. My rent is 48000 yen, phone bill came to 5700 yen and light came to mussy 2500 yen...So today is actually a Japanese holiday known as Showa Day (Showa no hi): Please my Jamaican friends, do not confuse this showa with the politics business in Jamaica....It is different ok!!! Although to think about it...it actually ties in with Japanese politics... This is the birthday of former Emperor Showa. Before 2007, April 29 was known as Greenery Day (now celebrated on May 4). Showa Day is part of the Golden Week (almost 1 week of holiday).

I was going to the supermarket today to buy some groceries, but when I drove around there, it look like all of Japan decided to go today being a holiday. I was still going to go but I cant deal with nuh more excitement with the pikney dem a point pon mi and a show dem parents seh one black yute deh bout...Suh mi jus drive guh home.

We had another ALT get together..this was at a restaurant...and the main reason for this get together was because one of the ALTs with my company resigned and is moving to Tokyo. He is actually currently searching for a job in the Tokyo area. After this restaurant, we moved to another restaurant where more ALTs came as well as one of our friends from the bible study... We ate and chat etc...Thats really what we do when we meet most of the time, eat and chat and sometime play game...I cannot believe that I am some where that I actually prefer work than holidays, isnt that weird? We left the second restaurant about 10:30 pm....
Donna Lee, I cant believe you stayed up suh long a read blog, before yuh guh study yuh book... I must say I feel special though :) and Panton, please to run away wid your go go business...
Tek care

Monday, April 28, 2008

Day 40 - Monday, April 28, 2008

Day 40

Today I made sure to fax my postal account information as well as my car document information to my company. I also called H.I.S travel - Osaka Branch and asked them to get me the cost of the cheapest flights from Japan to Dresden in Germany and also from Japan to Leipzig, Germany...they called me back and told me that the cheapest fare to Leipzig is about 150,000 yen while Dresden would be 130,000 yen...the best fare H.I.S travel Okayama branch found for me was 179,000 yen and this would be through Korea then Frankfurt...Hear what is my problem now...The Korean route is more expensive and it wont get me to my final destination....but the flight is available and I possibly need no visa to transit through Korea... with the other flight now, I going to have to go through China and would be on standby, I also going to need a transit visa to go through this country that I heard is stiffling people with their air pollution. But the fare is still cheaper...So I am hoping and praying that I get on the flight and get through with all these visa business...suh now is 2 visa mi haffi guh get...German visa and Chinese..Bwoy mi have it rough...a me choose this path it seem, or is it destiny? But what is destiny??lol ... Ok let me stop this philosophy madniss...

So I had 3 classes today and I am reading off this SAME 5 PAGE BOOK EVERY WEEK, to the grade 1 and 2 students...bout "Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you SEE...I see a blue horse looking at Me"...any body eva si a blue horse yet???? What are they teaching the kids??? Most of the games that we set for the kids to play, involve this very popular Japanese thing called "junken"..Its what we would call, rock, paper, sissors...I was told that even big Japanese Corporations use this concept to make a final decision.

Any way, I met up with my bible study friends at a food place name joyful which is near my apartment. I lead the bible study session because the lady with the weird cat and dog, has visitors and going to be having them for a little while...So I spoke about Genesis 1:1-19 which is about the 1st 4 days of creation...I also showed them some videos that I took when I was back in Jamaica. It was a good little bible study session and we left about 10:30 pm... when I got home, my mom called me...Tomorrow is a Japanese holiday and a couple of days next week as well. There are many holidays here in Japan, however I think I might prefer work than holidays because on holidays, if you dont link up with your firends...then you will have absolutely nothing to do....Well so far so good for me and hey its day 40, I only have about 320 more days to go :)
Any way likkle more...

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Day 39 - Sunday, April 27, 2008

Day 39

Woke up about 11:00 am (Ok I know I can be lazy, but there is nothing to do). My Cousin, Dr. Sheree Mair gave me a call in the morning and also spoke to her sister (my other cousin) Renee Mair. I was supposed to go to a Japanese church today, but my friend Darren said he could not make it today because his throat not feeling too righteous. A peer a dem ting deh him gwaaan wid innuh, but is a vibes...like last week we were supposed to go the gym again and him talk bout him under the weather and dem foolishness deh...A mi bredrin still...So I stayed in and read my bible then went to the Internet place....

I dont know if I told you that last week when I went to the gym, as I stepped in, is like every body paused wid dem mouth wide open...almost like the people dem on the thread mill pause as well...I was about to say "WHAT!!!" to see if they would just resume their normal programming.

Today the lady at the internet place had to run mi out, even though shi race mi up wid a smile pon har face, saying "we close at 5pm today" So I simply laughed and went home...for the remaining portion of the day, I stayed in and played games...So thats al for today folkes....laterz

Day 38 - Saturday, April 26, 2008

Day 38

Yes my nothing to do day. After staying in bed until late as usual on the week ends, I washed and then left for the slow internet place... I then got a call from the same guy who I asked if I could use the internet at his place the other day...He said he is having a little get together chill out night at his apartment...So because I have nothing to do at my apartment, I said "ooh sure". when I ws going, knocked at the door that I thought was his...Only to see another JET ALT come out and said "ooh you going to Alex?, he lives up stairs....Suh yuh know seh last week a mussy di wrong apartment mi did a buzz and a knock down, and ready fi guh write off di yute...AAah bwoy thou shalt not judge...mi feel bad still but a jus suh...Any way when mi reach there him ask mi how mi neva come use the internet the other day..and mi tell him the story...him seh is must the wrong place mi guh because him did deh deh a wait and him nuh hear nuh door bell nor nuh knocking. Another JET ALT was there (the guy I go bible study with -name Darren) and they were looking on some music stuff on youtube...they are really into this instrumental music business and Darren is in this club where he plays some really big Drums, I think they call it tyco or something like that...Some of the other ALTS passed through and then left.

Well I must say that I am one of the few ALTS working for my company who is tremendously blessed with friends around and not many issues or anything like that with my schools and/or living condition...This now is a review of what one of the ALTS in another Prefecture, wrote to us and tell us what she went through last week.....This was what she wrote:

I went to the second middle school this week and was supposed to work at the second elementary school. However I was kinda sick for the most part of the week. Why? Well, because I still didn't have a car or an apartment at the time. And so I had to take the train and walk the rest of the way to school. I left at 6:50am to be there by 8am. Not too bad. The walk is about 25-30mins. The bad part was the weather. It was cold and rainy for half the week and all the umbrella did was keep my head dry because the rain was coming in at all directions. So in combination of being wet and cold all day, because it was no different in the afternoon, I caught a bad cold. So bad I could barely speak due to a horss throat. But I still went to school.

The following week (this week) however I finally moved into my apartment monday night. Which made the commute worst. (My apartment is closer to the school but there is no real transportation). So I had to leave at 6:30am to be to school by 8am. More train time and a longer walk in the cold with a continued cold that got worst on Tues, so I didn't go to work. Mind you, tues is the day I visit 2 schools. Now at this time I still had no phone or internet. So I had to walk to the main road to a car repair shop/ gas station and ask to use a phone at 6:45am. Of course all I could do was leave a message on the managers voice mail and hope.

And to add to the great impression that I was building, I left early about everyday, except for the one I didn't go. It was for many reasons, some related to the company. I had to open a bank account, get a cellphone, car and whatnot. But it was always after my lesson were over. But I must say my second school was...hmm...something else. The students there are awkward and some of the teachers' english is offensive. Not atrocious but offensive, as in, it cuts at the soul. I didn't want to pick favs in the schools but here's why: At one school, they tell me about everything. This is about the school lunch, we expect you to help with the cleaning, you might want to check out some school activities, here is the copy machine, cleaning products, every other thing. But at the first school I feel more like a temp worker. Here is you desk, schedule, ok. Nothing else really. After being sick I come back to find papers on my desk to correct for different classes. Mind you, at the other school the teachers tried to be subtle about this. They would ask me if something sounded weird with the students english papers: and I took this as, can you please check the papers. At the first school, they have no such tact. Its more like: Here!


Bwoy mi haffi pray fi har cause maybe if it was me, I would cut from the second week..

Well laterz

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Day 37 - Friday, April 25, 2008

Day 37

Parked my car at a company name "books freeway" for the day, but I have to come back for it by 10:00 pm tonight, else mi car going to lock up in there...So I headed for the train station to meet up with the other ALTS of my company, in order to get to our meeting which will be held in OKAYAMA City...which is the Capital of my prefecture (Okayama)...Okayama city is about 1 hr and 30 minutes away from my city (Niimi) by the slow train.. the fast train I think will take about 30 mins...However you must know that this fast ting will cost more and our company wont reimburse us if we take the fast train. So you know we love up the slow train. My main aim (a part from going to the meeting today) in Okayama city was to purchase my plane ticket for Germany... So when we got to Okayama city I told the guys that I want to purchase the ticket... Luckily I saw a guy from my training session in Narita and we all went and had some food, about 6 of us...The others stayed and chatted because they are already seasoned with these meeting stuff, and my friend from our training in Narita followed me to the first travel agent place name nippon travel I think...but their cheapest ticket was like 195,000 yen...mi seh nooooo boss.... mi going to go wid this place I saw on the Internet name H.I.S travel. But because meeting time was coming close...My bredrin seh is better we go there after the meeting...

So the meeting wasnt a meeting really...It was more of us getting to meet the other ALTS in the Okayama Prefecture which was about 70 or more. This included the guy who picked me up at the airport on Day 1...The so called meeting or gathering, was hosted by our Managing Consultant (MC) (which is like the general manager of the branch ) My company has 7 branches I think...and I am attached to the Hiroshima Office... these men (MCs) are ridiculously over worked...Some are responsible for over 100 ALTS in about 3 prefectures...mi nuh sure mi want dah job deh...
All the meeting addressed was:
1) We should submit our pay sheet on the 25th and the work sheet on the last day of the month
2) Games we can play for lessons
3) How to cope with the culture shock in Japan (one guy says he host and invite others to a club party thing every single week, sme one ask this guy if he saves his money...and he said he prefers to party and have a peace of mind after a work week, than to save????)

That was basically the meeting and it took about 2 hours and 30 mins...we had about 3, 10 minute breaks in between....There were about 4 other Jamaicans there, and boy it felt good again to see Jamaicans...there were 4 other black persons outside of us Jamaicans: 1 girl from the USA, 1 from Ghana, 1 from Kenya who in Japan for 7 years and this guy from the USA...I chatted for a little while and found out that I going to have to use up my leave in order to attend the conference in Germany :(, even though we will have no work during that time....I also coincidentally met a German girl who was there...I of course questioned her more about Germany and how to get there etc etc and what to expect...I also made her aware that I know a little of the German language :) My friend from the training then followed me to H.I.S travel and is a good ting him know Japanese too cause all the other guys who came with me on the train, gone bout dem business...The main ALT girl who is from Cananda tries to explain stuff to me, but she talks a little too fast and also expect me to understand what she says the very first time she explains it...so sometimes I dont even bother to ask her anything. Most other persons were also going to go to Karioke or to this club thingy in the night but of course I went to neither, because me have to get back my car by 10:00 pm else a walk foot from books free way to mi yard...which is about 30 - 45 minutes noooooo bosss.

So continuing now...the bredrin followed mi to H.I.S travel and we were there for about 1 hour or longer cause even though the yute speak Japanese, its not very very well...So my ticket to Germany from July 29 - Aug 4, should cost about 179,000 yen... and I should travel from Osaka to Seoul, Korea then from Seoul, Korea to Frankfurt Germany...Bwoy what a sacrifice...Before the travelling though I need to get a re - entry permit to Japan then go for the shengyen visa business to get to Germany or anywhere in the European Union. I paid down 20,000 yen on the ticket and they said I should pay the balance mussy by July 14 or something like that...So I planning to go get the re-entry permit as well as pay the balance on June 2...when I should get a day off...As to when I going for the visa interview, I have no idea....Boy so much things to do..and no time...cause every weh lock up pon Saturdays and Sundays as well as public holidays as is expected...but there are so many public holidays here and I dont know when again I going to get time from work to tell you the truth...bwoy, how dis ting going to work out...I really don`t know... after this mi tell the bredrin seh nuff respect, cause di man was going to look for him girlfriend who is 2 hours away in another prefecture and him was running very late...Suh him help mi a den cut. When he went away, I saw a Jamaican girl from the meeting and the Kenyan which is a fluent Japanese speaker, sitting in the place as well...The Jamaican want to take a trip back home (Patrice Williams she said she know you from Jampro...I think her name is Janiel or Tracy). The cost for her to go back is bout 246,000 yen..

After this I stayed around with 2 of the Jamaican guys and chat and walk up and down in the city...We were also waiting on this Jamaican gir l who wanted to meet up with us...she lives in Hiroshima and comes from Mandeville...The other 2 guys now, one come from Waterhouse and the other from somewhere in Westmoreland. So after we met up with the girl from Mandeville, who said is long time shi dont see a black person, muchless a Jamaican, I had to catch the 7:45 pm train which would get me to Niimi by 9:30 pm...Now of course, me weh come from country nuh know how dis train business work to the fullest. So the Jamaican guy from waterhouse had to explain it to me quickly then I ran off. I got to my city and ran to the books free way to get my car...then stopped by a convenient store to fax off my pay sheet because it was the 25th of the month...I then drove home, played some game and then drop in the bed.

Ahh this was a long blog I think...Well laterz

Friday, April 25, 2008

Day 36 - Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day 36

Ok I never got to post day 36 the exact day after because I was at a meeting out of my town on day 37 (when I would have done the actual posting). I got back home in the night when the internet place lock up... to Michelle, Japan is 14 hours ahead of Jamaica, Im posting this at
4:30 pm on Saturday afternoon so its 2:30 am there Saturday morning (U probably sleeping now).

Today I found the school that I was supposed to go to (My Thursday school) quite easily, as opposed to last week when I was supposedly heading for the Hiroshima airport instead of the school. Today I had to run up and dung wid di pikney dem again and guess who is the ring leader of all this?? Nuh di pikney name MAIKA, I wonder if her parents liked the name JAMAIKA, spell it wrong and call har suh??? They were taking me all over the school campus and also attempting to teach me Japanese (Nihongo). They would point on some objects and tell me the Japanese name while expecting me to repeat it...sometimes they would laugh at me trying to pronounce it correctly.. (Isnt that sweet). A teacher was walking up and down with a camera taking pictures of me and the kids...I can only hope that she has good intentions!!!

I printed off some forms from the German embassy website, that I need to full out in order to get there. I also posted the letter to my company, based on their request of obtaining a copy of my motor vehicle documents. I asked one of the JET ALTS (the one who is Japanese/Canadian) if I could check my email at his place, as he said any of us could stop by and use his internet as long as he is there...He said sure but he just need to clean up his place a bit...when I got there I pressed the buzzer once, no answer, I waited and pressed 2 more times...no answer, I then knocked on the door and heard some sort of shuffling and running up and down...after waiting for a total of about 15 minutes... I jus drive guh a mi yard cause mi nuh know what was going on....I dont even want to imagine either....him neva call mi back and seh mi still can check it, suh mi jus leave that alone... I won`t be asking again for sure...

I got my first electricity bill today and it came to 2500 yen...this is less than what I pay for car fuel per week. I thought it would be much more cause mi always keep on the AC on warm temperature every now and again to heat up my apartment which is an ice box... Our apartments trap the cold inside even if outside relatively warm...I hear in summer it going to be hotter than Jamaica though.

I am starting to wonder how I am going to get a job in Jamaica that I truly going to be comfortable with after doing this in Japan. Right now, mi nuh have nuh supervisor in mi back bothering mi for work...and any body to criticise what I`m doing... If you are not doing something right, all you will do is get a call from yuh company...so far is only one of those calls I get and that was for the lunch business...So it feels like I`m my own manager...Cause I don`t really report to anyone....and mi company only occationally bother mi bout fax copy of this and that. My Resume also looks ugly as I have never been in a job for over a year and a half since graduating from UTECH.. and I am yet to get a job fully in my field of study..My work experience (when I`m back in Jamaica God`s willing) should look something like this:

MayPen Primary (computer teacher) - 8 mths
Garmex HEART Academy (Data Operations Facilitator) - 1 year and 8 month
<> Japan (English Instructor) - 1 year

Which part going to hire mi, with this running away from jobs every minute???

Any way later...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day 35 - Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Day 35

Told the principal, the VP and the Administrator at the school for today, about what happend at the school yesterday, where the girl started crying. I don`t know but they found it extremely funny. They all knew that I taught computing stuff in Jamaica so the principal says he would like if I could teach him Excel...I wonder if I should charge a fee :)

I called the company I worked for to ask them to send me a copy of an employment letter or something to prove that I work at the company...this is for my visa interview to go to Germany in July. Then my company inturn asked me to mail my driver`s licence as well as 2 other papers to them...I already gave them a copy of my driver`s licence as well as one of the papers, so I am wondering why they need them again???? I notice that many things that I already gave them, they are asking for it again I wonder why????

When I got to my apartment, the guys to install the first leg of the internet getting process had just arrived... They installed the router and some fibre optic business as well as this special machine to hear and make emergency announcements to the police, fire department etc...This is all done by the governemnt office and is free of cost...It took 3 weeks after signing up this form, for them to come and do the actual installation...Now I have to sign up another form to get the actual internet..this form is from Yahoo BB (Broad band) and this again should take 3-4 more weeks to get done...It should be a 20 mbps connection for about 6000 yen and we get the first 2 months FREE...My connection in Jamaica was 3 mbps for about US$40 I think, equivalent to about 4000 yen.

Thats about it for today...
likkle more

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day 34 - Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Day 34

Went to work very early again (Hey im on a roll)...Im not sure if I mentioned that a part of my classes you should play a game with the kids...A PART OF EVERY SINGLE LESSON. The only challenge however (and this is at some schools, because others already know what games they want to play for that class) is to think up a different "interesting" game for them to play, which will actually make them learn... And it really takes nothing to get their interest...Just being there is enough. In a game with the grade five students today, there were 2 teams... Team A - Mario Brothers and Team B - Bleach (A Japanese animation cartoon)... The lesson was about different countries and their flags.. So the aim of the game was that a person from each team should run up and touch the flag of the country (which were already on the board) that I call...And the first one to touch the correct country flag. will get the point....For example...the class will shout "WHERE ARE YOU FROM?" Then I will say, "I am from.....China" then they would race to touch the China flag (They were already told what country has what flag plus the name of the country is on the flag). So now one time I said, "I am from Italy" and a little girl from one of the teams run up and touch mussy Australia I think...And when the other team got the point for touching the correct flag....The likkle girl start bawl, shi neva stop till class done. I heard about this but it just break my heart to see them cry :( while the others are having a whale of a time...But deh res a pikney dem neva business, game did haffi gwaan...And even though the likkle girl team win, shi neva stop bawl.

I got a call today at the school from the person who should come and install the internet in my apartment...They said that they will be there tomorrow (horayy). So one more thing I need to sign up and then I should have internet at home 3 to 4 weeks afterward...One month an add yuh haffi wait fi get internet (hiss teet).

After the classes, I went to the bank to change US currency to pay for ticket to go to Germany...This time they changed out all of it in yen (hooraayyy)...I then went to the 100 yen store and bought some more stuff for the apartment, like broom and cushion and dem tings deh.

Ok. so there are about 14 - 16 ALTs in my area...4 of us with the company I work for (used to be 5 but 1 resigned). And all the others with JET... JET is organised by the Japanese Government. JET has all the Junior high and high schools in my area...While the company I work for has all the elimentary schools. And this is especially for Stewart Panton...JET is much more organised than my company and they also pay more money. However (dont know if you know this but) with JET, you can do only a certain amount of years, while with my thing you can stay here forever if you wish. Also with jet, you dont get a vehicle but a bicycle (and maybe is buy yuh have to buy it)...and with JET, the schools are normally pretty nearby, some of them walking distance...With my thing (for me) all the schools are as far as the east is from the west...some people get lucky and get only one school...but these people dem kill dem wid work....Also with JET you have to plan more...with me though I sit and wait for the teachers to give me a plan... Well that also maybe dependent on the area where they place you. They can probably even mix you up with high, jr. high and elementary... and again for my area, they put all the JET ALTs on one apartment complex...With my thing, you decide where u want to go...So in other words my thing is somewhat a bit more flexible in terms of living arrangements etc but JET them put yuh up and you pay less for rent as well because its heavily subsidised by the government... I dont know, but maybe if I actually researched more about jet, I probably would have chosen them over my company (MAYBE)...Is jus dat all of dem have to a ride bicycle...all inna snow and rain...Only one of dem mi si wid car and is the girl from South Africa...and dem did even a tell har not to drive to school...But she seh shi nuh pay dem nuh mind. I see though where many of the JETs actually transfered over to the company I work for...I dont know if it is a love for Japan or dem tired a JET or is simply their contract up...

After work, I then went to the Gym with one of the JET ALTs (I got a free gym pass from someone at the bible study yesterday). I did some weight training and some abs business, as well as some shoulder, chest and back building exercises...stayed there for about 2 hours. (Cause mi want get tick, yuh si mi)...

Well likkle more fi now...

Day 33 - Monday, April 21, 2008

Day 33

Got to work early today at about 8:25 am, mi jus a hope seh nuh police nuh stop mi nuh day when mi a guh work. Cause it wudden pretty at all...
I had some classes today that I had no clue about. Again they switched the time table on me with out even telling me a thing...But mi criss still. So yes, I apologised to the principal and the adminstrator lady and tell them that it was a misunderstanding about the food thing on my part. The principal at this school took several pictures of me while I am teaching, and then gave them to me...I had no clue that is how big my nose was until I see it in a picture (no comments on this matter please)...
I went to the post office later on and posted a letter to a company name golloyds, that can help me send back money home by wire transfer...and the cost is relatively cheap. Also went to an impromptu get together thing for this guy who resigned from the company I worked for... a couple other ALTs came, and I met this ALT (I thought i knew them all until now) who said she is from New Zealand. We ate pizza and some other cookie stuff. I then went from there to our Monday bible study thing...and again it was pretty good. They had to detain the dog again and the cat was also coming after me as well this time around. Is a good thig is not attack them attacking mi.
Well laterz and mi jus a hope seh mi comany nuh have nuh problem with any of the pics I put up suh far..

Peace and blessings all....

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Day 32 - Sunday, April 20, 2008

Day 32

Today marks One (1) month since I`m in Japan, and as I mentioned earlier it seems like 2 years. Wow I made it through the first month, I feel good, however I have 11 more to go :( :) ... This Jamaican who going into her scond year, called me and told me that many many a persons say they are going to serve 1 year and end up in Japan 2 - 5 years...A NUH ME DAT!!!!
Today again I did absolutely nothing except checking the internet at the cultural plaza. The main ALT in the area called me though and invited me to a dinner/send off party thing, for one of the ALTs who will be leaving this month I believe. The send off thing will be on April 29...which is a Japanese holiday (Showa...Noo not that JLP showa)..My mom also called me and broke the silence in my apartment as well.

I got an email from one of my friend`s, warning me not to try and part any fights in Japan...Because one of her friends who came to Japan, was parting a fight and ended up going to jail with the guys who were fighting (note, he was not fighting)....And after spending hours in the jail (even the actual fighters came out b4 him), some one had to try and convince the police that this man wasnt involved in the fight... Well I glad I never used to be parting fight from marning. Mi tell yuh seh the Japan police dem jus need someting to do, so they make a big deal out of everything...Just like the ALT weh dem pull off her bicycle and interrogated her for hours because she borrowed her friend`s bicycle...bwoyy mi a tell yuh...

Well mi nuh have nutten more fi seh now suh later

Day 31 - April 19, 2008

Day 31

Yeahhhhh no work today, so you can almost guess (well for now) that Saturdays and Sundays are going to be not very adventurous. So today, a couple of us woke up at our friend`s house. After checking my email etc etc on his computer, I showed the persons there some youtube footage of some of the stuff that go on in Jamaica. A guy there is a big basket ball fanatic and we were watching some clips...Ohh I used to be a massive fan of basket ball, then I dont know what took place... I have been trying to get back into the basket ball mode for about 5 years now, with little or no luck... I am going to try again... I just realise that the western conference has some big players and the playoffs this year is expected to be pretty close and exciting.

I then followed the South African girl and the guy from Canada (who is a second generation Japanese) to a convenient store to get some stuff. These convenient stores, are as the name suggests, very very convenient. They are opened 24/7 (when this going to happen in Jamaica?) lol... and you can pay all your bills there as well as do stuff like photocopying and check email etc. Last week I told a lady there that I need 13 copies of a paper that I should submit to work. Di lady guh mek 30 copies instead... Is a good ting it only came up to like 100 yen, cause if it was 1 yen more, mi did ago tell har seh mi naaah pay nutten. I dont remember if I mentioned that, in Japan, people walk around with huge sums of money on them, and when they paying for stuff some time, they just flash open wallet or dig down in dem pocket and take out nuff money. Im not yet that settled to do this.

For me to get paid in my job, its not exactly automatic. I have to submit 2 papers, one on the 25th of each month... the other on the last day of the month... If you dont submit them, you wont get paid. If you submit them late, you will be paid late. Today (which is actually April 20 for me)...an ALT told me that I may have to apologise to the principal at the school where I was contemplating not taking lunch for next month????? because they might think is because I dont like the food... But is wah dis??? apologise for not being sure if Im going to take lunch from the school in May???? Well, let me behave and try mi best to blend in with the culture and not fight it...so the first thing tomorrow is to apologise to the principal...aaah bwoy this is difficult... the worst thing is that, him might guh tink seh mi telling him again that mi not eating dem lunch, den him ago call mi company again....What a place....I don`t know if I can fully understand this culture...And hear dis now...A Jamaican told mi that, the people dem at the schools will tell yuh to go and tek coffee all the time you want...and if yuh follow dem... afterward yuhgoing to hear yuh company calling yuh and telling yuh that yuh drinking too much coffee????? WHAT!!!! I am just wondering then, if you dont take up their offer, if yuh company going to call yuh and tell yuh that yuh refusing their offer... Suh what yuh mus duh den???

Any ways, later...

Friday, April 18, 2008

Day 30 - April 18, 2008

Day 30

Went to my other way out school today ooh boy, I am tired of telling unnu that I get lost :) but any way, I made about 5 wrong turns today...I found out that there is also 2 ways to get to this school....NONE OF THE ROUTES ARE SHORT.... The route I took however, had more narrow roads and this time, unlike last week, there was on coming traffic ...I again had to be blowing my horn around every corner. I notice that I always going to these school in rain.
At one point I was fanning down this lady to ask for directions...The lady just waved at me and drove off. I also tried to ask a man where the school was...the man didn't even pay mi bad mind.

I eventually got to the school about 9:20 am and I parked....then the principal come and tell mi to tek weh mi self from that parking area and park some weh else....where is the love??? They were cool though.. :)

The classes went well today but after lunch (as usual so far)....I had nothing to do for about 3 hours or more...I found my way back home using the other route ok though. This big school had only 25 students.

I went to the biggest get together we have thus far of the foreigners, in the apartment of the ALT on my apartment complex. It was great. We played Wii tennis and Wii mario...I got kicked around in both games because these gamers are ridiculously good...or is it that I really suck??? Either way I lost the tennis match and kept coming 6th and 8th out of 12 in the Mario cart. I didnt even go home the night...

Day 29 - April 17, 2008

Day 29

Head out early in the morning for this school that I thought I knew very well where it was because of the easy landmarks woooyyyy...the land marks were 3 big car signs together: SUZUKI, SUBARU and TOYOTA....So I was at a spot and I remember driving and saw 2 car signs: SUZUKI and SUBURU...but because I didnt see TOYOTA, I continued driving....while driving, I noticed a sign saying something like.... HIROSHIMA AIRPORT 50 km. This was when I realised that, "hey I probably passed my turn"...because Hiroshima is the adjoining prefecture wayyy south of where I live...So I stopped at a gas station, got some gas (because tomorrow is another far school) and asked one of the attendants where the school was... Luckily, this man decided to drive in front of me to the school...(second time this happening to me in Japan...If yuh get lost inna Jamaica, mi sorry fi yuh). It so happend that this man who decided to drive in front of me to the school, actually had a daughter who attended the school who I eventually taught that day...what a co-incidence, mi a tell yuh seh God good.

I think one of the reasons I missed my turn this time (apart from me being directionally challenged of course) was because, while I was driving, this truck man was tailing me for a long time...and each time I tried to lose him...he would drive up faster behind me...Now I really dont like the idea of this massive truck speeding behind my tiny car at all. One of the time, I saw like he was going to over take and a car coming the opposite direction sped around the corner...mi seh to mi self "Lord have mercy"...Any way him eventually turn off and I felt more comfortable...

The classes were ok today except that this was actually my first tiring day...I had three classes back to back then a 4th one shortly after (grades 3, 4, 5 and 6), in which I had to jump up and dung like mi nuh hav nuh sense. I was wondering if the other schools told them that I had nothing to do after a certain time so they decided to pack up my schedule??... I also had to attempt to show the classes some Jamaican dances (and any body know me...know me is not nuh dancing person) ...and they were all attempting to do the dance/a variant thereof.
The grade 4 or 5 class had a kid named Maika in there...so evertime I said JAMAICA they would crack up.

After lunch, some kids came and dragged me out of the staff room asking me to come run up and dung wid dem????? (by the way this is an unwritten part of our contract...to run up and dung wid di kids)...I was told today that a Jamaican`s contract was not renewed because he/she said him not ramping wid nuh pikney...Did I mention that the kids assist with the preparation of the school lunch??? Any way after playing stucky (run and hit and you are it) or what ever game they had me running around in, I went into the staff room tired...about 3 minutes after dat, nuh di same pikney dem dat come a di staff room door again, I quickly summoned a teacher to tell dem dat mi tired. The teachers in the staff room where crying with laughter.

Another new thing I found out in Japan was that you have to register your bicycle???and police can pull yuh over and yuh get in problems if yuh riding without your registration...You also have bicycle insurance. I also found out that some of these people in the town do know some stuff about Jamaica...They know these people/products in the following order:

(1) Bob Marley (of course)
(2) Cool Runnings (the movie)
(3) Blue mountain coffee (they say its very expensive here)
(4) Asafa Powel - (I heard he came to an adjoininf prefecture called Totori)
(5) Jimmy Cliff (This 1 teacher mentioned his name to me and said he love his songs)

Later mi frenz..

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Day 28 - April 16, 2008

Day 28

Its not even 1 month yet since I am in Japan and it already feels like 2 years seriously.

Drove a little faster than normal today to work...when I reached, the office administrator told me I have to pay 2200 yen per month for lunch...that sometimes I really dont feel like eating...So I tried to tell them that in May, I`m not sure if I will be taking lunch... this is because (1), I trying to save every penny for my trip to Germany and (2), sometimes I just dont want to eat at lunch time (I didnt tell them this though)...shortly after I told the administrator, the principal called me and asked me why?? So I told him what the company told me at the training...which was that if you are sheduled by the company to take lunch, then you should take it and pay for it, as this is a part of your job for that day....ooh we SHOULD get a schedule everyday from our employer. This shedule should specify exactly what you should do each day and which classes you should teach?????? up till this blessed day I dont si one from dem. All I get is the schedules from the schools... so what really my company was saying is that, if you dont see "have lunch with kids" on your work schedule...then it is totally up to you if you want to take lunch....the idea I am getting from the school though (even though they dont say it), is that lunch with the kids is a must...

I did notice that when the principal called me, he had a very concerned look on his face...shortly after that...it was my company that calling me and asking me why I dont want to take the lunch in May...and the school is concerned...So I told them exactly the samething that they told me in the training...that I thought it was optional and that THEY should tell me when to take lunch and outside of that, we choose whether or not...aah bwoy..I made sure to tell them though that I hope I dont offend anyone, because it takes nothing to offend some Japanese I gather...So now what my company is telling me, is that, if I dont want to take lunch, I should call them (my company) and tell them that I dont want lunch for that period, then they will inform the schools...what a complicated process...and this was not what I heard in the training...

Anyway..some people from the USA came alsong with 2 Japanese principals to view 2 of my classes today to see what I was doing I guess...I didnt like how one of the Japanese men was looking at me but maybe again, it could just be my mind...Oh this school they told me was a special school, in that every now and then people from anywhere will just pop in and view my classes, video tape it and/or take pictures of me teaching...So I must ALWAYS be prepared and ready....for me the classes went pretty well though and the principal told me that the visitors said they too enjoyed di class...again I dont know if this is so or not....

This internet place soon close suh mi gone...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Day 27 - April 15, 2008

Day 27

Went to the school that I got lost trying to find last week. I found it quite ok this time ;)...
I had 3 classes today...grade 1, 2 and 3. My grade 1 and 3 classes were switched on me and I was not in the least informed...So I actually went with the grade 1 plan for the grade 3 class...It still worked out ok...All the classes were ok for the most part but the grade 2 kids were surrounding me constantly and asking me Japanese questions... You recognise a question in Japanese when they say deska or maska I think...One of them put my hand close to his and then said `woooooh black`.... they even asked me if I was rich (trus me if I was I would not be trying this job out), because they saw my graduation ring on my finger as well as my bracelet.
They were also fighting to touch my hair when I bent down to take up something from the floor (bwoy oh bwoy)....

Later on in the night at about 8:10pm, me and about 4 other ALTs met up at one of our Japanese friend`s apartment and had dinner/a get together thingy... We simply ate and chatted until about 11:30 pm.. It was fun... so see, now I`m not so lonely after all :).. I was speaking for a while to the ALT who is from South Africa and the stuff she told me about South Africa, had some striking similarities to Jamaica...However some stuff that happen in Jamaica is worse off than south Africa and some stuff that happen in South Africa is worse off than Jamaica. for example she said that crime is so organised in South Africa that there are even companies that employee people to commit crime. and when they carry out their duties, they do it almost perfectly, like robberies, etc etc. She also said that they have the highest incidents of rape in the world or something like that. Not only that but she said that destitute people from adjoining countries will run across the border and cause caos.. even killing people for shoes on their feet. And there is no one specifically who they are targetting, black, white, indian and everybody at risk . She said these destitute people most times end up joining the crime organisations because it pays them well as against starving to death. The police she said, cant do a thing and are seen as most times useless, because they are not well paid, just like the nurses and the teachers there as well(Sounds familiar dont it ?)....She said at 10pm and thereafter, you dont dare stop at a red traffic light (in Jamaica is bout 8pm...a joke)....However she said in SA they don`t rob churches...and yuh know dat happen a Jamaica every now and again. I think my church has been robbed at least 5 times already since it was built in 1988. So even for that you know we loving up Japan...because the only kind of stealing it look like dem go on with in Japan is when dem tief bicycle, umbrella and/or lady`s underwear from the clothes lines...

My sister called me tonight as well and talk bout she going to visit me in Japan...If I know my sister well she jus talking off har mouth.

Well Inna di laterz zeen...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Day 26 - April 14, 2008

Day 26

I learnt some new Japanese words from my co-workers at the school I went to today... thats because I only had two, 40 minute classes and for the rest of the day...there is absolutely nothing else to do, except learn Japanese and plan for next lessons (which takes 5 minutes max). A brand new HEART Trust lesson plan can take anywhere from 2 hours to 8 hours (I am serious). I hope the persons from HEART Trust reading this, knows that I am simply doing a comparison ;) nothing else...

The grade 5 class that I taught today, all I did was introduce myself, talk about Jamaica, tell them a little about our customs etc...then the teacher asked me to sit down...He then placed the class into 2 teams and for the rest of the class, the teams had to gesticulate to me an animal, somewhere in the house, or a sport...If I guessed what the were trying to gesticulate correctly, then a team would get a point?????? That was the English class.....the problem with this is that I had to be smiling all the time...I smiled until my face ached..

I notice a very big difference with the school administration in Japan as against Jamaica. In Jamaica, the principals and vice principals seem to have none stop administrative duties...In Japan, the Vice principal does all the administrative work...which doesn`t seem that much... and I am still trying to figure out what exactly is the role of the principals here in the Japan schools. The only thing I see them do thus far is sometimes pick up garbage around the school, sit and eat, chat with the staff members and thats it...I really dont know what their role is. At one of the schools, the principal wears sweat bottom pants and wind breaker to school...some of the teachers do that too...We ALTs can`t even try dat. Jacket and tie EVERYDAY...until you get an ok from your company as well as the same school administration..Iam some what starting to appreciate the jacket and tie ting now because di place too cold...Sometimes all 5 shirt mi have on wid di Jacket plus one sweater.

I went to a small bible study session in the night, with an ALT and some other new persons I met...It was very interesting. The presenter who is originally from the USA...moved to Japan some years ago...I know its longer than 10 years...because they said the study has been going on for over 10 years :) They have a house cat who I think is 14 or 18 years old they said...as well as a cute little dog that seemed to some how found an undeniable attraction for my right foot...The little bitch/lady dog had to be caged after a while ;) At one point in the study, the cat was making some meow tunes...while the dog was making some crying sounds...like they were building a tune or something...I felt good meeting these people and they were very warm and friendly...

Well take care until tomorrow and peace be with you all :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Day 25 - April 13, 2008

Day 25 / 25日間

Now watch me at the people dem work updating blog...wid di vice principal right beside mi...Now is this skill or madness?? But there is nothing to do at work now and I have already prepared for my other classes. Sooo

Ok today was another quietish day...woke up again at about 10:30am again then went to check my email at the normal slow computer, (haffi pay fi fast computer) place. So I think this is the first time in my life I havent been to church for 5 Sundays consecutively...I read my bible though...

The new ALT came to check her email as well...then afterward I showed her some pics from back in Jamaica as well as told her about some of our customs in Jamaica from my point of view... she actually did a Master of Arts in Education that cost approximately $2.8 million Jamaican dollars to complete...She said she had to take out a loan......A sponsorship or scholarship ALONE going mek me do a degree like dat... 2.8 million?? yuh maddd...

My mom called me in the night telling me that this man that live on my road get mad again...Yes there is this man that live sort of in front of my house that get off every now and then... This time, my mom said, he was lying down in the gully with a glasses on and sometime walking on the road naked...All of this took place for about a week before he was detained...My mom said they called the police down the road and they said they werent trained to catch mad men (lol)..So they asked the police to shoot him in his foot so he could be quiet or something...and the police dem seh they werent trained to shoot men in the leg either (I nearly dead wid laugh). I think they could have easily said that they were afraid of the man. My mom said, it was 6 men who had to come and tie him up and she said one of the time dem him escape and dem had to hold him back...

Here in Japan not even the police have gun...well let me say I never yet si one wid a gun... Where I am now...crime is relatively non-existent...Well I havent heard of anything yet...I heard that there are some men around though that I think they call the yakuza or something of the sort...And they are equivalent to the mafia. They have many tatoos and the amount they have, determine what their rank is...So because of this...ANYBODY with a tatoo whether you are black, white, indian or chinese...You will not be allowed in their public spas or hot springs...If anyone has a tatoo and want to go in..they have to cover it with tape or something...even though the yakuza people are said to be only Japanese....

Anyway mi gone now before them report mi...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Day 24 - April 12, 2008

Day 24

Today was more of a quiet day...And actually for the past 4 years in Jamaica...I had very very few of these, no matter what day of the week it was.
I woke up about 10:30 am this morning and went to the post office to collect some sort of debit card thing...Not sure if this was for my bank A/C or for my post office A/C because the letter was all in Japanese, and the ALT on my apartment complex who would assist me, gone to visit him girlfriend who is about 6-8 hours away by train...Bwoy hats off to him (not in any way saying I wouldnt do the same... how often now is another matter)... And from the little I know about relationships ;) females more often than not...tend to always want their partner around...and if they are not the understanding type, when you cant make it to them...you are in trouble....(this is based on conversations with many friends ok...and this has been their experience...not saying its so in all cases).

Anyway...I then went to check my email etc etc and stayed in the place for a couple a hours. While leaving, I saw the new ALT in the area driving in...we chatted briefly, then I went home at about 6 pm. After reading my bible I went straight on the video game and played until about 2am...And that was pretty much my entire day...

I notice that since I am here though..My English has been getting progressivly worse (and it wasnt that good already)...because while im here, I generally dont speak much daily. And when I do talk...Im trying to speak Japanese, in an effort to let the people understand me...When I am teaching the classes though, I have to speak English as well as in the staff room, but then...I have to speak extremely slow as if I am counting my words... And if you make the mistake and say for example `I am leaving` as against `I am leaving right now`....You will confuse them...So We ALTs have to use very simple words and phrases...

So far I`ve only noticed one strange look from a staff member... I am starting to wonder if they talking bad stuff about me at the schools...I dont know and I am trying not to think that...As they have been nice to me thus far...and for now im getting many praises...To speak English its almost as if you are a demi-god. They are offering coffee every second...As soon as I am through drinking one cup, shortly after they asking if I want more coffee or Japanese tea...I heard that the Japanese tea counteracts caffine and/or cholesterals or something of the sort.

Blessings and peace until next blog....

Friday, April 11, 2008

Day 23 - April 11, 2008

Day 23

Now its the day for my first far out school and the only thing I had to guide me was a Japanese Map (what a great help!!!)...It took me 1 hour to get there and there was no traffic on the road...thats because the route I took..no one drive on these roads... Being extremely narrow, to one side there is the presipit...to the other...the mountain...I was hoping to God that I dont buck up on a car coming toward mi..because mi naaah reverse guh nuh weh...As these roads are 2 way roads...I dont know how such a narrow road can be 2 way... I also wanted to be certain that I was going the correct way so I asked persons where the school was and they pointed in the direction I was going....the only problem was that...you only see somebody every 15 minutes...And the people that you see look like 65 year old and over...which mean that they could be a possible 85.

I however got to work early and I taught 3 classes..they were all fun I tell you...The grade 3 and 4 classes were especially great where I didnt even had a plan for the lesson and got them singing Months of the year...January...february, March ray ray wid some rhythm lol...And its sounds nice to hear them trying to pronounce some of the words...lol

I was supposed to work from 10 - 5 but they made me leave at 4 and took pictures with me..Again I dont know if they are going to use it and say here is the new schools mascot or what but they seem to like my presence.. SEEEM that is...they actually showed me a shorter route to go home without the mountains and it took me 20 minutes as against an hour to reach there...bwoy oh bwoy... and it took 20 minutes only because I took a wrong turn (u know me already)...

So I went to collect my Gaijin Card (horaay..nuh police cyah seh nutten to mi yah now)..then to the internet place then to purchase some food for my apartment...I also had dinner again at joyful..this time all by myself and a bunch a kids were there steering either in shock or horror...I felt like going on the mountain top and say... `OK YES THERE IS A BLACK MAN IN TOWN NOW ALRIGHT `...And I was going by the free drinks place which was empty then all of a sudden...several persons wanted drink while I was there...Thats the (lets see who can get closest to the foreigner game) that they were playing....

So now Japan has these strange toilets that you are supposed to do #1 and #2 in...I will do 1 in there but nooooo wayyu gonna get me do a # 2 in those...Bun wi bun out #2... lol ..you are supposed to stoop and use...Nooooo nooo noooo...that is just wrong.. what were they thinking???

Day 22 - April 10, 2008

Day 22

Today I visited the same school I did yesterday which was really a change of schedule because the school I am to go to on Thursdays, wasnt really ready...so this school took me for the day...All I did was toured the school with the Vice principal (Kyoto Sensei)...and watched some tapes of the past ALT with the Principal (Kiocho Sensei - or something like that)... Watching the tape of the past ALT was kinda boring but I did get some tips from it so it wasnt so bad...

After this I simply sat around all day and looked around the office and sometimes shuffle the papers on my desk to make it look like I am doing work...I was sooo bored and sleepy...When I was working at HEART, you dont get time to bored and sleepy...When work was over I of course visited the internet cafe place...and I saw the new ALT there as well. We then chatted and went to have dinner and the restaurant named JOYFUL...where we further chatted. The food there is pretty good actually...I had a pizza and fries with free all you can drinks coffee/tea and choice drinks. And this place is actually relatively cheap when compared to the other places.

Right now as I speak, I am a little sad for a couple of reasons.. Its pretty nice here except for the cold and the expensive stuff..But I know I have to go back to Jamaica where all manner of fearful stuff going on...Economy going down...crime going up or remaining constant and what have you...but I know I have to go back...Oh and did I mention that I was one of the several unfortunate investors in that aaaahm popular alternative investment place :) So you know I am in no hurry to run come home and hold my head...The further away from it I am...the better ;)

I am also sad because of the death of one of close church sisters back at home :( as well as the loss of someone who was very close to me...not by death this time though (read between the lines). Anyway snap out of it Dave...yes so I asked the ALT on my Apartment complex to help me sort out my lessons for tomorrow and also to translate a letter I saw at my apartment...I saw the letter and the only things I recognised was 6100 yen and 73000 yen...And mi start to wonder if the police saw me speeding to work this morning and send mi a speed ticket...ooh...sorry this morning I thought I would be late so I drove a little faster than normal :) I wont say how fast ...but I managed to get there 12 minutes early... The late part start closing in on you when you are 10 minutes early....In the training they told us..10 minutes early means 10 minytes late...so my aim always is to reach to work at least 30 mins before...

Continuing...the ALT said it wasnt a speed ticket but it was actually my insurance...which means I pay 6100 yen per month for car insurance ... and a grand total of 73000 yen...And thankfully they dont have the system here that send you a ticket in your mail whew...that was a close one....

Day 23 is somewhat of an adventure as well...as this was one of the way out schools I didnt know the directions for...and had to be using a map....Until then see you next blog (Day 23)..... ;)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Day 21 - April 9, 2008

Day 21

Since I am in Japan I keep having some weird dreams..Like its a grand clash of my imagination or something... I keep dreaming about seeing old friends from high school (Like Marlon, Gregory and Ricardo Gordon{havent seen him in like 11 years}) mixed with my friends from University {Andrew, suzette, Kimberly Stennet} along with friends from HEART trust {Jeanette taylor}...As well as my family...and old friends from on my road...dont know if its a side effect of being farrr away.

Today I found the school I was supposed to teach at relatively easy..I only asked one person for directions and I got there very early. They were having an opening ceremony for the 1st grade students...where a couple of their parents and some other big wigs came to the school...I had to introduce myself twice...Once to the 1st graders...and the other to everybody attending the ceremony. I was extremely nervous as my Japanese is poor...I just swat a few of the word dem and dats it. I already planned out what I was going to say to them which included my name, where im from, nice to meet you and yorishiku one gai shimas (i will be calling on you for help in the futre blah blah...they say this all the time) ...now when the other teachers were standing in front the crowd..they gave a very short intro...and it sounded like nothing I already knew...So All I did was tell them my name, where i am from and the calling on you in the future madniss...My staff members said it was ok but you really and truly dont know when a Japanese is being straight up honest with you because their culture is about putting on this facade (I hope is suh it spell the computer nuh have nuh spell check)...So sometimes dem tell you this is great and dem a tell peer lie...Den later down you hear yuh company call yuh and saying ray ray ray... but I hope they were being honest though....Because they are very very nice to me SO FAR...so let me bask in the early days thing...but HEART was pretty good to me on the first day..however they warned that is nuff work...


the principal took my picture today and placed it in the school magazine...All new teachers were placed in it..and it had a little writing beside it...the only thing I understood beside mine was ALT..so I dont know if it saying Monkey ALT or what......The rest of the day I just sat and steered in space...Ocationally go on the computer and studied hiragana because I dont start actually teaching at this particular school until next week Monday...


A little about Japan that I stole from my friend`s email


Did you know that the date in Japan is different from the date in Jamaica? No. Im not referring to the 14-hour time difference. Actually, todays date in Japan would be written 20-04-06. This is because according to the Japanese calendar we are in Heisei 20 (which you know as the year 2008). As such, Dave was born in Showa 55. The Heisei era only began in 1989 when the Showa era ended. Each era is denoted by the ruling emperor. In addition to the difference in the name of the year, the Japanese year begins in April and ends in March. All diaries and calendars you see will display the months in this order. The spring season begins in April and this heralds new beginnings and a brand new start in the Japanese mind. This is a time of cherry blossom parties and much excitement as everyone welcomes the new flowers of spring!


Likkle more

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Day 20 - April 8, 2008

Day 20

Ok so I had to pay 400 yen to use a computer that I could upload picha pon....Bwoy mi a tell yuh.....
Now, once ago in my life I used to tell people that I prefer cold than heat anyday...trus mi, now i`m not so sure about that at all. I can`t believe I am so cold everyday and its not winter...what going to happen when winter comes? I used to use the AC unit in my apartment and let it warm up the place for a while...but then the main ALT (Assitant Language Teacher) told me that my electricity bill going to be sky high if I continue that trend... Of course you know AC stop use all together...All the fridge mi tempted to plug out cause mi naaah pay nuh more money for anything else..

except for this internet that is...as you see I am giving you a sneak peek of what inside my apartment looks like.

So today was my very first day driving to work in Japan and ooh boy it was an adventure...I made sure to get up early and leave out JUST IN CASE I WOULD GET LOST....And all of a sudden...all the roads that looked so familiar to me when the IC was carrying me around to the schools on Day 15... never look familiar again...so the first thing I did was just drive straight and tried as much as possible to follow the directions I had written down...So I went straight ahead looking for some land marks...found none and headed back. I took another direction that seemed more familiar only to realise I eneded up going the same place I was intially. So I saw some men and said[school name] doko deska (where is [school name]), acting like mi know Japanese well. And they started talking all kinda Japanese to me and the only word I recognised was tunnel. So I pointed in the direction where I thought the school was and they nodded so I moved along...

Now this school I remembered was up a winding very narrow hill beside some brown top buildings...So I saw a narrow slope going up and I figured...Hey this must be it..So I drove up...aah bwoy... only to realise thatI was heading up this never ending hill in the rain in my little car. To the left was a big area looking deep as the grand canyon...to the right was a ditch...I did not want to reverse down this hill in the rain and this very narrow road look like it had no where to turn...Eye water came to my eyes literally..because for a moment going up the hill its like I was going to drive into heaven and I was saying to myself...`Lord I really want to see you some day`...but not necessarily today (as I dont think I have fully completed what He wants me to do..but who knows).... I eventually saw a little part where I could try turn around the car.. so I made a slight turn... I could not go too far forward because it seemed like there was another little ditch in front...So I made the slight turn...reversed a little...closing in on the grand canyon part...but I didnt know how close it was to the car so I had to put up the hand break, come out of the car, (hoping I dont slide down the wet hill) and then peek behind the car to see how close I was to the presipit thingy....after locking up and reversing and peeking behind several times...I managed to turn the car around...also by stretching my neck out to the opposite window to see if the wheel would drop in the ditch...

I had to call the office and let them know that I was lost and I would be late..(Late on the first day in Japan????Bad start...no matter what happen)...they passed on the info to the school and thank God I made it down the hill...bwoy mi a tell yuh....and then I headed back in the opposite direction like im going home... I then stopped at at this place looking like a business office...I went in and again asked for the school in Japanese...and again the men started to talk all sort of Japanese ting dat I had no clue about... eventually one of them volunteered to drive in front of me to the school...(yuh tink this would happen in Jamaica??)...I drove behind the guy who lead me straight up the hill that I was supposed to go to...then...there was a couple of the teachers outside the school waiting on me...

Ok so that was the getting to school part...the day eventually became easier...I got there only 15 minutes late after all that... and I was ready for my first class in about 25 minutes or so...I taught 3 classes and it was the same exact lesson I taught grade 4,5 and 6... I introduced myself...tell them where I`m from show them on the world map and made them say...Japan,Jamaica...Japan, Jamaica...Japan, Jamaica... come on, Japan, Jamaica...and the kids sang it for the entire day...I also showed animals to them and asked them what sound that animal made like...dog, dog...ruff ruff. cat cat..meow meow...then do it with a little rhythm and ting...and before I knew it...the day was over...I only had three .. 45 minute classes...the rest of the time was basically free to plan or do what ever I want in the school...And that is essentially what I am to do at each school...what better job??? Jump around...make rhythms, make the kids laugh and what...you are a celebrity in the schools, and getting paid for it...and no one is there to correct you because they dont really speak English...So the hardest part of my job is actually living in Japan...

I also took out my first set of garbage out today...the garbage day was for papers, waste food, plastic and those things...you have a different day to take out different type of garbage...

Another thing I did today was to put gas in the car...not after driving pass the gas station twice of course...and when I reached, I just stop at the pump...Because is peer Japanese writing on the pump station...eventually a lady came to assist me and she dont know a word in English either...So I signalled to her to full it up...and she put my money in the gas thing and it automatically did everything...again I started to feel like a country man in the dark...cause mi si shi guh somewhere else and press one button and mi get back mi change....
Stay tuned until Day 21... lol

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Day 19 - April 7, 2008

Day 19

Ok im really rushing to type this blog cause di Japanese woman a tell mi bout di place lock at 7 like mi nuh know dat long time (hiss teet).. chuh a true shi nuh know weh mi come from innuh...
Today I opened up my bank account all by my self can you believe it ;) and the people in the bank speak English none at all...except for address, name and some aother few stuff.... I never knew 1980 (my birthdate...for all who didnt know) in Japan is 55...I have no clue what dat means...

I went to meet with the Board of Education today along with the other English teachers all over Niimi.. It was a good little meeting where all the ALTs in the area who work for the same company as me had to be... we had to introduce ourselves again etc etc...went to pick up my post office card by the Main post office...also went to lodge some money to my post office account...
Hey im getting the hang of it right??? I also bought some stuff and the 100 yen store...(A greatplace to shop trus mi)...

Well likkle more...I have a piece a story for tomorrow yuh si... which is going to be my first day of work....ah bwoy.. Laterz

Day 18 - April 6, 2008

Day 18

The main ALT in my area who is originally from Canada, called me to meet with the new ALT in the area who is from the USA and the ALT from my apartment complex...We were to meet at a park and she gave me the dirctions...Now Anybody who know me well..know that I am terrible on taking directions and she wasnt good on giving either (sorry nick...but your directions suck..I hope u not reading lol).. Any way of course I ended up driving pass the park... I had to stop and call her back...she of course said I wayyyyy pass it... I had to make a U-turn in the middle of the road and go the other direction...and guess what??? I passed it again going the other direction...I eventually found it though and we all chatted and ate (normal food..sausage and ray ray)...

Met up with another ALT in the night at a restaurant name Joyful (dont really like the name but...) and we chatted about church stuff and Christianity etc etc...good yute...after that short meeting I then went back home to play some more Kingdom Hearts 2 :)..

To Stewart....The person who gave me the stamp just simply selected the colsest thing to my name and that was it....I start getting the Hiragana characters to some extent now..I dont touch the Katakana yet...I know about 15 Kanji symbols :) hey its a start ok....I kow is probably bout 10,000 of them or more...

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Day 17 - April 5, 2008

Day 17

I went to collect my car today with another (IC) this one was the one who dropped me at the hotel in Niimi. So I am driving now (guh deh Dave) :)...Big driver on the Japanese road...I just feel so small in this tiny car when I have such a big car back in Jamaica that my sister has now...well suh life guh...No the car cost about 265,000 yen and I am going to have to find the 65,000 yen though which I never knew about...Because my company will only give a 200,000 yen loan... the car though is 14 years old....What the heck am I doing with a 14 year old car??? Well it driving smoothly so I giving thanks :)

Had to sign up and stamp some insurance stuff as well...Oh in Japan you need a personal stamp to get business done...they sell them all over...A stamp with some Kanji symbols with the closest thing to your name... the closest thing they vould get to my name is something like cobbory??? which means small river by the castle or something like that....Yes I dont get it either but this is Japan...not everything you are supposed to understand...

did I mention that Japan is extremely COLDDDDD.... I am freezing here and its the beggining of spring...

wel take care now...I running from the plaza now....

Friday, April 4, 2008

Day 16 - April 4, 2008

Day 16


Today the ALT on my apartment complex, dropped me at what I think is the central bank in Niimi...as he was on his way to renew his driver`s licence and get a Japanese one... He said you cant get another international driver`s licence from your country...unless you are there for 3 months or more....I had no clue about this...so I think I may have to do this too later on...and guess what??? Its all in JAPANESE...the driving test and everything :( :( anyway when that bridge come I cross it...Anyway went to the bank to change US $760 which I plan to make last me for the remainder of April and May (I dont know how but...)... So I waited for a while for them to change it then a lady in the bank called me and said their machine is refusing one of my $US 10...(I glad is not one of the $100 dem else mi wudda haffi start gwaan like how a Jamaican would gwaan in a bank if this happend to them). I have no idea whythe thig refused my money...Now I started to get scared because I saw some Japanese guy who looked like the bank manager walking out and looking around. Our eyes made 4 then he dissappeared. I started to wonder if they put up a red flag on my name or something or they think I had a counterfeit note... But I found out that all it was just that the machine rejected my $US 10 for some odd reason beyond my understanding....


After coming from the bank guess what?? I got lost... So I started walking towards a road that looked like the main road (road 180) .... however it was not the main road I was accustomed to... So i walked back to the bank which luckily was infront of the hotel I stayed in when i just came...I headed north of the hotel but again the way looked strange...so I saw 2 students walking towards me and I said:

sumimasen - excuse me
180 hi hi 180 ??? - where the hell is 180 ( it literally means 180 yes 180 yes)


And they pointed me in the opposite direction and to make a left turn... So I just went back to the hotel where I was staying at ... now this was about 11:15 and i needed to be back at my apartment by 12:00 noon the latest because my phone was going to be delivered at that time. so I went in the hotel..asked for the manager (who i had lunch with last week)... And then now...dis man dont speak English so the task is to tell him mi need fi guh a mi yard....sorry _I need to get home...So after trying to translate for about 15 minutes, he eventually understood what I meant (horaay).. and he dropped me home about 11:50...


So yes I got my phone at about 12:15 and I called a few persons in Japan to let them know that I now have a phone... I also called my mom and sis at Jamaican time 1:00 am and my sister answered the phone half asleep...of course when she heard it was me shi get up quick quick :) and mi tell har seh hey wake up di neighbours mi have phone now... lol... any way I called the ALT who was on his way to get his licence only to find out that his transmittion in the car got messed up...so he didnt make it....Now mi start get worried...cause my car coming from the same company where dis man buy fi him own...He said they gave him a replacement one though for the time being...He eventually didnt make it for the driving test and him guh back a him yard...He then dropped me at a post office ATM so I lodged some money in my account for a rainy day...and it look like everyday is a rainy day in Japan.... And its the first I seeing an ATM machine like this; where it actually took my book...as well as the money and updated my book automatically without me having to go inside the bank or post office... It didnt even take 5 minutes...Talk about first world...not even in the USA I see this kind of thing.


I then of course went to the slow internet cafe down the road and updated my blog....Tomorrow I should be getting my car though...which means I will sort ofish own 2 mitsubishi cars...One in Jamiaca (that came from Japan) and the other in Japan...In Japan you have 2 types of cars ypu can get...the White plate which are cars over 600cc and cost 80000 yen every 2 years (cartax something) and then you have the yellow plate ones which is 600cc nd below that u pay 40000 yen every 2 years...well i think is 2 years and not yearly... Of course my car is going to be a yellow plate...


I then walked back home, studied a little hiragana..took me like to days to get the first line of alphabeth and i still dont know it well...I was trying for the second, third and fourth line also but them mising mi up... At least now I recognise the general difference between hiragana, katakana and Kanji writings and thats a start for now... If I can get those three...the only thing i need to concentrate on is the actual words to say for what...Kanji symbols especially are very hard to learn. after this I stayed up until about 3:00am playing Kingdom Hearts 2.


And for Islandgirl please send me an email to davay21@hotmail.com and as soon as I respond to you I will close it down instantly because Im not supposed to put my email up of fear the students im going to teach get a hold of it....

Day 15 - April 3, 2008

Day 15

Ok so the computers I am using at the cultural plaza in Niimi are ridiculously old. They are running windows 98?????? Thats like 1 decade ago to raatid...and there is my laptop sitting in my room that I cannot even access a wireless network with aaaaaah bwoyyy this sucks. Plus I wont be getting my internet at home until about a months time. Another problem is that my pictures cant be taken from my camera possibly because the USB drive here cant recognise it....Bwoy oh bwoy.

So any way today another IC came to my apartment for me to visit my schools. Now these Japanese ladies age very slowly...This lady looks like 28 and she is actually 43...and thats how most of them look...I guess the whale and the taste bad food have its benefits (i hope none of them reading this blog and get offended)... any way I am supposedly going to teach at five (5) schools which two (2) of them are far far away but the other 3 or relatively close to eachother. I will be teaching at only elimentary (primary) (sho gako) schools. I will be at each school on a different day except for 1 which i have on Monday and wednesday and I alternate Fridays between 2 schools. Interesting isnt it?? However the school teachers were very very happy to see me it seem and _I had to introduce myself in Japanese which went pretty well and they all clapped me at all the schools where I had to introduce myself so this is what i said:

Konnichiwa - hello
Hajimemashte - nice to meet you
watashi wa Dave des - My name is dave
watashi wa soccer toe table tennis ga skii des - I like soccer and table tennis
yorishku onegai shimasu - something about i am now in your care

Yes so now I know why they wanted me to have a car for this area...because the two far out schools i go to...there is noooo transportation at all going there...its like very very very country with some tiny roads...Lord help me... All I could see in these places is mountain and trees not even a car passing mi by on the road to blow wow.

So now I know the games that the Japanese play...the older Japanese that invite us out to eat, play the, `Lets see if the foreigner can eat our food Game` ...thats the one that they give you something to eat and watch you in silence until you eat or dont eat...then the kids now when they are together and see us, play the, `lets see who can go the closest to the foreigner Game` ...thats the one when they laugh and come near you, turn their backs walk away and then come back again and walk away again ???? Ok it beats me too...some of them actually say hello...

Anyway after the long days journey of visiting my 5 far away schools, I went back to my apartment and saw a note that soft bank came with my phone but i wasnt around...so I have to collect that tomorrow. I then went up by the other ALT apartment and played some Wii tennis, bowling and super smash brothers which was actually quite entertaining. I also borrowed his PS2 with Kingdom Hearts 2 (sorry I am still a game head at my age ok)...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Day 14 - April 2, 2008

Day 14

Unfortunately again I cant upload any pictures because I brought my camera with me but no cable to attach to the camera to upload photos :(

Well today was some what of an un eventful day... I woke up at 10 am and watch some BBC thing on my laptop about camera and camera lenses which was boring me. So I went back to bed and woke up at about 3:30 pm. I decided to go on a little walking adventure so I went to a deo deo store nearby my apartment to sign up for internet access with yahoo bb (broad band). when I got there I was walking with my Japanese scribblings and all acting like I can talk Japanese...
I went in there and said `interneto Ikura deska` - which means howmuch is it for the internet...Now the people were all excited and started talking all kinda Japanese stuff... then I got lost... So I just had this big blank smile on my face and wondering what the heck to say now.

After about 20 minutes of them trying to understand me and me trying to understand them... they gave me the application form with pure Japanese that I not in the least understood. So I went down the road where I heard there was free internet and i ended up at the city office. No one understood what I was saying so they got a guy from the office who could speak English pretty well and he made me full out another form that I had to full out before I can get internet at home ( i had no clue i had to do this). the process he said might take in total about a month... I will get 2 months free of internet though... I was supposed to fill out this form b4 I can fill out the other one that i got at deo deo (a good ting mi did come yah suh) ....well any way the man showed me where I could access the free internet (which is where I am now). He signed me up and now I have my membership card and my name printed on it in hiragana.... Oh if you didnt know Japanese has 4 different sets alphabeths:
1) hiragana - old Japanes
2) Kanji - chenese symbols
3) Katacana - modern Japanese used for modern words like internet etc
4) Romanji - Romanization of japanese
Yes these are not easy to learn at all...

so when I got home after a 15 minutes walk..the ALT who brought me around told me _I had meetings with my 5 schools tomorrow...you will hear more about that On day 15...likkle more...dem a lock up di place yah now....

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Day 13 - April 1, 2008

Day 13

Konnichiwa Tomodachi..

Well of course you know I had to find a place with internet right? Today another ALT came to get me out of the hotel I was staying in. She drives a very little car like the one I am supposed to be getting sooo I had to call the ALT who lives on the same apartment complex with me to come and assist me with my luggage. So yes I moved into my new apartment today, I am sorry I dont have pictures up today as I didnt carry my camera to this Internet place with me.

My apartment is very small but is quite comfortable. I had to buy some stuff though like this thing called a futon..dont know if is suh it spell. but yeah, the one I bought cost about 6000 yen...It is like this thick bed thing that you sleep on along with a thick cover up sheet thinga a majig. So I unpacked all my stuff and placed them around the apartment.

I followed the instruction of our trainer who said not to stay in the apartment the whole night when we just move in ...So I went walking around about 7pm and the road was like a ghost town...every bady gone a dem bed already to raatid. But mi still walk up and dung pon di road same way...probably did some tresspassing on peoples` lawn but yeah.

When I was heading back I saw the ALT who live on my complex just stepping in so we chatted a little and he was saying that he had to renew his drivers licence and passport and I will be doing the same thing next year this time if I decide to renew my contract...Oh if your job people likes you...you can renew your contract indefinitely and eventually be a citizen of Japan...Im not thinking like that however... He said our community is very quiet and very friendly however I see some of the people here giving me the strange look already... I guess it would be the same if we saw someone of another race we are not accustomed to... in the deep rural parts of Jamaica. I heard there has not been a black ALT here in possibly more than 8 years (I wonder why)...so I have work to do.

Well thats it for now...sayonara (yes i googled it ok)