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

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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Day 194 { Cold in September } - Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 194 { Cold in September }

This place is soo strange. I mean its only September and the thermometers are reading 12 degrees celsius and there about. It is already getting cold and its not even October yet. I am starting to worry about what December and January are going to be like. So this winter will have a profound effect on whether I stay here another year or not.

Today I forgot my worksheet paper that should be stamped everyday by a teacher, the principal or the vice-principal. This paper is proof that I attended that school, for the required amount of time, for that day, and should be faxed in to the company I work for by the end of each month. Tomorrow is the end of the month and if I dont have every day stamped, then I wont be paid in full.. So I am going to have to either come back here tomorrow morning or evening, get the stamp then fax it off... Yes, so after teaching the 3 classes today, it wasnt so boring because my main school give me a laptop to use. I am wondering though if they have a problem with me on it so long because, I am like glued to the screen when I am through teaching for the day.

After work, I ran home then to bible study. I was told by the bible study leader that I was invited to give a talk about myself and Jamaica at a place in Okayama city on Sunday, October 12. I guess there will be a translator as well because I am pretty sure that these people dont speak English that very well.

Day 193 { Soccer Match with Parents } - Sunday, September 28, 2008

Day 193 { Soccer Match with Parents }

Went with Jamie today to a recreational event which was planned by the organizers of the Thursday soccer thing. This event included some of the kids from the Thursday soccer thing, along with their parents as well as me and Jamie, the foreign intruders :) So yes, me and Jamie were placed on the same team and they split up the parents on different teams, 4 teams in all.
We won our first match with a goal that I scored :) then when that match was over, I was gasping for air. I never knew it was possible to feel that tired; darn I am sooo unfit right now its not even funny. The worst thing is that my team was to play another match exactly after that initial one and I of course had to sit out that one... So over all our team came second because we won only 1 match and drew the other 2.

After the soccer matches, it was time for food. And ooh boy did they feed us. Every minute or 2, another Japanese would come with either chicken or sausage or something to us. As soon as you tell them no, you are full, they come with something else. I think I also mentioned before in a previous blog entry that they only need to hear you mention a food name that they have available, and in no time they are going for it...Whether you want it or not, they are going to give it to you. After eating this massive amount of meat, they were still offering us more stuff, I started to wonder to myself, how the heck do these people eat so much but yet they are so skinny.

Anyway after Jamie went, this Japanese oldish guy started to tell me a whole bunch of stuff about his life.. He said he is in the army reserve of Japan and he is a sniper... He said he actually has a 95% accuracy of up to 200M... I was like WOW!!! .. I think that was my first time talking to a sniper as far as I know. He said, outside of the army, he is an ordinary truck driver. After all this, I was taken home..

Monday, September 29, 2008

Day 192 { The Fall/Dead Cat} - Saturday, September 27, 2008

Day 192 {The Fall/Dead Cat}

I stayed in all day today until I got a call from one of the new JET guys to come and watch a movie... Lets call this guy K. So 3 of us were there watching this movie, me, K, S and J ;) .. the movie was called "THE FALL"... It has some very beautiful scenes in it, but the plot to me is kinda dumb, well thats maybe because I didn't get to see it from the start. But its not so interesting for me to go and try to understand what it really was depicting or trying to. So after the movie, apparently K was drunk or something, as K was drinking beer. K was playing around with S and accidentally spilled beer on J's tatami mat... hmmm... Now J kinda, some what has an explosive personality. I have never seen J angry or upset before but I can imagine J getting upset and screaming at people. The room started to get a little quiet and for me a bit tense with me also trying not to burst out a laugh... Then K accidentally knocked over a bag of potato chips that I brought there... And now I was working overtime to try and contain myself, as the laugh was at my throat, dying to burst out, all while I was trying to clean up the mess with the potato chips... Then all J said was, "I think you should go" and that was it... K said, "yes I agree, I think I should go and sorry" ... Then K went. And again the room was tense...I didn't know what to do or say ...

So after this, I was wondering if I should still hang around or what, but J and S decided to go to the convenient store. So I decided to follow them. Now S is a lover of cats and while we were walking on the road, there was a nice, white, fluffy, dead cat on the road, with its guts spilled out (can you picture that).... So S started to hide her face and scream. So we went to the convenient store, and on our way walking back, I was chatting with S, and J was walking ahead of us. And as soon as we passed the dead cat, it was almost as if a vehicle timed us and ran straight over the dead cat which was next to the side walk that we were walking on.... All of us started to laugh and check if there was any cat guts splashed on our clothes...lol .. yeah I know its gross... But what are the chances???...No vehicle passed us until that very moment when we were passing the dead cat, as if that driver planned it out in his head to splash us with cat guts... lol .. Anyway, we went back to J's place and watched an episode of south park, then I left....

Day 191 - { Car Overheat / Dodgebee } - Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 191 { Car Overheat / Dodgebee }
I was speeding on my way to one of my Friday schools today and I noticed that the temperature gauge was going up... I was like, "ooh boy not now while I am rushing". So yes my car started to overheat but fortunately I remembered a friend telling me that if the car is overheating, you can turn on the heater in the car and it will take away the heat and transfer it inside the car. So I tried and it worked. Ok so if this was an obvious thing to do then I didn't know alright!!!
I am now wondering if my car company actually fixed the radiator like I told them to, because I made sure to tell them that it was bad. But lets see when next this thing is going to happen...

So today after class, again I was bored out of my witts. I am now realizing more and more that I need to keep my mind occupied with things I find interesting, or else I am going to sit in the office and think the world is coming to an end. This is in addition to zoning out, thinking all manner of evil and good, twiddling my thumbs etc. I have my Japanese study book with me and simply refuse to open it, I dont know why... In my last job, I didn't even have time to scratch my head...I wonder now which one I really prefer... To be constantly going, or to be doing nothing at all...I conclude in my mind that there need to be a balance. Having some downtime is good, but too much is not good at all. So because of my boredom, I went to play dodgebee with the kids in the gym. After this, I sort of watched the clock until it was 4pm, then filled my radiator tank with water, then rushed away. I went home then went to Friday English conversation.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Day 190 { Safety March / Arguments } - Thursday, September 25, 2008

Day 190 { Safety March/Arguments }

The kids today did a safety march that they were preparing for since September started. The kids from grade 3 up, had to March while playing a musical instrument. These kids are incredible at playing musical instruments. I am amazed by their abilities at such an early age. After work and their little march thing, I went to post 2 business related letters to Jamaica then picked up my friend Jamie for us to go play soccer with the kids. I wasn't feeling too good today at all so my team lost 2 of their matches... Again there is this little girl who always come with her dad....And anytime she sees me, she quickly run beside him and hide...even if I am walking far away from her, she would just run to her dad...When she saw Jamie though, her face lit up and she was smiling away...This kid has in a bunch of rotten teeth, but yet she is running from me like crazy...Shouldn't I be the one running??

Anyway, while I was driving Jamie from the soccer stuff to the convenient store, we saw something looking like a squabble between 2 Japanese men... This is the first time I am witnessing this kinda thing in my 6 months here... The supposedly argument was between this old Japanese guy who looks like about 65-70 and this relatively young looking Japanese guy looking like 35-40... The old guy was in his car shouting some Japanese words at the young guy who was at the old guy's car door... I wasn't sure if it was an argument until I saw the lady at the convenient store trying to calm down the young guy then ran in the convenient store to make a call... The old guy looked very drunk to tell you the truth... Now after this squabble and I drove off, Jamie proceeded to tell me a story about when she went to the beach and witnessed a fight between some naked 10 year old Japanese kids with some other 10 year old Japanese kids in clothes... She said the naked kids were winning the fight. And so the parents of the kids in clothes came by to break it up. She said the parents of the kids in clothes then started to shout at the naked kids; who then took up sand and threw it at the other kids in clothes...Thats when the naked kids parents showed up...and all what happend was that there was a "brief" (no pun intended) talk between both parents and the naked kids jumped in the water. Then both parents smiled and shook hands.... WHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD WOULD THIS HAPPEN????? I am almost 100 % sure that if that happend in Jamaica, someone would either get seriously injured or worst...Well depending on where in Jamaica it happened...

So anyway, back to this apparently druken, old, arguing, Japanese man... While I was driving and Jamie was telling me her story, I stopped at a stop light...Then I heard a horn behind me as soon as the light changed to green... Now, you don't hear horns in my side of Japan ever....So I was surprised.... only to realise that this car was driving up very close behind me, so I ignored and turn off to let out Jamie...then suddenly, this car behind me, turned with me then stopped.... The car looked exactly like the car that the old, druken looking, Japanese guy was in... So I stopped...Jamie was getting a little edgy and nervous it seem so she said she is going to her room. Low and behold it was the same old guy coming out of his car...So I pushed my head through the window to wait and see what he was reallllllly going to do...As soon as he saw my face, he started to retreat slowly and said some Japanese stuff. Jamie said he actually said stuff like "sorry sorry I thought it was someone else"... then he drove off...Boy ohh boy... Japan is an adventure

Day 189 { Paper Plane Ceremony } - Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day 189 { Paper Plane Ceremony }

Now I am sure that there are only a few places on earth where they keep a paper plane competition ceremony... Well guess what?? One of my schools in Japan happends to be one of them. Am I not lucky to be here? These schools I must admit bring out the kid in me, especially because I teach elementary school kids. Then the principal and teachers dont make it any easier, because they all act like big kids, generally speaking.... They asked me if we do this kinda thing in Jamaica???? I said yes we make the paper planes, but not have a competition and a mini ceremony.... I must admit that it was fun and all the kids went and threw their paper planes to see whose plane would go the furthest. The teachers wanted to see how we made our paper planes, so I had to make a paper plane (The last time I did this was probably 16 years ago) which was done slightly different from how they do theirs...

After this I taught my classes then went home then to the English conversation thingy... It was only a few of us but it was still good.

Day 188 - {Autumn Equinox / Fire Fighters } - Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 188 - { Autumn Equinox / Fire Fighters }

Another day of rest for me...Today is another holiday in Japan known as Autumn Equinox... This is basically the time when the sun crosses the equator, and the day and night are of approximately equal length. At the autumnal equinox (Sept 22, 2008; 11:44:18 A.M. EDT), the Sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south; which marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Sooo Japan decided to celebrate this day as a holiday and I have absolutely no objections whatsoever... Hence, all I did today was stay home and rest and live on the computer...

Recently, there was a fire in my area and one person died in the flames. As to how the fire started, no body knows. The Japanese fire fighters are very quick though but the people who are to call the fire fighters are the problem... A fire will be right beside them and they dont have a clue, because they are inside watching TV or something... Some people I know from Cambodia and China were telling me the other day about how the fire fighters operate in their respective countries. In Cambodia, the guy said that the fire fighters will be there watching the fire gut the house and wont do a thing...well thats until you PAY THEM first..And guess what?...The person whose house is being burnt, wont be the one to pay, because all his belongings are gone...So the Neighbour who doesn't want his/her house to be burnt, is the one who has to pay... hmmmmm .... The Chinese guy said, well, at least in Cambodia the fire fighters are actually there, because in his part of China they wont show up until the next day if AT ALL...
Let me see.... well in Jamaica what happends now?? I see where they show up and the place bun dung already or they show up without water and have to call back up...Then even if they do manage to out the fire quickly, and only a chair got burned... you will hear that the victim suffered millions of dollars in damages....


Day 187 { Driving Exam for Licence wooyy} - Monday, September 22, 2008

Day 187 { Driving Exam for Licence wooyy}

The day of reckoning is here... woke up at 5:30 am to catch the 6:46 am train This time I didnt have to rush :) plus I found a new parking spot that is only a minute or 2 away from the station... Went to Okayama City to meet with an Independent contractor (IC) with the company I work for. This person would take me to the licence centre for me to take the test. For the driving test in my city, there are 2 possible courses that they can give you... So I kinda know both of them in my head. I however wanted to get to the licence centre before 9am so as to get a look at the courses physically before I do the driving test...There is also a whole bunch of other stuff that the examiners are looking for, and you wont know unless you do some lessons or someone who has failed multiple times and eventually passed, tell you what the examiners are looking for... I got this information about what they are looking for, from about 4 friends, so I basically know what they are looking for.... So yes, I didnt make it there in time to view the courses :( so I only know the courses in my head but not physically.... BAD IDEA!!! Remember it takes nothing for me to get lost and/or make wrong turns? And remember I suck at using maps? Yes... and a couple a persons were there waiting for the test.. surprisingly, for my time, it seem as if it was only forigners doing the exam... Not even 1 Japanese except for the examiners. Then one of the Japanese men came to all of us and explained very very little about what is expected of us...But guess what? He explained it in Japanese...These people are so purpose, I am sure this was the very same man who asked me some questions in perfect English, when I came here to do the written test on day 163 ( http://davecollyjap.blogspot.com/2008/08/day-163-licence-test-ps3-acrobats.html)... So why is he only speaking Japanese now in front of forigners???? So after he did this, he started calling the names of us and who will go first etc etc...GUESS WHO GOING FIRST???? Yup you got it right.... Yours truly...So it is up to me to go first and make a fool of myself....

The examiner lady then sat in the car and told me to come on now....so I followed my friend's advices by looking at the tyres and checking under the car if any dead cat or any baby crawled under there .. all while holding my hand in the air (in order to make passer by motorist see me). Yes so now I adjusted my seat and fix my rear view mirror as well as looked behind me, then start the car, put down the hand break, put it in drive then drove off.... The examiner told me to make a u-turn then start the course for real after the u-turn...Raatid... After the U-turn, mi nuh gone some weh else?? And the examiner had to tell me to go 1 more time...Unfortunately this lady is JAPANESE and either pretending or really dont understand English at all. So she was giving me directions as to where to go in Japanese that I didnt really understand, sad sad sad....This was on top of me being extremely nervous...So yes, already in my head I FAILED!!! So I still completed the course, making a few wrong turns here and there while trying to undersatnd what the lady was saying... Then I parked and that nightmare was over...That I think was one of the worst things I ever had to do while being in Japan to date... I honestly dont want to do it again...But why do it again?? If I dont know if I will stay another year....No sah mi naah waste nuh more money... Well maybe I try 1 more time, but I need time to go over that course, time that I dont have...

Anyway, the others went and did their thing then it was time for the Japanese examiners to tell us what we did wrong or give us the licence...So again I was first, I was there trying to hide from the lady, but my Idependent Contractor called me over.. the lady basically said I need to know the course...So this embarassment was over and now time to go home.. My IC dropped me to the station and I went to Mcdonalds... While in there, I saw a Japanese guy with a cap and it had on a big Jamaican flag on it... Of course this caught my attention... The guy was there in front of the station with his Jamaica cap and smoking away while trying to act really cool...So I decided to go to him and ask him in Japanese if he likes Jamiaca...I already knew in my mind what would happen...So when I went up to him, instantly he started to figit and looked as if he wanted to dissappear or possibly just run away. So as soon as I started to ask him questions, his instant reaction was to tell me he didnt understand what I was saying...LIAR... So I continued, then he eventually started to respond...This interview lasted like 3 minutes tops then he was too nervous to continue so he said he had to go ... LIAR, this guy was there for a while smoking and doing absolutely nothing but trying to draw attention to himself...Any way, I left him alone then caught my train to go back to my apartment... I went home, not feeling sad but instead felt as if I wasted my time. Later in the evening I went to bible study where they gave me a cake as a belated birthday gift..I told them that I was lost for words and this fiesty Japanese lady bout "WHAT!!!, Dave lost for words???" Can somebody please tell me what she was trying to say??? lol... You know what? Im going to stop telling my stories dem and just listen more....

Peace

Day 186 { More Drunk Japanese } - Sunday, September 21, 2008

Day 186 { More Drunk Japanese }

Went work today in some heavy rain...So even though today is supposed to be sports day (undocai), it was postponed. They postponed it until tomorrow which is expected to be sunny based on forecasts. The rain started falling heavily from last night and its actually the after effect of the typhoon that went by. So because sports day wasn't kept, I stayed at work and all I did was sit around the computer, occationally used the bathroom and ate...and that was pretty much the entire day at work summed up. I wont be able to go to the sports day tomorrow because I have the dreaded driving test tomorrow which my friend flatly told me yesterday that "Hey, you are going to fail and its even worst that you didnt take driving lessons from the Japanese driving classes ".... I am yet to hear about a forigner who take it the first time and pass, somebody please prove me wrong... Its a bit expensive to take lessons and I am not about to waste my money on driving lessons when I might only stay here for 1 year... Plus I see too many forigners doing well with just a bicycle and the train...

My Landlord invited me out again in the night to meet with some more of his rum head friends. This Landlord is so cool that he even sent a taxi to pick me up. Now most of the time I tend to go because I get free food :D ... The worst thing was that, as I got to the place where he and his drunk friends were, he told me, "hey there is little food but many alcohol" ... Now after hearing this, I was extremely upset. Why should I hang out with a bunch of heavy drinkers that hardly speak my language, while being hungry, when I could stay in my apartment and look after something while watching anime, playing a game or surfing the internet???? Anyway, I am supposed to be polite plus heyyy this is my landlord, maybe eventually he will drop my rent......Ha, not a chance... But, he is a cool guy so give him that... Yes so all these rum head Japanese men, about 8 in all were throwing questions about Jamaica at me from all angles...All of them were meeting a Jamaican for the very first time... As a matter of fact, 99% of all the people I interact with in Niimi, I am the very first Jamaican they have ever met.......
Now this is the part that got me even more mad (on top of the little food they had available). One of the heavy drinker guys decided to go and take a piss in the middle of the road (which is a regular thing in my side of Japan when the guys are drinking). Now this guy so happened to be one who was sitting right beside me... As soon as he came back from his piss, he wiped off his hands with this wet rag ting..... no soap not even a hand sanitizer... then every second or 2, this man was touching me on my shoulder and asking me questions???????????????.... Hear the worst ting now....soon after this, he was offering me a grape with his bare hands??????????????????????????? HIM MAD!!!! Him muss lik him head.... This was quite an annoying night...then this other half drunk guy beside mi, kept shouting out my name periodically, scaring the heck out of me each time....
I eventually begged my landlord to call a taxi to bring me home because there are only a few things worst than hanging out with drunk Japanese men especially when you dont speak their language...

Day 185 - SIX [6] MONTHS {Japanese Theartre & Drama } - Saturday, September 20, 2008

Day 185 - SIX [6] MONTHS {Japanese Theartre & Drama }

Yes yes, back again, took a one week birthday break from my blogs :D to stress over the fact that I am getting old and I can't believe that 10 years of my life almost literally flashed by with me barely noticing... Hey but I still look like an 18 year old right :D ???????????... Ok don't answer and spare me the grief... Other than that, today marks 6 months since I am here in Japan, I still can't believe that either...and I am actually enjoying it... But sometimes homesickness tend to remind me that I miss my family and friends back at home, terribly...So at this point in time I feel like I would stay only for the year, but economically, it wouldnt make much sense, but who knows...

So yes, because I invited my Jamaican friends to my little birthday gathering yesterday, I ultimately had to put them up for the night... aaaah it was good chattering with some Jamaicans, live and in living colour again... We all had breakfast in my apartment then I ran out briefly because I had a performance to sort out... I sorted it out but didn't perform just yet and then drove back to pick up Melissa and Janiel to take them to the Train station. After taking them there, I then did my performance, after which I went to watch another Japanese play with my Landlord...

This time I was falling asleep in the play because I was tired and I didn't understand what the actors were saying... at the intermission, I was trying to explain to my Landlord how many brothers and sisters I have, which is difficult to explain. Especially when I speak very little Japanese and my Landlord speaks very little English... when I told him that its supposed to be eight (8) of us by my father, he could not believe it... Anyway, we went to a restaurant afterwards, and my landlord introduced me to some more of his rum head friends as he is a very heavy drinker...I dont know if he is trying to make me become like them, but if so, it not working at all... One of his friend's was trying to have a conversation with me in nothing but pure, unedited Japanese... I tried to tell him several times that I dont understand the stories or whatever it is he is telling me. I don't know if he was telling mi that he cant stand his wife, or that his kids giving him trouble or even if he likes dogs...I dont have a clue what he was saying... But he kept chatting away anyway, and I simply noded...

So today was pretty much a full day and I have work tomorrow but its not really work, its my school's sports Festival...

Friday, September 19, 2008

Day 184 (Watashi no Tanjobi Desu ) - September 19, 2008

Day 184 (Watashi no Tanjobi Desu)

Went to one of my Friday schools today and the kids at lunch time said 誕生日おめでとう ... The day went pretty well as I got a couple a calls from people all over the globe... Wow it felt good saying that :) ... My loving sister even called me twice because of the time difference with Jamaica and Japan...

While driving home, I started to get a little nervous because I was wondering how the evening was going to unfold and if all my invitees were going to show up etc...So first, after buying some stuff, I picked up 4 Alts who were coming from different parts of Okayama and dropped them off. The 4 persons included my friend Nicole who is also celebrating her birthday today (from Australia) along with our American friend Claire and 2 other Jamaicans. So first order of the day was to secure the restaurant.... That went well as my Japanese friend already explained everything...So the 15 persons who confirmed, all showed up, which included 3 of my Japanese friends, my 2 Jamaican friends and everybody else being a JET ALT with the exception of one of the JET ALTS boyfriend.... It was pretty good but I ordered too much food, so much so that I could not eat off all of it... We spent about 2 hours at the restaurant then we headed off to karaoke...It was funnn man...Thanks so much guys for making the day a wonderful 1 for both me and Nicole as I do believe she enjoyed herself as well... About 18 of us were at karaoke and thanks a million Bryan and Neil for booking and securing the room for us :-D it was GREAT!!!.... We could see the clear clear cultural differnces in the songs that were chosen though as well as our reaction to the songs we like...

The Jamaicans being very loud and active, when it was our time to sing shaggy's long time song "girl you are my angel" and one song from Sean Paul... While the majority of my white friends and the Japanese were wondering what the heck was going on, except for Bryan and Neil who seem to know these songs...

The majority of the Americans, not counting my Chinese/American friend...sang some songs that we Jamaicans and possibly the Japanese, had no clue about, and they were a bit sedated in their posture....The same goes for when the Japanese are singing their songs, both the Jamaicans and most of the Americans were dumb to it...Thats with the exception again of Neil and Bryan who know Japanese pretty well and also kind of listen to hip hop and reggae.... I remember when Neil I think it was, chose a song by linkin park and jayz I think, which so happened to be a song that the Jamaicans knew.....Ohh bwoyyy.... The Jamaicans were singing along with Neil and everybody else in the room was in shock and awe.....I can't believe 2 hours ended so quickly...It ended so quick that about 6 or 5 of them stayed back while me and the others went home... This was my first time ever, celebrating my birthday outside of Jamaica...

Day 183 (Typhoon #13 ) Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 183 (Typhoon #13 )

I must begin this blog by saying Luciana, you are very scandalous like the average Jamaican ... That girl is not my girlfriend. Tell me why did you assume that now??? Hmmm bwoy oh bwoy...

Yes so, I told the teachers at my school today that my birthday is tomorrow. Then one of the teachers said, "me too"... Then while I was going home, one of the kids' parents came to me and asked, "is tomorrow your birthday?" and when I answered yes, she said, "Me too"... I was like wow very interesting....So I am planning for some friends to be at a barbecue and Karaoke tomorrow...I hope it goes well as there is a TYPHOON coming ridiculously close to the main land of Japan...Typhoon #13 ... It already hit Thailand and its coming for mainland Japan tomorrow. Hopefully it will turn away further east (mom please nuh badda call mi an start fret)... I made sure to call everyone who is supposed to come to the barbecue tomorrow in order to confirm with them...I am expecting at least 15 people there and about 18 at the karaoke...So actually its me and this Jet Australian girl who are celebrating our birthdays tomorrow...So she will be coming by as well...

I paid my water rate today and the surprise of my life, an old Japanese guy came up to me and introduced himself etc... I was shocked...This doesnt really happen in Japan...He was cool though. After this, I went home, then soccer with the kids... When I got there, the kids gestured to me while speaking some Japanese that some one kicked a ball and it messed up a fire extinguisher, causing it to go berzerk.... So it kinda messed up the gym... They had to be cleaning the floor and opening the windows and stuff... The name for fire extinguisher in Japanese is show kaki ... Now friends friends friends, as to where they got this name from, I do not know...But please remember its a noun and not giving any form of instructions to any one....
Riiiiiight sooo, after soccer, I went to a link up at the other alts apartment upstairs... About 7 of us were there...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 182 (Cultural Differences ) - Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 182 (Cultural Differences)

Went to my Tuesday school today (Wednesay) because of the Monday holiday. So inadvertently, some of the teachers forgot that I had class with them today... Well the classes were all ok though, except for this one rotten teeth kid that kept pulling on my pants and sometimes preventing me from teaching... When I completed the grade 1 class, the kids would not let me out... They surrounded me and wanted to touch my hair and grab my hands etc. I remember seeing one of the kids grab my hand and then smell his hand, possibly to see what my hand would smell like.... Man these poor, dark, "dont know anything outside the Japanese culture" kids....I am sorry for them.. Luckily, many of them will grow up and get out into the city...But the vast majority of them still grow up dark and would appear dumb to the rest of the world, (sadly like a couple Americans I know as well) and do weird stuff like smell your hands to see if it smell like coffee or like when I went to Virginia, a black guy told me that a white girl asked him if he had red blood too.... sigh...
Sad very sad...Please understnd, the only thing different is our skin colour, our hair and possibly our general physical features...I think thats about it....

So today, I didnt go to the English conversation thingy because the other guys said they are not going...Instead, 4 of us went to a restaurant.. At the restaurant, I heard they had a little link up thing last Friday, which I had no idea was going on...hmmmm as to why I wasn't told of this, is still a mystry. But, a suh life guh....

Oh and I hate eggs because:
1) It taste, smell and looks horrible
2) It got me really really sick some years ago

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Day 181 (NO EGG ) - Tuesday. September 16, 2008

Day 181 (NO EGG )

For some strange reason, ALL my schools so far, seem to forget that I DONT EAT EGG!!! (TAMAGO DAME) .... The last time I ate egg was probably 12 - 15 years ago... I don't know if the new semester caused them to forget or what. I accept that the first 2 or 3 times is a mistake, but what when it happends 5, 6 and 7 times??? I forgive you all though because you are very nice to me otherwise :D ... So, the people at my main school told me today that I am entering 2 races on sports day which is This Sunday, September 21 .... The principal said he is very fast so dont watch his age...He went on further to say that he is the Japanese version of Usain Bolt... His exact words were "I am Japanese Bolto"... Mi nearly dead wid laugh ....

I was trying to make the gym thing a every Tuesday thing but bwoyyyyy, today I felt a little lazy so I didnt bother to go anywhere. And trust me, as soon as I get to my apartment, its almost as if the day ends right there and its time to go to bed...

Day 180 ( Old People Day ) - Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 180 - Old People Day
Ok so today is an holday in Japan known as KEIRO NO HI or Respect for the aged day.
This National Holiday celebrates a traditional Confucian value, respect for one's elders. Formerly, one's 60th birthday was very important, not just for being an advanced age but because it signified the completion of the cycle of the Zodiac. Today with people living longer, the emphasis has largely shifted to the 70th birthday. Cities and towns prepare gifts for residents who are over 70 years of age. Now prepare to be shocked... Approximately how many people do you think is currently living in Japan, over the age of 100????
Time is up...and the answer is a whopping over 30,000. Now of course by default, if you are the oldest person in Japan, it therefore stands to reason that you are the oldest person in the world :) ... That person just happen to be one of the over 5000 males in Japan who are over 100 and he is 112 years old.

Anyway, this morning being a holiday and all, I went jogging with my friend, then drove her to the bus stop in the rain to take the bus back to Osaka... I then drove home and I think I spent the entire day on the internet, reading blogs from other people and watching Japanese Animation... I am particularly interested in this very philosophical blog called http://xenlogic.wordpress.com/ ... I found it quite interesting and it has some mind boggling stuff on it...

Well thats all for today.. peace

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day 179 (Hanging Out ) - Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 179 (Hanging Out)

Yes so I went jogging this morning with my friend. The last time I went jogging was about 3 months ago, thanks Sarah. Then went to a park to sit, eat, chat and play frizbee...Yes Frizbee so what??? Although the last time I played frizbee was when I was about 12 years old ..... We also went to a river and then drove up this mountain that I didnt even know existed. On top of the mountain, we could see most of the city part of Niimi ... We then ate dinner at a little Japanese restaurant then watched the movie dark knight where I fell asleep. and that was pretty much the day...
It was fun though...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Day 178 (Meet friend in Osaka 1) - Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 178 (Meet Friend in Osaka 1)

Yes so I woke up at about 6 am to catch the 7:30 am bus to go to Osaka. This time I didn't have to rush. For some strange reason, I never have to rush to get in the bus to Osaka, but its a different thing with the train. Maybe thats because if I miss the bus, I will have to wait about 3 hours for the next one, but if I miss the train its either 30 mins or 1 hour... So I went to Osaka and met my friend Sarah from my training in March...She is from the USA and was travelling all the wayyy from another prefecture known as Shizuoka (where mount fuji is) which is like 3 hours away from Osaka by shinkansen (top speed 300 km/h). My area (Niimi, Okayama) is like 3 hours away from Osaka by bus (top speed 120 km/h). I am not sure how many of my Jamaican friends in Japan would do this, even if they lived much much closer... I repeat, I am not sure.....

We walked around for a while, had lunch and went on this ferris wheel looking thing that you can see a portion of Umeda-Osaka in. Of course, in Japan, it is almost unheard of to see a black guy and a white lady to be walking around. So even though this was Osaka, a big international city, the stares multiplied by 10. Not to mention the chuckles and looks of total surprise... WHAT IS WRONG WITH THEM??? Well actually, if I was walking with a white girl in my area of Jamaica, it would look strange to tell you the truth. So let me get off the Japanese case, with that particular thing.... BUT I am almost ... 100% sure that some "nuff", sorry I mean very friendly Jamaicans would possibly want to come over and say hi... Especially the males... then later on you will hear things like "blow wow, Dave have a white girl" (wow Dave has a white girlfriend) .... which might not necessairily be so.... Yeah anyway, later on we went to a Japanese concert and because it was inside a small building, the acoustics was terrible...

Thats all for today, likkle more

Day 177 (Chinese Birthdates ) - Friday, September 12, 2008

Day 177 (Chinese Birthdates)

Ok so guess what??? Next week Friday, September 19th is my birthday. I heard that in China, when you are born you are considered as 1 year old. Why? because they count the time spent in the mother's womb as 1 year... Even though its 9 months or 7 or 6, depending on whenever they heck they were born, they still call it 1 year... I don't get it but thats China for ya. Check out this site to get a more detailed look at what I am talking about, and you can even calculate how old you would be in China ...


http://www.asia-home.com/china/cncaps.php?lang=en

Well at least, as far as I know, the Chinese people are in a general sense more friendly and less racist.

Any way, I went to my main school today which is not normal, but yeah went there, taught classes and went to the 100 yen shop to get some stuff. I then went to the supermarket to stock up my apartment... I have absolutely no plan to go anywhere except work and a few other places in the month of October...

Hey Sheree my cousin, Im happy that you enjoy my blog ;) OOh and people, the earthquake the otherday was in Hokkaido.. Hokkaido is further from my prefecture (Okayama) than Jamaica is from the USA... So dont worry...

Peace and love my friends

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Day 176 ( Peace Concert ) - Thursday, September 11, 2008


Day 176 ( Peace Concert )

My students taught me a little Japanese today and it was fun learning from them :) ... After work, I took one of the new JET Alts with me to play soccer with the kids and she pretty much enjoyed it... So, after soccer, we went to this peace concert that some people had, I guess because it was September 11th and it was in Japanese but pretty interesting... A couple of my friends were attempting to make this ORIGAMI thing and it took them like 45 minutes... The Origami thing is like a peace symbol.

Went to a little bar place with a couple of the other ALTS and jus chatted. We were all chatting mostly to this Japanese guy who studied Spanish for 6 years in America...Really cool guy...He said he also visited Guatemala and Mexico during his Spanish studies.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Day 175 (Additions to Blog) - Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day 175 (Additions to blog)

Went to my main school and did my usual 3 classes. I think the grade 4 students are the most genki (energetic and fun).
After the classes, I felt a little idle plus I didnt really have anything to do, so I added some stuff to the blog as you can see, like the Jamaican and Japanese flags, the time and dates and some pictures etc at the bottom of the screen.

Anyway, after work, I went to our usual English conversation thingy...We are starting to do a membership fee thing where all of us should pay ¥300, with the money going towards helping the drivers (me and another girl that work for the same company) to buy gas...After this, me and 2 of the Alts went to a little restaurant to have pizza.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Day 174 (Black in Japan/Back to Old Car/Gym 1) - Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Day 174 (Black in Japan/Back to Old Car/Gym 1)

Bwoy Richard, you have no idea how SOME and I do stress SOME of these Japanese people mek mi feel star... Trust mi... speaking in terms of their sometimes almost total disregard for the rest of the world except America (who almost bombed them to shmitherines) and its even 10 times worst if you are from a predominantly black nation... I must say a minor few of the Japanese are very well informed though and are very nice. ...... However, MOST TIMES, these are the ones that have experienced life in other countries or who are interested in learning about other countries and actually like meeting people outside of Japan...I still can't forget though, when one of my Japanese friends, who actually travelled to Europe and America before, asked me if Jamaica was near to South Africa.... And just recently a Japanese guy sat beside me at an event and asked me if I was from Kenya... Sigh... I guess if you are black in the Japanese eyes, you are automatically from Africa...
Hey, and how can I forget my very first time going to the Church in Niimi, when after we ate some food, they put up a projector and a laptop and started playing this concert thing with a group of children from...Guess where??? Yes you guessed it right, AFRICA!!! Did they usually play this before I came there??? I dont know.....

The white people around here get stared at, but being black in this area is almost unheard of so the stares and the chattering is multiplied by 20...They look at me like a lion just escaped from the zoo... I really would love to know what they are saying in their minds, and even out a loud sometimes... And thats only for being black, they don't have a clue, and possibly don't care what your personality is like. Boy, the plight of the black man, just for being black...I guess we have too much of a bad reputation world wide so, automatically we are "LABELED"... Thats why I hate the whole stereotype thing I hate it too much man...

So far though, I must say thanks to the Japaense people like my Landlord, the Japanese that I have bible study with, the ones at the English conversation, the ones at church (although they do some weird things at times) and the ones at all my schools...Because they seem informed and very open minded....ANYWAY, Off that now, because I may live here for another year, so I better get use to it :D :( .... Soo I went to work with my new borrowed car but unfortunately, my company called and said my car was fixed, so I need to return this new one :( :( :( ... So I went to smile service afterwards and returned their car. I asked the owner how much was the cost for this nice Mazda, and he said 250,000 yen... I was like WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND My piece of junk (no let me be grateful and stop it) cost 260,000 what tha???... He said the reason is that my car is a 4WD and the mazda is a 2WD???? I was thinking, better handling, more power, look much better, feel much better but cost less because its a 2WD????? "What a croc of bull"... I thought to myself... but after evaluating the situation.... that Mazda is a white plate, which means the "CAR TAX" would be double what I pay.. Even though is every 2 years it has to be paid. Soo, if the payment date is near, the car will be much cheaper... That car tax thing is a killer, just like my loan... Thankfully my car tax is due next year December... And my loan supposed to done pay off by November... But still, I am wondering...Anyway, went to the gym with the guy who live on my apartment complex and yes at the gym again the stares of fear and the stares of "What tha hell is a black guy doing here"... I lift some weights, did some abs and stuff for about 1 hour in total then dropped the guy on my apartment complex home... I went to joyful, where I saw 2 of the new JET female ALTS... I ate and chatted with them there... These 2 girls are really cool and funny too... so I thoroughly enjoy their company :D ...

Oh Suzanne, the Jerk chicken on Friday was pretty good. Its nothing like the ones in Jamaica but it came a little close... The chickens they sell in Japan are boneless. And the darn Japanese people at the restaurant keep giving me a spoon to eat rice and peas with... You know how weird that feels??

Day 173 (New Car) - Monday, September 8, 2008

Day 173 (New Car)

Did my regular 3 classes at my main school today then my company called to tell me that smile service (the company that I got my car from- the name of the company has no bearing on how they make you feel) wants to fix my car for free and lend me another in the interim. The lady that called me from my company was a Japanese lady, and Japanese generally can't pronounce certain letters of the English alphabet very well... Namely : 'L, F and V', because these sounds are not in their alphabet. So the lady called me and said the car company has a car to rent me... so of course I asked, "WHAT??? ... Did you say rent?" .... then she said, "yes REND" ... And I said "oooh you mean LEND " and she told me yes thats what she mean't... Hey you see with my company, you have to make sure, you get everything correct, or else you may be in problems...

So I drove to the car company and they gave me a nice green 1998 Mazda Demio to drive around until my car get fix. This car felt much much better than mine and far easier to handle. I am not looking forward to getting back my car for now... After going for the car, I went to bible study then back home...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Day 172 (Bongo Drum) - Sunday, September 7, 2008


Day 172 (Bongo Drum)

So I went to the Japanese church today and guess what?? The person who translates for me wasnt there, neither was my friend from America who speaks Japanese... So I understood absolutely nothing. My Japanese friend Tomomi was there though, she speaks English pretty well but she is not confident enough to translate for me... Well it could be that she is not confident enough or she just couldnt bother, I dont know... I dont think negatively but I have an open mind and I know that sometimes I think too much... and sometimes read into things that is not so... If there is no full proof of something, I will keep an open mind on the matter.

Anyway, some new international students came to the church today, this guys from South Korea and this other guy from Taiwan. The Pastor's wife bought a set of bongo drums for the church and after the service they opened it. My friend told me it was for me to play during service when they are singing... After eating with them, I drove home... There were about 15 or so people present at the church today, and many of them needed a ride to go home.. I can't believe that the pastor's wife would rather make 2 trips than to ask me to take some of them home... hmmm I wonder if:

1) They think they are bothering me
2) They just dont want to ask
3) They think none of the kids would want to ride with me
4) They are too proud to ask for help
5) They don't trust me

I really dont know...I told the lady who keep bible study on Mondays that "Hey Im more than willing to help with the pick ups and the drop homes". But one is yet to take up the offer.... I even told a Japanese girl who attend the church that I will be willing to take her to church and back home and its noo problem, because I pass her apartment on my way to Church.... You know that the girl told me that I am kind and everything and thanks and ray ray... BUT when it came to the test, the girl actually preferred to ride all the way to church and back on her bicycle, rather than asking me to pick her up !!!... Darn... What should I think really??? Maan in Jamaica you dont have to offer a ride, you are being flocked by people even before you offer... you have to be turning down people left and right.... Well I'm not actually complaining about dropping home people or not, I would just want to know why they never asked me before thats all...

Any way likkle more

Day 171 (Back From Internet Cafe 1) - Saturday, September 6, 2008

Day 171 (Back From Internet Cafe 1)

Woke up at the Internet cafe in Okayama but I didnt really sleep well because of the type of chair. The one I slept at in Osaka before I went to Germany was much much better... I left the cafe and the cost was only 1300 yen, then went to Mcdonalds of course, then took the slow train home. I was tempted to take the fast train but I weighed the pros and the cons, and the slow train won out... I fell asleep on the train and didnt even realize when the train reached my stop. Luckily my stop was the last one, because if it wasnt, I dont think any of the Japanese in the train (except when they are drunk) would be brave enough to tell me anything, whether Japanese or English...I forgot to mention that on Friday, on my way to Okayama, this drunk Japanese guy was trying to have a conversation with me. He noticed the Jamaican colours on my wrist and he said "aaah Jamaica"... He then shook my hand and staggered off the train... Only in VERY RARE cases, Japanese come and initiate a conversation with a foreigner... and one of the rare cases is when they are absolutely drunk...
I have an especially hard time trying to convince many people who are not Jamaicans, that the colour RED is not in the Jamaican flag though....

Any way, drove to my apartment very tired and that was pretty much the day...

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Day 170 (First Date with a Japanese Girl) - Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 170 (First Date with a Japanese Girl)

Ok.. so I taught 3 classes today at my furthest school then I went to the bank to lodge some money and also went to the gas station. Darn gas is so expensive now-a-days... The company I work for called me today and told me that the car mechanic place from yesterday will tell them the cost for getting a new compressor. I told them that there is no way I was going to pay for fixing a car A/C that suddenly got broken, 4 months after I got it... They went on to tell me that I had a 3 month warantee and everything else after that 3 months, I will have to pay for... I then told them I still not paying for a thing that goes broken or bad if its no fault of mine, under 1 year...

Anyway.. I went on a little date with a Japanese girl that I met in the train while heading to Niimi last week. Please, dont think anything, its just a simple date... (Comments from especially Patrice, Stewart and/or Richard on this matter are not welcomed :D ) ... We met at Okayama and we went to a little restaurant. She speaks and understands English pretty well as she studied English Literature in University.. she said her sister wants to meet me as well but she is at work. After we ate and chatted a little, she said she had to go because she had work the next morning. So she followed me to the Jamaican restaurant then she went home afterwards. She said she works at an internet company and she is extremely busy... any way that was the date pretty much... Yes I know very boring, all we did was chat and eat... I was fore-warned by many friends that people in Japan (both males and female..but mostly females) have no time for themselves and they LOVE to punish themselves with work. I see it for myself... Its like the opposite of Jamaicans, we long for a holiday, the Japanese, dont want any holiday. Its drilled in their heads from they are children to work work work until you die...I see even old 80 add year old women and men delivering mail and driving big vans... Yes SERIOUSLY!!! I am not sure if I have ever seen an 80 add year old woman in Jamaica doing that... OOh and in general, if the Japanese are not working and being busy, something is wrong... They enjoy being busy ...YUH MADD MAN... I even saw this in Germany, as soon as you start a conversation with the Japanese who I met there, they tell you they have to go because what??? THEY ARE BUSY!!! Doing what???... Although I know I can be very busy body sometimes, I do need rest from time to time, then I want to go out again... Most Japanese I meet, they dont want to rest, except for the the 5 or 6 hour sleep in the night...They dont like holidays, because they miss work... WHAT THA???

Ok so I went to the Jamaican restaurant where these many Japanese people are obsessed with Jamaica and our lifestyle but as soon as they see me an actual Jamaican, I get the feeling like "what the heck is he doing here?" kinda look... however as soon as I talk to them, they seem cool... This thing at the Jamaican restaurant was an event that we had to pay for dubbed, "Jerk Chicken night"... There were 2 persons collecting money at the door...So I told the girl I was from Jamaica and she probably thought I was lying.. She even said, what did you say "You are from Africa?" I said "No!!!, Jamaica".. she said her Ex-Boy friend is actually from Jamaica....Now, apparently because I wasn't smoking a spliff or parading in my Jamaican colours, she some how heard Africa... At the Jerk chicken night, there was this Japanese guy playing the steel pan, and he was pretty good at it actually. He attempted to sing our Jamaican song "Carry mi Ackee guh a Linstead Market" He didn't do too bad but some of his pronounciations were wayyy off.. Well hey the Japanese who were present didnt have a clue what he was saying, and they loved it, so he did well...He also attempted the Jamaican old hit song that say something " time is hard but im holding on, im going to be your number 1" something something something...He didnt do to badly with it either... My deduction from all of this Japanese craze over the Jamaican culture in Okayama is that, these Okayama based Japanese, are not necessarily interested at all in meeting a Jamaican, but they like the Japanese guys who pretend to be Jamaican and try to act like us... Bwoyy ohh bwoy... so weird..

The owner of the Jamaican restaurant is the Japanese guy in the pic that is holding his head down on the steel pan. He spent 1 year in Jamaica with some Rastafarian men. He has a tattoo of a weed on his right hand and a tattoo of Bob Marley on has back. He said he spent 1 year in Treasure beach, St. Elizabeth. He said the last time he went back to Jamaica was 7 years ago though...

I spoke to a couple of the Japanese people there and they were surprised at the level of my Japanese, which I am sure is very low, but they think its wonderful. For some strange reason, when a foreigner, even worst a black foreigner, speaks Japanese to a Japanese they can't believe it. They some how think that its impossible to learn their language if you are not from Japan. My friend said it right, that Japan is a first world country but generally has a third world mentality and behaviour, in a general sense that is. Some of them wonder how is it that I can drive... WHAT???? Even my IC last week wondered how I got 100% on the very easy written driving test that a grade 3 kid could have passed as well.

Anyway, after the Jerk Chicken night celebrations which ended at about 2:30 am.. I had to search for an internet cafe to go and sleep at. I walked all over Okayama at that time of the morning, searching for an internet cafe. I think it took me about 45 minutes to find the very first one in which the receptionist told me it was filled to the capacity... I asked him for another 1 and he gave me directions... I then went to a 24 hours Mcdonalds and they directed me... I went there and slept for about 5 hours....

Friday, September 5, 2008

Day 169 (Car Mechanic) Thursday, September 4, 2008


Day 169 (Car Mechanic 1)

Taught 4 wonderful classes today but I was extremely tired afterwards. Thats because some of the kids wanted me to run all over the place with them and some also wanted to teach me some kanji charachters. After work, I drove home and almost got in a minor accident. I was parking at the side of my apartmennt and I thought my foot was over the break when it was really over the gas. So I pressed down a bit only to see the car drive off. I was so frightened, and there was this old Japanese lady looking on... I just pretended as if I was driving to another part of the area and turned the car around and parked at my normal parking spot, which was actually in front of the apartment. Bwoy thank God nothing happened...

I paid my high rent today then went to the mechanic that my car company (smile service) sent me to. I went there because I told them that my A.C. not working properly and I have the car for only 5 months... So firstly though I needed to find the mechanic. You probably already know me with the directions business already.... its even 5 times worst when its a Japanese person giving me the directions. So yes I got lost for a while but the owner of the mechanic place found out where I was and directed me... after I gave them my car, I waited for about 45 minutes then they told me that my compressor was bad. So I told them ok then I went to soccer with the kids. After soccer with the kids, I called a lady that work at smile service, and she said she will have the company that I work for calling me tomorrow... And from them get involved, I dont think I want to hear... I then went to one of the JET ALTs apartment to meet up with some more of the guys and we watched a movie name Death at a Funeral... It was funny I think but a little WEIRD...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Day 168 (1st English Convo After Holiday Break) - Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Day 168 (1st English Convo After Holiday Break)

Right so, today at work was pretty normal.. Had 3 fun classes then was bored out of my wits. Later, I went to the supermarket area to get a gift for a friend.
After this, I went home then to our Wednesday English conversation thing which was the first since summer vacation... I don't know how this English conversation thing is spelled in Japanses but its something like Eikiwa is that right Stewart, or Neil or Kayoko or someone who know Japanese???

Hey Luciana, to this day I still have a bitter feeling about England although I have a couple a really good friends who live there or is from there...I would have to ask one of them if they know of any Baptist Churches in the area that you mentioned....I have that bitter feeling because they turned down my application for a visa in 2005 when I was to attend a conference... Ever since that I am just bitter about the incident... Even one of my closest friends, Andrew Gushman who I think you know, actually lives there...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day 167 (Japanese Dance Show) - Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Day 167 (Japanese Dance Show)

Went to my Tuesday school and as soon as I walked into the office, the vice principal looked at me and said Bolto Sugoii (Husayne Bolt is amazing) and did that little pose thing that Bolt has been doing throughout the olympics. I almost died with laughter, and he was dying with laughter as well. A couple of the kids were also saying..."Jamaica olympics sugoii.."
Anyway, after my 3 classes today, I was extremely bored and was falling asleep around my desk. I took up my bible to read but I was still falling asleep. This is the part of my job that I dont like... Nothing to do after lunch. Luckily the office assistant, the principal and the school nurse were asking me questions about my summer vacation so I showed them pictures from Germany as well as a clip of my performance there... They loved it and were hooked on the computer for a little while.... after this I went home and my Land Lord brought me to a Japanese play. Its like a dance and theatre thing in one... Almost like what they do at little theatre in Jamaica (hey I performed there once b4 :) ) .. It was interesting though.. Sorry that the picture is so poor beause I took it with my cell phone in the dark... I forgot my camera. We then went to a little restaurant place afterwards where I had yakisoba which is one of my favourite meals in Japan.