A true to life drama of a Jamaican male, living and working in Japan since March 2008.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 342 { Are You For Real?? } - Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 342 { Are You For Real?? }

As I said yesterday, I accidentally told my company about my little mistake with booking the ticket back to Jamaica. And the half acting managing consultant guy told me that he will have to speak to the branch manager. I didnt even know that we had a branch manager and he is Japanese. When the half MC guy called me back, I asked him some questions about our branch of the company and how things work there... He said that after the main managing consultant (he is from Australia) stepped down to become a head teacher in the area, his post has been split in 3. The new guy is the one that deals with Human resources and ALT business (he is from the USA), another person deals with Training and ALT business (he is from Canada) and another person sorts out our pay (she is Japanese).

Any way, I told Mr. New guy about me 3 tight options:

1) To cancel the ticket, miss my cousin's funeral and lose 30,000 yen

2) To cancel the ticket, lose 30, 000 yen and buy a brand new ticket

3) Ask for 1 more day leading me back to request the original 9 days...

The guy said the manager said, that the company would prefer to give me the 30,000 yen cancellation charge and make me purchase a new ticket...They always have a BIIG problem calling the board of education...So they would rather give me 30,000 yen than to simply ask them to give me 1 more day... HE said that I should call the travel agent to see how much the new ticket will cost. So I called them and they said that the new ticket will cost a whopping 300,000 yen because I got a special ticket and those are finished now.... I called my company back instantly and told them what the travel agency said.... The new guy then said he will get back to me as soon as possible... When he got back to me, he said the branch manager said they will have to build a story to tell my board of education (tell them a lie) about the travel agency making the big mistake and I realised while on my way to the airport. I told them thats fine with me...They are the ones telling the lie not me. And thats a normal thing for them I think.

So I completed my packing now and should be on my way tomorrow morning. Pray for me as I go.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Day 341 { Very High Phone Bill } - Monday, February 23, 2009

Day 341 { Very High Phone Bill }
I got a mail from my phone service provider today and my bill was sky high... Its the second time I am seeing a bill so high.. the first time was going to Germany, and this second time is going to Jamaica... I need to stick to skype and stop using my cell phone to make these calls.

I emailed the acting manager guy for my branch of the company today and told him about the ticket issue... It then came to my mind afterwards that this wasn't the best thing to do...But too late now... He said he will have to get back to me on the matter.I need some prayers along with another miracle on this issue as well.

Day 340 { Old People Driving } Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 340 { Old People Driving }

Hey Happy Birthday Sheree. Sorry I didn't get to give you a call.

Today while driving to church, this old man made me have to sink my brake pedal down. I was in the left lane line, he was in the right... The lanes would eventually merge into one lane and I didn't want to be driving behind this old man... So I sped up a bit to attempt to drive ahead of him... only to realise that this guy was drifting closer and closer into the left lane, heading for my car and not looking what he is doing. He was staring straight ahead and he was chatting to an old woman beside him. I was so frightened. Niimi has too many old people and too many of them drive...If you reach age 85, why are you still driving on the road?

Later in the evening I went to the ¥100 store then started packing for my long trip....

Hey Kesha, I should be around the 25th of March so you can stop by..its no problem.. and congrats on your transfer... I maybe staying where I am for another year if anything better dont come up... as much as it is very country here. The moving in cost is too expensive to go elsewhere...

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Day 339 { Andre's Eulogy /I Maybe in Trouble/ Naked Man's Festival } - Saturday, February 21, 2009

Day 339 { Andre's Eulogy /I Maybe in Trouble/ Naked Man's Festival }

Andre's Eulogy
I stayed in all day today writing my cousin's eulogy. I included most of the stuff that I wrote on Day 327 -Feb 9. It took a little while then I had to stop myself because I remembered that his sister is supposed to do a part of his eulogy as well.

I Maybe In Trouble
Today my friend showed me something on my e- ticket that I didn't realise...I actually booked to come back to Japan on Monday, March 9 when I should be back on Sunday, March 8 to go to work on March 9... Which means I apparently thought I was going to get the 9 days and accidentally booked 9 days instead of 8.. :0
I have no idea how I am going to explain this to my company... Any ideas anyone?? I already sent an email to the travel agent, informing them of the error but I don't know if it can be changed when the date was already confirmed....hmmmmmmm am I in trouble??? Lets find out later on another episode of THE ADVENTURES OF Dave IN JAPAN!!!! .......................................................................Whatever

Naked Man Festival
They had this yearly festival thing in Okayama city today dubbed "the naked man festival" ..... Several females asked me if I was going to attend but I have absolutely NOOOO interest whtasoever in this event... the very name makes me cringe. Maybe if it had a different name, with participants of the opposite sex I would go :)
The event includes a bunch of men, probably more than 500, who try to get a special stick...(Now a man searching for a stick, is another cause for concern.) in the space of maybe 10-20 mins... They all wear some sumo wrestling style clothes and I heard that every year, someone gets killed in this event... I also heard that some members of the infamous YAKUZA is always present there as well.....The person who successfully gets the stick without being killed, will win the following:

1) A stick (I have no interest in this whatsoever)
2) US $10,000 (I have some interest in this but if it involves wearing those sumo wrestling style clothes and have 500 men to contend with, then no thank you)

I saw some photos with about 12 foreigners who entered the event. There was one black guy in the event..He is from Chicago I think and of course, you can't miss him in the crowd. This video on youtube shows something like what the crazy event is like http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWee7-fDayk

Day 338 { Internet Radio Show 3/Japanese Jerk Chicken / God is Good } - [11 MONTHS ] Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 338 {Internet Radio Show 3/Japanese Jerk Chicken / God is Good } [ 11 Months ]

Internet Radio Show 3
Yes so the third instalment in my radio show was uploaded today. The aim was to teach Jamaican dialect (Patois) to my friends from Japan, USA and Zimbabwe/Serbia. They didn't quite get all the pronunciations correct but it was soo funny... Again, it may be found at

Japanese Jerk Chicken
At my main school today, the nutritionist lady gave the kids a flyer with some information about me, my family and about Jamaica. She also decided to make Japanese style Jerk chicken with rice and peas for lunch today. The intention was to make the Jamaican style Jerk chicken, but being as there are no Jerk pans in Japan, she had to buy a Jamaican Jerk sauce in the city. I was initially excited about this Jerk chicken with rice and peas, but when I saw how it looked close to white, like it was half cooked, just like the normal way how they prepare their chickens...My anxiety vanished. I was still some how hoping that even though it had that traditional Japanese school lunch look, it had even a slight Jamaican taste..... Not so my friends not so... It tasted almost exactly like the normal Japanese school lunch chicken with just a slight tingling on the tongue from the jerk powder. The nutritionist then told me that the jerk powder is not good for the kids and when she checked the amount of sodium or what not in the jerk powder she decided to use only a little. So she gave me a half bottle of the powder as a present... I think it was more like
"Hey Dave Sensei, I am not really going to use this ever again so you can have it" Well I must admit that Jerk sauce or jerk seasoning or whatever, is no substitute for the real thing done in the Jerk pan.

God is good
I ran to the bank today to pay for the plane ticket. The bank guy that was helping me at the ATM to transfer the money, was speaking pure Japanese....Not even one word in English... All I did was nodded and point on the key that I think he is telling me to press. I then called the travel agency and they told me that they received the funds and they will email me the ticket information. I then got the ticket confirmed in the night soooo all going well... I should be heading for New York this coming Wednesday. I need to also start writing the eulogy for my cousin. I guess tomorrow I will sort that one out.

Day 337 { Are You Speaking About Me? / Book Flight } - Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 337 { Are You Speaking About Me? / Book Flight } - Thursday, February 19, 2009

Are You Speaking about Me?

I got to work exactly on time today...And who was that staring at me after we said Ohayo Gozaimasu (good morning) to each other? Both the principal and the vice principal..... I then saw when the principal whispered something to the vice principal while giving me a little stare like the tiger to the left. And I saw the vice principal hold down her head with her long, black hair covering her face, while using both palms to cover her face.... I am still wondering if they were saying something about me... But I would probably never know in this life time.... At least if it was something really bad, I know the company would have called me already...

Booked Flight

I decided to call the company I worked for to ask them if I got to the leave approved. I had to do this as I really didnt want to go ahead and book a flight to Jamaica and not know if they approved my leave. If I didnt call them, I dont know if they would have told me or not. The acting manager guy, or whoever he is, told me that YES it has been approved... So I will get 4.5 days paid and 3.5 days unpaid. Those 3.5 unpaid days might cost me about US $300 or more. Not sure yet and I am not sure how it is calculated.

After they told me that all is well, I called the travel agency (H.I.S Travel - Osaka) and booked my flight to New York... I got an insanely cheap round trip ticket that cost only US 1000.. They have some sort of special going on now... yahoooo what luck... My sister will sort out the New york to Jamaica part of the trip...However, the travel service place wants me to pay for the ticket by tomorrow at 2:30 pm... I need another miracle for that part.


Courtney - Yuh nearly mek mi dead wid laugh bout that indoor shoe thing LOL!!! DWL!!! I laughed so loud in my apartment, I was wondering if the neighbours heard me.

Shirley - I was wondering how come you didnt respond to my mail......but I got your text :) no worries.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Day 336 - { Calm Down B4 You Get Me Into Trouble !!! } Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 336 - { Calm Down B4 You Get Me Into Trouble !!! }

Today I went to my furthest school and the English coordinator (who hardly speaks English) asked me if I can attend a sayonara ( goodbye) party. She asked because my supposedly next time at this school, could be my last for the year and we don't know which ALT will be at what school coming April. I told her I'm not sure if I can make it... She then proceeded to ask me why I wasn't sure (I hate these why questions)... so I told her that my cousin died and I maybe heading back to Jamaica for his funeral, hence today might be my last class.... She then told the vice principal what I said... Then both of them came to me and asking me what dates im going to miss etc etc... I was trying to tell them that I wasnt sure about all this but they insisted on asking me a whole lot of questions....I was hoping that they would keep their thoughts to themselves but they were jumping all over the place...while I was saying to myself...how do I stop them now??? ... they then called my main school ...I saw the English coordinator on the phone making the call and I just couldnt do a thing... apparently my main school told her that they knew nothing of the sort... And I kid you not...in the space of 2 minutes after this teacher got off the phone, my company rang my cell phone... YES!!! my main school had already called my company about the issue..

I didnt answer my phone and went on to teach a class...But I checked the message and called them back afterward... The acting manager guy or whosoever this new guy is, said that he heard that I am telling the teachers that I am going on leave... I explained to him that I did no such thing, but simply told the English coordinator that I WASNT SURE!!! and she went ahead and started calling around... the manager guy or whosoever he is then said I should try not to mention anything at all to anyother teacher about this matter...Because if it reaches the Board of Education..then I might be in some trouble....Because the Board of Education dont want us talking to the teachers about these stuff. I then told him that chances are if 2 schools know, then all the 5 will eventually know in no time...He then told me that we should hope that this doesnt happen...

I called a travel agency to check the potential price of my ticket if I was to get the leave... the lady said it would be about ¥99,000 or US $990... 2 way... this is a very cheap ticket... I am keeping my fingers crossed that I get the leave and the ticket...

Unnu pray fi mi..

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Day 335 { Leave Request/More about Zimbabwe } - Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 335 { Leave Request/ More about Zimbabwe } - Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My aunt (the mother of my cousin that died) called me today to ask if I can do a part of his eulogy with his sister. I of course told her yes...pending the result of the days I am planning to request from my company... So I sat down and planned out my leave days, then sent in an application for nine (9) days leave... If granted, I would leave for Jamaica on February 25 which is next Wednesday. Then return to Japan on Monday, March 10. I made sure to tell the Italian guy from the Tokyo office that I submitted the application for 9 days leave.

Later, on in the evening, I went to the English conversation stuff and my friend from Zimbabwe and Serbia did his presentation. He mentioned a bit about Zimbabwe's history where it was once a country together with Zambia and had the name Rhodesia. The name was given Rhodesia from this wealthy Englishman back in the days, by the name of Cecil John Rhodes, who was a firm believer in colonialism and imperialism. He started the the diamond company De Beers and if you know anything about Rhodes scholarship, it was named after him as well.

My friend also mentioned about the old president of the then Rhodesia, a man name Ian Smith, who made Zimbabwe become independent of the British Empire. But still, even though it was independent, and had a 90% black population....As with most of these colonial places in Africa back in the day....the white was in control of the government and were the big wigs... So that 90% majority wanted a piece of the cake and therefore rebelled... For 15 years, the government held back the people until some countries like France, and others sponsored Mugabe's cause... Now he is running the country to a wreck and his in the top 10 list of most evil leaders. I think he is at number 4 now http://www.parade.com/articles/editions/2006/edition_01-22-2006/Dictators

The Zimbabwean/Serb guy then showed us some pictures of his near death experiences in Zimbabwe... #One (1) while he was climbing some mountain place, fell off, and his friend had to catch him... He said to get to this place, you have to drive for several hours, hike for 1 day then probably climb for half a day... there are no animals or humans there, just nature.
# Two (2) a hippo almost turned over a stalled boat that he and his friends were in. They were absolutely lucky that the boat started back. He said hippos are the most dangerous animals in Zimbabwe. # Three (3) A very big crocodile came after the boat he was in and started to climb in... they had to stick it in the eye... He said one of his friend's got eaten by a crocodile.

After his presentation, an administrative member of the branch of the company I work for, called me at 8 pm... (I was shocked to say the least)...He called me to ask me if I could slash one of the days and instead apply for eight (8) days instead of nine (9) ????? ... I couldn't believe it, Yes a 1 day difference... He also asked me to supply them with internet links about our nine night traditions in Jamaica, so they can build a case to my local board of education...He further said that they may view nine (9) days as too much....I was about to ask if eight days would make a difference but I didn't bother...

Latoya, I just felt like changing the format...no particular reason...what you dont like the new look??? mek mi know suh mi can change it back..

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Day 334 { Getting Hotter But Still Cold } - Monday, February 16, 2009

Day 334 { Getting Hotter But Still Cold }

The grade 6 teacher asked me to write a brief graduation message today. I completed it but forgot to give it to her...Hopefully I will remember to give it to her next class.

My area is getting a little hot now surprisingly but the weather is behaving a little strange. Like yesterday it was hot and went up to about 16 degrees celsius...But today was cold and it went down to about -3 degrees celsius. It was even snowing a bit today

Bwoy Latoya nuff time mi feel like fi tell dem someting when dem a stare pon mi... But what mi feel fi tell dem, dem wudden understan.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 333 { Baby Dragging my Sweater } - Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 333 { Baby Dragging my Sweater }

Today I went to the super market because I was running low on food supplies. While I was in the supermarket, I saw this lady who I know that work in a local bar. She glanced at me once then turned her head sharply....Why do they do this thing??? I would not be able to tell you... So while I was shopping, a couple a kids were staring me into oblivion and slowly following me like a zombie slowly walking after someone. I stopped at the bread section and through the corner of my eye, I saw a couple of Japanese adults staring me down as well. And before I could lift up my head properly and go about my business, they all turned around instantly....

So while I was in the line to cash my gorceries, I felt a tug on my sweater. When I turned around it was this kid, looking at me in amazement... The mother of the kid then said Sumimasen (I am sorry)... I smiled with the kid, but she just kept looking at me with her mouth wide open. Her little mind cannot yet understand why I look so different.
After I cashed the stuff, I saw the lady that worked at the local bar again, so I told her hi, then she looked at me smiled, said hi, then turned around and disappeared quickly.

Day 332 { Dropping Bombs } - Saturday, February 14, 2009

Day 332 { Dropping Bombs } - Saturday, February 14, 2009

Today was one of the Alts that work with my company, birthday. So we had a little celebration for him at one of the J.E.T Alts apartment. We ate a lot of pasta and some other stuff. The birthday guy said he had over 200 x-box / x-box 360 games...I could not believe him....and here I thought I was the only game head around town...Although I am not sure how many men my age is currently playing pokemon diamond on Nintendo DS. I know of a Japanese lady who is older than I am that is playing it though. So I dont feel all that bad.

At the party thing, the Serb/Zimbabwaian guy said if I feel down about my cousin, I can talk to him, because he has been through much worst . The he proceeded to tell me that every single person who is from Serbia, MUST join the Serbian army after age 18. Even if they don't stay in, they MUST join....Well thats if they still live in the country... So because he is a Serbian citizen but live in Zimbabwe, he is some what exempted from this...However, if he should decide to go live back in Serbia, he HAS to join the army, no ifs or buts.... He went on to tell me that one of his cousin's died in the Serbian-NATO war in 1999... Where the then president of Serbia (former Yugoslavia) Slobodan Milosevic, wanted to control Kosovo and get rid of the Albanians and others through ethnic cleansing. The Serbian/Zimbabwian guy said his cousin who was 22 at the time, was in an anti aircraft tank when about 5 bombs dropped on the tank, killing every single occupant thereof..... I was like "DAMN!!!" He said at the funeral, an empty casket had to go down because there was nothing left of any of the persons that died... Not even bones. He said a couple more of his relatives/close friends etc got shot and killed amongst other things...

Day 331 { Visa Renewal / Kiss Kiss Bang Bang } - Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 331 { Visa Renewal / Kiss Kiss Bang Bang }

Left from work early and went to Okayama city to the immigration office in order to renew my Japanese visa. They would normally give you a 1 year visa but I applied for a 3 year one because my friend said she got a 3 year one. The applying for visa renewal took like about 10 mins and they told me to come back for the visa in the next 2 weeks. What I can't believe is that my company wants us to pay for the transportation to and from the visa office (twice), they want us to pay for the visa, and they want us to use our vacation days or a part there of to go and do these stuff. I have never heard anything like this in my entire life...

Any way, my friend recommended a show to me so I watched it... This show was from about 2005 but it was pretty interesting and funny. Some of it had me wondering but in a general sense it was pretty funny... The name is Kiss Kiss bang bang.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Day 330 { A Light of Hope } - Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 330 { A Light of Hope }

Today the grade 3 kids at this school dragged me away to go play with them...After I was very tired and resting...They actually returned to drag me away again even after I told them that my foot was hurting.

Today I called the head office of my company and told them of the situation with my cousin. The guy was extemely sympathetic and said to tell them when is the funeral so they can sort out something for me. I was very glad to hear this part...The other minor issue is to work up the money to go to Jamaca. Please pray for me in this regard.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Day 329 { Foundation Day } - Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 329 { Foundation Day }

Today was another Japanese holiday known as foundation day or Kenkoku kinenbi ( 建国記念日 ). According to the earliest Japanese history records, on this day in the year 660 BC, the first Japanese emperor was crowned.

I stayed home most of the day crying my heart out, I simply cant help it at all. I am still trying to come to grips with reality... I spoke to my mom and my aunt and they were ok...They were actually laughing at me about my 5 days dilema....I really want to attend the funeral so I plan to call the head office of my company tomorrow and see if they have a different view from my branch. This is the news story in the Jamaican gleaner about my cousin's death. They mis-spelled his name though.....They had Nair when it should be Mair.

Day 328 { 4.5 Days Remaining } - Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 328 { 4.5 Days Remaining }

Today I told the persons at my Tuesday school about my dilema...They were very very sympathetic unlike my branch of the company I work for. My branch found it extremely difficult to ask the school today if they could kindly shift the classes for me. But when I told the principal and the office lady about my situation, they said that its absolutely no problem.....

So one of the acting heads of my branch told me that I cannot renew my visa today (which I planned to do) and said that I should renew my visa this Friday...Now he added that I also need to request half a day on Friday to go and renew my visa (which by the way is company business sort of). So now, out of the 5 days that I get for vacation and sick days, I now have 4.5.... In all my life I have never heard something like this.

Bwoy Panton, one a di time dem mi deh inna di apartment and start bawl...Den mi look inna mirror and mi haffi stop bawl same time.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Day 327 { A Very Sad Day (Andre Please Come Back)/Possibly The Worst Company } - Monday, February 9, 2009

Day 327 { A Very Sad Day (Andre Please Come Back)/Possibly The Worst Company }

A Very Sad Day (Andre Please Come Back)
Went work like normal today. For some time now, I normally wait a bit before turning on the computer at my main school. But today I decided to turn it on a bit earlier then check my email. Only to be greeted with an email saying that my cousin drowned in Portland, Jamaica along with 2 other guys. First I was in shock and total disbelief. Then I got a second email confirming that it is in fact my cousin. Instantly I called my mom in Jamaica and asked her what is going on...and she told me the story. To date, I can't recall ever crying so much after hearing something. I had to go into the school bathroom and get myself together...I told the vice principal and he told the principal. The principal then called me in his office and asked me what happened...Again I broke down in tears that I had no control over...

I actually grew up with this guy and has always been trying (since we were kids) to either reach to his level or out do him. I was never successful in any. At primary school, he passed his common entrance exam (an exam we had to take to go to high schools in Jamaica ) in grade 5. He got in a good traditional high school known as Wolmers...I wasn't quite as brilliant or fortunate to pass in 5th grade. But when I was in 6th grade, because he went to Wolmers, I selected Wolmers as my first choice, and Excelsior as my second choice... again I wasn't so fortunate or brilliant so I was sent to Excelsior... He started to study computer stuff in 4th form (10th grade)...So I started studying it as well. He passed all his High school subjects (CXC exams) with very good grades, except for English Literature and so went on straight to 6th form (12th grade). Again I wasn't as fortunate or as brilliant as him and I failed both Math and English Language at my first go... He went to what many think is the top University in the region (University of the West Indies) while I had to be going to a Community College. When I finally started University, he was in his final year. As soon as he graduated, he got a job as a Database Administrator at a Cell phone company in Jamaica known as Digicel. He got this nice job at age 21...I got my first job after University at 25, and it was teaching rotten kids for very little money. His salary tripled mine.

The only thing that I could out do my cousin in was having girlfriends.....While he had his first girlfriend at around age 20 or 21...I had my first at about age 14. Me and my cousin pretty much did everything together since we were kids...We went on countless retreats and stuff. He made me start to exercise more and he taught me a whole lot of stuff...He also got me into this pokemon game business. Our friends used to make a lot of fun about him because he would do some strange things at times. He had such a calm spirit and an outgoing personality. A very calm individual and very very friendly. He practically bought my plane ticket to come to Japan. Then while I was fretting about paying him back, he said that he didnt even remember about it and that it was a giflt. He said that money is the least of his problems....

This guy todate is probably the single most humble person I have known... He didn't care about money nor the flashy lifestyle... ...Even though he was making a whole lot of money in his job, he thought it unnecessary to buy a car for a loong time... so he took the bus to work religiously until very recently he decided to buy a car....The last time I spoke to him was the day I got my Japanese Driver's licence on Day 294 - January 7, 2009. Right now, I can't even imagine him not being around...He was a true genius while being very humble at the same time. If I am to get married, he would undoubtebly be the best man at my wedding. He is the only male that I knew and kept in constant contact with since birth literally....

Possibly The Worst Company or maybe its just my branch

Now, because I want to go to my cousin's funeral whenever it is going to be...I asked my company a few questions and they didnt disappoint me by NOT being uncaring and unsympathetic... These are the questions I asked along with the Answers I got:

Question 1 - My cousin died, is it possible to attend his funeral
Answer 1 - Well as you know, you only have 5 days for the year so if you can go to Jamaica, attend the funeral, then come back within the 5 days, then thats fine.

Question 2 - What about taking 10 days without pay

Answer 2 - No! The company only give 5 days. No pay leave is not an option...We may consider extra time if it was a parent who died but no body else.

Question 3 - Can I get a pay advance if I was to go to the funeral..

Answer 3 - No we can only give you a loan

So if I do get to attend my cousin's funeral, it is at the risk of losing my job. The worst thing about it, is that, if I stop my contract, I will automatically owe my compay 200,000 yen...Because they give us that as a loan to buy the car...But it will be cancelled if we complete the contract.
All I can do is ask for your prayers...
Peace and love

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 326 { Bad Dreams / Jamaica Featured on Japanese TV Show } - Sunday, February 8, 2009

Day 326 { Bad Dreams / Jamaica Featured on Japanese TV Show }

Went to church today and ate a whole lot of food afterwards. I then went to my apartment and called a couple of my Jamaican friends who renewed their Japanese visa, to find out exactly whats the process. I plan to renew mine in this coming Friday.

For some strange reason, of recent times I have been having some bad dreams. I can`t seem to understand why. I dream every single night and if I have 1 good dream, I will probably have 15 bad or strange ones after.
Later in the night my friend called and told me that Jamaica is going to be featured on a TV show. I managed to take 4 video clips of it...But then my camera battery died. Here are the clips I got:
Peace and love

Day 325 { Bucket List Again } - Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 325 { Bucket List Again }

Stayed in most of the day playing the Nintendo DS emulator on my computer. Later in the day, I went to this movie rental place with my friend and we watched Bucket List. I wached it before at my friend`s apartment in Jamaica but not from the start. So I finally got to watch all of it. It was a pretty interesting movie.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Day 324 { Observation } - Friday, February 6, 2009

Day 324 { Teacher Observation }

My groin area was still aching this morning but I had to go to this Friday school very early today because I am supposed to attend an ALT observation at the school where I play soccer. Instead of going to this school at 10:00 I had to be there by 8:20 and the first class started at 8:30. I had 3 back to back classes...The grade 1-2 class I taught about stationeries like pen and pencil etc...At the grade 3-4 class I taught about family like mother and sister etc...and at the grade 5-6 class, I taught about occupations like farmer and doctor etc... At the grade 5-6 class, the Japanese home room teacher wasn't there, so the principal had to sit in... All he did was watched and didn't say a word. He was dying with laughter though and he seemed to have enjoyed it. So essentially, I was the home room teacher and the English teacher. So every now and again I had to be utilizing the very little Japanese I know.

After the classes, I had lunch then rushed off to the other elementary school to watch one of the ALTs here get observed by about 40 other Japanese teachers. Of course the ALT was a little nervous and the Japanese teachers were far more nervous but it was an interesting lesson nevertheless. Its the first time I am seeing so many Japanese teachers at 1 setting. Me and 6 other ALTs were at the front of the class where the grade 6 kids should come up to us and ask us some simple questions....Questions like "What game do you like" and "where do you live" etc etc... The kids seemed shy at first but later they got over it. The head of the Board of Education was also there along with this other big wig Japanese education person from Kyoto. There was about 4 cameras in the room videoing. Three of us ALTs did a short presentation about our countries... Me, the guy from Zimbabwe and the other guy from Canada. I found out from this presentation that the largest waterfalls in the world ( Victoria Falls ) is in Zimbabwe.

Day 323 { Groin Strain } - Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 323 { Groin Strain }

After work, I went to pick up my car and they told me that the cost was exactly 40,000 yen. They assured me that I won't be needing a water pump nor another timing belt anytime soon. They however said that the brake is making the car vibrate sometimes as well as there is a noise when I am turning, but it shouldn't be a problem. I paid them half of the money and plan to pay them the next half by the end of this month.

When I got to my apartment and was about to get out of my car, I realised that I didn't have my flashlight nor my International driver's licence. So I had to drive back to the car place then they had to call a lady who had the weird looking car that I took back to them. The ladt came and I took out my flash light and my INTL driver's licence.

After all this, I went to play soccer against the same girlish looking, nerdy guys that we played against on Day 309 - January 11. And again it seem as if I messed up my groin area... Oh was it painful. I rested for a while off the field and thought that it was ok to go play again, and when I did, I had to come off the field right away. The girl that would come soccer with me sometimes also got injured. So the both of us, "the weak foreigners" had to get off the field and go home. My right groin area was really paining me..So now I will finally follow my friend's advice and sit out soccer for about 3 weeks while conducting some stretches. I was reading an article about groin injuries and it said that if I don't be careful, I can really mess up that area. So I will take heed. I think I have had this injury since I was about 12 when I actually started to fool around soccer. But it went away for a long time until recently.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Day 322 {Just Too Strange For Me / Dispelling The Stereotypes } - Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Day 322 {Just Too Strange For Me / Dispelling The Stereotypes }

Went to work with the new strange looking car and it was cool except when it does a little push when changing gears.

Later in the day I went again with my Landlord to eat dinner. Every single time I eat dinner with this man, all I can ask myself is "WHAT'S NEXT???" ... Today, he was at least smart enough to allow me to make my own food order... However, he and his friends were forcing me to eat more food after my belly was full. I told them politely "No thank you" .... they made sure to let me know that I should not tell Japanese people "No thank you" because they will get very upset and feel very bad about it..... but we should instead hold out both hands and indicate no while saying ... "No no no" ?????? I should have told them that they should not force foreigners to eat their food then that will spare them the agony of feeling bad about their food....Honestly, no offence to any of my Japanese friends, but to date, in general, Japanese are the strangest race of people I have ever met... Strange in a good way, strange in a bad way and just strange in a strange way.... Any way so my Landlord's friend was giving me some Japanese alcohol (sake) and I had to do the hand motion "no no no" thing... My Landlord then asked me if I know of this Japanese vegetable thing.. I told him "no" ... Ohh boy.. Wrong answer... the restaurant owner went into his fridge to get 1 to show me... not only to show me but to run their crazy experiment...He cut a piece of the thing then asked me to taste it... I told them that the piece was too big... so they cut a tiny piece of it, gave me, then stared me down waiting for me to eat it... I asked them why are they looking at me like that, then they start to laugh like crazy...I tasted it, and it tasted like onion... So thats what I told them....They still can't get it into their heads that our food is far different from theirs. and that not all their foods we like... Why can't they understand this???
Another Japanese old guy was in the restarant and he thought that I was interesting, so he gave me his Japanese style coat. I thought he was joking, but then he went out of the restaurant and never came back. Never in this life time you would probably see a Jamaican do that....

So there are a few things that I am trying to drill in some peoples' heads. But I guess if your mind is already set in one way, no matter what you do or say can change what you think... I am trying to despel stereotypes like the ones below.

1) To the people of first world countries, chielfy Americans, British and Japanese who dont know much about Jamaica. .... Jamaica is not as backward as you think it is...We watch the same programmes on Tv (thats except for the Japanese programs) because we have cable....we can watch all the movies, animes, play all the games you guys play, and buy all the cars that are available in the world... Yes Japanese people, we have many of your cars in Jamaica... almost every time I tell a Japanese person that we have Mazdas and Toyotas in Jamaica, they are surprised....I get the same response when I tell them that I like to play video games and that I like anime....If they should look at the map, America is just right above us...But because they are still thinking Jamaica is in Africa...I cant fully get it through to them...
Yesterday I showed some Americans, a Canadian and some Japanese a picture of Jamaica and I told them that the hotel was Hyltons hotel....They were all shocked that a Hyltons hotel was in Jamaica.... People... Its a tourist destination, I don't know which world wide popular hotel is not in Jamaica... And again to the Japanese people.... Jamaicans are not Africans...most of us are mixed with all manner of races.

To the Jamaicans - Japanese people are not Chinese...... No matter how many times I tell Jamaicans that I am in Japan, they are still thinking China... I wrote something on a video I posted on facebook about Japanese girls dancing...but still I was getting comments about China and how Chinese girls can dance....even though the big Japan is there on the title....bwoy oh bwoy...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 321{ Another Loaned Car } -Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Day 321{ Another Loaned Car }

So the winter seem to be coming to an end pretty soon and there is no snow sheduled for now hooray. Although this also means that I may not get to ski for now. The time is still extremely cold though and the sun is very bright during the daytime.

As I said yesterday, I called my friend and he followed me to a different car shop to check out my car. Every single time I am going to drive, I have to pour water and coolant into the radiator and coolant reservoir. I drove behind him to this car dealer/mechanic shop which was about 7 minutes away. They checked the car right there infront of us and they said instantly that the waterpump is bad. The car shop owner then checked my car inspection paper thing and he said that maybe my timing belt is bad as well and needs to be changed. They said it would cost approximately ¥40,000 yen to fix it all... Even though this price too is a little high, its better than the ¥60,000 yen that the Mazda dealer car shop was telling me. I found out later that the 40,000 yen is actually cheap because timing belts are expensive. They also said I could pay the ¥40,000 yen in 2 parts. Afterwards, they gave me a little weird looking Japanese style car (see pictue above) name Misubishi minica toppo. I don't like how it look at all but hey, in this part of Japan, nobody gives a heck about what you drive. Plus its better than nothing at all.

I then got an email from my company saying that they heard about my car troubles and that it must be hard for me. They added that if I recontract with them, they will give me the ¥60,000 hmmmmm. I just wonder why I have to be dealing with all of this while other persons can simply jump on a train and get to work. Although they have to walk to the supermarket and stuff... I guess it boils down to convenience. But why do they give us these faulty cars???

My female friend then told me that she has a good friend who is selling a car... Its also a weird looking Japanese style car called suzuki wagon R... but the lady is selling it for only ¥50,000. I think I might buy it and try some how to sell this other one or push it off a cliff or something. But look at this, I am possibly getting a car for only ¥50,000 yen but my car cost ¥40,000 yen to fix. My good friend assured me that there is nothing wrong with the suzuki wagon R and that inspection is due maybe in the next 2 years.

Day 320 { Are They Crooks??? } - Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 320 { Are They Crooks ??? }

Today I went to the crooks who I bought my car from through my company. I think this is a crook company because every single one of the ALTS in Niimi that drive, got their car from this company. But, for some strange reason in a matter of 3 - 4 months our cars start to act up, some worst than others... Another thing is that, not even a single Japanese friend that I have in this area, knows about this company. I wonder why my company use them... Hmmmm....
I forgot that I was to pay these crooks 15,000 yen for the snow tyre since the end of December. I remembered when I saw the lady that work for the crook company at the Mazda car shop that put on my snow tyres. Apparently, this Mazda car shop place is also full of crooks.
So yes, I went to the place to pay them the money I owed ...and at the same time I showed the owner that the coolant was leaking from my car...They went on the phone and called back the same Mazda car shop to get an estimate that I already had of 60,000 yen... They then called my company to translate the information...

I explained on the phone that the car was possibly faulty since the day I got it...I also told the lady at my company that I am not going to pay 60,000 yen when I had to already pay 60,000 yen for the car...The lady at my company then told me that I have to make a decision... It then dawned on me that I had a couple of friends around here who could help me out and where I can get a second opinion... So tomorrow I plan to ask a friend to take me to another car shop or somewhere for them to check it out.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Day 319 { Cleaning } - Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 319 { Cleaning }

I didn't go to church today again because the person who would translate for me, said she was going to another city today. So, I decided to make use of the vacuum cleaner that I bought yesterday and cleaned my apartment. Oh boy it took a while. I also decided to put a carpet on my wooden floor so as to take away some of the cold.

Bwoy Richard, mi nuh think nuh body wudda want to buy dis car weh mi have at all....but mi wudda just try to save up some more money and buy a new one...Them very very cheap...I can get a relatively nice car for equivalent to $US 1000. However, it seem as if there are more con men in Japan than I initially thought.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Day 318 { More Car trouble/ Vacuum Cleaner / Kotatsu Chair } - Saturday, January 31, 2009

Day 318 { More Car Trouble / Vacuum Cleaner / Kotatsu Chair }

The lady that keep bible study on Mondays, followed me today to a gas station to check out my car. The gas station people said it seem as if my radiator is ok. I wanted to buy the stop leak thing but they didnt have any. She then followed me to the place where I changed my car tyres. They looked at the car for about 30 - 45 mins then gave it back to me saying that its not the radiator that is problematic, but the Water pump. They said it would cost about 60,000 yen (Approx. US $600) to fix it. I thought that was ridiculous, especially since I had to pay exactly that amount for the car.

I then met the Zimbabwaian guy in joyful where we ate with a Japanese female friend. We then all went to an electronic store to check the prices of Vacuum cleaners. On our way there, we noticed that my car started to leak coolant AGAIN...seriously I don't know what to do!!! ... I then hissed my teeth and went to a home depot type store name Juntendo, with the 2 other persons and I purchased a small vacuum cleaner and a kotatsu chair. Later in the evening, the bible study lady called me and said she thinks I need a new car, which I totally agree with. she even gave me a website where I could purchase second hand cars... The cars on the site are relatively affordable and they look ok, but right now I refuse to spend another cent on a car in Japan. Especially since I am trying to save to visit Jamaica.