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

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Days 760 - 766 <{ }> Sunday - Saturday, April 18- April 23, 2010

Days 760 - 766 <{ }> Sunday - Saturday, April 18- April 23, 2010

Day 760
Sunday, April 18, 2010

Left from Hiroshima and went back to Okayama city by bus. It took about 2hrs and 30 mins. I missed the stop for the train station, because I wasn't sure where to get off. But the driver told me to take another bus to the Okayama station. That took only about 7 mins.

I then went to the second part of the Christian conference and it went pretty well. My bible study leader on Mondays was there with her husband, and they took me home.


Day 761 { Exhaus
ted / 113 Years Old }
Monday, April 19, 2010

I was exhausted after work today, maybe because of my up and down on the road since Friday. I was so exhausted at work that I had very little power while teaching. I hope that the teachers didn't notice.

Jiroemon Kimura, the oldest man in Japan, celebrated his 113th birthday Monday with about a dozen family members at his home in Kyotango, Kyoto Prefecture.

Surrounded by his great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren, Kimura finished his festive plate of red rice and grilled sea bream for lunch, and smiled when he was handed a birthday cake.

When he was told that the record for longevity for a Japanese male is 120, Kimura said "it might be a little difficult" to break the record, "but that makes it all the more worthwhile" to try.


Day 762 {Man Held For Hurling Baby }
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I was also very tired today but better than yesterday. After work, I went to the Niimi College to see a presentation done by a half Chinese/half Japanese guy. His English is pretty decent and he speaks Japanese and Mandarin - Chinese. His presentation was mostly about his one year living in Canada.

A 23-year-old man was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of seriously injuring his 9-month-old daughter by throwing her against a bedroom wall in their home here.

Police said Yuki Okada, who works in an adult entertainment shop, has admitted to the allegation, saying he "did it because (the baby) did not stop crying even though I was cradling" her.



Day 763 { English Teaching Companies Maybe In Trouble }
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Did nothing really today, except spoke to the bible study leader on Mondays for about 1hr 30 mins.

Geos Corp., a major operator of foreign-language schools, has filed for bankruptcy with the Tokyo District Court with debts of ¥7.5 billion, and rival G.communication Co. will take over some of the defunct company's schools, the two companies announced Wednesday.

Tokyo-based Geos, which has 2,100 employees, said it suffered poor earnings with dwindling number of students amid the recession and consumer distrust toward the industry stemming from the failure in 2007 of another major language-school operator, Nova Corp.

G.communication, which took over operations of some Nova schools, said it will do its best to secure employment for Geos employees.


Day 764 { Book Almost Finished / I love Thursdays }
Thursday, April 22, 2010

At work, I showed one of the teachers, the office lady and the school nurse, 2 poems from the book I'm writing. They said the translation to Japanese is good but the love poems will cause many Japanese girls to blush heavily. Which is a good and bad thing. Because in Japan, strong and passionate love words are hardly ever used if at all, it may seem unnatural for the girls to see and hear certain words. Even a simple sentence as "I love you", is hardly used in the Japanese vocabulary. So the stuff I have in my poetry about kissing and holding etc, might cause some heavy blushing....

The picture I have to the left is an idea from a friend of mine, concerning how my front cover might look. I am still exploring other ideas...

In the evening, I played football at the college and it was really exciting. The guys and girls there think I am an incredible player.... But they seem to figure out that after 10 mins or so, I'm fully exhausted. I met some very bold first year girls who were asking me a whole lot of questions. Stuff like my age and if I am married and what not. I guess that a good amount of the younger generation of Japanese, are not so shy.

Even after enjoying the time thoroughly at the college, and being very tired, I still went to the usual Thursday night football with the other guys. I was the only foreigner there tonight though and I finally managed to score 2 goals... I realize now that Thursday is my favourite day of the week.


Day 765
Friday, April 23, 2010

Went to the bank ATM today with a friend of mine to pay for a ticket. We then went to a coffee shop, had tea and spoke for a while about life in Japan and all manner of stuff. He is trying to organize for us to have some sort of dinner with other ALTs and interested Japanese persons on Wednesdays.

I then went to karate, played football at the college and went to the Friday English conversation thing at the bible study leader's house.


Day 766 { Toyota's Rank Dips }
Saturday, April 24, 2010

Stayed in for the entire day doing almost nothing.

Toyota Motor Corp. has fallen to 360th in the Forbes ranking of the world's leading companies for 2010, plunging from third the previous year.

The sharp drop came after the automaker was hit by a spate of recalls worldwide and a decline in sales amid the global auto market slump.

Only three Japanese companies — NTT Corp., Mitsubishi Corp. and HondaMotor Co. — were ranked in the top 100, compared with 11 the previous year, indicating the diminished presence of domestic firms in the global economy. NTT was ranked 41st, Mitsubishi 78th and Honda 86th.

Major financial groups also fell in the rankings, hit by deteriorating earnings, with Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. dropping to 369th from 21st.

China, moving in the opposite direction, had seven firms in the top 100, with Industrial and Commercial Bank of China ranked fifth.

JPMorgan Chase topped the rankings, followed by General Electric andBank of America.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Days 753 - 759 <{ }> Sunday - Saturday, April 11- April 17, 2010

Days 753 - 759 <{ }> Sunday - Saturday, April 11- April 17, 2010

Day 753 { Visiting the Kingdom Hall }
Sunday, April 11, 2010

For the first time in my life, I visited a Jehovah witness hall. It was mostly out of curiosity though to hear what they had to say and also to meet new people. There were about 40 people in the congregation and they all seemed really happy to see me there. Almost all of them wanted to talk. At the end of the service, I was bombarded with questions from so many people.... Sometimes, I didn't quite get what they were saying though, but the basic questions were easy. Many of them were telling me that I should visit there regularly, but unfortunately that won't be possible...


Day 754 { Polish President Dies With Wife }
Monday, April 12, 2010

Had only 2 classes today then had to sit around for the remaining time... I then went to bible study in the night even though I was feeling a bit weak and tired.

The President of Poland, died at 60 today in a plane crash at a western Russia airport today. Among the 95 passengers killed were his wife Maria , top military officials, and the head of the national bank, according to CNN. Everyone on the plane was killed.

It is believed that the plane hit some trees at the end of the runway then crashed. Pieces of the plane were found in a wooded area, badly burned and even some upsidedown. The President and Polish officials were o
n their way to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the massacre of Polish prisoners of war in Katyn, a village where about 20,000 officers were executed during World War II.



Day 755 { } Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A foreigner from the US who is an high school student here in Niimi, did a presentation about Florida, at the Niimi College English conversation thing today. Another student from the high school, translated for him. The guy who did the translation is half Chinese / Half Japanese, and he spent a year in Canada.


Day 756 {}
Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Japanese friend of mine visited me with pizza and a pie today, just because we are friends :) .... This is so not normal but I welcome it nevertheless.
Started playing God Of War 3 for the PS3... And it is quite entertaining so far.

Day 757 {}
Thursday, April 15, 2010

Went to play football at the Niimi college today after about a 1 month break. It was fun again and the new students were surprised to see me there. I however, got tired after about 7 minutes of play which is not a good sign at all... They were many students there today, so much so that they had to split the gym in half to play both football and volleyball. As soon as I entered, the gym, there was this astonished set of students. I don't know know if it is because I am a foreigner or because they see me on TV... It could be one or both...

Even though I was exhausted after play at the college, because of my love for football, I went to play with my normal group afterwards.


Day 758 {}
Friday, April 16, 2010

After work, I went to karate today and introduced one of the new ALTs who want to start doing it as well. He looks kind of strange doing some of the introductory stuff but I know this was probably how I looked when I just started as well.

After karate, I rushed to play football again at the gym in the college..... I only played 1 match because of karate before..... I then went to the Friday English conversations thing.... So I effectively spent more than 15 hours on the road today.... I was of course extremely exhausted when I got back to my apartment.


Day 759 { Christian Conference In Okayama }
Saturday, April 17, 2010

Woke up at about 7:50 then my friend took me to Japanese classes. I gave my Japanese teacher a pen from Korea for her souvenir and she also gave me a souvenir from a prefecture name Kagoshima.

After Japanese class, I went to a restaurant with the same friend who dropped me to the Japanese class. Then she dropped me to the train station. I then went to a Christian conference for a while. I met up with some friends there and watched a few performances. There was this skipping (jump rope) group from Japan name J-trap that did a performance there.... I just realized that they are quite famous and even performed at half time at an NBA match before. They even have a website here http://www.j-trap.com/eng/...

This is a brief clip of their performance.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reze3qFA8xI

I could clearly see that some of the persons at the conference did not quite appreciate this thing at all...

After this, I took one of the bullet trains (Shinkansen) to Hiroshima to visit a friend of mine... Normally it would take 2 hours and 30 minutes to get to Hiroshima from Okayama city but the shinkansen takes only 40 mins at twice the cost.


Stewart, if by chance you didn't get to read Dwayne's comment about the radicals stuff on my last blog, here it is...

hey Stewy, Radicals are like this.
Every Kanji that you "will" every see are either a radical or a kanji made up of 2 or more radicals.

This is a Kanji and a Radical "馬"
It's a Kanji by itself meaning "horse", but it's aslo a radical meaning "horse". Here it is combine with other Kanji's 馴,媽,驀.
These three kanji are mixed with the horse radicals. So you have.

1)馴 horse radical + river radical
2)媽 woman radical + horse radical
3)驀 grass,sun,big,horse "radicals"

Radicals can "sometimes" give you clues to a kanji meaning even if you never saw the kanji before. So when you think of a horse you might thing of these "meanings"
1)tamed馴 2)mare媽 3)forward驀

So there are 215 radicals in total, spend 3 months on nothing but hiragana, katakana and radicals, not kanji..Do this and then learning kanji after that "should" be alot more easier...

Mix and matching 215 radicals gives us 45,000 Kanji in China and about 8,000 kanji in Japan..
I hope that explanation wasn't too long Stewy.....

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Days 746- 752 <{ }> Sunday - Saturday, April 4 - April 10, 2010

Days 746 - 752 <{ }> Sunday - Saturday, April 4- April 10, 2010

Day 746 { Sky Tree Tallest Structure In Japan }
Sunday, April 4, 2010

Stayed in most of the day today because I was tired from the hustle and bustle of last week. Met 2 new ALTs today, one guy from England and the other from the U.S.A.

2 Jehoviah's witnesses persons came to my apartment today to invite me to their Kingdom Hall. I have absolutely no problem going there, I just hope they know that I have my own belief... So I think next week I am going to go with them just to see what it is like and also to meet other persons....

News photoSky Tree

Tokyo Sky Tree, a new tower under construction for terrestrial digital broadcasting, reached 338 meters Monday, surpassing Tokyo Tower and becoming the tallest structure in Japan.

The new tower in Sumida Ward will be 634 meters tall when it is completed at the end of 2011. Tokyo Tower, a 333-meter radio and TV transmission tower in Minato Ward, was the country's tallest structure for 52 years.

Even though Tokyo Sky Tree will not open to the public until spring 2012, it has already become a tourist attraction.



Day 747 { }
Monday, April 5, 2010

Went to the bank today to sort out some stuff, also paid my rent and had tea with my friend. I gave my landlord a key chain from South Korea and some sort of alcoholic beverage from North Korea.


Day 748 { }
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Went work for the first day in the 2010-2011 school year. Attended the school opening ceremony then just sit around and watch the teachers run around like crazy, preparing their stuff for the new school year. They changed 2 of the teachers, including the one who coordinated my English schedule for 2 years...

Went to the Tuesday English conversations where the coordinator spoke about his recent trip to Australia. Again, sadly I only understood about 25% of what he was saying. My listening is so poor.


Day 749 { }
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Taught classes at my furthest school today. They also changed 2 teachers here. Unfortunately, one of the teachers they changed, was the one who spoke to me the most out of all the others. She will be missed.


Day 750 { School Opening Ceremony }
Thursday, April 8, 2010

Went to the school opening ceremony for this school today, where they introduced the new grade 1 students as well as all the school staff. This new grade 1 class will have 14 kids and there seem to be an ADHD kid amongst them who kept disturbing the opening ceremony. My 2010 already had a terrible start, I am surely hoping that things will get way better as the year progresses.

I also resumed playing football tonight. And I was possibly the worst player in the gym. I think I got about 15 goals to score and missed every single one... :(


Day 751 { Goodbye/Welcome Dinner }
Friday, April 9, 2010

Went to work then had a drinking party with the teachers at my main school. This was really a goodbye dinner for the teachers who were leaving to other schools, and a welcoming dinner for the new ones. I had a lot of fun there; it's just that these occasions are too expensive...


Day 752 {Hanami / Karaoke }
Saturday, April 10, 2010

Today for the first in a long time, most of the ALTs in Niimi both old and new met up for Hanami (Flowers watching). We had barbecue, chatted and drank for about 6 hours. It was all good fun. I wish if we could all meet up like this more often.

In the night, a couple of us went to karaoke and also played pool.

Thanks for your advice with the radicals Dwayne.. I studied a few of them but not all.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Visit To South Korea and Looking Over North Korea

Days 739- 745 <{ }> Sunday - Saturday, March 28 - April 3, 2010

Day 739 { Japanese Deportation Rule Troubles UN Officials}
Sunday, March 28, 2010

Went church then to Japanese class in the night and that's all for today.

Bustamante, who is on his first official fact-finding mission to Japan, is meeting with government officials, nongovernmental organizations, legal experts and foreign residents, and is expected to submit a report on Japan to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights.
On Saturday, he met with residents caught in the deportation dilemma — among them Noriko Calderon, a 14-year-old girl who was born in Japan to an undocumented Filipino couple. Calderon's case drew media attention when her parents were deported last spring.
"It is very difficult to live separated from my parents, and I miss them very much," Calderon said. "But I hope that one day, all three of us can live in Japan together and I plan to do my best" to realize that goal.
Bustamante expressed concern over the separation of families and said he would cite the situation in his report.
"It's going to be made public," Bustamante told the gathering. "And this, of course, might result in an embarrassment for the government of Japan and therefore certain pressure (will be) put on the government of Japan."
Five families, including the Calderons, have faced this ultimatum, according to lawyers supporting their cause.


Day 740 {Karaoke}
Monday, March 29, 2010

Was supposed to go to karaoke with an ALT here and 3 Japanese girls. But the time we chose had a lot of high school and Jr. High school students there at the karaoke place. One of the Japanese girls could not come because she had home work. I found it strange that in the middle of their spring vacation when they should be advancing to the next year in college, they still have assignments to carry in...

Before going to karaoke, me and the Japanese girl who had homework, visited the ALT's apartment, and she (The ALT) was teaching us some latin dance. It was interesting. I then dropped off the girl then went to karaoke with the ALT and the other girls. One of the Japanese girls has a beautiful voice.


Day 741 { Osaka and Kyoto }
Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Went to Osaka by bus then had dinner with my new friend and her daughter in Kyoto.


Day 742 { Off To South Korea}

South Korea Day 1
Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Went to the airport and changed out some of my Japanese yen to Korean won. The flight from Osaka, Japan to Incheon airport, South Korea, took only 1 hr and 30 mins. I didn't book any hotels or anything like that, I used couchsurf
( www.couchsurfing.org) , the same thing I used when I went to Germany in 2008. This is my first trip by myself where, I am not going to a conference or mission visit etc. I am supposed to meet up with 2 Jamaican friends but not sure how that is going go either.

I made sure to get some information before hand from my couch surfer friends, about different places to visit etc. I also went to the tourist information area in the airport to ask them for directions. In the airport, already there were taxi guys trying their luck to make easy money. But luckily, I learnt before hand not to pay these guys any mind and to head straight for either the bus or the train station. Also my trip to the Philippines gained me some knowledge about taxi men in most Asian countries.

While heading for the train station, at least 3 different taxi guys asked me where I was going... when I told them that I was heading for the train station they were trying to convince me to take the more expensive taxi... I pity them.

I took the train to this huge mall like area name Yonsan, to look at some electronics stuff. I had to change trains about 3 times but it wasn't a big deal except that I had no clue where to go. The good thing about most Koreans, unlike what I have experienced in Japan, is that, most Koreans speak English and they are far more helpful to foreigners it seem. All I did was stand up in the train station, looked at the signs confused with a map in my hand, and in no time, some random person will come to your assistance. This is what I did for most of the time while in South Korea. In 2 years while in Japan, this has happened to me only 2 or 3 times. Koreans seem to be far more bold than the average Japanese person to me. But, they will also push you out of the way if you are blocking them and sometimes just bore right in front of you, no questions asked...The average, mainland Chinese is also expert at pushing you out of their way.

Ohh and when Koreans stare at me, ooh boy, its different from the Japanese stare. The Japanese stare, then as soon as they sense that you are going to look at them, they turn around in a flash. However, when the Korans stare at me, it almost never ends, even when I stare back at them.

Anyway, at Yonsan, I went to a camera store and there too had some rip off guys in the stores. I told this one guy that I was looking around and he was like "why do you need to look around? Just buy from me" ... yeah right !!! Hey, I'm from Jamaica, I know all about this kind of selling. After Yonsan, I made arrangements to meet with another couchsurfer tomorrow... And also to meet with my couch surfer for tonight.

So I took a train to an area known as Shinonheyon and met up with my couch surfing host name Bina. Bina is a wonderful girl and she called the DMZ ( Demilitarized Zone ) tour organizers for me, because I am planning to go see the North Korean/ South Korean border area.


Day 743 { DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) Tour }
Thursday, April 1, 2010
South Korea Day 2Hey guess what ? Even I can't believe it..... I am getting married in December this year, to the Korean girl I met yesterday !!! We spoke about it extensively..........
If I was in Jamaica now, I would then say "A beey mek a all fool day" (" I tricked you its all fools day")

This morning, I woke up at about 6am then took a taxi to the station to meet the DMZ tour people. I was at the station, but I didn't know where exactly to meet them. So I was walking all over the place, then suddenly a lady came and said "are you Dave" then we hurried to the bus for the tour. There were about 5 Japanese persons on the bus as well as this guy and lady from England. There was also this married couple who I hung out with most of the time, who were both living in Canada but born in China. When I told them I was from Jamaica, they said they visited there maybe a month ago and went to Sandals Montego bay for a week. They both said they enjoyed it thoroughly. I myself have never been to any of the famous Jamaican hotels like Sandals or beaches resort. I hope I get to one day.

The tour guide then started telling us about the North Korean / South Korean border history, which all started with world war 2. She said Japan occupied Korea for about 35 years before the war. Which is why there is kind of a chasm between both sets of Koreans and the Japanese. The only 2 countries out of China, Japan, North Korea and South Korea that seem to cooperate with each other somehow, is North Korea and China. The other 3 are at odds with each other. And unless the persons of these countries are open minded, don't ever mention about the other country to them.

So after world war 2, North Korea belonged to the Soviet Union, and South Korea belonged to the USA. Just like East and west Germany, only that, East and West Germany are now back together. North and South Korea are a bit more uncooperative, especially North Korea... Anyway, So North Korea became a poor communist nation, while South Korea became a wealthy democratic nation. So eventually, South Korea got independence from the USA, then shortly after, North Korea gained independence from the Soviet Union... It wasn't long after their independence, when North Korea invaded South Korea, capturing almost all of the entire South Korea. They then got help from the USA and UN and forced the North Koreans back up, almost capturing the entire North side. But then, the Soviet Union and China joined the proxy war and pushed back the US and UN down to where is now the DMZ... In that little area, no one should even attempt to cross. Because you can get shot, land mined or anything can happen to you there, but nothing good. However, there is a vibrant wild life there... Its just too bad that you can't go there to see it.

Since the DMZ was made, North Korea was still trying to recapture South Korea and started to build tunnels. So far 4 tunnels have been discovered since 1974. The 4th one being in 1990.

Anyway, during the tour, the guide warned us not to take pictures at certain areas, and that we are not allowed to take photos in the bus. After we exited the bus, we went to the first area where there is a bridge that separates North and South Korea. We then went underground to the third tunnels that the North Koreans dug, trying to re-capture South Korea. Pictures are not allowed here at all. So we all have to just keep it in out memories. I however found some on the internet so what tha heck.

We also went to an observatory area where we could look over into North Korea. Here is a very short clip that I took. Sorry but my memory was almost done and the place was cloudy, so this is the best I could do http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQ3EYP3rNOQ.

There was a little competition going on between the 2 Koreas to see who could build the biggest flag. Eventually North Korea won that, and the flags are at the borders.

We then went to an area where the South Koreans have a train station. They really are hoping that the 2 Koreas will someday get back together. So they are preparing in advance. We also went to a souvenir area where they had products built in North Korea. There are some buildings at the border operated by South Korean companies... Chiefly Hyundai...... The tour guide said that it is because the Hyundai boss is from the North Korean area.

After the DMZ tour, we went back. I then went to 2 temples with the Chinese/Canadian couple. Unfortunately, it was raining, and I had to be walking around with my luggage in the rain. It was not fun at all. One temple name was Gyeong Bok Gung and the other was Chang Deok Gung but luckily the second temple had a locker for me to keep my stuff.

After the 2 temples, I went to an area to buy some souvenirs then to meet up with another couch surfer friend name Ji, who is half Korean and Half Japanese. Then we met another couch surfer, Camara who has been living in South Korea for the past 6 months and teaching design stuff. We all went to a restaurant and a coffee shop, chatted and had loads of fun. We took a picture at this really cool outside camera thing, which are all over the street in this area of Seoul name Gangdam.

Back to Japan tomorrow very early.... :( :( :(


Day 744 { Back From South Korea / Sannomiya / Osaka }
Friday, April 2, 2010

South Korea Day 3

Woke up at 5 in the morning and left Camara's apartment at 5:30 then took a taxi to the train station, then 3 different trains to the airport. Took flight back to Japan and sent my luggage to my apartment through the very convenient system they have there.

While in the line, I saw the singer Brian Mcknight a long with about a dozen cronies. He was acting cool and everything but the cronies?? Oh Lord..... Loud singing and what not, I guess trying to gain the attention of the masses. Only a few persons probably recognized Brian Mcknight, and Japanese people generally would not have a clue who he is.

I then went to the Sannomiya / Kobe area in Hyogo prefecture, walked around a bit, took some pictures there and went to an internet cafe to check my mail then back to Osaka. I am planning to go to Kyoto tomorrow to a famous temple that my friend told me about.


Day 745 { Kiyomizudera Temple }
Saturday, April 3, 2010

Went to visit a famous temple with my new friend Shiho. The name of the temple is Kiomizudera, and many many many people were going there. The buses were filled with people and the roads as well. When we got to kiomizudera, there were so many people there, I couldn't believe. I think its because of the Cherry blossom season in combination with today being a Saturday. There was some special ceremony thing going on there as well. I counted at least 200 hundred foreigners and not 1 of them were black, with the exception of me of course. I guess most black people aren't really interested in temples and stuff like that.

After the temple, I went back to Osaka, then back to Niimi. While going into the bus to Niimi, the driver welcomed me in, but I thought it was because my name was on the check list. When we got to the "use a bathroom and buy food" area, the driver came up to me and said he know about my TV show and he finds it very interesting. It is times like these actually make me feel like I am doing something effective here.

Yeah Stewart, I could read the message that the kids wrote to me. I had a few hiccups here and there but I could read it.