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

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Days 1124 - 1130 Sunday, April 17, 2011 - Saturday, April 23 , 2011

Days 1124 - 1130
Sunday, April 17, 2011 - Saturday, April 23 , 2011

Day 1124
Sunday, April 17, 2011

Went to a nearby area name Kamio oka to meet a friend of mine. We then had lunch there.


Day 1125 { Busy at Work }
Monday, April 18, 2011

Worked straight through for 8:40 - 3:00 today, with only a brief 20 mins break and about a 1 hour lunch break. Doing pretty much the same self introduction for all the classes. I have been doing this for the past week and a half. So I see where I will be doing 1 lesson for 2 - 3 weeks because of the size of the schools.

At the school today, I take a bus there and back to my apartment. So I have to wait at a bus stop. There is a Jr. High school attached to the elementary school that I teach at and ooh boy, Jr. High school kids (13-15). Apparently they do quite a bit of training there for random sports like tennis, baseball, basketball and you name it. So many of them will jog pass me while I am waiting for a bus. When the girls jog pass they all say hello one after the other. But after answering like the 10th hello it becomes a bit annoying.

Then there are the boys. Today, I heard a guy shouted out "Bobby Ologun" .." ボビーオロゴン" That is actually this Nigerian dude who is a famous comedian in Japan. (Look at me.. Am I not infinitely more handsome than this dude?...lol 笑....) Anyway, shortly after that, some other Jr. High school guys were jogging by then a guy just suddenly started shouting son koku, son koku, after passing me. I am not sure what they were saying but I am pretty sure it has something to do with me being black. The only thing I could think of is son goku from Dragon Ballz, but they changed it to son koku ... and koku-jin actually means a black person in Japanese.

I guess it comes with the territory. I like to travel and to experience other cultures. It just so happens that I am black. And Asians in general as well as quite a few Americans surprisingly, have limited exposure to black people outside of those in the USA... Maybe even those in the USA they have little contact with..... I say this because I came across quite a few racist or near racist Americans back in Okayama. Some of them tried to hide it, but it still ended up coming out some way or the other. But what can you really do if someone don't like you because of your race??? Or deliberately try to make crude jokes, gestures, highlight the negatives and ignore the positives etc. about you or your race? What can you do? I choose to ignore the situation and/or the persons involved. I almost never fight back in any way. I believe I am mature enough not to go down that street with them.

I know of persons who purposely misquote or mis-represent the core of who I am just because....But I digress. Racism has been here since Bible days and it probably never will leave. Almost every country has it, maybe with the exception of places like say Brazil and Jamaica to an extent. With strong mixed populations. It even feels strange for me to be writing about this stuff, when in Jamaica it is almost never discussed.

For example look at this Chinese Jamaican http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YW3TmlslGo&feature=related

Here is a white Jamaican http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DaedQloZvA

Indian Jamaican http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hje3xnoz32I


Day 1126 { Yurekuru / Earthquake #6&7 / Starting School }

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I downloaded this application for the iphone name yurekuru call that actually warns me when an earthquake is going to shake the area where I am located. The phone will start to make a funny sound then 30 seconds after, the earthquake follows. That happened twice today. Once at about 2:00 am (yes I was still up) and once at about 7 pm. The 2 am earthquake was actually in my prefecture... Yikes!!! They are getting closer and closer :( ..... In a very weird way, the small shaking actually feels a bit exciting and scary at the same time.

Surviving kids and a teacher, hopes to resume school.

Classes start this week at Okawa Elementary School. But 74 of the 108 students will never come back. They died in last month's tsunami. All but one of the dozen teachers also perished.

The school's main building is ripped open. Trees jam into second-floor classrooms and the gym and playground have been reduced to muddied concrete foundations.

All along the battered northeastern coast, schools have been heavily damaged or converted to shelters, and families are without jobs, permanent homes or cars. But the country is determined to move ahead with one of its rites of spring: the start of the school year in April, even as some parents and children grieve.



Day 1127 {3 Years 1 Month / Football again}
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

After work today, I played football with the grade 6 kids. Some of them who are unbelievably good. One guy boasts that he can go 3000 none stop juggling the ball. Another guy said he could go up to 1000. They call the 3000 juggling guy Torres (Spanish soccer player shown in the pic-But now with the English League) and he has his jersey as well. I have never even attempted to juggle beyond 100, because I have never stayed more than a year training for a football team or tried to go beyond 100. Anyway, I decided to play on a team against these 2 guys and sure enough they were pretty good. They hammered my team with me being exhausted by the first 10 minutes or so.

As I type this now, my yurekuru call just went off, but the earthquake was too far away for me to feel it.


Day 1128 { Earthquake #8 }
Thursday, April 21, 2011

Went to what I think is my tamest school this morning, but I could not locate the school's entrance. The entrance I went through last week, was apparently not the main entrance. I had to call my company, who called the school and told them to let me in. The staff at this school is trying to get me to come to their welcome party. I do want to go but with a cost of 7500 yen, I am not so sure about it at all. Plus I have a meeting with my head teacher and other teachers in my area on this day. More than likely they will want to go out or something.

Felt another small earthquake in the night.

Day 1129 { Earthquake #9 }
Friday, April 22, 2011

Felt another small earthquake at about 1 am, shortly after the one last night.
I got the bus right on time this morning. A teacher promised me to show me the way to this school by walking, so I'm waiting for that. I can walk but still claim money from my company. Its only a 10 minutes walk I was told. I walk like 20 minutes to one of my schools, so this should be no problem.

The classes I had today went pretty well. I now notice, like what one of the English teachers told me that, at these city schools, its the younger kids that are harder to deal with. Like grades 4 down to 1. The grade 6, 5 and some 4s seem relatively well behaved. Except when there are 3-4 groups, the 3rd and 4th groups are almost always a bit noisy.

I went to the chicken restaurant in the night and had quite a few stuff there to eat. Delicious I tell you, and only 3 minutes away by foot.


Day 1130 { Bad Publicity cartoon }
Saturday, April 23, 2011

Stayed in all day and read manga and watched anime. I was so lazy to go anywhere that I called dominoes again to ordered some great food.

The New York times published this cartoon that immediately caused the Japanese to lodge a protest.... America again, why am I not surprised.

The Japanese Consulate General in New York lodged a protest with New York Times Co. on Thursday for publishing a cartoon in which Snow White, carrying a newspaper with the headline "Japan nuclear radiation," asks an old woman offering an apple if she comes from Japan.

The consulate said that since the cartoon refers to a story in "Grimm's Fairy Tales" in which Snow White falls into a stupor after biting a poisoned apple, it may stir up what the consulate called unfounded anxieties over the safety of food from Japan.

The cartoon was carried on the editorial page of the Thursday edition of the International Herald Tribune, which is owned by the New York Times.

In the cartoon, Snow White looks skeptically at the apple through a magnifying glass and says to the old woman, who is dressed like a witch: "Wait a minute! Do you come from Japan?"


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Days 1117 - 1123 Sunday, April 10, 2011 - Saturday, April 16 , 2011

Days 1117 - 1123
Sunday, April 10, 2011 - Saturday, April 16 , 2011

Day 1117 { Yakuza Boss Out }
Sunday, April 10, 2011

Went to the supermarket to get some stuff, then to a restaurant in the evening. I think I pretty much know how to get around the general area by now. I alrady got lost only once near my new apartment. I need to know where more of the cool stuff are, or the the stuff that I am interested in like a nearby karate gym, a darts place and somewhere to play football (soccer).

Check out these interesting dogs around my apartment area. The owner of these dogs is the only person around here that actually tells me hi and tries to talk to me. The others stare then turn away as soon as I look at them, then they keep their heads in the turned away position until I am out of sight.

Yakazua Boss out of prison

The don of the Yamaguchi-gumi, the top mob syndicate, was released from a Tokyo prison Saturday morning, five years and four months after being sent up for accessory to gun possession involving an underling. Sporting a shiny brown fedora and brown scarf, Kenichi Shinoda, 69, alias Shinobu Tsukasa, arrived at the gang's Kobe headquarters early Saturday afternoon. Pausing briefly in front of the entrance, a frail-looking Shinoda was greeted by about a half dozen senior Yamaguchi-gumi affiliated mob bosses as dozens of media and police looked on. Shinoda spoke a few words to his cohorts before disappearing inside.



Day 1118 ( Exploring Yokohama City )
Monday, April 11, 2011

Went to the nearest post office to my apartment to change the address of the bank account I had from Niimi. I then went to what I think is the main part of Yokohama city, name Sakuragi-cho and also visited a ramen shop. The ramen was a bit peppery, but not too bad. I had the ramen at this famous Japanese shop called ichiran (一蘭)

I saw these Jamaican red stripe beer bottles at the window of a store, not too far from the area close to one of my schools.



Day 1119 { Earthquake #2 / Meeting the New School Teachers }
Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I was awaken by a tremor this morning. It lasted like 3 seconds but it woke me up.

Went to a bank in the central part of Yokohama city to lodge my rent for May. The earlier I pay this, the better for me, and I shouldn't run into any difficulties.

Had a meeting afterwards with all the Elementary English teachers in Yokohama city. About 120 of us in all. So I saw a few guys out of my training group there. My company is desperately trying to get English teachers to work in the areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami. Good luck to them with that, as even I am tempted to leave the country due to these scary earthquakes. They are offering to pay us 50,000 yen if we refer someone, and they are offering to pay the plane fare for those who are planning to go to the affected area. I have been working for this company over 3 years now, and I am thinking there must be some catch. Just like in my first year they told us we would be getting a 200,000 yen bonus if we completed our contract, only to realize that we had to use that 200,000 yen (plus money out of our pockets) to purchase a car.

The person from my company who organized the meeting today along witht the board of education, told us we will be placed on a very small stage. Then when our names are called, the English coordinators from our schools will start waving like crazy and shout out our names. That was exactly what happened. So I went to my group of teachers, introduced myself and we started a brief planning session. This took like 20-25 minutes then we were done. I saw 2 other Jamaican friends at the meeting.


Day 1120 { First day of school in the city / Earthquake #3 }

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Went to work for the first day today since March 24. My first day of school without a car. I had to take the packed trains, squeezing on people. Reminds me of taking the bus back in the days in Jamaica, minus the cursing and the conductor. I then walk with the crowd of people to exit the station. It takes 15 minutes from the station to get to this school. I am not looking forward to rainy days, going to this school.

Here, the schools start a bit earlier and I have more children to deal with. Back in Niimi, my largest school had only about 90 children or less. With some classes having as little as 6 kids. Here, my smallest school has over 400 kids, the largest, over 700 kids. Welcome to schools in the city!!!

I introduced myself in the gym at the school today, both in Japanese and English. After this, I had to jump right into teaching, without even getting to know the teachers properly. Some of them hardly even notice that I am there, because they are so busy, today being the very first day back. In the afternoon, I heard a sort of alarm go off, then the teachers said, an eartquake is going to come. I did not know about this thing. They said that it warns them of a earthquake, 30 seconds before it actually shakes the area. So as surely as the 30 seconds was up, there came the earthquake. Again this one only lasted like 3 seconds then it was over. But, I am so scared of earthquakes that even long after it is done, there is that feeling that you are still rocking. This is not good for my nerves at all. I dont think I can stay here for the long term especially after I watched this very interesting documentary about the earthquake that took place on March 11, and how it happened, why it happened and what they believe is going to happen next. If you have 40 mins, watch this video



Day 1121 { Earthquake #4 / Why So many earthquakes? }
Thursday, April 14, 2011

Went to another school today. Same method using the train then walk a bit. This time I only had to walk for 5 minutes from the train station to get to the school. Again, I had to introduce myself in the gym after some sort of school opening ceremony that they had. I could not help but notice that at this school, there were about 7 or more half Japanese kids there. I saw 2 half black/half Japanese kids as well. They don't speak a word of English. There was also a kid whose dad was Slovakian and mom Japanese.

Even though I am sure these kids will have a hard time, it shows that at least a few of the Japanese people here are open minded. This kind of thing is faaaaaar less likely to happen in China or South Korea.

I felt a small earthquake again at work today while sitting at the desk. The principal at this school says he was working with the Board of Education for a while, after which he became a principal. He seemed quite knowledgeable about my company as well.

Why so many earthquakes?

A record number of powerful aftershocks have continued to jolt the already battered prefectures of Miyagi, Fukushima and Ibaraki after the 9.0-magnitude March 11 earthquake.

The aftershocks have halted reconstruction efforts in towns wiped out by the quake-triggered tsunami, as well as efforts to stabilize the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Why do we have so many aftershocks? Why are they so large?

And how long will they continue? Below are questions and answers on aftershocks.

Why do aftershocks occur?

Because tectonic plates and faults try to stabilize ground conditions that have been greatly altered by a huge earthquake.



Day 1122 {New School Surprises}
Friday, April 15, 2011

For the school today, I have to wait for a bus then the bus will take about 10 mins to get to the school. This is actually the nearest school to my apartment and also the biggest school that I have. While waiting at the bus stop, some teachers were also waiting there and one already recognized who I was. She then asked if I was going to that particular elementary school and we started talking for a bit in Japanese. One teacher even knew my name.

My Jamaican friend in Yokohama told me even before I got here that our company or the board of education, almost always group a couple of good schools with some bad ones. I am pretty sure that the school today is the bad one.

In one of the classes, as I entered, I heard a kid shouted out "Eddie Murphy" .... Others shouted "Obama".... But what can I do but laugh. Failing that, I would have to call all of them Jackie Chan. And oh how Japanese people hate to be called Chinese names. Maybe that is exactly what I will do the next couple of times. I am still trying to see the resemblance between me and these guys. I definitely wouldn't mind having the same amount of money as they do.

For this week and I believe next week as well, I will be doing self introduction and telling the kids about me and Jamaica. Normally what I do so far is to also allow the kids to ask me about Jamaica, or even questions about myself.

One kid asked me why am I black. The teacher was faster than I was and asked the kid why is he Japanese. He then said because his parents are Japanese. I then tried to explain to him as best as possible that most Jamaicans are of mixed parentage. I also told them that there are about 200 Japanese living in Jamaica and about 200 Jamaicans living in Japan. A kid then shouted "Oh really, black people are living in Japan!!!" .... Interesting days are ahead friends.


Day 1123 { Earthquake #5 / Side Job }
Saturday, April 16, 2011

While sitting in my apartment, I again felt an earthquake for the usual 3 seconds that they have been lasting so far. I hope they stay like this.

To be honest, one of the main reasons why I came to the city, outside of the experience itself, was to get additional income. Since I got here I have been seeking part time jobs after work. I don't think my company likes the idea but what the heck, I won't be encroaching on their work time. So I did an interview today near the main train station in Yokohama. I was a bit late for it because to be honest, these earthquakes freak me the heck out. But I went, got lost a bit but eventually found my way.

I think the interview went well, even though the Japanese guy who runs the company had no idea that Jamaica speaks English (the average Japanese don't know a thing about Jamaica). Once during the interview he was about to say Kenya, but quickly corrected himself. He said he should be calling me after golden week, which is coming up on April 29th.


@Dwayne its no problem man, anything you want to know, just ask away. What I would recommend though is if you are that interested in Japanese culture, then come here and get the experience bro, you live only once.

Hey Latasha, I realized that the person who I saw at the ATM wasn't you when you added me on facebook. I thought it was you because it was a foreigner who I never saw before plus it was at the post office closest to where I think you currently live.

I never knew you like gundam stuff. My friend in Jamaica has a blog about Japan and Japanese culture, and he always writes about gundam... Check out these posts he made




Saturday, April 16, 2011

Days 1110 - 1116 --- Sunday, April 3, 2011 - Saturday, April 9 , 2011

Days 1110 - 1116
Sunday, April 3, 2011 - Saturday, April 9 , 2011

Day 1110
{ Buying a Washing Machine }
Sunday, April 3, 2011

Met up a friend of mine who lives in Tokyo and we searched around in an area 2 stops away from me name Kamio Oka, to look for recycle shops. But my friend said that most recycle shops would be far away from the station. I was looking around for washing machines because I didn't want to spend too much money on it, knowing that there are people even giving away them for free. But alas I ended up buying one that cost like 18,000 yen. I also bought an iron and a bookshelf. They told me that the washing machine will be delivered in the next 2 days.

It seem like there are a lot of people with dogs in this area. I saw this guy walking with about 5 dogs.


Day 1111 ( Company Training again?? )
Monday, April 4, 2011

Even though I got a transfer to this branch in Yokohama, my company told me that I still need to do a bit of training because this branch operates somewhat different from my previous branch. The training should last 4 days but my new boss said I can stay for only 2.

Today was the first day of this 4 day training. A part from the people in the training, everything was pretty much the same from my last training experience. Its only that I have more paper work to do this time around. Oh and this time I will be paid for training :D ... There were about 40 people in all at the training. Only 4 of us were black. 2 from America, 1 guy from Ghana and me. A guy from the Philippines and a girl from Singapore, for some reason, thought that I said I was from Ghana.

There were a couple of persons who also transferred from other branches to this branch. This included one guy who was in Ibaragi prefecture, close to where the big earthquake was. He told me that he felt the massive impact of the quake, and that he was out of electricity for 2-3 days.

After training, I went to dinner with a few of the persons from training. I realized that most of the persons in this branch either lived in Japan for a while or speak Japanese pretty well or both. We had a pretty good time there and the food was great.


Day 1112 { Training Day 2 }
Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I don't have internet yet at my new apartment and it is like torture. The good thing is that the training is keeping me occupied.

Anyway, training day 2, they split us up in groups. All those who will be teaching at elementary schools will be at one building, while all those teaching high and Jr. high will be in another building. So there were about 15 of us doing elementary schools. We all had to do a 5 minute presentation. At this training, a girl who was an ALT in Fukushima (Where that problematic nuclear plant is) got transferred to our branch. She said everything in her apartment she had to leave there, because her school and her apartment were too near to the nuclear plant.

After training a couple of us met up again and went to the China town in Yokohama city. People were telling me about this oh so famous China town since I was back in Niimi. There are so many restaurants there. We eventually chose one where the food is relatively cheap. We got quite a lot of food as well there.


Day 1113 ( Opening Bank Accounts )

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My washing machine came today and the men who came to install it said the machine is too big for the space where it should be fitted. They took a while deliberating about whether or not they should try to install it today or not. I told them to try. All that was needed was 2 blocks to put the washing machine on, but I had no blocks. So I got some books that I know I wouldn't be using for now, and got them to fit the books under the washing machine.

I then went to 2 banks to open up accounts with them. I asked them if they have the special system where I can send money to my bank account in Jamaica. But they didn't seem to understand what I was saying. I really hope that they do have it though. I opened up the accounts with a bank name MUFG (Misubishi UFJ Financial Group) and another name SMBC ( Sumi Tomo Misui Banking Corporation).


Day 1114 { New Old Fridge / First Earthquake since 2005 }
Thursday, April 7, 2011

Went to open an account at another bank just in case the first 2 were problematic. However, the lady to open up my account kept asking me why I want to open an account at that branch as against a branch nearer to where I live. This bank is like only 2 stops away from me, I don't see the problem. Plus all the branches are joined somewhat, so it shouldn't make a difference if I opened the account here or elsewhere. I found this quite strange. Anyway, I eventually opened the account after about a 10 minutes debate as to why I needed to open the account at this branch.

So now I have 3 bank accounts in Yokohama, hopefully I will make enough money to put in them. I then went to a police station, not far from the last bank where I was. The police man seemed a bit disrespectful and not very helpful. When he saw me he was like "yes yes what do you need, what do you need" in Japanese... Luckily I brought a Japanese friend with me. He toned down a bit then, but he still seemed a bit off. I wanted to know if I could register my bicycle at a police station. I need to register my bicycle just in case a police comes along and decide to give me a hard time. The police guy told my friend that I need to register at the police station nearest to where I actually live. So I shall be checking that out tomorrow.

The good thing so far about the people who I got the apartment from is that they have a campaign going on now, where they give us a choice of free stuff. Today I received my fridge. Its not new but it works pretty well. I should be receiving my bed sometime soon. So now you realize that I have been sleeping on the floor all this time. Its not so bad though because I use a thick futon and some blankets.

In the evening, some of the guys from my training called me out to do karaoke. So we were on the 4th floor of the karaoke building and singing away having loads of fun. I then realized that the place started moving. I thought that it was because we were jumping around and making noise, only to realize that it was an earthquake. This is the first time I am feeling an earthquake since 2005 seriously. In my life, I can only remember about 3 earthquakes.

Here is a video of the earthquake I felt.


yeah it was 7.1 but where we were in the room it wasn't so heavy. It was just a little shaking.

Here is another news source :

Biggest temblor since March 11 cuts power, spurs tsunami alert

At least four people died and 141 were injured late Thursday night by the strongest aftershock to rattle Miyagi Prefecture and its vicinity since the devastating March 11 temblor, tallies by firefighters and police showed Friday.


Day 1115 { Great restaurants not too far away }
Friday, April 8, 2011

Went to the closest police station in my area to change the address on my driver's license as well as query about the bicycle registration thing. I got the address changed but they said they don't do bicycle registration so I have to go to a bicycle shop to get that. I then went to a bicycle shop but then they said I need proof that it is actually my bicycle.

I then went to look around the area where one of my schools will be, then went to a sushi restaurant where the sushi pass on a moving belt. you can just pick up which ever one you like. I only eat the tuna and the shrimp sushi.

In the night I went to a restaurant which is like 2 minutes walk from my apartment, to eat some delicious chicken on a stick. It is called yaki tori. One of my favourite Japanese meals. I am happy to know that a shop for this is just down from my apartment. And the lady that serves there speaks pretty good English. She said she is Filipino but her grandmother is Japanese.


Day 1116 { Internet again FINALLY!!! }
Saturday, April 9, 2011

Another good thing around here is that, I can have dominoes pizza and stuff delivered to me :D so I made use of that service today and got some pizza type sandwiches and stuff from dominoes. It took about 20-30 mins for them to deliver it. This is great so far. In Niimi this kind of stuff is none existent, at least there are no earthquakes there.

The person to install my internet then came along to setup the basic stuff. It took him about 30 mins to complete the installation. He then said I can now either rent a modem from the internet company or buy one myself. I of course opted to buy one. So I went out to get myself a wireless router to setup my internet. It took me about 45 mins to finally do the setup on my PC because of the Japanese I had to go through...BUT I now have 200 mbs connection :D try topping that.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Days 1103 - 1109 Sunday, March 27, 2011 - Saturday, April 2, 2011

Days 1103 - 1109 Sunday, March 27, 2011 - Saturday, April 2, 2011

Day 1103
Sunday, March 27, 2011

Went to church and told them good bye for now. I still have some stuff I need to get rid of from my apartment before all is well. When leaving your apartment in Japan, you have to make certain that it is as how you got it initially, or else you have to pay 30,000 yen. Luckily, my very good friend was given an empty apartment, and we use it to store stuff. So I brought my heated table ( Kotatsu ) and a book shelf up there.

I then went to pick up a friend of mine (who I initially met in Jamaica) and we had lunch together.

Bad News

The rescue team found the first foreign victim of the tsunami.

Virginia parents are told the worst

A Virginia couple are mourning the death of their daughter after learning that her body was found in the disaster-ravaged Tohoku region, where she had been teaching English.
Taylor Anderson, 24, could be the first known American victim in the disaster as authorities continue the daunting task of finding and identifying almost 13,000 people believed to be missing.
Anderson's family said in a statement that the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo called them Monday to tell them her body was found in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture.

Day 1104 ( Changing Car / Personalized Rag )
Monday, March 28, 2011

Went to the post office today to do an address change and to tell the people there farewell. They all stood up and wish me all the best. Again, I almost broke down, never expected them to do this. But again, my pride held strong.

My Jamaican friend in Okayama city said she would take my printer. So I gave my printer to a Japanese friend of mine who was heading to Okayama city, and she passed it on to my Jamaican friend. Thanks Chiyoko.

Went to my car dealer along with my friend who is supposed to buy it from me. I gave them some documents and so I should no longer own this car starting from March 31. My car mechanic then asked me if I could have dinner with them tomorrow.

I then went to the dentist to get my bi annual cleaning, then went to Bible study in the night to tell them sayonara. They made cinnamon roll (I really like this) and they gave me a personalized towel and rag set as a goodbye gift.


Day 1105 (Dinner with Car Mechanics)
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Changed my bank book today, because I had no more pages left on it to do transactions. I then gave my old tires from my previous car to my car dealer. The tires were sitting at the back of my apartment for about 2 years. My car dealer said it would normally cost about 800 yen per tire but he will be taking them for free. Thats a relief because I am totally broke with all this moving thing going on.

I then had lunch with my landlord then got my final haircut in Niimi.

In the evening I went to dinner with my car mechanic and some of his family members and co workers.

Day 1106 { The Moving Truck Cometh }
Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The moving truck came today to take my stuff away. At first it seemed like everything could not hold in the moving truck locker. But the truck guys somehow moved around the stuff and made it all fit in along with my bicycle.

In the evening, I went to dinner with some of my Japanese friends as well as my karate/darts friend Andrew.


Day 1107 { Final Bills / Final Goodbyes}
Thursday, March 31, 2011

Paid my final rent fee today and while I was going to withdraw some money from a nearby ATM, I saw a foreigner at the machine who I didn't recognize. I figured that this person was my replacement, so I told her hello, then she said hi and sped off. I hope you enjoy Niimi Latasha :D It can be a fun place but it can also be a lonely at times.

While I was cleaning what was once my car, to pass it on to its new owner, a couple utility guys came for their final bill payments. So I paid my final electricity, water and gas bills. It all came up to over 22,000 yen. I am still in shock about the gas bill which was about 11,000 yen.

Peter, a good friend of mine and now the new owner of my car, then came to pick up the car. Told him and another ALT farewell as they went off.

Shortly after this, I did my final final packing up and cleaning of the apartment. My good Japanese friend Hiroshi then came to pick me up and took me to the Niimi train station. I was then greeted by my Landlord, his family and some other good friends who came to see me off.

When I got on the train and looked through the window, I saw everyone waving goodbye at the train, that was when I broke down in tears on the train. But I simply held down my head.

When I got to Okayama, I met up with the Japanese guy who helped me to translate a few poems in my book. He went to Jamaica in February so I asked him to buy some banana chips and a strawberry syrup for me in Jamaica.

I then took the bus from Okayama to Yokohama.


Day 1108 {Welcome to YOKOHAMA}
Friday, April 1, 2011

I arrived at Yokohama at about 6:00 am and I had no idea where to go. This was my first time in Yokohama city ever. Yokohama city is the second biggest city in Japan in terms of population. Second only to Tokyo which is only 30 mins away. Yokohama city is in the prefecture of Kanagawa, but because Yokohama city is more popular than Kanagawa prefecture, almost everyone calls the entire prefecture Yokohama. Yokohoma city has 18 wards, and I will be living in the southern most ward which is called Kanazawa ward. An American army base is about 20-30 mins from where I will be living. The area of the American base is called Yokosuka.

Anyway, after arriving at Yokohama, I had no clue where to go, so I simply walked around not knowing where I am going. I then asked some persons to direct me to the Yokohama train station. When I got there, I asked someone to direct me to an internet cafe. I finally found one and stayed there until about 10:00 am.

I was now suppose to meet the person who is sorting out my apartment, at the closest station to my apartment. I went there and waited for about 10 mins, then she came. We walked to my new apartment which took about 7 minutes up a hill, then had to go up 3 flights of stairs. When I got to my new apartment, it was wayyy smaller than what it said on the internet. So I was quite a bit disappointed. I expressed my dissatisfaction to the Korean lady who was working for the apartment agency, and she was apologizing like crazy. However, I have little or no choice now as I am already here and the papers are ready. The good thing though is that the apartment is pretty close to the station.

I had to then sign a whole lot of papers about not disturbing my neighbors and that I will not destroy the apartment etc etc. My company was trying to discourage me from this paper work stuff but I chose instead to go through with it. The thing is that if I used my company, they would take care of the paper work and other difficult stuff yes, BUT if you leave the company, you also have to leave the apartment. I didn't want to take that chance plus when the company offered to help me with apartments, they initially introduced to me apartments that cost 70,000 -80,000 yen per month. The one that I searched for on my own cost only 43,000 yen.

Anyway, I payed my first apartment fee to the Korean lady and she showed me where the nearest super markets and stores are. A very big mall is like only 1 train stop away. And they actually have KFC and Mcdonalds there and at almost every other train stop. So I went around the area to buy some blankets, a futon and some other random stuff like curtains etc. I also went to the ward office to register my new address and also got some information about the area from them.

This last photo is my apartment complex.


Day 1109 { Re stocking Apartment }
Saturday, April 2, 2011

My stuff from Okayama got delivered today, and they can hardly fit properly in my new apartment. I then went out to purchase some more needed stuff for the apartment like shower curtains, pots and pans and a folding chair etc... I am now re living Japan all over again, as the people are still staring at me and there are not a lot of foreigners around where I live. Actually you can say that I live in the country part of the city. But the main city area is only like 15-20 mins away by train and cost only 230 yen to get there. As against 1450 yen in Niimi and takes over 1 hr 30 mins .... Also a movie theater is just 5 mins away. As against 1 hr when living in Niimi.


@Dwayne, I know you from long time. You and your twin brother. I know that you migrated a long time ago as well. You guys used to come to my church wayyy back in the days. Anyway, I would suggest that if you have a good job now in the USA, keep it. Job security for foreigners in Japan is not the best. Unless you can work for a Japanese company in the USA, then request a transfer. Outside of this, its not a good idea to come here in search of jobs.

However, you can do what most other foreigners do. Try to teach English there, then get married to a Japanese lady. That will allow you to at least get your legal residency there. But job security bro... not the best.

@Richard, the computer recognize that something is plugged into the USB port but it doesn't know what is there and the drive don't show up in the drive selection in "my computer".