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


Jamaipanese said…
good ready Eddie Murphy, um I mean Dave ;)

Interesting days are ahead indeed. Good luck my brother!
Latasha said…
LOL eddie murphy and obama. nice. lol

and man those are a lot of after chocks. sheesh. well that explnation did make sense though.

also thank for the link to that blog. i actually just bought that gundam unicorn one. it's the next one i'm building!
Stewy said…
So wait... Dave. If you feeling so much earthquakes, you soon stop feel sensitivity to them. It'll start to feel like rain.