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

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Days 1215 - 1221 Sunday, July 17, 2011 - Saturday, July 23, 2011

Days 1215 - 1221
Sunday, July 17, 2011 - Saturday, July 23, 2011



Day 1215
( Heading for Gunma )
Sunday, July 17, 2011

Went to church in the morning then went back to my apartment to do some final preparations to go on a 2 day trip to a prefecture known as Gunma. I was invited there last week by a Japanese lady who I met in May at the Jamaican festival. She spent 2 years as a volunteer in Westmoreland, Jamaica. I was supposed to meet up with her as well as some other persons who volunteered in some other countries like Belize and a small island in the Caribbean known as St. Lucea. We are going to go rafting tomorrow.

So the lady gave me directions to get there and I wrote down the time and train route precisely as she told me. I got to the train station on time and saw a train there waiting. So I asked a train attendant and he said its the next train that I should be taking. So when the next train got there, I sure enough jumped on it. Only to realize 2hrs 30 mins after that I was at the wrong location, farrrr away from my intended destination. I ended up at a place called Utsunomiya in a prefecture known as Tochigi.

I asked a worker at the Utsunomiya station to direct me to Gunma. but he said where I am headed for is like 3 hrs away :O I called the others to let them know what was going on, and one of the persons said that there is a way to get to Gunma that will take only 2 hrs. So I got on the train made a transfer then finally met up with the 4 other persons. I knew only one of them so I introduced myself to the others. We then had dinner then headed to an onsen ( hot water bath ). This is my second time at one of these things. The first time was back in November 2008. The owner said this onsen has been in operation since 1689.

Before we met up, the others were hiking for like 3 hours in some mountainous area. I of course told them I am not so much interested in hiking, especially since I have a bad ankle.

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Day 1216 ( Rafting )
Monday, July 18, 2011

when my friend asked me if I was interested in rafting, I instantly told her yes. This is because I was thinking of rafting as a serene, quiet, relaxing thing in a nice river on bamboo boats like in Jamaica. That only the wealthy had access to. Ooh how wrong I was.

I was imagining this:
















But actually it was more like this:















When the guide started giving us instructions, I was trembling. He was telling us what to do if we fall out of the tube boat, what to do if it flips over and how to position ourselves if we fall out of the tube boat and it leaves us behind. Hearing all of this made me want to quit, because I cannot swim. I was the only one on this trip that couldn't swim. The guide warned us that its all about team work and we should all try to keep the tube balanced at all times.
















A part from the scary instructions, it was all about rowing forward, rowing backwards, holding on and sitting inside the tube when rough waters appear. Again, I was so scared. But as soon as we started rowing forward and passed the first big wave, I realized how much fun this was. It felt like one of those water rides at an amusement park. Actually the rough waters and waves in the river was much more fun than when it was quiet and steady. We rafted about 13km / 8 miles and it took about 1 hour and 30 mins. But it was really enjoyable.

We then went to another onsen ( hot water bath ) that had a bunch of old naked Japanese men. Now my third time at one of these places. Afterwards we had lunch then we headed for the train station very tired. The other male who was there is going to Jamaica for 1 week. He also lived in Jamaica for 2 years, in an area known as Mandeville.

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Day 1217 ( Car Accident )
Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My sister called me early this morning telling me that she had an accident with my car in Jamaica :0 .... One of the crazy Jamaican taxi men ran in the side of my car. Luckily she was ok. However, the insurance is in my name, so now I have to prepare a letter known as "Power of Attorney" to allow my sister to take care of insurance stuff on my behalf.





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Day 1218 ( Horrors of World War 2 )
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 ( 3 years 4 months )

Today is the last day of work before summer vacation. The English supporter who is 70 years old came to assist me with my 3 classes today. Because she was 70, I asked her if she experienced World War 2. She said yes, it ended when she was 5 years old. She said her dad was actually the captain of a ship that America sank near North Korea at the time. She also mentioned that a survivor on the ship that her dad captained, came back and told them the story of all that took place. Her dad's body was burned in the air raid that took his life and the lives of several others on that ship. But she said her family managed to receive her dad's bones.

Her husband also has an horror story about his family as well. Her husband had 4 siblings. 3 sisters and a brother I think. Her husband's dad decided to split the family up by sending him, his brother and another sister to some rural areas in Japan. His dad, mom and 2 sisters stayed in a developed area of Yokohama. Unfortunately, the US bombed Tokyo and some areas in Yokohama some months before the war ended. and his dad, mom and 2 elder sisters were killed in that bombing incident.

Her story had me silent for a while, as she was the first person I knew who was directly affected by world war 2. I told her that she should write a book about it. But she said one of her brothers already did.














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Day 1219 ( Presentation at Meeting )

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For the first time in over 3 years working for this company, I got the opportunity to give a presentation. Outside of doing one of my poetry before someone else did a presentation while in Okayama, I never got the opportunity to give a presentation. I remember a head teacher asked me once if I wanted to do a presentation. But I asked him if they wanted me to do a presentation because that was how I thought the system worked. I told him at the time if they wanted me to do it, then I will do it. He didn't get back to me.

I couldn't help but notice though that even persons who came after me in my area were doing presentations but still I wasn't given an opportunity. But I kept silent. However, after just 3 months in Yokohama, my head teacher approached me and asked me if I could do a presentation. I told him sure. It was basically a brief presentation about my like in Okayama and the transition to Yokohama, and how I overcame whatever obstacles I faced. I showed them briefly how I taught my classes and then ended with my poem "into Japan".

The persons seemed quite impressed afterwards and I got quite a few compliments. One person told me that they were asleep throughout the meeting and woke up when I was doing my presentation. A lady from the Philippines told me she could not stop laughing throughout. Yeah it felt good.

After the meeting, I went to do a medical check for my company. Its a mandatory requirement. Because if you are not healthy, guess what? They can and will fire you!!!

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Day 1220 ( Japanese Lesbian wants US Citizenship )
Friday, July 22, 2011

Stayed in all day playing video games, reading and watching anime.


Japanese in gay marriage struggles for green card

U.S. laws stifle 10-year partner's attempt to get spousal visa

At first glance, their life together seems ideal. Rie and Dianne (who have asked that their real names not be used) have a home overlooking a lush garden in a small, caring community.


But Rie is Japanese, and even though she and Dianne are legally married in their state, a federal law prohibits her from obtaining a spousal green card. And so their 10 years together have been overshadowed by a struggle to keep Rie in the country.


http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110722f1.html

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Day 1221
Saturday, July 23, 2011

Again, stayed in all day playing video games, reading and watching one piece anime.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Days 1208 - 1214 Sunday, July 10, 2011 - Saturday, July 16, 2011

Days 1208 - 1214
Sunday, July 10, 2011 - Saturday, July 16, 2011



Day 1208 ( Earthquake #15 ... 7.3 )
Sunday, July 10, 2011

I was sitting quietly in my apartment then suddenly the place started to shake. This time my phone gave me absolutely no warning whatsoever. This one was also around the area where the very big earthquake happened on March 11 this year and it was in the sea as well. My phone application probably thought because the epicenter was so far away, we wouldn't have felt it here. But we did.

Here is the news about the earthquake:

Areas in northeastern Japan hard hit by the March 11 mega earthquake and ensuing tsunami were jolted again Sunday morning by a strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 7.3, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the 9:57 a.m. quake, which registered 4 on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7 in parts of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures including an area in the Iwate capital of Morioka.

A warning for tsunami of up to 50 cm was issued for Pacific coastal areas of the three prefectures immediately after the quake, but was lifted at 11:45 a.m. after 10-cm tsunami waves were observed at Ofunato port in Iwate at 10:44 a.m. and at Soma port in Fukushima at 11:11 a.m., while another 10-cm tsunami reached Ofunato port at 11:20 a.m., according to the agency.

It was the first time tsunamis were actually observed in Japan since the March 11 disaster.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110711a2.html

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Day 1209 ( Shippu / Mice that chirp like birds? )
Monday, July 11, 2011

I started using this thing on my foot which was recommended by one of the English supporters. It is this medicated thing known as a shippu which is used to wrap around the swollen or painful area.
Yeah my foot is still slightly swollen after about a week. I think its because I haven't been resting it enough. I have to walk and take the train everywhere now.


Chirping mice

A group of researchers at Osaka University has genetically engineered mice so that they sing like birds.

Studying the effects of the chirping sound on other mice could promote research into the evolution of mammalian verbal communications, said Arikuni Uchimura, an assistant professor of the university located in Suita, Osaka Prefecture.

The team discovered a mouse tweeting like a bird when they were breeding mice genetically engineered to produce frequent mutations.

The chirping has continued through more than eight generations of mice.

Computer tomography imaging shows that a section of the throat in the "singing mice" is thinner than in mice that haven't been genetically altered.

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110711a6.html

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Day 1210
Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Had dinner with a friend of mine today. I also did some final preparations for my first private student tomorrow. That was pretty much my day.

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Day 1211 ( English Conversation Student )
Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Went to the main Yokohama station and started searching for the location where I should meet my student. The area is a mall of sorts known as Bay quarter. I found the location of the place relatively quickly. About 10 mins after finding the location, my student showed up. This will be a self introduction lesson of sorts so it should run smoothly.

She studied some sort of industrial technology stuff at a top university in Japan but her first job she didn't like it. So she went back to an academy to study architecture for 2 years. Now she is working as an assistant architect. Her English is very good, so all she need is to have conversations in English to sharpen her skills.

I think this self introduction lesson went pretty well. Afterwards, she gave me some advice about updating my profile on teacher-student.com where she found out about me. Since most Japanese persons don't know that we speak English in Jamaica, she told me to add something about English being the official language of Jamaica.

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Day 1212 ( X-men First class )
Thursday, July 14, 2011

Went to watch X-men first class at 9:40 pm at a theater not to far from where I am. It wasn't so bad at all. I give it a 7/10... I didn't like some of the acting in it, but I enjoyed the storyline, the action and the whole CGI effects thing it had going on.







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Day 1213 { Earthquake #16... 5.6 / Heat stroke in Japan on the Rise}
Friday, July 15, 2011

The English helper person for today at this school, is the president of the PTA. I see her quite often at the school asking questions and querying stuff. Her face gave me the impression that she didn't really like anyone around. But after getting to know her she was really helpful and supportive. She didn't speak much English though.

In the evening I felt another earthquake, this one was on land and it was the heaviest one I felt so far being here. I have pretty much gotten used to them though, even though they are scary.



Heatstroke deaths quadruple as nation shuns air conditioners

Deaths from heatstroke quadrupled in the early part of summer as temperatures rose and air conditioners were switched off in line with government appeals to curb electricity usage to avoid power blackouts.

News photo
Slow roast: Men use fans in Tokyo on Tuesday as temperatures in eastern Japan, including Tokyo, soar. BLOOMBERG

From June 1 to 10, 26 people died from heatstroke, compared with six in the same period last year, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. The number of people taken by ambulance to hospitals for heatstroke more than tripled to 12,973, with 48 percent in the most-at-risk group aged 65 years or older.

"There's a risk the number of patients will continue to rise if people stop using air conditioners at home," said Yasufumi Miyake, associate professor at Showa University Hospital, who led a nationwide study of heatstroke. "Elderly people are the most vulnerable as they try to tough it out."


http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110718n1.html

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Day 1214 ( New External HD / Japan Won Women's World Cup )
Saturday, July 16, 2011

Because my old external hard drive crashed. I decided today to purchase a new one. This time I bought a 1.5 Tera byte HD.

Japan takes Women's World Cup in penalty kicks

Saki Kumagai completed a fairytale finish with the decisive spot kick as Japan stunned favorites the United States 3-1 on penalties to win the Women's World Cup for the first time after a 2-2 draw in extra time in Sunday's final in Frankfurt.

Homare Sawa strikes a victory pose after the Japan team wins the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 in Frankfurt
Homare Sawa strikes a victory pose after the Japan team wins the FIFA Women's World Cup 2011 in Frankfurt, triumphing over the U.S. in penalty kicks. Sawa was named the game's MVP and received the Golden Ball award. KYODO PHOTO

Tournament MVP Homare Sawa forced penalties with an equalizer in the second extra period as Japan twice came from behind, and goalkeeper Ayumi Kaihori saved two penalties in the shootout before Kumagai buried the winner.

"I'm both delighted and surprised," said Kumagai. "I just hit the ball as hard as I could."

The world title, Japan's first at any level and the first by an Asian team, also provided a welcome lift to a country still reeling from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the northeast coast, triggering an ongoing nuclear crisis.

Victory was also first in 25 meetings with the Americans, who were gunning for their third World Cup title after their victories in 1991 and 1999.




http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110718x1.html

@professor Yamauchi... Thanks for explaining about that bug. I have never seen that green colour before.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Days 1201 - 1207 Sunday, July 3, 2011 - Saturday, July 9, 2011

Days 1201 - 1207

Sunday, July 3, 2011 - Saturday, July 9, 2011



Day 1201 { Snake on the Train }
Sunday, July 3, 2011

Should have visited a church with a friend today but he was out too late last night. So instead I pretty much stayed in and updated my blog.



A train on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line was halted at Maibara Station on Monday to capture a 1-meter snake found lounging on a passenger seat.


The red-and-black snake, believed to be a nonvenomous Honduran milk snake, was spotted at 8:55 a.m. between Shin-Osaka and Kyoto, according to Central Japan Railway Co.

The snake was captured by the staff of an animal protection center near Maibara Station, the next stop after Kyoto for Tokyo-bound bullet trains.

None of the 200 or so passengers on the Tokyo-bound train were injured, the railroad said.

It believes the snake is probably a pet brought onboard by a passenger who failed to notice that it had escaped from its cage, it said, adding that police are searching for the owner.


http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110705a7.html

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Day 1202 ( Slight Hearing Trouble )
Monday, July 4, 2011

Because the English coordinator told me to stay until 3:30 last Friday, I stayed. And as expected, no teacher said even a single word to me about planning the next lesson. This proves that they just really don't want to see me leave earlier, even if I have nothing to do. My other schools are fine with, but not this school it seem.

For about 2 weeks now my left ear has been ringing almost none stop. Most times I don't notice it, but if I stop and think for a while, it is very much there. So I went to the doctor today to check it out. They performed some sort of hearing test and the doctor said that I am having difficulty picking up low frequency sounds. I hear them but I respond to them very slowly. Lord help mi....




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Day 1203 ( Twisted Ankle Again )
Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The English supporter at one of my schools, followed me to a school nearby my apartment today to play football. Three teachers who I work with also came to play football there. In all about 11 of us went. All teachers from elementary schools nearby.

At one point I was dribbling towards the goal, then I suddenly twisted my left ankle. I had to sit and watch for the remaining time. They called me to try again but when I kicked a ball, the pain was too much. A teacher from my main school who was also playing, offered to drop me back to my apartment. It was then a task to walk up the stairs.

Something similar to this happened to me last year on October 7, 2010 while I was in Niimi, Okayama, playing my usual Thursday football. That time it was my right ankle. And no that picture is not my ankle.


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Day 1204 { Late for work 1st Time in Yokohama... }
Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Arrived at work about 4 mins late for my class because I had to hop to work on my now swollen left ankle. Then the stairs at school didn't make things any easier.

All these things happening to me just before my summer holidays.

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Day 1205 { Bad stare or am I just thinking? / Green Bug }
Thursday, July 7, 2011

My ankle is still hurting but I managed to get to work early today. Sometimes I get the feeling that some persons at work are giving me a bad stare, but I can't know for sure. Like today I got that feeling from the vice principal. Again it could be me just thinking stuff.


I saw this bug while going up the stairs to my apartment and I took a picture of it. Normally when I see these bugs, they are black... But this one is green.... Radiation???

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Day 1206 { Potential Student / Nokia leaving Japan }
Friday, July 8, 2011

I got my first potential evening student today... Yeah!!! After giving up and thinking that I had no chance whatsoever with most Japanese people knowing little to nothing at all about Jamaica. This was further proven last week when a grade 6 teacher, even after teaching his class for 3 months, suddenly asked me "Jamaicans speak English??" ... Yeah so it is a bit of a challenge to get evening students, with this area populated by foreign teachers from England, The US, Canada and Australia.


Battered by the popularity of smartphones, Nokia Corp. is abandoning the Japanese market after a brief foray with luxury cellphones costing as much as ¥20 million.


The Finnish handset maker, which had three stores in Japan, will by the end of the month close its last store selling high-end Vertu cellphones in Tokyo's Ginza district.

Neither the number of Vertu phones sold in Japan nor the timing of the decision to exit the market have been disclosed.

Nokia said in a statement Wednesday that it was "withdrawing from the Japanese market" to better focus on priority businesses. The company thanked its business partners, said its Tokyo office will be gone by the end of this year, but promised to continue to work with Japanese craftsmen in its business.


http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nb20110708a6.html

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Day 1207 ( Fireworks Festival )
Saturday, July 9, 2011

My friend invited me to a fireworks festival in an area nearby known as Kurihama. This is near to a US naval base in an area known as Yokosuka. Thousands of people gathered from all over the prefecture to see 1 hour of fire works.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Days 1194 - 1200 Sunday, June 26, 2011 - Saturday, July 2, 2011

Days 1194 - 1200

Sunday, June 26, 2011 - Saturday, July 2, 2011



Day 1194 { Japan Has more World Heritage sites }
Sunday, June 26, 2011

Went to church this morning. I sold 2 of my books there. Its almost a year since my book was released.

I can't find a barber who will trim as well as shave my face for cheap. So I went to a store today to buy a face shaver. They unfortunately didn't have any there so I had to order one online.


Japan Has More World Heritage sites

The Ogasawara Islands, a habitat for rare animals and plants in the western Pacific, was named as a World Heritage site Friday by UNESCO, government officials said.

News photo
Celebrating scuba style: Members of the Ogasawara Diving Center hold a sign that reads, "Congratulations Ogasawara World Natural Heritage Site," in waters off Chichijima Island. KYODO PHOTO

"It brings us great joy to have a fourth World Natural Heritage site for our country and it's a piece of news that encourages us who have been enduring the (natural and nuclear) disasters (in northeast Japan)," said Environment Minister Ryu Matsumoto.

The chain of about 30 islands about 1,000 km south of Tokyo is home to many indigenous species because it has never been connected to a continent. It has been dubbed the "Galapagos in the Orient" for its rich and distinctive natural assets, which include the Bonin flying fox, an endangered bat.



http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110626a5.html

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Day 1195 { Radioactive urine :O }
Monday, June 27, 2011

After work today I got to my apartment and slept as soon as I got there. I am trying to get used to this teaching in the city thing but my body so far is not keeping up. Or is it that I am getting old?


Radioactive urine :O

More than 3 millisieverts of radiation has been measured in the urine of 15 Fukushima residents of the village of Iitate and the town of Kawamata, confirming internal radiation exposure, it was learned Sunday.


Both are about 30 to 40 km from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, which has been releasing radioactive material into the environment since the week of March 11, when the quake and tsunami caused core meltdowns.

"This won't be a problem if they don't eat vegetables or other products that are contaminated," said Nanao Kamada, professor emeritus of radiation biology at Hiroshima University. "But it will be difficult for people to continue living in these areas."

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/mail/nn20110627a2.html

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Day 1196 { Got my face shaver }
Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Today was so hot, I felt like I was going to faint while I was teaching. The worst thing is that the classrooms at this school doesn't have any form of cooling system in place. Luckily the staff room has AC. I notice since my first observation the Board of Education members are popping up more and more in my classes without any warning whatsoever. Although it is only for about 5 minutes or so, but still.

After work today, I stopped by my friend's apartment a bit, then went back to my apartment where I collected my face shaver.

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Day 1197
{ Angry/Busy Japanese Girls }
Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Today was also quite a bit hot. Believe me when I say that the heat in Jamaica is absolutely nothing compared to that of Japan. Its hot and humid here.

The music teacher at my school today was the English coordinator last year. She is now on maternity leave and should be expecting her child between say August and September. So there is a new music teacher now. The music teachers and the office staff persons seem to speak to me more at these schools, than the normal teachers.
Well to be fare, the normal teachers are usually extremely busy. I remember when I used to play soccer with some students at the Niimi College, a guy told me to stay away from Japanese female teachers and nurses. He said because they are always busy and will get angry very quickly and easily.

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Day 1198 { Company meeting #3 }
Thursday, June 30, 2011

I finally got paid today. I was waiting on this one probably more than all the others in the past. After work today I had a company meeting. I got there a bit later than normal because of the location of my school today. After the meeting, my head teacher asked me and another guy in our group, if we could possibly give a presentation next week. It has something to do with our experience working for this company and what we have overcame etc etc.

After the meeting I paid my rent and some other bills.

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Day 1199 { 1 year since my book release }
Friday, July 1, 2011

Today makes 1 year since my book was released in Niimi, Okayama, Japan. So far I think I sold approximately 150 copies, which is not too bad for a first try I think.

After work at my school today (my main school), the English coordinator called me and told me that I am leaving from work too early. She said the teachers sometime want to speak to me about the next English class but most times I am gone. I find this a bit odd because I am there all day and the teachers would totally ignore me. These meetings to plan the next lesson only take about 5 mins maximum. I am sure throughout the day they can at least find 5 mins to come to speak to me. Any way, I will stay back a bit longer and see if anyone will come and speak to me, if not, I will call them up and force them to talk with me for 5 mins about the next lesson.

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Day 1200 { Cracked.com Day }
Saturday, July 2, 2011

I feel bad about this but I almost literally spent the entire day today reading cracked.com articles. I found this one especially interesting ...

Can you believe that these animals actually exist??

13 Real Animals Lifted Directly Out of Your Nightmares


Theridion grallatora, Barreleye fish


















How about seeing a maggot under a microscope? This is what it looks like:















Read more: 13 Real Animals Lifted Directly Out of Your Nightmares | Cracked.com http://www.cracked.com/article/125_13-real-animals-lifted-directly-out-your-nightmares_p2/#ixzz1R0sEx2V0