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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Useful Japanese Words/Phrases

Days 1460 - 1466
Sunday, March 18 - 24, 2012


Day 1460 (Heated Debate)
Sunday, March 18, 2012

Went to church this morning and I mentioned to the pastor (who is Malaysian) that I should be visiting his country from April 5 - April 9. He said he should be visiting there as well but should be coming back to Japan on April 3.

Later in the evening, me and my Japanese friend had a heated argument concerning my last blog "Things I dislike/hate about Japan" . She was defending the Japanese shops and business owners who put up the signs "Japanese ONLY" on the outside of their establishments. I told her that this is racist, but she said it is not. I told her that anywhere in the world that allows one race to do something, but prevents another race from doing it, is in fact racism.... We argued about this for about 30 mins. She argued that foreigners sometime tend to go to these places and behave badly and at times destroy the property of the owners. To which the owners often have to pay for themselves. I agree with this but that doesn't mean that ALL foreigners should be excluded.

But then she mentioned that when these shop owners say "Japanese Only" It doesn't mean Japanese as in the race of the people, but actually mean someone who understands the culture and can behave like a Japanese. Not behaving badly and destroying stuff. So if you are black but a citizen of Japan and/or understand the culture, you could enter. I am personally unsure about this but whatever.

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Day 1461 ( Useful Japanese Words/Phrases)
Monday, March 19, 2012

Had only 3 classes today, so I left work at 1:00 pm.

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Konnichiwa (Hello) and Sayonara (Goodbye) aside there are quite a few useful Japanese words/phrases out there that you can utilize if you should visit Japan. He

Arigatou Gozaimasu - Thank you.

Hajimemashite - Nice to meet you


Yoroshiku onegaishimasu (*) 
- This is one of the many Japanese words that is difficult to translate into English. It means something to the effect of "Be kind to me from now on" or "continue to show me your kind favors". It is said quite frequently and should be repeated if it is said to you. The ne is pronounced like the ne in net.


Sumimasen - 
This literally mean sorry or excuse me. But it is also used to say thank you as well. If you want to ask for direction or something, saying "sumimasen" at first is the polite thing to do.

Gomenasai -
This means I'm really sorry. Kind of like a strong apology for doing something wrong or being late for something.

Wakari mashita - I understand

Wakaranai / Wakarimasen - I don't understand / I don't know

Genki desu ka - How are you?

Watashi  - Me/I

Anata - You

Daijyoubu -
This means it is fine or I'm fine. A Japanese person may ask you "Daijyoubu? or Daijyoubu desuka?" They are asking if you are fine.


Ikura desu ka - Whats the cost? / How much is it?

             kara kimashita - I am from           .

Watashi wa         suki desu - I like                .

             doko desu ka - Where is               .

              ga itai - My            hurts.

Nani kore - What is that ?

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Day 1462 (Spring is Here / More Radiation Fear)
Tuesday, March 20, 2012 { 4 Years!!! }

Today was a national holiday that marks the beginning of Spring. Yeah winter is over!!! But the truth is that Winter and Spring in Japan feels the same to me. Actually the latter part of Autumn until the latter part of spring is pretty much the same.

Today also marks my 4 years anniversary in Japan. Had no clue I would be here this long. Most of us her for over 2 years have a love / hate relationship with Japan. Loads of things we really like, likewise loads of things we really hate.

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More Radiation fears


Fear of radiation creeping south

Some parents with young kids relocating from Tokyo area



Lingering concerns about radiation a year into the Fukushima nuclear crisis have prompted people even as far away as the Tokyo area, some 100 to 250 km from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, to move away.



Mamiko Joosten, who has lived for seven years in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture, has now decided to move to Okinawa with her 6-year-old daughter out of fear of radiation, leaving her husband behind.
"I do not want to regret later on exposing my daughter to the threat of radiation. The government's limit does not guarantee absolute safety, so I would rather choose to leave," she said.
Her husband, Maurice, said that though "it is difficult" to be apart from his wife and daughter, he has opted to stay behind because he likes his current job, which he said is "not something I can easily find in Okinawa."


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120323f2.html


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Day 1463 ( Japanese Politician Has Child Artificially at 50 )
Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Went to work today only because I was scheduled to. Some of the staff members saw me and was surprised that I went to work today. So the head teacher (Some dude ranked below the vice principal but above the other teachers) called my English coordinator.

When the English coordinator came, she told me to organize the English stuff and put them in the English room and also to make a chart with some random English topics like "Fruits" / "Stationery" etc. with pictures. So I organized the English stuff and placed them into the English room. Then I started doing the chart thingy. Just then, the principal came to me and said that I could leave at about 11:30 am. So I stayed a bit then left at about 12:15 noon. In Niimi, I would have to wait until 4:00, even if I have absolutely nothing to do.

In the evening, I had my second class with my new student. We spoke about his job as a programmer and the different projects he gets to do as a programmer. Currently he is focused on studying how forests all over the world has been increasing in certain parts of the world but decreasing in other parts.


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Lawmaker has no regrets about giving birth at 50




Seiko Noda, a 51-year-old Lower House lawmaker, drew wide public attention and controversy by bearing a child at age 50 through artificial insemination.
News photo
Maternal: Lawmaker Seiko Noda of the Liberal Democratic Party spends time with her son Masaki in a hospital. SEIKO NODA'S OFFICE / KYODO
During an interview in February, about a year after giving birth to a boy using ova from a third party in the United States, Noda said she has no regrets. She says her son, Masaki, who has never left the hospital since birth due to serious medical problems, is her "mentor" who trains her as a politician.
Noda, a six-term lawmaker and a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, has had a stellar career as a politician. She served as posts and telecommunications minister as well as consumer affairs minister and was once widely expected to become the first female prime minister.
Her private life has been filled with constant travails, however, because she had enormous difficulty having a child. At age 44 she published a book titled "Watashi wa Umitai" ("I Want to Give Birth"), in which she poured her heart out about her burning desire to somehow produce offspring and discussed her experience with fertility techniques.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120323f1.html



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Day 1464 ( Last Classes for 2011/2012 School Year / Google Ordered to Stop Auto Complete)
Thursday, March 22, 2012

Had my final classes for 2011/2012 school year. Only 3 classes, all first graders. So I ended at about 11:15.  After that I ran to the dentist to get the first of my 2 times a year dental check up?

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Google ordered to suspend autocomplete function over cyber-harassment



The Tokyo District Court approved a petition demanding that Google Inc. suspend its autocomplete search feature for Internet browsers after a man alleged that it breached his privacy and got him fired, his lawyer said.


Google is refusing to suspend the feature, saying that its headquarters in the United States will not be regulated by Japanese law and that the case does not warrant deleting the autocomplete suggestions related to the petition under its in-house privacy policy, lawyer Hiroyuki Tomita said.
The case, which was adjudicated on March 19, is believed to be the first to order the suspension of the Web search feature, which attempts to instantly anticipate and list the words or phrases a person will type into a browser's search box, Tomita said.
The man, whose name was withheld, decided to seek a court injunction after learning the autocomplete feature likely played a role when he suddenly lost his job several years ago and caused several companies to subsequently reject him when he applied for new jobs, Tomita said.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120326a2.html


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Day 1465 ( Speeches, flowers and Papers / YMCA Practice Teaching )
Friday, March 23, 2012

I had to do two speeches at my main school today. First one was for the staff members which was done in the staff room. Then the next one was done in the auditorium in front of over 700 Japanese individuals. Afterwards, I had to walk through the crowd of them with flowers and some papers. Tears welled up in eyes but I promised myself if at all possible, do not cry in front of people. Privately in my own quarters its fine but in front of people.... No!! Also I could come back to this school in April, but so far I am unsure. And that is exactly what I told them as well, that I am unsure if I will be back at this school next year.

















In the evening I went to the YMCA where I should start working on Saturdays and did 2 practice sessions. I had 4 boy children ranging from grade 1 - 3. When I just started, one of the kids started crying. Oh, and their parents were all there looking on as well. I was not informed of any of this. All I was told is that I would be teaching some kids. Anyway, after the first 4 minutes, the kid that was crying was the happiest of the lot. And they were all smiling and having fun.

I just really hate that initial part though, where a kid or 2 see a black man and just freaks out....


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Day 1466 ( Active Faults )
Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stayed in all day.



Threatening, active faults found off Boso

Dual jolt could trigger Tokyo temblor up to magnitude 9



Two previously unknown active faults were found off the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture, with one researcher warning that a jolt in the two faults at the same time could trigger an earthquake of magnitude 8 to 9.



The two faults, one at least 160 km long and the other more than 300 km, were found on the floor of the Pacific Ocean around 100 to 200 km southeast of the southern tip of the peninsula, according to a group of researchers from Hiroshima University, Nagoya University, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and other parties.
"The faults have been unmarked and uninvestigated. There is a possibility of strong jolts and tsunami reaching the southern Kanto region (including Tokyo) and the Tokai region (central Honshu). It should be promptly investigated in detail," said research group member Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a professor at Toyo University.
The group will report its findings at a Thursday meeting of the Association of Japanese Geographers in Tokyo.



http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120327a1.html

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Things I Hate/Dislike About Japan

Days 1453 - 1459
Sunday, March 11 - March 17, 2012

I literally dragged myself through this week trust me.

Day 1453 (1 year since Huge Earthquake and Tsunami / Things I Hate/Dislike about Japan)
Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stayed in all day today.

1 year since Huge Earthquake and Tsunami 

Today marks the 1 year anniversary of the devastating earthquake and tsunami that killed almost 20,000 people last year in Northern Japan :(


Today Japan marked a year since the massive earthquake and tsunami rocked Tohoku and its Pacific coastline on March 11, 2011, leaving nearly 20,000 people confirmed dead or missing.
News photo
Minute of silence: A woman prays at the remains of a disaster control center in Minamisanriku, Miyagi Prefecture, on Sunday. KYODO
The disasters and the meltdowns they triggered at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant combined to create the greatest political and humanitarian calamity the nation has faced since the end of World War II in 1945.
They also sparked an unprecedented outpouring of domestic and international sympathy and volunteerism, while the Fukushima crisis launched a worldwide backlash against nuclear power and a growing interest here in renewable energies.
A year later, recovery efforts continue but the pace remains slow and uneven. Officially, the death toll stands at 15,854, with another 3,155 missing. A total of 343,935 people have been evacuated, and more than 6,000 were injured.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120312a1.html

Things I Hate/Dislike about Japan 

Last week I blogged about some of the things I like about Japan. This week you will see some of the reasons why I hate/dislike Japan. This is also in random order. But you will see how I rate them on my dislike scale. 1 meaning I don't really dislike it, 10 meaning I really dislike it.


Stares!!! 10 / 10 on the Dislike scale

I don't know if this is indeed number 1 on my list or not but it is very high up there. I know its probably a shoganai (inevitable) situation by virtue of me being black, but that doesn't stop it from being ANNOYING!!! I go in the supermarket, on the train, in the pharmacy, ANYWHERE!! people are just staring. The staring intensity depends on where you are and who you are with. I mentioned a couple weeks ago that in certain places like Tokyo, Kobe/Sannomiya and Hiroshima, the staring is less intense. I am still surprised that even though Yokohama is such a big and popular city, I still get the annoying stares here. Even in the very area where I live.

If I am walking with someone of another race, the staring intensifies. Especially if I am walking with a Japanese and we are speaking Japanese, oh boy....and as soon as you stare back at them, they turn around as quickly as possible, looking in the sky or checking the time or looking in the other direction.

My friend said in China they do the same thing but they don't turn away their heads if you look back at them.

The first picture above in Japanese reads .... Why do Japanese people stare at foreigners ?..... Its not a real book, just a book cover.




Hyper Xenophobia 10 / 10 on the dislike scale

Related to the stares above is this hyper xenophobic attitude that is experienced possibly by every foreigner here. And it is quadrupled if you are black. We are stared at and sometimes totally avoided. This can be observed at the cash registers in supermarkets, where people at times refuse to join the line I am in, even if its shorter than the other lines. It can also be seen on the trains and various other locations.


Hey I remember even in Hiroshima, one of my favourite cities in Japan, I was going to a hotel, when the hotel staff told me directly that they don't accept foreigners... Where in the world does this happen? Oh yeah Japan. I also heard that in Shinjuku, Tokyo, there are bars, restaurants and clubs that don't accept foreigners.  



Expensive 6 / 10 on the dislike scale

Yes Japan is expensive when compared to Jamaica, the US and other Asian countries. For example a full body massage in Japan can run from 3000 yen / US $35 upwards. But in the Philippines 300 yen upwards, do the math. Don't even mention the weddings that can run from 2,000,000 yen / US $24,000 upwards.



Driver's Licence Torture  8/ 10 on the dislike scale


This is one of the most annoying processes for foreigners in Japan who wish to or has to drive a car. We have to keep in mind that the first attempt at the exam, we are GOING TO FAIL!!! Only a few lucky ones will pass on the second attempt. I won't say the first attempt because that itself is a miracle. I think its a combination of milking money out of us along with oppressing the foreigner in a subtle way. The Japanese drivers who pay the unbelievable sum of around 300,000 yen for lessons then take the exam ALWAYS!!! passes.

It took me 4 tries to be successful. But I had to wake up really early, trod through snow and make a 2 hour journey on 3 separate occasions.


Nihongo Ga Jyouzu / Your Japanese is Awesome  6/ 10 on the dislike scale

Japanese people automatically assume that foreigners can't speak Japanese. Nothing is wrong with this really, because its based on their experiences with other foreigners. But after hearing that my Japanese is good for the 1000th time it gets really annoying. Especially because they are saying the same thing to every single foreigner that utter even 1 Japanese word. Just by saying Ohayou Gozaimasu (Good morning), They will heap praises on how good your Japanese is.

Fake Apologies and Fake Compliments 7 / 10 on the dislike scale


This can also tie in with the above. Sometimes Japanese people will heap apologies and compliments which are totally fake. At times you will be able to tell the difference but at other times you have no clue. It is good though that they apologize and try to make customers feel welcome and stuff but this too gets annoying after a while.


No Greetings For the Foreigner 6 / 10 on the dislike scale


It is offensive when a sales person or a random person comes in the school office and tells everyone good morning and TOTALLY ignores me. It is not only disrespectful but also rude. The teachers also do it at times. I am sitting beside an English supporter and a teacher will directly greet the supporter but ignore me. I still don't get this kind of thing.




Japanese Doctors 3 / 10 on the dislike scale

You feel sick and go to a Japanese doctor. All they do is run some routine checks, ask some questions then send you out. A grand total of say 3-4 minutes. Not that I really want to stay long there but just making sure that they prescribe the correct medication for my illness is always a concern. Most times they seem to be right though. So that's good.

Cold and Cold 10 / 10 on the dislike scale

The winter is long, annoying and very cold. I hate to be cold which is maybe why my electricity bill came to so much last time. The winter also brings with it sneezing, stuffy nose etc, so more than likely you will catch a cold, or at worst influenza. I think I caught the cold at least 7 or 8 different times already since I moved to Yokohama.



Earthquakes and Tsunamis 10 / 10 on the dislike scale

This of course speaks for itself.

I am sure there are more but these are all the things I can think about now. One would observe that my dislike list is more than my like list, so why am I still here??? This is why when people ask me the inevitable question "How is Japan?" My answer is "It is like a roller coaster, the highs are really high but the lows are really low".

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Day 1454 ( The Invisible Enemy )
Monday, March 12, 2012

My Jamaican friend who recently got married to a Japanese man, recommended me for a part-time job in a area not too far from me. So I will start to work there on Saturdays starting in April. I have an interview with them this coming Thursday.

The Invisible Enemy


Yoshiko Ota keeps her windows shut. She never hangs her laundry outdoors. Fearful of birth defects, she warns her daughters: Never have children.
News photo
Bottled up: Yoshiko Ota displays bottled water she bought at a local shop for daily use at her house in the city of Fukushima on Feb. 26. AP
This is life with radiation, nearly one year after a tsunami-hit nuclear power plant began spewing it into Ota's neighborhood, 60 km away. She's so worried that she has broken out in hives.
"The government spokesman keeps saying there are no 'immediate' health effects," the 48-year-old nursery school worker says. "He's not talking about 10 years or 20 years later. He must think the people of Fukushima are fools.
"It's not really OK to live here," she says. "But we live here."
Ota takes metabolism-enhancing pills in hopes of flushing radiation out of her body. To limit her exposure, she goes out of her way to buy vegetables that are not grown locally. She spends ¥10,000 a month on bottled water to avoid the tap water. She even mail-ordered a special machine to husk her family's rice.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120312f1.html


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Day 1455 ( Hay Fever / Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows )
Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Last week after I decided to cut down my AC usage, 2 days after I woke up with a terrible throat ache. Today along with that throat ache, I woke up with extremely red eyes. The worst thing is that I had a full day of classes today from 8:40 am until 3:00 pm. The teachers said it seem that I got hay fever (kahunsho), which about 75% of Japanese get in the spring time. I lived in Niimi 3 years and never had this thing and as soon as I got to Yokohama walla!!! Look at my eyes....

I know I like scary but I can assure you I am harmless. What you don't believe me??

Anyway, I still ended up watching Sherlock Holmes 2 ( A Game of Shadows). It was incredible. GREAT action scenes, good humor, great acting, good story line so over all great movie. I give it a 9/10. You should go see it.


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Day 1456 ( Surprise Surprise ) 
Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My supposedly favorite school today pulled a stunt on me that I wasn't really too happy about. I followed my schedule exactly and went to work at 8:30 am. As I was entering the school premises, I saw the English coordinator along side one of the English supporters, signalling me to hurry. So I ran and met them and they hurriedly took away my bags and stuff. Then they told me to prepare a speech. I was like What???? Then they pulled the apologizing like crazy thing on me. The principal joined and told me again to prepare a speech and he will walk with me into the auditorium.

When I walked into the auditorium with the principal, there was a goodbye ceremony being held for guess who? Yeah Me!!! And I had to give a speech in wonderful Japanese!!! The entire school was there waiting on me and I was totally unaware of this ceremony and I was even worse unaware that I should give a speech. The principal lead me up the platform where there was a mic. Some children were MC-ing the "event". I didn't know whether to stand or sit, or head for the mic. So I started heading for the mic to which the principal said not yet. Then some students presented a number of paper made stuff to me. While the 1st graders gave me a big set of flowers.

At the first presentation, I sat and received the gift, because I was still in my surprised mode. Then a teacher told me to stand and receive the gifts. So I did, then I presented my 3 minute speech in very confusing Japanese, but they seemed to have understood what I said. Or at least I hope they did.


After this surprise ceremony, they switched up my schedule and gave me two - 1 hour classes with the grades 1s and 2s instead of four separate 45 mins classes. My company said ALL classes should be exactly 45 mins. So of course they weren't corresponding with my company. However it worked out in my favor because four - 45 mins classes is much longer than two - 1 hour class. But all of this was a big surprise, because my schedule says otherwise.

Anyway, the English coordinator and the principal kept apologizing to me throughout the day, whenever they saw me.Check out these different portraits of me from the different grade levels.



This looks like Usain Bolt























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Day 1457 ( Short Interview / Tokyo #6 in Global Competitiveness )
Thursday, March 15, 2012


Short Interview

Today I got some late paper presents from some students and teachers at this school. I don't know but I generally don't feel the appreciation from a couple teachers at this school.

After work, I went to an interview at the YMCA about 15 mins by train from the school I went to today. I guess the interview was just for formality because even before the interview, they were asking me if I could teach this coming Saturday. But I should really start working there on the second Saturday in April. And all subsequent Saturdays there after.

Tokyo #6 in Global Competitiveness

New York ranked first and Tokyo sixth among 120 major cities in the world in terms of competitiveness, according to a survey report released Monday by Citigroup Inc. and the research arm of The Economist magazine. 



London and Singapore came in second and third, followed by Paris and Hong Kong tied for fourth place.
The report ranks cities in eight categories of competitiveness, including economic strength, human capital, institutional effectiveness, social and cultural character, and environment and natural hazards.
While many European and U.S. cities earned high rankings overall, Asian cities dominated the top rankings in the economic strength category. In this most highly weighted category, 15 of the top 20 cities are in Asia, and 12 of them are in China.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120314a7.html


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Day 1458 ( New Ipad )
Friday, March 16, 2012

I think today was my last set of classes at my main school for this year. The other times I should just go there for goodbye speeches or just sit and do nothing.

After work I had dinner with my friend at TGIF in Yokohama.

New Ipad

Apple Inc. on Friday launched a new version of its popular iPad multimedia tablet computer in Japan, where domestic manufacturers like Sony Corp. are struggling to attract customers amid the iPad's dominance. 



The third-generation iPad, released about 11 months after the iPad 2 hit the market, features a faster processor, a sharper high-resolution display, and voice dictation that recognizes English, French, German and Japanese.
About 450 people lined up at Apple's flagship store in the upmarket Tokyo shopping district of Ginza for the launch of the iPad at 8 a.m., while over 70 people lined up at the Ginza shop of Softbank Mobile Corp.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20120317a2.html


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Day 1459 ( End of School Year Drinking Party )

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Went to my main school today in cold rain, to attend a drinking party. A teacher drove me to the location which was about 45 minutes away. It was held in a massive Japanese style hotel. The hotel rooms were extremely big and spacious. One night there would cost about US 200. So I opted not to stay over.

The food was also Japanese style, raw fish (Sushi) , some beef, miso soup, Japanese radish and some other stuff. Luckily there was a little candle fire under the plate with the beef, in order to cook it. The beef was served in a special type of heating plate along with some vegetables. I ended up cooking not only the beef, but also the raw fish as well. It was fun though going there. It is always interesting seeing Japanese teachers get drunk. Their whole personality change drastically, at least most of them.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Things I Like About Japan

Days 1446 - 1452
Sunday, March 4 - March 10, 2012


Day 1446 (Puma Mystery Shopping / Word Heritage Sites)
Sunday, March 4, 2012

Did my second mystery shopping assignment today. The first one I did was back in 2009 in Okayama city. With mystery shopping, I go in to a flagship name brand store and basically check out some items, check out the store, check out the employees and pretty much look around the store. All this while pretending to be interested in an item or few. At times I can purchase an item and get reimbursed later. After performing this procedure, I should then compile a report within 24 hours of performing the mystery shopping. If the report is done well, I will get paid the following month. Not a lot of money but I will get paid for basically acting like I am shopping.

In 2009 I did it at an Adidas store but never got the chance or I wasn't interested in doing it again until now.
So I went in the Puma store and it took about 3 mins or more for someone to attend to me. The first item on the agenda was to purchase a Puma socks (which I will be reimbursed for), then to check out some shoes (there are some standards to follow when a customer ask for a shoes), then to check out some track suits.

Everything went pretty well except that the lady who was attending to me seemed a bit uncomfortable.

World Heritage Sites

Went to 2 World Heritage sites in Kyoto today. The first one is called Ginkakuji (Silver Pavillion), the second is called Nijo Castle. The truth is that after going to like 2 or three of these temple / shrine / Castle places, I pretty much got tired of them, because they all look the same to me. But it is still somewhere to go with friends.




















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Day 1447 ( Things I Like About Japan ) 
Monday, March 5, 2012

These are the things I like about Japan so far. They are in random order because I don't know how to rank them.

Convenience

The train system and general transportation system is probably second to none. Trains are dead on time and can pretty much get you anywhere in Japan except to places like Hokkaido (Way up north) and Okinawa (Way down south) where you have to use the plane or travel by sea.

Its also very easy to shop online with some great online stores like Rakuten and Amazon Japan. Convenience stores (called konbini in Japanese) are open 24 hours and vending machines are just one minute away in any direction. The closest thing to inconvenience I see here is that if by chance you are on the road in a rural area at say 2 or 3 pm, you may not see any taxis but with some luck, an internet cafe maybe nearby.

Easy Access to Other Asian Countries

If you like travelling to random places like me, then Japan is a good hub to access different parts of  Asia for cheap!!! Even cheaper than travelling within Japan. So far, I have only been to The Philippines and South Korea but I plan to go to Malaysia and Singapore pretty soon. I wanted to go to Thailand but Malaysia was much cheaper. I have to visit Thailand though before I leave Japan.







Women

How could I leave this one out? Honestly, I had absolutely no attraction to Asian women before I got to Japan. But then yellow fever hit me and its very hard to cure. I will say no more re this topic.















Games

I love games. I haven't been playing much recently because of various reasons. But all the best games and systems are made here in Japan. They are not cheaper but they are very easily accessible. Almost every major game and gaming consoles are released in Japan first then elsewhere afterwards. Well they are cheaper when compared to Jamaica but much much cheaper in the US.











Many Interesting Places to Visit

Whether you like museums, castles, ancient stuff, modern stuff, roller coasters, zoos, huge aquariums, Tall buildings or whatever, its all here in Japan.




















Clean and Safe

This speaks for itself. Outside of the very few ghetto looking places in Japan, the place is exceptionally clean. There are special designated areas to put garbage which must be sorted out.

Also crime is almost non-existent. They occur but its not a big concern. And as you may see in a blog or few ago, I left my leather glove on the train and actually got it back. It is highly unlikely for you to get robbed in Japan, especially foreigners.

There are many more things I like about Japan but I can't think of anymore now.

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Day 1448 (Huge Electricity Bill)
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Had buffet style lunch today with my favorite Grade 6 class at my favorite school. The lunch was delicious. They did this buffet style thing because graduation is just around the corner.















After getting back to my apartment happy from the buffet style lunch, I was greeted with this fat electricity bill.




















The highest I have ever had to pay in my entire time being in Japan. I don't know if it is the electricity company trying to pull a fast one on me because of their trouble with the Fukushima Nuclear Plant or me using the AC and heater too much to keep me warm in the apartment. Or a grand coalition of both. But this is an eye opener and I shall be using the AC less to heat up the apartment. All if the cold a kill mi. (Patois)


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Day 1449 (New Evening Student)
Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Another English supporter told me today that she will miss me a lot if I don't come back to that school next year. She also gave me some cookies. This supporter is always giving me random stuff. I of course appreciate them.

A Jamaican friend of mine who was living in Yokohama, but recently moved to another area of the prefecture, introduced me to one of her former students. We were supposed to speak for 30 mins as a practice lesson but we spoke for about 45 mins. He is a scientist who specializes in satellite data and imagery. You don't find people like this walking on the road everyday. Surprisingly he went to Malaysia like last month. And I am planning to go there next month.


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Day 1450 (Good bye messages/Another Racist Japanese Old Lady)
Thursday, March 8, 2012

The grade 5 students at my school today gave me 2 "Thank you for teaching us for 1 year" presents.


















There is a high chance of me seeing these grade 5 students next year. But the grade 6 students who I won't see again, it was just a normal class. Just good bye and that was all. In one of the grade 6 classes, there is this student that shout random things about Bobby (the African guy who is on TV in Japan) when I am teaching. I normally ignore him but now I'm wondering if I should complain to the teacher.... Its too late now anyway.

In the evening, I had one of those irregular evening English classes with the student who use me as a back up teacher. Her pregnancy is in its advance stage now. We discussed about relationships and she said she and her husband has been together for over 14 years but married for about 7. She also said there was even a 3 year break from the relationship then they got back together.

After the class I sat beside an old lady in the train. she looked like late 60s. And as soon as I sat down, she got up and went way over to another side of the train. I didn't feel so bad because shortly after that old lady got up, a younger, beautiful lady sat right next to me. That felt good actually. I would however really like to ask one of those ladies "Why did you move" ... Is it fear? or just hatred?or both? There must be a reason.


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Day 1451 ( Good Bye Grade 6ers at My Main School )
Friday, March 9, 2012

At my main school, I normally eat lunch in the teacher's room along with the vice principal and a few other non-classroom staff. But occasionally I eat lunch with a class. Today I had to eat lunch with the loudest grade 1 class. GRADE 1 !!! After lunch, the kids were all over me, playing with my hair, grabbing my leg etc. Like a gang warfare kind a thing. about 13 of them ganged me.

One grade 6 class sang the song that they are going to do at their graduation. They sounded like a professional group of singers honestly. I couldn't believe it. The teacher also took a photo of us together. I shouldn't be putting up this photo but hey, they don't know about this blog.. Or do they : p
Any way check out that grade 6 kid at the left of the photo... Dude looks like a giant. Those 2 other students beside me at the right are also quite tall for grade 6 students.

















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Day 1452 ( Stomach Ache Day )
Saturday, March 10, 2012


My friend cooked one of my favorite dishes today, Yaki Soba. It was good but afterwards we both had a slight stomach ache.


Monday, March 5, 2012

My Favourite Places to Visit in Japan

Days 1439 - 1445 
Sunday, February 26 - Saturday, March 3, 2012


Day 1439 { More of the Best Japanese Foods / Travel to Space Via Elevator by 2050 }
Sunday, February 26, 2012

Went to church today with my friend. Then we went to a flea market where I saw several of my students and a teacher at one of my schools. I got a jacket there for really cheap. Like less than US $20.


More of the Best Japanese Foods

I forgot to mention 3 other Japanese Foods that I really enjoy eating.

Number 4 should be Tako Rice 

I actually ate this tasty treat quite a bit while I was living in Niimi, Okayama. I believe it originated in Okinawa. Its rice mixed with lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, minced meat and tacos.



My Number 5 should actually be Yaki Soba (焼きそば - Fried noodles)

Its noodles mixed with carrot, cabbage, beef, sometimes shrimp and oysters or whatever else they want to add to it. There are 2 main types. The salted ones and another one that they call "sauce". I prefer the salted one.


And Number 6 should be Gomoku Gohan (Literally means 5 types)

The 5 types that the name is referring to is 5 ingredients which are used to make this dish. There are many variations but it is normal done with small pieces of chicken, bamboo shoots, carrot and some sort of mushroom.




Travel to Space Via Elevator by 2050 

Japanese construction company Obayashi wants to build an elevator to space and transport passengers to a station about a tenth the distance to the moon.

The elevator would use super-strong carbon nanotubes in its cables and could be ready as early as 2050, according to Tokyo-based Obayashi.
The cables would stretch some 60,000 miles, about a quarter the distance to the moon, and would be attached to Earth at a spaceport anchored to the ocean floor. The other end would dangle a counterweight in space.
The elevator would zip along at 125 mph, possibly powered by magnetic linear motors, but would take about a week to get to the station. It would carry up to 30 people.


Up above, the space station would have living quarters and lab facilities. Solar panels connected to the station would generate electricity that would be transmitted to the ground.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-57383872-1/japan-plans-snail-paced-space-elevator-for-2050/#ixzz1oEfI1egz


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Day 1440 { My Favorite Places to Visit in Japan }
Monday, February 27, 2012

One of my best classes at my main school is a grade 5 class that I had today. The teacher seemed down and  a bit upset today. The class was still fun but the teacher's constant sulking made the class a bit uncomfortable.

My favourite places to visit in Japan

This is a list of my favourite places in Japan.

#5 - Hiroshima

This is a prefecture next to where I lived for three years, Okayama. Yeah they were messed up by the atomic bomb in 1945 but they came back from scratch to be one of the most populated prefectures in Japan. Plus I don't get a lot of stares from people here and they are friendly and actually want to speak to foreigners.





#4 - Okinawa 

Went here December last year and had a great time. http://www.davecollyjap.blogspot.com/2012/01/more-on-okinawa-trip-last-days-of-2011.html The people there stared a bit but the atmosphere reminds me of the  Caribbean. Here is a great place for vacations.



#3 - Fukuoka 

I am not sure if it was just the vibe from the people around me when I took a trip to Fukuoka or it was Fukuoka that created the vibe. But I had a great time there when I went in 2008. The night life was especially wonderfully.




#2 - Tokyo 

A part of the biggest metropolitan area in the world, there are tonnes of stuff to do in Tokyo. Especially at the hot spots like Shibuya, Akihabara, Ebisu, Roppongi, Shinjuku, Harajuku, Akasaka, Asakusa and many more other places that I have never been to or even know about. Museums, game centers, clubs, people and tall buildings everywhere.




#1 - Sannomiya/Kobe, Hyogo

Aside from the fact that quite a few Jamaicans live in this area, there is just this very nice feeling I always get when I go to this area. Not much staring and the people seem quite friendly and willing to help. I was trying to get a job in this area but unfortunately I didn't.



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Day 1441 { Good Bye Grade 6 / Hidden Information about Radiation}
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Gave a goodbye speech in Japanese to my grade 6 classes today. The best grade 6s I've ever had in my 4th year of teaching in Japan. It wasn't sad or anything.


Hidden Information 

Top ministry officials decided to withhold radiation forecast data from the public four days after the March 11 disasters triggered the nuclear crisis, an internal document shows.


lawmakers serving as top ministry officials and senior bureaucrats decided March 15 to withhold data about the predicted spread of radioactivity, including an assumption that all radioactive material would be discharged from the crippled reactors' cores at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The prediction of the spread of radioactive substances, compiled through the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI), "could by no means be released to the public," the document, dated March 19, shows.
Asked about the matter, a ministry official denied that senior officials had made a decision on releasing the data and said the contents of the document, an internal memorandum prepared by ministry officials, were inaccurate.
The document states that radioactive clouds could spread from the wrecked nuclear power plant to the Kanto and Tohoku regions, indicating that the ministry had made various estimates about the spread of radioactive substances, including the worst-case scenario.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120304a1.html


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Day 1442 { Lots of Snow }
Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Woke up this morning and saw snow everywhere. I had to walk carefully coming down the stairs and down the mountain. I almost got to work late but I carefully rushed to work. This was the first time I am seeing so much snow in this area since I moved to Yokohama.

Went to Shibuya, Tokyo again after work. There will be that Jamaican "Spring Ting" event where mostly Jamaicans, some Japanese and some other nationals come together and have fun. Last year I went and it was in Osaka but this year it will be in a remote very rural part of Japan known as Fukui. Any way I went to Shibuya to tell the Jamaican guy working at the Jamaican restaurant there about the event.





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Day 1443 { Preparation for another Big Earthquake }
Thursday, March 1, 2012

Came from work and gamed away.


More than half of Tokyo's residents are disturbed by the thought of the next Great Kanto Earthquake striking the capital, a police survey showed Thursday.

Some 94.3 percent of Tokyoites polled expressed some form of concern over a disastrous earthquake and tsunami devastating the capital, and 52.5 percent strongly feared such a scenario, according to the survey.


Yokohama Station drill




The first tsunami drill at Yokohama Station was held Thursday morning to prepare for the next megaquake to strike the Kanto region, with 500 people participating.
The Kanagawa Prefectural Government estimates that tsunami as high as 4 meters may smash into the port of Yokohama and flood the prefecture's biggest railway station in the event of such a disaster.
The drill was based on a scenario in which a massive temblor rocks Yokohama and triggers an imminent tsunami at a time when about 20,000 people are in or around the station. Those taking part included police officers, railway employees, and workers at underground shopping malls at or near the station.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120302a4.html



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Day 1444 { Heading For Kyoto Again }
Friday, March 2, 2012

Bought a printer ink and some other stuff for my apartment after work. Then took the night bus to Kyoto with my friend visiting from China.


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Day 1445 { Visiting Around Kyoto }

Arrived at Kyoto at around 6:30 am. Went to Kinkakuji (The golden Pavilion) a famous temple in Kyoto for the second time. Also went to a part of Kyoto called Gion where many Maiko (We think they are called Geisha but they are actually different).

We then visited an Indian restaurant and also a Jamaican bar in the night.