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

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Group Dating (Gokon) In Japan (合コン) / Hurricane Sandy

Days 1677 - 1683
Sunday, October 21 - Saturday, October 27, 2012    


Day 1677 ( Only Immigrants Can Save Japan )
Sunday, October 21, 2012

Went to church this morning then spent the remainder of the day in my apartment. 

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Read this very interesting article recently. Japan is losing its population at an alarming rate. If they continue down this path, then its possible that by the next 500 years or so, there will be no more Japanese left on the planet. They will become extinct like the Mayans and Arawaks. So, my Jamaican male friends, come here (no pun intended. Or maybe just a little) and help repopulate this nation. The main problem is that, it is almost always expected of you to marry a girl if you should get her pregnant. If not, the female will be embarrassed possibly for the rest of her life. Unless her parents are open minded to that kind of stuff. Which is highly unlikely.  


Only immigrants can save Japan


The real alien registration card
Don't leave home without it.
The Japanese police can harass you at will anyway.
Japan as we know it is doomed. Only a revolution can save it. What kind of revolution?
Japan must become "a nation of immigrants." That's a hard sell in this notoriously closed country. 
"Japan as we know it" is in trouble on many fronts. The Great East Japan Earthquake of March 11, 2011, and the subsequent tsunami and nuclear disasters, struck a nation whose economy had been stagnant for 20 years while politicians fiddled and government floundered. But that's not Sakanaka's point. He is focused on demographics. "Japan," he said in a recent telephone interview, "is on the brink of collapse."

The nation's population peaked at 128 million in 2004 and has been in accelerating decline since. By 2050, the government's National Institute of Population and Social Policy Research estimates, 40 percent of Japanese people will be 65 or over. Twenty-three percent already are, as against a mere 13 percent aged 15 and under.
The birthrate is 1.3 children per woman, one of the world's lowest. The population is set to drop to 90 million within 50 years; to 40 million within a century.
No nation, barring war or plague, has ever shrunk at such a pace, and as for aging, there are no historical precedents of any kind. The nation needs a fountain of youth.



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Day 1678 ( Group Dating In Japan )

Monday, October 22, 2012

Rode to work again today. Hey this is getting easier and easier. Plus more fun than just simply walking. And the ultimate, I save money. Even though this act is highly discouraged by my company .... 

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The dude hiding his face in the back won't get any
So there is this group dating thing in Japan called Gokon (合コン) or Konpa (コンパ) . It is where random "mostly" single people get together, eat, drink and chat, with the hope of picking up a partner at the end of the night. It is not so much of a bad idea especially in this culture where people are ultra shy. And where approaching a female in public is frowned upon. 

At these gokons, sometimes they play games in order to reduce the tension in the very Japanese atmosphere. But after a few drinks, everyone will be chatting. With the males telling their friends which female they are going to make a move at. Sometimes only a few females get all the attention while others (the not so attractive ones) get totally left out and ignored. 

Before world war 2, this practice was almost unheard of unless it was peers of the same sex. (This possibly explain why some of my male students avoid the females like a plague. Generational curse?) But after world war 2, this kinda stuff became increasingly popular. Maybe something else need to be developed in order for both the men and the Japanese population to "rise again". This is Japan, they will figure something out. 

Group dating.....anime style.

I accidentally went to one of these gokons by mistake (honestly it was). It was an American friend of mine that invited me, and he himself wasn't sure what it was either. His Japanese friend simply told him, "hey lets go eat and drink with some people, and you can invite some friends if you want". Only to realize that a good couple of males and females were there as well. In all, about 20-30 of us or more. It was obvious that they were only 2 girls that the other guys saw of interest. Because at the end of the Gokon, all the males were flocking these 2 girls. The others had to sit back and watch. It was interesting and funny at the same time. Just watching the 2 girls being rushed by a barrage of Japanese men, while the other girls there just looked on. One of the girls had her hands at her jaw, just looking out into space. Welcome to group dating, Japanese style. 

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Day 1679 ( World War 2 Bomb Found And Defused)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My main school is killing me with these 6 period of classes. I guess to make up for the many classes that were cut because of their sports day practicing. I seriously don't think I can do this even one more year. 

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WWII bomb defused


A section of a major street in central Tokyo was closed, and some people evacuated, to remove an unexploded bomb believed to have been dropped by the U.S. military during World War II.
The unexploded bomb, found Sept. 20 at a construction site near Akasaka Mitsuke Station was removed in the morning with the help of the Self-Defense Forces, police and firefighters, Minato Ward officials said.
"The bomb was at risk of exploding if it received a shock. But the disposal went smoothly," an SDF member said.
The bomb, about 120 cm long and 36 cm in diameter, still had its blasting fuse in place when it was found, the SDF said.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government cordoned off everything within 100 meters of the site as a precaution and helped evacuate the occupants to a junior high school nearby.




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Day 1680 (Tropical Storm Sandy Hits Jamaica )

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Just a normal day today, nothing really special.

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Hurricane Sandy roars across Jamaica


A category 1 storm / Hurricane swept by Jamaica today with lots of heavy winds. It destroyed quite a few stuff on its way. The worst thing is that the storm has the nickname of my sister. 


Jamaica got bowled over

A dark day in Jamaica turned into a dark night as most of the island was without power and one person was killed as Hurricane Sandy passed through. CNN affiliate TV J reported a man was killed when he was hit by a boulder sent tumbling downhill by the storm's rain.TV J said 70% of the island was without power. More than 1,000 people went to shelters, the Office of Disaster Preparedness said. A curfew was in effect until Thursday morning, according to the Jamaican Office of Information.

Hurricane Sandy rolled over Jamaica on Wednesday, bringing 80-mph wind and torrents of rain to the island, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.The storm made landfall near Kingston about 3 p.m. ET, the center said. The storm was expected to bring rainfall amounts between 6 and 12 inches.









It also destroyed portions of Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas and is now heading for New York and its environs. 

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Day 1681 ( Happy Birthday Mom / Japan Has The second most Millionaires )

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Happy Birthday Mom.

After work, had to go to a company meeting. We have these meetings on the last Thursday of every month. I realized just now while writing this, that I am the only Jamaican male in my branch of the company I work for. There was 2 of us, but the other dude relocated to Tokyo. Anyway, when the meeting ended a couple of us Jamaicans and another friend went to TGIF to have dinner. 



Hey I wasn't as hungry as it may appear!!

World Boss

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Wow Japan has more millionaires than the entire population of Jamaica.....

Japan No. 2 in total millionaires in 2012


Japan has about 3.58 million people with net assets worth $1 million (¥80 million) or more this year, the second-highest number after the United States, which has 11.02 million millionaires, according to an estimate by the Swiss bank Credit Suisse Group AG.
The figure for Japan represented an increase of around 83,000 from the previous year. The bank is projecting the figure to hit 5.4 million in 2017.
France ranked third with 2.28 million people with a net worth of $1 million or more — the balance of financial assets plus real estate and other nonfinancial holdings minus household debts, Credit Suisse said.
On the list of superrich adults with net assets of $50 million (¥4 billion) or more, Japan drops to fourth with some 3,400, after the United States with around 38,000, China with 4,700 and Germany with 4,000.



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Day 1682 ( Hybrid Microsoft Windows 8 )

Friday, October 26, 2012

Was supposed to start swimming lessons at the YMCA today after teaching. But my swimming instructor had a meeting so I had to re-schedule.  

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Hybrid Microsoft 8 OS makes debut


The Windows 8 operating system debuted worldwide Friday, with Microsoft Corp. looking to gain a competitive edge in the market for mobile devices by focusing on smartphones and tablets.

As Apple Inc. and Google Inc. continue to increase their presence in multiple markets, Microsoft views its new OS as crucial to counter competition from its archrivals, according to experts.
"Microsoft is taking a big gamble over the next few months with Windows 8," U.S.-based IT consulting firm Gartner Inc. said last month. "It is a risk Microsoft must take to stay relevant in a world where mobile devices offering new experiences are becoming the norm."
A major difference between Windows 8 and its predecessor is that the new OS can be controlled via a touch screen, creating a user interface more oriented toward smartphones and tablets. But users can also use a traditional Windows desktop screen and a mouse.
The new display, consisting of tile-shaped applications, was first used for Microsoft's smartphone operating system that has lagged behind Apple's iPhone and Google's Android system for smartphones. With Windows 8, Microsoft is hoping to unify the user interfaces of such devices as computers, smartphones and its Xbox video game console.

Since Microsoft still has a large market share and considerable influence over the OS market for PCs, experts said it is looking to spread its new unified system from the desktop and laptop markets to the mobile sector — the exact opposite of Apple's strategy.
"Apple was not really able to grow its share of the PC market, but it improved its brand image through iPods, iPhones and iPads, which then attracted consumers to Apple computers. I think Microsoft is trying to create a flow in the opposite direction," said Hiroshi Sakai, chief analyst at SMBC Friend Research Center.


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Day 1683 ( Bicycle Ticketing )

Saturday-27-October-2012

Went to work at the YMCA this morning. Did a short Halloween thing with the kids, where they walked around the YMCA and collected sweets. 

After I was finished at the YMCA and got back to my station, I noticed that my lovely bicycle was missing. I looked around then finally saw it at a different location with a paper attached to it. I thought initially that I parked it at a wrong location but my friend said that it is probably an area where people should pay for parking their bicycles. 


Bicycle ticket
Nuh lef yuh bicycle yah suh
(Do not park here or we will take away your bicycle)

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Best Movies Of All Time ..... To Me Part 2


Days 1670 - 1676
Sunday, October 14 - Saturday, October 20, 2012    




Day 1670 ( Happy Birthday Simone / Mis-Communication Disappointment  )
Sunday, October 14, 2012

Went to my Jamaican friend Simone's birthday party today in Tokyo. A good few of us were there including mutual friends from our company, her dancing friends and her husbands' friends. We ate some random stuff boiled in a pot that they call "shabu shabu". As well as some "serve yourself" food. It was good being there, and I even did a free style dub poem for her. I am still waiting for the video but my other friend who took it, seem to be having some difficulty uploading it.



Happy Birthday Simone
Bwoy shi sexy sah



A couple of them also went to karaoke afterwards. Unfortunately, I had a dub poetry performance at a Jamaican style bar near my apartment. Or so I thought. In my mind, I was running late, so I rushed from the location, missing lovely karaoke, to go to my "performance". A las, when I got to the location and saw a crowd of people, I was greeted with "Please pay 1500 yen to enter". So I said "NO, I should be performing so I'm not paying". So the guy at the front who was collecting the money, went and spoke to the bar owner ( Who told me about this event ). The money collector dude then came back and said "Sorry, you are not performing, so please pay 1500 yen". I told him to go call the owner, because I am not paying even 1 yen. He then told me that the owner was very busy. Another restaurant owner who I knew was also there, and he said he will go and call the boss. So the boss eventually came out with a cheerful greeting. I asked him "Whats up, and if I shouldn't be performing". He said No, he was only inviting me to the event. He then apologized for the misunderstanding. I was there still trying to convince him to make me perform, but he said the event is already full.

I was visibly upset, but I made it slide. Next time I will try to get more details and I should also study more Japanese. the main reason behind the misunderstanding was that, when I went to this bar back in July, he told me he would make me perform at the events they have. Then he called me a couple months afterwards, telling me that they will be having a live show of sorts. I of course instantly thought this was the event where I was suppose to perform at. So not only did I miss the karaoke in Tokyo, I also wasted my time to go hear some stupid Japanese band singing over our reggae songs, to the joy and glee of the almost Japanese only crowd. Anyway, there will be other times.

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Day 1671 ( The Best Movies Of All Time ..... To Me Part 2 )
Monday, October 15, 2012

Took on a challenge this morning. To ride my new bicycle to work. It was fun except for a few slopes. But good exercise. It took roughly 20 mins to get there. Taking the train, combined with walking would have taken about 30 mins. So I cut off 10 mins + saved 260 yen.

Saw Usain Bolt on Japanese TV today. Its kind of foolishness but its a short clip. Here is the video...




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Continued from last week, here is part 2 of the best movies ever made.

The Lord Of The Rings 3 (2003) - (The Return Of The King)

All of the movies in The Lord of the rings franchise are pretty decent. The mere box office gross of all of them speak volumes. I liked them all but I especially liked part 3 - The return of the king. You have to watch them one by one, because if you attempt to watch only part 3, you will definitely get lost. I remember watching this on DVD back in 2004 after a camp, and it had me glue to the TV screen for over 3 hours, even though I was extremely tired after camp. This franchise undoubtedly changed the future of fantasy films forever.

Give me the ring (in Smeagol's voice)
IMDB gives it a 8.9 / 10
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0167260/

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Armageddon (1998)

Yeah this was sometime ago but it was a decent movie. This one almost made me shed a tear but I was having one of my "Big man don't cry" days, so I sat strong.

Seriously though, what if a gigantic asteroid
should hit earth one day?
IMDB gives it a 6.4 / 10 maybe it had too much stuff about America.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120591/

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Transformers ( 2007 )

Part 1 was good but the other 2 that followed lacked a good story line. So the first one and the first one only was really good. It actually caught me by surprise because I thought it would suck. But it proved me wrong.


If you miss the others its ok, just watch this one
IMDB gave it a 7.2 / 10

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0418279/


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300 ( 2006 )

This was one bad ass, full of gore flick that will send chills up your spine. And I heard from some girls that it is like porn for them. We men watch it for the action, the guts spilling etc. Gerard Butler did spectacularly in this film. It has one of the best fight scenes ever!!!! And one of the all time best catch phrases.


"This is madness" ... "Madness?" ...  THIS... IS... SPARTA!!!!!

IMDB gave it a 7.8 / 10 .... Just wrong...
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0416449/


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Avengers (2012)

Watched this recently and it was action packed plus had some science stuff to geek you out. And if you are a fan of Iron Man and/or The Hulk and/or Thor then this movie is where it's at. For me, the hulk scenes were incredible x 10.


Watch it for The Hulk!!!


IMDB gave it a 8.4 / 10
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0848228/


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Day 1672 ( Softbank Japan Buys Sprint USA )

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rode to my nearest school today, but trust me....I feel like its better walking. There are too many slopes. After work I just stayed in.

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Softbank plans $20 billion Sprint buy



Softbank Corp. and Sprint Nextel Corp. have entered into definitive agreements under which Japan's third-largest mobile phone carrier will pay $20.1 billion (about ¥1.57 trillion) to acquire a 70 percent stake in the No. 3 U.S. cellphone firm, Softbank said Monday.


The deal would create one of the leading communications groups in the world, boasting 90 million mobile phone subscriptions.
Softbank will pay $12.1 billion, or about ¥946.9 billion, to Sprint shareholders and the deal includes $8 billion, or ¥624 billion, in new capital, the company said.
The move came as mobile companies are actively making investments to boost infrastructure for high-speed data communications using the Long Term Evolution network service.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20121016n1.html


Upstart Sprint suitor Son stands apart



Masayoshi Son, the billionaire behind a deal that will create the world's third-biggest mobile company, spent his childhood in a slum, where he proudly rode in a stinking wheelbarrow filled with pig feed, pushed by his grandmother, a Korean immigrant.


The unlikely success story of the Softbank Corp. president has taken another leap with his latest mega-deal, announced Monday, to take a 70 percent stake in U.S. cellphone carrier Sprint Nextel Corp. for $20 billion.
The biggest foreign acquisition in the history of Japan Inc. underlines Son's unusual status in a corporate culture that has long favored stability over risk-taking. Yet big deals are not the only reason Son, 55, has stood out.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20121018a1.html


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Day 1673 ( Fare Well DJ Ace / 1 yen Tickets To China!!!!! )

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rode to and from work again. This time I almost had an accident with a crazy Jr. high or high school guy that was not looking where he was going. Everything was ok though.

In the evening I went to a farewell get together for a Japanese selector / DJ who is madly in love with Jamaican culture. He goes by the name Ace. He is going on a DJ tour to Hawaii, New York and also in Jamaica. Look out for him Jamaicans.



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Spring Airlines offering ¥1 tickets to China as island dispute hurts ridership



Chinese low-cost carrier Spring Airlines will sell one-way flights on its route linking Saga and Shanghai for only ¥1 from Wednesday to Dec. 17.


Round-trip flights connecting Saga, Japan to Shanghai, China run three times a week. The ¥1 fare applies to up to 50 seats per flight.
Spring Airlines set the low fare in response to falling passenger numbers amid the worsening relations between Japan and China over the Senkaku Islands.
On top of the ¥1 airfare, fuel surcharges and other costs will total ¥7,080.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121017f4.html


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Day 1674 ( Man Go On Stabbing Spree )

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Used another paid vacation day today because I wasn't feeling well. Fall season going into winter is a terrible time. The nights are already cold. I don't have to use the heater yet though which is good. I am avoiding it as long as possible. Heater means high electricity bill.

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Six wounded in Fukuoka stabbing spree




A knife-wielding attacker injured six men at JR Hakata Station in the city of Fukuoka, causing five to be taken to a hospital, firefighters said, noting their injuries did not appear to be life-threatening.

The Fukuoka Prefectural Police subdued and arrested Kimitaka Nakano, 26, on suspicion of breaking the Sword and Firearm Control Law after he allegedly attacked six men at the station using a kitchen knife with a 17-cm blade.

They quoted Nakano as saying he "wanted to stab people.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121021a1.html


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Day 1675 ( Swimming Lessons Soon )

Friday, October 19, 2012

Had a full day of work today basically from 8:30 am - 8:00 pm. My full-time job and also at the YMCA.
I told them at the YMCA that I want to start swimming lessons. Teachers get a 20% discount. I was surprised that it was such a small discount we got. I was expecting 50% or more :) So I signed up for swimming lessons. My first one should be next Friday, October 26. 3 lessons for 7600 yen / US$95. A bit over priced I think. 3 swimming lessons for the cost of my tablet PC.


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Day 1676 (  )

Saturday, October 20, 2012 ( 4 Years 7 Months )

My first time back at Saturday YMCA since the end of September. Basically a welcomed 2 weeks break. One of the employees told me that a 3 year old kid got used to my teaching, so if I am absent, and he sees another teacher, he will start crying. So his mom wants me to always teach him. In other words she is trying to tell me not to use my vacation days hahahaha.... Apparently she thinks I am Japanese. If I have vacation days, I am going to use them.




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Hey Thanks for keeping up with me Stephen. As you may have seen, things are not too bad overall.

@Richard... The Jamaicans in Japan group is a closed group on facebook. The creator of it holds all permission. I can't do a thing.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Best Movies Of All Time ..... To Me Part 1 / Usain Bolt in Yokohama

Days 1663 - 1669
Sunday, October 7 - Saturday, October 13, 2012    


Day 1663 ( Dexter Season 7 ///  980 yen Flights!!! )
Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stayed in most of the day. Watched my favorite TV show series, Dexter today, the 7th season. I have been watching this series since 2007, even though each season lasts for about 3 months (12 weeks) starting around the end of September or early October and ending in December. And as always, it was interesting and intriguing.   




Here is Season 7's trailer 



In the evening, I went to meet my friend in Shibuya, Tokyo. We were randomly pounced upon by some TV Camera persons who wanted to give us a brief interview about our lives in Japan as foreigners. So I should be on TV again on December 7, on a programme called Sekai Banzuke. 

Japanese paparazzi at work

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AirAsia Japan to sell ¥980 special tickets for Narita-Seoul flights


Budget airline AirAsia Japan Co. said Wednesday it will sell one-way tickets for ¥980 for 4,000 seats on flights linking Narita and Incheon near Seoul in a special campaign to mark the Oct. 28 start of its first international service.

The promotional tickets linking Narita International Airport and South Korea's Incheon Airport will be applied to both ways with no fuel surcharges imposed. The tickets are available on the carrier's website from Wednesday through Oct. 17, said the Tokyo-based airline, which is partly owned by All Nippon Airways Co.
Regular one-way ticket prices for the flight, on which the carrier will operate one daily round-trip, are set between ¥6,980 and ¥29,980, it said.


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Day 1664 ( The Best Movies Of All Time ..... To Me Part 1)
Monday, October 8, 2012

Today was a Japanese holiday to mark the beginning of Autumn. Went to a festival and also to a futsol (indoor football) match. 

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I hope someday in my life, I get to appear in a major film. The chances are probably very slim but I can still hope can't I?

I randomly decided to blog about movies because it was on my list of things to blog about. I guess persons, depending on their particular leaning, may prefer one movie over another. I am a Sci fi / action guy. I also enjoy a good love story once in a while. However Titanic did not make my list, even though it is the second highest grossing film of all time. 

Anyway, here is the first part of the best movies ever made............ in my opinion. I will put them in random order.


The Matrix (1999) <Not re-loaded (pt2) nor revolutions (pt 3)... Just The Matrix, part 1 >

This was the first film that blew me away. And I still get goose pimples every time I watch it. This movie 
re-defined film forever.

Are you the One?
IMDB (International Movie Database) gave it a 8.7/10


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Inception (2010)

If you haven't seen this movie yet, and you are into scifi / action stuff, then stop what you are doing now and go buy, rent or even download this film. I watched this movie in Japan back in summer 2010 with a teacher friend of mine while I was living in Okayama.  http://davecollyjap.blogspot.jp/2010/07/days-851-857-sunday-july-18-saturday.html

Is it a dream? Or is it reality?

IMDB gave it a 8.8 / 10


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Avatar (2009)

There is a reason why this movie is the highest grossing film ever made. It was really great. Unfortunately I didn't get to watch it in 3D, but the graphics and almost everything about this film was so good. It was released in December 2009 but I watched it in January of 2010. I want to watch it again in 3D. Haven't gotten the chance yet. I still have some bad memories about it though, but that's a long story. http://davecollyjap.blogspot.jp/2010/01/days-669-675-sunday-saturday-january-17.html

Its wild out there

IMDB gave it a 8/10


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Star Trek (2009)

Another scifi / action film that had me on the edge of my seat at a theater in Japan. I am starting to wonder if I watch more movies in Japan than in Jamaica??? I was never a fan of the old star trek movies in anyway. But my ex-girlfriend at the time, wanted to see this film, so I compromised. It was a good choice. This star trek combined futuristic stuff and real world, now a days elements which was a wonderful idea.  

The universe is a dangerous place
IMDB also gave this one a 8/10


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The Patriot (2000)

I know this movie is about American history and stuff, that may not be as interesting to non-Americans. But I have to give it some credit, it was pretty decent. The Patriot to date is one of the few movies that made me shed a tear. 

Explains some of the harsh realities of American history

IMDB gave it a 6.9 / 10 ...


All these movies that I mentioned, made me feel as if I was actually in the film itself. I will continue my list next week. Stay tuned. 

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Day 1665 ( America Will Defend Japan's Claim on Senkaku Islands )
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Started my autumn exercise regime today. I don't know how long I will keep this up but I'm going to do my best. Even 10 push ups seem difficult now-a-days. This just ain't right. Had only 2 classes today then went back home because of preparation for sports day. 

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CIA: Japan's Senkaku claim the strongest

Report in 1970s concluded China has no basis for territorial bid


Chinese ships encroaching in the sea of Japan

A report compiled by the CIA on the sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands around the time China started to formally claim them as its own concluded that Japan's sovereignty case was by far the stronger and more convincing.
"The Japanese claim to sovereignty over the Senkakus is strong, and the burden of proof of ownership would seem to fall on the Chinese," said the intelligence report, which was drafted in May 1971 and was included in declassified documents from the National Security Archive of George Washington University.
In related documents, the CIA stated that any dispute between Japan, China and Taiwan over the islands would not have arisen had it not been for the discovery of potential oil reserves on the nearby continental shelf in the late 1960s.



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Day 1666 ( Skin Cells Can Become Eggs !!! )
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The principal at my school today told me that Usain Bolt was in Yokohama. I knew he was coming here so I wrote it down in my diary to try and catch a glimpse of him. He will be at the Nissan Headquarters tomorrow. 

Had my evening student after work today. We spoke a bit about Jamaica and how we are from many different parts of the world, but chiefly western Africa. Which explains our motto "Out of many one people". 

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Scientists turn skin cells into eggs


An adult mouse produced from an egg cell developed from a skin cell,
and her litter of babies conceived naturally.


Scientists at Kyoto University have turned mouse skin cells into eggs that produced baby mice — a technique that if successfully applied to humans could someday allow women to stop worrying about the ticking of their biological clocks and perhaps even help couples create "designer babies."
For technical as well as ethical reasons, nobody expects that doctors will be making eggs from women's skin cells any time soon. But some see possibilities and questions about its use.
Some experts say it could help millions of women who don't have working eggs of their own, whether because of a medical condition or cancer treatment, or because they are too old.
"It could mean the reproductive clock doesn't tick for women anymore," said Hank Greely, a Stanford University law professor who studies the implications of biomedical technologies.


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Day 1667 ( Usain Bolt In Yokohama )

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Today was my "We don't like English" school. And I had my worst class of all, where there is a combination of English haters. One kid, the one who I would regard as the worst in the lot, started talking to another student at the back of the class while I was teaching. And he was talking quite loud. I heard him say to the other kid "Do you know what F&#K you means"... and he proceeded to tell him the meaning in Japanese... And he kept saying "F&#K you" to the other student and also said something to the effect of "Omai wa gaijen desuF&#K you" .... Which pretty much means, you are a foreigner, I don't need to listen to you so F&#K you. He wasn't directing it at me, but he was saying it loud enough to the kid at the back and everyone could hear. The Japanese teacher was there just acting as if nothing was wrong.

So I stopped the class in my rage and shouted at the kid "Hey!, DO NOT SAY THAT IN MY CLASS"... He was turning his head still not looking at me.. so I said "LOOK AT ME BOY!!!" in Japanese and he turned around then apologized. Everyone was shocked at my anger, including the teacher.  

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After this I headed to the head quarters of Nissan with my co-worker to go and see Usain Bolt for the first time. He signed a deal with Nissan where he is now the "Director of Excitement" whatever that is. All I know is that he will be making more money than he is already making now. He was there for 1 hour. At first they asked him some questions about some stuff then he went away for about 15 mins. He then came back, threw out some balls, and whoever caught one, would get some prizes like sneakers, t-shirts etc. I shouted some Jamaican dialect in the crowd to get his attention. I did manage to get his attention but there were too many persons in front of me trying to catch the ball.




Here is a video I took....










Afterwards I had dinner with my co-worker above.

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Day 1668 ( Got A New Bicycle / Low Cost Flights Getting Popular )

Friday, October 12, 2012

Did only 4 classes at my main school today, then 1 class at YMCA. Before I went to the YMCA, I received a bicycle that I ordered last week. Was going to head to Shibuya after work today but I stayed in and put my bicycle together. Took me about 1 hour.



My New Bicycle, Made in China

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Era of low-cost flying finally generating lift


Japanese have a reputation for loving expensive things like overpriced real estate, gourmet melons and, among the many, French and Italian luxury brands. But the nation is finally discovering the joy of flying cheap, with the arrival this year of three low-cost carriers.

The takeoff of AirAsia Japan, Peach Aviation and Jetstar Japan could change lifestyles. No longer will air travel be mostly confined to business trips and fancy once-in-a-lifetime vacations to places such as Hawaii.
Flying is suddenly growing more casual, including for weekend dining, visits with friends, even day trips. Ticket prices are plunging by about half, to ¥16,000 trips to the island of Okinawa or a ¥5,000 hop to Seoul.
The airlines are not only out to woo Japanese away from regular leisure activities such as going to Disneyland or watching a movie. They are also out to convince the notoriously workaholic Japanese not to work so hard.




Day 1669 ( Sports Day 2012 )

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rode my bicycle to my main school's sports day today. It feels great speeding down the mountain but going up is a little problem. Even though its a "Mountain Bike" I never knew so many persons would be in attendance at the sports day. It was like a huge festival or concert. 




After the sports day, I had dinner with the teachers. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Pros And Cons Of Teaching English in Japan J.E.T (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) or Private Company


Days 1656 - 1662
Sunday, September 30 - Saturday, October 6, 2012    


Day 1656 ( Small Typhoon Jelawat / Store Information Forever )
Sunday, September 30, 2012

Went to church today and saw the pastor for the first time since April. Recently when I go there, he is in Malaysia. And When he comes back, I'm out somewhere. Heard that the church got flooded last week from the heavy rains that caused the train to derail.

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A small typhoon hit Japan today. But it was gone within like 2 hours. Nothing compared to hurricanes in Jamaica. Here is the news about it... They describe it as powerful but it was a joke. Well I wouldn't go out in it but it was nothing to be afraid of. It did cause some damage in a few areas though. It was heading directly for Taiwan then turned and hit Japan instead.



Powerful typhoon makes landfall on Japan's main island



Jelawat - "Let me hit Taiwan...
naaah I hate stinky tofu, I'm heading for Japan"

A powerful typhoon that was traveling northeastward Sunday along the coast of western Japan made landfall on the main island of Honshu after hammering the southern islands of Okinawa, where it killed a man and injured more than 50 people while causing extensive blackouts, the weather agency said.
At 7 p.m., Typhoon Jelawat made landfall in Aichi Prefecture in central Japan, with the season's 17th typhoon moving through the Japanese archipelago, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
In the village of Yomitan in Okinawa Prefecture, 29-year-old Nobuhiro Bando was confirmed dead after being washed away by high tides while he was fishing. A survey by Kyodo News on local police showed that at least 114 people had been injured across the nation on Sunday.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121001a8.html

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Hitachi develops storage device of a lifetime in quartz glass



Good music lasts a long time, and now high-tech giant Hitachi says it can last even longer — a few hundred million years at least.


Hitachi unveiled a method of storing digital information on slivers of quartz glass that can endure extreme temperatures and hostile conditions without degrading, almost forever.
Everything in history can be stored on a piece of glass ... FOREVER
And for anyone who updated their LP collection by storing those vinyl tracks on CD, only to find they then needed to convert it all to MP3, a technology that never needs to change might sound appealing.
"The volume of data being created every day is exploding, but in terms of keeping it for later generations, we haven't necessarily improved since the days we inscribed things on stones," Hitachi researcher Kazuyoshi Torii said.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120925b9.html


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Day 1657 

(The Pros And Cons Of Teaching English in Japan J.E.T (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) or Private Company)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Paid some bills today and lodged some money.

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The Pros And Cons Of Teaching English in Japan J.E.T (Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme) or Private Company 

I had this topic written down in my blog topics book recently when a friend of mine asked me about the pros and cons of teaching in Japan. I forgot that I had it written down. Then I remembered when someone mentioned it on facebook within our Jamaicans in Japan Group.

So here we go.

There are a number of opportunities in Japan to teach English. You can either go private or public. Of course both of them have quite a few pros and cons. Before coming to Japan, I had no interest whatsoever in Asia or Asian culture. I always enjoyed travelling though to see a different country.

My last job in Jamaica was tiring and stressful. So every Sunday I would search the newspaper for a new job. Then I saw "Teach English in Japan.." and all I needed was a degree in anything. This was November 2007 when I saw that ad. I did an interview in December, got through to work for a private company, then I was here in March 2008. I broke up with my girlfriend of almost 3 years, just to see what Japan was like. Is that crazy??? My plan was to stay for only 1 year. But things and times changed.

Oops... got carried away there.. so here they are:

I will start with the 2 main programmes (JET - Public / Interac - Private) , then briefly speak about the others afterwards. Some of them I have no direct experience with. But I have many friends who do.

Public (Through J.E.T. - Japan Exchange And Teaching Programme) 










Pros and process

- Have to apply through the Japanese embassy in your country

- You will be working for the Japanese government if successful

- The pay is great and normally better than private companies

- Steady pay throughout the year

- More benefits than private companies

- Sometimes reduced apartment fees

- You will be taken care of

- You don't have to pay plane fare to Japan

- This is probably the best option of all the others

- Your job is relatively stable, not so easy to get fired even if you suck at teaching and even if the Japanese teachers hate you.

Cons

- I am not 100 % sure but I don't think persons have a choice in where they are placed

- I heard it is a difficult process to apply and actually get selected. Quite competitive

- Less freedom than private companies

- Only get 10 - 20 days leave per year

- Have to work all summer and winter even when the kids are not at school. Basically sitting down for 8 hours doing absolutely nothing, every single day.

- You are like a full time Japanese teacher, so maybe lots of work

- Relocating is either very difficult or impossible

- Contract is for a maximum of 3 - 5 years. After that you have to find another source of employment

For more information visit the website below.
http://www.jetprogramme.org/


Private Companies

First thing, be very careful when deciding to go with a private company in Japan. The most popular by far of all these private companies is ....... I may get in trouble for writing about them but hey I will edit my article if they find out about this and have a problem. Its free advertising for them and I won't write about them in a bad light, I will be very balanced and objective, just giving the pros and cons. .... has about 13 branches that all operate differently (based on the management team) and independent of each other. Some branches are more structured, organized and helpful than others. And basically if you just mind your own business and don't get in trouble, you will be fine.

Pros and Process

- Easy to apply. You can apply online or check the news paper if you are in Jamaica

- Easy to get selected, just pass a relatively easy interview and test

- The pay is ok but you get a pay cut in summer (50%), winter (75%) and spring (prorated - killer)

- Long holidays. Summer (about 5 weeks), Winter (about 2 weeks), Spring ( about 2 weeks )

- More freedom than J.E.T.

- You can get to drive a car but you will have to finance it yourself

- You kind of choose where you want to go if spaces are available.

- You can transfer from one branch to the other.

- You can stay with this company forever if you want, as long as they have a contract with the board of education. Each contract lasts for almost 1 year, renewable if you are not problematic and if you are doing a good job.

Cons

Ooh boy. Brace yourselves.

- Sometimes information they give can be very misleading and shady

- You can get fired very easily and they don't care because many people are waiting in line to work in Japan.

-  Mentioned it earlier but it can't be over emphasized. Low pay in summer, winter and murder in Spring

- You have to pay your own plane fare plus fend for yourself the first 2 months which means roughly 90,000 (1 way plane fare) + approx 250,000 or more possibly less (rent and moving in to new apartment) + approx 200,000 (2 months of no pay). Luckily you can get a loan of 250,000 (maximum) from them. Figures are in yen... Do the conversion yourselves.... Lazy

In my case it was similar. Something like this  :

90,000 (2 way open ticket, because my sis worked at the airport)
250,000 loan from interac (moving into new apartment)
250,000 (fend for myself for 2 months)

You won't make back this money within a year. Firstly because Japan is too expensive, secondly you have to pay off your loan, thirdly, you will still only get 60% of your pay in summer and 75% in winter. Fourthly, whatever other circumstance that may present itself.

- Some branches will help you around your new town, others will just give you a map and tell you to get to work on time.

- If you make the mistake of using .... as your guarantor for your apartment, if/when you leave the company or get fired, you have to also leave your apartment.

- Just like how we have a contract for about a year with ....., they also have a contract with the Board of Education (BOE). If the BOE doesn't re-hire ...... , then we are all either out of jobs or we have to change branches or find something else to do.

There are probably many more pros and cons of both but I can't think of any right now. For more information about ..... visit the site below.

https://www.interacnetwork.com/recruit/

Other Private Companies

There are many other private companies around like :

Gaba, 
http://teaching-in-japan.gaba.co.jp/

Altia, 
http://recruiting.altmoot.com/

Berlitz,
http://www.berlitz.com/Contact/Welcome-to-Berlitz/85/countryid--72/

ECC,
http://recruiting.ecc.co.jp/

But they are all somehow similar to interac. And many say that interac is probably the best of the worst. Altia is mostly based in Nagoya, Osaka and some other country side prefectures. The pay and benefits are better than that of interac though. Some require you work 6 days a week.


Other Public Opportunities 

Direct Hire to the Board of Education

Some Board of educations hire foreigners directly. A Board of education in Okayama known as the Kurashiki BOE does this. Also one in my prefecture known as the Sagamihara BOE. The pay is good and the job is very similar to that of J.E.T in every way. Only you can apply for it in Japan. This is also very competitive and very difficult to get in. The pay and benefits are good though.

http://www.city.kurashiki.okayama.jp/dd.aspx?menuid=9587


Direct Hire from a School or University

This is probably the most difficult of the lot to come by and you probably will have to be really lucky, especially if you are a Jamaican. Some get it but only a few.

YMCA / Private Students / Cram Schools

These are good as part time gigs. If you decide to do this full-time, then when you decide to take a holiday or a break, then you won't get paid. But if you like to work and work a lot, there is the potential to get a whole lot of money.


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Day 1658 ( Monstrous Robot Behemoth / September was the Hottest in 110 Years)
Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Normal day at work today. 6 Periods of none stop lesson at my main school. Every time I even think about this, the more I want to stop.

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Monstrous robotic behemoth brings anime fantasies to life

Mad inventors use inspiration to build giant working robot




 It's hard to say whether technology will ever catch up with sci-fi anime and realize an era when giant robots roam the earth, but for artist Kogoro Kurata and student Wataru Yoshizaki the future can't come soon enough.


After roughly two years of work, the two robot fanatics have turned their animation-inspired dreams into reality — the 4-meter-tall Kuratas bot.
The robot is no mere polystyrene exhibit. The four-legged, 4-ton steel behemoth, which boasts around 30 hydraulic joints, is fully operational and can travel up to 10 kph. And just like anime robots, it has a cockpit for the "pilot" to climb into and operate it.
Japan's cutting-edge robotic technologies are renowned the world over, but the pair's creation wasn't designed to sort widgets in a factory or assist the elderly in retirement homes.

The robot could be yours for about ¥100 million, but despite the hefty price tag, its creators said there have been over 3,000 inquires, many from overseas.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20120928f1.html

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Hottest September in 110 years


This past September was the hottest in more than 110 years thanks to a powerful high pressure system over the Pacific, according to the Meteorological Agency.
The average September temperature at 17 observation points where urbanization has an effect was 1.92 degrees higher than usual, the biggest leap since 1898, the agency said Monday.
Record highs were logged at 51 of the 154 observation points across the country. The mercury shot up particularly in the north, where the westerlies carried the Pacific high, the agency said.


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Day 1659 ( Desk That Charges Laptops / Illegal Down-loaders In Japan May Face Prison Term)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

At my "We don't like English" school today only 1 teacher forgot about English class. That is a great improvement!

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Computer charger desk developed



Kokuyo Furniture Co., Murata Manufacturing Co. and U.S. chip-maker Intel Corp. have developed a desk that can charge a portable computer without a power cord.

While there are no plans yet to put the desk on sale, the companies will continue to develop it for commercialization.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20120929b1.html


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Illegal Downloaders in Japan Face Two Years in Prison



Under a new law that goes into effect Oct. 1, Japanese internet users who illegally download files face a 2-year prison sentence or a fine of up to 2 million yen ($25,700), the BBCreports.
Theoretically, pirating just one file could get you in jail and — under one interpretation — using a service such as YouTube, which temporarily stores video files on your computer, could be illegal.
Downloading copyrighted material has been illegal in Japan since 2010, but it did not incur such penalties. Uploading, on the other hand, is a far worse offense, with a maximum 10-year prison sentence and a 10 million yen ($128,400) fine attached.
The law was passed under influence of the Recording Industry Association of Japan, which cited a 2010 study, claiming illegal downloads in the country outnumber the legal ones ten to one.
Japan has been on the forefront of the anti-piracy fight in recent years. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement(ACTA), a international treaty designed to protect intellectual property rights, was first created by the U.S. and Japan in 2006. The treaty was abandoned after a strong public movement against it in many countries, including the U.S., Hungary and Poland.


http://mashable.com/2012/10/01/downloaders-japan-2-years-prison/



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Day 1660 ( Late 2nd Time In 2 Years  / Japan NHK Won Emmy Award for Tsunami Coverage )

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I mistakenly turned off my alarm this morning instead of putting it on snooze. Only to jump up, look at the time and see 8:20... My class begins at 8:45. I started spinning everywhere, took a quick bath, got a train then took a taxi. My first time to take a taxi to work. Luckily, the vice principal at this school is chill, so there was no problem.

I didn't eat breakfast this morning so I felt as if I was going to faint. Then after lunch I was falling asleep in the staff room. The vice principal asked if I was feeling sick. I told her only a little.

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NHK is the main TV station in Japan. And they actually require that you pay a NHK bill if you own a TV. Ha. They come to our apartments every now and again but we were told to ignore them or pretend that we don't speak Japanese.


NHK wins Emmy for quake coverage




NHK has won the 2012 International Emmy in the news category for its "Great East Japan Earthquake Emergency News" covering the largest quake in the country's history and the subsequent devastating tsunami in March 2011.
The 2012 Emmy for current affairs was also quake-related, going to Canada's CBC TV for "Haiti's Orphans: One Year After the Earthquake," which follows the story of three orphaned children and the adults in Canada and Haiti who help them.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121004b5.html


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Day 1661 ( Japanese Mom Killed 2 Daughters / Toyota #10 In the World  )

Friday, October 5, 2012

Had only 2 classes at my main school today because they are preparing for sports day. Its good when my schools have special events. English get neglected even more. So more free time. After that I went to YMCA to teach 2 classes.

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Mom held for stabbing daughters




A 42-year-old woman in Hayamamachi, Kanagawa Prefecture, has been arrested for allegedly stabbing her two daughters, who later died in a hospital, police said.
Masako Nagato admitted to having stabbed her daughters, 9-year-old Miu and 9-month-old Haruka, in a bathroom in their home, according to the police.
Nagato's 74-year-old mother, who was visiting from out of town, called police at around 8 p.m. Wednesday. The suspect's husband was away at the time of the incident.
Nagato was quoted as telling the police that she stabbed her daughters to "protect" her children. Her other children, two sons, were unharmed.
Some media reports said Nagato had been visiting a mental hospital. The police opened an investigation into whether she is mentally competent.



http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121005b2.html

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Toyota named 10th best brand in worldwide rankings



Toyota Motor Corp. ranks 10th in the Best Global Brands report for 2012 released by U.S. brand consultancy Interbrand, up one notch from last year.


Toyota was highest among seven Japanese companies in the world's 100 most valuable brands, as rated by Interbrand.
The other firms in the seven included Honda Motor Co. in 21st place, down from 19th, and Canon Inc. in 30th, up from 33rd.
Coca-Cola Co. ranked first for the 13th straight year, followed by Apple Inc., which leaped from eighth place thanks to its popular iPhone smartphones.
To compile its rankings, Interbrand examines the financial performance of the branded products or service, the role the brand plays in influencing consumer choice and the strength the brand has to command a premium price or secure earnings, it said.
IBM came in third, followed by Google and Microsoft. South Korea's Samsung Electronics ranked ninth.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20121004a6.html

http://www.interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/2012/Best-Global-Brands-2012-Brand-View.aspx


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Day 1662 ( Late Again!! / All My Birthday Presents )

Saturday, October 6, 2012

I was late for my first YMCA class this morning. Darn late 2 times in a week? This isn't good. I need to get more rest at nights and stop staying up idling.

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These were all the stuff I bought myself for my birthday this year. Plus I got a key ring from my Korean friend, a poetry book from a Japanese friend and a shoes from another Japanese friend.