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

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Japan - A "Very Traditional" Culture


Days 1726 - 1732
Sunday, December 9 - Saturday, December 15, 2012    



Day 1726 (Japan Prepares For North Korean's Missile Launch)
Sunday, December 9, 2012

Went to Tokyo today to collect an engine fan for my car back in Jamaica. My sister said it is acting up. A friend of mine has a decent link for car parts. So he brought me to the dealer today where he purchased it for me. I had a link when I was living in Okayama but that is way to far for me now.























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SDF finishes deployment for N. Korea rocket launch



Japan finished most of its preparations for North Korea's planned launch this month of a long-range rocket in defiance of U.N. ban, government officials said.

A Self-Defense Forces commander reported that the deployment of all units in charge of intercepting the rocket in the event any part threatens to fall on Japan was completed. The SDF will remain on alert for the next two weeks.

North Korea said it will launch a rocket carrying an Earth observation satellite sometime between 7 a.m. and noon on any day from Monday to Dec. 22.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121209a2.html

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Day 1727 ( Japan - A "Very Traditional" Culture )
Monday, December 10, 2012

A good amount of my students today told me that they saw me on TV Last Friday. All the teachers were surprised. Japanese teachers have no time to watch TV, as they are hyper busy.

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Japan - A "Very Traditional" Culture

Quite a few persons who don't really know much about Japan, have asked me at some point, "what is the religion of the Japanese". The general view is that they are 80% Buddhist and 19% Shinto (Ancestral worshipers), 1% Christian. This might be in part true but generally, most Japanese people don't really subscribe to any religion. Almost everything is done out of tradition. They are doing what they do, because that is the norm and that was what they were taught to do. So they are mostly agnostics. Ask any Japanese what religion they belong to. Almost all will say none. Even if they said they belonged to one, only a few are committed any at all. They are however committed to the traditional way of doing things. And they still do a lot of Shinto and Buddhism looking stuff, heck they even drop Christmas, Valentines and Halloween into the mix as well. Because the business men make a lot of money from it.


With the exception of the Buddhist monks and the other hardcore dudes who take the religion thing seriously, Japanese are generally not a religious people. There is no set day of worship or any pray every Wednesday kinda thing going on here. The only thing that seem culturally mandatory is for persons to visit a shrine every single new years day to pray. I have no idea what or who they pray to. When I did karate, my main sensei wanted me to come with them in the blistering cold every year to go and pray. I of course refused every single time. Oh and work is also another thing that would seem like a religion to them.

We can't blame them though can we? Aren't we all pretty much victims to our culture, race, era and tradition? Its the same thing.

In any country, whatever religion they profess to be, some cultural thing is going to play a major role in how the people behave. The Orthodox Christians in Italy will do some stuff that the ones in Madagascar don't do.  The Buddhist in China will do some stuff that only Chinese Buddhist does. So there is nothing inherently wrong with the Japanese doing what they do, its all a part of how they grew up. even if some of the stuff are not to our liking as foreigners. Including the xenophobia. I don't think xenophobia is learnt though. This is a very natural thing if we can think outside the box. I'm not saying it is good, but its natural.

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Day 1728 ( Life Saved With HIV??? )
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Normal day at work today. But only had 4 classes so that was good. More students were telling me that they saw me on TV.

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Doctors Save A Little Girl's Life By Reprogramming The HIV Virus To Fight Cancer Cells
Drug company Novartis is betting $20 million on a cancer treatment that seems to have saved a little girl's life, according to a report from The New York Times' Denise Grady.

Just last spring, six-year-old leukemia victim Emma Whitehead was "near death," having gone through chemotherapy twice without success.
They infected her with a version of HIV, reprogrammed to attack cancer cells.
Whitehead almost died, but the treatment worked and now she's in remission — and doing cartwheels all over her house.
Grady says the treatment hasn't worked for all patients.
It worked completely on three adults. Four treated adults have merely improved. A child relapsed. The treatment failed two adults completely.
Here's the thing though: Each of these patients was a "hopeless" case before trying the treatment. So any success is huge.


Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/doctors-save-a-little-girls-life-by-reprograming-the-hiv-virus-to-fight-cancer-cells-2012-12#ixzz2FPerdpAg



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Day 1729 ( North Korea Successfully Launches Missile )
Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Another normal day at work, nothing special.

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Defiant North Korea launches rocket



Despite earlier reported technological problems and severe winter weather, North Korea successfully launched a long-range rocket Wednesday over the Pacific, the second stage of which fell 300 km east of the Philippines.


The launch marks a significant boost in Pyongyang's quest for ballistic missiles that could hit Japan and other neighboring countries.
The Unha-3 rocket, which Pyongyang claimed was carrying a satellite, lifted off at 9:49 a.m., flying over Okinawa around 10:01 a.m. Its second stage fell into the Pacific off the Philippines at 10:05 a.m., according to Tokyo.
No debris or damage was reported in Japanese territory.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121213a1.html


Significant leap for North Korea's missile tech



North Korea's successful launch of a long-range rocket, in the face of international opposition, indicates Pyongyang has taken a major step in its effort to develop a missile capable of reaching the U.S. West Coast, which would give the hermit nation a significant bargaining chip to use against Washington.


Experts said Wednesday's launch shows North Korea has made important advances after a similar attempt in April failed.

The Korean Central News Agency also announced that a satellite carried by the rocket entered orbit and proclaimed the launch a success. The U.S. military also confirmed that an object entered orbit.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121213a9.html


Unusually slow U.S. response hints of tougher action at United Nations



The United States slammed North Korea's rocket launch Wednesday as "a highly provocative act" and indicated it would seek tougher sanctions on Pyongyang, saying it will work with U.N. Security Council members to pursue "appropriate action."

"North Korea's launch today — using ballistic missile technology despite express prohibitions by U.N. Security Council resolutions — is a highly provocative act that threatens regional security," Tommy Vietor, spokesman of the National Security Council, said in a statement Tuesday Washington time.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121213a9.html



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Day 1730 ( Science Students Ditching Sony For Dairy Farms )
Thursday, December 13, 2012

Another boring work day at work. Then had my evening student. Even more students were telling me they saw me on TV. Every where I turn almost literally.

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Sony loses science talent as student resumes go to dairies

Engineers look elsewhere as electronics giants flounder



Science students are eschewing traditional high-powered employers such as Sony Corp. and Panasonic Corp. to help make ice cream and yogurt.











They are applying to dairies. That says quite a bit about the current state of Japan and — some say — its future.
Sony, the Walkman inventor that once topped the rankings among the most-coveted jobs for graduating science majors, may drop further in popularity after sinking to fourth place from second in a survey this year of science students headed for the job market in April, said Takuya Kurita, a researcher at Tokyo-based Mynavi Corp., which operates job-hunting websites.
Sony, trying to end four years of losses, is hiring fewer recruits than it has in 23 years.
















http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20121211n2.html


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Day 1731 ( On TV Again Today - Sekai Banzuke  )
Friday, December 14, 2012

Work ended a bit early today. I went back to my apartment for a little then to YMCA. When I fifnshed at YMCA, I saw myself on TV live for the second or third time maybe. This was my 5th public television appearance. Surprisingly, 4 of them were this year. The other 1 was 2009 back in Okayama. The channels I have been on thus far are:





NHK

TBS

Nihon Terebi

Here is a clip of me on TV today.



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Day 1732 (  )
Saturday, December 15, 2012

Went to YMCA today and di 2 classes with the mostly rotten YMCA kids. Jeez. That was it for today.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Japan - A "Card" Culture / 7.3 Magnitude Earthquake

Days 1719 - 1725
Sunday, December 2 - Saturday, December 8, 2012    



Day 1719 ( Old And Swagging )
Sunday, December 2, 2012

Congratulations on your wedding Kevin!!! I called a good friend of mine from university this morning (December 1st in Jamaica) to wish him good luck with his wedding and marriage. Many of my other university friends were there as well, so I spoke to them a little.

Kevin Ruddock - Just married

I am still in Kyoto today. Went to a French restaurant with my friend in the afternoon. The waitress told us that there is a Jamaican bar around the area so we searched for a bit in the blistering cold, only to find out that the bar closed down :(



Afterwards we went to a liquor shop, where for the first time in 4 years, I see Jamaican rum in Japan.


Hey this rum isn't even popular in Jamaica.


This one is pretty popular though

I then went to the station and took a high-speed train back to Yokohama.


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Old And Swagging 

At 106, he's a fashion icon




A 106-year-old academic who has been recognized by Guinness World Records as the oldest person to have traveled around the world using public transportation has received an award for best dresser.
Saburo Shochi, professor emeritus at Fukuoka University of Education, received the honor at a ceremony for the 41st Best Dresser Awards held in Tokyo. "The key to fashion is to change your clothes every day," said Shochi, who showed up in a yellow suit.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121130b6.html


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Day 1720 ( Japan - A "Card" Culture )
Monday, December 3, 2012

Went to work like normal then updated my blog.

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Japan a Card Culture

Japan has many many sub cultures that can keep foreigners and even other Japanese occupied with stuff to do. So I decided to start a blog series about "Japan - A -------------- Culture". Today is "Japan a card culture".

Almost every single shop, restaurant, mall, plaza or whatever it maybe in Japan, issues a card. If u visit their establishment often enough and use their cards, then you can get discounts.

This is a good system if you visit these places regularly enough. But the cards can be more like garbage if you  only visit these places once in a while. Check out my collection.

My goodness

Some of those cards are from my Niimi days. I still keep them because I return to Niimi, well once a year so far. Among that rubble are cards for: About 4 different pharmacies, some internet cafes, electronic shops, clothes stores, convenient stores, a movie theater company, supermarkets etc etc. This set doesn't include my hospital, dental and bank cards. I also have as much business cards from random people.

Why so many cards?



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Day 1721 ( America Will Defend Japanese Controlled Islands )
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Did absolutely nothing after work today, except read some random articles and watch Dexter.

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U.S. Senate passes Senkaku backing



The U.S. Senate on Thursday unanimously approved an amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that is designed to counter attempts by China to challenge Japan's administration of the Senkaku Islands but sidesteps the question of who has ultimate sovereignty over the disputed territory.

The amendment, offered by Jim Webb, a Virginia Democrat, states U.S. opposition to any efforts to coerce, threaten to use force or use force to resolve territorial issues. It concludes by reaffirming the commitment of the U.S. to the defense of territories under the administration of Japan.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121201a6.html



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Day 1722 ( Hard Disk Recorder / Collapsed Tunnel Kills)
Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Tomorrow I should be making a short TV appearance. But I won't be able to watch it because I have to teach a private student at the YMCA. So I read up about my TV on how to record a TV program while not being around. So I went to one of those popular Japanese electronic stores, this one name Yamada denki (I have a card for them too) and used my credit card to purchase a Hard disk recorder. It is in all Japanese. Not a word in English is written on it. I did manage to figure out how to use it though, mostly with the help of my friend.


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This is scary... I have driven through this tunnel at least once before. Yikes!!!


Tunnel collapse kills four 



At least nine people were killed and two injured Sunday in Yamanashi Prefecture after a tunnel on the Chuo Expressway collapsed, crushing vehicles and starting fires inside, police said.

Three of the victims were in a party of six traveling in a rented van that apparently caught fire after it was crushed. Authorities also said that a truck driver who called for help after being trapped had died, and said others could be stranded as well.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121203a1.html


Fatal tunnel collapse blamed on aging bolts



Tunnel collapse in Yamanashi Prefecture that killed at least nine people may have been caused by aging ceiling bolts that failed.


Police early Monday had confirmed that nine people died in three vehicles trapped inside the 4.7-km Sasago Tunnel.
In a vehicle that was believed carrying six people, police and firefighters found the bodies of three men and two women, all in their 20s and from Tokyo. A 28-year-old female banker from Kanagawa Prefecture who was in the vehicle survived.
They also confirmed the deaths of a man in his 70s, a woman in her 60s and another in her 70s, all in the same vehicle, as well as the death of a trucker, identified as Tatsuya Nakagawa, 50.
The Sasago Tunnel was opened to traffic in 1977.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121204a1.html


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Day 1723 ( Woman Kept 160 Starving Dogs..... Seriously!!!! )
Thursday, December 6, 2012

Since Monday of this week, I have been coughing up a storm. Plus soar throat, sneezing and all that wonderful stuff we get in the Japanese winter. So I finally decided to take a sick day today. Plus I had my terrible classes at my "We don't remember the foreigner" school. So 2 in 1.

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Woman kept 160 starving dogs




A woman who kept 160 starving dogs in her house amid tons of their own excrement has been arrested, an official in Osaka said.
Ten tons of animal waste and other rubbish were removed from the house of Noriko Ishii, 43, after the dogs were taken away, the official said Wednesday. A Bernese Mountain Dog rescued from the house was found to weigh just 7 kg — a sixth of its normal weight, the official said, adding all the animals were "very scrawny".
Ishii, who is unemployed, could face up to ¥500,000 in fines if convicted of violating animal protection laws.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121207b2.html


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Day 1724 ( 7.3 Magnitude Earthquake / On TV Again )
Friday, December 7, 2012

after my main job today, I rushed to the YMCA as I usually do on Fridays. While teaching my Friday class, I felt the white board shaking. I honestly thought it was my powerful hold on the white board. Then I thought it was my heading spinning. So I ignored it until a student asked "Yuretenai?" (Isn't the place shaking ?). Then I said, "Yes, actually it is" ... My teaching partner then came out of her class and told me to go down stairs. She said that is what we should do in this building if there is a major quake. It lasted like 12 seconds. These are the reports from my phone application.






7.3-magnitude temblor triggers tsunami alert



Authorities issued a tsunami alert for the northeast coast Friday after a powerful 7.3-magnitude undersea earthquake struck, setting buildings in Tokyo swaying violently. The warning was lifted at around 7:20 p.m.


They said tsunami up to 1 meter high could sweep ashore in areas badly hit by the March 2011 tsunami that devastated a large swath of the Tohoku region coast, killing thousands.
The Meteorological Agency said the 5:18 p.m. quake was likely an aftershock of the magnitude-9 quake that devastated the region on March 11, 2011, and warned of an aftershock from Friday's temblor of up to magnitude 6 within a week.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121208a1.html


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After work at the YMCA, I went to my apartment to see how well my new TV recorder thing worked. It did manage to record the program but there was some problems though. Here is a piece of the recording.






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Day 1725 ( Wii U Out In Japan )
Saturday, December 8, 2012


My boss at YMCA took my 2 kindergarten classes from me because of my constant complaints. I will lose some money but I get some more rest and free time. I'm fine with that. I started feeling as if I was working 2 full-time jobs. So today I did only 2 classes with parents watching, then went back home.


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Nintendo's Wii U console hits shelves in Japan




Nintendo Co. launched its new Wii U game console in Japan on Saturday, aiming to stage a comeback in a market increasingly dominated by growth in games played on mobile phones.


The game console and software maker is hoping that the successor to the Wii, released in 2006, will turn around its business after posting a net loss of ¥43.2 billion last year due to sluggish sales and the strong yen.
The console comes with a controller called the Wii U GamePad, which has an embedded touch screen so people can play games on their television or just on the GamePad screen.
The suggested retail price is ¥26,250 for the 8-gigabyte model and ¥31,500 for the 32-gigabyte model.


http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nn20121209b1.html


@Beth Peart - I haven't been in touch with Morimoto san since 2010 either. The last time we spoke she was crazy busy with school and work. I should be heading back to Jamaica soon so I will try to get in touch with her.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Hitting Women (Yes / Absolutely No / Depends? )

Days 1712 - 1718
Sunday, November 25 - Saturday, December 1, 2012    



Day 1712 ( A Day At Kanazawa Zoo )
Sunday, November 25, 2012

For the past 3 weeks or so, I have been teaching a lesson about Yokohama at my main school. It's basically about some famous places in Yokohama in English. There are several zoos in Yokohama and I was inspired to visit one because of my lesson. I asked the kids which zoo they would recommend and most of them said Kanazawa zoo. So I decided to go there today.

Here are some pics.

My first time seeing an actual giraffe

All in front a di giraffe mi a swag


This is known as an okapi. It's like a cross between a zebra and a deer

This elephant was humongous
weighing 7000 kg / 15432 pounds

While at the zoo, I was trying to speak to my best friends in Jamaica via skype. I spoke to them a bit, but the signal was really bad so we decided to speak another time.

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Day 1713 ( R.I.P. Big Brother :( / Hitting Women )
Monday, November 26, 2012

R.I.P. Big Brother :(

So my father's side of my family is extreeeeemly complicated. I don't know how many children he has or with how many women. He himself is a big mystery because he tells no one anything about his past escapades. He has 5 children with his wife and 3 "known" outside children. Myself "supposedly" being the last one. But no one knows for sure, because the 5 kids within his marriage found out about me when I was around 21. The only reason they found out was because my nephew was my classmate at university.

Anyway, I learnt today from my brother in Miami (he is 56) that my eldest brother who was living in Canada died from heart trouble. He was 60 and was going to be 61 next month. He died possibly having no idea that I existed. Rest In Peace Errol Collymore. Unfortunately I didn't get to meet you in this lifetime. :(

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Hitting Women ( Yes / Absolutely No / Depends? )



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Another discussion came up in the Jamaicans in Japan group after some one shared the viral video below:



Many of you probably saw this video before so the point came up. Is it ever appropriate to hit a woman? Some people say yes, some say no, some say it depends. I don't agree with what the dude in the video above did, but I do believe in self defense. I think he was angry and took it a bit too far. But, most of my Jamaican colleagues agreed, that women should expect "ANYTHING" from a man, if they (the woman) decide to disgrace/humiliate a man in public. The most calm and simple gentleman, has the potential to get seriously pissed.

If anyone be it man or woman is coming to me with a knife or any sort of weapon with the intention to harm me, then I am going to defend myself. If a woman out of anger hit me in the face or in the head, I am going to get angry and I do not know what I will do. I do have a nasty temper at times. So basically I don't subscribe to the NEVER hit a woman policy, nor to the go ahead and hit a lady for little or nothing idea. I normally walk away though or try my best to avoid a situation getting out of hand.

Maybe you have seen the video below or not, of the girl in Singapore hitting the dude chiefly on his private areas.



LOL lets just say this wouldn't and couldn't happen to me. I don't care who she is.


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Day 1714 ( Mutabaruka On Faith And Religion / She was a Man?)
Tuesday, November 27, 2012

After work today I watched a 1 hour youtube video of a presentation being done by a famous Jamaican poet name Mutabaruka. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutabaruka

A lot of it was in Jamaican dialect so chances are if you watch it and you are not from the Caribbean, you will miss some of what he is saying. It was a very interesting video. I disagree with some of the stuff he said but many of his opinions makes you think.

Here is the video



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What would you have done in this case?


Belgian discovers his wife used to be a man after 19 years





A Belgian is seeking to have his marriage annulled after discovering that his Indonesian wife of 19 years had been born a man.



The man, only named as Jan, married Monica, his family's former au pair in a previous marriage, in 1993 despite legal difficulties raised by theBelgian immigration authorities.
But it was only in recent weeks that he discovered that his wife had originally been a man and had undergone a sex change.
"I feel I've been assaulted," he told the Het Nieuwsblad newspaper.
"I brought her to Belgium. That was not easy. The Belgian courts had serious doubts about the authenticity of her birth and her identity papers, but eventually they accepted it anyway. I thought she was an attractive woman, all woman. She had no male traits."
Jan, 64, said that he and his wife had decided not to have children because he had two by his previous marriage and she fooled him by pretending to menstruate, using sanitary towels, "to conceal the truth".

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/belgium/9703166/Belgian-discovers-his-wife-used-to-be-a-man-after-19-years.html

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Day 1715 ( Smart Phones Killing Camera Sales )
Wednesday, November 28, 2012

After work, I had my private class at Starbucks this evening. We spoke mostly about my father's side of the family as well as Japanese politics.


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I realized that I really stopped using my digital camera. I haven't touched it for months.



Smartphones killing camera sales

High-resolution, Net-connectable newcomers put point-and-shoot makers on defensive




The soaring popularity of smartphones is crushing demand for point-and-shoot cameras, a once-vibrant sector that is scrambling to stay alive with Web-friendly features and higher quality, analysts say.
A sharp drop in sales is marking digital compact cameras as the latest casualty of the smartphone boom, which is challenging video game consoles and portable music players with their all-in-one convenience, led by the likes of Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy.
Just as digital cameras all but destroyed the market for photographic film, the rapid shift to picture-taking smartphones has torn into a camera sector dominated by Canon Inc., Olympus Corp., Sony Corp. and Nikon Corp.
"We may be seeing the beginning of the collapse of the compact camera market," said Nobuo Kurahashi, analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities.
Figures from Japan's Camera and Imaging Products Association echo the analyst's grim prediction. Global shipments of Japanese digital cameras sank by about 42 percent to 7.58 million units in September compared with the previous year, with compact models falling 48 percent, the association said.








Higher-end cameras with detachable lenses fell a more modest 7.4 percent in that time, it said.
Part of the decline was due to the weakness in debt-hit Europe and a territorial dispute with China that has sparked a consumer boycott of Japanese products in the Chinese market.
But smartphones have proved a mighty rival to point-and-shoot cameras, analysts say, offering an all-in-one phone, computer and camera with comparatively high-quality pictures and Internet photo downloading.



http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20121127a2.html


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Day 1716 ( Hard Rock )
Thursday, November 29, 2012

After work I had a company meeting. I was so tired that I fell asleep several times on the train to the meeting. After the meeting, a couple of us Jamaicans and an American girl ate at an American restaurant name Hard Rock.

Don't watch the smiles, they are all tired

Wow check that out.
The crew.. Hey I'm the only male :)
And I have a Hard Rock!!.... Bag




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Day 1717 ( YMCA Swimming Lesson Part 2 )
Friday, November 30, 2012

Had 6 periods at my main school today again then collected my pay, paid some bills, bought some groceries then had to rush back to my apartment to get ready for YMCA class. I rushed to YMCA then my boss there told me that my students' parents will be visiting my class. I was not prepared but I came up with some ideas there on the spot. Simply wrote some random sentences on the board and told them to select the correct tenses. While they were doing this exercise, I was writing down a story.  I then read the story and asked them some questions from the story. I see where they are really improving, they made me and their mom's proud.

After the lesson, I basically gave a brief evaluation of my Friday students to their parents. They were all surprised at how developed their kid's English was.

I had to stay back a bit after the parents meeting to wait for my swimming lesson to begin. Then it was time. The head of the swimming department gave me a pair of goggles and a swimming cap as a present. Luckily the bunch of kids weren't there so I could change my clothes in peace.

I forgot a few swimming rules from the last lesson but I remembered them quickly. The swimming instructor then started to teach me using swimming flippers/swimfins. Normally I could only swim to about 7 meters but with the flippers I went as far as 15 meters. She was surprised how I caught on so quickly with these stuff. Hey, I was surprised too. After she realized that I mastered those, it was time for free style. This was a bit tough. I can't concentrate on my hand motions and the motion of my feet at the same time. I caught on a bit but not very well.

After the swimming lesson, I went home, packed then headed to Yokohama to take a bus to Kyoto.


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Day 1718 ( Another Trip To Kyoto )
Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happy Birthday Choco !!!

Took the night bus last night to Kyoto. Then stopped at my friend's apartment. We then went to a shrine called Kita no tenmangu.



All inna di shrine mi a swag


Had some tea and Japanese snacks there then went to a restaurant for lunch. Later we visited one of the most famous shrines in Japan. The name is kiyomizudera. It was extremely cold there and rain was falling a bit, but there were many people there. After this, we went to the most famous Jamaican bar in Kyoto, name rub-a-dub. Met 2 Economics professors there, one from Australia, the other a Japanese living in Singapore. We spoke at length about politics and economics stuff.