A true to life drama of a Jamaican male, living and working in Japan since March 2008.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Things Japanese People Say / My View of the Zimmerman Debacle

Japanese sentence of the week: - watashi ha ringo ga suki desu. / 私はりんごが好きです。I like apples.

Days 1929 - 1942
Sunday, June 30 - Saturday, July 13, 2013 (2 weeks)

Another 2 week blog because of me being busy, tired and lazy. A terrible combo I might add.

Week 1 (Days 1929-1935){June 30-July 6}

Day 1929 ( Tokyo Peace Church )
Sunday, June 30, 2013

There is a Trinidadian pastor who I knew for years now. He is visiting Japan and doing some seminars, preaching etc etc.  He studied at a university in Jamaica, pastored some churches there but migrated to the US with his family over 10 years now. He is visiting Japan pretty close to where I live, so I met up with him today. We have quite a few mutual friends in Jamaica.

I went to Tokyo Peace Church today to see him preach.

Rev. Dr. Michael Friday

Way back in around yr 2001 before I got involved in church stuff in Jamaica, I used to see him. But this was the very first time I was meeting him in person. He is now pastoring a small, White majority congregation in an area of the US called Omaha I think.

After he preached, we ate some Myanmar style food (The Japanese pastor's wife is from Myanmar) and it was spicy but quite delicious. After eating loads of food, we stopped at a restaurant (not to eat again) to figure out the plan of action for the day. I should be meeting him again at Singapore, in 2 weeks.

Pastor of Tokyo Peace Church - Really Cool guy.
A Japanese who is taller than I am? I am appalled!!!

So we decided to first go to sky tree (I went here last week) then go to a famous shrine in Asakusa,Tokyo. I think the name is kaminarimon. I came here sometime last year to buy my Japanese Men's Kimono thing.



Day 1930 ( US Spying On Europe??? )
Monday, July 1, 2013

Had an open class at my Monday YMCA today. Only 2 parents came and the kids were well behaved for the most part.


EU officials ‘targeted’ by U.S. spying

The European Union was one of the “targets” of Washington’s huge Internet spy program, with bugs hidden in EU offices in Brussels and the United States, German weekly Der Spiegel said in an edition published Sunday.

The magazine said the claims were based on confidential documents it was partly able to consult through U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden, who this month revealed the existence of the PRISM information-gathering program operated by the U.S. National Security Agency.

A document dated September 2010 and classed as “strictly confidential” describes how the secretive NSA kept tabs on the EU’s diplomatic mission in Washington, the magazine said. Microphones were installed in the building and the computer network had been infiltrated, giving the agency access to emails and internal documents.

U.S. taps half-billion German phone, email links monthly: report

U.S. secret services keep tabs on around half a billion telephone calls, emails or mobile phone text messages in Germany a month, making it the most targeted among EU states, a German news magazine reported Sunday, citing secret U.S. documents.

The latest allegations over the extent of U.S. spying in the EU’s top economy appear in Der Spiegel and are likely to ratchet up already strained trans-Atlantic tensions.

Germany has reacted to revelations of vast U.S. and British spy programs with particular alarm, given its dark history of state surveillance and secret police abuses under the Nazis and the communist East German regime.

The issue was high on the agenda of talks between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. President Barack Obama in Berlin earlier in June.



Day 1931 ( Life on Other Planets Possible )
Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Did nothing at my Tuesday high school today. Well, actually I started studying Japanese again, in preparation for my exam on Sunday. I am in nooo way ready for it. While at work, an English teacher who sits beside me was reading a newspaper. I stole a peek only to see an internet friend of mine. Stephen who wrote the book "Black Passenger Yellow Cab".... I was shocked to see him in the newspaper.


Super-Earth’ trio may support life

Three “super-Earth” planets have been found orbiting a nearby star at a distance where life could exist in theory, according to a record-breaking tally announced by the European Southern Observatory.

The three are part of a cluster of as many as seven planets that circle Gliese 667C, one of three stars located a relatively close 22 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Scorpio.

The planets orbit Gliese 667C in the “Goldilocks zone” — a distance from the star at which the temperature is just right for water to exist in liquid form rather than being stripped away by stellar radiation or locked permanently in ice.




Day 1932 ( Things Japanese People Say )
Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Again no classes. Just going to work, do nothing and get paid. The pay is small but it works. I didn't even get to study much, because an English teacher wanted to speak to me about random stuff. We spoke about everything from politics to girls.

I then had another open class at the YMCA. Oh Lord. My very first class was with the 2 very restless 1st grade boys. One boy, even when his mom was there, he kept getting up and saying all manner of terrible stuff. At times he even goes over to his mom. I saw him go over to his mom once, threw his English book on the floor in front of her and started stomping on it. I continued the class as if I didn't even see what was going on. Some of the other parents were looking on. For the last few minutes, he was being somewhat cooperative. It was a nightmare. The girls in the class were very cooperative all through the lesson though.


Things Japanese People Say

If you should come to Japan, there is a very strong chance that you will hear 90% - 100% of these words or gestures. Most of them adjectives. So it is very easy to catch Japanese adjectives. Here are a few of the words you will hear Japanese people say, and their closest English meanings:

Kawaiiiiiiiiii - Cute / It's/She's/He's cute ( said especially by girls )

Maji de - Really!!! / Are you serious!

Usoooo - Literally means lie but normally said to mean "your joking right?"

Nande? - Why?

Hontou ni ? - Same as Maji de / Really! / Are you serious!

Nihongo umai/jyouzu ne - Your Japanese is awesome. (Even if all you can say is Konnichiwa) And said even to half Japanese who have been born and grown in Japan and know nothing else except Japanese.

Yabai - Can mean dangerous, exciting, awesome, hard...Lots of different things depending on the context.

Sugoi - Great / Wonderful / Amazing

Hashi ga jyouzu - You can use chop sticks well (said innocently but has some underlying meaning)

Hayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy - Normally said in amazement of something or when surprised. Maybe the best English word is WOW!!

Ukeruuu - It's funny

Oishii - It's delicious

You will definitely hear 90% or 100% of these words while being in Japan.



Day 1933 ( JLPT Level 4 Test Booklet / 39000 Year Old Mammoth In Yokohama )
Thursday, July 4, 2013

Stayed in for the entire day today trying to study Japanese. I hardly retained anything. Too much stuff on my mind. I ordered a book that I saw a friend of mine with recently and thought I had to get one to help me study.


Frozen mammoth gets day in sun

An almost perfectly preserved frozen mammoth, excavated from the permafrost in eastern Siberia, was unveiled to the media Tuesday in Yokohama, where it will be on display from Saturday.

The 3-meter-tall mammoth is a 10-year-old female and is presumed to have died about 39,000 years ago. The frozen carcass, named “Yuka” after Russia’s Sakha (Yakutia) Republic where it was discovered, is believed to be one of the world’s largest.

Excavated in 2010, Yuka has a long trunk, arms and legs preserved in almost perfect condition. Since then, the carcass was conserved and studied by researchers at an institute in Russia.




Day 1934 ( Centipedes Everywhere!! )
Friday, July 5, 2013

Went to my main school and an English teacher helped me to do some research. I am looking for somewhere in the Kanto area ( Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Yamanashi ) to keep "Jamaicans in Japan Spring ting 2014". The English teacher recommended a YMCA campus not too far from me. We are going to visit there the end of this month to check it out.


The stair case leading to my apartment
The one I saw in my apartment was bigger

Recently, I have been seeing centipedes ever so often. I hate centipedes!!!! I saw a big one near my main school, then I saw another huge black one in my apartment. Unfortunately, it disappeared in a jiffy. So it is probably still in my apartment. Then recently again I saw another one crawling nearby my apartment. I quickly grabbed the insect spray and showered it, then killed it with an umbrella. Maybe that was the wife of the black one in my apartment.... or related to the one in the picture above...



Day 1935 ( Japan's Softbank Acquires USA's Sprint )
Saturday, July 6, 2013

Had 3 classes today at the YMCA then tried really hard to study some Japanese for my exam tomorrow. Hardly studied anything. Again too much is on my mind :(


Softbank closes deal for Sprint, Clearwire

Softbank Corp. closed a $21.6 billion deal to gain a controlling stake in Sprint, the firm said Thursday, creating a stronger player in the competitive wireless market by acquiring the No. 3 U.S. mobile carrier.

The deal was completed after the end of Wednesday’s trading in New York.
A separate deal that gives Sprint full control of wireless broadband provider Clearwire was also closed, Softbank said.

“Softbank Corp. and Sprint Nextel Corporation today announced the completion of their previously announced merger whereby Softbank has invested approximately $21.6 billion in Sprint,” the company said.

With the new cash infusion and Clearwire’s spectrum, the new Sprint is expected to be able to better compete with the top U.S. carriers, AT&T and Verizon.

Softbank had targeted Sprint as a way to gain entry into the hot U.S. telecom market but ran into competition from Dish Network, which forced Softbank to increase its offer by $1.6 billion from the original $20 billion proposal.

The deal is the largest overseas acquisition ever made by a Japanese firm. Sprint stockholders will retain a 22 percent stake in the new firm.





Week 2 (Days 1936-1942){July 7 - 13}

Day 1936 ( Real JLPT N4 Exam )
Sunday, July 7, 2013

Did the level 4 (N4) Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) today. The test site was about a hour away from me. It started at 12:30 and they gave us the instructions etc, just like in the practice exam 3 weeks ago.

The test had 3 sections. The first section tested your knowledge of Kanji characters and in what situation to use them. It was multiple choice and very tricky. They will give you like 4 kanjis with all of them looking very similar and you are to choose the correct one. If you don't know the kanji well, you may choose the wrong one. I showed a few Japanese teachers some examples, and most of them made a slight mistake then quickly realized and corrected themselves. So if they are making mistakes, what about us foreigners????

Example of section 1

Anyway, section 1 was for the most part manageable. Not so easy, but not too difficult either.

Section 2 was the killer. Grammar and lots of reading type questions. Where we had to read looong sentences then answer the questions that follow. I didn't get to complete that section. Think I left out maybe 3-5 questions. The 1 hour wasn't enough.

Section 3 was listening. This section was also ok. Not extremely difficult, but not very easy either. If I was to say I did my best on any section, it would be the listening. I really don't know what to say, whether I passed or failed. If I fail, I have no issue. If I pass, I would be happy. This level is wayyy down on the rankings though, so if I do pass, it won't really help me that much. But 2 more levels up can help me to get a job in a Japanese company.



Day 1937 (  )
Monday, July 8, 2013

Stayed in for the whole day and did nothing. Later on I went to Fridays with my friend for dinner.



Day 1938 ( The Martin / Zimmerman Debacle )
Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Went to my other high school early today from 8:50 am and stayed there until 3:15 pm  doing absolutely nothing!!! I had to go there early today because I missed a class 2 weeks ago when a teacher told me that I didn't need to go there.... I learn now not to listen to the teachers unless they are in charge of handling schedules etc.


Zimmerman acquitted of Martin killing

The world should know that America is a racially charged country. That is why I'm not particularly keen on living there. Many of us Jamaicans will probably never experience any form of racism or something resembling racism until we come out of the country.

Many Black people in the US and possibly the world are in shock and angered over the verdict that Zimmerman is not guilty for the slaying of 17 yo Trayvon Martin. I am in no way surprised. This is America we are talking about and if the evidence ain't strong enough, nothing will happen. Possibly, even more so if the victim is Black. The fact that the jury was made up of 6 White women does seem a bit fishy I must admit.


A Florida jury acquitted George Zimmerman of charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter Saturday night in a case that alternately fascinated and appalled large segments of a spellbound America.
The saga of Zimmerman’s shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager named Trayvon Martin whittled into the American vernacular, transforming “hoodie” sweatshirts into cultural markers, and provoking a painful re-examination of race relations in the country. 




Day 1939 ( TV Tokyo Interview Soon / Jamaican Men You Shouldn't Date )
Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Did nothing again at my main school, but had 2 classes at the YMCA afterwards. I got angry several times with the one kid that was disrupting my class last week. I shouted at him several times.

In the evening, Yvonne, the owner of the Jamaican (Jam Rock) restaurant in Harajuku, asked me if I was interested in doing a TV interview for TV Tokyo. One of the more popular TV stations in Japan. You already may know that I love this kinda stuff so I agreed. They wanted to know about my love for Jamaica and what Jamaican items I had in my apartment. So I rearranged my apartment to look like a Jamaica freak.



Day 1940 (  )
Thursday, July 11, 2013

Had my business owner, private student today. We spoke mostly about her family and some seminar stuff that she did with her company recently.

Later in the evening, I went to the Jamaican restaurant in Shibuya to borrow a Bob Marley poster for my interview with TV Tokyo.



Day 1941 (  )
Friday, July 12, 2013

Did 3 classes at my main school today. Started at 9 ended at 12. Today was hot and humid. I was sweating uncontrollably and so were the Japanese teachers. I then went back home a bit, then to YMCA in the night. When I got home, I did some serious cleaning for the interview tomorrow.



Day 1942 ( Interview With TV Tokyo )
Saturday, July 13, 2013

Did 3 classes today at YMCA then went back to my apartment to clean my apartment some more in preparation for the TV interview. An interview team of 4 came to my apartment at around 3pm. The main interviewer guy was using a lot of polite and high level Japanese words that I didn't understand very well. And he spoke really fast. So I started getting nervous. This is sooo unlike me.

Even the opening was difficult, because they wanted me to do certain Japanese expressions that seemed natural to them, but difficult for me. The interviewer guy asked me several questions mostly relating to "The pride of Jamaicans" and how most of us Jamaicans, whether home or abroad are simply proud to be Jamaicans. We always have a flag in our house or apartment wherever we are. And we want people to know that "hey I'm Jamaican".

On the other hand, most Japanese people don't really have a Japanese flag anywhere around and seem not so proud of their country. Go into any Japanese house, chances are you won't see any Japanese flags anywhere. So I think the aim is to try to build back some sort of pride in the Japanese home. Sure they are proud to be Japanese, but they are not so proud of Japan.

Anyway, the interview took about 3 hours... mostly because they wanted me to speak a certain way and to answer questions in a certain style. But the words were too difficult. I had to be repeating certain things over and over again. It was nothing like the TV show I had back in Okayama, where I had a script and could study it. There was no script here. Anyway, the program will be aired:

On August 2, 2013 (in 2 weeks)

On TV Tokyo - Channel 7 (in Kanto area)

At 10 pm (22:00) 

The name of the program is Takeshi no Nippon no Mikatta

Hosted by a famous Japanese guy that calls himself Beat Takeshi. If you are in Japan, you may see his photo all over the trains, advertising ECC English School.

Yeah so I got 10,000 yen for the interview. Small, but the most I've ever received so far for appearing on TV. This was how I did my apartment.

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