3 Years after March 11 Earthquake ... over 2500 Still missing / Japanese Only - Racist Soccer Banner

Funny/Weird photo of the week :

Days 2178 - 2184
Thursday, March 6 - Wednesday, March 12, 2014 

Day 2178 ( Interview 1 at Berlitz / Collecting Thailand Visa )
Thursday, March 6, 2014

Left out early and went for a group interview for a famous English teaching company in Japan called "Berlitz". At least 4 of my Jamaican friends work for them. So I thought I would have a strong chance.

So for the first time, I did a group interview. About 9 of us were there. There were 2 interviewers so to speak. A Japanese lady from Human resources and an American man who was what they call a segment/division manager or something like that. They manage a group of schools in a particular area.

Actually this interview wasn't really an interview. It was more like an information session. They explained to us about the company and gave us some papers to fill out and sign. Also to choose the branch where we would prefer to work at. However, each branch have a specific type of teacher that they want. There are 3 types of job/teaching positions available with Berlitz.

(1) Instructor (semi full-time) - where you work 40 hrs/units per week. Mostly teaching business English in the evenings and weekends.

(2) Part-time instructors I think they do about 16-20 hrs/units per week... Don't remember exactly.

(3) Per unit lessons - These are just done as requested by random locations or people.

As mentioned earlier, each branch/location need 1, 2 or all of these kind of workers. I was going for a Semi full time position in Yokohama. So I wrote this on the paper.

So after filling out the paper, they would call us in and give us a very brief interview asking like 3 questions then tell us they will get back in touch and tell us if we made it to interview #2 which was the real interview!!!
So that was it for interview #1/information session.


After this, I went to Meguro to finally collect my Thailand visa.

Then to Shibuya to eat dinner at the Jamaican restaurant there.



Day 2179 ( Urawa, Saitama Racist Football Supporters )
Friday, March 7, 2014

Spoke to a teacher at my school who is helping me with the planning for Spring Ting 2014... spoke to him at length about it. Then I followed my friend to a home store to go look at some stuff. We then went to the YMCA. This is what my students drew for me today .......

Dave (center) being disciplined by YMCA education mascots


J. League and media must show red card to racism

Japan’s professional soccer league said Monday it was investigating after an apparently racist banner reading “Japanese only” appeared at a weekend match.
The large banner, written in English, was hoisted near a gate to the stands of a stadium in the city of Saitama near Tokyo, where home club Urawa Red Diamonds were taking on rivals Sagan Tosu.
Social media was abuzz with speculation that the sign could have been targeting South Korean-born striker Tadanari Lee, who was released by English club Southampton for a transfer to Urawa before the J-League season kicked off this month. Lee also holds Japanese citizenship.
Urawa said Monday it was questioning an unspecified number of people who had displayed the banner, which also featured a Japanese flag, saying their “words and deeds evoked discrimination”.
“Staff from a security guard company in the stands has reported that discriminatory remarks were heard during the match,” the statement said, without elaborating.
Urawa is managed by Austrian Mihailo Petrovic and has Brazilian Marcio Richardes as one of its midfielders.
Sagan’s manager and coach are both South Korean, as are several players.
Urawa defender Tomoaki Makino tweeted after his team’s 1-0 loss on Saturday that “this is not the way to treat players who fight for this team with pride”.
“Players and supporters cannot unite as one and produce results this way,” he wrote.
Urawa, the 2007 Asian champions which draws passionate backing from its large fan base, said the results of its probe would be released to the public.

On Saturday, during their J. League match against Sagan Tosu at Saitama Stadium, some Urawa Reds fans hung a “Japanese only” banner over an entrance to the stands.
It went viral. Several sports sections in Japanese newspapers and blogs, as well as overseas English media, covered the story. The banner was reportedly soon taken down, and both the football club and players expressed regret that it had ever appeared. Urawa investigated, and at the time of going to press Wednesday, reports were suggesting that the club had decided that the banner was discriminatory, reversing a previous finding that the fans behind the incident had “no discriminatory intent.”

So case closed? Not so fast. There is something important that the major media is overlooking — nay, abetting: the implicit racism that would spawn such a sign.
None of the initial reports called out the incident for what it was: racial discrimination (jinshu sabetsu). News outlets such as Kyodo, Asahi, Mainichi, Yomiuri, AP, AFP, Al-Jazeera — even The Japan Times — muted their coverage by saying the banner “could apparently be considered/construed/seen as racist.” (Well, how else could it be construed? Were they trying to say that “only the Japanese language is spoken here”?) Few ran pictures of the banner to give context or impact.

Japanese media appended the standard hand-wringing excuses, including the cryptic “I think the meaning behind it is for Japanese to pump up the J. League,” and even a reverse-engineered claim of performance art: “I think it was just tongue-in-cheek because the club is not bolstering the team with foreign players.” 


Day 2180 ( 10-year-old letter arrives from daughter lost to tsunami :/ )
Saturday, March 8, 2014

Was arguing with a friend of mine about some pressing issues for a good hour or more today after teaching at the YMCA.


This was really sad to read :(

10-year-old letter arrives from daughter lost to tsunami

“I wonder if you’ll have a grandchild when you get this letter?”
These are the words written by a woman 10 years ago, before she lost her life in the March 2011 tsunami. Her mother and father were shocked to find the letter containing them arrive in the mail this January. While there was no Hollywood movie ending where their beloved daughter turned up alive and well, the letter has at least given them a chance to hear some of the things she never had the chance to tell them in life.

One of the many people to go missing in the 2011 Tohoku disaster was a woman of 26 who was employed as a temp worker in Otsuchi, Iwate Prefecture. She had graduated high school in 2003 and started working as a bus guide for a bus company in Kyoto, but had then returned to her hometown of Otsuchi at her parents’ urging. When the tsunami struck, she was in the town hall, and it’s thought she was swallowed by the water along with her co-workers. Her house escaped damage and her parents were unhurt, but she was never found. After half a year, her parents regretfully submitted notification of her death.
Her father, 59, and mother, 51, have been stricken with grief, as they were the ones who had wanted her to return home. They have spent each painful day since the disaster regretting ever asking her to move back to the town.
However, when her father returned home from work on Jan 12 this year, he found a white envelope waiting in the post box. He recognized his daughter’s familiar, neat handwriting, and opened it filled with hope that she could be alive somewhere.
Unfortunately this was not the case, but what he did find was a link with the daughter he had lost. Inside the envelope were two pieces of writing paper, filled with her thoughts and feelings about the day she had left home for work and the day she started her job as a bus guide, as well as musings about where she might be 10 years from then.
She had written the letter when visiting the Meiji-mura museum in Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, and used their service where they hold onto your letter and deliver it 10 years later. Written on Jan 10 2004, it had arrived as scheduled in 2014.
Just before the disaster, she had gotten engaged to a classmate from her middle school who she’d been with for eight years. In the letter she had written “I think I might be married and have kids, but what if I’m all alone.” Reading this, her mother murmured, “Who’d have thought she wouldn’t even be here in 10 years?”
The unexpected arrival was a shock to her parents who were still in mourning. They’d had no idea about the letter, and they also hadn’t known about some of the feelings their daughter expressed in it. One line that stood out is where she tells her parents, “Mom and Dad you’ve done so much for me, so I want to return the favor to you from now on.”



Day 2181 ( Disney Animated Movie Evening/Night )
Sunday, March 9, 2014

Had to go work today !!! Both of the YMCAs that I work at had their kind of graduation or end of year ceremony today. I performed and gave a small speech / appeal at both. The poem I did was called "We love YMCA" written and edited by .... Dave .... Collymore :)


This evening I had an overload of Disney animated movies. First I watch the much talked about "Frozen" which to me wasn't all that. It was just the usual lets save some body then get married to a dude and there is a random evil and a random funny character. It did have a huuge twist or not twist but kind of a trick your mind thing near the end. Oh and the colours are AMAZING !!! I give it a 6.5/10.

Then shortly after I watched "Mulan" which was from like 1998, a year after I graduated high school.

Now this to me was HILARIOUS !! Even though it was so long ago. Loved the characters and the story. Made me laugh a lot throughout. I give this one a 8/10.

After this I watched Dinosaur which was released back in year 2000.... Another Disney animation. It was kinda slow, kinda childish, not really my kinda thing. But I did watch it until the end. I give it say a 5/10.



Day 2182 ( Berlitz Interview #2/Tallest Building in Japan now Open )
Monday, March 10, 2014

Ok  So I did the second interview for Berlitz today. I thought Berlitz was an American company all this time. Well yeah it actually started in America but now it is fully owned by a Japanese company name Beneese.

Yeah so I did interview number 2 with Berlitz, this time in Yokohama and with 2 Yokohama manager guys. Both of their accents seemed very British/Scottish/Australian (sorry can't tell the difference between them). They asked me a couple of questions and to be honest, a few of the questions had me searching deep in my brain for answers. I could've guessed that I probably wasn't going to get this one. It was one of my most intense interviews yet. I wasn't at all relaxed. After the interview, the 2 very tall interviewers wished me well. And the main guy said I will be contacted by the HR Japanese lady who was in the first interview/training session.

To be honest, so far in my 8 years experience of working, both in Jamaica and in Japan, (outside of my present job with Interac/Maxceed), I have never been successful at an interview. All my jobs were off recommendation from someone. Aka links. My first job as a computer teacher was basically given to me by a friend who recommended me to a principal. My second job as a computer teacher at an academy was given to me because my pastor's wife was the assistant manager. They gave me an interview but just for formality. All my part-time jobs now in Japan were based off recommendations.

Anyway, after the interview, I did 2 classes at the YMCA then I had a lesson with a new private student. One of the guys I play football with occasionally on Wednesday nights, want me to teach him English. The first lesson with him went pretty well even though he spoke mostly Japanese.


Japan's tallest building opens in Osaka

I am not Impressed in the least

Kintetsu Corp’s massive building project, the 300-meter-tall Abeno Harukas, opened its doors fully for the first time at Abenobashi Station in Osaka, on Friday. The building is now the tallest in Japan.
The 65-floor (60 above ground) building houses the Kintetsu department store, the Osaka Marriot Miyako Hotel, restaurants, offices and an art museum. There is also a viewing deck for tourists called Harukas 300, second only in height to Tokyo Skytree.
The name Harukas comes from the Japanese word “harukasu,” meaning to make clear or brighten up.
Still not impressed




Day 2183 ( Over 2000 Still Unaccounted For after 3 years ... )
Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Today they did a 30 second moment of silence/prayer at my school. All of us teachers stood up, faced the window to the east and closed our eyes for 30 seconds.

Today was also my final day at this school so they asked me to give a short speech. I wasn't prepared and I didn't at all expect this. About 3 teachers followed me to the door while I exited. I almost shed a tear but I held my order !!! I didn't get to say bye to a couple of the English teachers or to the Vice principal or principal because they were in a meeting.

On my way to my second job, I posted 3 letters... 2 of them back to Jamaica and 1 to America requesting a transcript from my graduate school.


2,636 still unaccounted for, 3 years after Tohoku disaster

Man takes up diving in order to find missing wife

Three years after the March 11, 2011 disaster in the Tohoku region, 2,636 people are still missing, according to the National Police Agency.
As of March 1, the recognized death toll stands at 15,884 in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures, including the remains of 98 persons who have not been able to be identified.
Police, Maritime Safety Agency personnel and local volunteers conduct searches for missing tsunami victims on the 11th of each month. The searches for missing people are conducted at the request of families of the missing.
The greatest number missing is 1,287, from Miyagi.

Yasuo Takamatsu, 57, grunts with the effort of hoisting a scuba diving tank onto his back, as he prepares to step into the cold waters off Japan’s tsunami-ravaged coast to look for the body of his wife, one of thousands still missing three years on.
A swell lifts the wooden boat as he tugs on an over-sized rubber dry-suit that will protect him from the chill when he sinks into the murky, March-gray Pacific Ocean.
“She was a gentle and kind person,” said Takamatsu. “She would always be next to me, physically and mentally. I miss her, I miss the big part of me that was her.”
Takamatsu, a bus driver by trade, was never a natural candidate for learning to scuba dive and was worried he would not be able to do it.
But he feels driven to the water when he thinks about the last time he heard from his wife Yuko, before the nearly 20-meter wave engulfed her.
In a text message sent at 3.21 p.m., half an hour after a huge undersea earthquake shook Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011 and unleashed a towering tsunami, Yuko said simply: “I want to go home”.
“That was the last message from her,” he said. “I feel terrible thinking she is still out there. I want to bring her home as soon as possible.” 
Weeks later, while scouring the area, bank workers found Yuko’s mobile phone and handed it back to Takamatsu.
He dried it off and fired it up to see that she had written a text message he had never received, at almost exactly the time the water was thought to have reached the roof of the bank.
“‘Tsunami huge’. That was all she wrote in the very last one,” he said.



Day 2184 (  )
Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Had another short meeting with the teacher at my main school who is helping me to plan Spring ting 2014. We are currently having some issues with the location which is why you don't see any updates yet... Update coming by the end of this week no worries.......

So it was confirmed via email that I didn't get the Berlitz job...Any way moving right along. Had no classes today at my school but did 2 at the YMCA... The final 2 of these for this school year. Then spoke to my evening student for a bit.


My friend told me that I was on the front page of the BWA website from my trip to Singapore last year.