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

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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Marijuana Cures Seizures / Stuff About The Japanese Yakazu Gang You didn't Know

Funny / Weird photo of the week:

Days 2164 - 2170
Thursday, February 20 - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 

Day 2164 ( Pitch Perfect / Marijuana Cures Seizures )
Thursday, February 20, 2014 (5 yrs 11 Months)

Stayed in, blogged and searched for some graduate study scholarships in Sweden. Can you believe you can do graduate studies in Sweden for free! If you can pick up one of their scholarships?? The only thing is that you have to apply and pay about US$170 for the application fee then hope to get accepted.  Unfortunately, I found out about this thing too late. But I will try again next year. The deadline for scholarship applications was February 11. Here is the website, check them out....


I also watched a chick flick called "Pitch Perfect".

It was one of those usual "save the last dance" kinda flicks where the underdog group ends up coming out on top....... with a little side story to try spicing it up. It wasn't too bad though. I give it a 6.5/10.


Marijuana helps kids with seizures, but worries doctors

The doctors were out of ideas to help 5-year-old Charlotte Figi.
Suffering from a rare genetic disorder, she had as many as 300 grand mal seizures a week, used a wheelchair, went into repeated cardiac arrest and could barely speak. As a last resort, her mother began calling medical marijuana shops.
Two years later, Charlotte is largely seizure-free and able to walk, talk and feed herself after taking oil infused with a special pot strain. Her recovery has inspired both a name for the strain of marijuana she takes that is bred not to make users high — Charlotte’s Web — and an influx of families with seizure-stricken children to Colorado from states that ban the drug.
“She can walk, talk; she ate chili in the car,” her mother, Paige Figi, said as her dark-haired daughter strolled through a cavernous greenhouse full of marijuana plants that will later be broken down into their anti-seizure components and mixed with olive oil so patients can consume them. “So I’ll fight for whoever wants this.”
Doctors warn there is no proof that Charlotte’s Web is effective, or even safe.



Day 2165 ( Tax Returns Hassle )
Friday, February 21, 2014

Recently, a coworker at my Tuesday evening part-time job told me that I could get back money from the government. Many foreigners in Japan are totally oblivious to this it seem. So I embarked on a project to find out just how this thing works. I checked online but it was leading me all over the place. I initially thought I should go to the city office, but I was told that I should go to the "Tax - Office" for Yokohama. I searched for the Yokohama tax office on the internet and it lead me to a place in Motomachi (upscale area of Yokohama). Got lost a bit but someone directed me to the office. When I got there, the staff told me that there wasn't the place for me, and I should either go to Sakuragicho or another place close to my apartment.

So I ran to Sakuragicho but unfortunately the place was already closed. I was disappointed but luckily they are available until about March 17. Gonna try again next week.



Day 2166 ( Stuff About the Yakuza You Didn't know )
Saturday, February 22, 2014

Had my usual YMCA classes today. For the first time, there were about 10 kindergarten and younger children in my first class. Darn I'm getting popular here.......


15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Yakuza

1. The Yakuza “employ” more than 100,000 people, effectively making them the largest criminal organization in the world.
2. The name Yakuza comes from Oicho-Kabu, a game similar to blackjack. Ya-ku-za (8-9-3) is said to be a losing hand.
3. The power structure within a Yazuka crime syndicate is a typical pyramid structure, with the head at the top and power disseminated into his loyal henchmen. However, it gets a little more complicated. True to Japanese tradition, there is unwavering loyalty and complete obedience that comes with this. Oyabun — or the father counsels and protects the kobun — the child, and the kobun is expected to lay down his life for the oyabun.
4. Yakuza membership surged to 184,000 members after World War II, which is just half the entire Japanese police force (291,475 personnel in 2010).
5. Punishment is doled out through physical violence. Failure to complete a task ends up with yubizume, which is amputation of a part of the little finger. This act makes it so that the punished becomes more dependent on his superior for protection. In the Meiji era, that meant the amputee would not be able to wield his sword as freely as he would’ve with his finger.

6. Yoshio Kodama united the Yakuza factions and became the first “godfather”. He was extremely right-wing and funneled money into the Liberal Democratic Party — an anti-communist right-wing political party.
7. Komada was behind the 1976 Lockheed scandal, which saw Lockheed pay $3 million in bribes to Japanese Prime Minister Kakuei Tanaka.
8. Sumo wrestling events are usually rife with Yakuza members.
9. Kazuo Taoka was the oyabun of Japan’s largest Yakuza family, Yamaguchi-gumi. He was nicknamed “Kuma” (“Bear”) for attacking his opponent’s eyes. He was shot in the back of the neck, but survived. His attacker was found dead weeks later in some woods surrounding Kobe.
10. The Yakuza have a firm hand in the pornography industry in Japan. But that’s not all, they also have a big role in sex trafficking and firearms smuggling.

11. The Yakuza are adept at corporate blackmail and extortion. They have a specific group dedicated for this, called sokaiya. The sokaiyagather information about the company — especially on the officers. Once they get details on mistresses, violations swept under the rug, secret meetings, financial problems, they extort the management for “compensation.” And the sokaiya always gets what they want.
12. There are reported Yakuza activity in the United States. Most of the activity is in Hawaii, but they have been reported in California, Nevada and New York.

13. The Yakuza see violent death as poetic, tragic and an honorable way to die. They also help the weak and steal from the rich. These romantic notions actually put the gang in a favorable light in the public’s eye.
14. The Yakuza responded to the tsunami catastrophe faster than the Japanese government did. The Yakuza delivered food, water, blankets and toiletries to evacuation centers in northeast Japan.
15. The Yakuza are known to play in the political sphere and align themselves with nationalist, right-wing parties. This bode well for the two, giving the Yakuza a place to meddle in politics within legal boundaries, and politicians to employ the Yakuza for illegal activities. 



Day 2167 ( Black History Month Performance / Spring Vacation - Go to Thailand )
Sunday, February 23, 2014

Went again to the tax office place in Sakuragicho (They were opened today even though it's Sunday). This time the line was wayyy to long and I had a performance in Tokyo (Omotesando) at a black History month event. It was a great event and I performed "Mek wi build up di nation - Let us build up the nation" the first time to perform this poem in Japan. Here are some pics from the event.


Spring break in Asia? Consider Thailand's beaches

A trip sampling the diversity of Southeast Asian destinations can take you from the sleek modernity of Singapore to the ancient temples of Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. And then there are the beaches of Thailand: relaxing, beautiful, and for the adventurous spring-breaker, a lot more exotic than Miami. Thai beaches offer gorgeous stretches of sand, water sports, nearby outdoor activities and cheap food and drink.
Off the Andaman Sea are famed Phuket and Koh Phi Phi, which rose to international prominence after being featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio film “The Beach,” but the beaches along the Gulf of Thailand have an equally renowned trio of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. Each of these has its own charms and attractions, and regular boat service makes it easy to travel among them. All three have fantastic party scenes, as well — and while not traditional spring-break destinations, American college kids would certainly feel at home there.
As for the recent political unrest in Thailand, tourist numbers at the beaches were down midwinter as some visitors cancelled trips, but those who went ahead found the islands as lovely and as much fun as ever. And due to cancelations, some hotels are even willing to negotiate room rates.



Day 2168 ( Elysium )
Monday, February 24, 2014

Did 1 class at the YMCA then bought some groceries at a nearby supermarket. Later on I watched a movie called "Elysium".

Really interesting science fiction flick with a theme basically about utilitarianism and power/greed. It is pretty gory with lots of blood etc. but very entertaining. I give it a 7.5/10.



Day 2169 ( Jus one a dem days / Confused Japanese Prompted High speed Chase in Utah )
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Today was one of those days ! .... Got to work late this morning  because I was sorting out some contractual stuff with my apartment agency. But it shows that my main job today was tired of my every now and again lateness ....  Get it together Dave !!!!! A senior staff member had a word with me about it again... probably for the 3rd time this school year I think.

At my second job, I waited for 1 hour for the second class to begin. So I started packing up stuff to leave earlier than usual. As I opened the door to leave.....I was greeted by a student who I haven't seen in like 4 weeks !!! Is this some weird game ??? Why did he choose today???


Confused Japanese tourists trigger highway pursuit in Utah

The first night in the United States for a family of Japanese tourists ended with the parents being pulled from their rental car at gunpoint with their young son watching after their confusion about American traffic laws set off a high-speed pursuit in southern Utah.
The pursuit began at 1 a.m. Saturday on Interstate 15 near the Utah-Arizona border when the couple’s car was spotted going just 37 mph (60 kph) and swerving between lanes, said Lt. Brad Horne, Utah Highway Patrol’s DUI unit commander.
More than a dozen patrolmen were working the area in a special DUI (Driving Under the Influence) operation, and Horne said he figured the car was being driven by a drunken driver. Horne turned on his lights and siren to pull the car over.
Instead of pulling over, the driver sped up to 75 mph (120 kph) and began driving erratically, he said. Her speeds fluctuated between 40 and 75 mph (64 and 120 kph) as she weaved across lanes and into the shoulder.
Soon, there were three patrol cars in pursuit with other officers closing highway off ramps and setting tire spikes miles ahead, Horne said.
“It was literally red and blue lights in every direction,” Horne said.
The couple’s car skidded to a stop about 7 miles (11 kilometers) north of where the pursuit began after three of the tires deflated after hitting the spikes.
A patrolman bellowed commands from a loudspeaker in his patrol car, telling the couple to exit and walk backward. Both directions of I-15 were closed as officers prepared to encounter hardened criminals.
Instead, a Japanese woman in her early 40s emerged.
“She would walk forward, backward, spin around — obviously she had no clue what we wanted her to do,” Horne said.
Still bracing for the worst, officers approached the car with guns drawn and pulled the woman and a man from the car. That’s when they saw the couple’s 7-year-old son in the backseat and realized the family didn’t speak English.
The boy was crying, and the parents appeared nervous and confused, Horne said.
“I think they were terrified,” he said.
Realizing they were dealing with language and cultural barriers, and not a drunken driver or fugitive, officers changed their strategy, Horne said. One officer consoled the boy and reunited him with his parents as others worked to get a Japanese-speaking officer on the phone.
They found one in northern Utah who spoke to the couple and learned they had arrived from Japan on Friday morning and rented a car to drive from California to Bryce Canyon in southern Utah.
The woman said she had no idea what she was supposed to do when the patrolman put on his lights and siren, so she sped up to get out of the way. She kept apologizing for crashing the car, not realizing they ran over tire spikes, Horne said. Patrolmen took the family to a motel and wished them safe travels.
Nobody was hurt and no cars damaged other than the flat tires, he said. About a dozen law enforcement officers were involved in some way.
Authorities don’t plan to pursue charges.
Horne said the couple didn’t have Japanese driver’s licenses with them.
Horne said he’s encountered many tourists in his three decades working with the Utah Highway Patrol, but he’s never seen a situation escalate like this.
“Red and blue lights are a pretty universal signal,” Horne said. “Regardless of nationality and language, when we put lights on, people pull over and stop.”



Day 2170 (  )
Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Usual 3 jobs Wednesdays - high school, YMCA then my private student. My private student gave me some more information about the tax refund process. He said even Japanese people have difficulty with it so it will be doubly difficult for foreigners. Yikes !!! I am still gonna take on the challenge this coming Friday. Stay tuned for that adventure !


Anonymous said...

I thoroughly enjoyed my graduate experience in Sweden. But when I went it was entirely free to everyone. But now there are fees and scholarships if you don't have an EU passport.

However, I'm sure you must have seen, PhD programs are jobs and you get paid. And I think Norway is still entirely free.


davay colly said...

Thanks for telling me K. I will check out the Finland ones as well.

Arniel Brown said...

Heard Finland was free too. Check with Courtney Salmon he is studying in Scandanavia.

Arniel Brown said...

Heard Finland was free too. Check with Courtney Salmon. He is up in that area.