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

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

Trekking Through Thailand Part 1 / Disease Checking Breathalyzer / Japanese Immigration Guilty For Killing Ghanaian / 6 Years in Japan

Weird / Funny Photo of the week

Days 2185 - 2198
Thursday, March 13 - Wednesday, March 26, 2014 (2 weeks)

Be prepared ... this is gonna be a looong blog.... Because Its 2 weeks ....

Week 1

Day 2185 ( 5 reasons why "Some foreigners" find it difficult to keep or maintain good Japanese friends.... )
Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pretty boring day.... Just stayed in all day because it was raining.


5 reasons why "Some foreigners" find it difficult to keep or maintain good Japanese friends.... 

With all the controversy surrounding a recent “racist” All Nippon Airlines ad, the Japanese and Western media have both been abuzz with the question of whether foreign people can ever truly become respected Japanese citizens – accepted by their community and deemed worthy of the right to not be the recipient of extraordinary treatment.
But this conversation has been going on a long, long time in the expat community in Japan, with a lot of otherwise Japanophile foreigners finding it hard to befriend the Japanese on a higher-than-acquaintance level. Why? Well, frequent source of opinion and cultural commentary Madame Riri has compiled a few of the reasons:
The “Gaijin Card”

The so-called “Gaijin Card” is a much-talked about wildcard that foreigners can use to gain instant forgiveness for cultural transgressions in Japan. The famously confrontation-averse Japanese will go to great lengths to avoid having a lengthy or complicated conversation with people in English, which means feigning ignorance of the Japanese language or Japanese etiquette can net you all kinds of bonuses in social situations that a regular Japanese person wouldn’t get. 
But the Gaijin Card is a two-way street: No matter how hard you try to assimilate into Japanese culture, you will forever be a perpetual “other.” The word gaijin, in fact, is a slightly derogatory but universally accepted label for foreigners in Japan that essentially means “outsiders”, and the Japanese will never stop calling you one no matter how close your relationship or how long you’ve been a resident. There is a whole category of Japanese people that foreign exchange students and long-term expats refer to as “Gaijin Hunters;” Japanese that go out of their way to befriend foreigners, typically for self-serving purposes like free English lessons, street cred, or Hollywood movie-style romance, whether that’s a fair label or not.
Comparatively rare, however, is the Japanese person who will treat you like just another human being. Foreigners must constantly endure having their “outside-ness” “discussed openly in conversation, and I’ve had more than one friendship crumble upon learning a Japanese “friend” had actually been keeping me around for the free English lessons.
The constant praise

On the surface, this seems like something everybody would want. It feels great when people earnestly praise your language skills, your exotic looks, and your unique skill set. It’s another thing entirely when people constantly compliment your most rudimentary skills like using chopsticks and saying “thank you” in Japanese.
These little backhanded compliments are referred to in sociology by the relatively new term of “Microaggressions.” Essentially, when a Japanese person compliments your basic chopstick use or your above-average pronunciation of rudimentary Japanese phrases, asks, “When will you go back to your home country?” or, “Do you like Japanese women?,” these people are essentially re-affirming your “otherness;” Confirming their own stereotypes about foreigners while at the same time presenting it in a complimentary fashion that feels difficult to refute or take offense to.
The mystery
While you feel conflicted about stereotyping the Japanese right after several paragraphs of complaining about the Japanese stereotyping other people, it really does feel like the Japanese tend to mince words. It’s difficult being friends with a person who never truly tells directly how they feel or what they think. The Japanese language, in fact, lends itself perfectly to dodging around giving your true opinion on something, with phrases such as, “sore ha chotto…” (“Well, that’s a little…”) being readily accepted in the lexicon as a legitimate rejection of an offer. No reason ever need be given to reject or accept an invitation or opinion, often leaving foreigners scratching their heads about their Japanese friends’ true intentions and feelings.
The constant planning
Again, to step into stereotype territory, the Japanese seem to be “planners.” That is, you often must go through lengthy e-mail and phone exchanges to settle on an exact time and place to meet your Japanese friend, and sometimes the ultimate meeting time can be months on the horizon. On the other hand, I’ve been the recipient of a fair amount of Japanese frustration because, as a Midwestern American, I tend to plan things off the cuff; sometimes at the very last minute or at the spur of the moment. That’s just how I roll. But I find this often clashes with the methodical nature of planning social gatherings in Japan.
Is either way right or wrong? No. But are the two styles compatible? Uh… Not really, and many foreigners find this lack of flexibility hard to stomach.
It takes time
When I was in college, I found it incredibly easy to strike up a conversation with another student in line at the food court or sitting next to each other in class. After a few short exchanges, a friendship seemed to instantly sprout up out of the ether. Soon enough, I’d be seeing the same people at parties and hosting them in my disgusting college-boy “apartment” (probably classified by normal people as a “disaster area”).
In Japan, striking up a conversation is easy enough, but it takes months or even years for that first contact to bloom into a substantial relationship. This goes back to the deeply-ingrained Japanese philosophy of “uchi” and “soto;” Essentially, close co-workers, family members and long-term friends are “uchi” (“inside”) and everyone else is “soto” (“outside”). Working your way up from soto to uchi thus takes a very long time and a lot of favor giving-and-taking.
This all isn’t to say that meaningful relationships with Japanese people is impossible. On the contrary, I’ve had Japanese friends run to my aid in times of need when other Western friends seemed mysteriously absent. On the one hand, close friendships with Japanese people are extremely rewarding and almost always last a lifetime, but on the other hand, getting to that point can quite frankly be a pain in the ass.



Day 2186 ( Last Contract Day for Main Job / RIP Anika Chin :(   )
Friday, March 14, 2014

Today was my last contract day for teaching high school in my prefecture. My main school wanted me back but unfortunately I can't do high school next year because of visa complications. Not only that but I would have to do some serious work to escape out of my financial drought, as high school is part-time.

Any way, did my last high school class today at 8:50 am then spoke to a teacher at length about plans for Spring Ting 2014. Shortly thereafter, I saw on my facebook via my iphone that a close friend of mine since high school died from cancer :( .... Still can't believe it.



Day 2187 ( The Butler )
Saturday, March 15, 2014

Went to the YMCA to do my final Saturday class for this school year. Then went to a home store nearby my apartment to look around. I saw a teacher who I taught elementary school with for 2 years. We spoke for a bit then I went back to my apartment.

Later I watched "The Butler". This was a decent movie. It showed some stuff that happened in the final years of slavery in America, as well as lots about the civil rights movement. Every time I think about Americas history with racism and how they dealt with blacks at the time, it automatically angers me....Why is it that years after slavery has been abolished, they still practiced segregation !?!?Anyway my ranting is futile...

I give it a strong 8/10. Really good movie, you should see it.



Day 2188 ( G-Shock Watch To predict Weather Change )
Sunday, March 16, 2014

Stayed in again being lazy. These days are coming up quite often because my main contract is over. April remains unknown .....


Casio Computer Co will release a new shock-resistant G-SHOCK watch, the GWN-1000, nicknamed the Gulfmaster, from June 27.

The new G-SHOCK boasts features useful for ocean activities, such as an atmospheric pressure sensor that can help predict changes in the weather. One of the watch hands indicates the change in pressure compared to a previously measured value, while a digital display shows the current atmospheric pressure values. A sudden spike or drop in pressure is indicated by an icon in the inset dial, accompanied by an alarm signal. The watch also includes a compass function to help identify the direction to a destination with the second hand pointing north.
In addition, the watch comes with a tide graph with pre-set locations, which enables the wearer to anticipate sea surface conditions at the destination.
The new G-SHOCK also includes the following features:
· Smart Access enables its advanced functions to be operated intuitively. By operating the crown, world time and all other sensor functions can be accessed with ease.
· A single button accesses the sensor measurements, and different sounds indicate the sensor mode in use.
· A new band construction which seamlessly integrates into the case uses flexible soft urethane, offering improved comfort around the wrist.
The new models will be priced US$550 /  57,000 yen (before tax).




Day 2189 ( Got Tax Returns / 30 Second disease checking breathalyzer )
Monday, March 17, 2014

Was late for my last Monday class at the YMCA today. But all I did was play hit and run with a ball...Me versus the kids. When I got home, I saw that I actually received my tax returns !!! yup... That 1 hour filling out paper work on paper and on the computer, then walking in the cold rain, actually paid off .....


Toshiba unveils disease-detecting breathalyzer

Toshiba Corp on Tuesday unveiled a breathalyzer which it says can detect a wide range of diseases just 30 seconds after users blow into the machine.
The device, about the size of a small dishwasher, has a nozzle in which users blow several times.
It then analyses the puffs for traces of several gases which can signal the presence of several health problems including diabetes, stomach ailments and even the ordinary hangover.
“A breath exhaled into the machine is irradiated with an infrared laser, and then trace gases are detected” the company said in a statement.
The gases include acetaldehyde, methane and acetone, all of which can point to the presence of various health problems.
Toshiba said it would expand the number of gases—and diseases—that its machine can detect, with an eye to starting commercial production next year.
The healthcare segment is a key unit for Toshiba, which is best known for its consumer electronics.



Day 2190 ( Japanese Immigration Guilty After Killing Ghanaian Man Finally !! )
Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Did 2 business English classes and let them know that next week I will be absent because I will be in Thailand.


Court awards damages over Ghanaian's deportation death

A Japanese court on Wednesday awarded compensation to the family of a Ghanaian man who died in immigration custody, blaming officials for accidentally killing the man who was restrained with handcuffs and a mouth gag.
The Tokyo District Court ruled that the family of Abubakar Awudu Suraj—who was awaiting deportation at the time of his death in March 2010—should receive 5 million yen in damages, well below the family’s demand for 136 million yen.
The victim, then 45, died at Narita airport as he was being bundled aboard a plane bound for Cairo. Immigration officials had his legs restrained with handcuffs locked to his belt, Jiji Press news agency reported.
He was also gagged with a towel and forced to bend over in a tight bundle, which led to his suffocation, the court ruled.
“The immigration officials restrained him beyond what was necessary or appropriate,” Judge Hisaki Kobayashi said in his ruling, adding that the restraint was “illegal”.
Outside court, the victim’s widow said she took some comfort from the decision.
“I feel less resentful after the court recognized the illegality of what the immigration officials did,” she told reporters.
Japanese prosecutors had earlier decided not to press criminal charges against 10 immigration officials involved in the man’s death.
That led to Suraj’s widow filing a civil lawsuit and demanding an explanation of how he died as he was being deported for staying illegally in Japan.
Japan keeps a tight lid on immigration and rarely grants political asylum despite being a major foreign-aid donor. 
Human rights activists, lawyers and migrant communities have complained for years about the harsh treatment meted out by immigration officials and conditions at immigration detention centers.



Day 2191 (  )
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Did the first half of a huge interview today.... Will give you more information about this as soon as I know what's up !





Week 2

Day 2192 ( 6 Years Blogging )
Thursday, March 20, 2014 {6 YEARS}

Today makes exactly 6 years since living in Japan and Blogging.

Wow. I can hardly believe it too... I can remember it like it was yesterday when I said to my girl friend at the time (who helped me pack for Japan), that I was only gonna spend 1 year. Ooh how little did I know. I think she has a 4 or 5 year old child now. I believe my most memorable experience so far was when I launched my book back in 2010....It is a sad book but it is my most memorable experience thus far.

Anyway, I stayed in today preparing for my trip to Thailand.



Day 2193 (  )
Friday, March 21, 2014

Had the final Friday evening class at my main YMCA today (possibly the location for Spring Ting 2014). All we did was watch a movie name Wall e ... with some robots... I didn't get to see all of it but the parts I saw was pretty good. Even though it was mostly a kids flick.



Day 2194 (  )
Saturday, March 22, 2014

Stayed over at one of the YMCA with a few others to check out the facility for spring ting 2014.



Day 2195 (  )
Sunday, March 23, 2014

Did some practice classes at the YMCA for next school year and also had some meetings.



Day 2196 (  )
Monday, March 24, 2014

Spent most of the day packing for my trip to Thailand and also visiting some camp sites.... NONE are available during Golden week except the 2 I have down.



Day 2197 ( All Day Traveling )
Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Woke up at 9am then drew some money and rushed to the Haneda airport (1 hr away from me) for the first leg of my trip. I first landed in Shanghai, China... the flight took 3 hours. While coming out of the airport in Shanghai, even a darn pilot was staring at me in amazement... I kid you not. His Chinese eyes opened up so wide and watched me as I entered the airport in Shanghai. The customs officer gave me a 1 day entry into China.... In actuality, I should have applied for a transit visa but I didn't because the Chinese website said I didn't need one.

At Shanghai, I had to take a 20 minute bus ride to another terminal.

At the other terminal I got lost several times. Mainly because most of the persons couldn't speak English. This lady straight out started asking me several questions in Chinese.... After looking bewildered, and tried to repeat the last word she said, her co-worker laughed out loudly, then showed me where to go. While I was heading to the ticket counter, I took an elevator up, where I saw first hand how mainland Chinese people generally seem to be perpetually angry........While in the elevator, a group of about 3 women came in. The elevator door was closing and one of them pushed the button to re-open the door for whatever reason....Oh boy.... this older guy said something to the lady who opened the door... (I can only guess that he told her to shut back the door or something) ... any way whatever he told her pissed her off. She and the other women with her started at the guy... And the guy wouldn't back down, he was on the top of his voice and 4 of them now cussing out each other VERY LOUD in the elevator. One of the women rushed towards the man aggressively, to which the others in the elevator had to hold her back. I was like damn ... these peeps are the real hot heads.... Takes nothing for them to just snap...

So finally, I got to the waiting area and waited for about 2 hours. I then took another flight to some other part of China called Kunming.

The people in Shanghai couldn't speak English but they could fight with it and manage to get a few words out... The people in Kunming???? ZERO English.... I was all over the airport. But the good thing is that several people actually wanted to help... unlike in Japan where 98% of them in Tokyo would just zip by. My flight was at 12 mid night. And of course most of the counters were closed. Al my flights are with China Eastern Airlines...

I finally got my ticket for the journey from Kunming to Phuket. In Kunming, there wasn't even one foreigner in sight a part from myself. Well not recognizable anyway. I must mention that at every single place I stopped, Tokyo - Shanghai - Kunming ... I had to go to the ticket counter, show them my internet print out, then get a new ticket issued.... 3 tickets in total. I notice though that the people in Kunming seemed way more happier and jovial than the ones in Shanghai. After waiting for another 2 hours or so, it was time to head to Phuket. This plane was more or less empty. I could even stretch out my legs across the 3 plane seats and sleep. Which several of us in the plane did. This was another 3 hour flight to Phuket. So a total of 3 flights and all of them took 3 hours and I finally landed in Phuket at 3am local time (Not sure whats up with all these 3s). Got through immigration in a jiffy and you could just feel the happiness of the people in Phuket. And finally I could feel some real heat after the dreaded winter in Japan. Can You imagine i went through 4 airports??? Tokyo Haneda --- Shanghai ---- Kunming ----- Phuket

In all my travels, I always tried to avoid the airport peeps because everything in the airport is usually tripled the price it is normally.... But whenever I travel alone, I tend to get a bit flustered and usually opt for the pricey airport options. I promise that this will NEVER happen again. So yes... as soon as I stepped outside of the airport, this Thailand dude called me and said he could hook up ALL my tours and everything I wanted while I was in Phuket. So I changed 20,000 yen (US$ 200) and he gave me 6000 Thai Baht. Later on I found out that I could get at least 300 yen (US$3) more for each US$100 out in the streets !!!

So yeah the guy sorted out quite a bit of my travel details inclusive of tours, taxi pick ups and what not. It looked like this:

March 26th

- Taxi from Airport to my hotel (now(
- Taxi all day touring Phuket looking at temples, visiting a place where they raise tigers, ride an elephant then eat a huge buffet dinner and watch an elephant show along with a circus/history of Thailand cultural show kinda thing then back to my apartment.

March 27th

- Boat tour and lunch to some islands off Phuket... inclusive of canoeing/kayaking

March 28th

- Ferry to Koh Phi Phi island and back

The total cost for all of this was 7000 Thai baht (US$215 / 21500 yen) which I eventually heard was highway ROBBERY !!!

Anyway, took their taxi from the airport and while on the way, the airport crook guy called the taxi man and informed him that I forgot my Hotel check in papers !!!!Yikes !! I was too tired and flustered .... So the taxi guy had to turn back and get them for me. I got to my hotel room at 5 am local time.



Day 2198 ( Tigers, Temples and Trekking )
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Continuing ..... Got in my hotel and the check in guy was telling me that my check in time was 12 noon !!! This was 5 am in the morning ...ha... He said I had to pay about 1000 yen (US$10) if I wanted to check in now.... I paid because there is no way I was going to wait until 12 noon which is the time the taxi should come and pick me up for my tour. When I got into my hotel room, there were some ants in the bathroom ... aah bwoy... I didn't complain, I just went straight to sleep.

Woke up and got picked up by the taxi to go to the first part of my journey today, which was to
Tiger Kingdom ..... Where you could choose which size tiger you want to hang out with for 10 minutes.... I chose the big tigers .... Not many people were in this line lol.....

There are several rules we had to adhere to while hanging out with the tigers. For example, don't make any sudden movements and always pat them on the side, not while facing them...

You can see some details on their website.


Before getting in the tiger cage.... 2 of the tigers started growling and jumping on each other....One biting the other on the neck ...... Instantly I wanted a refund!! The trainer was signalling me and the other person to come in the cage.... We both said we would wait until they calmed down a bit ...... When they calmed down, me and the other guy went in the cage...... I was told to lie down on the tiger...... I was like "Are you crazy !!!!"  .... He then said "stop being scared ... because you have no where to run .... " .... Help me Jesus ... why did I do this ...!!!

Once, I was patting one of the tigers on his side, but it was next to a wound. The trainer warned me that if I pat him on the wound, he would bite me !!!! I think I froze when he said that.... While I was leaving, I asked one of the trainers how long he has been doing this. He said 2 DAYS... LOL !!! ... Then he said pretty much for most of his life, since the tigers were babies.


Next stop was Chalong temple. I am actually tired of going to temples now... but I still went anyway. My taxi driver could hardly understand English ... but he could say some random words.

I have no interest in the history of this temple...So I just walked around for like 10 mins there then left with the taxi for the elephant trekking.

Check out these driving kitchens that are driving all over Thailand.


Next up its, elephant trekking time.....Firstly, it was a little nerve racking to get on top of the elephant. After I got the courage, the guys told me to sit in the middle of the seat because I am the only one riding along with the trainer guy. If it was 2 of us, one would sit on either side. I actually much prefer travelling with a companion... But because there are no friends or otherwise available now, I wasn't gonna wait. And I have been wanting to visited Thailand for the past like 4 years now.

Anyway, the first step the elephant made while I was sitting up top, I felt like I was going to fall off... I'm sure I felt something wet in my pants ........ This thing is huge... And if I fall .... I doubt I could survive it.... Then on top of this, the guys gave me an umbrella to hold, saying that the elephant trek is long and hot.... This thing felt as if it was going to tumble over at anytime...... And it was going down and up hills..... This felt scarier than the tigers to me ...... But after say like 5 minutes, I kinda got used to it. The elephant trek took 30 mins overall.

Di elephant boss

There were at least 2 times when the elephant just stopped suddenly, to which the trainer guy had to tell it to continue moving.... Once when he was riding on the elephant with me, the other time when I was on the elephant alone..... Actually several times while I was on the elephant alone, he had to be shouting at the elephant to move forward.... Not for the faint of heart trust me... These are animals and sometimes they will do whatever the heck they want to.

While heading back to the area to get off the elephant, the trainer guy stopped with the elephant for a while.... He was trying to sell me some stuff made from ivory and random beads. I told him that I wouldn't buy anything but that I would give him a tip instead ....


After I left the elephant trekking area, I went back to my hotel for like 30 mins. Then it was time for some cultural show thing. A bus came to pick me up along with some others, and took us to the location. It was like a theme park with several restaurants and activity places. They scheduled me to attend the 7:30 show, but the bus picked me up at like 4:30 ??!! Not sure why... But I was starving, so I had my buffet lunch/dinner first then walked around and took pictures.... the place is called Fantasea

It was inside here I had the buffet lunch/dinner and a few drinks

And look what I found in Thailand !!!!..... I am uncertain how I should feel about these dolls. Is it a mockery of black people??? If it is then why do they have them there??? Or is it an admiration??? If it is an admiration, they would have had Asian or white dolls out.... because Phuket is swarming with both .... Say if they did have white, Asian or Latino dolls out for sale .... would that be considered racist ???? Yeah I don't know what to think.... But the mere fact that they only had Black dolls out, sent off a lot of racist buzzers in my head ...... I am slowly starting to dislike Asia in general ....  Fortunately, there are always a few nice people around that save the day....

Any way, it was time for the show..... As I mentioned wayyy up earlier...It was a one hour show that included some Thailand historical folklore stuff, A magic show, Elephant show and some other random dancing and trapeze stuff. It lasted about an hour and it was ok.

After the show .... I bought some food, then headed back to my hotel.... I had no clue that my hotel was like in the center of Downtown, Phuket ... in an area known as Patong..... All manner of bars and clubs and people out in the street selling and what now was going on.

THESE ARE MEN !!!!!! Can you Tell???
Welcome to Phuket, Thailand, the land of transvestites .... And to Patong in Phuket .... where most of them live !!!!!


Didan Ashanta said...

Dat bredder bout di 2 day pon di tiger rerk, bwoy.
Dem ppl deh noh av no odda reason fi mek dem dolly except weh wi know dem mek fah! Nutt'n else pon di face a di planet noh luk soh ekcep golliwog and coon.

davay colly said...

Bwoy Den mi give thanks fi life everyday innuh but mi naah lie sometimes mi wonder if God give wi a raw deal wid wi skin color ... Everywhere wi guh there is some sort of foolishness socially and/or professionally ... Seriously everywhere!! Even amongst ourselves .. why is this?