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

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Racism Stubbornly Persists in America

Funny/Weird Photo of the Week:

Days 2234 - 2240
Thursday, May 1 - Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Day 2234 ( Man With Bionic Eye )
Thursday, May 1, 2014

Went to Western Union to send off some cash then delivered some goods that I ordered to be re-sold.


Man among 1st in U.S. to get 'bionic eye'

A degenerative eye disease slowly robbed Roger Pontz of his vision.
Diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa as a teenager, Pontz has been almost completely blind for years. Now, thanks to a high-tech procedure that involved the surgical implantation of a “bionic eye,” he’s regained enough of his eyesight to catch small glimpses of his wife, grandson and cat.
“It’s awesome. It’s exciting — seeing something new every day,” Pontz said during a recent appointment at the University of Michigan Kellogg Eye Center. The 55-year-old former competitive weightlifter and factory worker is one of four people in the U.S. to receive an artificial retina since the Food and Drug Administration signed off on its use last year.
The facility in Ann Arbor has been the site of all four such surgeries since FDA approval. A fifth is scheduled for next month.
Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited disease that causes slow but progressive vision loss due to a gradual loss of the light-sensitive retinal cells called rods and cones. Patients experience loss of side vision and night vision, then central vision, which can result in near blindness.
Not all of the 100,000 or so people in the U.S. with retinitis pigmentosa can benefit from the bionic eye. An estimated 10,000 have vision low enough, said Dr. Brian Mech, an executive with Second Sight Medical Products Inc., the Sylmar, Calif.-based company that makes the device. Of those, about 7,500 are eligible for the surgery.
The artificial implant in Pontz’s left eye is part of a system developed by Second Sight that includes a small video camera and transmitter housed in a pair of glasses.



Day 2235 ( Trance Party )
Friday, May 2, 2014

Went to a meeting in Kawasaki, a city next to Yokohama where I live. My life now will be filled with random meetings all over this prefecture, at least 3 or 4 per month, sometimes more.

Last week, one of the persons from the office invited us to a trance music sorta party in Tokyo and he said we were all gonna be free. I decided to try it out because actually I've never been to one of these. So after getting lost a few times, I finally found the place. When I entered the premises, the people were asking me to pay 2000 yen (US$ 20), so I told them I should be on the guest list. Unfortunately, some how I wasn't on the list and I ended up paying 1500 yen. Which was fine but still felt a little weird because I heard initially that I would be going in free.

The trance party was a little different from anything I"ve ever seen but interesting nevertheless. One thing I can"t help but notice recently is that pretty much I'm the only black guy around. This party was no different. I decided that at this party, I wasn't going to act like a socialite but just stick to myself unless someone speaks to me. Pretty much my friend was the only one speaking to me every now and again as expected. I decided to go in observation mode really. Eventually some drunk dude came up to me and started chatting random stuff. He just came to Japan and is enjoying the party scene. The party was ok overall though.



Day 2236 ( Widow of dementia patient killed by train ordered to pay damages )
Saturday, May 3, 2014

Today was the start of Golden week - a string of holidays in Japan. Golden week is not really golden if it starts on a Saturday right? kmt... Anyway, pretty much stayed in all day being lazy and watching One Piece episodes and Game of Thrones. Man this Game of thrones thing is addictive, I can't stop watching it.

Later on, I ordered 5 suits for work. I realized that I didn't have many jackets. But hardly anyone notices these things.....Maybe.


Widow of dementia patient killed by train ordered to pay damages

The 91-year-old widow of an elderly dementia patient who went wandering outside and was hit and killed by a train in Aichi Prefecture has been ordered by the Nagoya High Court to pay compensation to the train company for damages incurred by the disruption of its services.
In the case, which occurred in Obu city in December 2007, a 91-year-old man suffering from dementia was killed after he walked aimlessly onto the tracks, NTV reported. JR Tokai sought reparations for the damages from the man’s wife and 63-year-old son, although the son had not lived at home with his parents for 20 years.
In its April 24 ruling, the court ruled that the wife bore some responsibility for the events leading up to the accident, but that the son could not have done anything since he didn’t live with his parents.
The court heard that on the day of the fatal accident, the wife who was 85 at the time, dozed off in the afternoon, NTV reported. The man managed to leave the apartment and began wandering around the neighborhood. He walked onto the train tracks and was struck by a train and killed. Following the accident, all trains along the JR Tokaido line were delayed for over two hours, and the entire schedule for the rest of the day was disrupted.
In filing a suit for 7.2 million yen in damages, JR Tokai argued that the man’s family should have predicted that he might go wandering off, as he had done so two times before, NTV reported.



Day 2237 ( Brief 2008 Interac Reunion / Racism Stubbornly Persists in America )
Sunday, May 4, 2014

Went to the Jamrock Jamaican restaurant in Shibuya to meet up with some friends who came with me to Japan back in 2008. I am one of a very few who is still working for the company since 2008.


Call me pessimistic or whatever you may, but I'm one person that believes racism will never totally go away in the US, Europe, Asia or anywhere else. I believe it is something we were all born with and it will either blossom or reduce depending 80% on our social upbringing. Take for instance small babies around 1 year old here in Japan, who stare at me none-stop,  some of them run away and cry...... This kind of behavior is not learnt.... It is totally natural. Now, depending on how his/her parents grow him/her and the people he/she interacts with, he/she will either become totally racist, tolerant, or have very little to no racist thinking.

So I'm always surprised that people are surprised when stories like the one below comes forth.  

Specter of racism still haunts U.S. sports

The furor surrounding comments attributed to Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has again cast an unfavorable light on racism in American sport.
Sixty-seven years after Jackie Robinson famously broke baseball’s “color line” when he went to bat for the Brooklyn Dodgers, the specter of racism still looms large over U.S. professional sport—from outspoken billionaire franchise owners to foul-mouthed players and bigoted fans who spew xenophobic nonsense behind the anonymity of Twitter avatars.
“Racism remains a problem throughout our society as a whole, and sports merely reflects that,” said Ray Halbritter, who has been leading a campaign for the Washington Redskins to drop their racially charged name.
“The good news in the Sterling situation is that everybody acknowledges that his statements are unacceptable,” Halbritter, representative of the Oneida Native American nation in upstate New York, told AFP.
Sterling, 80, has yet to apologize for a recording in which he reputedly asks a twenty-something female friend to stop bringing African-American friends to Clipper games and stop posting their photos on her Instagram feed.
“It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people. Do you have to?” says a male voice on the recording, which Sterling’s estranged wife has confirmed as his.
“You can sleep with (black people). You can bring them in, you can do whatever you want. The little I ask you is not to promote it… and not to bring them to my games.”

President Barack Obama, the first African-American to be elected U.S. president and also a well-known basketball fan, swiftly denounced the comments as “incredibly offensive racist statements,” while basketball legend Magic Johnson questioned whether Sterling was fit to own a National Basketball Association (NBA) franchise.
Sterling, a real estate mogul estimated by Forbes business magazine to be worth $1.9 billion, is by no means the first U.S. sports franchise proprietor to come under fire for racism.
In the 1990s, Marge Schott of baseball’s Cincinnati Reds offended just about everyone with her casual use of racist language, her mocking Japanese accent, her admiration for Hitler and her belief that men with earrings were “fruity.”
She sold her majority stake in the Reds in 1999, three years after she was banned by Major League Baseball from her close involvement in the team’s day-to-day operations.
More recently, in the U.S. capital, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has stubbornly resisted pressure from Native Americans and their allies to rebrand his National Football League (NFL) team.
“While Sterling has tried to retroactively disassociate himself with the abhorrent comments in question, Dan Snyder proudly defends his own continued promotion of a dictionary-defined racial slur,” Halbritter said.
In November, in the NFL, the Miami Dolphins suspended Richie Incognito over the racially tinged harassment of a black teammate, while in 2013 the Philadelphia Eagles suspended Riley Cooper after a video emerged of him using racially abusing a bouncer at a Kenny Chesney country music concert.
Social media has meanwhile enabled some fans to anonymously churn out bigoted sentiments, such as in July 2013 when chart-topping Latino singer Marc Anthony sang “God Bless America” at baseball’s All-Star classic.
“Welcome to america where god bless america is sung at our national pastime by a mexican,” sneered one of many Twitter mentions that overlooked the fact that Anthony was born in New York to Puerto Rican, and thus American, parents.

Debra Nixon, a professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida who specializes in diversity issues, said racism in American sports, and indeed throughout American society, remains “a pervasive problem.”
“And it’s going to keep happening until we really begin to do something constructive (about discussing race in America),” she told AFP, “as opposed to just having someone apologize until somebody else messes up.”




Day 2238 ( Google's Driverless Cars Mastering the Streets )
Monday, May 5, 2014

A huge earthquake woke me up this morning around 5:00 am. This was one of the biggest I felt since I moved to Yokohama. I was wondering if I should run or stay inside.

The epicenter of the earthquake was very very close to Yokohama.


Google: Driverless cars are mastering city streets

Google says that cars it has programmed to drive themselves have started to master the navigation of city streets and the challenges they bring, from jaywalkers to weaving bicyclists — a critical milestone for any commercially available self-driving car technology.
Despite the progress over the past year, the cars have plenty of learning to do before 2017, when the Silicon Valley tech giant hopes to get the technology to the public.
None of the traditional automakers has been so bullish. Instead, they have rolled out features incrementally, including technology that brakes and accelerates in stop-and-go traffic or keeps cars in their lanes.
“I think the Google technology is great stuff. But I just don’t see a quick pathway to the market,” said David Alexander, a senior analyst with Navigant Research who specializes in autonomous vehicles.
His projection is that self-driving cars will not be commercial available until 2025.
Google’s self-driving cars already can navigate freeways comfortably, albeit with a driver ready to take control. In a new blog post, the project’s leader said test cars now can handle thousands of urban situations that would have stumped them a year or two ago.




Day 2239 (  )
Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Another day of staying in and being lazy. I started cooking a lot more of recent times, in order to save money. But today I ordered food from dominoes.



Day 2240 (  )
Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Had to conduct policy training on 2 new employees today. I saw it on my schedule to do but I ignored it because I saw that I would be doing it with another trainer. Ha... I had to do it by myself but it went pretty well actually.

Later, I was asked by my boss to go to a country side prefecture for 1 week. I will be flown down on a plane and stay in a hotel for the week ;) I was thinking that this was too sudden.... But then I thought... hey why not? So I'm writing this blog from that location. I will be back in Yokohama next week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to read quite a bit about racism and education for a new position here in the States but I really don't think it is inborn. Most kids, Japan especially, grow up with people like themselves and their family, hence the reaction or staring.

There was a Caucasian lady at Interac in our area that was married to a Japanese guy and had kids. She said that she disliked it when kids stared at her and was glad her kids didn't do that to foreigners. Well in enter me (Kesha) and behold he couldn't stop staring at me being all brown skinned and afro haired. Correction he didn't stare at White people and Asian people (which was familiar to him) but I was new and interesting ^^. Not really racism. I feel that racist attitudes must be learned. Even 1yr old kids learn from their environment.

But as usual interesting content! Especially with the elderly couple and paying for damages. WTH! That's crazy. Keep it coming Dave!