A day-to-day, true to life drama of a Jamaican male, living and working in Japan.

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

New Ad To Show Japan in all it's Glory... Really??? / Aging Japan struggles to make immigrants feel at home / Parents arrested for starving 3-year-old daughter to death

New ad campaign features Japan in all its stunning glory




Call me strange but I don't understand the idea behind a blonde in an ad about Japan.

By Oona McGee - Japan Today

If you’ve ever visited Japan and fallen in love with its beauty and culture, prepare to be swept off your feet again with the latest ad campaign from Guess.

Shot by famed Chinese photographer Chen Man, the photos (see below) take us on a journey through cherry blossoms and tea houses, featuring girls with samurai swords and parasols.

From Tokyo to Mount Fuji, the series features Japan’s wild and peaceful landscapes, while paying homage to the country’s traditional roots and modern lifestyle at the same time. The result is two models who come off looking both elegant and bad-ass.

One thought-provoking image stands out for its allusion to gender stereotypes and femininity. When a girl puts down a pole flying pink koinobori carp, traditionally used as a symbol of strength for the Boys’ Day national holiday (now known as Childrens’ Day), you know she’s heralding a new dawn for gender stereotypes.
Another photo featuring dramatic red and black looks, styled by Satoshi Hirata, pays homage to Japan’s long rickshaw tradition, which is still going strong today. The black, shiny rickshaws can be seen at tourist spots with passengers draped in bright red blankets to shield themselves from the cold.

Then there is a hanami picnic under the cherry blossoms. The model’s adoring gaze up into the cherry blossom tree makes the viewer feel like a pretty little bird.
How about the shinkansen bullet train meets samurai steam punk as it passes through rice fields beside Mount Fuji on its way up to Tokyo.
http://www.japantoday.com/category/arts-culture/view/new-ad-campaign-features-japan-in-all-its-stunning-glory?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2014-11-22_AM

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Aging Japan struggles to make immigrants feel at home





The first word Mr En learned when he started work on a construction site in Japan after moving from China was “baka”—“idiot”.
The 31-year-old farmer is one of 50,000 Chinese who signed up for a scheme run by the Japanese government that promises to allow foreigners to earn money while they train on the job.
Like many of his compatriots, he hoped to leave Japan with cash in his pocket and a new set of skills that would give him greater chance of getting work at home.
“My Japanese colleagues would always say ‘baka’ to me,” said En, who spoke to AFP on condition that his full name was not revealed. “I am exhausted physically and mentally.”

His problem is not the bullying by Japanese colleagues, nor the two-hour each-way commute or the mind-numbing work that largely consists of breaking apart bits of old buildings.
It is the one million yen he borrowed to take part in the program, apparently to cover traveling expenses and other “fees” charged by middlemen—which has left him a virtual slave to Japan’s labor-hungry construction industry.
“I cannot go back before I make enough money to repay the debt,” he said.
Rapidly-aging Japan is desperately short of workers to pay the taxes to fund pensions and healthcare for its growing gray population, but it is almost constitutionally allergic to immigration.
Less than two percent of the population is classed as “non-Japanese”, the government says. By comparison, around 13% of UK residents are foreign born.
The result for Japan, say critics, is ranks of poorly-protected employees brought in through the national back door, ripe for abuse and exploitation.
“This trainee program is a system of slave labor,” says Ippei Torii, director of the Solidarity Network With Migrants Japan, a non-governmental group supporting foreign workers.
“You cannot just quit and leave,” he said. “It’s a system of human trafficking, forced labor.”
Around a quarter of Japan’s 127-million population is aged 65 or over, according to recent government figures. This proportion is expected to rise to 40% over the coming decades.
The already-heavily indebted government—which owes creditors more than twice what the economy is worth every year—is scrabbling to find the money to pay for the burgeoning ranks of elderly, who contribute little in tax but cost a lot in welfare and health.
A far-below-replacement birthrate of around 1.4 children per woman is heaping further pressure on the population.
In most developed nations, this kind of shortfall is plugged by immigration, but Japan allows no unskilled workers into the country, amid fears they would threaten the culture of consensus.
But in 1993 as the economy was on the way down from its bubbly 1980s highs, the government began the Industrial Trainee and Technical Internship Program (TTIP).
The scheme allows tens of thousands of foreigners, mostly from China, Vietnam and Indonesia to come to Japan, supplying labor for industries including textiles, construction, farming and manufacturing.
However, it has been singled out by chief ally the United States, whose State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report has for years criticised “deceptive recruitment practices”.
“The government did not prosecute or convict forced labor perpetrators despite allegations of labor trafficking in the TTIP,” it said in 2014.
Past allegations include unpaid overtime work, “karoshi” (death due to overwork), and all sorts of harassment, such as a company manager restricting the use of toilets or demanding sexual services.
The Japanese government rejects claims the TTIP is abusive, but acknowledges there have been some upstream problems.
“It is not a system of slave labor,” an immigration official told AFP. “It is true that some involved in the system have exploited it, but the government has acted against that.”
He insisted it was not in Japanese authorities’ power to control the behavior of middlemen but insisted such organizations were not allowed to charge deposit fees.
“It is also banned for employers to take away trainees’ passports,” he added.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has unveiled a plan to expand the TTIP to allow workers to stay five years instead of three, and says foreign labor will increasingly be needed, particularly in the booming construction industry ahead of the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
He also knows healthcare must look abroad to plug its shortfall.
“It has been said that we will need one million caregivers for the elderly by 2025, which would be impossible to handle only with the Japanese population,” said Tatsumi Kenmochi, a manager at a care home near Tokyo that employs Indonesian nurses.
For her, foreign staff are a precious commodity and the business has to do as much as it can to make them feel welcome.
“It must be hard to leave home and work overseas. We make sure that they don’t get homesick, listening to them and sometimes going out to have a warm bowl of noodles, with them.”
For Solidarity Network’s Torii, this is the kind of attitude Japan needs.
“The issue is not whether we accept immigrants or not,” he said. “They are already here, playing a vital role in our society.”

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/aging-japan-struggles-to-make-immigrants-feel-at-home?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2014-11-23_PM

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Parents arrested for starving 3-year-old daughter to death



Police in Ibaraki City, Osaka, have arrested a 22-year-old man and his 19-year-old wife for allegedly starving their 3-year-old daughter to death earlier this year.
Police said Yuki Kishimoto and his wife, who cannot be named because she is a minor, have denied the charge.
NTV reported that the couple began depriving their daughter Sayane of food in February, leaving her severely malnourished. Kishimoto called 119 on June 15 and said that Sayane had lost consciousness. She was taken to hospital where she died later.
An autopsy revealed bits of candle wax, aluminium foil and onion skin in the girl’s stomach. Doctors said she weighed only 8 kilograms, about half the weight of a normal child her age.
Police quoted the Kishimotos as saying they had not abused their child and that she had suddenly become very frail only days before her death. They also said Sayane suffered from a muscular disorder, congenital myopathy, since she was born, which they believe caused her death.
However, police said that while the hospital confirmed Sayane had the muscular disorder, the autopsy revealed malnutrition as the cause of death, NTV reported.
Media also reported that the medical examiner found numerous bruises and other marks indicating physical abuse on the Sayane’s body.
The couple also has a son but police said there were no signs that he had been abused.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/parents-arrested-for-starving-3-year-old-daughter-to-death?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2014-11-21_PM


Monday, November 24, 2014

Japanese Police Launch Groping Eradication Project / Xerox's CEO says - "It’s Not Your Kids Holding Your Career Back. It’s Your Husband." /


It’s Not Your Kids Holding Your Career Back. It’s Your Husband.


By Jessica Grose



Almost a decade ago, the writer Linda Hirshman exhorted ambitious women to marry men with less money or social capital than they had. In articles and her book,Get to Work, she told women that they should avoid ever taking on more than half of the housework or child care. How to do it? Either marry a man who is extremely committed to equality, or do what she says is the easier route and “marry down.” Hirshman explained in the American Prospect that such a choice is not “brutally strategic,” it’s just smart. “If you are devoted to your career goals and would like a man who will support that, you're just doing what men throughout the ages have done: placing a safe bet.”

This was a highly controversial piece of advice at the time, but Hirshman might have been right. A new study of Harvard Business School graduatesfrom HBS’s Robin Ely and Colleen Ammerman and Hunter College sociologist Pamela Stone shows that high-achieving women are not meeting the career goals they set for themselves in their 20s. It’s not because they’re “opting out” of the workforce when they have kids, but because they’re allowing their partners’ careers to take precedence over their own.
The study’s authors interviewed 25,000 men and women who graduated from Harvard Business School over the past several decades. The male graduates were much more likely to be in senior management positions and have more responsibility and more direct reports than their female peers. But why? It’s not because women are leaving the workforce en masse. The authors found, definitively, that the “opt-out” explanation is a myth. Among Gen X and baby boomers they surveyed, only 11 percent of women left the workforce to be full-time moms. That figure is lower for women of color—only 7 percent stopped working. The vast majority (74 percent) of Gen Xers, women who are currently 32-48 and in the prime of their child-rearing years, work full time, an average of 52 hours a week.
But while these women are still working, they are also making more unexpected sacrifices than their male classmates are. When they graduated, more than half of male HBS grads said they expected their careers would take precedence over their partners’. Only 7 percent of Gen X women and 3 percent of baby boomer women said they expected their careers to take precedence. Here’s what they did expect: The majority of women said they assumed they would have egalitarian marriages in which both spouses’ careers were taken equally seriously.
A lot of those women were wrong. About 40 percent of Gen X and boomer women said their spouses’ careers took priority over theirs, while only about 20 percent of them had planned on their careers taking a back seat. Compare that with the men: More than 70 percent of Gen X and boomer men say their careers are more important than their wives’. When you look at child care responsibilities, the numbers are starker. A full 86 percent of Gen X and boomer men said their wives take primary responsibility for child care, and the women agree: 65 percent of Gen X women and 72 percent of boomer women—all HBS grads, most of whom work—say they’re the ones who do most of the child care in their relationships.
Of course, marital arrangements aren’t the only force holding women back. Part of the reason these women aren’t advancing at the same rate as their male counterparts is that after they have kids, they get “mommy-tracked.” In many ways, they’re not considered management candidates anymore. “They may have been stigmatized for taking advantage of flex options or reduced schedules, passed over for high-profile assignments, or removed from projects they once led,” the authors note. Other studies support these findings, as they have shown that there is a real, substantial motherhood penalty that involves lower pay and fewer promotions for women with kids, because employers assume they will be less dedicated to their jobs (as do, we now know, their husbands).

But the personal piece of the female achievement gap puzzle is important, and it’s something that’s very difficult to shift. The study’s authors note that while millennial HBS grads are a little more egalitarian than their older peers, half of the youngest men still assume that their careers will take precedence, and two-thirds of them assume their spouses will do the majority of child care.
Based on these numbers, Hirshman suddenly seems prescient. Take a look at the current crop of female CEOs: A lot of them have husbands who don’t work. Xerox CEO Ursula Burns took a page out of Hirshman’s book and joked at a 2013 conference, “The secret [to success] is to marry someone 20 years older.” Her husband retired as she was hitting her career stride, allowing him to take primary responsibility for their kids. If becoming a CEO and having a family is what you desire, you might want to take that advice.
http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/11/18/harvard_business_school_study_it_s_not_kids_but_husbands_that_hold_women.html


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Police launch 'chikan (groping) eradication' campaign at Ikebukuro Station


by Japan Today


The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department and several railway companies have kicked off a “chikan” (train groper) eradication campaign.
The campaign began at Tokyo’s Ikebukuro Station on Friday with an event to promote public awareness of the problem, NTV reported.
Police said that as Oct 31, they had arrested 48 persons for allegedly groping women on trains within the last 10 months. Police said, however, that the number of offenses is probably greater as many victims never report being groped.
The campaign urges women who are groped, and anyone who sees a woman being groped on a train, to alert station authorities or call 110.

Interesting Comment ....

Foreigners beware! Grabbing a groper can get you in more trouble than the offender. I grabbed a joker for taking up skirt photos on an escalator at a train staition in Chiba few years ago. He was detained for about 20 minutes, whereas I was detained for two hours and was told by the flops to stay out of Japan trouble. I've removed women from awkward situations on trains quite a few times, usually high school girls being ogled by some drunken oyaji. I push my way in between them and have been abused by the oyaji as many times as I have done it. It's good to see an awareness campaign, but I don't think it will do much to prevent chikan.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/police-launch-chikan-eradication-campaign-at-ikebukuro-station?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2014-11-08_PM

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Men list top four reasons why they dumped their past girlfriends


By  Casey Baseel - Japan Today



There’s no fail safe strategy for forming a strong, permanent romantic connection. That sort of emotional bond operates on such a deep, personal level that the necessary ingredients will always vary from person to person.
But screwing up a relationship? That, it turns out, there are some pretty universal methods for, as shown by a poll that asked Japanese men what caused them to tell their girlfriends “We’re through!”
Along with fashion and lifestyle, women’s Internet portal How Collect covers dating advice. Looking to get some perspective from the other side of relationships, How Collect asked 30 Japanese men in their 20s what triggered their decision to break up with a girl. Their top four answers are below.
4. Going into hysterics

“If a girl and I get into a fight, I can deal with her crying or being angry,” began one 21-year-old college student. “But if her eyes roll back into her head or she starts shrieking or scraping at her scalp? Once I’ve seen that I get too scared, and even when she goes back to acting normal, I can feel myself tensing up. So if she does that, it’s over.”
You could argue this is pretty heartless, but some people already have enough trouble dealing with their own emotional and mental issues, and don’t have enough energy left over to handle someone else’s, too. In any case, the clawing at her scalp part is a serious point of concern, and it seems like the woman is in more immediate need of a counselor than a boyfriend.
3. Making fun of his academic record

“My ex graduated from Keio (a prestigious Japanese college),” recalls one 26-year-old civil servant. “When we got into an argument,  she said, ‘Where do you get off acting like that, when you went to such a fifth-rate college?’ I was angry, but even more than that, it made me really sad. I couldn’t help but feel that’s how she’d always been thinking of me.”
Japan puts a lot of value on education, and going to a respected school gives job applicants a huge advantage is getting the plum positions that act as a stepping stone to the economic good life. Sure, you could argue that by the time you get into your late 20s you should have developed a thick enough skin, and enough more recent things to be proud of, to not let a remark about your academic background get to you. You could also conclude that anyone who lords their trappings of supposed intelligence over you isn’t really the kind of person you want in your life.
2. Making fun of his parents
“I went out to dinner at a casual restaurant with my old girlfriend,” remembered another college student. “I said the food tasted pretty good, and she shot back with, ‘Your mom must not have been much of a cook, huh?’ After that, it was all downhill until we broke up a little while later.”
Family relationships can be complicated, and even if your boyfriend doesn’t gush about his parents, odds are the fewer negative comments you make about them, the better. Some people say “Nobody beats up my little brother but me,” and it might be safe to assume that most guys operate under the policy of “Nobody makes fun of my parents but me,” too.
1. Cheating on him

“Obviously, right?” asserted one 28-year-old motorcycle courier. “If she cheats on me, we’re braking up, no exceptions…I’ve even told a girl who asked how we could stay together, ‘If you cheated on me, then we’re already through.’”
Whether you’re a guy or a girl, the easiest way to tell someone you don’t really like them is by letting them know you like someone else.
You know something? Looking back over the list, none of these are attractive behaviors, whether you’re a woman or a man. If we give the hysterics a pass for possibly being the result of a chemical imbalance or unresolved emotional trauma, we’re left with making fun of other people and lying to them.
In short, guy or girl, if you’re a terrible person, odds are you’re eventually going to get dumped.
http://www.japantoday.com/category/lifestyle/view/men-list-top-four-reasons-why-they-dumped-their-past-girlfriends?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2014-11-03_AM


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Man arrested for breaking into woman’s hotel room, spanking her with shoehorn




Here’s one you don’t hear every day – a man was arrested in Daisen City, Akita Prefecture last weekend on charges of entering the hotel room of a female acquaintance through the window before proceeding to strike her about the buttocks with a shoehorn that he found in the room. But just what could prompt such behavior?
According to reports, the man, a 25-year-old company employee, entered the business hotel room of the woman (also 25) at around 10 a.m. on the morning of Nov 9, using a ladder (it is uncertain if he provided his own ladder or if the ladder was already in situ), before carrying out his assault.
The man is believed to have confessed to his crimes, telling police, “I did it, I hit her with the shoehorn”. Unfortunately, he failed to elaborate further, so we have no idea what sparked the man’s fury and led him to commit the dual crime of breaking and entering and assault with a weapon.
Since the man entered the hotel room unarmed and grabbed the nearest thing he could use as a weapon, we’re guessing that this was a sudden crime of passion and not a prearranged rendezvous that went badly wrong. Luckily, the woman wasn’t seriously hurt during her ordeal.
Netizens have responded to this odd crime story with a series of bemused tweets:
“To go to the trouble of breaking and entering and then using a shoehorn as a weapon… Just how much damage could a person inflict with one of those things? Or was it some kind of… special shoehorn?!”
“Some kind of couples’ play?”
“Wow, I don’t get it (´・ω・`)”
“So, what happened, exactly? LOL!”
“Yikes, there are some creeps out there… Wait, this is MY home town!”
It seems that the only two people who really know what went on in that hotel room are the man and his victim.
http://www.japantoday.com/category/crime/view/man-arrested-for-breaking-into-womans-hotel-room-spanking-her-with-shoehorn?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2014-11-15_AM


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

8 things you might not know about Jamaica / Japan praises relationship with Jamaica / Japanese ladies reveal the top five date ideas to avoid

8 things you might not know about Jamaica


by Oliver Hill - CNN

Unless you've been stuck in a mine shaft or visiting a distant planet for the past few decades, chances are you've heard of Bob Marley and Usain Bolt and can identify both as the most famous sons of Jamaican soil.

Beyond reggae and track icons, however, there are many fascinating things less widely known about "Jamrock" that make this island of just 3 million people stand out. Here are eight things to know for starters:

1) James Bond's birthplace

Ian Fleming conjured up and penned the thrilling international spy novels known the world over by their larger-than-life, women- and evildoer-conquering protagonist, James Bond, in Oracabessa, a sleepy village in the parish of St. Mary on Jamaica's north coast. Fleming named his rustic property Goldeneye after a World War II operation in which he'd taken part as an intelligence officer. An avid birder, Fleming took 007's name from the American author of "Birds of the West Indies."

The first James Bond film, "Dr. No," was filmed in Jamaica, where the villain's lair, actually a bauxite storage facility owned by Noranda, is hard to miss in Discovery Bay.
And later in the film, Ursula Andress walked out of the surf and into movie history at one of Jamaica's most spectacular beaches, Laughing Waters, located just west of Ocho Rios, where cool river water cascades directly into the warm Caribbean sea.
After Fleming's death, his Goldeneye property was sold to Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who has transformed it into Jamaica's most exclusive boutique hotel and villa resort.
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2) Roots of banana trade and Caribbean tourism


Jamaica gave birth to the global banana trade and Caribbean tourism. In the late 1800s, steamships began plying routes between the Northeast United States and the parishes of St. Thomas, Portland and St. Mary in northeast Jamaica.
When these steamships began carrying passengers seeking relief from the New England winter on the southbound journey, Caribbean tourism was born.

Steamship captain Lorenzo Dow Baker was a pioneer in the banana trade and served as president of the Boston Fruit Company, which later became United Fruit Company through a merger and more recently became Chiquita Brands International.
The banana industry waned in Jamaica in the face of crop disease and larger, more competitive plantations established in Central America. Today the island's largest banana grower is Jamaica Producers, a locally held company that targets domestic and international markets with a range of agricultural products.

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3) Delicious coffee


Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee is among the most prized, and expensive, in the world, fetching upwards of U.S.$30 a pound.
High elevation cloud forests make for an ideal long growing season and slow maturation period for coffee berries, ultimately yielding beans with a strong, full-bodied flavor void of the bitterness typical of coffee grown in other regions.
Japanese coffee connoisseurs are the leading buyers of Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee, which is a registered international trademark like Champagne, and regulated by Jamaica's Coffee Industry Board.
One of the best ways to learn about and taste Jamaica's coffee is with a farm or factory tour. The Twyman family's Old Tavern Estate is an excellent option, offering visitors a trip back in time to the days of small-scale cottage industry production.
The Sharp family operates the neighboring Clifton Mount coffee farm with a slightly larger scale, more industrialized business.
Mavis Bank Coffee Factory also offers tours. The buzzing factory buys its beans from thousands of farmers and is the largest industrial coffee processing and roasting operation in the Blue Mountains that opens its doors to visitors.
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4) Few Rastafarians



While locked hair might be the most famous "do" associated with the island, Jamaican adherents to the Rastafarian movement make up less than 2% of the population, actually just 1.1%, according to the CIA World Factbook.
The iconic natural hairstyles associated with Rastafarians are anything but the norm on the island, where instead, chemically treated straightened hair, extensions, weaves and wigs are the norm for women, and most men rock short-cropped coifs.
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5) A refuge for exiled Jews and religious diversity



Jamaica became a refuge for exiled Jews fleeing the Spanish Inquisition. The Spanish crown, which ruled the island between 1492 and 1655, took a more relaxed stance on religious freedom, or at least a "don't ask, don't tell" approach.
Kingston's active synagogue attests to the island's small, yet prominent, Jewish community today.
Today Jamaica has more churches per capita than any other country. The Anglican Church played a significant role during the slave period in maintaining order on the island and quelling discontent, while the Baptist Church, on the other hand, fueled slave uprisings ultimately leading to emancipation in 1834.
It would be difficult to find a religion not represented in Jamaica, and where a church structure doesn't exist, Jamaicans are inclined to erect a tent for pop-up service.
Pentecostals, Moravians, Catholics, Methodists, Seventh Day Adventists, Revivalists, Muslims, Hindus, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses are all well represented, among numerous other faiths and denominations.

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6)  Marijuana is illegal in Jamaica



Despite the ubiquitous posters of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh with burning joints dangling from their mouths, marijuana is still illegal in Jamaica.
But its legal status is slowly evolving. This year legislation was introduced to decriminalize marijuana use and develop a regulated medical and recreational marijuana industry following similar U.S. initiatives in Colorado and Washington State.
The movement to decriminalize has been led in the political sphere by Minister of Justice Mark Golding, who announced in June that people carrying up to 2 ounces of pot will only be hit with a small fine, rather than be charged, and the infraction wouldn't result in a police record.
Jamaicans with police records attributable to marijuana use charges will have their names cleared, enabling them to seek formal employment and travel visas.

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7) Jamaica is more than sun and sand

The original name Xaymaca, bestowed by its original Taino inhabitants, means "land of wood and water," fitting for a mountainous island endowed with several distinct climatic zones, from arid near-desert conditions complete with sand dunes along the south coast to tropical rain forest in the northeast to high elevation alpine areas where nighttime temperatures fall below freezing in the Blue and John Crow Mountains.
This climatic diversity and abundant fresh water from subterranean springs and rivers crisscrossing every parish, affords the relatively small island excellent conditions for growing a wide range of crops.
A hike up to Blue Mountain Peak is a great way to take a break from the beach and get a bit of a workout.
On a clear day, the summit affords spectacular views of Kingston and the coastline of several parishes meeting the Caribbean sea to the East, North and South. The Blue Mountains also provide bird watchers an opportunity to spot many of the island's 280 species, 30 of which are endemic.
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8) Jamaican food is reason enough to visit the island




While the country may be known for its jerk seasoning, which features local agricultural products like pimento (allspice) and hot Scotch bonnet peppers, Jamaican cuisine has much more to offer and the island's lively foodie culture may be the best representation of its national motto, "Out of Many, One People."
The influence of Indian cuisine is hard to miss, and curried goat, shrimp, lobster or vegetables are staples.
Of course the seafood is hard to beat, with escovitch snapper borrowing elements from Spanish cuisine, while the accompaniment of fried bammy, made from cassava root, couldn't be more local, as it was a staple starch for the original Taino inhabitants.
The abundant fresh produce and quality of the ingredients on the island make it a natural manufacturing center for entrepreneurs concocting a wide array of sauces and preserves for the local market and export. Pickapeppa may be the most widely known condiment produced in Jamaica, but other more recent products on the scene, from Walkerswood to Belcour Preserves, are every bit as good.
To get a taste of Jamaica's best flavors, stop by Belcour in Maryland district in the Blue Mountains to sample mouthwatering chutneys, pepper sauces and preserves and walk among citrus orchards, orchid gardens and the apiary, or spend a few nights on the town in Kingston to sample the island's best restaurants.
Jakes boutique resort in Treasure Beach holds regular farm-to-table dinners that are lively affairs featuring a rotating cast of guest chefs.

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Hai! - Japan praises relationship with Jamaica


BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE - Jamaica Observer



Twenty-five years after opening its embassy in Kingston and providing more than US$500 million in loans, US$16 million in grants, and just under US$88 million in technical co-operation, technology powerhouse Japan says that it is pleased with the relationship it shares with Jamaica.

"Jamaica and Japan have a good relationship," declared Takano Takeshi, director general of the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), while addressing a group of Caribbean journalists in Tokyo.
"We have two pillars of assistance for Jamaica which are environmental disaster risk management and social inequality correction. These, of course, are based on bilateral dialogue between the two governments, and so it is our policy to first define which areas are priority under the partner country government policy," he explained, noting that the assistance programme allows Japan to lend its technical expertise for various projects, and facilitates the training of Jamaican professionals.


Where disaster prevention is concerned, he said that Japan will shortly unveil a grant programme aimed at improving Jamaica's emergency communication system.
"Based on the request from the Jamaican Government we will have one study in the first half of the 2015 calendar year, to see what we could contribute. For example, nationwide digital radio communication systems and also early warning and alarm systems so that the relevant authorities, and eventually the citizens themselves, could have all this crucial information regarding disaster risk and disasters which are approaching in a more rapid, efficient and stable manner," Takeshi explained.
"We know that Jamaica has already installed this kind of communication system and the [Jamaican] Government has decided to improve the system. And, for that purpose, we wish to contribute to the Government's policy with our grant aid assistance," he emphasised.


The JICA director general further said that, under phase two of the new programme that will be rolled out in the second half of 2015, a Japanese expert will be dispatched to Jamaica and other Caribbean territories to give advice on disaster management.
"So the amount of co-operation through JICA is very substantial when it comes to Jamaica," Takeshi emphasised.
He pointed to the 363 Japanese volunteers who have been dispatched to Jamaica over the 25-year relationship -- the most among Caribbean Community (Caricom) member states.
He explained that Japan, through JICA, establishes as a rule that it must help partner governments train people -- engineers, technicians, and experts -- in specific fields so that they can operate and maintain facilities donated to Jamaica and other member countries by Japan.


"So far, donations of equipment through our grant aid assistance and human resources through our technical assistance come hand-in-hand," Takeshi said.
"We always pursue both physical infrastructure and equipment in a parallel form with the capacity movement of those people responsible for this equipment. So, we make it a rule to work that way and our partner country governments have been responding very positively. As our prime minister has stated, Caricom member countries have been and will always be extremely important for us. And we at JICA are determined to execute what the prime minister has stated when he visited the region in July," he added.
Asked whether aid to Caricom would stop should a new government come into power in the expected December elections, Takeshi said whatever the outcome of the polls it is his desire that aid will continue, and that Japan continues to work even more closely with Caricom countries, regardless of who is sitting in the prime minister's chair.


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Japanese ladies reveal the top five date ideas to avoid


By Evie Lund - Japan Today

Dating these days is a complete minefield, and nowhere more so than in Japan. There’s a lot of stress put on guys to impress a girl with their choice of date spot. Sure, you can get away with cute cafe dates with yummy tea and cake during the “getting to know you” phase, but after that the onus is pretty much always on the guy to come up with something enjoyable each time. In fact, indecisiveness when it comes to date decisions is a major turn-off for Japan’s ladies, according to a survey conducted by Livedoor.

To avoid potential dating disasters next time you’re in Japan, here are the top five dates to avoid if you don’t want her to run screaming.

1. Movie Theater Date



Seeing a movie together may be a classic staple of the dating world, but it seems that Japan’s ladies aren’t impressed. If you’ve been to a movie theater in Japan, you’ll know that it’s basic etiquette to be completely silent throughout the film (and sit and watch the credits all the way through, even if there’s no extra scenes after). What this equates to is a date conducted in absolute silence, which the surveyees apparently find rather a waste of time. “I don’t like it if I have to be silent. I want to talk to him,” bemoans one lady. Of the 249 people surveyed, a significant 9.6% of them singled out movie theater dates as a definite no-no.


2. Amusement Park Date

Next on our list is a date to an amusement park. What could go wrong? You’ve got rides to ride, cute things to buy, themed food to eat… but according to 4.4% of the survey participants, girls would prefer going to an amusement park with their friends. Furthermore, one participant claimed that “going to an amusement park on a date is too exhausting.”
3. Pool/Beach Date

Unsurprisingly in body-conscious Japan, going for a swim with your sweetie is something most would rather avoid. “a) I don’t want to wear a swimsuit in front of him. b) I don’t want to get sunburnt. And c) it’s just too much to deal with”, states one survey participant. “I worry about whether I’ve got any visible body hair and also about my figure,” explains another. Hmm, it seems it’s better to err on the side of caution and plan dates that your lady friend can participate in fully-clothed. It’s just good manners.
4. Karaoke Date
If you’re the kind of person who couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, you’ll probably understand how this one could be a bit awkward. However, it appears that Japanese women are more concerned about second-hand embarrassment than their own singing skills. “If he’s a terrible singer, I worry about how I’ll be able to keep a straight face,” one participant explains. Having to be careful about the choice of song material was another concern – what if he thinks you have terrible taste in music? Actually, it’s all a bit too risky, isn’t it? Better skip this one.

5. Car Date
This one might sound a bit weird if you’re from a country where everyone drives everywhere, but in Japan, where public transport is so consistently reliable, not everyone owns a car. In fact, owning a car is a bit of a status symbol, especially in a built-up area like Tokyo. So it’s no surprise that the suggestion of a romantic drive smacks of being a bit of a try-hard. “When it’s just the two of us in his car, it feels a bit awkward,” explains one participant. “What if I get car-sick?” panics another.
Also on the list of dates that don’t impress Japanese ladies much: walking around Akihabara (“It’s not interesting!”), going to a game center/arcade (“I don’t understand how to have fun there”), going to an izakaya/pub (“It’s too loud, the atmosphere is all wrong”), going for a walk in the park in summer (“Bugs! Bugs will sting me!”), and going to an onsen/hot spring (“Since we can’t go in together, what’s the point?”)

Hilarious Comment ......

"Funny, there's no mention of the "Drag me to a cheap love motel" date. I guess that would be okay then. Also not mentioned are the "Take me shopping at Louis Vuitton" date, or the "Get approved credit for this expensive jewelry" date."