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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

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.



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.



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."