Why I cancelled my Jamaican Vacation / Amnesty Int'l criticizes Japan / Would you rather an unemployed hottie or an ugly millionaire

Jamaica Farewell: Why I Cancelled My Jamaican Vacation & Why I Won't Be Going Back Anytime Soon!!!

by anonymous

Why I'm Writing This Article...Not To Dump On Jamaica, I LOVE Jamaica

I know this article is going to get some backlash and let me say at the outset, it isn't my intention to dump on Jamaica or talk negative about Jamaica.

I'm a longtime traveler to Jamaica and even used to jokingly refer to myself as a Jamerican as so many longtime regular travelers to Jamaica do. I love Jamaica, I love the people, I love the food, and I've always been the first to stand up for Jamaica, it's reputation, and people when I felt people were unjustly giving Jamaica or Negril a bad rap.
7 mile beach negril jamaica
Negril I Miss You!!!

I'm writing this article not to dump on Jamaica, but hopefully to get a lot of regular Jamaican travlers on board with pushing to improve the safety situation in Negril and Jamaica as a whole

I'm a longtime member of TripAdvisor and honestly in the past I'd be the first one to poke fun at people who's high expectations didn't allow them to have a good time in such a beautiful and wonderful place. I'd be the first person to chastise people who expected a destination to cater to them versus just going with the flow and taking a place for what it is. I'd also be the first person to stick up for Jamaica when people complained about beach vendors. I'd be the first on in line saying this is their home we are just visitors, or saying they are just trying to eek out a living and feed their family take it easy a polite no thank you will do.  

Let's be honest, Jamaica is not a cheap place to visit. Granted you can choose to stay at budget places or high end all inclusives but apples for apples Jamaica is not going to be as cheap as Mexico, the Dominican, Columbia, Brazil or many other destinations. I think it's also fair to say that the customer service and service industry of Jamaica is not what it is in other destinations, not even other third world destinations.

Jamaican Standards Not On Par With Other Destinations


If we compare apples to apples the quality of hotel, food, and service I get in Jamaica is not going to compare to similar price points or star ratings in many other destinations like Mexico, Playa, Honduras, Costa Rica, and others. A 5 star in Jamaica is probably like a 3.5 star in Mexico or other places. I never had an issue with this though. I realize Jamaica is a ya mon, all is irie, laid back place and I actually think that's part of the charm of Jamaica. What I'm not willing to accept however is the same laze fair attitude when it comes to safety and security. 
negril 7 mile beach jamaica
Jamaica - Lovely People

I'm willing to accept that when I go to Jamaica and drop $150 or $180 a night on a hotel that the room will be outdated, food may be so so if staying AI, and service may not be what some are used to at other destinations. I have no problem with that.

That said dropping a similar amount of money in Mexico or other destinations you'll probably have a very modern well done, well maintained hotel with great customer service and Five star food. That's perfectly fine with me and I'm not making issue with that, though I do still think it's important to point out. I'm someone who doesn't complain when my tv doesn't work, and I don't even complain when a little bit of sewage water is comming out of the drain of my shower, par for the course, it's Jamaica and I'm barely in my room anyways. I'm not someone who needs modern updated digs or cares if my bathroom counter top has granite. I do however find it unacceptable when i can lift my sink out of the countertop with two fingers.

Beach Hagglers Don't Bother Me...BUT Aggressive Begging Does


I'm not one to complain about the beach hagglers. On TripAdvisor and other sites I'd always be the first one to respond to visitors who complian about the beach hagglers telling them and others, hey it's their home, were just visitors. It's part of the experience. Enjoy their funny and witty sales pitches, take it for what it is, roll with it and enjoy. If you focus on that stuff and let yourself get negative you'll hate it. I was always one who enjoyed joking and bantering with the hagglers and took it as part of the experience. Also, it's their home and their beach, I'm just a visitor. I really and truly felt that way.

Negril Jamaica Hotel - 7 Mile Beach
Negril Jamaica Hotel - 7 Mile Beach
What does get on my nerve is the straight up begging, and oftentimes in an agresive way. In my travels to Jamaica and Central America I've had people ask for money, however I have never had anyone demand money the way I have had so many agresively demand money from me in Jamaica.

One particular incident a guy told me to give him $5. When I politely told him no, he told me "would be a shame if you got stabbed". Really, give me $5 or I'll stab you?

On another occasion I thought I had made friends with a beach vendor who ran a small convenience store. He asked if I'd like to see where he lived which was attached to the place and right on the beach. I questioned whether it was a good idea, however I saw another American women back there talking with another guy so figured what the heck, it was only about 15 yards back off the beach. I walked back there and that's when an agressive sales pitch to buy Marijuana started. When I declined multiple times he started getting aggressive with me and I was getting backed into a corner by him and another guy. I balled up my fists ready to fight my way out of there and wound up seeing a gap and just ran away. Even after these experiences I still went back to Jamaica another 4-5 times.

 So What Actually Made Me Cancel My Trip & Lose Money In The Process?


So, as you can tell, I'm not someone who ever viewed Jamaica or Negril with rose colored glasses. I have always realized Negril is a little rough around the edges and that common sense and street smarts will go a long way to keep you safe. I also realize that Negril isn't necessarily a dangerous place and 9 out of 10 times you'll probably have a great and safe trip.

So you're probably wondering, what actually made me cancel my trip despite losing money? And believe me, I'm cheap so for me to lose $216 to cancel and change destinations that was a big deal to me.

Negril Jamaica Lighthouse
Negril Jamaica Lighthouse
What made me cancel my trip was hearing from MANY long time Jamaica visitors who have been to the island many times, sometimes dozens of times, say that they are fed up and they aren't going back.

If you are a regular Jamaican traveler you know how defensive Jamericans can be about their beloved island. I havn't travelled to Jamaica nearly as many times as many of you have but still love the island and was always quick to stick up for Jamaica when people would say bad things. I would write off their negative stuff as they had too high expectations or are too picky. They expect a destination to cater to them and their lifestyle vs. just going with the flow and enjoying.

What bothered me however was hearing so many long time regular visitors say that the vibe in Negril has changed. It's not the same as it used to be. It's no longer safe. They no longer feel comfortable. They had too many negative incidents happen down there.

Knowing how defensive those who love Jamaica are about the island and it's people, and to hear those same people saying they are fed up, or no longer feel safe, I felt I wouldn't enjoy my trip and wound up cancelling.

 Trip Advisor Is Not Doing Anyone A Favor Censoring Safety Concerns On Their Forum


Trip Advisor as many of you may know is very big into censorship of anything negative about a destoination and safety. If you don't believe me try posting a news story or even asking about a particular incident that may have happenned in a tourist destination. It won't be more than a couple hours before the post is either taken down entirely or heavily edited or people's posts removed.

Mayfield Falls Waterfall Jamaica
Mayfield Falls Waterfall Jamaica
Personally I feel TripAdvisor is doing more harm than good with this. As many people will tell you, much of the negative stuff you hear or read is hearsay heard differently from 3-4 people as the story gets passed along. If TripAdvisor would actually let an article be posted and commented on, I think 9 times out of 10 the subject would work itself out and the group consensus would be something along the lines of the incident was involving locals and a feud and had nothing to do with tourists. Or even if it did involve a tourist it was someone trying to buy drugs, or someone who ventured into an area they had no business being in late at night or something like that.

By not allowing this type of stuff to be discussed, TripAdvisor, allows people's imaginations to run wild and allows stories to get passed along inaccurately like in a game of telephone and stories which may be mundane take on a much scarier tone because it is being censored like were not supposed to know. Also, how can a site censor a topic like safety and security, like myself as a traveler don't deserve to know where I'm going. Not only is it doing a disservice but it's also potentially sending someone to a destination they otherwise would not go to because they didn't have all the informaiton they needed at hand to make a decision. 

 Sadly Jamaica Farewell.... For Now At Least


So what made me cancel my already planned trip to Jamaica, even despite losing a couple hundred dollars in the process?  

Like I said, I've had a few close calls and scary situations in Jamaica and I've still returned back. I've always felt even my own city has it's issues and just be streetwise and have some common sense.

I've traveled to Jamaica during US State Dept warnings about the island when the whole Christopher Dudus standoff was going on. I had no issues with traveling as Kingston and those issues were a world removed from Negril. That would be like people saying of my home city Chicago, don't travel to Chicago because of all the violence, when in reality tourists will be downtown and on Michigan avenue and have no reason or desire to travel to Englewood or Pullman. That wouldn't be fair, nor would it be a reason not to visit. 
Negril 7 Mile Beach
Negril 7 Mile Beach

I'll be honest much of what I've heard is reports online and from TripAdvisor. If I heard one story I'd write it off as a disgruntled guest. If I heard two stories a couple scardy cats. However when I hear story after story of incidents with vendors, muggings, etc and hotels, security and police in many instances from reports seem to take it very lightly or say they can't do anything about troublesome neighbors I just feel I'd rather go to another destination where I'm safe and comfortable and spend my money and enjoy my time there.

Like I said, I'm quick to defend Jamaica and quick to write off complainers as whiny people or scaredy cats, however when I keep hearing from longtime visitors that the vibe has changed, that they aren't going back, that Negril is really in a troublesom period, I just can't justify going, it's just not worth it as small as the risk may be of something bad happening. It's almost laughable how casually many website posters are talking about the security situation in Negril. It's one thing to say  use common sense and street smarts and don't carry around or flash valualbes. Many of the stuff I'm reading almost seem to read as if it's a 50/50 shot whether you are mugged or have some very negative threatening encounter. I don't know about you guys but I'm very much so a fight or flight respone type person. If I'm in a situation I have two responses, I'm going to run like hell or I'm going to fight you to the death and a "casual mugging" as many people almost seem to put it could very easily end up in a life or death situation and that's not something I take lightly. 

I'm not writing Jamaica off forever. I love the island, I love the people, I love the vibe, and the beaches are unmatched compared to anywhere I've ever traveled before. That said until Jamaica and specifically Negril gets things under control, runs off some of the bad elements who prey on tourists, I will not be going back.

I truly hope Jamaica gets things in check and makes a change for the better and am eagerly awaiting that to happen so I can make my way back there. That is a large part of why I'm writing this article to hopefully to get others to bring attention to this very issue and maybe even make the tourist board realize if you want visitors and tourist dollars you need to clean things up. I don't want Jamaica to become some sanitized Jimmy Buffet Margaritaville touristy cookie cutter destination. I love that Jamaica isn't an uptight place where you have to sign waivers to do activities and things like that. That in large part was always what I loved about Jamaica but take security and safety seriously, put a stop to the stories about iPhones getting snatched, people getting mugged or having knives pulled on them. Get the guns off the streets and clean things up a bit and I will return. Until then it's other destinations for me sadly. 

Seasplash Hotel Negril Jamaica
Seasplash Hotel Negril Jamaica

Lastly, to those of you who say we should support Negril in it's darkest hour so to speak by visiting. I understand that sentiment, however I spend good money and my hard earned money to travel and I don't feel it's my duty to do that. I should be able to enjoy my vacation in a place where I'm not worried about my safety and security and that's just how I feel.

Thanks and if you agree with the sentiment behind this article and feel the same way I do please share this article on Twitter, Facebook and other Social Media platforms to bring attention to cleaning up this place we all love. To any of you with Youtube channels pleaese make a video sharing some of your thoughts on why you love Jamaica and how it's changed over the past number of years. Thanks.




Amnesty Int'l criticizes Japan in 2014/15 human rights report

Japan Today

You don't want to mess with this guy while living in Japan

Amnesty International has criticized Japan in its report on the state of the world’s human rights in 2014/15.
In the report released on Tuesday, Amnesty said the “daiyo kangoku” system, which
allows police to detain suspects for up to 23 days without charging them, continued to facilitate torture and other ill-treatment in order to extract confessions during interrogation. “No steps were taken to abolish or reform the system to bring it into line with international standards,” the report said.

Japan also came in for criticism over the death penalty. “Executions continued in Japan, the report said. “In March, a court ordered a retrial and the immediate release of Hakamada Iwao. Hakamada Iwao had been sentenced to death in 1968 after an unfair trial on the basis of a forced confession, and was the longest-serving death row inmate in the world.”
Amnesty said the Japanese government failed to speak out against discriminatory rhetoric, or curb the use of racially pejorative terms and harassment against ethnic Koreans and their descendants, who are commonly referred to as Zainichi (literally “residing in Japan”). In December, the Supreme Court ruled to ban the group Zainichi Tokken wo Yurusanai Shimin no Kai from using racially pejorative terms against Koreans, while holding public demonstrations near an ethnic Korean elementary school.

On the subject of Japan’s use of sex slaves prior to and during World War II, the report said the results were made public of a government-appointed study which
re-examined the drafting process of the Kono Statement (a government apology made two decades earlier to the survivors of the sex slave system.
“Several high-profile public figures made statements to deny or justify the system,” the report said. “The government continued to refuse to officially use the term ‘sexual slavery,’ and to deny effective reparation to its survivors.”

Best Comment

Having been arrested in Japan for defending myself against a group of 4 drunk Chinpira (yakuza in training), I can safely say the system is messed up.
Initial police appointed translator was inept, so I made my statements in Japanese. These were subsequently changed before I saw the prosecutor, and because I denied attacking the other party unprovoked - meaning our statements were different - I was detained for a further 10 days. I later found out they were not detained, and the police had no intention of tracking them down to even the playing field.

In our only meeting my court appointed lawyer said that even if I was not guilty, the only option for me was to say I was guilty in order to avoid either deportation or jail time. You are only entitled to 1 meeting with said lawyer, and no telephone calls to the outside. Nobody knew where I was.
Admitting to a different version of 'the truth' got me out with a 400,000 yen fine and a lovely new criminal record. Like a tattoo you don't want - has to be declare whenever I travel internationally. Then the guys who attacked me sued me for damages. Proven guilty in a criminal court and you have no chance in a civil court. Apparently it's a common scam where groups like this use the system to earn some extra cash. They tried for 2m JPY but I threatened to leave Japan giving them nothing - in the end they settled for 150,000 yen.

In Japan you are guilty until proven innocent, and conviction rates post-arrest are over 99%. Essentially, don't be a dumbass like I was and wait for the cops if something happens - they won't care about justice. All they care about is an easy target for prosecution.



Magazine asks women if they’d rather date an ugly millionaire or unemployed hottie

by RocketNews24 via Japan Today

Japan’s got an unabashed soft spot for beautiful people, with attractive models and celebrities used to promote everything from fashion lines to insurance packages. At the same time, the country also has a deep respect for financial stability and economic vigor.
Recently, fashion magazine AneCan pitted these two cultural values against each other by asking readers which guy they’d rather date, an ugly dude who’s flush with cash, or a hottie who doesn’t have a job?

The results of the survey of 1,000 women appears in the March edition of the magazine, published by Shogakukan. This issue marks the debut of a new regular column, titled “Which Would You Choose?”

For the very first question, AneCan asked its readers whether they’d rather have an ugly man with an annual income of 300 million yen or a handsome man who’s unemployed as their boyfriend. Specifically, the unattractive man was referred to as “busaiku,” a term that usually denotes an unattractive face more so than an unappealing physique.

We’re guessing the aim of the “Which Would You Choose?” column is to present readers with a tough choice where both options have comparatively significant pros and cons. Since this is the first installment, though, it looks like they’re still ironing out some kinks in the topic selection system, because when the votes were tallied for these two theoretical beaus, the contest wasn’t close at all.
As shown in the pink section of the graph, 75.5% of respondents picked the financially successful yet visually unimpressive man as the more eligible bachelor. On the other side of the equation, just under a quarter of the women would apparently be happy to pay for dinner, as long as they could look at their boyfriend’s gorgeous face while they eat it.
While AneCan’s editors were probably expecting a more even split, online commenters were anything but surprised.

“It’s what on the inside that counts.”
“What’s on the inside = money!”
“Picking the rich one is obvious.”
“In the end, money is all that matters.”
“Yup, a guy better have money!”
“So it’s not the man, but his money that’s popular.”
“I’m a guy, but I’d make the same choice if they were women.”
It’s worth noting that the Ane portion of the publication’s name means “big sister,” and the magazine’s target demographic is women in their late 20s and early 30s. This puts them at an age when they’re no longer living off Mom and Dad. Facing the realities of establishing their own household no doubt has them conscious of the way their romantic partner’s earning potential is going to affect their own lifestyle.

The result might have been very different had the survey been done by AneCan’s sister publication CanCam, whose readership skews younger by several years. AneCan’s readers, though, are likely to be a little more practical and mature. Or, in the case of this survey respondent, cunning:
“I’d use the rich one like an ATM and fool around behind his back with the unemployed guy.”
Hey, the question clearly states that you’re supposed to pick one of the two guys. Using one to secretly bankroll your fling with the other is cheating, in more ways than one.

Best Comment
and then foreigners say japanese women are the best... lol women are women regarless of nationality. When it comes to reality a lot of japanese girls are materialic (like many other in the west) and few care about their men as a man who needs not only sex but emotional support and someone to be there in the good times and the bad ones. There are some sweet good girls but you have to be lucky to find one because most are shy and uninterested to approach a foreigner. I am japanese and sometimes I feel sorry to see how some japanese girls fool men and foreigners. Japanese are good at pretending anything you can imagine. So it is scary.

Even some japanese wives are scary, there are a lot of weird stuff going on that the husband doesnt know, but most think it is acceptable because their men are not home anyway and they think he is probably doing the same thing so why not. At the end the relationship is meaningless but they keep pretending everything is ¨happy¨. I personally admire how westerners at least try to make an effort to have a real relationship and connect with their significant other in different degrees. In japan a lot of things are based on money and superficiality even marriage. So the result of this survey shouldnt be news because it has been like that in japan for a long time already. Anyway, I love my country but I think people should be aware and stop fantazising about japan. Sometimes foreigners have too much energy about japan and sometimes it becomes annoying. Good luck!

Sources: AneCam, Twitter