Two Countries Of Paradox - Japan and Jamaica

Days 1628 - 1634
Sunday, September 2 - September 8, 2012   

Day 1628 ( Two Countries of Paradox - Jamaica and Japan )
Sunday, September 2, 2012

Stayed in all day with a slight stomach ache and head ache.


I couldn't help but notice the many paradoxes about Jamaica and Japan. The only two countries that I've ever lived in. Lets start with Japan.

The Japan Paradox 

Low Crime / High Suicide Rate

Japan is one of the most peaceful countries in the world with an extremely low crime rate. But on the flip side, for over 14 years now, the suicide rate has been steady at over 30,000 suicides per year.  

Hi Technology / Ancient Buildings

When you are talking about technology, you are talking about Japan. Many name brand electronic/technology companies are right here (Toshiba, Sharp, Panasonic, Nintendo, Sony - which are all having trouble by the way). BUT, try going into a bank to set up an account and you will notice the amount of paper work involved. You would think that because of the hi-technology, paper would be minimized. Nope, more papers. Also, 2 steps away from any modern looking sky scraper, you can find a castle, shrine or temple that has been around since the ancient Egyptians were searching for the stones to build the sphinx.

Sky tree in the background of an ancient building in Tokyo

Shy / but not so shy

Japanese tend to be terribly shy about speaking of love and stuff like that. But love hotels (places to go and have sex secretly at a price) are quite abundant. Especially in the Tokyo area. And No I've never been to one.

Shy Japanese 

Love Hotels - Who are using them???
Love foreigners / Hate foreigners

There is a big love/hate thing going on with Japan and other foreign countries, especially the US. Some Japanese are really excited to see and talk with a foreigners. While on the flip side, some hate our guts. Leave it to Japan to put your self-esteem in check. The hyper xenophobia is everywhere. Just step out of your apartment and you will see stares in abundance. Most times not friendly stares. If you don't have a strong mind and will, this alone can drive you nuts.

The Jamaica Paradox

Most Churches per Square Mile / Most bars per square mile

Stand anywhere in Jamaica, and you can be sure that a church is not too far away. But at the same time there is always a bar not too far away either. We have the most churches per square mile in the world, as well as the most bars per square mile.

With that type of coverage -- an estimated 2.75 churches for every square mile of Jamaica, according to The Guiness Book of World Records -- you would think we would be a country that vibrated on a high moral frequency, where respect and love for our fellow man were the order of the day.
Sadly, that is not the case, for we are also #87 out of 180 on Transparency International's Corruption Index of 2010, a ranking of countries according to the degree to which politicians and public officials are perceived to be corrupt.

Out of many one people / Black, Green and Gold Flag

We have a motto in Jamaica which is also written on our coat of arms, saying "Out of many one people"

It means basically that we have many races of people living in Jamaica, but we are all one. We have Chinese, Africans, Syrians, Jews, Indians,Whites and any other race you probably can think of. But the vast majority of us are of African decent and mostly dark skinned or black!!. Hence the black in the Jamaican flag. Why did they use only black in the flag if the motto is "out of many one people"?

Christian Country/ High Murder rate

Jamaica is said to be a Christian country. Well when compared to other religions, Christianity is indeed the dominant religion. If there are so many churches, then why is the crime in Jamaica so high? Even though the crime is concentrated in certain "hot" areas, it is still too much for comfort. There are 2 possible takes on this:

1) The church is not doing enough (which is the stance most people looking on has taken)

2) If the church wasn't around, then the crime would be 10 times worse. (This I don't want to imagine)

The Poor buys the most expensive stuff

Some persons living in the most poverty stricken areas in Jamaica, wear the most expensive, name brand clothes etc. Then at times, these same guys/girls are asking for money.



Day 1629 ( MID Tablet Computer / Jamaica on Japanese TV)
Monday, September 3, 2012

Received my MID Tablet computer from China today. I bought it off ebay and it took about a week and a half to get here from China. It looks neat and seem very handy but its definitely not new as was described on ebay. Its also extremely slow. But its only US$56 so quite cheap and it uses android OS.


Jamaica on Japanese TV

For the past 4 weeks, Jamaica had been featured on a Japanese TV station (Fuji Terebi) several times on Monday nights. Ever since 2008 Jamaica, has been getting increasingly popular in Japan because of Usain Bolt. Some of my students are just realizing that I am from Jamaica!!!! Japan is a strange place I tell you.

I videoed this one last week.  

Part 1 of episode 3

Part 2 of episode 3

I videoed the first episode as well but I was talking quite a bit in the background so it is not youtube worthy. They had either 4 or 5 episodes in all.



Day 1630 ( Finally!!! A Japanese Credit Card / Kids Almost Sophocate in a BMW )
Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Went to a relatively famous Japanese Department store today name Marui (oioi) to try to get a visa credit card with a friend of mine from the US. My friend speaks Japanese very well, so she translated the difficult stuff for me. She and another US girl that works at the same company as I, successfully got their visa credit cards, so I decided to take a shot at it. Its one of the most difficult things to get in Japan, a credit card. I got turned down about 5 times already.

After about 45 minutes of questions and difficult paper filling out, I finally got approved. It felt like a million dollars. The card shown below is not the actual thing. I wish.

Japanese Credit Cards - Getting one is like winning the lottery


Scary moments as 2 toddlers rescued from locked BMW X6

A near half-hour attempt to rescue two toddlers accidentally locked inside a BMW X6 created nervous moments for the female driver of the high-end vehicle and a crowd that quickly gathered as news of the incident spread inside the Winchester Business Centre on Hope Road in Kingston yesterday.
Fearing that the scorching mid-afternoon sun was making the inside of the vehicle uncomfortable and life-threatening for the toddlers, people in the crowd — having learnt that the key to the X6 were inside the driver's handbag, which was also locked inside — urged that something be used to smash one of the windows.
One man tried, using a large wrench. But the tool merely bounced off the glass on the front passenger side with each attempt.
Accepting that the wrench would not do the trick, another man, armed with a pick axe, walked up and swung the tool's pointed end into the window. It barely marked the glass. He gave up after two more swings.
By now, police and men dressed in white shirts branded BMW were on the scene as concern for the lives of the children grew among the very vocal crowd.
Just before firefighters arrived, two of the men in the branded white shirts startled some in the crowd when they started using the pick axe to pry open the door on the driver's side.
The strategy didn't work. However, enough space was created between the door and the cabin, allowing one of the men in the branded shirt to use a wire to hook the handbag and pull it up, giving the driver the opportunity to reach into her bag and get the key.
She quickly opened the doors and the toddlers were rushed to a doctor in the complex.



Day 1631 ( Mount Fuji May Well Erupt  )
Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Every morning recently, its really hard to wake up early and go to work. Then afterwards I'm tired. I am still in holiday mode.

Had evening class and sold my student a T-shirt.


Quakes added to eruption risk on Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji's magma chamber came under so much pressure from the Great East Japan Earthquake and one of its aftershocks last year that it could very well erupt, researchers said.

However, the jump in pressure is not the only factor that could cause the volcano to blow, and no signs of a pending eruption have been detected, the National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention said.
Mount Fuji most recently erupted in 1707 but under the same circumstances. At the time, the rise in pressure caused by the preceding quake, which hit right before the eruption, was weaker than that caused by last year's quakes, the group said.
Based on the tectonic movements caused by the magnitude 9.0 quake that struck off the coast of the Tohoku region in March 2011 and the magnitude 6.4 quake that followed four days later, the researchers estimate that about 1.6 megapascals of pressure were placed on the magma chamber, which is thought to be some 15 km underground. That's equivalent to an atmospheric pressure of some 15.8 kg per sq. cm.



Day 1632 ( Sending Back The MID / Japan Blog Contributor )
Thursday, September 6, 2012

Stayed in after work then filed a complaint to the person on ebay who I bought the MID tablet from. They claimed that its new and got scratched during shipment. However :

1) It isn't new - apparently these Chinese people think I am an idiot

2) There are some scratches on the back and on the face plus a slight dent on the top.

3) The screen seem to already be lifting

4) The volume suddenly goes up for no reason and its a fight to get it down.

So I am going to send it back to them.


I contributed these 2 blogs to a Japanese tourist website. You can check them out:

1) Photo Blog about an amusement park

2) Descriptive blog about a summer festival



Day 1633 (  )
Friday, September 7, 2012

After work, I had 2 classes at the YMCA, then I ran to Shibuya to speak to my Jamaican friend. I am planning a birthday party next Friday for me and another Jamaican friend Viviana. Her birthday is today actually (September 7)!!! So yeah I went to the Jamaican restaurant to check if I could do the event there. I met some other Japanese who visited Jamaica there.



Day 1634 ( English Only!! )
Saturday, September 8, 2012

Had my usual 3 classes at the YMCA today then bought some groceries. My YMCA boss got slightly angry with me today when she heard me speaking Japanese to a child. She said,
"Dave sensei (in a relatively quiet tone. Followed by)...... ENGLISH ONLY!!!"... I've known this lady for 5 months now and this is the strongest I've ever heard her spoken to me. But I accepted my correction with grace and spoke no more Japanese, even when the kid is looking at me as if he has no clue what I am saying.


Stephen Wildes said…
Yow dave, whats up man. Good to see the blog still going. Read the paradoxies b/w Jamaica and Japan and some of the other stuff. Keep it up.
Stephen Wildes said…
Yow dave, whats up man. Good to see the blog still going. Read the paradoxies b/w Jamaica and Japan and some of the other stuff. Keep it up.

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