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

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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

21 things people miss after leaving Japan / Recent Activities (On a Radio Show in Jamaica / Another Wedding / New Apartment Soon / Halloween in Japan)

Recent Activities 

Day 2765 ( Death Note and Full Metal Alchemist )
Friday, October 16, 2015

Ok so since Game of Thrones went on break, I've been searching for something else interesting to watch. I ended up going back to anime. I recently finished watching an anime called Death Note. It has only 37 episodes so it was pretty easy to finish watching. It got really intense then slowed down .... The ending was really disappointing tho.

Now since that one is over, I stayed in all day today watching Full Metal Alchemist. It is also heating up now and will finish soon.



Day 2772 ( On Radio in Jamaica )
Friday, October 23, 2015

My friend Rev. Marvia Lawes in Jamaica has a radio show called "The Morning Watch" on
Love 101 FM. So she interviewed me today for 30 mins (while I was at a Jamaican restaurant in Shibuya). I spoke about the popularity of reggae in Japan as well as Jamaican culture in Japan.



Day 2773 (Another Wedding in Japan / Checked out My soon to be New Apartment)
Saturday, October 24, 2015

Attended my 3rd wedding in Japan today... First one was 2010, then 2013, then today ! It was pretty good. Congrats Monci and Kasumi. Maybe he will be operating the PA system and technology stuff at my wedding ..... Hint hint .....

After the wedding, I went to check out my soon to be new apartment that is still being built. Should be done in 2 weeks.



Day 2775 ( Friend's Halloween Party )
Monday, October 26, 2015

Went to my friend's Halloween Party today. I thought it was gonna be boring but it turned out to be good. Lost a card game and had to take a shot of tequila.  



Day 2780 (Halloween in Shibuya, Tokyo)
Saturday, October 31, 2015

Went to Shibuya today to check out the Halloween scene. And OMG .... I've never seen so many people in my life.



21 things people miss after leaving Japan

By Philip Kendall, RocketNews24

Sometimes, even when we love a place with every fibre of our being, we just can’t stay forever. Family anxiously awaiting our return; work commitments; financial constraints and more mean that, at some point or other, many of us have to wave goodbye to Japan and return to our respective homelands.
Some of the things people miss about Japan will be immediately obvious, but others tend to sink in only a few weeks or months after returning home. Today, we’re taking a look at 21 of the little things, in no particular order, that Japan does so uniquely or so incredibly well that foreigners really start to pine for them once they finally say sayonara and head home.
Pooling the responses from my fellow RocketNews24 writers and talking with a number of people who have recently moved back to their homeland after living in Japan for anything from six months to more than a decade, I came up with this list of things that people really start to miss after heading home.
Make the most of these things while you have them, folks, because you’re gonna miss them when you’re gone!
1. A set, non-weird, phrase for thanking your colleagues for their hard work
True, otsukaresama (お疲れ様 - “you’re tired”) is uttered millions of times each day across Japan regardless of whether the speaker truly believes that their coworker put in any real effort. But there are times when you just want to say, “Hey, guy, you worked hard today, buddy. I appreciate that, friend,” without feeling all weird and awkward about it. Otsukaresama lets you do just that in a way that no English phrase really could, and it’s a phrase that many returnees feel quite lost without.
2. Moist towels in restaurants and cafes

When you think about how dirty and germ-ridden your hands must be after wandering about town – holding onto escalator handrails, handling cash, clinging to overhead straps on trains and secretly picking your nose – sitting down to eat a sandwich or overpriced bagel at your favourite trendy cafe suddenly doesn’t seem so appealing. In Japan, though, at pretty much every restaurant, cafe, or Japanese-style pub, you’ll be provided with a moist towel (called oshibori) to wipe your hands with the moment you take your seat. Many returnees I spoke to about oshibori have bemoaned the lack of the hand-towels in their homelands, with some even taking to keeping packs of moist towelettes in their bag as a makeshift substitute.
3. No tipping, but getting first-class service anyway
Even when the staff are getting just 800-1,000 yen an hour, you can still expect to be treated like some kind of minor celebrity at restaurants in Japan. Honorific phrases, bows, dashing – actually dashing – to serve you if they see you waiting to pay, and rarely if ever is there a problem with your order. But arguably the best thing of all is that, despite this first-class service, you don’t have to tip a single yenny for it, because people just do their job – really, really well – without expecting anything extra from the customer.
Eating out in a country where tipping is either obligatory (how ya doin’, America?) or kind-of-expected-but-not-really-required (what’s up, Britain?) can be a huge shock to the system for returnees. Especially when you feel pressured to tip even when the service was really nothing special or – far worse in this writer’s opinion – so cloying that you feel like you’re being groomed for your cash the second you walk through the door.
4. Japanese (home) baths
“People go mad about Japan’s fancy toilets,” said one of my colleagues when asked what she’d miss about Japan if she were to leave, “but what about those amazing bathtubs that automatically fill up to a certain level, stay at a constant temperature and talk to you in another room to let you know when they’re ready? I LOVE those things!”
And she’s absolutely right. We gaijin do enjoy marvelling at Japan’s futuristic toilets, what with their water jets, heated seats and the sound of applause that plays each time a sizeable deuce is dropped (OK, maybe I made the last one up, but it’d be cool, no?), but more luxurious home bathtubs in Japan have just as many bells and whistles, and better yet they can be operated from the next room. Using a control panel (usually installed in the kitchen), bathers can decide when they want their bath to start filling itself up, the exact temperature the water should be, and for how long it should be maintained. You get to enjoy your evening – eating dinner, watching TV with a glass of wine, listening to music in a comfy chair while the cat incessantly kneads your lap/misters with its razor-sharp claws – and then, just as you start thinking it might be time to get yourself all cleaned up and into your jim-jams, your bath calls to you by playing a soft jingle, inviting you to take a deep, luxurious dip before bed. What a magical age we live in.
5. A greater feeling of personal safety
Crime does, of course, exist in Japan. But even so, few would deny that walking the streets at night or arriving in an unfamiliar Japanese town with little more than a backpack and a rough idea of where you might stay is, generally speaking, perfectly safe. Add to that the fact that lost property more often than not ends up being returned to its owner, and you can understand why so many foreigners start to miss that heightened sense of personal safety when they leave Japan.
6. The little money trays in shops
When you pay for something in a shop in Japan, you don’t place your cash directly in the cashier’s hand; you put it in on a little plastic tray. When you get your change, too, the coins are usually presented to you the same way so that you can check you’ve been given the right amount. The tiny rows of rubber nubs lining the base of the tray, incidentally, are designed to make it easy for you and the clerk to remove any coins placed in it.
This may all seem rather silly and unnecessary at first, but when you leave Japan after a lengthy stay and find yourself staring at the open, upturned palm of a cashier as they await your money, you’ll almost definitely find yourself thinking: “You want me to put it in your hand? What are you, a Dickensian fish monger?”
It’s the little things, isn’t it?
7. Clean, crisp money
Speaking of money, unless you’re returning to one of those countries that has switched to plastic notes, you’ll probably come to realise that the cash in your homeland is actually pretty gross. In my native UK, I’ve been handed five-pound notes that have been scrawled on with marker pen, are missing corners and are held together with a strip of tape, or look like they’ve been put through a spin cycle a few dozen times. Japan’s dogged loyalty to cash may be frustrating at times (why a country famous for its cutting-edge technology is yet to fully embrace debit cards is beyond me) but at least the money you use is almost always crisp, clean and entirely Sellotape-free.
8. Amazing independent cafes
Great cafes aren’t usually something that spring to mind when people think of Japan. This is supposed to be the land of green tea and sushi after all, not cheesecake and cups of joe. But the Japanese do cafes – and coffee in general for that matter – so well.
You will of course find the usual big-name coffee chains dotted around the country, but you’ll also encounter a staggering number of independently owned cafes in Japan, staffed by people who dedicate their every waking hour to brewing the finest cup of joe imaginable, and the cafes themselves are some of the most stylish, comfortable and relaxing shrines to caffeine that you’re ever likely to visit. Somehow a trip to Starbucks of Caffe Nero just does seem the same after a handful of visits to Japan’s independent coffee houses, and even the cooler, privately owned cafes you do find in your homeland just don’t feel as charming or tranquil as Japan’s somehow.
9. The obligatory “kanpai” before drinking

No matter if it’s a quick beer after work or a farewell party attended by dozens of people, in Japan no one drinks until everyone has a glass in their hand and it has been cordially clinked. Live in Japan for any length of time and this custom becomes so ingrained that you’ll find yourself kanpai-ing your goldfish before sipping on a cheeky beer at home rather than drink without saying a word. If you head down to the pub with a friend in your homeland and they dare to take a sip of their drink before yours has been poured, meanwhile, you’d be completely forgiven for wanting to slap the glass out of their hand and call them a degenerate.
10. The amazing postal service
Just like in the west, if for some reason a package cannot be delivered to your home in Japan, you’ll receive a card through the door telling you so. But rather than this turning into a three-day-long debacle requiring trips to the post office or waiting around the house for hours on end, getting your parcel re-delivered in Japan is effortlessly easy. Either by calling the automated phone line (or sometimes even the driver him or herself as they often write their mobile phone number directly on the card), you can book a specific slot for re-delivery, choosing any of the two-hour windows right up until around 10 or 11 at night in some parts of the country. Some postmen will try two or three times to deliver a package even if you haven’t had chance to call, and when you do book a slot your stuff always, always, comes on time. No sitting around from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. peering out of the window and hoping for the best; Japan’s postal workers make it their mission to get your parcel into your hands.
11. Paying for stuff at the door
Speaking of deliveries, Japan’s cash-on-delivery (代金引換 “daikin hikikae,” or often just “daibiki”) is not only common, it’s also super convenient, especially for us foreigners. Say, for example, you just ordered a new video game or the latest realistic love doll online, but you don’t want to use your credit card because you’ll be charged a fee for overseas use or would rather not have a certain company’s name appear on your monthly statement. Well, if you choose the COD option, for a small fee (usually just a couple of hundred yen), you can book a delivery slot and pay the courier directly when he or she brings your new purchase to your door. Yup, online shopping just got even lazier.
12. The food

I mean, come on; Japanese food is amazing. Even if you live in a city where there are plenty of Japanese restaurants, rarely will you get the same level of quality for the same price, and places that you used to love before visiting Japan will – all pretension aside – probably come to feel decidedly sub-par after returning. I promise you: after leaving Japan, one of the first things you’ll dearly miss is the food.
13. Complimentary glasses of water everywhere
Just as you’ll get an oshibori hand-towel the second your bottom makes contact with your chair in a cafe or restaurant, so too will you be served a small glass of water. Even in establishments that would stand to make more money by pushing their coffee, booze or soft drinks, you’ll still be presented with a free cup of H20 when you sit down; it’s just part of that famous Japanese hospitality, and something you’ll really start to miss when your waiter looks down their nose at you for stressing the word “tap” when asking for water in restaurants back home.
14. Everyone making a big deal of the seasons
“Japan has four seasons, you know.” I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been told this by Japanese people. “Yeah, we have four seasons in the UK too,” I would reply to begin with, but after few years I started to understand why the changing of the seasons means so much to the Japanese people: because pretty much everything changes with them. The food; the festivals; the fashions; you name it, you can see distinct trends and changes in Japan along with the changes in the weather and surrounding flora. And while my native land does indeed have four seasons to be proud of, Japan’s seasons really are just so astoundingly distinct and beautiful in their own ways that it’s hard not to fall in love with every one of them – yes, even the mercilessly humid summers and toothpaste-going-hard-because-it’s-so-cold winters.
15. “Zakka” shops
I never imaged myself falling in love with something like zakka (literally meaning “miscellaneous goods”) shops, but I must have visited hundreds of them during my eight years in Japan. From coffee cups to sofas to spoons twisted in some weird way that makes them impossible to eat with but look effortlessly cool on your coffee table, you’ll rarely need any of the stuff on sale in these Aladdin’s caves of crafts and homeware, but you’ll almost always come out with something. Those dextrous Japanese really do trinkets and crafts exceptionally well, and there’s something so charming about their take on Western designs that its hard not to miss these myriad stores after leaving the country.
16. Toilets and bathrooms being in separate rooms
Smaller apartments with “unit bath” bathrooms (a sort of plastic cube with fitted bathtub/overhead shower, sink and toilet) are, admittedly, quite common in urban Japan, but for the most part the Japanese bathe and do their business in totally different rooms of the house. Which makes perfect sense if you ask us – after all, why would you want to get clean barely a couple of feet away from the place you made number twos just a couple of hours earlier? 
17. Decent food at the convenience store
Few convenience stores in the west offer much in the way of nutritious snacks and meals. In my native UK, you’re mostly faced with rows of sad-looking sandwiches, questionable sausage rolls, crisps (chips to the rest of you), chocolate bars and sugary drinks, all offered as part of “meal deals”. (Spoiler: crisps and coke do not a meal make.)
Japan’s convenience stores, though, don’t mess around when it comes to food. Yes, you can find a huge variety of junk to thrust into your hungry face-hole, but you’ll also find freshly made snacks and whole meals containing rice, meat, noodles and wholesome vegetables – all day, every day. A combini bento lunch may never truly compare to a proper, home-made meal, but it’s not a bad second choice, and rarely do you have to feel especially guilty after eating it.
18. Sitting under a kotatsu
Nothing – I’ll say that again, nothing – compares to the feeling of sitting at one of these wonderful heated duvet-fitted tables in the middle of winter. More luxuriant than a lengthy Sunday morning sofa session, yet vastly more comfortable and practical than even the sturdiest blanket fort, and it comes with a place to put your TV remote, snacks, drinks, laptop, smartphone, comics, book, whatever. Kotatsu, dear reader, are simply amazeballs. I know that’s a ridiculous word, but it’s the only one that comes even remotely close to conveying how great these things are.
19. Onigiri

Yes, we’ve covered Japanese food, and yes, these are essentially just balls of rice with a little bit of something in the middle, but they deserve a special mention nevertheless.
Onigiri, even the machine-made ones you can buy at convenience stores, are super tasty and wonderfully satisfying. They’re cheap, they’re filling, you can eat them morning, noon or night, and they’re tough enough to withstand being thrown in the bottom of a bag without turning completely to mush. “But what of sandwiches, Sir Philip?” you might say in an attempt to find a Western equivalent while sounding like an insubordinate servant girl from the past. But sandwiches simply don’t have the same wholesome, comfort-food feel that onigiri offer, and they’re nowhere near as simple.
20. Shoes off in the house
One of the worst things for anyone who has returned to their homeland but sticks to the Japanese practice of removing their footwear before coming indoors is when someone visits their home and walks in wearing their dirty old shoes or trainers. It’s a moment of terrible awkwardness that few will understand: friend or not, their footwear in your home might as well be a molting, mud-splattered labrador bounding across the couches and rolling around on the rug. Yet you don’t want to come across as uptight or “that guy who won’t let the Japan thing go” by asking them to leave their footwear at the door. Worse still is when repairmen visit your home and you find yourself staring at their boots while wondering whether it would be crossing a line to ask a perfect stranger to take their shoes off before entering your beautiful, unsullied abode.
But seriously, guys, outdoor shoes in the house is really, really gross. Let’s stop that madness right now.
21. And finally… The “time to go home, kids” jingle
Known as “iriai no kane” (入り相の鐘) after the bells that were once rung at temples as the sun began to set each day, many towns and villages in Japan use their old public address systems to play a short jingle early each evening as a way of telling the local kids that it’s time to head home. (It’s also, purportedly, a way of testing the speaker system so that it can be used in times of emergency.) Where I used to live, a wobbly, elevator music-style version of The Beatles’ “Let It Be” used to play at 5:30 p.m. (or half an hour earlier in the winter) every single day, until it was suddenly and inexplicably replaced by the annoyingly catchy “It’s a Small World” a couple of years later. Kind of like a town clock but groovier, “iriai no kane” are the kind of endearing little pieces of Japan that many foreigners miss after returning home. That it, of course, unless the town or village that they used to live in also played their selected jingle at 6 a.m.


Friday, October 16, 2015

Red flags and exit strategies: advice for English teachers in Japan / Japan PM Shinzo Abe in Jamaica / Recent Update

Recent Happenings

Day 2752 ( Parent Company Quarterly Meeting / Bad scores )
Saturday, October 3, 2015

So my Company is owned by an even larger company - that owns like 15 or so other companies. Yeah a conglomerate (I still remember some stuff from my business classes some 16-17 years ago). Anyway, this bigger company L and M has quarterly meetings where full time employees of all its other companies would gather for meetings and people would be given awards. Before this big meeting, my company would have a smaller version of it for about 1-2 hours and people would also get prizes. This was where I got an award last quarter at the end of June.

Now this time, I was pretty much trying to explain the low scores that I got from my very first evaluation from my co-worker (s). Long story that I can't really get into here. Initially it was depressing but things have gotten much better now and still improving.


Days  2757 & 2758 ( LifeHouse Church)
Thursday, October 8 and Friday October 9, 2015

So I took like over a year hiatus from church while living in Toyama. But I recently started going to another church now about 30 mins from where I live. It's called Lifehouse - Yokohama. They had a conference this week in Roppongi, Tokyo and I went 2 nights.

Day 2764 ( Football/Soccer again )
Thursday, October 15, 2015

Finally got to play soccer again since like March when I was in Toyama. I used to last 10 mins on the field. Now I last only like 5 mins. I still got my skills though, I scored about 5 goals in total.

Red flags and exit strategies: advice for English teachers in Japan

by Patrick St. Michel - Japan Times

It’s an easy scenario to imagine. A fresh-faced individual from the West, determined to move to Japan, browses English-teaching job listings on a site such as GaijinPot or O-Hayo Sensei. They apply to a few, and get a response from a promising private school. The job is basically locked down, and our hypothetical instructor-to-be is geeked — so geeked they don’t really look around online to see what has been written about the place.

They come to Japan and everything seems golden at first. The company sets them up with housing and practically takes care of everything. The country is so new, the teacher doesn’t ever stop to think if the company might be taking advantage of them in some way. Do they really need to work all those unpaid hours, and why doesn’t the company help pay for health insurance? Although some teachers find they have few complaints, for others, things can turn sour fast.
“They treat me like family, which is nice until Dad takes his belt off,” says Dennis Tesolat, chair of the General Union, a Japan-based trade union that works closely with those employed in the private English education industry.

The Internet is full of horror stories from non-Japanese workers employed by English dispatch companies and conversation schools (eikaiwa). A report compiled between May 2014 and May 2015 by the General Union features a litany of broken rules at larger schools and dispatch companies.
With the autumn school term well underway — and with the Japanese government pushing for more English-language learning ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, meaning a higher demand for native teachers — it’s important for new instructors in Japan to know when they are being exploited, and, if so, how to improve their lot or extricate themselves from the situation as painlessly as possible.
“It’s the eikaiwa industry. There will be problems,” says Tesolat. “Once bad things happen, it’s very hard to deal with them. It’s better to get the information beforehand.”

A potentially bad situation can be spotted as early as the interview process. One example Tesolat says he has heard about is a company urging new employees to come into the country on tourist visas, and promising them the proper credentials later on. This should be a massive red flag.
“You don’t want to get caught without a visa. I mean, you will get in more trouble than the company. The only thing to do is leave. Get back on the airplane, go away!” Tesolat says, urging teachers to only accept positions that guarantee a proper visa from the outset. Kosuke Oie, an immigration lawyer at the Tokyo Public Law Office, Foreign Nationals and International Service Section, says both the employee and employer can be punished with a fine or imprisonment if an employee doesn’t have the appropriate visa, but the former can also be deported.

Some companies try to skirt this by having the teacher initially work as a “volunteer” while the proper visa is being processed. Oie stresses that teachers should be aware that this still leaves them vulnerable. “You can only do what your visa — or more precisely, your status of residence — allows you to do,” he says.

Yet there are other topics that might be ignored in the interview that Tesolat says are worth keeping in mind, such as health insurance and paid holidays.
“Chances are, if they don’t mention these things, it’s because they don’t exist,” he warns.
Still, Tesolat acknowledges that asking about these issues in the first meeting can set off alarm bells on the company side, possibly resulting in an applicant not getting a job. In desperate situations where you need employment, he admits it’s best to not ask too many questions of this nature, at least when dealing with larger companies such as Aeon or Interac. “Big places are better, they’ve dealt with us for longer and abide by labor rules,” Tesolat says.

“Small schools — just ask directly, otherwise it will end in tears,” he adds. “I don’t want to slag off small companies, but those are the places you need to ask the hard questions. They are harder to deal with, because they overreact.” Tesolat says that if you notice everyone working at a smaller, private company is part-time, or that teachers quit frequently, it’s best to give them a wide berth.
Eikaiwa — both big and small outfits — tend to try to get the most out of teachers. Overtime work can be a particularly thorny issue.

“The principle is that the company must pay overtime for additional hours, more than eight hours a day, 40 hours a week,” Oie says. He notes, though, that teachers should pay attention to what’s written in their contracts, as companies can include special frameworks that change the requirements for overtime pay (to hours worked monthly, for example).
Anybody working at a company with five or more full-time employees logging over 30 hours or more a week should be enrolled in shakai hoken, a government health care and pension program wherein half of all monthly payments are covered by the company. Many English teaching businesses, big or small, commonly avoid doing this.

“The big 29.5-hour scam,” Tesolat says. “Basically you are working all day, at school, and what most of the places do is they give you a bunch of split shifts over the course of the day. You are stuck the whole day, but they are keeping you off of insurance.”
When faced with any infraction, Tesolat says employees shouldn’t bring up these issues with the company, as it could result in the teacher not being brought back come the new semester.
“Give the union a call first,” he says. “There are some companies we’ve dealt with for a long time, and it is just a matter of us writing a letter. That’s what happens at most of the bigger companies.”
Yet sometimes getting out of a bad situation is the only option. In such cases, Tesolat recommends looking for new jobs quietly (and trying to save up as much money as you can while you do so). He adds that, if possible, you should try to leave on amicable terms.

“You can quit your job — the law says that. They can’t force you to stay,” he says. “I would give as much notice as you can. I would follow what the contract says unless it is a situation where it doesn’t say, or if violence is involved — in those situations you just have to get out.”
Technically, an employer can’t fire an employee without 30 days’ notice or a month’s pay in lieu, except in extreme circumstances. But Tesolat mentions that, in some cases, when an instructor goes to quit, the company will just cut them right there. In these situations, the teacher should remember that a company must pay the just-terminated employee any owed wages within seven days if the employee requests this.

Some schools might threaten to evict a teacher from the residence they are living in. “It depends on the condition of the lease — who pays the rent, etc. — but generally speaking, forcing an eviction without court procedure is not acceptable if the employee still lives there,” Oie says.
Getting help from those who can speak Japanese and/or know how the law works is also vital, a point Tesolat echoes when dealing with local labor standards offices.

“That’s a really good place to go with someone from the union, because they are afraid when someone with a lot of knowledge comes in.” That said, Tesolat adds, “The labor standards office is probably the least helpful place you can go,” as they don’t tend to put in much effort.
Tesolat says those coming to the country should safeguard against problems early on by joining a union before even arriving in the country.

“You will have information other people don’t, you can learn to deal with problems at work before they become problems,” he says. “If something happens, you are in the front of the line to get help.”
Yet maybe the most important piece of advice for anyone considering coming to Japan to work in the private English teaching industry is to do their homework beforehand and, in the case of small companies, ask the important questions. The best way to avoid problems in this business is sniff them out as early as possible.




The real reason Japan is coming to Jamaica

THE official visit today of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is a gracious gesture which, we believe, all Jamaicans welcome.
Frequently, pundits read these high-profile visits for their geopolitical importance. However, we think that Prime Minister Abe is not coming because Japan plans to assert itself as a global political superpower. The Asian tiger relinquished this fleeting illusion way back in the 1980s.
The visit to Jamaica is in reciprocity for the visit of Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller, who visited Japan in November 2013, at which time she invited Mr Abe to return the favour. More importantly, this visit is intended to send a signal to the rest of Caricom, following the first Japan-Caricom summit last year in Port of Spain.

First and uppermost in the mind of Prime Minister Abe is Japan's campaign for election in October 2016 to a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. Tokyo is re-engaging with Jamaica and the Caribbean to rebuild its presence which has been seriously overshadowed by the US and China.
Japan's influence was never very strong, but it was even more noticeable in recent years because of America's soft power and China's substantial increase in aid.

Japan's strong interest in a seat on the UN Security Council derives from its anxiety about China's influence in the Pacific. A flashpoint is the bitter and potentially explosive dispute with China over the Senkaku Islands, a group of tiny uninhabited islands of little strategic value in the East China Sea.
While their long history of animosity is a factor, it is pride more than the possibility of undersea oil deposits that fuels the dispute. Japan worries that the Caricom countries that benefit from the generosity of China in numerous infrastructure projects would support China's position, or at least not oppose it.

Japan needs to keep its diplomatic ties with Caricom, which has 15 votes in the United Nations.
Second, and to a lesser extent, Japan's belated concern to retain its economic status as pre-eminent position of supplier of motor vehicles, electronics and manufactured goods. Its place in Caribbean markets has come under pressure from a surge of Chinese imports.

If Jamaica could be persuaded to support Japan's UN bid, it does not follow that this will influence other Caricom governments. We suspect that it is going to take much more than the votes of 15 Caricom countries to get Japan what it aspires.

Add to the complexity and uncertainty the fact that Japan is not the only country eyeing a seat on the Security Council, and not the only government willing to be of assistance to the Caricom states in a time of need.

Of course, Japan is not unaware that finance may determine Caricom's support. At the Trinidad summit, Japan announced a large aid package to be used for climate change, and relaxed the strict application of the per capita eligibility rule. This was to allow all Caricom countries, regardless of how high their per capita incomes were, to be eligible.

Previously, Japan's position was that some Caricom countries were graduated from their aid because of their high per capita incomes. This change was a major development in their foreign policy and aid policy.
We salute and welcome the prime minister of Japan and acknowledge our half a century of mutual friendship.

A Video of Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Jamaica 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

First Japanese bill outlawing racism, hate speech submitted to Upper House / Recent Update

First Japanese bill outlawing racism, hate speech submitted to Upper House

by Tomohiro Osaki - Japan Times

A group of lawmakers made history Friday by submitting a bill to the Upper House that would outlaw racism and hate speech.
Sponsored by lawmakers from the Democratic Party of Japan and Social Democratic Party, the bill would prohibit all forms of racial discrimination, including hate speech, and places responsibility on the state and municipalities to eliminate racism.
The bill is the first anti-discrimination legislation of its kind in Japan and signals that its decadeslong failure to follow through on its signing of the 1969 International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination may be coming to an end.
“We believe the bill is very significant,” said foreign-citizens rights group Gaikokujin Jinkenho Renrakukai in a statement Friday. “It is a huge stride forward for the state to proclaim the illegality of racial discrimination and to express its intention to take steps to eradicate it.”
The bill does not, however, hold violators liable for criminal punishment — an apparent bid to avoid opposition from those who might argue it infringes on freedom of expression.
There is also no guarantee that the bill will be examined by an Upper House committee — the first step to Diet passage — let alone be enacted.
Nonetheless, human rights advocates view the bill as a potential breakthrough in their long-frustrated ambition to rein in hate speech targeting ethnic Koreans, which sometimes involves death threats.
This is because the bill, they point out, outlaws not only discriminatory or incendiary remarks directed at specific individuals, but also those aimed at “an unidentified number of persons who are of the same racial origin.”
“This clause is a virtual declaration by the state that it opposes remarks targeting a mass audience, such as ‘Kill Koreans’ and ‘Japanese Only,’ ” the rights group said.
Hiroshi Tanaka, a professor emeritus of sociology at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, likewise welcomed the bill.
Although the law would not penalize violators, Tanaka said it would serve as a deterrent.
“Suppose a group like Zaitokukai ever wants to organize a hate-gathering in a community hall,” Tanaka said, referring to the far-right citizens’ group whose vitriolic rallies often target Koreans. “The law will make it easier for owners of such facilities to refuse to rent their venues for the group, with the rationale that they are duty-bound under the law to prevent racial discrimination.”



Day 2739 ( Apartment Hunting )
Sunday, September 20, 2015

Went apartment hunting today.... Yeah I'm moving. I was looking for somewhere in Kamiooka, 3 stations away from me with lots of shopping areas and a movie theater. So went to an agency and they showed me a place.

But the apartment was up some serious hills and down some serious valleys. It also had a huge graveyard nearby. Nooooope.


Day 2740 ( More Apartment Hunting ) 
Monday, September 21, 2015

Went to Kanazwa Bunko, this time 2 stops away from me in the opposite direction from the one yesterday. Went to another apartment agency and saw information about another apartment. So I went to look at it, still being built but really nice place for not too expensive. It is very near to my current apartment. I can walk there in like 7 mins.

Decided that I'm gonna take this one !!!


Day 2744 ( African American Youth Travel Program - Fund Raiser MC)
Friday, September 25, 2015

I was asked to MC this event tonight.  I performed at one back in July I think and met some cool people there. It was great this time again. It's known as the AAYTP or African American Youth Travel Program - An NPO that helps underprivileged African American High Schoolers to come to Japan and get a feel of the culture.

At first I was a bit nervous MCing the program but eventually it all went well.