J-adventures bla bla
praising, ranting, raving all about me being here. To read any further you must hereby understand, the following is an expression of my opinions and feelings at the moment of posting. It does not necessarily reflect my veritable mindset.

MIB III - "Security" is still running high


Picture: To revive Japan's "safest country in the world" status they must curb ilegal visa overstayers? this implies that non-Japanese are to blame for the high crime in Japan. Although the statistics say otherwise. See here!


Last week I had my third encounter with the black suits! I was shopping in Akihabara when some suits came up to the counter (close to where I was) and flashed their badge in the same manner as my previous encounters. They then in a low tone of voice asked if there were any foreigners working at this location as the cross checked their list.

Though I'm not 100% sure that they were looking for only foreigners I did overhear them saying something about a certain Korean staff member. Pretending to be a tourist I made my way closer to eaves drop as they questioned other employees.

When informed that this Korean employee was not in that day the conversation changed to a more aggressive tone. "Why isn't he in? Where is he? What's he doing? Doesn't he work here?" a few moments later the suits were directed to the manager's corner where they were simply told that it was that employee's day off.

The suits then proceeded to ask all the other employees questions. Once finished with this store, they checked their list and proceeded to the next store. (o_O)

There is a serious crackdown going on in Japan and I strongly believe that it's under the pretense of "security". Furthermore, blanket (anti-terror/anti-hooliganism) laws are making for a good opportunity to flush out some illegal visa over stayers, some "undesirable people" or simply to put pressure on the foreign community.

Here are two somewhat related quotes from my 2 minute Google search:

Many Japanese people are under the impression that foreigners are responsible for much of the crime although statistics show the crime rate among foreigners (minus visa violations) is 0.08%, one third that of the Japanese themselves. The reason Japanese people have this false belief is largely because of the media. The reason Japan's foreign community commits few crimes is because they are largely highly educated and employed. link


Is it racism?? Nope.. that's not (technically) possible in Japan.

Interestingly, there is no word in Japanese for "racism". The nearest translation is 人種差別政策 (racial discrimination policy) or 人種的偏見 (racial prejudice). But these words do not include the sense of superiority felt by real racists (like the Nazi). It is also undeniable that a lot of Japanese feel superior to their Asian neighbours, while discriminating against them. It is thus convenient for Japanese not to have the word "racism" in their vocabulary, so that no law can effectively prohibit it, and discussion about it is seriously hampered. link


There is however a word for Xenophobia...
 

MIB II


I thought my secret police experience was unique to Hokkaido for the G8 Summit in Toyako. cough cough...

As it turns out I had another run in with the Men in Black... this time it wasn't me they seemed to be after! In japan when you move from one area to another you have to notify the world of the change to residence. In my case being considered a foreigner (bastards!) I have to register my change of address at the local (city or ward office).

All foreigners must carry an Alien registration card at all times, getting caught not doing so may be cause for some kind of punishment. The change of address that I went to do at the ward office was to notify them of my change but also to have my ID card updated to reflect my new address.

Arriving at the ward office I take a number and sit down at the counter. All of a sudden a black suit arrives at the counter and flashes his badge! They speak and apparently he's looking for information. He hands over some official documents and the clerk runs off to get her boss. I'm then told to go wait in the waiting area where I snap a shot off with my phone.

A few mins pass and the officer leaves with new documentation from the foreigner registration counter! hmmm. Later I found out that Japan under some sort of anti-hooliganism law that was put into effect for the 2002 world cup has continued to expand this new "security" measure to widen it's scope and tighten security. This is naturally a copy of the US blanket terror/security measures put in place after the world trade incident.

A little weirded out I leave the ward office then stumble upon a poster in the vicinity of a police station. You can make your own minds but the first thing that came to mine was "for your security bla bla bla".

The reason for writting this is security everywhere seems to be beefed up quite a bit! Police officers are everywhere! Just today I think I crossed paths with at least 50!!
 

There's nothing racial about racial profiling...



I have just had the pleasure of coming back from Hokkaido. (The northern island of Japan) I went to a city unknown to many Japanese let alone Non-Japanese people. Ergo no t the usual Sapporo-Otaru-Hakodate-Asahikawa-Kushiro-Wakkanai, but more "out there"
closest airport was 40 mins away and goes by the name 女満別 or Memanbetsu for the non Kanji readin folk out there! 40 mins away by taxi was the city of 北見 or Kitami which is where I went.

However the fun started much before. At Haneda airport we took a bus to our plane parked outside and climbed up the stairs to the boarding door. Luckily the weather was on our side. (Must be fun in typhoon or winter season) The JAL Airbus 300-600ER was large for the destination and therefore half full. The interior was all yellow, perhaps to disguise the smoke colour from when smoking was allowed. It even had ash trays in the arm rests. (Smoking on a plane, what a ridiculous idea to start with...)

Upon an uneventful flight I disembarked and proceeded to baggage claim. I guess the one good thing about the destination airport was that it was tiny. There was no way to not go to the right baggage claim area.

Getting my luggage our taxi driver was waiting for us. Off we go...

But wait.. Then some black suits come up to my group and single me out! "That one!" they say as the point at me flashing their police badge. I let out a flabbergasted "huh"?! I was the only non-japanese looking person so I had to show ID to the secret coppers! Excuse me...
I tried to tell them I was Japanese, they bought it at first then asked to see Japanese ID. Bastards! I had just given back my health insurance card to my previous ward office after my move so I didn't have anything asides my Alien Registration card.

So reluctantly I handed that over, still not knowing what the heck I did. (or didn't do) After scrutinizing my card my name and place of birth I was asked what I was doing here. (Now non-Japanese people need reasons to travel within the country! fantastic) I explained I was here for two days for work. Then explained what kind of work and where, plus the hotel I was staying at, all this in the arrival lobby of the tiny airport. I'm sure NOBODY noticed the EVIL foreign looking guy with the blond, red and black hair talking to secret police. Nooo

It turns out it was due to the upcoming G8 summit next month in Hokkaido. I think it takes place in the Toyako area. So.... To ensure security single out the guy with the most messed up hair colours because he might be the terrorist you're looking for, yet don't single out any other foreigners, Chinese, Koreans or how about the natives of the land the Ainu? No check me the ONLY semi white guy for 100KM....

I was itching to point out that the Japanese law enforcement officials should be more worried about the Japanese than the pale faced. In recent memory I think the Akihabara Massacre culprit was Japanese, as well as the other stabbings and shootings oh wait there was also the subway gassings. Whiteish foreigners account for less than 1% of Japanese population. But saying anything that may tick off the police may land me 20 days in jail for no valid reason.

Wake up Japan. Focus on your own! In any case, if I really was a terrorist (yeah even with the funky hair) what good would screening people do? I could have still done something bad. All that happens now is that they have a erroneous but possible white devil suspect list!

"There's nothing wrong about racial profiling as long as it's not against your own!"
 

OMG There's a fire, let's watch!



Tokyo is renowned for being crowded. Ueno is one of the older part of Tokyo. Ameyokocho is a famous market strip in Ueno filled with shops selling everything from sex toys to fish to handbags and shoes.

What happens in a holiday period. This place gets filled a lot more than usual, which is nothing new as people here seem to like crowds.

So, abnormally many people in a popular Tokyo spot. Asides earthquakes what could possibly go wrong? Fires....

For some reason there was a fire truck TRYING to get into the pedestrian street. It was as if no one had ever seen a firetruck and froze in their tracks (and in its tracks) or were so completely oblivious to it that people leisurely strolled in front of it chatting away as if there was nothing!
Next the police had to be called in to tape off the street where the firetruck need to back-up.
Finally the truck got to its destination a whole 40 meters into the street. Then it had to reposition in order to raise its ladder through the chaotic mess of cables.

All this took id say at least 10 minutes. Though I didn't see smoke I would hope that if it were a real situation that people would move out of the way a little faster! 10 minutes is a long time stuck in a burning building and could EASILY mean the difference between fine and crispy! (^_^;;
 

I'm a collectable!



Fantastic, if it wasn't enough that the Bank of Montreal decided to screw me over. (See a previous post about BoM closing my bank account) They of course handed over my account to a collection agency.

Naturally the agency has NO IDEA what the heck it's talking about! For those of you that are unilingual in anything other than French it says something along the lines of: "We have been informed that you have a job and would be able to pay" (FYI in Japan for the last almost 4 years! Plus the bank was notified I was/am here)

Uh huh... just who would be informing you of my current job? More lies! Unbelievable! BoM kudos on that last low blow!
 

Are you constipated??



Constipated, in Japan? Got no insurance? Afraid to go to the hospital? Or even, don't trust doctors? Well worry not! For about 500Yen the cure can be yours!

Ramen. Not the instant kind, the ramen shop kind. But not just any shop will do. Most ramen shops will charge you about 800-1500Yen for a decent bowl of ramen. If you're in the market for some bowel relief then aim lower. Head straight for the 300Yen ramen shops order the most oily looking ramen, but don't bother with ordering food as it'll pass through you.

Once consumed, mix. Jump around like a complete retard to ensure a complete and even mix in your innards. You'll know it's taking effect when you feel your stomach grumble and bubble give it about 40 mins to take effect.

And voila! Bowels clean as a whistle.

Be warned that over-consuming this cheap Japanese laxative will cause painful explosive diarrhea so be sure to have a suitable place to relieve ones self at running distance.

Disclaimer: Experiences may vary from person to person. SideEffects are extreme dehydration possible headaches, eyeaches, nausea, loss of sight, loss of balance and the need for hospitalisation. q(^_^)p
 

The lowest bidder strikes again...


I almost died.

I almost ate my way into the afterlife.

I almost ate seriously chemically tainted foods from China. (80 or so serious cases reported thus far)

Once again China lashes out at the world. In recent memory it was poison dog food. The Barbie dolls made of lead, now gyozas (chinese dumplings) laced with sarin like chemicals.

Ah capitalism, isn't it great? Where the lowest bidder makes an offer no one can refuse. Anybody ever stop to wonder why? Corners cut here are there perhaps; working conditions, slave labour, health violations?

It's not to pin the blame on China. Japan did the similar things throughout the 50s till the 80s (maybe still) Every developing country will try to gain as much as possible in the least amount of time. I just don't understand why purchasing countries such as the US or Japan do not enforce stronger quality assurance policies towards factory countries. I don't mind paying that 10c/10y more for something that has been screened.

In Japan the parent company of the food division JT (Japan Tobacco, yes, weird I know) is issuing a recall. YAY.. now that I've paid for my dumplings, they want me to ship them off. I think I'll hang onto them. Fobidden gyouzas..... mmmm (a la Homer Simpson)

And to think I was going to eat them last Sunday.... but out of laziness I went out to eat.
 

Tiresome...

By -MJL-
I never know how to start blog entries... It's a constant pain in the arse when it comes to putting down whats up in my mind.

So here goes.

I was thinking just recently that throughout history, the people that have advanced humankind along were mostly people that didn't fit in. Mostly eccentric geniuses, or people forced to adapt in incredible circumstances.

Whereas the majority of people in history were content living their own lives day by day. Confining and wanting to confined to their peaceful existence. Never wanting anything more than what they had or could easily get.

Social conformance has always been present, and it is extremely well and strong here. But what if one feels like he doesn't belong in the herd and is unconsciously eluding greatness, if said person was doing his own thing at cost of social compliance and conformity. Should said person conform to the norm or take on new risks and challenges?

Some people just know that the path their on just isn't right. Taking that first step to right the wrong can be a big leap. For most, too big to take, for the remaining few, we'll see.

Enter Nike motto: Life is short, just do it!
 

Got gunk... in your nose?

By -MJL-
Well no worries, with "hananoa" you can now flush your worries away... to the back of your throat and into your stomach for that ever so important "FRESHNESS" factor!

And to think that poeple get skweemish when I explain the concept behind ear drops! I know I know, it's really difficult to grasp when all you ever use are eye drops! (−_−メ)