Best of from 2012

2012 is now history but it was a very important year to me personally and as it relates to blogging. Following on from my trip to Japan in September 2011 I took my time to share my experiences via a plethora of blog posts that were all well received. continues to grow from strength to strength and although I admittedly took my foot off the blogging pedal in the last few months of the year due to school, overall it was an excellent year. Below is a selection of what I think is some of the best posts I made on in 2012. Some you may have read before while some you may have not. Subscribe to the Youtube Channel, like the Facebook Page, follow @Jamaipanese on Twitter and Google+ or grab the old fashioned RSS Feed. Lets all have a great 2013!

A Two Hour Trek Through Meiji Shrine – Tokyo is a massive city with skyscrapers that touch the sky and a frantic buzz that goes on 24 hours a day all day everyday. Meiji Shrine is a huge temple, complex, forest and Shinto shrine in the heart of Tokyo that offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Todai-ji – Buddhist temple complex in Nara – Todai-ji or the “Great Eastern Temple” is one of the most famous landmarks in Nara. It ranked highly on my list of “must visit” places in Japan and after being greeted on my arrival in Nara by tricky but cute deer I made my way quickly to Todaiji which was already a sight to behold before I even entered the grounds. The temple complex is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”, together with seven other sites including temples, shrines and places in the city of Nara.

Tomorrow Will Glow – Single by Machaco to benefit the Tōhoku Disaster Relief Effort – Machaco is an excellent singer not because she is my friend but because she really is talented and has been perfecting her craft for many many years. She has helped to write, produce and recorded a new single entitled “Tomorrow Will Glow” which was recently released. All proceeds from the song will be donated to the Japan Red Cross and go towards relieve efforts in the areas devastated by the Tōhoku earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear problems. Please support!

Japan Rail Pass – Why you should buy one when Visiting Japan – The JR pass is a special railway discount pass that allows persons visiting Japan for a short time to travel on Japan Railways’ extensive network as many times as they like for as long as their pass remains valid. The pass is also useful for traveling on some JR buses, a ferry and even allows discounts at JR Group Hotels.

KanjiQuiz – Lightweight SRS for Android Phones – There are many different kinds of SRS for Japanese learners, the most popular seems to be Anki and one of my past favourites was iKnow. There SRS I mostly use these days ins called KanjiQuiz and it is an app for my android phone. I like KanjiQuiz because it is for beginers, simple, lightweight and to the point, at less than that 150kb it’s perfect for my aging memory-shy HTC Legend.

10 Awesome Anime Villains – I originally wanted to call this post “My 10 favourite anime villains but the list surged way past 10 and I couldn’t shred it down so I chose five that had to make the list and chose another 5 at random then deleted the others.

Japan Snippet – I have found a Dragon Ball – While shopping in Tokyo I came upon a store that unknowingly had a powerful artifact called a Dragon Ball on display for sale. If only they knew that collecting all seven of them would cause the sky to turn dark and the opportunity to get almost any wish granted. Try as I might I was unable to recover the other 6 dragon balls while in Japan but I brought the one I found back home with me to Jamaica and any day now I am expected Goku and company or worst – a villain – to show up at my door…

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Eating Okonomiyaki in Kyoto – According to Wikipedia, the name “Okonomiyaki” is derived from the word okonomi which means “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked”. After a long day exploring Nara, battling tricky deer, recovering from the shock of losing, then recovering my Japan rail pass and being in awe at attractions like Todaiji I retreated to Kyoto in the late evening with a stomach so empty I felt I might want to devour a meat mountain. My Japanese friend was impressed with the fact that I enjoyed Hitsumabushi and continued to tell me stories of how most of the Jamaicans that visit Japan almost never try Japanese food and instead get married to McDonalds.

Tokyo on Foot – Book Review – Tokyo on Foot is a beautiful book that will appeal to fans of Tokyo and in fact could make an excellent gift for a Japan/Tokyo fan in your life but the book could also be appealing to a wider audience not looking for the typical “Tokyo travel log”. Reading the book is like reliving the adventures of the author from a mental and visual level, his stylized sketches, maps, notes and labels are a welcomed change from a sea of text and I felt like a child again rummaging though a very interesting picture book.

My 10 Favourite Game of Thrones Characters from Season 2 – Its been a few weeks since the end of season 2 of Game of Thrones and I am now suffering from Game of Thrones withdrawal syndrome. Season 1 was good, season 2 was even better and season 3 can’t start soon enough. I’m one of those people who knew nothing about A Song of Ice and Fire – a book series written by American novelist and screenwriter George R. R. Martin but anything well done that is set in medival fantasy setting punctuated by kings, knights, magic, a thick plot, unadulterated sex and graphic violence is aimed directly at me.

Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gÅ« the Shinto Shrine at the heart of Kamakura – In the final days of my time in Japan last September I visited Kamakura, the capital of Kanagawa prefecture just south of Tokyo. I originally expected to go there and have the Great Buddha of Kamakura being my only highlight but after inquiring about Shinto shrines and the difference between Shintoism and Buddhism and their importance to the Japanese people a few days earlier I was encouraged by a Japanese friend I met through a Jamaican friend living in Japan to visit Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gÅ« a Shinto Shrine at the heart of Kamakura.

Japanese Kana – Google Chrome Extension – Japanese Kana is a simple to use extension that teaches users about Hiragana and Katakana. Although I have no problems with Hiragana, I regret to admit that Katakana is still a little troublesome for me and this tool is perfect for those looking to learn and/or practise kana. Check it out in the Chrome Web Store and leave a comment with your thought on it or any other Kana or general Japanese learning tool you use regularly.

Jamaipanese goes to College – First Day – Year after year since leaving High School I aimed to get myself enrolled in college to further my education, but a lack of money and being ever the procrastinator I dallied and tried to do other shorter bite sized courses that all remained incomplete as I grew bored after the first couple weeks. So I took a step back, used some of the lessons learned from planning for and executing “Operation Visit Japan” and evaluated my interests, the colleges available and what I enjoy doing.

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Al Jazeera feature – Battling the Yakuza – The Yakuza are criminal groups and organizations based in Japan. Their origin can be traced back hundreds of years and there has been a massive crackdown on Yakuza in Japan recently. As a foreigner I know very little about Yakuza but as a Japan enthusiast I have read about and watched a lot material related to the Yakuza. Some of the material paint the Yakuza in a negative light while others praise and revere them. This duplicity and varying opinion has fascinated me over the years.

Jamaica’s Medals at the 2012 London Olympics – The sprinting capital of the world has had another successful Olympics. 4 gold medals, 4 silver medals and 4 bronze medals for a total of 12 medals, our best haul in terms of number of medals but our second best in terms of quality of medals. The entire Jamaican Olympic team did well so as promised I have broken down all our medals, the events they were won in and by which athletes.

One Year ago Today I Landed in Japan – A year ago today I landed in the land of the rising sun, when I landed the sun was setting, but after 20+ hours on 3 different flights and time traveling 2 days in the future I stepped off the plane in Tokyo too tired to do the somersault routine I had planned. For the first couple hours it was very overwhelming, the sights, the sounds, the pace was all almost too much for my tired mind and body but alas by the second day I had already gotten lost, reconnected to the internet and made love to a train. hits 1000 Facebook Fans – I’ve been watching the “like” count for the Facebook page slowly trickling towards 1000 over the last few days and this morning it finally hit the four digit mark! A big THANK YOU to everyone who has liked my Facebook page and continue to support the blog.

Star Wars: The Old Republic – An Excellent MMO – The last time I blogged about Star Wars: The Old Republic it just over a month since the game launched and it was still very much into its teething stages. 11 months on, 4 major updates and 3 level 50 characters later I am still playing SWTOR although not as often as I used to beforestarting college in late August. SWTOR has been my primary game for a long time and I thought that now would be a good time to give an update on my experiences in the game and encourage anyone who is thinking about playing to give the game a try.

Ikebana Floral Extravaganza in Jamaica – Although I have read about Ikebana I have never seen it demonstrated in person so this event was a great opportunity for me to broaden my knowledge about Japanese culture. I learned a lot about the history of Ikebana in Jamaica since it’s introduction in the late 1960′s.

My Thoughts after watching The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey – The wait is finally at an end, yesterday I went to the theatre to see the first of what is now three hobbit films – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. I’ve never read the Hobbit book but I intend to eventually. Being a big fan of the first Lord of the Rings Trilogy and fantasy films on a whole, I had very high expectations and from the first few scenes I was tremendously impressed.


2 thoughts on “Best of from 2012

  1. So you left out the BEST moment of 2012…meeting me!!!!!!!! And I just realized there’s no blog post to commemorate our meeting either. :-( Boo hoo sniff!!

    So amazed at all you are doing right now and can’t wait to see where you go from here. 2013 is going to be hot!!

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