A few weeks ago I attended a yard sale-style event put on by the boarders at the High School on my island. The aim was to sell-off stuff and raise funds. There were books, clothes, crafts and chocolate. One booth even had currency from counties all over the world. I took the opportunity to pick up a 50 Thai baht note and support my milk chocolate addiction. The real memorable encounter though was with an elderly Japanese man who I continuously noted was staring at me and my friend I came with. I’m used to the staring when I go to the mainland but being stared at on my tiny island was not normal as everyone should be aware of my presence by now. Maybe it was my super tall African-American pal? I soon found out why he was staring when he walked over to nervously say hi to us.
Retired ATC: Hehehello, my name is ____. Where are you from? Me: I am from Jamaica. How are you? Retired ATC: I am fine. JAMAICA?!?!? Wow. Why Did you come to this island? Me: Yes, I Teach English at the Junior High School. Retired ATC: Thank you for coming to our rural island. I am a retired Air Traffic Controller…
He proceeded to speak to us more relaxed and excitedly about his time working all over Japan at various airports from Tokyo to Osaka and many smaller obscure airports. I went from feeling uncomfortable as I was being stared at to having an enlightening conversation with an elderly man who was so excited to speak English to foreigners.
Kirk is a proud Jamaican who started Jamaipanese.com in February 2006 and now lives in rural Japan. He enjoys sharing his experiences learning about Japan, personal milestones in life as well as interests such as photography, gaming and travelling.