Jamaicans ‘Jaminating’ Japan

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Beijing, China #Jaminate #jaminate #TeamJamaica. I smell GOLDSSS!!!
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Alia Atkinson has done Jamaica proud #Jaminate
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Marlon James wins the Man Booker prize 2015 #jaminate
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#TeamSanneta #TeamJamaica #Jaminate #MissWorld2015

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The tweets above are a great illustration of how Jamaicans dominate on and off the track.

It cannot be helped. It’s as though our beauty queens, our musicians, our athletes and all Jamaicans who’ve represented us on a worldwide scale have set a precedent that automatically gives us permission to also excel.

And when we excel, it`s not merely about doing well. We leave our cultural imprints, we break world records, we change history, and prove the quote ‘we lickle but we tallawah’ as fact that we can achieve anything we set our mind to. It doesn’t matter if we’re at home or in a foreign land, we #jaminate and best believe Jamaicans are Jaminating Japan.

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When you’re sitting 8023.3 miles away from home in a room in Iidabashi, Tokyo, the last thing you’d expect to hear is ‘Wha Gwa’an?’ But that’s what I heard. The sweet sound of home that made me cross the room in a trance-like state and follow the voice until I was face to face with Dave Collymore.

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In 2008 when Dave left Jamaica, he thought he would get a feel of Eastern Cultures, make some money and head back home. Fast forward seven years later, he’s still in Japan making quite a mark in promoting our country and our culture.

Dave started out as an assistant language teacher in Okayama, Japan. It was there that he realized his kids responded well when he used dub-poetry in class. This prompted him to take his hobby seriously and led to him becoming a regular at the One Love Jamaica Festival held in Tokyo each year. This platform also provided him an avenue to travel and perform in countries such as America, Panama, Brazil, Germany and Singapore as well.

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Dave’s jamination does not stop there. Having hosted a local TV show while living in Okayama, he decided to venture further into the world of showbiz and as such added event organizer to his list of accomplishments. He has hosted Poetry Reading shows, live Reggae shows and book readings where he debuted as an author. His first book, “Poetic Expressions of Peace and Love” was written in 2010 and his second book “Seeing Japan through the eyes of a Jamaican Expat” was written in 2015.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Mr. Collymore serves as Human Resources Trainer at Japan’s largest private provider of professional foreign teachers to the Japanese government. He is the first Jamaican in this position since the company’s inception and in June, 2015, he won the ‘Motivation Creator Award’ for saving his company millions of yen on a contract.

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You can catch up further with Dave @ davecollyjap.blogspot.com where he blogs about his life in Japan.

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I saw Monique Mo Melody Dehaney in performance for the first time in August, 2015 at the Caribbean/Latin American Music Festival in Tokyo. In fact, I went to the festival solely to see her after people I met kept asking: ‘You know Monique, right? She’s Jamaican.

I am ashamed to say before moving to Japan, I didn’t know about Monique’s music. But, after seeing her perform, I spent most of the next day playing catch up.

I am not exaggerating when I say she slayed, annihilated, totally jaminated the stage. I caught up with her two days after returning from her last tour and three days before starting a new one.

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Monique had no intention of becoming a famous entertainer in Japan when she left Jamaica many moons ago. Fresh out of university, she, like Dave, was okay with exploring a new culture and settling for a life of teaching English to Japanese pupils before returning home. But, fate had other plans as joining a band for ‘the fun of it’ led to her singing as a background vocalist for Atsushi, the leader of one of Japan’s most famous boy bands. Soon, she started singing at weddings and recording vocals for various television commercials. Again, her talent was spotted and she was invited to appear on the very first edition of Nodojiman’ – a TV show where foreigners are asked to sing Japanese songs. This was a means of charting her path to greater success as when the show ended, she went on to sign with IVY Records. There, she recorded an all Japanese cover album just after releasing an EP called ‘Singles Collection’.

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Monique describes her musical style as a mix of Jazz, Rock and Soul and when she’s not representing Jamaica as a Reggae Cultural Ambassador all across Asia and the rest of the world, she’s on tour with the Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruise Lines as a Guest Entertainer.

If you’re not familiar with her music, revoke your right to be Jamaican don’t blame yourself too much. Play catch up with her here and check out her latest music here.

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Christopher Martin is just one of the big names Kerry-ann Clarke of Jahjastarz Entertainment has invited to Japan over the years as a means of using Reggae Music to bridge the gap between Jamaica and Japan.

In fact, when I caught up with her, she was in the middle of promoting her ‘Bugle Anointed Japan Tourwhich involved showcasing the musical talents of Jamaican Reggae artist Roy Bugle Thompson and the DJ skills of Sean Razz Cousley from the famous Razz and Biggy duo.

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Her Jamaican themed parties and concerts came out of a passion for giving people a taste of brand Jamaica through the eyes of a Jamaican. She said:

There is a strong demand for the ‘Jamaican Experience’ and the Reggae Culture here in Japan. I got tired of the interpretations non-Jamaicans were giving after a 3 week visit to my country and I thought I am a Jamaican, maybe it’s best to show them Jamaica from my perspective and experience.”

As a result, Kerry- ann began working with the Jamaican Tourist Board to showcase Jamaica’s culture through music, Reggae festivals, fashion, art, and food.

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In addition to this, Kerry-ann also created www.jahjastarz.com. The main aim of her website is to connect people worldwide with Reggae and all events Jamaican. Her packages provide visitors to the island with taxi service, inexpensive places to stay, as well as an authentic representation of our lifestyle through cultural tours, plays, museum visits and reggae concerts.

As she puts it: Companies in Jamaica highlight vacation spots, but I wanted to showcase our events, our lifestyle and the real Jamaican culture.’

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Kudos to these amazing Jamaicans who are promoting positive aspects of our culture abroad.

This only proves that we not only adapt, we not only acclimate, but when we move in and settle we also #jaminate!

Until next time remember to:

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A Piece Of Mine © 2015

Images: jamaicaolympics.com

12 thoughts on “Jamaicans ‘Jaminating’ Japan

  1. Oshane Gillespie

    K.B we al love ❤️ ur stories.
    It it is truly inspiring. We ❤️ appreciate and thank you for that. U are a tru jaminator with the work u put in here to educate us all on the success of our Jamaican brothers and sisters.
    I only hope to see a piece about you soon.
    💋

    Reply

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