Scenic Japan: The Land of the Rising Sun.

Konnichiwa minna-san! 
 
I finally managed to get a day off ever since I arived here in Japan and of course my chance to immerse myself in doing some much needed blogging.
 
I’ve only been here for almost 6 days and I still got a week left in my vacation. Now I know a lot of people would hate me the moment I start comparing the lifestyle between here and the Philippines so I won’t even start.
 
One advantage of having family members who are long-time residents here is that you wouldn’t find moving around the city quiet as difficult as other first timers. Also, you’d get the best recommendations as to the best places to visit and stuff like that.
Now, just allow me to share some of the things I have learned about the Japanese culture… so far.
 
1. Discipline. As a person who spent her entire life in a very non-systematic nation such as Philippines, I was stunned as hell when I arrived here. No matter what you do, wherever you go, people are extremely polite and proper. You`d rarely see any crowded restaurants or coffee shops. People fall in line all the time and it is considered extremely offensive whenever you cut in. Believe me, I did have my own share of shame in one of my solo flight adventures here. 
 
One more fun fact my mom told me about is that whenever I use the escalator, I should always keep left. Why, you say? Because the right side of the escalator is for people who are in a hurry climbing up. It`s totally crazy how organized people here are.. considering how they have the busiest streets in the world.
 
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Crazy streets of Shibuya.

2. Suits, suits, and more suits. Another thing I found amusing is that this is is probably the only place on earth where you’d see a man in a suit riding a bicycle to work. As I was walking around Kawasaki Plaza during the rush hours, I noticed how almost every single person that were passing by was wearing either their corporate attire or their school uniforms. Everybody seems so much in a hurry I thought to myself, maybe this is where they coined the term ”Rush Hour”. It  was also the first time in my life when I was walking in the middle of a crowd and felt like I am the odd one out. 
 
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Kawasaki Plaza

 
3. Transportation. My favorite thing here. I mean, I hail from a city where travelling to work from home within an hour seems to be a miracle… regardless how close your place is to your office. I mean the traffic… The traffic is just so horrible I can’t even begin to describe it; so I won’t.  Anyway, getting back to my story, I observed that there aren’t a lot of people who drive their cars to work. I guess it’s because of how efficient their transportation is. And I meant to say that in the most exaggerated tone possible. I mean, their buses and trains are never late, never too crowded, very comfortable, and japanese commuters are very polite especially to old people; they always give way. My mom tells me how the city folks hate running late because it’s very inappropriate to make people wait and that Japanese people consider ”Time is Gold” as their ultimate guiding principle. I guess people in here never really run late because they’d never have to worry about traffic and delay and all that shit unlike people who live in other places. 
 
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4. Convenience. And I ain’t talking about the stores alone. The japanese are all about convenience, I tell you. In every corner, you`ll find a vending machine; the restrooms are also fully automated. All you have to do is sit down and pee and you don’t even have to lift a finger to flush because the toilets are fully automated. Although there are options too, if you want to wash your ass or something.. Which I didn’t realize before because the buttons were usually written in Kanji. First time I used a public restroom I pressed a hell lot of buttons because I didn’t know they had that flush-detector thing. Funny story, by the way. HAHAHA! 
Since we’re at the topic of convenience, I also noticed that the Japs aren’t too fond of taking/paying in cash. So they usually pay for everything with their cards. Not just credit cards though. My mom lent me this “Pasmo” card which can be preloaded so that one can use it as a train and bus pass to avoid the hassle of falling in line for a ticket. Oh, and you can swipe it to buy drinks at vending machines as well. How fuckin’ cool is that?!
 
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My ultimate enemy.

 
5.Security. Another good thing about this place is that there is very low crime rates. People don’t care even if you wave your jewelries and designer bags all around. I don’t understand the mentality of the people, not that it’s a bad thing, but it’s amazing how honest and polite they are. One time I left my purse at a counter and the teller came running after me just to return it. Amazeballs. 
 
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Mini Italian town in Kawasaki.

 
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Somewhere in Atami

 
A sight to see. As I believe I said so before, the japs are very neat and disciplined in everything.. and when I say everything I mean everything. So as a result every corner of this country is picture-worthy. That’s one reason why one would never want to stay indoors. Except maybe during the winter season. (P.S. I will be uploading more photos once I get back home to Manila)
 
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7. Food. Well, I guess there is no need for further explanation. You can never get a more legit Bento meal other than here. 
 
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8. Novelties. Aside from the anime knick-knacks and hoo-ha’s which I obviously enjoy… They have these shops that sell these really weird novelty items and the like (at a very affordable price, I might add) which you wouldn’t see too often when you travel. They have these shops that sell sex toys, love potions, and appliances that aren’t really as useful as the normal ones we have at home. 
 
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As weird as they may be at times, I’d have to say the people are pretty cool around here. I couldn’t think of anything to complain about my stay here, except of course for the language barrier, and how stressed I am most of the time when I am walking around outside carrying an empty bottle of water or a candy wrapper, trying to look for a garbage can. No idea as to where the people throw all their shit. Or maybe they carry ’em around and wait ’til they get home. 
 
Geez, I am such a noob when it comes to overseas travel. But I am not ashamed of that… I am thankful I actually have the opportunity to do so.
 
Well that’s it for now. But I’ll be posting some photos in the future as well. I was actually able to take a few creative shots during my tour. And it ain’t over yet  😉

 

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2013 — A year of colors.

Yeah, I kind of had this idea for quiet some time but then again, like always, it was sort of hard to find time to write down this post. But anyway, I guess better out than in. (if you know what I mean.) Aye, this post has been long overdue!

 

Top things I did this 2013:

 

1. Graduation. Every parent’s (and their wallet’s) dream come true—- and the beginning of every young adult’s nightmares.

2. Swimming with the dolphins. Yeah, I know it’s kind of ridiculous, but I’ve always loved dolphins and to be honest, that’s one crossed out off my bucketlist.

3. First Job. Despite all the tickle-tackles and the exhausting requirements and shit, it’s very fulfilling to finally land a job that actually pays my bills.

4. First overseas travel. Yes, took me that long to finally see what’s outside the Philippines. And I’m very lucky that I went to a very wonderful and culture-rich nation, South Korea. And I was lucky enough to have wandered alone during the first 24-hrs of my trip. Long story.

 

5. Growing up. Well, with all the things I had to do independently this year, it was quiet a journey. I’d like to think that my perspective changed a lot, including my priorities… and it’s a change I think I do like.

And yeah, this was supposed to be a new year type of post, but I didn’t want to get lost in the middle of all the other new year posts. I’m weird like that.

Toodles~

2013: No Regrets.

Thing is, I’m not as cool as those other bloggers out there. I don’t write really cool blog posts and it’s probably because there’s nothing much that inspires me to do so. But hey, that shouldn’t stop me from posting this New Year entry today. And probably more to come for this year. *i have my fingers crossed*

Anyway, Happy New Year to those who’ll come across this post. 2012 has been such a whirlwind for me, mostly. It wasn’t that awesome, but it wasn’t too bad either. Around this time last year I really had high hopes of “Epic-ness” to come for the year but to be honest I didn’t really feel it.. And to think a lot of people actually thought the world was going to end last December! (.. and don’t even dare to count me in)

Well, that’s just it. I’ve contemplated a little bit yesterday after I woke up with a massive hangover from welcoming 2013. Maybe it’s time to lower expectations and start doing things that will surprise myself. This year, THERE WILL BE NO REGRETS. NO MORE DISAPPOINTMENTS. I’ve come to this epiphany. Or whatever you’d call it. Trust me when I tell you not to set high expectations because, it’s somehow disappointing when you don’t achieve that. People who have high expectations don’t get the happiness they deserve. Just do your best everyday in everything… And like I said, surprise yourself. I’ve actually just done that since that last day of 2012, and thank God I did, ‘coz finally, I know what I have to do this year. I’ve never really said this before in my life but… DEAR 2013, I’M GONNA ROCK YOU. WE ALL SHOULD.

“It’s hard to know what you’d become if you give up..” |from Kelly Clarkson’s hit single, Dark Side|

 

Flip Flops vs. The Philippine Government.

Hey hello! Wow it’s been a whiiiiiiile… But I’m here now 🙂

So anyway, you might be wondering what new burst of energy encouraged me to post a new entry, but I guess it’s just another one of those things that makes me want to barf. LOL i’m kidding. 

So I went to the City Hall of Las Pinas yesterday to apply for a cedula. And then, as I was passing by the entrance, there was another old lady wearing rubber slippers and carrying a woven basket and was begging the guard to let her in. I didn’t quite catch what her business inside actually is but I heard that she really needs to do it on that same day and that she travelled a long way just for that particular business. 

Then I also overheard the security guy saying that he can’t let her in because she’s wearing rubber slippers. And his exact words were “Mam di po pwedeng pumasok na ganyan ang suot na tsinelas” (You can’t come in wearing that kind of slippers ma’m)  I looked at the old woman’s face and I really wanted to punch the guard in the balls! (if only he wasn’t a 6-foot ogre!) 

Let’s just put it this way, it’s very well acceptable for me that some establishments don’t allow people wearing flip flops to enter especially private and business establishments. I would understand their intentions to keep their area as formal as it should be. But public establishments, especially ones that are run by the government, should give way to everyone. Regardless of what they wear and how they look. Rubber slippers, in a way, represents the lower level citizens of our society. And how they are kept out by those pathetic corrupt institutions very much reflects how the ones running it closes their doors to the ones who need their help. 

Gaaaah. Screw this dysfunctional country. I just had to post this. 

All those fairytales are full of sh*t.

I don’t even know what’s the use of using the ampersand instead of the letter “i” (pretty obvious even an 8-yr old knows what the word implies.) 

But anyway..  I recently heard the news about the plans of putting up a new theme park here in the Philippines. Disneyland Philippines. Word says the primary location will be somewhere in Subic. Well, not that I am such a major buzzkill but I find it really absurd. It’s against what the country’s tourism stands for. I’ve watched enough filipino documentaries growing saying that this tropical country is “very proud” of all its natural attractions, that we are blessed with all these so called gifts of nature… I mean, personally, I do enjoy all these simple joys in life. Having to go to the beach with family and/or friends, going uphill hiking on forests and stuff like that; I always prefer that rather than going to theme parks such as Star City and Enchanted Kingdom. Not that I haven’t gone to such places before, just a matter of preference. Besides, having another worldwide popular attraction such as that would mean there would be more people around the world coming over to this country everyday. Something which i believe would cause a lot of problems for the ones who live here.. I don’t even know why, but i know it will. HAHAHAHA 😉

Anyway, like I always say, that’s just me. Maybe some people are in favor of this… But whatever. I’m just saying that we’re probably not ready yet for this. All we can really do is just everything goes well and hope for the best for the Philippines, fairytales do come true, after all. 

Let’s slap the world’s face with rock n’ roll!

HEY BLOG!!

I know, the length of my absence here is waaaay to unforgiveable beyond all reasons. But then, hey, I had my own “academic” reasons. I felt that my frequent blogging consumed a lot of my personal time this semester that I had to take a break up until now, ‘coz it’s officially my summer break.. and I feel that I might just spend more time here than usual 😀 Now isn’t that good news? 😛

Soooooo, anyway I went to my college yesterday for some consultation with our mentors, and of course I was trying to check whether I was able to pass some of my accounting subjects (which I felt I was in real jeopardy at… LITERALLY) and so far, I’ve heard some really good news. Like some sort of thorn was struck out of my chest or something. Forgive my over-dramatic use of words by the way. I’m just way too relieved when I heard everything that I heard yesterday. I also totally forgot that all our grades haven’t been posted yet. HAHAHAHA! I was actually just talking about our accounting courses. But I’m staying positive about all other subjects 😉 Nevertheless, I’m ready to rock n’ roll this summer! (HELL YEAH!)

SOOOOOOOO, WHAT’S NEXT?

UNFORTUNATELY, I honestly don’t know what to do this next. So, I’ve been making a list of what to do this season.  Of course there’s driving school. I’ve been itching to learn how to drive since last sembreak. But I was way too preoccupied by a lot of things. Then there’re those interviews for a part-time job and internships which I’ve been ditching for the past 2 weeks (LOL. I hope they don’t do background checks!) and one other thing, which is taking the CB Exams. I wanted to be productive you know.

Buuuut, I’m guessing I won’t be able to do all that. Still keeping my options open. I’ll decide up until the Holy Week. Right now, I deserve a little “ME” time J

~whoah, how’s this long post after a looooooooooong time? HAHAHA! 

Humanity…. There is hope.

Yeah, so instead of making more excuses about how i haven’t blogged anything the past few days, allow me to just tell you about this experience i had the other day.

I was on my way to school, you know, like the typical weekday. And I was waiting for an FX somewhere in the busy and dingy streets of manila when I saw a guy got down from a jeep and drop a P50 bill unknowingly. I was supposed to pick it up and run after the guy though, when another manwho was wearing tattered shirts, he did look like a beggar actually, who picked it up before I was able to reach  the money. At first I thought he was going to keep it to himself… To my surprise he was the one who ran after the guy who dropped the money and gave it back. 

Yes, I know it’s probably not a big deal for some of you guys,but I just realized how much I easily judge people for how they look. Something that needs a little bit of reflecting. So, maybe next time, I shouldn’t make any pre-judgement about others, especially if I don’t know that other person.

Come to think of it, I was actually touched by that small act of honesty. Pleased to know there are still people like that in this cruel society.