Archive for May, 2010

Trip, Temporarily Interrupted

I interrupt the Ohayo! series to bring you a special news bulletin.

Last May 26, 2010, at approximately 11:00AM (Tokyo Time GMT +9:00), I did probably one of the stupidest things that I have ever done in the entire twenty years of my existence.

I lost my camera. And it was all my fault.

Zoe and I were sitting on the benches of Fussa Station, and I was feeling hungry so I set down my camera bag to grab some food from the other bag I was carrying. I was so busy eating that I didn’t notice right away that the next train that was approaching was already the one headed we were going to ride for Tokyo, so I panicked when I realized that and quickly ran inside the train, completely forgetting that the bag was still on the chair. It was only until the next station that I realized this gross act of carelessness. We rushed back to Fussa, but it was gone. We asked around the station’s Lost and Found, but no luck.

Dahil sa katakawan ko, wala na akong camera ngayon. :(

Of course, I was devastated. Who wouldn’t? That camera was a part of me already. For more than two years, I’ve used it to document many events in my life, be they the most important to the most trivial or juvenile. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, my Suica Card (my pass to all the train lines) and the 6000 yen I still had for shopping went along with the bag. I was seriously thinking that I should just hurling myself over the train tracks and die a bloody death.

I think I went through the three stages of grief during the one hour trip to Tokyo. At first, I was still in denial, hoping that all of it was just a bad dream and I kept pinching myself to wake myself up and find myself in bed. When that didn’t work, I decided to sleep the rest of the way, leading me to have an anger induced dream that involved me screaming at everybody I passed by. But by the time we arrived at Tokyo, I was much calmer and had reached the inevitable reaction: acceptance. I was quiet for a while upon reaching Endo Museum, and I think I cried for a minute or so in the bathroom upon arriving there. But basically that was it.

Of course, by then, I was trying to figure out where I would go from here, and my thoughts ranged from selling my iPhone in addition to my Meteor just to get started on saving up for another camera, to stealing one of the precious artifacts from the museum and sell it so that I could buy a new camera by Saturday in Akihabara. These didn’t seem too feasible though, so I didn’t dwell on these ideas

But one of the things I mulled over for a significant amount of time was if I would be able to continue blogging or not. I wasn’t really feeling like telling stories of how great our Japan trip was, especially  when in reality I was still feeling crushed and miserable inside because of my great loss. And I also couldn’t bear the thought of not being able to post photos anymore, the primary reason that I decided to stop writing in my journal and blog instead. By the time we had gotten home last night, I was set on proclaiming an indefinite hiatus from WordPress, and resume only at such a time that I was ready to.

But today, something changed. I don’t know if it was that I still managed to have fun despite not having a camera, but I began to see the brighter side of things. I had survived fine without a DSLR for eighteen years, surely I can survive a few more.  It would take a lot of tightening around the belt, and a lot less expensive luho, but I’ll get there. I’ll get a camera again. It’s not the end of the world. And of course, there’s always the possibility of it getting returned to the station. Stranger things have happened, and if it does, it won’t be the first time for me. When I lost my wallet back during the first semester of my 4th year, it was returned back to me a few days later by one of the security guards on campus. I still have a tiny little speckle of hope in humanity’s kindness.

Lesson learned I guess. 1) Always check before leaving places to see if one had left anything; 2) Label and name important stuff along with your address and telephone number;3) Wag tatanga-tanga when in public places,  and 4) Stop eating at inappropriate times and places.

I was really considering not continuing the Ohayo! series because I needed time to lick my wounds, but I realized that that wouldn’t be right.  I regret losing my camera in such a stupid way, but I think I would regret it even more in the future if I failed to document the remaining half of our trip. It’s one way to be not able to document thru photos, but it’s another thing entirely to not document the trip AT ALL. Besides, I can mooch off my dad’s photos for the remainder of the trip. That’s enough, for now.

Life goes on, and so does our amazing Japan vacation.

P.S. I was considering posting photos of myself with my camera, but I think that would be too much. I might end up crying all over again.

P.S.S. Since we need to be sleeping relatively earlier since our next couple of days are going to be hectic, I might get late in posting the remaining days of my Ohayo! series. I’ll try to update when I can. But I’ll make sure to complete them. :)

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Ohayo! Day 6: Something Closer to Home

Talk about a slow day.

We were all so tired from yesterday’s events that all of us got up late this morning. And even then everyone was feeling groggy and sore from all the walking we did, that we just decided not to go out very far and just see what was there to offer near the base.

Malling was really not on our itinerary, but I welcomed the suggestion with open arms because I was craving the familiar and comfortable for once. Though I was hesitant of “wasting” a day inside some mall, I realized that it really wasn’t possible for us to be fully booked and on the go every single day. Unless we want to die here in Japan from utter exhaustion. We decided to go to the nearby Aeon Mall located just a few minutes outside Yokoto Air Base.

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I have by now realized that shopping for clothes in Japan is not a feasible option for me, especially in malls, because everything is so darn expensive! I would be much better off shopping in the Philippines. The choices may be different, but I could make do, especially since I don’t exactly have any room left in my suitcase for any more clothes to take home. It’s spring here, and all of the stores were showing off their spring and summer collections. Everything’s just so pretty. :) I wish we could do more layering in the Philippines, but I don’t think it would be very practical. But I can dream, can’t I?

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There is a particular thing I noticed about Japanese fashion and trends, based on the past few days that I have been observing the many girls and women that I come across during our daily outings. They seem very fond of fake eyelashes and mascara. Almost every girl (who isn’t still in high school) I see on the train is wearing them. Again, this isn’t very practical in the Philippines, because the hot and humid weather would only cause the mascara to run. BOO.

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Apparently, Mister Donut is quite popular here in Japan as well! We decided  to have our afternoon snack at one of their branches there at the mall, and ang laki at sosyal ng branch na ito! But even donuts are expensive here, they cost a little over a hundred yen. That’s equivalent to 50php. Ugh.

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_IGP4414_IGP4401I had the strawberry donut and a grape Fanta!

_IGP4405 I think I like their strawberry donuts here, they have real strawberry bits!

SIDEBAR

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I saw these at one of the Japanese souvenir shops, and they reminded me of Lando’s bilin for wooden sandals. Well, these are women’s, but you get what I mean I’m sure. Sadly, I don’t think I’ll be able to fulfill said bilin, because they’re all too expensive! They easily cost around 4000 yen, and I don’t think I can afford to spend that much. The thought makes me sad. :(

I’ll just have to work extra hard to find him a good substitute pasalubong!

BTW Lando, if you’re reading this, and if you have any plans of ever proposing to me in the distant future, I have an idea of how big of a rock you should get me.

IMG_0149 I think something like this would do. :))

I just realized that I haven’t ever posted here how a typical Japanese public restroom stall for women looks like, so I took a few photos when I went inside one. If you notice, these are similar to the toilet bowls still prevalent in some areas, like Burnham Park, but the most important difference is, these actually flush on their own, and have a really hi-tec way of doing so, a way that DOES NOT involve you being given a plastic bottle with water for you to pour into the bowl to wash away your pee. Instead, you just place your hand over the sensor (photo below) and the bowl automatically flushes by itself. Technology is amazing.

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We also stopped by this cool interiors store where we found some really cool stuff!

IMG_0146 IMG_0147 The alarm clock (left) would only stop ringing if you drop a coin inside, so it saves you money, AND gets you to wake up on time! The other photo (right) is an iPOD speakers set and dock which can be used in the bathroom, thus the protective enclosure.

IMG_0142IMG_0145 The monkey is actually a speakers set also, and it dances along with the music. The bunny on the other hand.. well, doesn’t actually do anything special. I just found it cute and it reminded me of Untalkative Bunny. XD

I think the highlight of our trip to Aeon Mall was the huge pet store that we found on the ground floor! It was almost a mini mall itself for a dog, with all the things you could find in it. I almost couldn’t believe some of the stuff I was seeing! Clothes, jewelry, shoes, you name it, they had it for dogs!

IMGP0027 IMG_0159 IMG_0162These are even more fashionable than the clothes I wear.

IMG_0160 I would wear these collars as bracelets if I could get away with it!

IMGP0023IMG_0176 They even have gourmet dog food!

The store was also a grooming parlor and sort of daycare for the dogs, and we saw some of the cutest toy dogs I have ever seen! I want one!

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IMG_0170This little guy even has a mohawk cut! Saan ka pa?

Even though we didn’t get to do much today, it was fun nevertheless to see what kinds of new things you can see in malls here, and we were able to regain our strength for our plans tomorrow. And I think we may need it, because we plan to invade Shinjuku and Akihabara tomorrow. I’m excited for the electronics and anime stuff! Wohoo! :)

Ohayo! Day 5: A Day of Many Firsts

Today is what I would call our first serious shopping day here in Japan. Despite the gray skies and continuous drizzle, I was psyched to go out and spend some yen!

Our first stop was Ginza, which was supposedly a premiere shopping district in Tokyo. Because of the dreary weather, everyone was bringing out their umbrellas and were in their rainy day attires. Of course, we followed in suit.

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IMGP0026I wish they had one of these back at home. If you’re wondering what that is, it’s a dispenser of plastic baggies where you could put your wet umbrellas in, so that you wouldn’t bring all the water from your umbrella inside the building and make the floors all muddy. Some even have a contraption where you insert your umbrella into the opening and it puts on the plastic baggie for you! Then after, when you go out of the building, a trash bin is provided with the dispenser wherein you could throw your baggie. How cool and efficient is that? The only thing I’m worried about is that it might not be environment-friendly, with it using too much plastic, but then again, maybe they recycle it afterwards? Or it’s like SM’s plastic bags that are biodegradable? I hope so.

We had a relatively long train ride from the base to Ginza, so we were famished by the time we got there. This time though, we were lucky enough to come across a Yoshinoya branch, where the food was relatively cheap! Yay! First time to eat at an actual Japanese restaurant, and not just the takeout meals we’ve always had for the past few days. Japanese food is so yummy. :D

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We went to this really huge music store nearby afterwards. And when I say huge, I do mean HUUUUUGE! It was what, 8 floors? They had everything, from musical instruments, to sheet music, to cds. Max actually got to buy that harmonica that he’s been looking for for the longest time, as well as pasalubong for his friends.

Time for a sidebar!

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I was hit with a strong surge of nostalgia with this one because it reminded me of a time way back last year (September?) when me, Lando, and Patrick decided to join the French Club’s La Nuit Acoustique (Acoustic Night). Since we weren’t sure if we were going to be able to borrow a beatbox for the night, Lando all of a suddenly decided to buy his own! So the three of us, along with Pachi, trooped over to Sta. Mesa to buy one! Hahahaha. It was so random. This was still a time when Lando and I hadn’t really started going out yet, at ako ay patago lang na may gusto sa kanya. WAHAHAHA. Ang tagal narin pala nun. :>
 

Everything else was pretty much designer and expensive over there at Ginza, so we decided to head over to Harajuku for some real shopping! For anyone who is unfamiliar with Harajuku, it’s a place in Shibuya where the street stores and fashion is unlike anywhere else in the world! And for more, during Sundays, youth dressed up in the most outrageous fashions like the Lolita, Gothic Lolita, Ganguro, and Cosplay walked the streets. And guess what, it was a Sunday!

However, since it was rainy, no one of these eccentrically-dressed people were hanging around Yoyogi Park, where most of them usually hang around to have their photo taken. Since everyone was just walking around, they didn’t really want to have their photo taken. I was a tad bit disappointed, the first time I really felt that way ever since we came here. Booo bad weather.

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Nevertheless, we decided to just walk around and enjoy the various sights around the area (and go stealth on taking photos XD). I would have wanted to buy a few clothes for myself, but I didn’t feel to comfortable with four other people with me. I wouldn’t want to cause too much of an inconvenience sifting through all the stalls and fitting them. It would have been nice to have something from Japan to wear back home. BOO DISAPPOINMENT NUMBER 2. But I still managed to buy a few things for myself, like a cute new umbrella and chopsticks! Here are some of the other cool stuff I saw around the stores.

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Everything there was a tad too expensive for pasalubong though, since I have a lot of people to bring back gifts to back home. This is one of the times that I curse having multiple circles of friends. Luckily, there was a really huge Daiso in Harajuku, and I was able to buy a lot of stuff for everyone. I’m almost done with my shopping hooray! And there were a lot of funny stuff around the store as well. Only in Japan? XD

_IGP4347 Crayon Shinshan food!

_IGP4348    Inflatable boobs. Almost bought these for myself :))

_IGP4352      Hulaan niyo kung baket ako natawa dito. =))

By the time we had finished shopping, it was nearing nighttime; but the rain showed no signs of stopping (hey I rhymed!). We attempted to go to Meiji Park to experience a more historical side of Japan, but by then we were just too tired and the ground was too damp for us to push on. After a few minutes’ walk we decided to just go back home. Zoe and I managed to sneak in taking a few photos of ourselves though. XD

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We had to make a whole lot of train transfers to get back to Fussa Station, and we got a little lost along the way back. Everyone was feeling tired and a bit cranky, so after buying our dinner from the grocery, we decided to take a taxi home instead. Can you believe that such a short distance of travel –imagine the length of CP Garcia to Katipunan, or even lesser — already amounted to 710 yen (350+ pesos)?? Ang mahal lang grabe. Although I had to give them props, the taxi drivers here wear suits, and have their own GPS on their dashboards!

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We had dinner at home for the nth time, and woe is me, this is also the first time that I didn’t quite like what I had to eat. But I think it was mostly we cooked the noodles wrong; I don’t think it’s supposed to have soup. Oh well. But I enjoyed the squid rings at least. And I finally got to taste some of Abuela’s cake! And if you see in the next photo, I got to use the chopsticks I bought, yay. :D

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Can you believe that I was so exhausted from yesterday that I only posted this a day after? XD

Ohayo! Day 4: Taking It Nice and Easy

Konnichiwa! Haha, sorry. I’ve been trying to practice the little Japanese I’ve learned from watching all that anime. XD

We haven’t really recovered yet from the hustle and bustle of downtown Tokyo that we experienced the day before, so we decided to be a little bit more chill today and explore the a more relaxing part of the city.

It was decided that Tita Ruthsie would tour us around Fussa as well as go to Showa Kinen Park in Tachikawa. Fussa Station is the nearest train station to the base, so we decided to walk all the way there. We passed by a lot of Japanese houses and small establishments, and for the first time I got to feel the part of Japan that wasn’t all tall buildings and corporately attired people.

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I really like how Japanese houses look. I’ve always liked the minimalist aesthetic, but what I admire even more is how they manage to maximize such small lot sizes. Those lots couldn’t have been bigger than 6mx6m, and yet the house itself seemed to look perfectly adequate for an entire family. They must really be efficient in space programming, as like in Tita Ruthsie’s house, which is small but is actually very space efficient inside.

All that walking around got hungry enough to want to have lunch already. Unfortunately, we had a hard time looking for a place to eat, either because food was too inexpensive, or they were closed until the afternoon. So instead, we stopped at a nearby grocery and bought some stuff, pantawid gutom lang.

Sidebar time! :D

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While at the grocery, Zoe and I came across this lovely dezaato (dessert) shop with the most delicious looking cakes I have ever seen! I couldn’t fight my sweet tooth any longer, so we pooled some money to be able to buy a slice of strawberry cake! Yum yum! I usually see this in anime, and it was so cool that I was going to get to eat one for real.

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And with that, I have three words for Lando:

I WANT CAKE. 

Sorry, it’s sort of an inside joke. XD

End of sidebar Part 1!

We then boarded the train for Nishi-Tachikawa Station, where one of the entrances of Showa Kinen Park was. Basically, it was like my trip to Burnham Park all over again (there was boating, biking, and all your usual park activities), but in a more large-scale, more manicured, more walking, more tiring way. XD The entire park was huge! I’m not sure if it was bigger than UP Campus, but I think it was approaching that size.

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Zoe and I had snow cones! Hahaha wala lang. Saraaaaap.

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We saw a lot of dogs as well, with their owners walking them around the park. And hindi lang paisa-isa, some people had three dogs or more in tow!

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Say what, another sidebar? 

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Lando and I have talked countless times about how we would want to have a brown haired dog (or monkey) and name it  Chewbacca/Chewie. Feeling ko itong aso ito so far sa lahat ng nakita ko ang pinakabagay na maging Chewie, because of the color. Although I guess a Chow-Chow would do also. But nevertheless, I was reminded of this conversation when I saw the dog. I wonder what breed this is?

Dogs aren’t the only cute sights to see at the park today. There were a ton of young couples as well, who had their adorable kids with them. I wonder what they give Japanese babies to eat or drink? I have yet to see a thin Japanese baby! Ang tataba nilang lahat, nakakagigil!

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Another one of the must see places at the park was what they called the Cherry Blossom Garden, which was basically this really huge field of nothing but rows and rows of these quaint purple flowers. It reminded me of the part in Strawberry Fields in Baguio where I had my photo taken, pero mas bongga ang dami ng flowers dito.

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Because the park was so huge, we didn’t get to go to all the attractions, but one of the last places we got to go to was the Bonsai Garden. I’m sorry, pero nagmumukhang super kawawa ang mga UP Bansoy compared to these guys. But how could they not be superior? Some of these have been more than 100 years in the making. That’s how many generations of tending to it right there. I noticed that the Japanese are really dedicated in growing their plant life just the way they want them to, because I noticed that even their huge trees have stilts and posts that help them stand straight and tall. And look at those manicured hedges! Those are purely plants, no concrete to make them into that form. Amazing.

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We hung out a bit while waiting for the train back to the Tochikawa Gate, and Max decided to have a little fun with flying effects. Ang galing! (Hover over the photos for a larger view.)

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We planned to get a little shopping done after that stroll around the park, but everyone was already feeling a bit tired so we decided to go home a bit early instead. We bought our food and decided to eat in.

Ih forgot to check the kcal amount of the food I chose (Yes, can you believe that they put that on all take out meals at the grocery), and I ended up with a meal that contained 850 kcal. NOOOOOO. Oh well, at least it was yummy.

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And surprise, surprise! Abuela decided to treat us to another strawberry cake, yay! She also bought a chocolate one for herself. Dezaato! Itadakimasu! :D

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Today has relatively been an easygoing day, but tomorrow promises to be hectic once more, because we go to Ginza for some hardcore shopping for pasalubong, and Harajuku to witness the most outrageous dressing up ever!

Anyway, off to sleep! I think I may need it for tomorrow. Oyasuminasai! :)

Ohayo! Day 3: The REAL Lost in Translation

Today has been a really tiring day and I can barely keep awake as I type. But I’ll try my best to recount today’s misadventures. Sorry in advance if there are any typos or incorrigible sentences.

This was the day we finally got to go outside the base and get around Tokyo! We caught the morning bus to Hiro-o, and though we got stuck in traffic for aroung two hours, I welcomed the slow trip with open arms and closed eyes, because I was still feeling sleepy from the night before. Hahaha, ako na ang laging inaantok.

Our first stop was the busy, busy, busy Tokyo Metro Station, which was like the Grand Central Station of Japan. It was a harrowing first stop in our trip to say the least, ang daming tao! Everyone seemed to be hurrying somewhere, and we began to feel a little lost in the hectic atmosphere of it all. I even started to get a headache, which I haven’t had since we left Manila a few days ago. But I still got to take a few photos inside; check out the cute schoolgirl uniforms (and the cute Japanese school boys HEHEHE).

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I just realized that people really like their dezaato (dessert) here, because most of the stalls inside Tokyo station were sweets! And there were also the cutest bento boxes I have seen. Everything looked so yummy, and if only they weren’t expensive I would have bought myself some as well.

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We got to experience the trains firsthand as well, it was how we got to most of the places on today’s itinerary. It was interesting to be experiencing what we were discussing back in Arch 161, and it seemed like everyone prefers mass transport here, because everyone seemed to be taking the train. And who wouldn’t? Even us foreigners out on their first day didn’t find much problem navigating the train lines and stations.tokyo-subway-map

People from all walks of life seemed to be using the train, but the one thing that seemed common among most of them was that they all looked so darn fashionable! Be it from people our age to lolos and lolas, they all seemed so dressed up. Even if Zoe and I tried our best to keep up with them, I think we pretty much failed. I guess people really know how to shop here, and if I had choices like some of the stores here had, I think I would dress more decently as well!

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We had to walk to most of our destinations, which I guess was okay because I got used to walking to most of my classes in UP, but I was still pretty envious of the people who had bikes. Biking seems to be a pretty popular way of getting around the city as well, everyone from men in business suits to women in heels (WOW) seemed to be using the two-wheeled wonders. These bikes are allowed on the pedestrian sidewalks, so they really have to weave their way around people who are walking. Each pedestrian lane also had a corresponding bike lane for crossing roads. Wish ko lang ganito rin sa Manila.

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Our next stop was the Japan International Forum, and silly us, we entered the wrong entrance by mistake! So that’s why there weren’t any people there. XD People here seem to have no problem in hanging out outdoors as well, probably because there is so much shade provided by the abundance of trees, as well as benches provided at almost every park or street corner.

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Chuvaness said that Coke was supposedly the yummiest here in Japan, but I didn’t really find much difference. Maybe she was really thirsty when she drank some?

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There was also this really interesting museum in that area, the Gohan Museum. It was all about the rice culture in Japan and about Japanese food as well! It was all very interesting, and there was even a training station on how to use chopsticks! If you see that one photo below, they also have training chopsticks, with holes into which your fingers would go into to teach you how to properly hold them. And their mascot, Gohankanyan is so cute! :)

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Our next stop was supposedly the Imperial Palace Garden, pero dahil malas lang talaga kami, it was closed on Mondays and Fridays, and today happened to be a Friday. We plan to go back some time next week, but until then we just took photos from the outside.

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Now, I think it’s time for a sidebar!

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 We saw a snapping turtle swimming around the moat of the Imperial Palace, which reminded me how Lando would fuss over turtles all the time (like Sophie, Camille’s turtle). I think he actually wants one for a pet. We had one back home when I was in elementary I think, and although we never got to name him, he liked for around five years.

Kung pwede lang, yung turtle na yung pasalubong ko kay Lando, I’m sure it would make him happy. And it would be great for me, because I wouldn’t have to spend as well! Hahaha.

And that’s it for today’s sidebar! I miss you! :)

Our last stop for the day was the Museum of Modern Art Tokyo or MOMAT (I find this funny for some reason). And wouldn’t you know it, there was actually an architecture exhibit there! I was equal parts fascinated, equal parts mortified, because it reminded me again of the looming  cloud over my life that is thesis.

The exhibit was entitled Where is Architecture? Seven Installations by Japanese Architects, and it featured the works of Ito Toyo, Suzuki Ryoji, Naito Hiroshi, Atelier Bow-Wow (Tsukamato Yoshiharu and Kajima Momoyo), Kikuchi Hiroshi, Nakamura Ryuji, and Nakayama Hideyuki, none of whom I know (waaaa). By then I was wishing I had some of my Arki friends with me so that we could interpret the works together. This section of my blog probably deserves a whole post altogether, but I’m too tired, so feel free to interpret the works themselves from the photos.

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We were dead tired by the time that finished touring the rest of the museum, but the bus back to the base wasn’t arriving until 9:30PM so we decided to have dinner in Hibiya Park. Being on a tight budget, we just bought ready to eat meals from 7/11. But who would have thought that they would be so yummy? Granted, the shopkeepers was all but outright laughing at us (well, them, because I distanced myself from embarrassment) when we took such a long time preparing the food, but I think it was worth it in the end. I ended up eating ramen with some sort of spicy chicken, a strawberry yoghurt drink (with real strawberries!), and mandarin orange jelly. Itadakimasu! :D

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We finally got home at around 11PM, mainly because of some difficulty with our visitors’ passes YET AGAIN. Hassle. But then, it can’t be helped I guess.

YEHEY TAPOS NA ANG POST KO! Me off to sleep now. Until tomorrow! Konbanwa! XD

Ohayo! Day 2: Is This Really Japan???

For anyone who doesn’t know, Yokota Air Base is owned by the United States Air Force. Uncle Lonnie is a teacher here, so he and Tita Ruthsie live inside the base, along with a significant number of other Americans. We’re supposedly checking into a room at Kanto Lodge, but we stayed over at their house for our first night here in Japan.

We woke up to a dreary and cold Thursday morning, so cold that I had no choice but to jump into bed with my mom and Abuela  since I slept on the floor and I didn’t have a blanket of my own. We had a relatively early breakfast (yes, for me 8AM is early) and headed down to the visitors’ center to get extended passes, since our visitors’ passes from the night before were only good for 24 hours. But not before I took some photos inside Tita Ruthsie and Uncle Lonnie’s home!

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They have this cuter-than-cute but larger than life cocker spaniel named Sophie, and we couldn’t stop fussing over her! I think her body’s circumference is bigger than my waistline. I should have taken a photo with her so that you could see how big she really was.

The weather was still bleak by the time we were going to leave, but Zoe and I conquered it with our colorful outfits! Napaghahalataan na kung gaano namin pinlano ang mga dala naming damit dito. (Thanks to Camille for our hats BTW!)

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Daddy, Mommy, and Max didn’t look to shabby as well.  I didn’t get to take a photo of Abuela though, I’ll try to remember tomorrow.

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We went down to a different visitors’ center this time so that we could get long passes that would last us our entire stay here. I was shy to take photos inside the office, but you should have seen how many American Air Force people were there! I felt very small yet again. But it was a pleasant surprise when one of them was actually Filipino, and my dad got to chatting with him and whom I would presume was his girlfriend. It’s nice to meet kababayans in other countries.

We were done by around lunch time, and we headed to the Food Court to get our bellies filled once again. I remember telling someone that I was sure to trim down a bit when I get to Japan because they eat all healthy here, but guess what? That certainly isn’t happening today.

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Kumusta naman ang size ng pizza na yan? And I had two of them, as well as a large cup of Fanta. That’s a gazillion calories right there, hahahaha. Other food establishments we found there were the likes of Popeye’s, Taco Bell, and Baskin and Robbins. The feeling inside was very All-American, so much so that I was starting to think that we had gone to the US instead of Japan. As Max so concisely put it, “Feeling ko nasa Subic tayo.”

Despite all this though, there were certainly differences that were apparent, as pointed out by our more elderly companions (namely my dad, mom and lola HAHAHA). The one I found most interesting of these differences was the size of Japanese cars. Ang cute ng mga kotse dito! A bit boxy though, but I think I could definitely drive her without much problem. Well, except for the fact that it’s right hand drive here. Here are some of the cars I saw and thought as interesting. (Note: The driver of the pink car is actually a really buff military guy XD)

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The Japanese also have a different way of getting vehicles to slow down at checkpoints. Instead of the traditional roadblock, they have what are called tire shredders. They have these relatively large pointed blades that can puncture your tires if your car is going too fast. Talk about slowing you down.

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We had a few more stops before checking into our room. We went to the Bank to have our money exchanged to yen, and went to BXtra (?) to window shop a little. Being the uber nerd that I am, I went straight to the toy section. And now, I think it’s time for today’s sidebar!

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There were lots of things-that-remind-me-of-Lando today.

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Lando and I often bond over geeky stuff like Star Wars, anime, and other shit like that, so I couldn’t help but miss him a little bit while I was browsing through the toy racks. He always said that he liked red lightsabers the best. The last photo is a children’s drumpad by the way. It reminds me of this conversation we once had of how children these days seem to have everything at reach — great clothes, the most innovative toys – while we barely had squat when we were young.

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Our stop at Tomodachi Lanes also reminded me that Lando and I haven’t gone bowling together ever, even if he has been pestering me for the longest time to do so. That should definitely be on our to-do list when I get back. But not before I get to test run how much I suck first, which I might do on one of our lull days here. Bilang nag Advanced Ten Pin si Lando last sem, while I barely passed the basic course. I don’t want to lose too badly.

And that ends the sidebar for this entry!

After all that, we finally arrived at our temporary home, Room 1095 of the Kato Lodge Air Force Inns. The place is huge! There are three bedrooms and two toilet and baths, as well as a relatively well-furnished kitchen area. We even have a washing machine, dryer and an oven. Talo pa sa bahay namin eh.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon until nighttime just lounging around aka TAMAD MODE. I slept through most of the afternoon because I still haven’t recovered from my lack of sleep brought about by my close encounter with hypothermia. Come dinnertime, I had completely forgotten about the two enourmous slices of pizza I had for lunch. We had yummy katsudon and milk for dinner! But man, rice in Japan is expensive. This container of Japanese rice cost 120yen, equivalent to 60php! I suddenly miss Ate Fe’s where you could get your rice for 8php a cup.

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And now, I shall sleep! May the borrowed jacket I wear bring me sweet dreams. :)

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Our adventure truly begins tomorrow as we explore the streets of Tokyo! YAY!

Ohayo! Day 1: Best flight and first few hours in a foreign country EVER

Today marks the first post of Ohayo!, a series of posts that will attempt to chronicle our family trip to Japan. We’ll be staying here for 12 days (including the flights to and fro), and this will be the first time I do this for any trip, ever. I’m hoping that I still have the strength and sanity to blog about our misadventures after the end of each day. So here goes!

We arrived at NAIA2 airport at around 11:30AM, and I was feeling great, with a throbbing headache and a feeling of dehydration to keep me company (I sincerely hope you detect my sarcasm). Our flight was scheduled at 2:45PM so we just hung around the terminal for a while. I forgot how expensive airport food is, 50php for a Coke, WTH.

I usually hate the travelling part of the travelling. I detest car rides going to Manila and I hate boat rides whenever we go to Caramoan. I had plans to sleep all throughout our entire 4-hour flight to avoid possible nausea, but I changed my mind entirely when I saw our seats, and the beautiful view of the clouds that came along with them.

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This may not be a very new thing for most travellers, but I rarely get the chance to travel internationally, so I was bano of the fact that each passenger got a tv of their own. And guess what? They had a ton of movies! You could choose from the likes of Shutter Island (which my dad and mom watched) to the Spy Next Door (which no one in their right mind should watch). I settled for watching The Young Victoria, because I had watched most of the movies loaded into it already, and no way in hell was I going to watch I Love You Goodbye.

Airline food has never gotten the best reputation in the food service arena, but I really liked the food we got to eat as well!

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There was the choice between chicken teriyaki with noodles or beef kare-kare with rice, and trying to keep up with my efforts to eat healthier, I chose the former. Although I’m not really sure if it helped because I ate bread with a huge dollop of butter afterwards. AND I ate the chocolate ice cream for dessert as well. And I had soda for my drink. So much for healthy eating. But at least I enjoyed my meal right?

Aside from movies, our personal tv also had a wide variety of music loaded into it, and I had fun creating my own playlist for the rest of the flight. I also learned that I am still not over Kesha’s Tik Tok.

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I hate to admit it but I was having so much fun on the plane that I was almost sad to leave it when we landed at Narita Airport at around 8:00PM (Japan time, which is ahead of Philippine time by around 1hr).

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According to the flight attendant on our plane, the ground temperature in Japan during the time we landes was 17 degrees! So Zoe and I, being the vain little kiddies that we are, had to adjust our outfits accordingly. Spot me trying desperately to fit in using the Japanese peace sign!

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We’re staying at Yokota Air Base for our entire duration in Japan, where my Tita Ruthsie and Uncle Lonnie live. It was a 2-hour drive from Narita, but it was okay because we had this really huge van that fetched us from the airport. Yes, we travel, and we travel in style.

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We had a little trouble entering the base because all of us had to get visitors’ passes, but even that was entertaining enough, because one of the guards there actually spoke a little Tagalog! Were we ever shocked when she called my tita as “ate, ate.” Parang mga nag-aalok lang ng DVD sa Greenhills. And he bade us farewell with “sige na.” HAHAHA.

They also had to take photos of each one of us for the visitor’s pass, and here is my fail of a photo. Aside from looking practically sleepy and just plain out of it, kita pa tatay ko sa likod. XD But they didn’t seem to mind.

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Time check: 1:30AM Japanese Time. I should be getting some sleep now since we’ll still be waking up early to do God-knows-what tomorrow. But before that…

SIDEBAR

Because I’ll be missing a certain you-know-who for the entire duration of the trip, I decided to have a special section dedicated to him for each time I blog here in Japan. He’ll probably want to kill me for this, but he can’t, because I’m not with him. *cue evil laugh*

And so, today’s Thing-That-Reminded-Me-Of-Lando is… 

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It’s probably weird that I am referring to a Christina Aguilera song whose video features her wearing a sort of bikini-and-pants hybrid and whose steps feature her constantly opening her legs to show her hoo-haa. But Lando and I were singing it randomly a few weeks back, and we both marveled at how hot Christina was in the video, and at how I still have the lyrics memorized even if it came out way back in high school. Ayun, yun lang naman. <3

Hahaha people who don’t want to get into all the cheesiness can just skip the sidebar each time. And with that, I bid you goodnight for now! Tune in tomorrow for a recap on our first real 24 hours on the loose here in the Land of the Rising Sun.



Allie has seen many a dust bunny in her lifetime, most of them in her dorm room. She is often mistaken as a 13-year old, further intensified by her weird fashion choices that mostly involve cutesy patootsie rings, colorful knee high socks, and ribbons and bows in her hair. She dreams of waking up one day and finding herself as a character in Star Wars. Preferably a jedi. With a purple lightsaber.

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