Archive for July, 2008

Jologs in Japan: Week 1

Posted in Jologs in Japan with tags , , on July 30, 2008 by niennavarda

Arrrgh! Ang hirap talagang magsulat kung ang tagal mo nang di nagsusulat. Ang hirap magback-track. Pero feeling ko mas lalo akong tatamarin kung di ko pa sisimulan. Naisip ko na medyo kailangan ko na i-document ang buhay ko kasi medyo marami nang nangyayari. Hahaha. Bahala na kung jologs.

Day 1:

When the plane finally landed and I finally got outside the airport, I didn’t feel like I was in a different country at all. I had the same sentiment while observing the changing scenery en route to Seisekisakuragaoka. I may have just been in denial but it really felt like I was just in Baguio. It must have been the brooding weather.

We were fetched by one of the managers at our company and brought us to our temporary lodges for the night. After we were left to rest a bit, we pretty much just left our luggages and hit the izakaya. To those who don’t know, an izakaya is a Japanese drinking establishment which serves the Philippines’ counterpart of pulutan. I had my first Japanese beer and a lot of pastel-colored concoctions. My apologies to the San Miguel lot but man, Japanese beer tastes oh so fine. Needless to say, first night ko pa lang at inuman na! Ah, and yes, this week would be pretty much marked by a lot of drinking sprees hereafter.

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Day 2:

Met everyone at my company. Was accompanied to where I’m going to live in Japan for the next couple of years. Ang layo :(( 20 minute walk from the train station. Mala-labyrinth pa ang daan. En route, was thinking how the hell am I going to find my way back there ALONE. The place reminded me so much of Shaider. Pulis Pangkalawakan πŸ™‚ Made me decide that I am actually going to like it there :Dγ€€Was playing Fushigi in my head.

Had another drinking session. Hahaha, oo inuman ulit πŸ˜€ It was nice to see former UP batchmates and friends who are also my colleagues. Felt really at home since I already knew a lot of them. Sarap talaga ng Japanese beer!

Party ended at around 11pm. Yes, 11pm. Quite early compared to the drinking sessions I’m used to in the Philippines (hello, 5:30 am!). Realized that the Japanese’ lives are controlled by their train schedules. Little did I know that my life would also soon be controlled by these transports. Arrrgh.

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Day 3:

Went to Fuchu to apply for my Alien Residency Card. Thought I was going to be alone. Good thing my friend, Lau went with me. Hahaha. Got lost despite of having a map. Practiced my Nihongo to ask for directions.

Fuchu is such a nice city! This is also the city where the biggest bank robbery in the history of Japan took place! Ayosh! The culprit was never found πŸ˜€ Brilliant!

Practiced more Nihongo at the Fuchu City Hall. Was wondering why in the world the City hall peeps didn’t know how to speak English when their job meant having to talk to foreigners every single day. Anyway, everyone was so nice and helpful and the processing was so fast that I wasn’t at all pissed off. This was despite of the language barrier and me being so makulit, ha. Wouldn’t get this treatment in the Philippines, oh no, never. Kung sa Pilipinas yun nasungitan na ko sa kakulitan ko.

No drinking session that night. Pahinga sa atay. Decided to sleep over my friend’s apartment (which also happened to be my temporary lodge the past 2 nights) the whole week. Meant having to go back to my real apartment to get my stuff. My good friends, Gabby and Jem went with me. Good thing kasi nawala ako kahit kasama ko na sila. As in lumampas ako sa bahay. Buti na lang Gabby used to live in my apartment. hehehe.

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Day 4:

First day at SODEC. Was wearing a business suit and heels to boot. It was raining. Arrrgh. Hate the rain wherever it occurs. Was wondering how Japanese women stay soooo thin. I felt like a whale compared to them. My feet were killing me. Not used to wearing heels. First time to see the Tokyo! Beautiful architecture!

At the exhibit, realized that I so lack the Nihongo skills to converse much less do business transactions. Arrgh.γ€€The Chinese, Indians, Americans and Vietnamese were all JLPT level 2 passers. Arrrgh. Nosebleed. Good thing, one of my Filipino colleagues who speaks the language well went with us and saved me from utter humiliation. It was a very tiring day. I swore not to use high heels for the rest of my life.

Went to a small Japanese restaurant in Seisekisakuragaoka whose owner was the friend of our company’s president. Makoto-san, the owner was such a sweet and jolly guy! Makoto-san made me drink sake and had me rank all the sake I had. First time to drink sake. Got so drunk I had to be carried by my colleague whom I just met 2 nights before. Great. Swore never to get drunk again. Anyway, ang sarap ng sake. Hehehe.

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Day 5:

Day 2 at SODEC. This time without any assistance from eloquent colleagues. Had to commute ALONE during the crazy Japanese train rush hour. Hahaha. Some feat. Was able to get to the Tokyo Big Sight in one piece πŸ˜€ I did not get lost!

Had to man the booth alone. Nosebleed close to excessive hemorrhage.

Noticed that some people snicker when passing by the Filipino booth. Curse you idiots.

One approached me just to say, “Maganda desu.” I was like, uh… thanks? Was wondering if a kick to the groin area needs to be in place but he seems to be sincere. Freaky that such a professional looking guy frequents Filipino pubs. Not all pretty women from the Philippines are entertainers, you know? Gee, what do you know, we can do software development, too!

Dead tired. Was freakin’ frustrated with my Nihongo. Vowed to be damn good at it someday.

No drinking spree again tonight. Had too much alcohol the night before to last me for days after.

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Day 6:

Day 3 at SODEC and finally the last! Made friends with the Chinese dudes across and adjacent our booth. Dead tired. Frustrated that I couldn’t converse in Nihongo as fluently as the Chinese dudes. 6 pm, finally! Said my Otsukaresamadeshita’s to my new acquaintances πŸ˜€ Off to Ginza we go!

Went to the Empower Magic Bar at the 5th floor of the Meikyou Building in Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo to watch the coolest magic show ever! The bartenders are magicians who entertain you with cool magic tricks while you are seated at your table. A magic show is also performed at a small stage for everyone to see. George, the magician was awesome! The magic tricks would really blow your mind! Everything defies logic. It must be magic! πŸ˜› The magic tricks are truly mind boggling! Awesome, just awesome. I even got to keep the card they used for their trick πŸ™‚

The package includes nomihodai or drink all you can so you can drink all the booze or beverage you want but I tell you watching the magic show itself is already worth the price πŸ˜€ It was our president’s treat! Hurray! Gochisosamadeshita!!! Drank some more but didn’t get drunk. Hurray! I really swear never to get drunk again. Awesome night!

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Day 7:

My Filipino boss went back to the Philippines and the friends I am lodging with went to the Izu Peninsula so that leaves a cellphone-less me alone in a foreign country. Slept until around 2 pm. Called a friend and a colleague via a pay phone and off to Tachikawa we go for another drinking spree at a friend’s house. πŸ˜€ Yes, inom ulit. Watched Big Bang Theory. Saya!

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Day 8:

The day has come for me to finally embrace the reality that my life in Japan is about to start. Packed my bags and went back to my bare apartment. Met up with my good friend, Gabby who showed me around my neighborhood (Salamat, Gabby! >:D< – ang layo ng lahat – grocery, eki, combini, civilization :(( ). Did some groceries and ate homemade Guksu with Gabby. Fushigi is still playing inside my head. I think I am going to really like it here πŸ™‚ En garde, Japan! Here I come!

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Posted in Random Thoughts with tags on July 30, 2008 by niennavarda

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Jason Mraz Concert

Posted in Happenings, Jologs in Japan with tags , on July 30, 2008 by niennavarda

Watched the Jason Mraz concert yesterday at the Shibuya AX with my friend, Tha.

Shibuya-AX

Shibuya-AX

We were supposed to meet Jem but due to a rather unorthodox way of letting people in, we never got to. Instead of the usual queue, people were let in according to ticket numbers. So much for taking the half day off and lining up at 4pm (the concert starts at 7pm). Great.

Tha and I while waiting for Jem outside the Shibuya-AX

Tha and I while waiting for Jem outside the Shibuya-AX

The hall was almost packed when we got in. I was so excited! This is my very first Japan concert experience! I was excited to jam with the Japanese crowd. We had to squeeze ourselves in through the sea of bodies just to get a good view of the stage. It’s really such a bummer to be only 5 feet tall.

The Japanese, known for their politeness, decorum and value for personal space transform into their Tokyo train rush hour mode in such events. You are going to be pushed, stepped on and slammed against. There really is no such thing as personal space and it really, really sucks when the person beside you reeks of tremendous body odor and being only five feet tall meant having your nose right along the vicinity of his armpit. Great. Oooooh, I just can’t wait for him to raise his arms to clap to the music.

Anyway, the concert was great! Loved Jason Mraz’ hair (hehehe, yun talaga inuna, eh no? ) and of course his music, great guitarist that he is. The percussions were awesome! Love you percussionist guy, Toca Rivera! Love your voice, too! Love the sax! The bassist was really hot, too! Hehehe. Amazing night. Uber bitin! Bilis natapos πŸ˜› “1000 Things” is officially my favorite Jason Mraz song πŸ™‚

It was raining really hard when the concert ended and since we still can’t find Jem, Tha decided to go ahead. Neither Tha nor I have have an umbrella and we ran all the way to the Shibuya Station in the pouring rain. Fun! I was soaking wet but it was so much fun running across the Shibuya intersection in the rain. Some experience!

I can’t wait for my next concert experience. Hope U2 comes to Japan again!

Ima back!!!

Posted in Jologs in Japan with tags , on July 17, 2008 by niennavarda

It’s kind of hard to go back to writing when you haven’t been writing this long. I mean, where do I start, right? Should I elaborate on my misadventures? Should I tell a narrative of what I’ve been to? Should I express how I’ve been feeling ? Should I dwell on that perpetual dilemma of unrequited love? Do I write a poem instead or should I better give up on writing all together? I’ve been pretty much up and about and have been experiencing a roller coaster ride of emotions that I really don’t know where to start. Also, I haven’t had the motivation to do anything creative lately despite of the tons of plans I had before going to this country. Now, where could I find that breath of inspiration to get me started? Naaah, what the hell, I’ll just start.