Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is going back to Japan a good idea?

What d'ya think, my friends?

I know that Japan is in recession, but my life would be better off there than here (in the Philippines). Well, that's what I believe. I am in constant contact with a few friends there and they are helping me out in looking for a nice job in ESL teaching. No concrete moves yet as of now, but I am optimistic that I'll have a big chance of getting a job that I want.

A part of me is getting excited with such idea. For one, I could savor my fave Jap dishes again, and ooh, ah, to my tummy's delight. Secondly, I get to reunite with my close friends there who've considered Japan as their home, and to my Jap students who became my friends too.

But the other part of me is quite sad too. Japan has been a major witness in my married life. This is where my husband and I have received the gift of parenthood with the coming of Luke and Lois into our life. Many happy memories happened and are kept in this beautiful place. And reminiscing all these breaks my heart. I could not help but break into tears, even with just the slightest thought of revisiting the places where Dadi and I used to enjoy together.

Your two cents, please.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hyakuen shop ... in the Philippines?

Japan Home Center PhilippinesWhen I was still in Japan, I frequent the hyakuen shops where I can buy all sort of things -- things that I would only realize I need them when I saw them in 100yen shops.

And when we went back home, I was only able to bring home some of those 100-yen stuff, and had to throw away most of them. :(

Luckily, I recently discovered this shop that promotes and upholds the concept of 100-yen shops in Japan. As I scan around the items sold at the Japan Home Centre, I could see familiar stuffs that I usually buy back in Japan. But no, the price is not 100 yen, but 88pesos. At first, I was excited to buy some, but after thinking twice, I felt it is a bit expensive for me. In Japan, it is easy to buy anything for 100 yen. But buying the same thing for 88pesos here in the Philippines, the price is doubled. So, in the end, I just grabbed a pack of bathroom tissues (hoping that I could flush it in the toilet bowl, the way I used to do in Japan) and bathroom cleaner.

Anyway, I think I would still visit this shop to buy those only-in-Japan products that are not/hardly found in other shops.

So, if you want to try out Japan-made stuffs, go visit the shop.

Photo from: Japan Home Centre website

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Are we ready to go back home?

Whew, that's quite a tough question, eh!

Emotionally, yeah. But when it concerns our stuff (read: all those balikbayan boxes), no answer for now.

If you get to see how things are scattered around our house now, you would probably think that we are "getting ready". We have already given away some of our things -- the bigger ones -- to the point that we are now kinda getting through our daily life without microwave oven, washing machine, no tables, and with a very small fridge. Our bed is still with us, no taker yet. ;)

I still have three weeks to do the packing. Just enough to finish everything that has to be done, including enjoying Sakura in most big and wide Kouens around Tokyo. ;)

Mark the date, my friends. Ready or not. April 18th. See you sooooooon. ;)

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

So, we're going home ...

Yeah, that's right! As to the exact date, it's not sure yet. I haven't even booked our flight yet. One thing is sure, though -- we're going home, probably not later than April 1st week.

So, am I glad -- or sad?

Truth be told, I would say more on the latter side. To put it bluntly, I don't wanna go home -- not yet, not now. It's not that I want to live here for the rest of my life. I only want to STAY A LITTLE LONGER. A few more months or years maybe, just to complete my enjoyment here. It is as if I have just come to know the goodness of life here that makes me want to stay. Yeah, I've been here since three years ago, but all I did and experienced in the first two and half years was trouble, complaints here and there, whining at all sorts. Of course, I still whine about pricey stuff here, but in a little different way, or should I say, in a more placid way. It was only since the latter half of 2006 when I (as far as I can recall) started to enjoy my gaijin life -- strolling around with my kid, liking the Japanese-y taste of dishes, cooking Japanese dishes, having a part time job (my earnings usually go to some luxuries, a.k.a. books), and vacationing to some nice places. This is aside from friends whom we get to hang out with once in a while.

Besides, it's election time once again in the Philippines, and all people are frenzy about it (take the word "frenzy" in a negative way). It's freeze hiring, and obviously I could not land a job right away. In other words, nothing to do but lull away the time while exhausting the meager hard-earned savings that we plan to bring home. Unlike here, at least I have some opportunities for part time job. There is even a possibility to have a full-time job, but my family commitment won't allow me to.

Nevertheless, we're going home. And that's final. Whatever awaits us back home, that's uncertain. And a chance to come back here? Hmm, that's all the more uncertain. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed in the hope that we'd be able to visit Japan again. ;)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Back to Tokyo, and what?

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Okay, enough of our fairytale vacation. We have long been back to Tokyo, and to real life. Yes, life that is so real we feel we are being treated unfairly. Why? Let me tell you.

This morning, my hubby was about to take our son out when he noticed our jitensha (bicycle), standing rightly in the parking area of our building, has lost its chair. Yeah, a chairless jitensha is what we have now. And, who on earth would steal only the chair? What would the bad guy do with the chair? Can he sell it? I don't think so. Who on earth would buy only that?

Our jitensha has been with us for three years now, and needless to say, has been through a lot. No matter how stainless its parts are, rust still persist in all corners, and dents are everywhere. Rain or shine, summer or fall, it has been my hubby's loyal buddy. And it was even jitensha-napped twice. In these two instances, the nappers were kind enough to return it to the parking area after borrowing it for a couple days without informing us.

This time, will the napper/s bring back the chair to where it should be?

To the chair-napper (if he happens to read this blog -- and if he can understand Eigo), I have one message for you:

Couldn't you just wait for two months until we're outta here, and we will even voluntarily hand you over our jitensha -- the whole of it, not just the chair, if you want? But not now, it's too early. What's the use of the bicycle without the chair? You could have taken everything ...

Grrr ...

Thursday, January 25, 2007

I spotted a Geisha

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Must have been the best of my luck to spot a Geisha (or geiko in Kyoto dialect) while we were roaming around the narrow roads going somewhere Maruyama-koen and Yasaka-jinja.

I did only one shot. In fact, I stole this shot. And this is the best angle I could get. The Geisha was posing for another photographer (to her left), and I positioned myself to her right, distant from the pro photographer. I was not so sure if the photographer was paying for the shot, so I quickly took my one-second chance to press the shutter. Besides, my memory card was already full and I only had one shot to spare.

Anyway, this was my first time to see a real Geisha. Usually, I only see them in Japanese movies. They look so gentle, and I wonder if they are comfy with their rather elaborate kimonos.

Geishas, for those who are not aware of who they are, work in Japanese teahouses and entertain gentlemen of considerable means or their patrons. Not all young ladies could be one, for it takes talent and skills to master the traditional fan dance, and other forms of visual and performing arts, notably the shamisen performance. According to Lonely Planet Japan (pp. 344, sorry no online link), there are only about 1000 geishas and maikos (apprentice geisha) around, with about 200 found in Kyoto. And this number is ever decreasing.

My research also tells me that not all interested gentlemen can see a performing geisha. First of all, one needs about $3000 to spend an evening with one or two geishas. Secondly, one needs a referral or introduction of an established patron in order to be entertained. Ows, could there be some "exclusivity" in here?

So, if you are a gentleman with some money to spare, and a friend who knows the way, then go for it -- that is, if you are interested in the first place. Better yet, contact Peter for a walking tour.

As for me, I am more than happy to have this single shot. ;)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Two of the historic sights in Kansai

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See related entries: Nara, Kyoto (Parts 1, 2 and 3)

More about Todaiji from JapanGuide.com
More about Golden Temple here and here.