Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Malungkot ang Pasko?

Bakit ganun?

We went home to the Philippines to celebrate Christmas with the family whom we haven't seen for quite a while -- and will NOT be seeing for the next couple of years. So, I thought, this will be a good time for more bonding and catching up. Christmas, for me, is the most important event of the year, and I always look forward to celebrating it with our families -- just like before.

But this year was a little different. On Christmas eve, we just ate some simple foods I prepared for noche buena, and then slept. My brod-in-law was with us that time just because we don't have company.

Come to think of it, this is my son's First Christmas, and he just slept all along.

Days had to pass before I could come to accept that Christmas 2005 went by just like that. Deep inside, I was telling myself, "Sana di na lang kami umuwi dito." Pangpalubag-loob ko na lang is that yes, we were alone last Christmas, but not sad -- coz at least, my hubby, son and I were together.

Next Christmas will be spent in Japan, away from our families. How will it be? Let's just wait and see.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Answered prayers

Remember this? Well, I am happy now coz we finally got our booking for January. Take note, we are flying back to Tokyo on the first day of the year. Isn't that great? ;) I just hope that, this time, the flight will not be delayed or cancelled, coz it would mean a lot of yen spent on something not in our favor or delight.

Another answered prayer is that hubby finally submitted his paper for possible publication to the number 1 journal in remote sensing. It is now under review, and we hope and pray that it will be accepted. His graduation largely depends on this paper.

My son is no longer sick, thank God! He still has some rashes, though, but we manage to take care of it.

There are many small things in our daily lives that we have to thank God for. I am just blessed to think that despite life's difficulties, we are still here enjoying His abundance.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


My heart beats fast as I take on the driver's seat and hold on the steering wheel. It feels like first time. Yeah, it's my first time after so many months of not driving.

At first, I was hesitant to go out but I had to do my errands. So there I was getting out of the garage and off to the road. I was driving so carefully that it took me around 45 minutes to get to College, 20 minutes longer than my usual running time when I was still brave on the road. By brave, I mean overtaking on a (slight) blind curve, running on 30kph (3rd gear) on humps, and always (want to be) first at the intersection. I am NOT boasting about this, for this is not a very good attitude anyway. Kaskasera nga daw ako eh!

I am quite nervous to drive -- not because of my lack of driving skills, or the fact that I am driving like the first time -- but because I am driving WITHOUT LICENSE. Nyay!!! Why did I tell everyone about this? This is supposed to be secret! I hope I could count on you, my dear friends, to keep this as a secret. ;)

Ok, till here muna. Still have to drive home. :)

I want to spend NY in Pinas...

I feel sad right now coz we might not be able to welcome the New Year here in Pinas.

We went to the travel agency a few days ago and all days for the first week of January are fully booked. The earliest open is on the 3rd week, which is too late for us to return to Japan. Worse scenario is that we fly back on the 30th and spend the NY in Tokyo, leaving our dear home lonely and alone on the first day of the year.

My sadness stems from the fact that I really don't know what to expect or what kind of NY celebration we shall have in a foreign place. A friend of mine once told me that NY in Tokyo is not that noisy and jubilee as compared to what we used to do here in Pinas. So, my NY's resolution then is to overcome this sadness or this pessimist attitude. I guess what is more important is not where you celebrate but with whom you celebrate this event of the year.

With that, I guess I am already 50% done with my resolution. :)

Saturday, December 03, 2005

I tend to compare ...

Ever since we arrived here in Pinas, a bigger part of me pushes me to compare our life here with that in Japan. Which one I like better? I don’t exactly know. Both have pros and cons. Here are some:

CAR. Here, car is a necessity as we are immobile without one; in Japan, car is a luxury for everything is reachable by train, bus or on foot. Here, walking is seen as an extreme sacrifice, but there, it is a good exercise.

Hey, good news came in just now: our good couple-friend is willing to lend us their car before they sell it. Isn’t that great? :)

READY HELP. Here, my hubby and I are not alone in taking care of the baby as well as doing house chores. Help is always abundant coming from family members who volunteer to stay here temporarily to help us. My mother-in-law, for instance, has been here days before we arrived just to make sure that our house is clean and in order. I don’t have this kind of comfort in Japan. There, no matter how hard it is, we have to make do of what we have and what we can do with so little time to do chores squeezing in between baby care routine. There are many times when I eat lunch at 4 or 5pm, or go out of the toilet half-way finished. Here, I even lavished on sleeping.

PAYING BILLS. In Japan, almost everything is automatic, including paying bills, which is mostly auto debit from your bank account. Here, you have to go to the bank or bills payment center to have your bills paid. There are a few that offer auto debit, but doing so poses more risks than goodness and comfort on your part. So, I’d rather do it manually notwithstanding the hassles that go with it.

EDUCATED OR NOT? In Japan, despite the fact that I have a university degree, I feel like I am a no-read-no-write person due to my lack of Japanese language skills. This is actually the biggest hindrance to living joyfully in Tokyo. I have to use trial and error method most of the time, be it in doing groceries, cooking Jap foods, buying other stuffs and other parts of my daily routine. Here, no one or nothing beats the easiness in shopping or going anywhere else because I know how to ask, and I could understand the probable answer.

BEST BUY. One big thing I like in Japan is that they sell only quality goods. It may be a little expensive compared to the price range here, but I am quite sure that my money is not wasted in buying something good. Here, no matter how rotten the onion is, it is still sold at the same price as when it is still fresh. Oh, and when it says SALE in Tokyo, it means SALE coz you really get discounts. Unlike here, SALE means just going back to the original price after marking up a few days before the SALE period.

JOB OPPORTUNITY. Everyone knows that seldom would you land in a good job here, no matter how many diplomas you’ve got. In Japan, as long as you have the qualifications that most Japs don’t have, you are in demand. English language skills, for instance, is a great plus. I, for one, landed easily as an English language teacher in an English conversation school, aside from doing private lessons with students who prefer to do direct transactions with the teachers. But that was last year. Now that I have a baby to take care of, I don’t have much time to work.

HOUSE. Our house here, modesty aside, is a little big – up and down, 4 rooms, family hall, 2 T&B, receiving and dining area, garage, dirty kitchen, and a surrounding garden – all fitted in a 200sq.m. lot. In Japan, we stay at a 2DK (2 rooms – one Jap and one Western style; dining and kitchen; and T&B) all squeezed into a 4x4 space. Imagine this: you open the door, and you’ll see the kitchen to your right and the T&B to the left. A few steps forward and you’ll be at one of the rooms, Jap style on the left, Western on the other side. You open the sliding door from the room, and you’ll see a very small veranda used only for hanging clothes that never see the sunlight. One advantage of small space is that it’s easy to clean; the disadvantage being less room to move around especially when you have visitors. Add to this the delight we get when that part of the world is shaken by the frightening movement down the earth.

INTERNET. Ahh, this is the thing I like best in Tokyo. There, we have 24/7 internet connection -- and it's fast! I maybe physically at home taking care of my baby, but I am also equally busy talking to family back home as well as friends around the world. Not to mention that I get to update my blogs most of the time. Unlike here that I have to go to a cafe to check my mails, just like today. And I have to hurry to go back home coz my baby might already be fuzzy at this time.

Whatever the case, I will always treasure the time we spent and will spend in these two areas. Who knows, there will be 3rd or 4th or nth ones. For now, we just have to make the best out of both worlds.

PS: Here refers to Pinas, as I am here now at the time of this post; There refers to Tokyo :)

Friday, December 02, 2005

We're here!

Yes! We are now in our birthland – our dearly beloved Pinas.

We arrived in NAIA at the peak of an excruciating summer-like heat amidst a supposedly-cold Christmas season. The weather is just the extreme opposite in the land where we just came from. Early morning that day, we left Tokyo armed with layers of clothes and jackets, only to be carried around our arms or pulled along with our luggage. In fact, my son, who was wearing rather thick wool Pooh-inspired overall, could not wait till we get to the van, and aptly signaled us to change his clothes while queuing at the baggage claim counter. I, too, quickly removed my inner jacket in front of many people – an action rather unethical in Tokyo. Who cares? We are not in Tokyo, anyway! Besides, it’s so mainit noh!

Briefly... our plane travel this time is more relaxed and easier than when we flew to Tokyo last June. My son slept most of the time, and getting him to sleep was also surprisingly easy. There were intermittent turbulence along the way, but the pilot assured us that he can handle it very well, and that he told us that we are flying on a sophisticated airbus 303 plane. True enough, we landed very smoothly at the airport – and on time! Queuing was faster and few too. Hmm, I’m just glad to know that this queuing-for-life has gone better.

But what hasn’t changed a bit is the all-way-all-year-round traffic. It took us I think more than an hour to get to the expressway. Add to this the sari-saring usok that welcomed us on the road. There’s also the beggars hardly knocking the van’s window for you to notice them. Hay … I am really in Pinas!

Enough of that unwanted side of coming home. Our tummy grew hungry so off to our favorite Jollibee. As expected, we had the sweet-tasting spaghetti and cola-taste-like iced tea. Before going home, we passed by SM to buy some goodies and Luke’s stuff.

Our firsts

First time did my son get sick – and on our first night. Consequently, we didn’t have a good sleep. He was feverish and has a bad cold and cough. He already has a slight cough back in Japan, and it gets worse here probably due to the sudden change of weather/temperature from very cold to very hot. Imagine, my son hasn’t taken a bath since we arrived.

First food at home was tinolang manok. Oh, I love the sabaw with lots of green papaya slices. In Japan, we can’t afford to buy papaya for our tinola coz it is really expensive.

First time to watch telenovelas after so many months. I especially love to watch Encantadia but sad to know that it is about to end. I wanted to know how and why Perena transformed from the main antagonist to now a kind-hearted sangre longing for her daughter’s love.

Ok, that's all for now ... time for other things. :)