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The hardest part of living in Japan

It’s almost 4 years now since I moved to Japan and this year is nothing but amazing. I was able to got home in Philippines last month for two weeks, my friends visited me here in Japan and it is their first time to travel abroad. It’s just March of 2019 and I can already say that this is gonna the best year ever. 2018 was really dramatic for me, depression, anxieties because of all the calamities happened in here that I had to face alone. But thank God I can say all the tears I cried was all worth it cause I am at my happiest right now.

Living and working in Japan for a quite while now, everything got so much better because I got used to the life I have right now. I built routines, met new people, more settled and got more matured at handling my life. There will always be mistakes and stupidity it’s part of life.

Being away from all your love ones is the hardest part, missing out important occasions like birthdays, weddings, Christmas, New Years and not to mention holidays that you always celebrate alone. Friends you want to see and hang out with were thousand miles away from you. Sure, I met new people and made some new friends but you know, you’re ‘go-to people’ ‘homecourt friends’ will always be different. They get you, the real you, you get each others humor that nobody else will understand but them.

I wrote this to give highlight to my friends who kept in touch for the last four years and made an effort to stay in my life even though I am already thousand miles away from them. It means a lot. I consider myself lucky and blessed enough to have people in my life that is so supportive that I can turn into when life is kinda overwhelming. They keep me grounded and reminds me of who I was before I came here. Life in Japan can be tiring sometimes and it is important to not lose yourself while living in this fast-paced life.

‘Keep swimming’

xoxo

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P A U S E.

pause noun: a temporary stop, a break in verse 

I admit I always try to do things big or small on my own without asking the help of anyone cause I don’t like the feeling of being a burden to someone or put them in a bad place cause of me. That’s why no matter how hard the situation is, I will try my best to solve everything in my power. AS IN EVERYTHING…only to find myself at the end of the day so exhausted and drained.

Each day I live like that without realizing how hard I was to myself, until I went back home in Gifu for 3 days off. Being the ultimate ‘probinsyana girl’ big city like Osaka is kinda overwhelming. It’s so fast-paced and feels like 24 hours is not enough to get things done. I tried my best to keep up with this lifestyle. The funny thing is, I never thought I was being toxic to myself.

During those 3 days break from my city life, I had lots of realizations and how important it is to practice pause from life and just breath for a while. That’s the only time I slow down and took my time. I rode my bike, stare at horizon, took picture of sunset, walk at park, cook food for my brothers, drink beer with my father, genuine conversations with mom. It made me think and understand how blessed I am.

Yes, career is important but don’t forget to pause. The biggest reward we can give to ourselves is time. Assess yourself, meditate where are you now in your life? Are you happy? What makes you happy? What’s stopping you to do the big things? Why are you afraid of the unknown? or you can just let go everything, smile and utter a small prayer that everything will work out just fine.

Always be grateful about the little things in life cause when you look back at it, you will realize they were the big things. It can make your heart full and soul at peace. We are only humans, not capable of everything and ultimately not perfect. Don’t hesitate to ask for help and treat yourself better.

xoxo

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Adulthood. Since when?

2017 is the plot twist of my life cause this is the first for me to be independent. I grew up with strict and conservative grandparents that’s why I always crave for freedom. When I got the chance to move out of our house and live by myself without second thoughts I grabbed it right away. So at 22, I am that ‘independent woman’. I create these image inside my head of what am I gonna do once I have my own apartment. All of it was beautiful, exciting and fun. I thought it will be look like college sleepovers but reality hits me like a truck. I don’t know why I have this habit of making major decisions without really thinking about it.

At firsts it was a struggle, the emotional aspect of it is tough. I can’t sleep cause it doesn’t feel like home, getting home with no one to talk to my family is big I’m not used to silence, eating alone all the time. Even the day-to-day living was hard cause after long of work I have to take out the trash, cleaning dishes, laundries, cleaning, cooking, understanding your taxes, paying your bills all by yourself which I took for granted before.

This whole adulthood phase is all new to me that’s why I am so overwhelmed. I still fucked up, missed work cause I’m too drunk (don’t tell my mom), hitting snooze button for 100x, eating junk for the whole week to make ends meet, panicking over petty things. In short, I still don’t have my shit together I think we all do. No one have it all together. It’s bullshit some are just better at acting like they do. No matter how old you get life will always be a bitch but that’s what makes life interesting and worth living for. Well, my point is don’t be too hard on yourself as long as you’re trying world will understand.

I am not ready with adulting and I will never be. It’s fun but in a different way. The accomplishment when all your bills are paid, all laundries are done, sink is empty . It’s the little things that counts and don’t forget to celebrate it cause nobody will understand what does it takes you to get it done. The fulfillment finding out you can actually feed yourself and completely getting in control of your life. All the decisions big or small without the influence of anyone. It’s still tough but I won’t trade it for anything else cause I won’t have it the other way around. 2017 is life changing, indeed. Be grateful always!

‘Adulting is realizing we’re just children with taxes.’

xoxo

 

 

 

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Failures makes sense

May 16, 2015

How can I forget that day? It was the day I changed my life forever. It only took me one day, one-way plane ticket and one decision into a completely different life. Since coming to Japan, I always find myself defying my norms. I only had failures after failures, my insecurities eating me up but I tried my best not to give in cause I know to myself I’m not that weak. I fought the hardest that I can, chase the path I thought was the right one for me.

I thought I needed no one. I think highly of myself and didn’t rely to anyone cause I always believe I got my own back. I put too much pressure on myself that at this certain age, I should already achieved this and that etc. that’s why when my plans didn’t worked out the way I wanted it to be I always get disappointed and devastated.

There was also times, I questioned the Most High cause hey I’m trying my best, I always worked hard. Why it seems like it’s getting nowhere? Why it’s so easy for some people to get what I wanted without so much effort? Life is so unfair. I’m being such a bitch here I know but it was all in the past. Sorry. I forgot that God’s plan for me is even greater than what I plan for myself. I forgot to ask Him. I only rely on my own thinking and strength. But  I understand now, every failures I had was God’s way of saying ‘No, I have bigger plans for you. All you have to do is trust Me, my child.’

I got tired from all the failures and disappointments I had. The day I decided to completely surrender everything to God was the best decision I ever made. Ever since then, life surprises me. God will send you people as instruments to help you to realize His will. Currently, I’m on my way to a better place and I know that this time, God is walking me through. This is all His plans and not mine. All my failures makes sense. I was chasing the wrong path all along. I owe everything to Him I can’t do all of these alone.

For every lost souls, I completely understand how hard it is not to know what to do with life. There are days where you don’t feel alive and just empty soul. So we tend to chase and look as desperate as we can but we often forgot all we have to do is ask and trust Him. It’s that simple. It’s not a matter of religion. I hate religion it causes division among people but I do believe in God. I just don’t believe in any teachings even though I was born and raised as a Roman Catholic.

Always keep on trying, no matter what the results might be. Do things you think can help you at the moment. Be brave and make yourself proud. We got this!

‘Keep in mind the recipes for success: work, pray, think and believe.’

xoxo

 

 

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An Open Letter to my Grandparents

Dearest Lolo and Nana,

I consider myself lucky to have both of you until now cause not all people has the opportunity to meet their grandparents. Though I grew up without my parents but because of your love, I never felt like something is missing in me. You filled me with love, compassion and kindness.

Now I’m older and had the taste of the real world, I met a lot of shitty people throughout this journey. I had nothing but praises for both of you for raising me with compassion for others and reminding me all the time to be a better human being. All my wisdom, morals, values and beliefs came from you. No matter how cruel the world might be, I promise I will continue to be humane cause the world doesn’t need more rude people. Everything I am today, I owe it all to you. Thank you is not enough for everything you’ve done for me.

Every time I see old people walking alone, I badly want to talk to them cause probably they also have lots of stories to tell and no one is bothering to ask them. It makes me sad, I miss you everyday. The stories from your era, history and politics of our country and all of your quirky jokes. I won’t get tired of it even though, I already heard all of it for countless times.

I can’t forget the day when I called and cry my heart out cause I felt like I can’t take the burden anymore for all the struggles I’ve been through. Like what a mother will say to his child ‘I’ll send you money, buy plane tickets and go home.’ I felt so touched and loved. Thank you for always being my rock, anchor, safe haven and home.

I know both of you are already bored with life cause you said you’re already satisfied to reached this age and your mission was already fulfilled. But sorry to disappoint you Lolo and Nana, I pray to God every night to prolong your life cause I can’t afford to lose one of you. I know I’m not vocal regarding my feelings but I love you more than you could ever imagine. Thank you for everything. I can’t imagine life without you. xoxo

Love,

Mae

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5 things I always miss about Philippines

It’s been so long, Dear Philippines. How are you? I might not be there anymore but I always wish all the best for my beloved home. I remember my first year in Japan, I don’t want to accept the new culture and norm I’m surrounded with cause my system can’t take the reality I’m not in the Philippines anymore.

I guess no matter how long I stay here, truly there’s no place like home. Yes, I’m surviving but there are days homesickness will hit you hard and you can’t do anything about it but cry and remind yourself to be strong. I believe this is a common struggle for all expats. They are not kidding when they told me living abroad are only for those people who has strong heart and mind, cause you will make a lot of sacrifices. Sometimes, I wish my reality now is just a dream. But no regrets, I’m just homesick so bare with my drama tonight and I really miss home right now. So here it is:

5. Weather

I miss the days where I woke up with sun beaming into my face and the sound of rooster saying it’s already morning. It’s still bright even if it’s already 7pm, the beautiful sunset with shades of pink, sky blue, purple and orange.

Philippines has only two seasons: wet and dry. As you all know, we are tropical country. All year round, you can hit the beach cause there’s no winter but beware of typhoons. I remember during my college days, even if it’s December we hit the beach at night, drink cheap spirits and BBQ. The good old days of my life! (okay. I want to cry T.T)

4. Street Foods

Filipinos loves to eat. I swear, we eat five times a day: breakfast, snack before lunch, lunch, ‘merienda’ and dinner. All of our festivities and parties equals to food. When you go to Philippines, you will notice a lot of food stands that sells street foods. If Japan has lots of convenience store at every corner, we have food stands.

Street foods are really cheap perfect for students budget. It has been part of my highschool life, after school we buy siomai, kwek-kwek, buko shake forever, ihaw-ihaw and stories we shared over it. I miss how life was so simple back then.

3. The Filipino Spirit

Filipinos are jolly people. We love to smile, throw punchlines and laugh. It’s part of our culture. No matter how big the problem is we still manage to laugh and shrug it off. This is the one thing I’m really proud of about us. I was surprised when I came in Japan, where the news is all about suicides. I wonder why? I want to tell them how lucky they are to be Japanese, their government gave them everything they need. Unemployed? Single parent? You can receive money from the government. Senior citizen? free of charge from the hospitals and medicines. Do you have kids who are minors? They can receive allowance from government quarterly. Public transportation? very fast and efficient, no traffic jams. Unlike in our country, everything is the opposite of it.

If they only knew how lucky and comfortable their life is. In the Philippines, a lot people has no work and living in the poverty lane. But it’s so rare for us to give up on life. I know I’m in no position to judge. I just don’t really understand why? I’m saying all of these cause I already saw two perspectives of it.

 2. Simplicity of life

Sure, life in the Philippines is not extravagant. It is actually the opposite of it, you can see the face of poverty at every corner but even though it’s like that, you can feel the warm, harmony and happiness. I miss the days where neighbors will hand you a plate of dish she cooks for you to taste. It’s always been like that and common for Filipino neighborhood. ‘Sharing is caring.’

Most of the time, I miss the simple life. You don’t need to spend much just to be happy and have fun. Street corners, good friends, good music,’bangketa’, anti-repellent for mosquitoes, cheap spirits and chips will do the magic.

Filipino kids don’t own expensive gadgets. Streets and rice fields were our playground. We climbed trees to get fresh fruits, climbed the roof to watch stars, and played in the rain even though we’re afraid of thunders. I miss playing in the rain, I swear. And of course childhood would not be fun if you didn’t experienced to chase by a dog.

1.People I love

Of course, this is already given. The people I left behind to pursue greater ambition in a strange land. My friends, cousins and grandparents they are my reminder that I can always come back home and they will welcome me with open arms. It feels like no matter how far I roam around or how my life has been changed for them I’m still the same ‘Hana’ and why it’s important not to forget it. It’s nice to know you have people in your life, you can always count on when life seems so restless.

See you soon, my beloved. Philippines has a lot of flaws but there’s more love in here that’s why I will always come back to you. If I had the chance to choose what nationality I want, I will always choose to be a Filipino cause I can’t have it the other way around. Exactly one month to go! yatta!

Proud to be kayumanggi. xoxo

 

 

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How to deal with homesickness?

Time check: almost 11PM and I can’t sleep due to homesickness.

Living abroad sounds fun and exciting until you have to deal with homesickness. I believe all immigrants can relate. This is the toughest battle we have to face.

When you scroll down on your facebook timeline and see your friends hanging out without you or receiving video calls when they go out, for a while you can forget the thousand miles distance from them at the same time you want to cry cause you miss them. It makes you realized how your life has been changed since then.

When you crave your local food or homemade meals and you can’t do anything about it. There will be no grill joint at the street corner, no more midnight snack lugawan, 24/7 Panaderia that serves hot pandesals, fresh coconut juice and taho early in the morning.

Even the hot weather cause I’m really getting tired of snow and winter. Missing my tropical home. I know you can feel me, right?

Most of the people who know me are amazed how fast I adjusted my life here, but they have no idea what’s really going on inside my head. So, how I deal with days like these?

1.Reminiscing the good old days

You can say I’m masochist but yeah, when I’m feeling down and missing home I always browse old photos. Those photos means a lot. Old but golden, the good times and happiness where we’re just having the best time of our lives and we don’t care about tomorrow. Photos that will make you smile no matter what’s going on with your life.

2. Calling my grandparents or love ones

Talking to my grandparents always makes me happy. They raised me, so when I’m feeling sad I always talk to them they are the only one who can give me warm and fill my heart too cheesy but true.

3. Watching favorite shows, anime or kdrama

I consider myself as an ambivert. I like going out with people but I need alone time cause it exhausts me, most of the time I watch my favorite shows to uplift myself. Sometimes, reading my favorite book also do the magic. Just do whatever makes you feel great and happy.

4. Good food, Good bath, Good sleep

The three combos that can solve anything. I know you get me.

So there you have it. The best advice I could give is only you, yourself can make you feel good. Always remember why are doing these? Who are your inspirations? Never lose of that sight. Life is tough and much tougher away from home but always remember why you started.

You are entitled for all of those emotions. It’s healthy to release it once in a while, but don’t be stuck there. You have to keep going and don’t let life defeat you. After all, living in a strange land is not that bad. Have a mindset of this is actually an adventure, a roller coaster ride so might as well, enjoy it while it lasts!

P.S. For all immigrants, I’m so proud of you.

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Culture: Valentine’s Day in Japan

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! As the day begins, I online as usual and my timeline was flooded with faces of couples expressing their love and gratitude for each other. Some seems so in love but of course, some are bitter cause this is the time of the year where life slapped into your face how single you are.

Let me tell you about my culture firsts, Valentine’s Day back home is all about the spirit of it. I remember back in college, it’s so normal to see ladies around the university carrying stuffed toys, flowers and chocolates while holding hands with their boyfriends. The main gate in front of school are flooded with flower vendors. But not just in school, everywhere you can see couples celebrating it in the streets, public transportation, malls, restaurants, parks and even on social media. Too bad if you’re brokenhearted, I must say just stay at home if you don’t want to see an eye sore. Filipinos are sweet, warm and romantic so it’s quite expected that Valentine’s Day is big deal and well celebrated.

The Japanese culture when it comes to Valentines is the exact opposite of my culture. I was shocked when I learned that the women here are the one who gives chocolates on Valentine’s Day. Okay, culture shock alert! Since, coming to Japan I learned to be more open-minded but there are things that still surprised me. In the Philippines, if a woman do these ‘giving chocolates on Valentine’s Day to the man’ she will be labeled as ‘easy-to-get, desperate, walang delikadesa, bitch, slut and cheap’ because we’re so used to the norm that it’s always the man who will take actions, do the pursuing and not the other way around. This culture is well-embedded in me. So, the first thing comes into my mind was: “BUT, WHY?!”

I had the chance to ask my Japanese co-worker about it cause I was really curious. She told me that they do it because this is the chance for a woman to do the ‘Kokuhaku’ or in English, confessing your feelings to the one you love or like. I was even more blown away with her answers cause again why is it the woman who will do the confession?! It’s a man responsibility and duty in my own culture. I asked her if they aren’t shy to do it. She said yes, they are also shy about it because what if the man reject her feelings or turn away but they still do it for their feelings to be known.

My conclusion about it is women here are so brave and the Japanese men are living the dream! Imagine, Japanese men won’t have a tough time pursuing a woman cause woman can also do it and it’s well accepted. Women can do the first move without judgments from the society. Japan is also a conservative country but when it comes to dating culture and the like, they are more open and equal compared to my culture where it’s always the man. So, men in the next life pray to God for you to be born as Japanese. HAHAHA lol

xoxo

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5 Surprising things about Japan

Hello everyone! My blog today might be late reaction cause if you’re my frequent reader you already know this 2017 will be my 2nd year here in Japan. I think I should wrote this a little earlier but I’m not emotionally stable last year cause that was my adjusting phase and I don’t want to sound so dramatic.

But let that sink in first..second year? for real?! OMG! Time flies real fast. Two years away from home. Two years of love-hate relationship with Japan. Two years of being (feeling) brave. Two years of knowing myself. Two years of struggling how to survive. Two years of finding a reason to stay. But no regrets, cause as the saying goes ‘life starts at the end of your comfort zone.’

So here are the list of things that truly surprised me when I stay here for a year:

Disclaimer: what you about to read are solely based on my own experiences and opinions. It doesn’t speaks for everyone else. Happy reading! ^^

5. Karaoke Pubs

Karaoke back in the Philippines is actually pretty unique where the whole street is your stage and the entire neighborhood is your audience. But Japan karaoke pubs are way too fancy! Each rooms are designed differently, some even have stages where you can let that inner Rihanna come out or just sing at the top of your lungs. The mics are rechargeable, tablets to select your song not remote. Hungry? No problem. They have menu for snacks and even drink bars. So, if you plan to go to Japan, karaoke hub is a must experience! Go for it!

4. Public Transportation

I was really surprised how Japan’s public transportation are really well-coordinated. The bus and train schedule are really followed. If it says 10:00am, it will really arrived at 10:00am! That feels like a magic for me cause I’m used to inconvenience back home. The seats are comfortable, adjustable seats for PWD and when you pay for bus fare they also use machine. Commuting here is nothing but convenience, no traffic jams and rude drivers.

3. Technology

Japan=high-technology. This is really true that most of the time I look like an idiot trying to figure out how to use certain stuff cause it’s too high-tech for me. I have a real good example here. I just got my driver’s license back then, my friend and I went to restaurant and I have to park my car at Pay Parking System where there’s a lock beneath your car. For 10 minutes I’m idle cause I have no idea how Pay Parking System works that I had to Youtube it! HAHAHA yes, I did it and for paying imagine a machine that all written in kanji’s. Imagine me, trying to google translate every button there cause I can’t read it. My gosh! struggle is for real. But yes to end the story, I made it with the help of Youtube and google translate. lol

2. Toilets

Public and mall toilets here looked like a celebrity bathroom. I swear! heated-seats, automatic flush and trash bins, powder room and even the designs are too glamorous. I also had a good laugh about toilets here. My mom is already living here in Japan for almost 20 years now, we were at the mall’s toilet. She’s calling me and asking me where is the toilet’s flush?! I find it really funny! She can’t find it cause each stalls are really well-equipped.

1.Suicide Rates

I don’t watch news here but I read it through articles online. I grew up in the Philippines and maybe my religion really plays a big role why I’m too surprised about it. For Catholics like me, suicide is a great sin to God cause we believe that only Him can take away our lives.

I know this is Japan, we have different culture and perspectives towards life. I know I’m not in their shoe to give opinions about it. I just can’t help but to wonder how can someone easily take away their lives like that and give up. Go to Philippines, see how Filipinos struggle everyday to bring food to the table, how students crossed dangerous bridges, roads and even swimming to river just to make it to school, how youths are not even studying instead doing dangerous works for a very low pay cause of poverty. I, myself have my own battles inside me but yet, we don’t give up on life just like that.

I hope Japanese can realize how lucky and comfortable their lives are. They can even receive support from their government. Everything in these country is made for the convenience of their citizens. If they only take a look and appreciate all the little things about their country, it will be a different story.

xoxo

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Stereotyping among Filipina?

Disclaimer: The content of this post are solely based on my opinions, experience and views. It doesn’t speak for everyone else.

Before I leave Philippines, I bid farewell to my friends when they knew I’m going to Japan they all exclaimed: ‘Mag-Japayuki ka?! (are you going to work as Japayuki!?)’ I rolled my eyes.

I searched on google what ‘Japayuki’ really means, it says it is a slang word of Filipinos for entertainers. Since coming to Japan, I knew that night clubs are completely legal and acceptable. Though, I don’t really have any idea what they actually do. I was even surprised when I went to Osaka, there are different types of clubs you can choose from. There are high-end night clubs where the girls are really pretty and look sophisticated. There are also where the girls are all chubby and fat, maybe for customers whose fetish are big women. R18 clubs, I don’t know what they showcase there. Also, entertainers here are not all women, even Japanese men do this kind of work! It was my first time to saw that kind of night club. I was blown away how big these industry is.

So back to my sentiments, I have nothing against ‘Japayuki’. I knew one Filipina who worked as one before and she’s been so nice to me like an older sister. But what I hate is the insensitive comments I’ve heard from some ‘Japayuki’. I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked if I don’t really want to work as one by co-Filipina.

‘You know you’re such a waste. You’re young and beautiful you can make a lot of money at the club.’

‘You know what go with me! I will teach you.’

‘You really don’t want to work at club? It’s easy money.’

‘Convince her. She can make a lot of money there.’

Seriously, those are really rude and insensitive. I hate the fact that I have to explain myself everytime I encounter such comments. I never experience working at night club and never will I. It all runs down to personal choice. Even though, I know it’s easy money it is something against my morals and values. We all have different upbringing and beliefs. If you can’t understand, just respect and keep your mouth shut. Also, people not all Filipina that work in Japan are entertainers. There are teachers, engineers, factory worker and soon nurses. So please, stop stereotyping and educate yourself.

There are also stereotyping just because a Filipina women married Japanese men is because of visa or money. In my previous work at the factory, I received an indecent proposal from old Japanese man asking me to marry him and in exchange, I won’t have to work for the rest of my life. I don’t know if it’s a joke but I find it really disturbing and disrepectful. It was degrading and scary. I was speechless. I want to slap into his face my visa and my car. But on the other hand, for sure there are Filipina women who marries Japanese men for love. Come on, humans. Let’s be nice to each other.

xoxo

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