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Osaka, I love you

Hi, I’m back.

2017. 22 years old. first time to live in a city and alone.

I was full of life and adventure when I first move in. Until reality happened, I struggled a lot during my first 3 years, had my ups and downs, felt happiness, sadness and all in-betweens. I almost gave up because I felt like I don’t belong in here. I thought this city is too big for a small town girl like me. I had nothing but my dreams, hope and faith that the universe put me where I am supposed to be.

2021. 26 years old. contented.

I don’t know what changed but one thing I know for sure is that finally, I am embracing the life I have. I was living in my past where I didn’t realized how blessed I am and how I am robbing the people who wants to know me just because I am scared to trust. The only constant thing in our life is change. It’s either we learn how to go with the flow or go against it and drown. I met genuinely people, fell in love with city, move in knowing zero names and probably one day, leaving it knowing hundred names.

My greatest adventures happened here. I was able to laugh, cry and grow. Osaka will always have a place in my heart. Who knew that a small town girl like me will be able to survive this big, loud and fast-paced city? As the saying goes, our fate is already destined even before we were born.

Kobe Port 2021
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Falling in love

Falling in love can be also about places. One thing for sure is that I don’t know where I’m gonna be in the next 5 years. So, I learned how to live my life in the moment.

Over the course of years, I have this love-hate relationship with this country but I’m so grateful for the opportunity to know and experience Japan.

A lot of people thinks Japan is all about cherry blossoms, matcha and sushi. However, it’s more than that…

It can be so deep it makes you feel like your drowning. Life is so raw that sometimes you even forget how to laugh and smile. And at the end of the day, silence can be your only friend.

But at the same time, you appreciate silence when the world is tiring. You love how raw life can be cause you learned how to stand up at your own feet. And lastly, you understand happiness is a proactive choice and you will define it on your own.

It’s like falling in love with a person. Sometimes, we hate their flaws but we accept it because we love them. For the last 5 years, I didn’t realized how attached I become with this country. Now, I know that I will be always torn between two lands. Japan is home. Philippines is home.

Hakone, Japan
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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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Conquering Mt. Fuji

Summer time in Japan means climbing season for Mt. Fuji. I was caught in the middle of my life so stressed, depressed and unmotivated to do anything, so I decided to book a tour to climb Mt. Fuji last minute, it was a spontaneous trip with my friends who also just want to get away with the routine of life.

I took overnight bus from Osaka to Tokyo where the meeting place is. I was part of a tour with other tourist from all different parts of the world. Our tour guide explain to us the guidelines while climbing the mountain and they said we are very lucky cause the weather at the mountain is perfect cause the typhoon just passed by the other day.

11:30AM. Our tour bus took us directly to station 5 where the climb will start and we have to climb until station 10, sounds easy? No. Station 6 is okay but station 7 until 8 is very rocky and stiff, I suggest rent trekking pole it will save your ass from sliding, falling and it will give your more stability while climbing or walking.

6:00PM. When we reached station 8 where we will stay overnight, have dinner and rest before we reached the summit. That’s the only time I somehow properly wash my face, used bathroom and clean myself a bit cause I still can’t take a shower. They offer post cards which is exclusive only at the mountain where you can send to your loved ones or yourself.

1:45AM. The most difficult part for me climbing at dawn with 4-5km/hr wind and 5 degrees weather. The way to the summit is very stiff and dark it took us 2 hours before we entirely reached the summit.

4:15AM. The most rewarding part waiting for the sunrise! As the sky clears and you can see all the clouds beneath looking so soft and fluffy that I actually want to dive in feels so unreal. Then, me watching the sunrise at the summit of Mt. Fuji I just can’t think of anything. It might sound so cliche but as I watch it, everyday is literally and figuratively a brand new day!

That moment in my life will definitely be one of the books and I will always look back at when I’m so tired with my life. Imagine everyday the sun rises for all of us and me as a night person personally watching it, I never knew how amazing it can be! It feels like magic and surreal. I felt completely happy, high, positive and energized after I witnessed it. There are no words and adjective to describe how great it was.

xoxo

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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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5 Things I learned While Living In Japan

The bravest thing I ever did in my entire life is leaving my comfort zone, my homeland and moved to Japan. As a 21-year-old woman, fresh graduate from college I knew nothing back then. I don’t have any idea how or where to begin my life abroad. I don’t even know why I decided to live here or what am I doing here. I put myself in a situation I thought was easy,  as crazy it may sounds but this is the truth. So here’s a list of the learning  I had while I’m on my adventure:

  1. Life is not all about ‘rainbows’ and ‘beers’

I realized that life can be tough because back then, I have friends to accompany me always drinking all night and having the best time of my life, a family to shelter when everything seems so bad and grandmother’s dishes to comfort me when I am so exhausted from school. I live a very comfortable life. But since moving here, my world just turned upside down.

2.  I learned to trust myself

I became honest to myself and with my feelings. I know now who and what I want in my life, where I will stand to someone and until when I should give. I found out that I am a strong woman, because here in abroad I don’t have anybody but myself. So I don’t have any choice but to be firm with my decisions and wish the best luck.

3. I learned to be a domesticated woman

Before I don’t know how to do laundry, budget my money and how to cook. Since, I am now an ‘adult’ living in a strange land. I learned all of this from scratch. Google and YouTube is my hero when I want to cook something for myself because my favorite dishes are not available in town. Now, I still suck at this but I am improving. Hey, I am trying. Okay.

4. Chase your dreams

I am just a kid, trying to figure out what to do with life. After a year staying abroad, I realized that there is no such thing as being ‘ready’. Before, I always make excuses and say there is always a next time. But here, the world is so fast. I have to get things done right away or else I can’t keep up. That’s why I do things with my heart beating so fast, hands so cold and stomach cringing. The result, I did it! I made it. Trust yourself, believe that you will survive anything. Just keep going.

5. Comfortable being alone

The longest commitment you will ever have is with yourself. So why not, discover and really know who you are? As woman in her early 20’s, I think this is important. I made a lot of mistakes before when it comes to relationship. I don’t know who I am, what I want and where I want to be because I always seek for others. I let other people define me, to make decisions for me. Now that I understand life ‘somehow’, I can figure out whether I am choosing a person based on loneliness or because I am really into him. Thanks to Japan, I am better version of me now.

Definitely, that one-way ticket I bought last year really rock my world. I came here with no plans at all. I didn’t think about it. I just packed my bags, bought a ticket and leave. I am not sure if I am being innocent or stupid there. I think it was only me, leaving a country with no plans at all. But I tell you, it was all worth it. That was the best decision I made in my entire life. So if you ever had a chance to leave your comfort zone, do it. Don’t overthink. Just do it. Believe me you will survive.

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