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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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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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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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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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OFW Diaries

So my blog today is all about OFW on the point of view of a daughter. For those who doesn’t understand, OFW stands for Overseas Filipino Workers, according to Philippine Statistics Authority there are 2.4 million OFWs as of 2015. So imagine how many Filipino children has no parents? has no husband/wife? has no son/daughter? It’s heartbreaking to know due to poverty in the Philippines, many are forced to work outside the country just to provide for their families. 

Since I was 2 years old, both of my parents had to work abroad. So apparently, I grew up with my grandparents together with my siblings and cousins. I had an awesome childhood cause of my cousins, imagine we’re six children living under one roof. It was instant bestfriends, ‘barkada’ and enemy at the same time. Even up to now that we’re all grown ups, we’re really close and hang out once in a while. It actually felt awkward the first time we have to live together with our parents abroad cause it means we’re going to live in different houses from then on.

What does it feels like to be an OFW’s child? When I was a kid I’m used to it, my parents going and leaving the country. I don’t even remember that I cried when they leave. I didn’t even look for them cause growing up, I am happy and contented with my life. I have grandparents who love me dearly, cousins who are always there for me, friends who truly cares for me. What more should I asked for? But I admit it was still hard, as a kid I just had questions why I don’t have parents during PTA’s at school, why I don’t have a mother who supposed to teach me how to comb my hair, why I have no father to protect me from all the bastard who will promise you all the grandest things in life and turned bullshits. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not angry at them. I completely understand why they had to leave. I just don’t know what to feel for my parents cause my entire life they are not with me physically. I pretty much learned things about life and love the hard way.

At the present, I lived together with my parents here in abroad. The whole adjustment to different country is not a joke. But the most difficult part for me was actually living together with them. I know they are my parents and I am their child, but they don’t truly know who I am. They don’t know what my favorite food is, how lazy I am in the morning and why I don’t like coffee. They don’t know what annoyed me the most and what makes me happy. They don’t know who my bestfriend is. They just completely don’t know me and what’s makes me. You get me,right?

So for the parents planning to leave their child for the greener pastures abroad. Think thrice because you know, you can’t turned back all the lost time you have for your children. I can’t tell my mom who the person I like, when was my heart first broken, when I cried alone at nights. I can’t asked my dad, how to know if a man is serious with me. You know the conversations and wisdom they should give to me. Now that I am an adult, I promised to myself if I ever get married and have children, I won’t leave no matter what. No amount of money can make up for lost time. I will take care of them personally cause I know how hard it is growing up having no parents. I understand life in the Philippines is hard. I’m actually thankful to Japan and my parents cause without them I probably won’t even finished highschool. I even graduated from one of the pretigious universities in the Philippines because of them. They provide everything I need and lived a very comfortable life. I am forever grateful for that. But weigh things, do you really want to be strangers to your own child? I am speaking through experience.

xoxo

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