Saturday, 12 July 2014

Calling Japan my new home.

I have arrived in Tokyo, Japan!

I know, I still can't believe it that I am actually here. Even when I boarded my flight in Manila, I was still unsure about what I am going to do in Japan and the next thing I know, I was already using ¥! My first leg of journey begun from Narita Int Airport, where I had to take a train to Nippori where my friend, Masaya was picking me up. Apparently I took the slowest train that took 74 minutes from Narita to Nippori on the Keio Line! Well it was the cheapest, the fare was ¥1030 compared to the rest that was ¥2470 and above!

See, that is the map of Tokyo, wait till you see the subway map. Good luck to me for not getting lost!
Press to cross the road and the polite Japanese people shall stop their car to allow you to cross. 
So my friend Masaya-san hosted me at his house and while he was away, his mother was so nice to teach me how to cook Somen- a japanese cold noodle that is popular for summer. Not to mention, she even did my laundry and folded it, I was so touch by kindness. It has been a while since I have motherly touch from my own mother. Yes, I miss you mom. :P

The view from my friend's house in Saitama! 
The Kawaii Masaya-san's Omoni (mother)
Somen- a famous cold noodle for summer. 
Masaya also brought me around Tokyo. I was in so much fascination that I couldn't stop smiling all day long. I even, at every junctions, turns and new building we encountered scream out to Masaya that I can't believe that I am in Japan! I was in sheer disbelief seeing the street of Japan like Akihabara, The Asakusa Temple, Tokyo Tower and all. 

Gheezz, I am in Japan! 

The Japanese SkyTree.
He exist! Doreamon exist! My childhood cartoon is everywhere here!
The Keoi Limited Line train from Narita to Nippiro
I think the best thing so far about Japan is being able to experience eating the freshest fish in my life. Masaya brought me to eat various cuts of sashimi fish, raw fish rice toppings, big tuna chunks cut. It a gastronomical treat after basically eating rice and beans for months (I still love you Philippines! :P)

It was so good that Masaya actually captured photo of me crying and in huge disbelief when I was eating my first Japanese Tuna Sashimi. It wasn't fishy at all, it was like eating butter. The fish melted in my mouth allowing me to experience the taster of fish at a whole new level. I adore your fishes Japan! 

Yes, that's me crying eating my first Japanese sashimi. 
Next, next. Excuse me, I am enjoying my fine cut of tuna. 
I adore you. J'adore bian. Saya Suka. Watashiwa Suki Desu!
It is not cheap too but for something so fine like this, Hell this is good money. This cut of tuna is priced at ¥25000 eq to USD250!
We then met up with Ayako-san, all three of us met in Ayuthayya, Thailand about 2.5 years ago. Ayako brought Masaya and I to Ropponggi Hill to eat Okonomiyaki and Monja, a popular Japanese downtown cuisine. It was basically do it yourself savoury pancake with fillings like cabbage, ginger, rotate, octopus and many others. It was an experience itself eating Okonomiyaki, the process down to putting the sauce and the fish flakes was so much fun! I am sure I will be indulging myself with more of this while am here!

See I kid you not, so much fun!
Masaya-san, Akito-san and Rayyan-san! 
I have about 3 months here in Japan and I will start my training for my work tomorrow! More stories to come, keep following me as I discover living in Japan! Till then, travel safe everyone! 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Healing Journey: Bye now Bohol, Philippines!

Some of us walked out from our own life because we want to look for something. That something that is clearly missing and somehow disorientating our life. We are all in constant look for something. I remember the day that my "real life" started, it was, ironically the worst day of my life. Scratch that, it was not my worst day of my life, it was my family and relatives' worst day of their life. You see my relatives believe that I should have a successful life and their perspective of a successful person is no other than me getting a scholarship to go study overseas, graduate with honours, get a fancy job with a fancy pay and nice house. That wasn't for me, as much I tried to believe it, it was clearly not. I started traveling because I wanted to see something but deep down inside I was just praying that it will eventually show something or point me a direction to somewhere, anywhere. 

It did.

It pointed me to volunteering travel, something that I thought impossible considering how expensive it is usually to volunteer abroad (I blame commercialism and jackass who thinks that charity should be a money making industry). I found my first spot to volunteer abroad with All Hands Volunteers, a disaster relief response organization based in Massachusetts, USA. AHV responded to last year Bohol Earthquake as well as the biggest typhoon ever hit human kind, Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda as it known locally). 

When I arrived in the Philippines on 15 December 2013, I told myself "If you don't like, just go back aight?". Little that I know I would ended up spending 7 months here from one project to another. It was unbelievable, almost unreal at times. All my life, I was finding things to make me happy, not all those superficial happiness. This was real happiness, not only for me but am sure for the rest of 507 volunteers who came by Project Bohol. The happiness of calling this place home. 

It became real when everyday, instead of calling it base, most of us (long-timers) will use the word "Home". Everytime we need something or left something behind, we will usually say "Darn it, I left my stuffs at home" or "I'll get you the cream when we get back home". That's how real it was. I was really and still happy. Come to think of it, you put this group of strangers together and pioneer them to volunteer and live together, somehow it become a perfect concoction of miracle. 

That was my house, and all my 7 months worth of stuffs packed into 2 bags. 

When the time finally arrived for us to close down Project Bohol, I had a severe separation anxiety. This was my home, where I feel comfortable being who I am and these people who love me unconditionally. Nonetheless, all good things must come to an end. As we packed up, shipped and donated our stuffs, I realize that we have done something big here. Not only that we help them with their houses but our presence here give them hope that one day their life will be alright. Little that they( the locals) know how much they have changed me (us) for better.

In true Boholano spirit, Daghang Salamant All Hands Volunteers ng Filipinas. So these are some of the things that I will miss about calling Punta Cruz, Bohol my home. 

Saying goodbye to the cabana that holds our laughter, tears and love. Or the staffs call it their office!

p/s and someone taking piss by the bush!

Yes people, that's how we poop and peep. We built that 2 weeks prior to moving it. 

Bucket shower is the best, especially when it's the clear sky. It's like dancing with the stars, naked.

Or people opening the curtain while you are showering naked, priceless!

Taking our regular pink-music box tricycle!

So, like our Accountant/IOM staffs Sinah Mamaduck Keller always say everytime our jeepneys rolled out "BYE NOW!" 
I will miss you Bohol, thank you for sheltering me. I will be back
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