Millennial’s Springtime

Me: let’s find somewhere shady.

Millennial self: no let’s take some more photos.

In aobanomori park at 1 o’clock in the afternoon.
The wind is too strong that I had to clip my hair with my hand to prevent it from covering my face. Coz I don’t want myself end up looking like sadako from a horror movie. Hehe.

This is how social media ironically influenced myself. At the beginning I would take numerous pictures of myself then select the best ones and upload it in my facebook, instagram or sometimes on my twitter account. But now it seemed like I have mastered the art of timer and the angles I thought I look good. I’d like to make myself believe, it is only because sakura is just a phenomenal season in Japan justifying myself for frequently snapping. Yet it wasn’t just that. The narcisism in me has been developed pretty much ever since I owned a mobile phone with front camera and when “selfie” is forged. So why am I saying all these again? Hmmm.. probably so I can get more exposure here on my blog! Nevertheless I loved everything about spring here in Japan, not only the cherry blossoms but the weather, the tulips and any other radiant flowers, and the feeling of goodness it bestows.

Making springtime an excuse for more selfie photos.
I’ll just be here and be happy and carefree and beautiful like a flower that blossoms in spring.

Note: All photos were taken by myself. It is very convenient though setting cam on timer. Like my friends say, it is important to get the hang of it when you don’t have a partner to do it for you. Somehow they were right. Urghhh.

Advertisements

Boat Ride In Blossomy Tokyo

It was an almost unplanned sudden trip. Saturday when we invited our work friends for dinner at our house. We do it often as we are all on a tight budget and it would be practical to share meal expenses. While we were eating we talked over so many things until we came up to the idea of hanami which is Japan’s far-famed “sakura”~ cherry blossoms viewing. And then before we knew it we were all consumed at the thought.

The irresistible charm of sakura.

Sunday next morning, it was a bright sunny lovely day as if apropos for such an event. We left the house at exactly 7am as we are catching the 7:21 train via keiyo line going to Tokyo. Nearest station by the way is 13-15minutes walk from our accommodation. Upon us all arriving at the station we boarded the train using our suica card and alight to shin kiba station. We then proceed to changing trains via yurakucho line going to kojimachi station. We got there at 8:15 and carried on for a 20minute walk as we reached the pier for the boat ride.

Flushed with fervour just like me people can’t help but photographed the scene.
The kind of vista that makes you forget about the long queue.

The long queue is no joke. Good thing there were six of us that we never ran out of topics to hash out. And of course internet had been a big help in killing our boredom which I supposed all of us can relate to. Also we had an ample time appreciating the scenery and taking photos of the river and the cherry blossoms around the area.

Viewing deck at the boat house.
Almost getting there. Managed to snap this photo while on the line right down to the dock.

When it was our turn purchasing tickets for rental fee, we settled for the 30minutes option which costs ¥800 per boat. The other option costing ¥1600 was one hour. Each boat can accommodate strictly only up to maximum of three persons. Wearing life jackets are not compulsory but are available upon request.

Surreal as a dream.
Oblivious.

The weather had been perfect and the sailing went smooth and suave. The combination of the picturesque panorama naturally painted in pink by cherry blossom trees, the still clean waters and the clear blue skies soothing the inner senses is definitely not for one to miss out.

It was a fine blissful day.

Indeed the pleasure sakura brings for this certain season is incomparable. Lasting only for a week or so, making it more too precious, no one can just skip this once-a-year phenomenon if you are around the area. And I couldn’t think of any other better way of celebrating it than riding a boat in Chidorigafuchi moat. It is my third time here in Tokyo during springtime so I know at least some sorts. I was only skeptical back then due to waiting time. I now have proven its worth and that the only regret was not doing it for an hour instead of half.

Boathouse exit area.

Starving after cruising, we were off to find a good place to eat our packed lunch. Like I said we are all on a mission to save up so we brought food with us. And hey it has also been a tradition to have a picnic and drink under a sakura tree during this very same period so it is just well-timed to do so. Luckily we stumbled on the picnic grounds not far enough from the pier. It was crowded and full but still a delight to witness families eating together and hearing kids’ laughter. I smiled at the thought until we finally discovered a vacant space for us to dig in. We fed ourselves and finished with not just our stomachs full but our hearts, minds and whole of our beings as well.

Splendid.

Considered myself lucky as I am heading off to my next hanami this coming weekend in my favorite park because Tokyo and Chiba has a one week full bloom interval. I’m so worked up now!

Redirecting Femininity

Was it not too cold today or I’ve just only gotten used to this chilly weather? Either of which I cannot tell. What I can say is that I have managed to go out for a quick walk at my favorite park (which I have already written about in my previous blog) earlier today. Yes finally, passed two weekends and I’m able to drop by. Aobanomori park hasn’t changed at all. It still feels like home to me.

What bothered me more is that it took me too much time prepping. Funny as it may sound, it’s far worse than having a date. Like real date (which reminds me valentines is fast approaching, dinner maybe? I wish), you know there’s just lots of things going on in the mind before it. How to impress the one you’re dating, what dress and perfume to wear, or how to do your hair and makeup? Stuffs like that. Anyway, back to what I did before going to park, I showered a little longer than usual, chose my clothes well (changed couple of times) then put makeup on. Not normally doing these things as I have always been the on-the-go type of person. I’m always in a hurry thus I cannot accommodate all those.

Yet today (maybe more like recently), I cared so much for myself like completely losing it. Why is that so? I’d like to blame it on PMS like any other women would do so but my thoughts are on to something better. Perhaps it’s personally redirecting my own femininity realizing that it isn’t too late to be conscious on how you look. More over so, how you wanted to present and carry yourself.

This is actually one thing Japan has taught me. You see, I ended up in clothes where colors are all mix up. There is no such thing as “overly dressed” here hence, I couldn’t care less and still wore what I wanted. People freely express themselves more specifically on how they dress up regardless of the occasion, the place they are into and the people they are with. In fact they are very appreciative of things around them. And if at some point they didn’t like what they see, they won’t ever insult or judge you. They have high regard in everyone irrespective of your ethnicity, status or job. Really admirable that is. Merely this is just my very own opinion and does not bear any other people’s.

Mt. 387 Day Hike

I’d like to believe this was my first official hike. I used to climb mountains when I was in high school yes but I didn’t have the perception of real ‘hike’ back then. September 29th Friday night of last year when we travelled from Manila to our destination in Puncan, Nueva Ecija. It was actually annoying for our service van arrived late in our meeting place to the extent that I already considered backing out. Good thing I have my childhood friend and my cousin with me. We entertained ourselves catching up with our stories of here and then while waiting. It was a bumpy ride going there thus, I barely had some sleep. I supposed everyone on that trip too. My cousin Ate Joy and I stayed awake and went on chatting until we finally reached our jump off point.
We got there thirty minutes past five in the morning (if I remembered it correctly). We were advised to use the toilet, change clothes (if we have to) and eat breakfast before we start moving. We had a short introduction too courtesy of the local guides. According to them, it is actually called Mt. 387 because it is in an area holding 387.9 hectares of the Talavera Watershed Forest Reserve. At the end of briefing, we were asked how we want to go back down, everyone chose the traverse trail except me. Yes I refused raising my hand for that. But my friend and my cousin were up for it so I just went along and approved of it eventually. The other option was slightly plane as the guide said so only that it is way farther and will took longer hours to descend. There is no easy way out and I was a little anxious about it.


Afterwards, we started ascending. As we go on uprising, only few minutes later I went through hard breathing already. Succumb to my laziness of having exercise regularly. Resulting of me being at the tail end amongst everyone else who were with us on this trail. Hardly noticing the path we were taking, not even recognizing the first view point neither, all I could think of was to carry on and get it over with.

I have only started acknowledging and appreciating the woodlands and forestry as we passed by when the track became moderate. Well, at least for me. It could have been the easiest for more steady climbers.

But apart from the scenic views, it is the purpose that comes with climbing that makes it worthwhile. And for our time, this time, it was the tree planting activity. Each hiker shall plant a seedling or two during rainy season in accordance to agreement between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and locals for reforestation. However on dry season, one must bring a liter of water to help in sustaining the seedlings planted by previous climbers.

I was surprised and overwhelmed to know about these. Apparently, I wasn’t aware when the local guides were explaining all of these earlier. I just had to ask our guide again who generously and patiently expound it for me.

We then proceeded after planting. We had plenty of stops for photos first before we finally got into a turning point which is overlooking the popularly known Chocolate Hills of the North. Though it was green colored due to prevalent grass growth, it is still a beautiful panorama to witness.

Another view point right after a few steps is the Batong Amat Peace Park landmark. Here we spent more time to breath in and to absorb the beauty of nature.

At the summit facing down to where we began, I say hard work has at long last paid off. It is a moment of victory for me which I can always share but will never be stolen. The precious part was seeing that it is in our most unglamorous and hard times that we most appreciate life.

After an ample time of rest and some photo ops, we headed down and continued with our traverse to Aloha Falls. Here’s the part where I don’t want to elaborate nor I wanted to remember. As we resumed the steep and slippery road seemed endless. I don’t recall how many times I have asked our guide, “are we there yet?” and how many times he answered me with, “just a little more”. And then I would joke on him, “you are fooling us” but he would say, “no mam I am motivating you”.

Worst was my knees were shaking and its bending became voluntary. I’d feel like I already wanted to crawl or roll myself down just so I could be there quick. But it can’t be. So I had to motivate myself that this is temporary and soon will be over and that we’ll be approaching the Aloha Falls soon.

You couldn’t ever imagine how delighted we were at the very sight of the tall running water. It was also very refreshing to see. We were too shattered and exhausted to jump in through the cold water and bathe hence, after taking photos of it and with it, we hurried to our drop off point. Took a shower hastily, ate a little and headed back home.

The next day, Sunday, my legs hurt so bad and couldn’t get up from bed. Yet it was all worth it. For the record, I only agreed to do this because everything just seemed to be not working the way I wanted them, both work and personal matters. So I thought I should try doing new things. And I don’t regret it, this was such an exceptional breather. If someone invites me for a climb again? Let me think about it. Hahaha! Kidding aside, yes I might. Pardon me if I don’t have that much and not familiar with real climbers’ “terms”. It’s just a shame not blogging about this so I did it with how I experienced it and understood things my way.

Modern Day Nirvana

Leaving home for the first time is both horrific and thrilling. It was August of 2013 when I departed for Japan in compliance for work. My adaptation for this new environment started really slow. For instance, English, a common language, is hardly spoken except in other parts of Tokyo. I lived in Chiba by the way (adverted from a previous blog). Although I barely understand them, locals without a doubt are very heartwarming. Perhaps because they smile a lot.

One Saturday morning, my co-trainees (yes I wasn’t alone, there were 6 of us), settled to bike around. I had to passed up on this as biking excludes my expertise (alright I don’t know how really and yes I did sky bicycle only because it’s cable-suspended). Arrived back to our apartment, they spoke about the places they went to. However, what really caught my attention was this not-so-far-away (according to them) park called Aoba no mori. They sounded like it’s an entertaining place to see.


My curiosity being preyed, I went on a stroll to locate it. I found it after walking for 25 minutes, (thanks to google map). Avowedly, it’s a very interesting spot. It is a huge park for diversion, nature jaunting and Japanese culture cognisance.

The ambience instantly felt like ménage. Where I can be myself. Where I can do what I want not minding of what people will think of me. See my mimics below. About 2-3 locals were looking at me while doing so but I couldn’t care less. It has somehow taught me the value of freedom (with limitations).

Falling upon a crib amidst everything foreign was reposeful. Dope as it may seem, to me this was the closest I can get to home.


Since then, in whatever mood I am, I would ran into this cradle to loosen up. It has brought me peace, happiness and contentment all at once. Indeed a modern version of nirvana.

Salute to Japanese people for their fast-paced technology yet still so exquisite in preserving and keeping everything intact from their language to their culture, traditions and recreations.

Cherry Blossoms and Beyond

On account of “sakura”, springtime is my best-loved season in Japan. Not to mention the so-so (not too cold neither hot) weather urging us to wander in parks and recreations. Throughout this time of the year cherry blossoms are evident everywhere. They even have revered prophets forecasting when are sakura flowers be in full bloom in random popular places like Tokyo, Chiba, Kyoto etc. Yes they do differ in time (days or week interval) as if each has their own glorifying moment.

Having been to two of the best cherry blossoms spots in Tokyo, Chidorigafuchi and Shinjuku Gyoen (that I’m going to refine later on to another blog entry), I say it extremely is astonishing.

But springtime is the season of growth, flourishing stage of all any other flowers (of all sorts) not just cherry blossoms alone. All of which magnificently casting wonderful variety of colors and showcasing adorable individualities. (I do exaggerate sometimes!)

Below are some of the photos (I have a great deal of it) of flowerings I personally took from the parks (apart from the above-mentioned ones) I was able to visit in March- April 2014 and earlier this year. Appealing or not, you be the judge!