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.
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.
I must say Odaiba has been a favorite get away for me whenever I came by around Tokyo. First was back in 2014 with people from work, we were eight, three of us were Filipinos and the rest were all Japanese. It was a bit of haste so I didn’t have that much time to explore but still enjoyed it because it was only from then that I experienced a short river cruise. Being born with just enough where lavishness is an impossible thing, the cruise was already luxurious for me. The route we took was from Odaiba down to Asakusa via Sumida River.
The next was just last year with two of my co-trainees. It was a purposeful travel because we yearned-for a final peek before Gundam be taken down and replaced with a new iconic touristy figure which wasn’t revealed until late September of the preceding year. We were also quite in a hurry as we are looking into other places to drop by as well. Even so we have taken copious souvenir photos of the well-known anime robot.
While both visits were surprisingly short but sweet I wanted more from the place. It is as if a pain that hankers for cure and an empty hole that needs to be filled in.
I knew if I get the opportunity to call in once more I’d be happy to compel. So when my co-trainees at present planned a trip for cherry blossoms viewing last weekend I took advantage of it and suggested that we shall go see Odaiba too. With all of my convincing prowess complete with search results from the internet, it appeared at least to me like winning over a well-fought battle. Then we were off to set foot on the notable manmade island.
We first went to Chidorigafuchi moat for a boat ride (I have written about this from a previous entry), ate late lunch on a picnic ground not far from the pier, window shopped at the busy crowded Asakusa Nakamise Shopping St. and paid respect at the Temple.
Exhausted after all those, we leisurely moved to Odaiba. Because it’s a first time for most of my companions, astounded by the rainbow bridge and the replica of the statue of liberty they took off immediately for some photo ops. Walking here and there, completely unaware of the hour, it was almost dusk when hunger struck us. We responsively grabbed a meal and went on probing the rest of the area. Hurling ourselves towards opposite direction of the bridge, we bear witness to the new self-aggrandizing life-size Unicorn Gundam. Unveiling it with our own eyes is undoubtedly seventh heaven as majority of the anime enthusiasts may agree on. It is still the renowned robot but an upgraded and modernized version. On the spur of the moment we were back to being youngsters!
We learned that the gigantic figure will have a show later that night at 7:30pm. Yet we decided to start rambling again and just go back closely when it starts. That’s when our pedes brought us to palette town. Part of it is a shopping mall patterned in an 18th century European town, the Venus Fort. Inside is an exhibit free-of-charge showcasing vintage cars and a small library compiling their chronicles accessible for public reading. There are besides a series of posh restaurants and boutiques. Its best feature for me would be the domed ceiling in an artificial deceptive real looking sky. With our eyes replete, we head to Megaweb Toyota City Showcase. It is home to latest models of the popular brand where you can test drive any of the cars displayed for a certain amount provided that you have driver’s license accredited in Japan. Unfortunately we got there a minute later than their closing time. Probably another reason to hark back again huh?
Afterwards we were sitting in Diver City Tokyo Plaza all good and ready for the Unicorn Gundam presentation. Basically it is a 3-5minutes entertainment showing transformation from Unicorn mode to destroy mode of gundam vice versa with Japanese animation demo in a huge projector alongside. I’m not sure if they do but it would be nice though if they have a certain schedule where it can be watch dubbed in English or maybe with subtitles in it. Nonetheless this kind of amusement for me is outstanding, interesting and unique.
I reckon the day had been awesome enough to conclude. While we were directing towards the train station going home I laid my eyes ahead to the rainbow bridge. As a debut viewing it during night time I was instantly hooked. I got really infatuated and that’s when I recognized that was it. The pain has been cured and the empty hole has been filled up. I sat down and stayed awhile cherishing and capturing the mesmerizing structure in front of me. Moment passed and we went along. And so whilst my spirit was on high I left with a grateful heart. So long Odaiba!
Today I’d like to write about my first week since I got back here in Chiba, Japan. It was Monday, January 22, when I flew from Manila to Narita. We had a good weather back in Philippines that day so I was surprise when we encountered excessive turbulence before we hit the ground. Little did I know that Japan’s weather forecast was that it’s going to rain and snow heavy in Tokyo also including Chiba which is where I’m heading to. We landed safe though. When I alight the plane and went out of the airport around two thirty in the afternoon, it was only raining but as I travel through Chiba (via taxi) it gently started snowing. Along the way, I was informed that office work has been suspended due to bad weather conditions that may cause trains to stopped operating thus it might be hard for employees to commute going home.
Snow intensifies as we went on. Two hours later, I made it to the place I’ll be staying in for three months. Before I came in, I took a video of the snow fall as a souvenir of my very overwhelming arrival. Inside, I found two boxes containing some basic necessities (towels, shampoo, body wash, detergent, frying pan, cooking oil, salt just to name a few). Yes, they do provide us such things, to survive our first week or so. Very well accommodating hosts, who are actually our clients and also sponsors of our training.
Realizing I am all alone, delighted with the fact that finally, for once I can live on my own even on a short period of time. Privacy and independence is exciting especially when you’re in a safe foreign country. Freedom? Oh yes freedom, where you can actually run around the house naked or play music and sing your heart out loud! Not long since, my deep thoughts were shattered by a rang. When I checked and answered my phone it was a video call from my parents. It surely made my day. Yet brought me back to reality that I’m way too far from home. It sadden me for a moment but I need to keep moving. Being stagnant is not my thing, least I thought. I carried on cleaning and arranging things, maximizing the comfort within my space. “My space”, how lovely that it sounds to me. And I concluded that night and have fallen asleep merrily.
Morning of Tuesday, the following day, I got up, opened my balcony door and saw an endearing view. All of a sudden, it felt like Christmas again. Everything is covered in white and it’s very enchanting. Much as I would like to play and enjoy more of the snow, I geared up for my first working day in lieu. Prepared my own food, ate by myself, showered, dressed up and catch the train. It was a typical day at office. I finished early for I had to run an errand and buy some things I need at home. Same with the next day, Wednesday, it all went good.
My Thursday was a bit different. I, together with my co-trainees, visited and observed a job site somewhere in Kanagawa Prefecture. About an hour and a half drive from office. I was on facetime with my co-workers in Manila the whole time so they can also keep an eye to what is there at a construction site managed by our clients. Also for them to see in actual what they are designing in paper and point some differences between two. After more than an hour we head back to the office. Exhausted as I was, still I rendered more than an hour overtime to finished a deadline. It was a fulfilling day.
Came Friday, it was also a normal day till we were done working. We were invited and went out that night with the bosses. It was a welcome dinner for our general manager from Manila and for us trainees. The whole event was filled with fun and laughter. Everybody enjoyed each other’s company. Only that there’s lot more to drink than to eat (coming from someone who doesn’t really appreciate raw food, sorry I honestly don’t like it). Anyway, it wouldn’t be called “nomikai” meaning drinking party for nothing. The best part was, each trainee received a gift from our general manager. She got me scarf and I loved it.
I started as early as 7am the succeeding day, Saturday. I did my laundry (some items I have to hand wash), cleaned my crib and made myself food. I was eating when I came to understand some things. That it will never be easy moving out from your comfort zone. That it’s a lot of hard work setting up your own place. That time management is difficult particularly if there’s so much in line to do. And that all these things would have been more light with another pair of hand.
As a reward for surviving my 6th day and hopefully for the days to come, I went to the mall and bought myself some stuffs, clothes and a pair of shoes to be specific. And then again, it was a happy day. No days are happier for a woman who stumbled on lots of sale while shopping!
Today, Sunday, I went to church but unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the mass as, unknowingly, they moved the schedule from 12:30 in the afternoon to 10 in the morning. Some things changed, if only google had known (yes I did my research first before coming). So I just stayed there for awhile and pray. And then I planned to have a walk in the park but it’s cloudy making the weather even more chilly. So forget the park, it can wait. I dropped by the supermarket instead before coming home.
As soon as I got home I put everything I purchased in place and started cooking one of my favorite Filipino dish, Vegetables with Coconut Milk (Ginataang Gulay). It was only 4pm when I completed the recipe but I was so anxious to have my first real meal of the week. I have only been consuming everything in instant the past few days. So with no second thought I dug in and ate up my dinner early. So now I’m ending my day with this blog completely contented and full. Choose to find joy in little things and end each day with a smile. Life doesn’t have to be that complicated, does it?
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.