Japan 2k17!

A bit of a delayed post since I’ve been having trouble uploading all the pictures, but here it finally is! 🙂

After 8 months, I’m extremely lucky enough to go back to Tokyo, Japan! I was in charge of creating the itinerary and planning other details alongside my aunt – which was a really exciting and awesome responsibility!I was looking forward to this trip for several months – it’s what kept me going in school (“Suffer now, enjoy later”) as I spent fewer hours sleeping and more hours into school work. Like my previous travel/ Japan posts (click here to read one), I’ll break down my trip per day. For this trip, I went with my grandmother and my two aunts (all from father’s side)!

Day 1: April 11

Our flight to Tokyo, Japan leaves at 9AM, so my family and I were in the airport by 5:30AM. After dropping our bags off, we headed for the airport lounge for a light breakfast (since they’ll also be serving brunch in the plane later on) as we waited for our boarding time.

Breakfast with a view!

I was itching to leave since at this time of the year, it’s really hot here in the Philippines and I’m missing the cool air of Spring. Fast forward to four hours, we finally landed!

(It was a rainy Tuesday afternoon. ANA’s windows are really cool – they can turn into different shades of blue depending on the time and the user.)

I was immediately hit with nostalgia when I saw all the Japanese characters all around and when I heard “arigatou gozaimasu” from the usual “thank you” and “salamat” that I hear at home. I was grinning from ear to ear as we made our way to the Narita Express to catch a train to Shibuya.

Continue reading “Japan 2k17!”

Japan 2k16 Photobook

I know, I know.

I haven’t updated my Japan 2016 blog in a LONG time – but bear with me. I’m writing it slowly, and you should expect a post probably next week (if school work doesn’t drown me).

In the meantime – I’m very excited to announce that for the past month, I’ve been working on a secret project. I was looking through my past photos when I was in Japan and I was suddenly struck with inspiration – why don’t I make a photo album?
So that’s what I did – I combined my photography, my brush lettering, and my photo editing skills together in one huge project.

Join me as I take a trip down memory lane through my photo album!

It was a difficult process to choose only a hundred photos for the entire album – I distributed it to 20 photos a month (excluding the collages, it counts as “1 photo”) – but after much deliberation, I finally completed it. I arranged the photos in the order that it happened. If some photos don’t make much sense, it’s because it’s probably an inside joke or story. Maybe if I have the time, I’ll write about it in my future blog posts!

Without further adieu, here it is! The product of several sleepless nights, blood, sweat, and tears:

Palawan 2016 / 2017

Last December 28, 2016, to January 1, 2017, my family and I decided to go local and went to Palawan for our New Year celebration. We rode the plane for a one and a half hour flight for Puerto Princessa.

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(Photo from Philippine Airlines & Google)

On our first day, we stayed in Puerto Princessa and checked in Aziza Paradise Hotel. It was my first time to go to Palawan, so I was pleasantly surprised by the quiet beauty of the place. We arrived pretty late in the afternoon, so we headed to the nearby mall for some last-minute shopping for the beach and had a quiet dinner in the hotel restaurant.

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(Photo from Booking.com)

We all went to bed early, because we had an early start the next day since we’ll be heading for El Nido by bus. I braced myself for the 6-hour long journey. (Luckily, I prepared for the trip beforehand and loaded my phone with three seasons of FRIENDS!)

Fast forward to six to seven hours later, we finally arrived at our inn! We stayed in the MaryGold Beachfront Inn, which had a beautiful view of the beach:

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(The girl in pink is my sister, and the guy in green at the back is my dad!) Heehee.

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We spent the remainder of the day playing in the sand and swimming in the beach.

Continue reading “Palawan 2016 / 2017”

Japan 2k16 – Week 11 (June 13 – June 19)

According to my planner, June 13 – 19 was Palindrome Week! Thanks to my incredible memory, I had to research on what a palindrome is again.

“A palindrome is a word, phrase, number, or other sequences of characters which reads the same backward or forward. Allowances may be made for adjustments to capital letters, punctuation, and word dividers.” (Reference)

or

a word, line, verse, number, sentence, etc., reading the same backward as forward, as Madam, I’m Adam or Poor Dan is in a droop.” (Reference)

Anyways – back to the blog!

Day 1: June 13

Today, my mom and brother will be flying back to the Philippines – unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see them anymore because I had classes. It was raining really hard today, so I felt really lazy to go home (I just wanted to stay under a roof and eat something warm). Thankfully, I only had one class today.

Winona (she’s dismissed the same time I am usually) and I were literally in front of the train when we decided – right then and there – to go to Sweets Paradise; for two reasons – one, we were hungry and it was lunchtime, and two – Sweets Paradise in Shinjuku had an Osomatsusan (おそ松さん) collaboration. Naturally, we had to go.

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If you’re not familiar with Sweets Paradise, it’s basically a buffet where they have a huge range of sweets up for eats! Aside from sweets, they also have salad, curry, pizza, and pasta – and of course, drinks. You can check out their menu and the prices here.

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Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 11 (June 13 – June 19)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 10 (June 6 – June 12)

The Japan blog continues! 🙂

Day 1: June 6

After a fun (but tiring) weekend, we embrace the start of the week with a test (boo). Luckily, according to the flowchart and exam schedule, this week would be pretty chill – so we went out a lot.

Day 2: June 7

Today, the only thing due in school were some paperwork for one of my classes – so yey! I went back to the dorm right after to sleep and clean my room.

Day 3: June 8

Winona, Pam, and I planned on going to Ueno Zoo – but due to time restraints, we changed our plans instead and went on a mini-food trip, haha! It was around lunch time when we headed to Tokyo station after our classes. Tokyo Station is an interesting place to stop by when you’re in Tokyo – since the station is filled with shops (you don’t even have to get out of the station)! We decided to hit Ramen Street first to eat the best ramen there. After some research and debate, we lined up at Rokurinsha (六厘舎) – which is known to have the longest lines (you can check out their menu here – it’s in Japanese though, so use Google translate). Luckily, we arrived before the lunch crowd, so we only had to wait approximately 30 minutes. The store is relatively small, so it only seats about twenty people.

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This ramen shop is known for its tsukemen (つけめん) noodle dish (it’s a type of Japanese noodle dish in which you dip the noodles in a bowl of very thick soup first, then you eat it). To learn more about the difference between tsukemen and ramen, you can read about it here.

We all ordered the original tsukemen dish – which cost us just ¥850! The dish arrived really quickly, and before you know it, we were stuffing our faces with one of the best noodle dishes I’ve ever eaten. This is the first time I’ve eaten tsukemen, and I’m happy to know that the dish lived up to the hype.

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We were really full – the fullest we’ve ever felt, and that’s saying a lot; BUT the food trip must continue.

Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 10 (June 6 – June 12)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 9 (May 30 – June 5)

And the Japan blog continues! I made a promise to myself to try to finish my blog before classes begin next month. Now, without further adieu, here’s the blog post for May 30 – June 5!

[Heads up, this is a long post.]

Day 1: May 30

Today is the first day of midterms week, and I admit that it’s off to a good start (so far). We had our Japanese oral exams (which went pretty smoothly, thank goodness) in which my partner Tiffany and I had to create a script / scenario in which she is a waitress and I am a customer in a restaurant. [Thankfully, I was able to apply the script in real life situations as well.] Actually, the oral exams are the easy bit of Japanese classes – the difficult part is grammar, vocabulary, and – of course – the Chinese characters, Kanji.

There’s another exam tomorrow, so my friends and I headed straight to the dorm to study.

Day 2: May 31

Today’s exam is kanji, reading and writing, and listening. A triple-combo attack to poor Sophie. Still, the battle’s not over because…

Day 3: June 1

…there’s another test. Today is the last day of hell week midterms! YEY. The test today is grammar (nooo) and particles (it’s crazy how many particles Japanese has). After the midterms, I had one more class then I’m free! My family is in Japan right now for a business trip, so I headed for Kawasaki (really far from Tokyo) and to meet them.

The trip was worth it though since I haven’t seen my dad in a couple of months (and the food was delicious too).

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Day 4: June 2

Just a few more days to write papers and study, then I can finally rest during the weekend.

(but we had ice cream because we literally live five minutes away from a Baskin’ Robbins)

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Day 5: June 3

I’m really jealous at how everyone back at home is lining up to watch Me Before You as it won’t screen here in Japan. I’ve been dying (haha) to watch it ever since the trailer was out. I also wondered if I would cry as hard as I did reading the book. (Spoiler: I didn’t.)

Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 9 (May 30 – June 5)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 8 (May 23 – May 29)

I’m ashamed to say that I’m already back at home (in the Philippines) and I still haven’t finished writing my Japan blog posts 😦 I’m catching up right now to make up for it (and the one month break helps too haha!)

Day 1: May 23

Today marks as the first day (for my friends back home) of the third term in my home university! Good luck guys! Hehe. I went shopping for a bit today in Shinjuku’s Uniqlo for a few shirts and stuff haha. The weather’s getting hotter – so I needed some lighter clothes / summer clothes!

We also went to Harajuku for a bit just to eat some crepes:

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Day 2: May 24

A few weeks ago, I applied for a baito (or part-time job), and today I get my first shift – well, a trial shift; but a shift nonetheless. I applied in a nearby conversation café wherein I basically have to sit down with a couple of Japanese people and converse with them in English for three hours. I won’t say much about what happened during that shift, but I can tell you this – that shift would be my first and my last for the entire trip (haha).

Day 3: May 25

Today, my friends and I had classes until 3 in the afternoon. I was so restless because we were going to Ikebukuro (also known as the “female version of Akihabara”) for several reasons: first, we were going to buy tickets for Tokyo DisneySea (yay!); second, we were going to visit the Pokémon Center (double yay!); and lastly, we were going to Animate (the one-stop shop for animé merch).

After classes, we quickly ran to the train station and made our way to Ikebukuro. We bought our tickets to DisneySea (so excited) and went to the upper floors for the —

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Pokémon Center!

We ran in – no questions asked. I had two things in my mind that I would want to buy; first, a Piplup (don’t judge) plush toy and a gym badge – any badge. Fortunately, I was able to find a really cute Piplup plush – and at a reasonable price, but the gym badges – alas – were limited edition and sadly out of stock (for good).

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Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 8 (May 23 – May 29)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 7 (May 16 – May 22)

Yes, yes. It’s been a quite a long time and I’m really sorry about that! I’ve been so busy these past few weeks – busy exploring Tokyo and the weight of school, of course; but now I’m taking the time to update on my exchange program here! 🙂 I hope you enjoy reading as much as I had recollecting these memories!

Day 1: May 16

Today was a very ordinary day in school. I went through the usual routine of going to school, having Japanese class, then going back to the dorm to rest and do homework – BUT there’s a good reason why I didn’t go out today.

Day 2: May 17

Today, I was supposed to go to the Louis Vuitton exhibit near the school but decided not to anymore as the weather was terrible. It was raining really hard the whole day, so after school, I asked Winona: “Hey. Do you want to have doughnuts and coffee and wait for the rain to stop?”, whereas she agreed. We went to Krispy Kreme in Shinjuku (near Toho Cinema) and did just that. Now, there was a Taito station near the doughnut shop so I wandered inside and saw a giant Snoopy stuffed toy inside one of the UFO machines.

I didn’t believe that I would win something like that – but then:

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I WON. Winona and I were laughing so hard because our faces mirrored the same expression like: “WOW. I ACTUALLY WON. I GUESS I’M NOT THAT MUCH OF A LOSER AFTER ALL.” HAHA.

The day pretty much brightened up afterwards – both figuratively and literally.

Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 7 (May 16 – May 22)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 6 (May 9 – May 15)

This week was a pretty chill week (nothing really exciting happened except for a few exceptions)! Hope you enjoy my re-cap!

Day 1: May 9

Today, my friends and I went on another midnight run to Lawson in our second attempt to buy Ghibli Museum tickets. Notice my use of word: attempt; meaning we failed again as tickets are not yet on sale (sadly). Other than that mishap, it was a regular school day again!

Day 2: May 10

After school today – Winona, Pam, and I went to Iidabashi for our job interview. Yes, I applied for a part-time job here in Japan at an English Language Cafè. Basically, it’s like a cafè wherein Japanese people or other foreigners go to in order to practice conversational English for an hour at a rate. Luckily, later on, I was e-mailed that I passed the interview and that I needed to go and have a trial session before they announce that I got the job!

Day 3: May 11

After school today, one of my classes had a field trip to the Tokyo Port Wild Bird Park.

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The field trip was not only very educational, but it was also very enlightening. I got to birdwatch for the first time and see some plants and other living things in its natural habitats.

I also met up with my cousins in Shinjuku and spent the rest of my evening going around with them!

Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 6 (May 9 – May 15)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 5 (May 2 – May 8)

Hello! Er, it’s definitely been a while. I thought that I would sit down and catch up on my blog today since I’m staying in! Here are the things I did a few weeks ago!

First of all –

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Day 1: May 2

Today is one of my best friend’s birthday; happy birthday, Chiara! ❤

After classes, Pam (from the Philippines) and I went to Tokyo Station! I was so excited to go since I’ve been reading so much about how large the station was with so many stores inside – this includes three particular locations which caught my attention; namely: character street, ramen street, and restaurant street. I was not able to really explore Tokyo station the first time I went there, so today should be very interesting.

One of the first things I saw in the station was Tokyo Banana stores – which made me so happy since I do love Tokyo Banana.

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We went around for a bit, hunting for character when – lo and behold – we found it:

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Let me explain: basically, character street is a “street” filled with different character shops. These stores sold limited edition (Tokyo station- limited) items and other merchandises. Here is a directory of the famous Character Street.

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REALLY happy about the Snoopy shop and the Ghibli shop!

Priorities first, of course. I immediately headed for Snoopy Town. My eyes grew really wide when I saw the limited-edition Snoopy plush toys in Tokyo Station koban (police) uniforms! I wanted to buy one, but sadly placed it back when I saw the price – maybe one day I’ll come back for it.

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Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 5 (May 2 – May 8)”