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!”

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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 few months, I’ve been working on a secret project. I was looking through my past photos of my Japan trip when 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.

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:

Update: I actually had this printed in hard copy via fotogra.ph! I highly recommend this company because the prices are really good, the service is speedy, and the outcome is perfect. Would definitely order again in the future!

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 4 (April 25 – April 30)

Hello, everyone! I hope you’ll enjoy reading this as I had a fun time writing and experiencing these events (especially Sunday)! 🙂

Day 1: April 25

Today I finally check off something from my “Things I Must Do in Japan” list, and that’s going to Shirohige’s Cream Puff Factory – home to the Totoro cream puffs!

After school, Winona and I went to Shimokitazawa (this place is heaven, by the way). We were so happy since it’s literally a few stations away from the dorm!

After walking around for a couple of minutes, we finally found the small sign that leads to the famous cream puff store!

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It’s actually really hidden, so you need to have sharp eyes!
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YES.
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The first floor is actually the cream puff store, and the second floor is their restaurant (and bakery for other bread). You can order cream puffs and eat it on the second floor!
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When we went in, we were immediately greeted by a really cute sign and Totoro merch everywhere!

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I mean, just look at them! Ahhh!

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The flavors for this specific month are chocolate cream, strawberry cream, original (vanilla), and banana caramel cream.

Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 4 (April 25 – April 30)”

Japan 2k15 – Week 3 (April 18 – April 24)

I know, I know. I’m about two weeks late for this post! There’s just so much going on simultaneously – mostly school work and chores; but I finally had the time to sit down and re-tell my week 3 (here’s to hoping that memory will serve me right)!

Day 1: April 18

Today marks the first “week-sary” of going to Sophia University! Even if we literally started just a week ago, the workload is already pretty heavy. In Japanese classes, we have exams every day so studying and memorizing grammar rules and words and such take time. I went straight to the dorm after classes.

By the way, may I introduce you to the best cookie ever (sold in Japan / Japanese stores in the Philippines) – that’s manufactured, of course (nothing beats a homemade cookie!):

Country Ma’am Chocolate Chip Cookies!

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Gosh, these cookies are just perfect. Not too sweet, very chewy, moist, with the right amount of delicious chocolate in them. I’m addicted. Help.

I finally took some time to try the KFC here in Japan and:

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It’s pretty much amazing. The chicken is so good – so tender and just the right amount. The homemade biscuits came with maple syrup and the coleslaw is so good! Even if it didn’t have any rice, this meal made me so full. I had such a hard time finishing it. Wow.

Day 2: April 19

I literally didn’t sleep a wink today (well, tonight). I was too busy studying and reading for classes! This is my first all-nighter (in my collegiate life, that is). Wow.

I didn’t have time to cook, so I bought something from the convenience store:

This was my
This was my dinner (& dessert)!

Continue reading “Japan 2k15 – Week 3 (April 18 – April 24)”

Japan 2k16 – Week 2 (April 9 – April 15)

Sorry for the late update, but so many things have happened this week! 🙂

Come along with me and my adventures with my second week in Japan!
(Click here for the first week!)

Day 1: April 9

Today, Winona and I got up bright and early (well, not really – it was around 9 in the morning) and left the dormitory to go to Shibuya!

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When we arrived in Shibuya, the first priority was to hunt for the Hachiko statue, and when we saw it we were both happy and sad at the same time since we were finally able to see it in person then we remember what the history behind it is. We also finally got to see the famous Shibuya crossing!

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We had an “official list” of 10 things to do in Shibuya since we allotted the whole day to exploring the area.

(#1 being Hachi’s statue)

#2: Tower Records

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It’s a really tall building!
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When I saw this, I thought, “Hey! Isn’t that the font in which Peanuts / Snoopy uses?”. Also, the message is true. (Plus that cute Hachi statue.)

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

Japan 2k16 – Week 1 (April 1 – April 8)

Secret’s out! I’m in Japan (well, you could already tell by the title of this blog entry)!

A couple of months ago (November, if I remember correctly), I applied for an exchange student program under my university and last February I got the confirmation that I got accepted! You’ll never guess the name of the university, I swear. It’s Sophia University (HAHA). I excitedly booked my flight, applied for a student visa, and made other necessary preparations for this exchange program.

Day 1: April 1

On the night of March 31, I headed for the airport since my flight was at 1 in the morning the very next day (April 1). I was going to Japan! Luckily, my aunt, her friends, and one of my friends from the same university I’m attending (Dei) – whom I met because of this program – had the same flight with me, so we decided to go together. After waiting a couple of hours, we finally boarded the plane and took off! [We used Jetstar Japan for the flight going there since their tickets were really cheap. My luggage – containing (hopefully) enough needs for 4 months – weighed 17 kg for check-in and a (combined) weight of 10 kg for my carry-on.]

We arrived in the Narita airport (Terminal 3) around 6 in the morning, but had to wait until 9 AM for a representative from the university to pick us up. While waiting, we ate. This was officially my first meal in Japan:

 

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(I forgot what the exact name of this dish was, but it’s like okonomiyaki with soba inside.)

When we finally got picked up, we started to make our way to the dormitory. It’s a special dormitory to house international students. When we stepped out of the airport, we were pleasantly surprised by the gush of cool air! We rode the bus (for 2 hours) and rode the train going to Seijogakuen-mae station, where the dorm is located. When we got down from the train and started the 30 – 40-minute walk to the dorm, we were speechless with what we saw.

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Cherry blossoms in full bloom!

When we arrived, we were quickly given an orientation around and then we were left in our rooms to unpack. We met up with the rest of the students – Winona, Ivy, and Alex – (they arrived on a later flight) and we (Dei, Winona, and I) went to the supermarket later to stock up on food and other necessities.

Continue reading “Japan 2k16 – Week 1 (April 1 – April 8)”