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Friday, February 29, 2008

When Bloggers Meet

Blogging opens up one’s life (or at least the wholesome side of it, he he) to total strangers. It may, at some point, result to some unwanted repercussions (e.g. suddenly gaining “celebrity” status, like some persons I know), but for the most part, it only breeds advantages. For regular, unknown residents of the net like this islander, exposing ourselves to some people simply promotes faster friendships, as it definitely shortens the getting-to-know-you stage. When you finally get to see the face matching the writings, the awkward pauses are easily dispensed with and conversations flow naturally like they were between long-time friends.

That’s what happened when I met two bloggers the past two evenings.

First was
Tami. She is in Tokyo for a conference, being the Regional Events Coordinator for Asia Pacific of one the biggest law firms in the world – my dream employer actually. She came with a friend, in a flaming red winter suit that starkly contrasted with the sea of blacks that characterize Japanese winter fashion.

They wanted to go to Shibuya after dinner, but unfortunately, it was one rainy night. Add to that the extreme cold that bites into the depths of one’s skin, that surely wasn’t a night meant for some gallivanting.

Second was
Rey Ian Corpuz. He’s a relative newbie in Tokyo (six months?) but obviously no longer a stranger to the Japanese ways. It helped that he works in an all-Japanese company, a situation that forced him to adopt to the Japanese language and culture fast. And I could see he’s doing quite well. Truth is, he even looks like Japanese now (anime persona and all).

So there. Two fascinating persons easily known and befriended. Thanks to blogging.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Irreverent, Vulgar, Funny!

I’m sorry fellas, but I just have to share this clip with you. It’s so damn funny, I almost died laughing! (It’s actually your fault, Gibbs!)

What amazes me, is that the guy dishes out a staccato of crazy, hilarious quips impromptu! Brilliant is so tame a word to describe him

Here’s Mario Cantone. (Caveat: Children, go somewhere else).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Totally Lost in Translation

A new security system was just installed in our office building. To regulate entry, all tenants were issued individual access cards which automatically open the door when swiped through a machine.

We were not notified early on as regards the changes. So, with many other concerns to discuss, we went to the building administrator. It turned out that he only speaks Japanese.

We tried our best to understand what he was trying to convey. My officemate has been here for ten years but his Japanese is at best, conversational. Me? Nada. I knew no Nihonggo and all I could do was try to decipher the person's hand and body language.

To aid the conversation, the building administrator brought out his laptop and there punched sentences in Japanese. The software was supposed to provide translations.

But it turned out to be of no help. We had exchanges through the computer but it was painfully difficult to reach common ground. Frustrated, we just begged for leave and just return with a Japanese speaking companion some other time.

Here’s a sample of how the translation went. The landlord gave this to us for “guidance”.

“About the unlocking of an entrance

When entering from outside, it enters with the card to hand over.

But to lend but one sheet of the card is free of charge.

Since it, one sheet of issue commissions of 3,000 yen depend.

It requests this of another company and it takes time little to being published.

When desired give news.”

I have resolved to learn Nihonggo as fast I could. Until then, I guess I would need to have a more discerning mind to uncover the meanings hidden under the mishmash of words that technology calls translations. Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

VD-Japanese Style

It’s Valentines Day.

Not that it matters to me. It’s been years since the last time it delivered something personal. Am I being bitter? Hindi naman masyado (not really). It’s just that it’s too damn cold here! (he he he)

Anyway, Tokyo is abuzz with VD mania just like every other commercialized city. But there’s a strange twist here. Valentine’s Day is reserved for women – meaning it’s the time when they are the ones expected to give gifts to men (normally chocolates). Only the women make the greetings to men and the men do not reciprocate.

The reverse happens on March 14, exactly a month after. That's what they call White Day, the event when the men are bound to “repay” the favor.

Now that’s gender equality!
Or so I thought. Because there’s a strange twist here. Those who received gifts on VD are expected to give back gifts three times the value of what they received.
Now I'm not accepting anything. (as if naman me nagbibigay, he he)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lost in Shibuya's Sea of People

I have never seen so many people converging in one place during an ordinary day.
But Tokyo’s Shibuya District (ward) is world famous for its “scramble crossing” where people from all directions criss-cross the area fronting the Hachiko exit. If I say “flood” of people, I am being as literal as I could. True, if you don’t join a “current” and meet a throng by your lonesome, you’ll surely not make it to the opposite corner.

Some of you (as I did) must have seen this landmark statue of a dog in one of the legs of the Amazing Race. This is the replica of Hachiko, a dog, who local tales say, waited on his master at Shibuya Station every day from 1923 to 1935. He eventually became a national celebrity for his loyalty.

P.S.There are designated smoking areas in downtown Tokyo. And smokers are directed to lift their lit cigarettes higher than a child's head lest they burn someone. Aint that cool?!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Snow, Finally!

I guess you remember me fretting about missing snowfall while I was in the United States.

Well, I finally experienced what I so wanted for some time, so let me just wallow in it for a while and then let it rest.

It started early morning of Sunday. We were then coming out from an overnight “cruise” and excitement was evident from those we were with. It seemed that even the locals were not really accustomed to having snow in Tokyo. I still saw them rushing to the sidestreets to catch the falling flakes.

Problem was we had to go home. There the struggle began, because meeting the extreme cold became such a challenge. That I was a little younger than my companions made no difference. Now I know, icy cold is not my favorite weather. (grin)

We stayed indoors the whole day. It was useless trying to fulfill appointments when what you’ll extend is a freezing shaking hand.

(the view from where we stayed)

(snow-covered flowers at the Roppongi area)