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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Travails of the Illiterate

"Ei! The danggit you gave me tasted like tocino. And it would not turn crispy. Is there really such a thing now?", I asked my friend who gave me danggit as pasalubong.

She looked confused. "I don't know. Baka me tocino style nga."

A week after the conversation, I decided to have fried chicken for dinner. Again, it smelled and tasted weird. Sweet!

I checked the oil i used. This ...

Turned out it was pan cake syrup. He he he.

Shiraito Falls, Karuizawa

Shiraito (white threads) is one of the many waterfall systems in Karuizawa, a mountain resort town in Nagano Prefecture. It is only 3 meters tall but 70 meters wide.

It was still snowing when we went there. There was not much water flowing, unlike perhaps if it were spring or summer when the snow have melted. I guess a friend described the ambience quite succinctly: "sad".

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sakura Preview

I feel a little sad for my friend who visited all the way from the Philippines to experience Japan's world-famous cherry blossoms last week. Forecasts said that the sakura would have been in full bloom beginning March 24 but the weather turned out to be too cold still, thus delaying the shy flowers' rupture.

The sun has been blazing since Saturday, and hopefully, it succeeds in beating the chilly winds and usher in the full blooming of Tokyo in a few more days.

The pics here are of the few early starters we chanced upon as we toured the city. I will post this week's shots as soon as possible.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lake Ashi, Hakone

Some Philippine government dignitaries came a-visiting a few days ago. During their spare time, their hosts brought them to scenic Lake Ashi in Hakone, and I tagged along.

Unfortunately, weather was not perfect for taking pictures. We saw a glimpse of snow-covered Mt. Fuji as we approached but I did not join the group in snapping photos, confident that I will have better angles as we reach the target location. No such luck.

We were supposed to take the lake cruise, but the schedules did not fit our hectic run. We just took the cable ride up the ropeway to catch the aerial view, but snow fell as we were midway. Visibility was poor when we reached the deck.

Well, i hope i'd get lucky some other time.

Japan Wins WBC!

After getting trashed at the Beijing Olympics, Japan took sweet revenge against bitter rival South Korea when it bagged today the World Baseball Classic championship. This victory now causes a lot frenzy here as many Japanese never really thought that this team can beat the seemingly stronger Koreans.

Baseball in Japan is a very popular sport. Almost all vacant spaces here are turned into diamonds and almost all the kids are into it. For good reason - this is one sport where height or bulk is not king. That's why Asians are now ruling it, turning powerhouses like the US and Latin American teams to mere bridesmaids. In recognition of the Asian talent, even the US major league teams have Asian supertars.

I was just wondering, just when will we Filipinos realize that basketball is definitely not for us? Baseball is the way to go, for pete's sakes! Or any other sport that suits our body type.

(pics taken from Yahoo!!)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Dear "Nicole"

Isa ako sa mga nagngitngit noong magsumbong ka ng pang-aapi. Hindi lamang dahil sa pakikisimpatiya ko personal mong pagdurusa, kundi lalo’t higit dahil sa aking galit sa patuloy na pag-aalipusta ng mga dayuhan sa ating dignidad bilang Pilipino.

Sa totoo lang, me duda rin ako sa kwento mo. Sino nga ba naman sa atin ang di pa nakakaalam na ang kadalasang tingin ng mga sundalong Amerkano sa ating kababaihan e mga parausan? Hindi lahat ganoon ang pananaw, pero pumunta ka sa kanilang lungga at maglasing, e para ka na ring nagpalapa sa mga leon.

Pero pinaniwalaan naming lahat ang iyong kainosentehan (o katangahan ba dapat?). Kahit nga naman kasi sumayaw ka ng hubo’t hubad sa harap ng isang lalaki, “rape” pa ring matatawag kung ika’y umayaw at pinilit makipagtalik.

Kaya nga nga labis akong nagalak noong manalo ang kaso mo. Pakiramdam ko, binigyan na natin ng tamang babala ang mga mapagsamantala. At naibangon natin kahit papano ang dangal ng Pilipino.

Pero ano itong naririnig kong nagbago ka ng salaysay? Na nakokonsensya ka at mukhang hindi naman kasi talaga nagkasala ang isinakdal mo. Na parang naaalala mo na ngayon na di ka naman talaga pinilit.


Ano na ba ngayon ang tunay na kwento? Nagalit ka lang ba dahil pagkatapos ng inyong pagtatalik e hindi man lang nagpasalamat yung mama? Nainsulto ka lang ba dahil iniwan kang parang baboy sa kalsada at wala man lang yung inaasahan mong “ ilove you”?

Ang galing mo! Nagawa mong tanga ang buong Pilipinas!

Sinasabi nilang di ka dapat husgahan dahil baka naging biktima ka na naman uli. Talaga lang ha! Sinasabi lang yan ng mga peministang di ngayon malaman kung saan pupulutin ang kanilang sarili pagkatapos ng isang nakakahiyang pakikipaglaban. Magmula ngayon, wala na silang paghuhugutan ng dahilan para ipaglaban ang kaso ng mga nagagahasa, lalo na yung mga totoong nalapastangan.

Nahihiya ako ngayon. Narito ako sa isang bansa na kung saan di kagandahan ang karaniwang tingin sa mga Pilipina. Pinilipilit nilang baguhin yun, pero dahil sayo, subsob na naman sa lusak ang kanilang reputasyon.

Pero andyan na yan. Pasasaan ba’t tuloy pa rin ang laban ng ating bayan. Tuloy pa ring tatayo ang ating kababaihan, kahit pa masyadong mabigat yung ipinatong mong hilahil.

Isa na lang ang hiling ko. Sana nga mawala ka na’t manahimik sa Amerika – ang bayang sa tingin ko’y siya mong sadyang puntahan nung pumunta ka ng Subic. Siguro naman, hindi ka lalantad at gagawa ng pelikula.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Side Trip: Ueno Park

Ueno is more known to me as a bargain hunting ground than anything else. I knew that there was a park there somewhere, but I never really got interested in exploring it.

But while on a trip to Chiba, I realized I had much time to spare before boarding the train. So I decided to just bum around with my camera and finally get a glimpse of the "imperial gift park".

Here are some of the shots I took.


I heard there's also a zoo in the area. That I should visit next.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Tissue Wars

Walk around Tokyo these days and chances are you'll collect a bagful of these:

Instead of simply distributing flyers, advertisers here use tissue packs where the bills are inserted. This is clever because it somehow forces the recipients to hold on to the streetgift, thereby generating more chances for the ad materials to be read instead of being just thrown away.

But more importantly, these tissue packs are an important daily pocket item owing to the kafun shou (pollen allergy) epidemic that comes naturally with springtime. These days, everyone seem to have runny noses and these handy hankies are a must for the relief required. Thoughtful!


There is this restaurant I regularly visit. Everytime I order my sizzling steak, this warning comes with it. Can you guess what it means? (For those who can read Japanese, can you please tell me what the note actually says?)


Okay, okay. The translations given by madbong and tornadoes are actually right. The only thing that made the whole thing crazy is that the printer used SOURCE instead of SAUCE. The paper napkin is actually placed on top of the sizzling plate so the boiling hot steak SAUCE wont "jump" or splatter. And it took me a number of visits to figure that out!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

No Luck Gambling

Now I know I really am not meant to gamble. Zero luck there. And I learned the hard, expensive way.

For most of my life, I haven't won anything significant from games of chance. The only time I remember winning a raffle was when I was told to have won a "kaldero", but unfortunately, I was not in the venue so it was forfeited.

Last December, I disregarded my spotless record and was coaxed to join the gang to the cockpit. It was my first after so many years. In fact, to underscore my being a stranger in the hall, the "kristo" even announced my presence, he he.

I never realized it was so much fun being there. There was drinking, joking around, cajoling, shouting - all the works. If only for the festive atmosphere, I for sure would have been addicted to it, as many others are.

But I am required to place bets, right? And not just simple bets: I was called twice to fill the gap between the two sides just so the fight could push through. The moron that I was, I agreed.

True to form, I lost all bets. I was not even given the proverbial beginner's luck. Not even a draw.

I left with empty pockets, swearing never to gamble again.

But only after a few days, I got convinced maybe it was just my bad day. One more try, they said. I agreed.

The result? Same story. Ugh!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Asakusa on A Freezing Day

A former boss of mine was in Tokyo last week and I had to tour her around. I know it's officially springtime, but I had reservations about roaming around town in the still wintery cold. I was right. Because Friday surprised us with more than just the usual chill - it snowed! And it's the end of February, for chrissakes!

But of course, we have to do the drill - check out Tokyo for the requisite picture taking and souvenir shopping. So off we went to Asakusa, where the most famous shrine in the city lies. No visit to Tokyo is complete without having a picture near the giant japanese lantern. And of course, Asakusa also is home to the streetside tiangge where all japanese mementos can be bought.

So amidst the reluctant snow and the pricking cold, we visited the shinto shrine and then hopped from one shop to another. All the time I was just watching the ladies as they checked every merchandise possible. In the end, I know we found some bargains, but I'm not sure if our discounts were enough to compensate for my sore wet feet afterwards. Nope, I'm not complaining. I was actually raring to show my former boss my gratitude, and I would have loved to do everything she requests for while she was here. It's just that I really still am not acclimatized to the cold.
More so when the news showed that the it's above 30 degress in Manila. Darn, I'd love that!