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Monday, August 31, 2009

Samba, Ole!

" The Asakusa Samba Carnival is held annually, on a Saturday towards the end of August, in Asakusa, Tokyo. Attracting about 500,000 sightseers who fall under the spell of the passionate rhythms of the samba, the event has a strong international flavor.

As a town that grew up around a temple, Asakusa observes many traditional festivals, but the Samba Carnival, which started in 1981, is a new event. It started when the Mayor of Taito City (one of the central 23 cities of Tokyo) invited the winning group from that year's Rio Carnival in Brazil, the home of the samba, to put on a display.

The main attraction of the festival is the samba parade contest.

Together with samba teams from the carnival homeland of Brazil, about 3,500 lovers of samba rhythms come from all over Japan. These teams compete to put on the most spectacular dancing and other performances, creating a carnival that is just as wonderful as the one in Rio. Bright eye-catching costumes with beads and plumes of different colors also provide a visual feast. There are also plenty of ingenious devices that embody original ideas, including flower-decked floats on motor vehicles and allegoria handcarts with sound systems."


for better pics, you may check Totomai's page.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Went to the Samba Carnival...

... And all I got were ...


But before you even dare start calling me a pervert, please let me explain (I deserve a day in court, hehehe).

I was already positioned, together with photographer friends, right by the road where the dancers pass. But it was under the scorching heat of midday sun and my eyes can't bear the glare plus I had no sunscreen on (am too dark to even try getting darker).

And I wanted to get a different viewpoint from those of my fotog-mates. So I decided to cross the street and hussle with then already posted crowd. It turned out to be a very bad decision. Not only that my view was blocked, most of the dancers would only face the other side.

Thus these pics...

My apologies. :-)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Stupid! Stupid!


An 11-month-old baby boy died in a locked car after his mother left him to go and play pachinko for nearly three hours in Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture, on Thursday afternoon. Police on Friday morning arrested the baby’s mother, 31-year-old Junko Hori, on a charge of abandonment resulting in death.

According to police, Hori left the child, Ryusei, in the car between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. She parked her car at the end of the large parking lot and closed all the windows, leaving Ryusei buckled in his childseat. When she returned to the car, she found Ryusei lifeless and took him to a nearby hospital, where he was confirmed dead soon after. Doctors believe he died due to dehydration.

There was no shade in the parking lot, and at the entrance of the pachinko parlor was a poster warning parents not to leave their children in the car.

According to the Akita area meteorological observatory, the temperature on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the area was 29.3 degrees.

Source: Japan Today

Note: Pachinko parlors are gaming stations, not so unlike casinos (a run-around on the prohibition of gambling in Japan).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Fallen

People take various routes to survive through life. Some may by fate be led through soft, carpeted paths while many others get pushed through rocky, hilly, pock-marked roads. But no matter what the trek offers, what's important is everyone fights a good fight.

But how should we regard those who were waylaid by the roadside? Those who chose to surrender and float, those who see no more reason nor inspiration to find out what's in store at the end?

These men, they say, used to be accomplished, successful people. But in the thick of the fight for rightful space in the urban jungle that is Japan, many of them lost fame, riches and pride all too suddenly. Government is all too willing to place them under welfare, but they refuse. To most of them, life has taken an unexpected, unbearably painful halt and the end of the road is now right there - in the cold train station floor where they are parked.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Goodbye Susan Boyle

Just can't help it. This one's indeed a natural and an absolute charmer. But is he in for the long haul? We'll see.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Quite similar to how we Filipino celebrate fiestas, the Japanese also observe various matsuri or festivals, in honor of a local shrine or temple. Almost every locale has at least one matsuri in late summer or early autumn.

I haven't actually witnessed an actual celebration and I thought I again missed one yesterday. I was just on my way to the neighborhood Filipino restaurant when I passed by groups of people in traditional japanese robes, most of them drinking beer.

But it turned out they were just resting. Soon, they were up on their feet, and moved forward in a procession. A team lifted the mikoshi (a portable shinto shrine) on their shoulders and moved and swayed to a beat not so unlike the "hala bira" of the ati-atihan. I was told they were to go around the community before returning to the temple.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Reversing Ninoy

I was introduced to Ninoy from the opposite side of the fence - as I was then a Marcos boy. I belonged to the last batch of Kabataang Barangay leaders, and as such, I looked forward to a career in politics under the tutelage of mentors who revered the Apo.

I thus knew Ninoy to be not as heroic as he is pictured today. I thought of him as the rebel-villain - the nemesis of my idol. I fear him as the spoiler, someone out to mess with my then clearly-planned future.

And he did! Had he not died, there would have been no Cory fever, no revolutionary government. It was during the reign of the OICs when I was stopped from assuming the Provincial Board seat for the youth. I was then but a high school student. Imagine my deep resentment for the unfortunate turn of events.

My frustrations drove me to Manila for college (instead of UP Tacloban where I was already admitted). But it was there when eye-openers came my way. Exposed to militant organizations, I began to value the dreams that Ninoy fought for. Stories I haven't heard from my mentors started to creep into my consciousness and changed many of my prejudices. In the end, I knew to whom history would be kinder.

Now, I am saluting Ninoy as a true hero of our time.

And on a personal note, no regrets really. I realized politics is not really my cup of tea. I'd rather be just another Ninoy. I am.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yup, Am Back.

It's been about a week since I arrived here in Tokyo, but apparently, I still am nursing a hangover from my vacation in the Philippines. I still prefer to stay at home and watch the telenovelas I missed. And I still make frequent calls to the people I just met back home. I have yet to make my presence felt to my friends here.

Truth is I didn't do much while I was there. Aside from the five busy days during our fiesta, most of my other travel plans (Cebu and Bohol) were cancelled - thanks to a sore foot. Among the many blogger-friends I wanted to meet, I was only able to meet celebrity-bloggers Gibbs and Abaniko (not that I'm complaining).

I have already checked the weekend calendars to look for possible photoshoot opportunities. I hope I get my groove back (as if I really I had it prior hehehe).

Just to prove I'm back, here's a pic of a product now on sale at the Don Quijote in Roppongi. It sure did make me take a second look. :-)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Abaknon Festival: Simple But Proud

Five years ago, our island-town introduced the Abaknon Festival as part of the celebrations for the feast of our patron saint, St. Ignatius of Loyola. Abaknon is the name that collectively embraces all the residents of the island of Capul, who share a unique dialect and a simple lifestyle.

Those who have participated in the frenetic, frenzied dancing in many of the festivals in the Philippines will be taken-aback by the slow, graceful steps of the Abaknon dancers. This is because the festival puts to fore the "Dos Amigos" a folkdance that has been recognized to be historically attached to the islanders.

I was pleasantly surprised to see this year's competing teams in the streetdancing competition. Having been indisposed for most of the recent fiestas, I have not realized just how artistic the participants have grown, and how committed they have become to the task of showcasing the town's cultural heritage. Apparently, my townmates have taken the challenge seriously. Despite the meager resources at their disposal, they were able to create costumes that ingenously incorporated local resources - rice stalks, coconut crowns, sea shells, fish cages and would you believe, live crabs!

Needless to say, I can't be any prouder. Congratulations my kababayans!

Monday, August 10, 2009


The lighthouse at the tip of Capul, Northern Samar. Stands tall like a guard, beaming flashes of light in the dark of the night, warning ships from crossing its grounds.

The carabaos... grazing... standing guard too?