Saturday, May 31, 2008

A test of culture and nationality: Japan

052508: Monday
Woke up at 4 am to catch the 7 am flight to Narita Airport in Tokyo.
1st class baybeh! And the best part: we didn't pay extra! All thanks to ate's client :)
Arrived at around 1 pm.
Took the Airport limousine bus for 2 hours, then hello Hiro-o.
Waited for my cousin-in-law to pick us up at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Had dinner at this american army exclusive hotel. Shet. The food was effing good! Sushi, Beef tenderloin, sticky rice, mushrooms, and dessert! Strawberry tart and strawberry cheesecake! :3

Senso-ji temple

You just gotta love the Japanese for making scrumptious sweets :) I know I do.
Lotsa lotsa temples. For us, we only pay attention to the structure . Its designs, intricacies, age, etc. But for them, it's religious.
I bet you're gonna hate me for this, but how come countries like Japan and China have really rich cultures? Their history is incredible and their infrastructures and art are just so amazing. ( *cough*now look at the nipa hut over there*cough*)
I love how the Japanese put every detail into thought.
You shake a can full of sticks then pick one. Each stick has a unique writing on it, which is supposed to identify your "luck".
I got this. Apparently, I have medium luck daw.
If you get "bad luck", you're supposed to tie the piece of paper to the clothesline-like thing so that the wind would take it away.
Next stop that day: Ueno park.
To-eizan Kan-eiji Temple.
It's actually usually the place to watch cherry blossoms during April but since we went there during May, there weren't any sakura left :(

I still loved the scenery though. It's the place to be when you just want unwind and watch people during a boring summer day. They also harvest lotus flowers in the pond so just staring at the water's pretty relaxing. If you get bored, you can always dream off while staring at the dazzling blue sky.
While I was taking pictures of the scenery and stuff, a Japanese actually approached me and mistook me for a Japanese girl! I guess he was just trying to strike a conversation with me about cameras or something coz I only understood one word in his sentence. "Shashin" which means picture. I just told him (in Japanese, mind you) that I wasn't Japanese. He then asked me if I was Chinese! Wenk. Haha . Of course I told him I was from the Philippines then excused myself . But at least I was able to converse with him in Japanese, even just a little! :PWed:
It's Harajuku time! I love it how everyone looks surreal. As if they just popped out of a manga page, a magazine, or even a rock concert. Just check out my mult.Next stop: Meiji shrine
For 1 whole week, we walked ourselves to death! We would go to 3-4 diff places in one day! The train system I showed you before may seem complicated, but once you get the hang of it, it's really really convenient! You just transfer stations and you could really go to faraway places! You can go around the whole of Japan without taking a plane! That's one reason pollution is very low in Japan. And there's no traffic and all that beeping!

Thurs: Tobu-Nikko! It was a 2-hr long train ride to the rural part of Japan.
We almost rode the wrong carriage! We were supposed to ride Car 1 & 2 only but we got on the last car :)) If we didn't ask, our carriage would have separated from the main train after a few stops! Haha.

Kailan kaya magkakaroon ang Pilipinas ng matinong train system?

Poor anorexic building :P

I like the scenery going to Tobu-Nikko. It was a bit hard though since the train was moving. Doi :P

See, Hear, say no evil. This is where it all started.

After going back to Asakusa(2 hrs away) to transfer trains, we headed for Tsukiji! It's the ultimate sushi place! The whole place is like a fish market so the fish are really fresh and yummy!

Friday: Kita-Kamakura! (via Hibiya line then Tokyo line)
It's Big BUDDHA! I finally saw it in person!

Saturday: Harajuku again. I went gaga over the 100 yen store! It's unusual kasi to find something cheap in Japan so I ADORE that store! I bought all kinds of food erasers. (swear, they're really detailed and cute) Lobster, sushi, tempura, and cup noodles (you can even take the lid off and take the noodles out) anyone?! I also shopped for some clothes in Harajuku and Dad thought I got lost because I was gone for 2 hours! Haha.

Next stop: Shinjuku Toko Gov't Tower. You can see the whole of Tokyo there!

Gotta love 'em miniatures.

Next stop: Roponggi!
The REALLY high end of Tokyo. Their train station looks like a hotel!

Finally home. Meet Nicole everyone. She wakes me up every single day. At 7, mind you. It's thanks to her that my body clock became normal again. :P

Now meet Alex.

Sunday: Venus Mall. Their 2nd floor looks like Rome.

Across the mall is the Toyota showroom! Driving simulator baybeh!

What really intrigues me is their toilets. The toilet seats are heated and there options on the side. Would you like a sprinkle, bidet, or a massage with that mademoiselle? There's even a music option! You can even adjust the volume!(when you;re making poop)

You gotta give the Japanese credit for thinking about almost everything. They have an eye for detail and aren't afraid to show their really wild side (Harajuku). I've already divided em into categories. The first category is the Corporate cluster. When you get on a train or anyhwere else, men aged in their early twenties to near retirees are dressed in suits! Very polished and crisp, mind you. Very professional-looking and CEO-worthy. It makes you hard to distinguish the top grossers from the ones who are still starting out.

The second category: the ladies. I didn't see much ladies dressed in stiff black corporate suits though. They're all wearing fashionable, sophisticated, and professional-looking clothes. They all sport signature bags like Gucci, LV, Chanel, etc. to the point that you can't distinguish anymore who's richer or whatever. Their hair is always made up and they always look picture-perfect. It's as if they just stepped out from a magazine.

The third category: the rockstars. Teenage guys sport this look. Very metrosexual and cool. The hair all waxed up, with the graffiti/funky shirt/ jacket and skinny jeans.

The other category I made is the ordinary trendy girls. They love layering and there's just so much going on in their outfit you pay less attention to the details. Usually, the kinds of clothes they're wearing are considered high fashion here but there it's just normal street wear. Everyone just looks so fashion savvy, you get too distracted to the point that you don't care anymore.

The other category: the students. I just looove loove their uniforms. Ever wonder why their shorts (for lil boys) and skirts are so short even in winter? That's to discipline them. Their stuff are all uniformed too! Like their bags, hats, boots, umbrella, etc! It's adorable. :)

The other category is for the eccentric ones. The Otakus. It's as if they live in a different world, like they just jumped out from a manga page or a video game. They love to wear costumes and are into wild clothes and hair. Platinum blonde, heavy makeup, and huge falsies anyone? Some love dressing like a child. Like, everything they wear's pink and lacey. Their clothes have cake and candy designs to match their cake bag.

The last category is the old people. They usually wear old fashioned and classic things. Hmm..I guess that's it.

There's still a lot about Japan that I just ultimately adore. I love the way they are very respectful and considerate. Like in the train, no one's talking! Mahihiya ka tuloy magsalita. All their phones are put to silent mode in public places and you don't have to worry about being robbed, raped, etc! No one checks out your butt or gives you a sneaky smile when you pass by. And you can't really see the big difference between people. Like you barely notice the distinction between rich and poor. (Not like here where it's really evident)

The con there though is that it's as if everyone's spaced out because they won't even glance at you or whatever.

You may hate me for this but I actually compared the Philippines countless of times and even felt some disgust and shame towards my country. How I despise the rudeness of uneducated people, the spit-coated streets, the traffic, pollution, the lack of organization and order, the arrogance of the youth, the ignorance of many, the corruption of our politicians...I even wished I was born Japanese. I can get away with it anyway, a lot have already mistook me for one.

But still, whatever happens, my country will always have a special place in my heart. I guess it's just like a maternal thing. But I can't say that would be still the case if I wasn't born here. Still, there are a lot of things to be proud of.

So there.



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