Friday, January 2, 2015


The last time I was in Japan I was part of a short term exchange student program back when I was in junior high school. Back then we were allowed to select an elective, I wasn't able to sign up for my original selection so I ended up in the cultural anthropology class (if I remember correctly). There were only about ten or eleven of us in that class because part of the requirement was to spend about 10 days in Japan for a cultural immersion. According to my old passport we went at the end of October in 1990.

We attended Nihongo classes in a local school and attended some of their classes as well to observe. What was memorable though was staying with a Japanese family where we really experienced local life. I was with my class partner, La Raine who we had to nickname Bambi because our foster parents wanted a simpler name for her. We got really attached to them and they even sent us a copy of the video they took of us after our trip. I remember exchanging snail mail with their daughter for a couple of years, but I eventually lost touch with them (I probably still have her letters somewhere). Oh, and, of course, we went to Mt. Fuji for a night and we were all forced to experience the public bath (it's something unheard of in the Philippines).

During that time my Uncle Fumio and Tita Pet had moved back to Japan from Bacolod and they visited me at my foster parents house. I had been a flower girl during their wedding since I grew up with Tita Pet (my Mom's first cousin) at home. My foster parents were so overjoyed with the visit.

Fast forward to 2015, yes, that's how long I have not managed to visit Japan. I always wanted to go back. Sweetie and I got lucky last July when we were able to book promo fare tickets for the three of us. So here we are spending a few days in Japan staying with relatives. I have not seen my cousins for 8 years so it's truly a joy to spend time with them and catching up.

Narita Airport. (Photo from Tita Pet taken by Uncle Fumio.)

We arrived last December 30 and spent the day planning our itinerary for the rest of our stay and Uncle Fumio teaching us how to take the train. The highlight of the day was eating a gazillion sushi near their home. I absolutely loved the salmon sushi and ate countless plates (hahaha). Walking back to the house we passed by the supermarket to get some yummy matcha ice cream (it was divine!). (Jay's highlight of the day was eating rice again after 400 days!).

Jay eats rice again after 400 days!

Must have matcha ice cream!

One thing we didn't realize when we booked our tickets during a yolo moment was that it would be winter in Japan during our trip. What we saved on tickets we spent on buying winter clothes (for the boys mostly). Investing in Uniqlo Heattech undergarments is a must for your winter attire. Aside from that Uncle Fumio also told me to get pocket disposable heat pads, it's a must-have to survive cold weather (like my Dad I really don't like it when it's too cold).

Miguel sporting his snuggly warm winter jacket.

Jay eating ice cream at 2'C. Brrrrrr!

Tomorrow, new year in Japan and seeing a gigantic toy!

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