Thursday, March 29, 2018

Japan's Beautiful Cherry Blossoms

I finally got the chance to see the cherry blossoms in Tokyo in the beginning of the season. Last year I caught it only on the tail end. I wasn't able to visit any parks though, but was content with hanami (admiring cherry blossoms) from nearby sakura zones. Here are a few photos I took from the last few days.

There are over 600 varieties of cherry blossoms. Here are white ones from beside my hotel.

View from the office -

From the sakura zone beside my favorite hotel (they are more pink in person) -

I wish someday I can also have a picnic under a cherry blossom tree. 

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Why Yoda is My Hero

My Mom really doesn't understand why I have a fondness for what she perceives as "not beautiful". You see since I was a child I've loved ET, Alf, Mr. Spock, and of course, Yoda. I don't really have an explanation why, I just love them.

I started collecting Yoda toys because of Hadi. He started it because we had this competition at work where we had to decorate our desks. He had the idea of using Star Wars as a theme and dressed up my desk in Yoda green and decorated it with Yoda posters and of course a toy. After that Sweetie started to give me Yoda toys and other friends followed suit. Eventually I started to collect. I had parameters though -- must be small, not too expensive and not necessarily new. In fact one of the best finds was from Hobby Off, a pre-loved toy shop in Tokyo which Sweetie found. My friends are also so sweet since they buy Yoda toys for me and even send it through mail (hello Shin Yee!).

So why do I love Yoda? Let me count the ways...

1. He's tiny thing that packs a punch. Remember Episode 3?
2. Very differently he communicates.
3. He has so much wisdom!
4. Always very calm.
5. He's very chill and can be funny at times. Remember how he trolled Luke in Episode 8?
6. Yoda avoids fighting. He only does when really needed.
7. From what I've seen, he's an introvert.
8. Can only be bothered if it's really important.
9. I love his pointy ears (blame it on Mr. Spock too).
10. He's just really so cute.

Love Yoda, I do.

**I've yet to visit Yoda's statue in Singapore! I should do that soon!

Friday, March 23, 2018

That Place Called "Toys R Us"

"Toys R Us" = child's heaven.

I was in the just in the US last week and I heard about the closing of Toys R Us several times on the news. I was really shocked to hear about it since it's a place you think would be just there forever. I have very fond memories of Toys R Us. I spent some time in the US when I was a child and a trip to Toys R Us was always so exciting for me.

Happiness for me then was just going around the aisles and checking out all the cool toys. I never expected to buy anything. It was my Titay's friends who'd usually get something for me. The most memorable toy I got from Toys R Us was a Cabbage Patch Preemie bought by Tita Florie during one of the trips there. Cabbage Patch was huge during that time and you were a really cool kid if you had one. The name of my Cabbage Patch is Azalea. I actually still have her with me in my home in Manila and refused to part with it even when I got married already haha.

I also kept all the Barbie Dolls my Mom and Titay bought for me (12 in all!). Most of them they bought from Toys R Us. I've also kept them in their boxes. I thought I was going to have a daughter who would inherit it. My son though thoroughly enjoyed Barbie's car and it's now unrecognizable huhu. Funny though I only had one Ken doll!

I had two other memorable toys from Toys R Us. One is the Snoopy Sno Cone Machine! I surprisingly found it again at Target two years ago. They have been reproducing some old toys and this is one of it. The other is a Mickey Mouse record player (like this). I think it's what helped me fall in love with listening to music. I remember I also had Henri. A stuffed toy which was very common when I was a child. I'm not sure though where my Mom got it.  The Cocker Spaniel above is also a toy I've had since I was a child. It was one of the few toys I was able to save from Typhoon Ondoy.

 I never outgrew my love for toys. I keep several stuffed toys across our home and have a Care Bear, Yoda, a dog and a Mi stuffed toy on my side of the bed. I collect Yoda. Still play lego and will never part with my favorite toys. I know parents are always scared to bring their children to Toys R Us. I was too, but it's all about managing your kid's expectations. I was always happy already just to look around. I still do whenever I go to the US and go about once or twice a quarter to Toys R Us Singapore. It's heaven for children (and the child in me). I wish they don't have to close it down. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

2018 Blogging for Thirty Days

To keep the blogging habit I usually blog for 30 days straight during the month of January. I started the year on the wrong side of the bed so I delayed this annual project. I realize though that I tend to blog about mundane topics whenever I get stuck so what I'll do this year is post in my other blogs and just note the links here. Looking back I should have not diversified so much because having so many blogs became too overwhelming. I used to have more time to write too and now most of my blogs have been neglected.

Through the years I have painstakingly kept a good log of my photos. I kept them neatly in folders, by date and with easy to find album titles. I told myself that I would find time to blog about all of my adventures. I think I have almost 10 years worth of photos now that have been left unblogged... People change and I guess I just didn't feel like sharing so much about myself publicly anymore. I still like writing so I blog every so often when the mood strikes. My hobbies have also changed since I had to adjust to what my body can and cannot do.

Here's a rundown of my blogs (based on activity):

An Apple a Day - personal blog
Tea Completely - where I blog with Jay and Andrew on our favorite drink (tea/milk tea)
The Evening Quilter - newly renamed, this is where I blog about my hobby
Lakwatsera Ako - my travel blog, I still travel very often, just a bit lazy to blog
Twisted Wedding Planner - tips on organizing your wedding
Mabuhay ang Bagong Kasal - marriage and cooking blog
Paranaque City Life - supposed blog on Paranaque, but I don't go home often anymore
You Got Tech - group blog on tech stuff
Homegrown - my supposed inspirational blog

To get me going, I'm going to post here links to my daily blog for the next 30 days:
Day 1 - Craft Shop in the United States: Michaels + this post on my 30-day challenge
Day 2 - Guimaras Mango Festival and Mango Pizza
Day 3 - Melbourne: Bad Boys Gourmet Burger Bar
Day 4 - Quilt Project: Pillowcases for Dr. Koo
Day 5 - That Place Called "Toys R Us"
Day 6 - Why Yoda is My Here
Day 7 - Japan's Beautiful Cherry Blossoms
Day 8 - A Second Look at Yuzawaya
Day 9 - Kirin White Chocolate Milk Tea
Day 10 - I am Dependent on Him
Day 11 - Another Post about Sakura
Day 12 - Good Friday - no post
Day 13 - Black Saturday - no post
Day 14 - Easter 2018
Day 15 - Colorless Milk Tea by Suntory
Day 16 - Beautiful Churches Around the World (Part 1)
Day 17 - Plan Your Wedding with Family and Friends
Day 18 - Beautiful Butterflies
Day 19 - Inspiration

Thursday, March 15, 2018


I was 4 years old the last time I was in New York City. The only thing I remember was going up the Empire State Building. I never had the chance to come visit since most of my US trips have been either to California or Washington DC. I regard NYC though very fondly since this is where I was hatched as a Googler. My recruiter was based in NYC when she hired me. Too bad though I never had the opportunity to meet her in person since she's left the company.

Jetlag is real and I've not been able to do much here because I've been conking out as soon as I reach the hotel haha. It also snowed yesterday and that's been a real struggle for me. (Now I know why my pulmo had a lot of concerns about me traveling to cold weather...). Here's the snowfall when it wasn't falling too hard yet --

Apart from the half-day snowfall yesterday this trip is also going to be very memorable. The taxi I rode from the airport got clipped by another car. It was a very soft bump, but my driver ran after the car just to tell the person off since she didn't even stop to check what happened. The car ran off. Good thing my taxi driver wasn't too pissed and just let her go. I thought about taking a photo of the license plate, but thought the driver already did. Good thing no one was injured from the accident.

I'm just staying for a few more busy days. If it's not too cold I hope to see more of NYC!