Monday, December 31, 2007

Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!

I have experienced my first Christmas and New Year's Eve far away from my family (Baguio City, Philippines)now that I'm here in Nihon. It's actually just like any other non-working day for me. Even though I usually plan things out, this time I didn't plan anything for the winter break. And now, I'm suffering the consequences. Hahahaha!

Winter break started on the 29th of December, and shall end on the 7th of January. However for us, we have work on the 4th (Friday) so that's a minus one vacation day for me. I'm actually contented having a quiet and simple holiday break; however, we're like in a pitiful condition that makes me just laugh at myself. Our refrigerator and washing machine didn't arrive last Dec 29, and deliveries would resume earliest on Jan 2. I have to cook and eat the same food every time since I have to minimize spoilage of food. So never mind having a Noche Buena or a Media Noche.

I have just bummed myself out these past few days doing nothing except watching in front of the laptop or playing with my PSP, slowly realizing that the New Year's fast approaching. I should have at least researched on places where there are events for celebrating the new year. I guess I was just not so excited about anything because of less hype here in Japan compared to that in the Philippines.

For months, I've been planning on buying a DSLR. I should have gone to Akihabara last Sunday (Dec 30) to meet with my workmates in the Philippines and buy the camera but got too lazy. The next day's the 31st, and it's now or never. I should at least do something before the year ends, and so I thought finally having the camera would be a nice thing. Not to mention year-end discounts.

And so, I went to Akiba, specifically straight to Yodobashi Camera and Yamada Labi (a newly renovated store that has an Open Sale). I should have bought the Canon Digital Kiss (EOS 400D) but Labi ran out of stocks. I nearly went home empty handed, good thing Yodobashi still got loads of stuffs. I eventually bought the Nikon D40x because the EOS 400D wasn't priced reasonably (higher than last November's of Yodobashi and Labi's current price). Maybe it's a sign that I should buy the D40x, because I've been torn in between the two cameras for months.

I immediately went home, itching to test my new camera on some fireworks display. Came 12 MN, the year 2008... and it was so silent, just like any ordinary night. I did hear some drums though, if there was a celebration, it's quite miles away from our view. HAHAHAHAHAHA! A pat on my head. Just grin and bear it.

Definitely the next year end, I'll be in the Philippines celebrating Christmas and the New Year with my family.

Hoping to have a happy and prosperous New Year for all of us!

posted by ScIoN 8:22 PM |

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

And So This is Christmas...

  • First day at work, right after coming back from the Philippines.
  • We're currently living in the new apartment in Kasukabe, wherein we still don't have a refrigerator, washing machine, air con (but we're using electronic carbon heaters), tv, etc. Appliances are yet to be delivered on the 29th.
  • Christmas Party tomorrow at the head office but we can't attend because we're 2 hours away via train (Kasukabe --> Shin Yokohama) and we still have work at the client company till 6pm. (Party starts at 5pm and ends at about 9pm).
  • I am still having these dry coughs courtesy of the sore throat I got the night before my flight to Japan.

Anyway, enough of the ranting. For those curious, Christmas (Kurismasu) here in Japan is also quite known although in a different sense. It's actually more of a commercial ploy that invites more people to spend during this season. The Japanese are mostly agnostic anyway so all they know about Christmas is something related to gift-giving, winter, sweets, food, etc. Food establishments like KFC gain a lot of orders during this time of year in preparation for the noche buena.

In most countries, Christmas Day is ideally spent with your family. Sometimes, it also becomes an unofficial family reunion gathering up to the nth degree. But here in Japan, I guess they took 'being with your loved one' literally. Christmas Day in Japan is to be with your girlfriend/boyfriend, if none, then at least with your closest friends/ barkada. That should be Valentines' to most countries, but Valentines Day in Japan is also different (It's the girls who do the initiative of giving! sweet! hahaha!).

I know, I know I seem to have a very sad Christmas here in Japan; but it's really not a big deal for me. The night before Christmas (noche buena) is basically a mini-reunion for us and that's what I particularly missed this year (also for All Saints' Day which is also a family mini-reunion). At least by next year, I would definitely use my leaves to be in the Philippines and celebrate Xmas and New Year with my family.

One thing to look forward to would be the winter break, at the least. It's a yasumi for all of us from December 29 to January 7.

Happy Holidays Everyone!

posted by ScIoN 4:46 PM |

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Buhay OFW

I thought my short stay in the Philippines would be some sort of a 'vacation' since technically, I'm leaving my work behind in Japan. On the contrary, my 2 weeks stay became much more stressful because of undergoing the tedious process of applying/registering government documents (POEA requirements)

During my first day at the POEA, I went there at about 5am just to secure a good queue spot fronting the gates. While squirming with other applicants hoping to be considered in the day's priority cutoff, a thought suddenly hit me noting that I am already one of those so-called OFWs. Even at 5am, the line was already long. Good for me that most of the applicants were seamen; who are classified under a different category for the daily cutoff. My application falls under the skilled/professional type.

I already have a medical certificate (taken before my 3 month business trip) but the POEA requires the checkup to be held at an accredited health unit. Thus, I have to undergo another round of medical test again. My BP rose up again and I waited for about 3 days to finally 'pass' the BP level. I really have to closely monitor my BP from now on.

To sum it up, on my first week, I have been reporting to our Philippine office. Even on a Saturday, I had to claim our passports at the agency and then on Monday the following week, started filing at the POEA. Finally finished the POEA process on friday, then supposed flight was Sunday. Thank God, it was extended to Wednesday.

Now I'm back here in Japan. Experiencing a post-sore throat phase. Going to start reporting to our client on the 25th. Happy Holidays!

posted by ScIoN 7:50 AM |

Monday, December 03, 2007

PI! (Philippine Islands!)


Whew! My trip towards home was really my longest commute ever! From our Kasukabe (Japan) apartment (3:45am Japan time) to my Baguio (or should we say La Trinidad) home @ 1230mn the next day. Not to mention the holiday rush where I had to be a 'chance' passenger in one of the Baguio buses.

I spent my 2 day weekend practically spending money to treat my family. I don't know if I could call it a vacation because I feel tired (well because of the travelling of course). Then, Monday 12:20mn, I had to board the bus again to return to Manila since we were 'expected' to report to the Philippine office.

The office relocated towards a newer space within the same building in Eastwood. We now have our very own private space, as compared to before wherein we share with different small companies. The new office doesn't have internet access yet, but at least there are newly purchased PCs with widescreen monitors.

I can't go online freely now since I don't have ready access. I even handed over my laptop to my parents, hoping they would subscribe for internet access @home. I still don't know when my return date to Japan is. So many things to do, so little time.

Anyway, I'm still using my usual SMART cell number. If there's any gimik, I'm game with it! Ja mata ne!

posted by ScIoN 3:03 PM |

My Photo
Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines

ScIoN is a former Systems Engineer in Japan who specialized in industrial imaging and digital hardware design. He is now back in the Philippines pursuing graduate studies in Finance at the University of the Philippines - Diliman.



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