Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 COVER

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 Cover
Art & Design by Dennis Sun

More on Jeepney Press at:

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 CENTERFOLD

Tuloy Ang Pasada...
The Journey Continues...

Jeepney Press approaches its eight year in bringing Filipinos closer together in the Land of the Rising Sun. From less than a few dozen of writers on its maiden issue, we are happy that Jeepney Press now comprises almost half a hundred of volunteer staff of writers and artists--all dedicated to help work towards making a unified, diverse and responsible Filipino society in Japan.

This new year, we would like to let you know more about the people who writes for you every issue. Get to know more about the people you welcome into your lives even through the power of words in print and the web.

In this centerfold, we present to you bits and pieces of their lives, how they got involved with Jeepney Press and their advices and messages for all Filipinos traversing this tough terrain-life in Japan.

Happy Journey Filipinos! Sakay na kayo sa Jeepney Press!
Tuloy po ang pasada ngayong 2010 and onwards!

Dennis Sun, Editor-In-Chief and Creative Director


Name: Alma Reyes
Name of column: Traffic
Occupation: freelance editor, layout designer
Time in Japan: 23 years (yikes!)
Where from the Philippines? Manila
Where do you live in Japan (and which places have you lived in Japan)? presently Tokyo; past: Osaka and Kyoto
What brought you to Japan? foreign studies; took my Masters in Kyoto
What was your first impression of Japan? clean, polite and disciplined people
What do you like most about Japan? efficient (though sometimes too much), convenient, fast service, Japanese food!
What's the worst/weirdest thing you have experienced here? physical assault by "chikan;" you have to change to a Japanese name to become a Japanese citizen; racial discrimination in some aspects; women as 2nd class citizens; I used to find the Japanese toilet and slurping soba loudly weird, but have gotten used to it...
If you could bring "anything" from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? onsen; efficient train system, lots of mochi
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what item would you like to have with you? phone, water, food
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan? Filipinos survive just like other foreigners, but need to be recognized more positively
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives? Be honest. Avoid petty intrigues, follow rules and think of other good-natured Filipinos when you are tempted to do something illegal!

Name: Gino C. Matibag
Name of column: Pisngi Ng Langit (formerly At Your Cervix, Doc Gino)
Occupation: Physician-Researcher-Aspiring Writer and Blogger
Time in Japan: 7 years
Where from the Philippines? Manila
Where do you live in Japan?
Sapporo City, Hokkaido
What brought you to Japan? Higher education
What was your first impression of Japan? Very advanced, clean and quiet country. Most people are honest.
What do you like most about Japan? People are time-conscious. I feel safe walking anytime of the day. No air pollution. The drinking water in Hokkaido is one of the most delicious in the world.
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what item would you like to have with you?
Fully-charged mobile phone.
How long have you been writing for Jeepney Press? 2 years plus
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan?
In general, Filipinos in Japan live better economically. Understandably, most want to go back to the Philippines but the country does not offer any better living conditions.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives? Be respectable always. Learn from the Japanese. Be good examples so that a good impression of our country will be left to the Japanese and the world.

Name: Renaliza Chavez
Name of column: Sa Tabi Lang Po
Time in Japan: in and out since 1995
Where from the Philippines?
Silay City, Negros Occidental
Where do you live in Japan?
Naka-Meguro & Ishikawa-Dai, Tokyo
What brought you to Japan?
My parents work here.
What do you like most about Japan? People are always on time. Also, people fall in line everywhere.
What's the weirdest thing you have experienced here? The Japanese toilet! It was difficult to do your thing and I get prone to leg cramps.
If you could bring "anything" from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? All the people I love, the train system (it's just so convenient) and the whole Roppongi and Shibuya area.
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what items would you like to have with you?
I would like to have a friend with me to talk to, my mobile phone, a laptop with internet, and drinking water.
How did you learn about Jeepney Press? I always read it because I love the covers.
How long have you been writing for Jeepney Press? About a year and a half
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan?
It's not so bad. Although there is a bit of discrimination going on towards Filipinos in Japan, we still have good support systems here, like friends and family.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives?
Do not bury yourselves in too much work because you are not machines. Go out and have some fun once in a while. Enjoy your life in Japan while you are still here.

Name: Christopher A. Santos
Occupation: Vice President for an American-based bank
Time in Japan: 2 decades
Where from the Philippines?
Pasig, Metro Manila
Where do you live in Japan? Tokyo
What brought you to Japan?
An invitation from my first Japanese firm
What's the weirdest thing you have experienced here? Conversing with fellow Filipinos in Japanese
If you could bring "anything" from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? Their public record system.
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what items would you like to have with you?
A good book, mineral water, and my mobile phone. Basically, my daily survival kit.
How long have you been writing for Jeepney Press? Since its inception. But recently, assignment-based.
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan? Complacency still prevail among many. Only a few dares to make a difference or create their own share of legacy outside of the shadows of dependency.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives? We live in a country with proven social and working ethics. Leverage on that.

Name: Yellowbelle Del Mundo Duaqui
Name of column: Arangkada Pinoy
Occupation: MA Student, Graduate School of Global Studies, Sophia University
Time in Japan: 1 year +
Where are you from in the Philippines? Santa Maria, Bulacan
Where do you live in Japan?
Setagaya-ku, Tokyo
What do you like most about Japan? Its people (hardworking, efficient, courteous, quiet, book & art lovers, doers, achievers, good planners, reliable, inventive, practical, rational)
What's the worst thing you have experienced here? Getting stopped by the police who check your status as a foreigner in Japan (a bit frightening and humiliating experience even for somebody who exists legally here)
If you could bring "anything" from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? The predictable, inexpensive and efficient mass transportation system (because this will help industrialize the Philippines)
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what items would you like to have with you?
A book, keitai, chocolate bar, water
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan? Many Filipinos are not able to integrate in mainstream Japanese society and exist at its fringes maybe due to lack of social connections and mastery of the Japanese language. This can probably be solved by acquiring marketable skills and accumulating human capital to become selling points in the Japanese job market.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives? Never do anything that would make them lose their trust and respect on you. Work hard and follow the rules. Strive to learn Japanese if you plan to work here. Save your hard-earned money. Focus and learn to prioritize. Don’t waste time in gossip and turn to reading good books instead. Nasa Diyos ang awa, pero nasa tao pa rin ang gawa.

Name: Rey Ian Pineda Corpuz
Name of column: Achi Kochi
Occupation: ALT (Assistant English Teacher)
Time in Japan: 2 years
Where from the Philippines?
Davao City
Where do you live in Japan?
Hanyu City, Saitama Prefecture
What do you like most about Japan? No dust, No pollution, No traffic, Food is the best!
If you could bring "anything" from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? Countless Vending Machines
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what items would you like to have with you? Iphone 3Gs, IPod, Cold Mugi Cha
How did you learn about Jeepney Press? From a Filipino Store in Kawasaki
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan?
We are still unrepresented in the Japanese community. Many Filipinos still carry our bad habits in the Philippines.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives? Live as true Filipinos by heart and think as Japanese in terms of work ethics and efficiency.

Name: Marty Manalastas Timbol
Name of column: Shitte Iru
Where are you from in the Philippines?
Where do you live in Japan? I live in Nerima but before that, I used to live in Komazawa, Shinagawa and Saitama.
What brought you to Japan? I first came to Japan in April 1986 as a student. I was into the Japanese language course at the Kokusai Gakuyukai Nihongo Gakko as a scholar of my very generous, one and only sister. I left Japan after my graduation and worked for a while in the Philippines. I came back in July 1989.
What's the weirdest thing you have experienced here? Having to eat with chopsticks was a shock. It took me some time to learn how to use them. By then I had slimmed down because I could not eat much with the chopsticks. It was also big adjustment for me to use the "squat" toilets. The communication barrier can be a problem, but if properly hurdled, Japan is a very convenient place to live in.
What did you find as the most difficult situation living in Japan?
Nothing beats the language. It can be very daunting because Japanese language varies with basic & daily conversation, business terms, medical and technical terms, etc. Having learned formal Japanese, I still find it very difficult especially when conversing with doctors and nurses during my check-ups every week.
If you could bring "anything" from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? Discipline, cleanliness, driving rules and regulations, fresh fruits & vegetables, transport system, technology, etc.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives?
It is all up to us how to improve our lives. What is important is you are happy, you know how to share your blessings to your loved ones in the Philippines. Don't forget that even if you have stayed and lived long in Japan that we are still Filipinos.

Name: Robert Paul Arias Zarate
Name of column: Pagmumuni-muni sa Dyipni
Occupation: Catholic Priest
Time in Japan: 9 years
Where are you from in the Philippines?
Binan, Laguna
Where do you live in Japan (and which places have you lived in Japan)?
From Chofu to Suginami to Yotsuya in Tokyo, then to Yamato (Kanagawa), to Shizuoka and now living in Kamakura.
What brought you to Japan?
Bilang isang misyonero ng mga Salesiano ng Don Bosco.
What was your first impression of Japan? Walang emosyon at deretsong tumayo ang mga security guards sa arrival area ng Narita airport.
What do you like most about Japan?
Very efficient public services -- hindi nagtataray at kahit mukhang plastik ay nakangiti at maganda ang tono ng boses.
What's the worst/weirdest thing you have experienced here? Pinaginitan ako ng isang Hapon in his 20's sa isang overcrowded na train. Sinisiko niya at sinasadya akong banggain. Naghahanap talaga ng away! Nagtulug-tulugan na lang ako habang naririnig ko syang nagsasabing mukha akong baduy na ojisan. Hindi ko kasi pinatulan kaya bumaba na lang siya sa next station.
If you could bring "anything" from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? Dalawa: ang train system nila at ang kanilang medical insurance.
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what item would you like to have with you?
A fully charged laptop
How long have you been writing for Jeepney Press? Since its first issue!
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan? Malalim ang dedikasyong magtrabaho, magkapera at tumulong sa pamilya pero kulang na kulang pa rin sa sense of integration into the Japanese society.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives?
Pressure yourselves and the people around you to learn proper Nippongo well. That's the first step for us to be respected by the Japanese.

Name: Frances Saligumba
Name of column: Stopover
Time in Japan: 12 years
Where from the Philippines? Manila
Where do you live in Japan? Okinawa
What was your first impression of Japan?
Materialistic nation
What do you like most about Japan? Food!
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what item would you like to have with you? A fully charged laptop
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives? Arm yourselves with: Flexibility, Courage and Integrity

Name: Anita Aquino Sasaki
Name of column: Kuwento Ni Nanay
Time in Japan: 15 years
Where from in the Philippines? From Quezon City
Where do you live in Japan? Tokyo-to, Edogawa-ku, Hirai
What was your first impression of Japan? Well it is a place where we have all kinds of people from all walks of life. It is like a jungle with all the wild animals.
What do you like most about Japan? Cleanliness, discipline of the Japanese.
If you could bring "anything" from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? Cleanliness and the industriousness of the Japanese
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what item would you like to have with you? WATER
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan? Most of us, Pinoys, are still ignorant about our rights, benefits and privileges. But gradually, through different NGOs and Filipino media, we are getting more informed.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives? To be more industrious, organized and make the most of it while they are here because nothing is permanent. Everything will just come and go and there is no better place than HOME specially when we cannot stand up on our own two feet.

Name: Stephanie Jones L. Jallorina
Name of column: Drive-Thru
Occupation: Sales Staff
Time in Japan: 2 years
Where from in the Philippines? Iloilo
Where do you live in Japan? I used to live in Setagaya-ku and then moved to Ota-ku and am bound to Minato-ku next year. Lahat sa Tokyo.
What brought you to Japan?
I needed a new environment and I had to be with my mother.
What do you like most about Japan? Peace and quiet.
If you could bring "anything" from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? I would bring the Japanese sense and value of TIME.
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what item would you like to have with you?
I would like to have a Paolo Coelho book.
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan?
So far, I have seen and met Filipinos who are well and up to do financially, physically and spiritually. They have easily adapted to Japan and consequently are able to provide for the needs of their respective families back at home. They brought along their faith that keep and sustain them through hardships, loneliness and challenges.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives? Save for themselves, for their families, for fellow Filipinos, for others and for God.

Name: Mylene Miyata
Name of column: Pedestrian Lane
Time in Japan:
about 7 years
Where from in the Philippines? Manila
Where do you live in Japan? Saitama
What brought you to Japan? family
What was your first impression of Japan? beautiful
What do you like most about Japan?
its nature
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what items would you like to have with you? iPod, newspaper and magazine
How did you learn about Jeepney Press? I got a copy at Yotsuya church.
How did you start writing for Jeepney Press? I called to apply for a subscription and was lucky to talk to the editor and the rest is history.

Name: Joseph S. de Leon
Name of column: J-Way
Occupation: English Teacher (ALT)
Time in Japan: 5 Years (since 2005)
Where from in the Philippines? from the Asia’s Latin City, Zamboanga City
Where do you live in Japan? Tochigi Ken Moka City
What brought you to Japan? I was chosen together with other 20 teachers to represent the Philippines in the 2005 JICA International Youth Friendship Program for Education.
What do you like most about Japan?
I like Japan's Railway system. It's so systematic and punctual.
If you could bring "anything" from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? I would bring the bullet trains and have its route from Manila to Zamboanga City.
How did you learn about Jeepney Press? I started reading Jeepney Press in 2007 and got my copies at Libis ng Nayon Pinoy Store in Ibaraki Ken.
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan?
Filipinos in Japan are a great contribution to Japan's economy by being efficient hardworkers.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives?
Always do your best to excel in your job and continue to show the great values we Filipinos do possess. Work and earn here but don't forget to share your blessings to the needy.

Name: Edward P. Labuguen
Name of Column: e-deshou
Occupation: consultant and director
Time in Japan: 8 years
Where from in the Philippines: Abra
Where do you live in Japan? Minokamo City, Gifu Ken
If you were to be trapped inside the train, what items would you like to have with you?
My rosary, keitai and wallet
What do you think about teh conditions of Filipinos in Japan? We are still under-represented. Look at the Brazilians, Peruvians, Chinese and Koreans. Even if we are as many as them, they are a stronger force in the Japanese society.
How would you advice Filipinos in japan on how to improve their lives? Earn and earn. Think of our situation in the Philippines. Avoid unnecessary spendings. Save money.

Name: Sally Cristobal Takashima
Name of Column: Kansai Crusade
Time in Japan: Over 20 years
Where from in the Philippines? Manila
What brought you to Japan?
I was living in New York attending graduate school. I needed a break and was offered to teach English for a year.
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what item would you like to have with you?
A laptap and enough warm coffee mocha
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan? Filipinos live in enclaves that are comfort zones for many. To experience life in Japan, one has to step out of these enclaves and interact with other people. One then sees through the veil of the beauty of Mt Fuji and Sakura and other images are viewed. Only then can a Filipino put the Philippine and Japanese cultures in comparative perspective.

Name: Arlene Dinglasan
Name of column: Mukha
Occupation: language teacher
Time in Japan: more than 10 years
Where from in the Philippines?
Balanga City, Bataan
Where do you live in Japan? Tokyo
What brought you to Japan?
Initially, to visit my parents. It has been a loooong visit!
What do you like most about Japan? the transportation system
If you could bring "anything"from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? transportation system, super fresh food
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what item would you like to have with you? Nothing. I'd take advantage of the time to catch up on sleep!
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan? Knowing how prejudice and racist the Japanese society can be, the Filipinos in Japan sometimes have to struggle to be proud of being Pinoy. Add to that the "not-so-pleasant" image that unfortunately fellow kababayans have somehow built in one way or another, sometime in the past or even at present, we have to work extra hard to be seen in a better light. Fortunately, as slowly as it may be, more and more Filipinos in Japan are proving themselves deserving of a fairer treatment. Whether it accounts to the society's increasing open-mindedness or the Filipinos' hard work finally bearing good fruits, the conditions of Filipinos in general in the Japanese society has been showing some improvements in the recent years.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives? Take each day as it comes. And bloom where you are planted. Plus, re-read "Florante and Laura" if you have the time. You'd be surprised by how rich it is on advice for people living outside their hometown/home country, and more! (My Panitikan teacher will surely be proud of me now! ;-) )

Name: Arlene Esperida
Name of column: Walang Sabit
Occupation: ALT, freelance designer, visual artist, yaya
Time in Japan: Matagal-tagal na rin... automatic na yung "bow" ko!
Where from in the Philippines? "You can take the girl out of Manila but you can't take Manila out of the girl"... tama nga ba itong pagka-sabi ko?
Where do you live in Japan?
Sa pusod ng Tokyo
What brought you to Japan?
Destiny! naaaks!
What was your first impression of Japan?
Bakit laging maputi ng mga linya sa kalye, at hindi na kelangang tumakbo para tumawid ng kalye!
What do you like most about Japan?
Libreng tissue paper!
What's the worst/weirdest thing you have experienced here?
Worst: Station pizza
Weirdest: Well-dressed salaryman delivering the station pizza!
If you could bring "anything" from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? Godzilla to do some spring cleaning sa gobyerno natin!
How did you start writing for Jeepney Press? Sabi ni Dennis, may talent daw ako sa pag-sayaw...
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan?
Kung direktor o scriptwriter ako, marami na akong award... FAMAS,Cinemanila...
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives?
Wag tumulad sa akin.

Name: Neriza Sarmiento Saito
Name of column: On The Road
Occupation: University Lecturer
Time in Japan: 28 years
Where from in the Philippines:
Baliwag, Bulacan
Where do you live in Japan? Osaka
What brought you to Japan? marriage
What do you like most about Japan?
I love the seasonal changes.
If you were to be trapped for 3 hours inside the train or subway, what item would you like to have with you?
I would like to have my best friends with me para yung 3 hours, magiging 3 minutes lang sa kwentuhan namin!
If you could bring "anything"from Japan to the Philippines, what would it be? I would like to bring the four seasons to the Philippines. I think because of the changes of the season, people get to be closer to nature and appreciate the beauty of nature. As nature changes its color, people get the chance to change their moods and emotions as well.
What do you think about the conditions of Filipinos in Japan? Compared to the Filipinos in the Philippines, I think they are more comfortable in here. Wherever you put the Filipinos, they would always be a happy people. I think the conditions are getting better.
How would you advice Filipinos in Japan on how to improve their lives?
Just have more adaptabilty and flexibility in life. Know that this is Japan and not the Philippines so we should act and live according to their laws and customs. We can only gain their respect if we show them that we are a responsible and able people. Let's show them!

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 PAGE 5

by Alma R. H. Reyes

Oh yes, I am wise
But it's wisdom born of pain
Yes, I've paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to, I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman
—lyrics of “I Am Woman”

Eye of the Tiger

Tiger greetings to all!

Another year begins in Jeepney Press, and hopefully a promising one for all Filipinos in Japan, especially after what our families back home had experienced during the past year’s unbeatable record of natural catastrophies and massacres. After all, one cannot ignore that this year is the phenomenal year of national elections back home. Who will become the new president? Well…let’s leave that decision to the hands of the tiger. Probably, a tiger candidate will get the lucky (or unlucky?) vote. If you are born in 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986 or 1998, this is your year.

Tiger people are fierce and domineering on the outside, but noble and distinguished on the inside. They learn quickly and search for challenges, thus, they tend to change careers often. They can easily get depressed from unsuccessful efforts in business or work, but they are certainly fighters. Watch out, though, tigers are big spenders! They easily get attracted to luxury and can be impulsive shoppers. Doesn’t that sound like a typical Filipino trait? :)

Nikushoku kei or Soushoku kei?

And soon, the Valentine month is coming. Oh my, another luxurious array of chocolates, chocolates, chocolates—and, more women desperate to hunt for a partner so they have someone to date on Valentine’s dinner or can receive some “real” (not giri) chocolates from a true lover!

Speaking of Japanese women, have you been noticing any changes in the Japanese female behavior in the past years? Many foreigners who have never visited Japan, or who have stayed here for just a few days or weeks can hardly be able to grasp the real soul of the Japanese female. Generally, these foreigners are blinded by the finesse of the faint giggle—yup, accompanied by that hand covering the mouth—or the gentle hold of chopsticks, the slender fingers that wrap a cup of green tea, or the choreographed squat called the seiza—showing that vertical body line equated with poise, serenity and feminism…hontou ka naa? My favorite theory about the Japanese woman is “it’s all on the surface”—probably gentle on the outside, but a tiger in the inside! Yes, this year must be their year! And, as they say, this trait is clearly visible especially after they marry. So, watch out you Filipinos with Japanese girlfriends! Ha!

Lately, there has been much talk about soushoku-kei danshi and nikushoku-kei joshi (herbivorous males and carnivorous females). Personally, I find this concept very interesting and modern, since Japanese women were never referred to as “carnivorous” in the past. A typical Japanese woman is said to be the Japanese man’s “second arm,” tailing behind him and serving him endlessly. How many of us have frowned over scenes of Japanese men not offering their seats to women in trains? Or, Japanese men not giving way to women to step out of the elevator first, or not allowing women to sit down first in restaurants? Nakaka-frustrate diba? That’s why when I go home to the Philippines, I savor being pampered by “ladies first” treatment. In fact, having lived in Japan for so long, I often act surprised when a Filipino gives way to me to pass through the door first, forgetting that this is really the gentleman’s way!

However, female behavior in Japan is changing these days. According to a survey of Japanese women in their 20s and 30s, there are more women now who regard themselves as aggressive rather than passive. A nikushoku-kei joshi can also mean a woman who is more sexually active than her partner, and who approaches men without hesitance. She is also highly career-minded and financially independent, and does not feel that men ought to support them. Well, isn’t that new? Nikushoku-kei women are success-driven, aggressive in discussion, and do not believe in monogamous relationships. Oo la la…what does the soushoku-kei man has to say to that?

Be My “Gyaru”

The nikushoku-kei female phenomenon is probably the reason why there are so many gyaru in Japan now. You know who they are, right? Long, blonde hair with curly ends? Really dark, black eyelashes over touched by double or triple mascara? Strong make-up, dangling ear bangles, striking nail d├ęcor on fake nails so long they can pierce you? Short, short skirts in frills or belts hanging in every direction, brightly colored tights—some in checks, flower patterns, hearts, or character designs? And, of course they can’t be gyaru if they don’t talk like gyaru. Just walk down Takeshita dori in Harajuku one weekend and you’ll see them all. These gyaru are surely nikushoku-kei; they are no longer shy to project a bold appearance or appear outlandish and speak and laugh loudly. Considering the Japanese female’s long history of being the gentle, obedient and submissive woman, something in today’s era must have driven them to change all that, trying to tell the world that there is something else hidden behind that elegant kimono.

After all, did you forget? On Valentine’s Day, it’s the women who give chocolates to the men. And, in many relationships in Japan, it’s the women who chase the men. Yes, being a man in Japan is living like a king. Only that, the women here are no longer their passive princesses. Now, they can be their iron queens!

Good luck to every love-catching nikushoku-kei joshi and soushoku-kei danshi!

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 PAGE 6

by Dennis Sun

Gamot for CHANGE!

"Ano ba ang buhay na ito? Ganito na lang ba ako? Wala na bang pagbabago? Sawang-sawa na ako..."

Tumawag si Pamela sa akin isang gabi. Late na yon. Siguro 2 o'clock in the morning na. Umiiyak. Hindi lang ito ang unang beses. Siguro, pang apat na yata this year. Parang alam ko na kung bakit. Isang kwento lang naman ang drama niya sa buhay. Or most probably, tumawag siya because of the lack of it. Ito ay ang walang patid na saysay sa buhay niya. She is not satisfied with how things are running in her life. Parang wala na raw meaning ang life niya. Nasa college na si Hiroki, her only son, kaya laging nag-iisa na lang sa bahay si Pamela. Si mister? Well, miss na miss na rin niya si Koji san. Kasi, bihira na rin umuwi si Koji. At kung uuwi man, either pagod sa trabaho kaya dumederecho sa futon para makapag-pahinga o kaya'y lasing kaya ayaw na niyang kausapin at baka mauwi sa away at black-eye.

Siempre, kapag nag-da-drama ang mga friendships, kailangan i-divert ang attention nila away from the problem at i-focus ang attention sa mga possible positive solutions. Kasi if you talk more about the problem, baka lalung lumaki iyan. Lalung may masasaktan. Baka maloka na lang si friendship at ma-confine sa mental hospital. Buti na lang sana kung nagbabayad siya ng insurance. Alam naman ng madlang people how expensive medical costs are in Japan. Buti na lang kung pwedeng remedyohin ng isang tableta ng Tylenol (sabi ni sister, mas malakas ang Sedes!) ang sakit niya sa ulo. Ibang klaseng gamot ang kailangan ni Pamela.

Actually, maraming gamot ang pwede kong i-prescribe sa mga taong tulad ni Pamela. Para na rin akong duktor, no? (Huwag na lang magalit si Doc Gino!)

Gamot number 1:
Make yourself BUSY! Wala kang ginagawa sa bahay, wala pa rin laman ang utak mo. Wala kang pinagkaka-abalahan. Tanong ko sa 'yo: Nalinis mo na ba ang kitchen? Meron pa yatang kabi ang o-furo. Yung, carpet at tatami, na-vacuum mo na ba? Natapos na ba ang mga labada? O yung groceries, dumaan ka na ba sa Daie? Baka mas mura sa Seiyu. Mag-tingin-tingin ka muna bago ka bumili. Hamon ni Pamela, malinis lagi ang mansion nila. Daig pa raw niya ang isang maid. Parang ang feeling ni Pamela, pinakasalan siya dahil isa siyang dakilang katulong. Pamela, hindi ka lang dakilang katulong. Isa kang dakilang gaga! Hindi ganyan ang buhay. Sayang lang ang pinag-aralan mo sa college. Makinig ka!

Gamot number 2:
Kung tapos na ang mga gawain sa bahay, e di lumabas ka ng bahay! Pero wait, this doesn't mean na pwede kang magbabad sa pachinko. No, no, no! Don't waste your money on gambling. Alam mo, use your money wisely. Learn something new. Tingnan mo si Cora, pumasok sa isang arts and craft school. Nag-aaral siyang gumawa ng mga artificial flowers. 5 years na raw niyang pinag-aaralan. Naku, nakita raw ng mga friends niya at doon nag-simula ang business ni Cora. Yumaman na siya sa pera, yumaman din sa mga kaibigan. Laging busy si Cora. Lagi siyang nag-a-attend ng mga workshops ng kung anu-ano. According to Cora, any hobby you like to do can be transformed into a business. Basta ilagay lang daw ang puso doon at lagyan ng passion. Hamon ulit ni Pamela, nag-try na raw siyang mag-business pero kumontra ang asawa. Hay naku!

Panghuling gamot:
CHANGE! Ibahin mo. Palitan mo. Kung sawa ka na sa kapuso, eh di mag-kapamilya ka. Simple lang ang buhay. Kung palagi ka na lang niloloko ni boyfriend, eh di palitan mo. Madaling sabihin, ika mo? Hay naku, Inday. Mas madaling gawin! Kasi, kung hindi mo gagawin, mas hahaba ang sakit na mararanasan mo sa kanyang panloloko. Putulin mo na agad. Instant pain. Para kang binunutan ng ngipin. Pero pag wala na yung sirang ngipin, okey na ang pakiramdam. Ganoon din sa mga sirang tao sa buhay mo. Going back to Pamela. Siya pala ang tumawag sa akin kaya dapat, siya ang paglingkuran ko. Pams, ang choice ay nasa yo. Kung di ka kontento sa buhay mo, nasa iyong kamay ang iyong kapalaran at wala sa mga nagniningning na bituin sa gabing madilim o mga lumang baraha ni Madam Brenda. Huwag mong hintayin ang horoscope mo ang magsabi para mag-advice to make changes in your life. Do it now! Do something! Huwag ka nang mag-isip pa at baka lalu pang sumakit ang ulo mo. Wala na rin tayong natitirang Tylenol at ekstrang aspirin.

Look at me. Because I wanted to make some changes, I changed the title of my column from DAIJOUBU DA! to DAISUKI! Hindi na ako nag-isip pa. Basta feel mong maganda at hindi nakakasakit ng kapwa tao, then, GO for it! Take my word, you'll love it, because I'm loving it! O, diba? Daisuki!


Sa Tabi Lang Po!
ni Renaliza Chavez

Ang Mga Huling Hiling ni Juan

Si Juan, isang binatang nangangarap magkatrabaho. Sabi niya sa sarili niya, “Magkatrabaho lang ako, wala na akong maihihiling pa.” Kaya’t ang Tadhana, dininig ang hiling ni Juan. Naku, itong si Juan, nagkatrabaho nga pero maliit and sweldo, hindi na makatao. “Lumaki lang ang sahod ko, wala na akong maihihiling pa,” sabi niya sa sarili. Sa di kalaunan, na promote si Juan na siya namang ikinasiya niya at nilibre ang mga kakilala sa opisinang mag burger. Ang mga kapatid at kapitbahay, binilhan lamang niya ng coke at nagpa-cater sa mag-fi-fishball.

Okay na ang buhay ni Juan. Ngunit kulang. “Makatagpo ko lamang ang babaeng mamahalin ko, wala na akong maihihiling pa,” sabi niya ulit sa sarili. Nakilala ni Juan si Maria na saksakan ng ganda’t alindog. “Sagutin lang ako ni Maria, wala na akong maihihiling pa.” Sinagot ni Maria si Juan at naging magsyota din sila ng isang taon nang maisip nanaman ni Juan, “Makasal lang kami ni Maria, wala na akong maihihiling pa.” Kaya’t kasal kung kasal ang drama nina Juan at Maria. Off to the altar!

Tatlong taon nang kasal sina Juan at Maria ngunit wala pa rin silang anak. “Magka-anak lang ako, wala na akong maihihiling pa,” ika ni Juan. Di naglaon ay nagkaanak sina Juan at Maria, kambal kaagad! Masaya si Juan sa mga anak niyang kambal na babae at lalaki na pinangalanan niyang sina Mary at John, ngunit sumakit ang ulo niya sa mga gastusin. Doble-doble lahat, gatas, diaper, pati yaya dahil si Maria ay nagtatrabaho na rin. Kaya’t kumuha sila nga yaya ng kanilang kambal.

“Di bale na. Makapag-aral lang ang mga anak ko sa magandang paaralan, wala na akong maihihiling pa.” Kaya’t ipinasok ni Juan sina Mary at John sa isang pribadong paaralan nang sila’y lumaki-laki na. Di na magkanda-ugaga ang mag-asawa sa pagtatrabaho para sa kanilang pamilya. Losyang na si Maria, nakakalbo na si Juan. “Ayos lang. Mapagtapos ko lang ng pag-aaral ang mga anak ko, wala na akong maihihiling pa,” sabi ng mag-asawa para may pakunswelo man lang sa kanilang pagpangit.

Matapos ang humigit-kumulang l8 years ng pag-aaral, mula nursery hanggang kolehiyo, nakapagtapos sina Mary at John na ikinatuwa naman ng kanilang mga magulang. Si Juan at Maria proud na proud sa kanilang engineer at nurse. Salamat at nakapagtapos din. At kung inaakala niyo na diyan na nagtatapos ang mga hiling ni Juan, nagkakamali kayo.

“Mapag-abroad ko lang ang aking nurse na si Mary at makitang maayos ang kanyang trabaho, wala na akong maihihiling pa.” Kaya’t ginastusan at pinang-utangan nina Juan at Maria ang kanilang anak upang makapag-Canada bilang isang nurse. Doon, nakapag-asawa ng matandang kano si Mary at nagkaanak. Laking tuwa naman nina Juan at Maria na magka-apo ng kulay-mais ang buhok.

“Sana mag-asawa na rin si John dahil siya ang magpapatuloy ng apelyido ko. Makita ko man lang ang mga apo ko sa kanya bago ako mamatay, wala na akong maihihiling pa,” pangarap uli ni Juan. Ngunit ilang taon na ang lumipas ay hindi pa rin nag-aasawa si John. Bakla pala si John. Nalaman ito ni Juan nang makita niya si John sa mall na may kaabrisiyeteng papa.

Nalungkot ng husto si Juan. Para bang nabagsakan siya ng mundo. Ang kanyang paboritong anak, lalaking magdadala at magpapatuloy ng apelyido niya sa mga magiging anak nito ay mahilig pala sa lalaki. Parang ang lahat ng kanyang pinaghirapan at mga pangarap napunta sa wala.

Tumanda si Juan at namatay, tulad din nating lahat sa huli. Ngunit namatay siyang bigo dahil sa isang kabiguan at hiling na hindi naisakatuparan. Hindi nakita ni Juan ang lahat ng pangarap niyang naisakatuparan. Mga biyayang ipinagkaloob sa kanya.

Ang tao hindi nakukuntento. Walang katapusan ang gusto. Una’y ito lang ang gusto. Para bang ang lahat ay doon nakasalalay. Kung nakamit na at nakuha na ang gusto, hindi na sapat iyon, kailangan na uli ng bago. And the list goes on…

At si Maria? Marami naman daw ipinapadalang pera ang anak niyang si Mary galing Canada. Kaya’t hayun siya, nagpunta kay Belo, nalolosyang na daw kasi siya. “Makapagpa-face-lift lang ako at makapagpa-nose-lift, wala na akong maihihiling pa…”

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 PAGE 7

by Frances Saligumba


Year 2009 has just passed and making your 2010 a fulfillment of your life’s aspirations is just a snap away from you.

All of us deserve to have the best things in life, for we are the ones who hold, mold and shape our own lives. It is not a matter of who you are and what you do, but each and every one are longing to have an awesome life---life that we ought to celebrate rather than neglect. Your life would be beautiful if you:

1. Appreciate your own life. Appreciate each day you awake with a load of things to do. You may be either physically handicapped or emotionally entangled, but the mere fact that you are still breathing that means you have a life to appreciate. So be appreciative, START TODAY!!

2. Get on your feet and find ways to help yourself. If you lost your job or you have just graduated from college but couldn’t find a job, find ways to survive and prove to your loved ones that you can do it. So be not a parasite, START TODAY!

3. Knowing that time is a gift, that is why it is also called "present." Cherish each passing moment even though there are some tough days. Handling tough days gives you the strength of your character. Recognize time as a present, START TODAY!

4. Let love be the focal point of your interest. Follow what really matters to you, be it a person, a place, or a goal. Your heart’s desire would lead you to a bigger question on how you are willing to use the space and time left to you. Whatever the outcome will be, focus on what you love. START TODAY!

5. See things in a bigger picture. Know that you are bigger than life itself. You are the key player, life just follows you. Have the capacity to see things broadly. START TODAY!

6. Admit that life and existence is a mystery. Always expect all possibilities and surprises life may bring. Change is constant but preparing yourself for it gives you the grace of acceptance. Be open to the mysteries of life. START TODAY!

7. Perceive that pain is a great teacher. Difficulties in life as well as pain could be a moral compass on us. Take heed to what you have got after experiencing pain would surely lead you to be a better person. Understand your difficulties, START TODAY!

8. Surrender yourself to the Lord. Realize that you are a sinner; admit that you can never ever be powerful enough to have it your way. Following the will of God has always been an open-end struggle to all of us. Don’t have it your way, surrender yourself. START TODAY!

To top all of these, Matthew 16:25 says that: "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."


Pagmumuni-muni sa Dyipni
ni fr. bob zarate

(Mga Guidelines para sa Inyo bago mag-Eleksyon 2010 Part 3)

1) Yung dati nang tumayo sa tungkulin.
New faces, please!
2) Yung anak, asawa o kamag-anak ng pulitiko.
‘Yang mga dynasty na ‘yan, kakapalan talaga ng mukha!
3) Yung kilala at kalat na kalat namang corrupt.
Pilosopo lang sila sa pagsabing, “May proof ka ba?” Pasensya na at wala kasing dalang video camera ang mga tao sa paligid mo noon. Besides, kahit walang proof, ang proof na maibibigay ay iyong hindi pag-improve ng mga government services… ultimong mga daan, lubak-lubak, madilim at pangit ang pagkagawa.
4) Yung walang prinsipyo.
Lalo na iyung mga palipat-lipat ng political party o kaya ay nakakapit sa kanyang leader o boss.
5) Yung wala nang ginawa kundi magpa-cute sa TV at infomercials.
Halata tuloy na wala talagang laman ang sasabihin at wala talagang bukas na loob maglingkod sa ordinaryong Pilipino.
6) Yung nagsasabing mahirap lang daw siya noon at ngayon ay umasenso na.
Eh di sana kahit ngayon hindi ka gumagamit ng mga magagarang sasakyan at pumupunta sa mga lugar na mayayaman lang ang kayang pumunta kasi maling mensahe ang binibigay mo sa Bayan.
7) Yung nagbibigay ng mga plastic bag na puno ng mga pagkain o groceries.
Anong akala nya sa boto mo, pang-dalawang araw na pagkain lang?
8) Yung nagbibigay ng pera at pabuya lalo pag-nangangampanya at sa election day mismo.
Babawiin din nya ang nagastos nya pag nanalo siya kaya tuluy-tuloy lang ang corruption mula sa kaban ng Bayan!
9) Yung kung nagsilbi man sa nakaraan ay hindi rin naman talaga umangat ang Bansa.
Yung puro arte lang, pakaway-kaway, pabigay-bigay ng regalo, at wala namang programang nagbibigay kapangyarihan sa mga ordinaryong tao na tumayo sa sarili nilang kakayahan.
10) Yung lagi na lang niyang pinaaasa ang taong-bayan para maging depende lang sa kanya.
Puwede ba! Kung leader ka ng bayan, probinsya o bansa, ang trabaho mo ay para maging responsable at may sariling kakayahan ang taong-bayan at hindi maging parang mga tuta na kilig-kilig makipag-kamayan o makipag-picture-taking sa iyo!


Shitte Iru?
by Marty Manalastas-Timbol

that 2010 was proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Year of Biodiversity. Ito ay ang isang taong celebration of biological diversity at ng pagpapahalaga ng buhay dito sa Earth. Ang International Year of Biodiversity ay makakatulong sa awareness of the importance of biodiversity sa buong mundo. Tayo ay parte ng nature’s rich diversity at tayo rin ang may kakayahan na protektahan o sirain ito. Ang biodiversity of life dito sa mundo ay essential para ma-sustain ang pamumuhay natin like yung health, wealth, pagkain, fuel at iba pang mga bagay kung saan dependent ang atin mga buhay. Tayong mga tao ang sumisira sa diversity of life on Earth. Kaya pag tuluyan na nasira ang Earth, it will be irreversible. Pero kaya natin basta’t magtulungan tayo. (Source: International Year of Biodiversity)

Fr. Dan Kroger O.F.M., asked "What are you thankful for?" Di ba, karamihan sa atin, lagi tayong nagpapasalamat at healthy tayo at pagpapasalamat sa atin mga pamilya na nasa mabuting kalagayan sila. Pero ang tanong ni Fr. Dan – "Aren’t you thankful for things like electricity, running water, sanitation, modern communications and medical care?" Dagdag pa ni Fr. Dan na si St. Francis de Assisi ay nakita lahat ng creation as a manifestation of God and Fr. Dan said that St. Francis de Assisi would probably not be disappointed today. Isa pang tanong "How about your faith?" Ika nga ni Fr. Dan, hindi lahat ay may faith, pero tayong mga Christians, pahalagaan natin ito as a truly precious gift. Faith sustains us when nothing else will. (Source: St. Anthony Messenger Press)
ALAM NYO BA... na halos pare-pareho ang style ng mga Japanese sa pagsakay nila ng bisikleta nila. Pansinin ninyo ito and you will know what I mean…he, he, he.

ALAM NYO BA... na mas masaya ka when you know how to share your blessings and your love na hindi naghihintay ng kapalit? Kahit na marami kang pera o naturingan ka bilang pinakamayaman sa mundo, kung wala naman nagmamahal sa iyo, useless din ang pera mo, kasi, money can’t buy love, family and friends. Kailangan tandaan na kahit ikaw ay may pera, huwag masilaw sa pera at huwag maging selfish. Remember na di naman po natin dadalhin ang pera pag tayo ay mawawala na sa mundo. If you have enough and extra, share.

ALAM NYO BA... kung bakit sine-serve ang sashimi with wasabi? Kasi, for Japanese, this fiery-tasting horseradish tastes good with raw fish. Isa pang reason ay ina-alis ang malansang amoy ng isda ang wasabi. And another good benefit is that wasabi has an anti-bacterial effect.

ALAM NYO BA... kung bakit meron butas ang 5 yen and 50 yen coins? Actually, in the earlier Japanese economy, wala pang yen noon. The currency in Japan is called sen. During this time, maraming mga coins na may butas. Ng maging yen na ang currency, they tried to re-introduce the holes in coins with 5 yen and 50 yen coins to differentiate them with the other coins. Ito ay nakakatulong especially sa mga bulag at matatanda.

ALAM NYO BA... that according to the Chinese Zodiac, the Year of 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. The Tiger is the third sign in the Chinese Zodiac cycle, and it is a sign of bravery.

Have a healthy and a prosperous New Year 2010! Nasa Year of the Tiger na po tayo God bless you all.

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 PAGE 8

Nihongo 4 Aliens!

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 PAGE 14

by Neriza Sarmiento-Saito's


This is the year of the fearless and powerful but sometimes ferocious TIGER. Matching the tiger’s boldness in the midst of the current economic slowdown, this column will feature some young Japanese who took part in this year’s “COMING OF AGE CEREMONY.” They are my students at Osaka University’s School of Foreign Studies, majoring in Philippine Studies. For this issue, ERI KIMURA and SACHIKO MATSUOKA interviewed KURT JAN TAKEUCHI who celebrated his 16th birthday on New Year’s Day, that is why he was named JAN.

ERI, nicknamed Kimchi is a member of the Lacrosse team. Her favorite word is “KAWILIWILI” (pleasant) which also best describes her character. Witty and with a ready smile for anyone, she plans to study abroad, presumably in the Philippines.

SACHIKO is cool and is never caught offguard. She has a very positive outlook in life and a genuine interest in people. Although her favorite expression is “BAHALA NA!” (come what may). She has her eyes set on working in an airport after graduation.

ERI: Saan ka nakatira?
K. JAN: Dito sa Osaka. Malapit sa Kyobashi.
SACHIKO: Ilang taon ka na?
K. JAN: Labing-anim na.
ERI: Ilan kayo sa pamilya?
K. JAN: Lima kaming magkakapatid. Panganay ako
Chris ang pangalan ng Papa ko at si Julie naman ang Mama ko.
SACHIKO: Nag-aaral ka pa ba?
K. JAN: Oo, First year Senior High School student ako sa Seijo Koto Gakko kung saan nag-aral si Hideo Nomo, yung sikat na baseball player.
ERI: Ilang beses ka nang nakapunta sa Pilipinas?
K. JAN: Apat na beses na.
SACHIKO: Saan ang paborito mong lugar sa Pilipinas?
K. JAN: Sa Manila. Tumira kasi ako roon ng limang taon noong nasa elementary ako. Kaya mas marami akong nakakatuwang experiences doon na di ko makakalimutan. Okey kasi ang mga Pinoy. Masaya lagi. Pero di naman ako mahilig pumunta sa mga "shopping malls" gaya ng marami. Sa bahay lang ako lagi
ERI: Ang husay mo namang magsalita ng Filipino at Nihonggo. Kung nag-iisip ka, anong lenguahe ang gamit mo?
K. JAN: Nihonggo lang. Sa bahay, nag-uusap kami ng mga magulang ko at mga kapatid sa wikang Filipino, kaya lang pag nag-aaway kami mas madaling sabihin sa Nihonggo.
SACHIKO: Masaya ka ba sa pinapasukan mong Senior high school?
K. JAN: Okey naman kasi may iba pang Pinoy na estudyante roon. Lahat kami e nahihirapan sa Kanji.
ERI: Ano naman ang gusto mong maging trabaho sa hinaharap?
K. JAN: Kusinero. Mahilig kasi akong magluto. Mana ako sa Mama ko. Marunong akong magluto ng adobo.
ERI at SACHIKO: Talaga?! Ang suwerte naman ng Mama mo.
K. JAN: Lahat naman kami ng mga kapatid kong sina Sean Christopher, Miharu, Hikaru at Joshua ay tumutulong sa paglilinis, paglalaba at paghuhugas ng plato.
ERI: Okey ka talaga.
SACHIKO: Maraming salamat sa interbyu.


by Sally Cristobal-Takashima

Is it really 2010 already? Weren't we just welcoming the new millennium? Gosh! What were we all doing while 10 years passed. Well, I guess we all had our eyes on the ball, working hard, raising our children, paying our bills, helping others in need, trying to be better persons hoping to finally discover the kingdom within. In ancient times, New Year was celebrated in Spring because people followed the Lunar Calendar. In 1873, 5 years after the Meiji Restoration Period, Japan adopted the Gregorian Calendar and started celebrating NewYear on the first day of January just like many Western countries. The first 3 days of New Year is a very special time for the Japanese. Young and old flock to the temples to say solemn prayers. Others choose to pray and remember their ancestors in the Butsudan at home. Since Obasan and Ojisan both passed away, it has become the duty of my husband and myself to hang the kadomatsu on the front door, get some flowers for the Genkan and the Butsudan, display the Kagamimochi (2 large omochi with an orange on top). We both arrange the Osechi dishes in the Jubako (lacquered boxes with layers). Recently it seems that Japanese children prefer to eat Western food than Osechi ryori but for the adults, no New Year celebration is complete without Osechi. It is fun to remember all the names of the dishes arranged in the Jubako but my favorites are Sake Steamed Shrimps (ebi no sake mushi), Candied Dried Sardines (Tagukuri) and the Grilled Sea Bream (Tai no shio yaki). It is always best to eat the Simmered Dishes (Nimono) and the Sweet Rolled Omelet soon as the taste changes faster than the other dishes.

The Grilled Sea Bream or what's left of it will be made into a Miso Soup later and the Kagamimochi will be consumed in different dishes later. With the many holiday and bonenkai parties during the previous year and the first 3 days of New Year, it is just right to give one's stomach a break and this is where the Nana Kusa Gayu (7 Herb Porridge) comes in. This is served on the 7th of January. It is like a warm arroz caldo soothing the stomach as well as the whole body.The set of 7 herbs is sold in all yaoya san and supermarkets.

The Japanese pays attention to Hatsuyume or the first dream of the New Year. To have a good dream, many believe that placing under one's pillow a picture of the Seven Gods of Fortune (Shichifukujin) riding on their Treasure Ship (Takarabune) will bring a good dream. Wait! How does one know a good dream? The version of a good dream in this case is seeing Mt. Fuji, a hawk and eggplants. Talaga... no joking! Sige, punta ka sa Wikipedia. Gosh! How can I see all this 3 combination in one dream? Yeah- that will be one of my mission this year, to find people who have actually saw these 3 items in a dream. By the way, going back to the Seven Gods of Fortune, there is an anime in popular culture about a school club with seven members. Each of them has the attribute of the Shichi-fukujin.

Super ginaw sa Osaka and more so sa Kyoto where I sometimes hear Mass. It seldom snows in Kansai but if it does, it's for a couple of days and heat patches really sell well. Anyone out there who knows a mantra for keeping warm? Please share it to save on our electricity bills. We recently had friends from Sydney who toured Japan for their Silver Wedding Aniversary. Rey and Marissa Manoto are both active community leaders in Sydney. The Philippine Community Council headed by Rey recently won the Presidential Award (Banaag Award) for Filipino Individuals and Organization Overseas. One of the memorable moments of their visit to Japan was staying in the World's Oldest Hotel. The Hoshi Ryoku Ryokan located in the Awazu Onsen area of Komatsu in Ishikawa Prefecture is entered in the Guiness World Record as the World's Oldest Hotel. It has been owned and managed by the same family for 46 generations. Rey and Marissa were so pleased with their stay there. The current owner even prepared a delicious meal to take on the Thunderbird train express train that took them from Ishikawa ken to Kyoto. Delia Nakashima, Linda Sakai and yours truly took them to the Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion) and we all enjoyed seeing the Rock Zen Garden in Ryoanji Temple.

If you have never set foot in Kyoto, you have never lived in Japan. "The best things in Kyoto are reserved for those willing to walk. So try walking at leisure through some parts of Kyoto simply to savor the atmosphere and life of the city" says Yokoso Japan, a travel leaflet published by Japan National Tourist Organization (JNTO Website http://www. ) Another "must" is the Boat Ride down Hozu River. From Kyoto Station, it takes only 12 minutes by rapid express train to get to JR Kameoka station, the boarding site for the Hozu River Boat Ride. Boats have heated seats from January to March. For details, check out their website: http://www.hozugawa or call 0771-22-5846. Kyoto Tourism Council (KTC) extends their invitation to their Kyoto Winter Special Events. "The events offers a unique opportunity to experience the "fairytale like lantern festivities, spend time with the enchanting Maiko and savor the exquisite Kyoto cuisine. KTC adds that it is a chance of a lifetime to discover the timeless wonder of Kyoto in Winter. The exclusive viewing of world heritage and national treasures offers the public a rare chance for an intimate experience of the profound beauty of traditional Kyoto." For details contact

For those who have plans to discover more of Japan, I'd say make it Kansai for 2010. The Kansai region comprises of 10 prefectures: Fukui, Hyogo, Kyoto, Mie, Nara, Osaka, Shiga, Tokushima, Wakayama and Tottori Prefectures. Kansai boasts of many tourist attractions including the five UNESCO World Cultural Heritage sites. Website

"Just one Kansai Thru Pass gives you access to Kansai trains, subways and buses! Just one pass takes you from Osaka Jo Castle to Meriken Park, Kiyomizu-dera Temple to Todai-ji Temple, Lake Biwa to Mt. Koya and of course to Doton-bori as well. With the purchase of a Kansai Thru Pass, one gets a FREE guidebook full of useful information. A child's ticket cost 1,900 yen and 3,800 yen for adults. Considering it is good for 2 days talagang bargain. O ano pa ang hinihintay ninyo. Kita kits tayo sa Kansai.

Lastly, I am happy to mention that my daughter, Mari, got married to his fiancee in November. They met in Arizona when they were both doing their undergraduate studies. Joey was left behind to finish graduate school. It was Mari who was always around when I need help using the computer to send out JP articles. Their wedding reception was held in a Banquet Hall on the top of the World Trade Center Building in Hong Kong. Congratulations to both of you! It was a lovely wedding!

And to all faithful Jeepney Press readers, a very Happy and Prosperous New Year to you and your families.

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 PAGE 16

Photo and text by Roger Agustin

2010 Starting Anew

I watched the movie “2012” a few weeks ago, and along with several other movies I watched in 2009, most of them foretell prophesies of a world coming to an end. While they were exaggerated to unbelievable proportions, there would always be a possibility that some of them are actually happening at a smaller and non-fictional scale but still destructive enough to cause us concern. While these movies entertain us with happy endings, I feel the main message doesn’t get through to us. That is, if we continue to abuse our environment, it will either try to reset itself on a destructive way or some alien beings will reset the whole earth for us. I believe the scary scenario were all fictional but were made to instill awareness about us humans being a part of the natural ecosystem. However, I also believe that nature does not give up easily by pulling the reset trigger when it can’t handle the damages we humans infuse into it, but rather, nature adapts to changes (even destructive changes) and persevere.

Our daily lives are not that different from what nature experiences. Day in and day out we are all exposed to constant changes and when we can’t manage to handle all the changes around us, we sometimes feel like pulling the reset trigger. (Personally, I don’t think that taking a ‘reset’ once in a while is a bad thing). 2010 will be another challenging year for all of us, and we will still face many changes. But look at the trees around you, rain or shine, they all stand still and persevere. I hope we learn from them and welcome and start 2010 with high hopes of a better year.

My best wishes for the New Year!

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 PAGE 17

Pisngi Ng Langit
ni Doc Gino

Sa kolum na ito, ating tatalakayin ang mga pang-araw-araw na karamdaman na maaaring dumapo kanino man. Nasa inyong pagpapasiya kung nais ninyong sundin ang payo ng inyong abang lingkod. Para sa inyong katanungan, maaring lumiham sa may akda sa email address na

Monosodium Glutamate Symptom Complex

Ang glutamic acid o monosodium glutamate (MSG) ay isang sangkap na nakapagpapasarap ng mga pagkain. Ito ay natural na kahalo sa mga binuburong sawsawan tulad ng toyo o keso. Ito rin ay kilalang sangkap ng vetsin. Kung sensitibo ang isang tao o kapag naparami ang pagkain nito, maaaring makaramdam ng pagkahilo o pagsusuka dahil sa epekto ng MSG sa utak. Basahin ang sumusunod na halimbawa ng tinatawag na Monosodium Glutamate Symptom Complex o Chinese Restaurant Syndrome.

Q: Last week, I had tonsillitis. So I went to a doctor and got my meds. Four days lang yung bigay na antibiotics. I was still feeling weak. Usually, laging 10 days akong bedridden kapag meron akong tonsillitis chills, fever, and muscle pain.

DG: Usually antibiotics are given for 7-10 days.

Q: Yesterday after class, I went home feeling more nauseated and weak. I thought gutom lang. So I went to the eat all you can Thai restaurant para mabilis kumain. I got a terrible migraine and then nahilo ako. Then, chills. Nagsuka ako ng nagsuka. Pagbalik ko sa bahay, to the point that I was able to empty my stomach. Grabe.

DG: Ano kaya ang ingredients ng mga kinain mo? Baka nag-trigger iyon ng migraine? O kaya, baka may ibang predisposing factors na nag-trigger noon?

Q: Nagsusuka ako ng laway na lang at the end yung muscle ko, contract ng contract para masuka lahat. After several hours, OK na. Tinulog ko na lang.

DG: Oo ganoon talaga, parang protective mechanism din ang pagsusuka para mailabas ang mga toxins na kinain.

Q: I didn’t go to school today. Should I go to hospital for dextrose?

DG: Kung hindi ka naman dehydrated at kung nakakainom at nakakakain ka naman, sa tingin ko ay pwede ka namang mag-home meds na lang.

Q: Kasi I had this before when I had stomach flu also.

DG: Okay lang siguro na home recovery ka. That is, kung gusto mo rin magpa-ospital?

Q: Just looking at the monitor screen makes me nauseated a bit and my energy level is totally zero. Takot akong kumain at baka masuka pa. Kaya I don't want to take meds again at baka naman masuka din.

DG: Small frequent feedings ka na lang muna. O di kaya ay magsipsip ka ng Pocari Sweat na lang muna para hindi ka matuyuan ng tubig sa katawan. Ganon na lang muna.

Q: No more trips to the doctor?

DG: I think u will do just fine now.

Q: O sya. Will try to get a Pocari Sweat downstairs. If I can get the energy to go down.

DG: O sige. Magpalakas ka diyan. Kung anu’t anuman, andito lang ako sa virtual reality.

Q: Thank you for the advice.


Pedestrian Lane
by Mylene Miyata

Goodbye 2009!
Hello 2010!

Kumusta? I'm sure everybody had a blast for the past few days. 'Had fun? How does your new diary look like? At gaano naman kalupit ang mga challenges na haharapin natin for our battle in line with our new year's resolution? Resolutions?!

Hindi pwedeng walang improvement kada takbo ng panahon, di ba? Kaya naman eto, pag-usapan natin 'tong ilan sa mga pangkaraniwang bagay. This may also serve as a review for some. Either way, just try to ponder on!

When I first heard about the fact na mas importante raw sa lalaking Hapon ang trabaho kesa sa oras sa pamilya nila, I was really upset. Hindi yata tayo ganoon sa Pilipinas. Pamilya ang nasa top ng listahan nating mga Pinoy, higit sa lahat. Pero dito sa Japan, bakit nga ba priority ng asawang lalake ang trabaho higit sa pamilya nito? Is it really a culture based fact? Or could there be anything to explain it?

One cold morning while I was having coffee before going to my part time job, I started to wonder since it used to be a complete puzzle for me then. I can still clearly recall kung gaano karaming Pinay ang nagrereklamo na late na raw umuwi ang asawa nya from work. Lagi na lang daw trabaho ang inuuna. I came to patch it up with the present economic situation here in Japan. Grabe ang economic crisis, recession and even depression dito, di po ba? So, thoughts of it started to cling gradually. After a couple of years observing, this is what I learned po.

I observed that this state of fact gave an unpleasant effect to a number of family conditions in different ways. Some people use it as a ground for separation and some people use it as an excuse to infidelity. Well, there is no blame to be put on anyone though. There is definitely a misunderstanding happening somewhere in impression that leads to several beliefs and realization. We are lucky enough if we get on the right path. Sad if we may not be guided with wisdom in reacting to it accordingly. Let's take a glimpse!

Dito kasi sa kanila, hindi uso ang close family ties, diba? Lalong di gaanong uso ang extended family affairs kung pupunahin natin. So, if we try to extract few reasons behind, kung bakit ganon na lang kung magsipag-gambaro sa trabaho halimbawa ang mga Hapones. We may come to realize na hindi kasi sila sanay umasa sa kahit kanino for help. Be it tangible or not. Gusto nila, sila mismo ang kikilos para sa mga bagay na nais nila. They are very independent sa halos lahat ng bagay. Kaya naman, kung minsan, kahit na mga small family gatherings, hindi pa rin nila ma-afford na gawin, right? Of course, these practices have their plus factors and minuses po. Trying to analyze it, we may come up with the conclusion that wala nga naman silang choice kundi pahalagahan ang ikinabubuhay nila. Otherwise, saan nga naman sila pupulutin, diba? Maingat nga naman nila itong panghahawakan, sa takot na wala silang magiging fallback just in case. Kung kaya naman kahit pa maisakripisyo ang oras na dapat mas mailaan para sa pamilya nito kung minsan ay nagte-take na lang din ng risk itong si bread winner. Okay naman sana kung intindido ito ni misis. Minsan kasi merong hindi nakakaunawa. At nagsisintimyento na kulang na daw sa oras si mister sa kanya. Naku! Maliban na lang kung talagang maloko si mister, ha? Natural, kahit sino ang mapapaisip. Bakit ba kinukulang ng oras si Mister? Kung alam naman natin at ramdam na hustuhang nagsusumikap si mister para sa pamilya. Huwag po tayong makakalimot na kulang man sa oras kung minsan, ultimately, para sa pamilya din po ang tungo ng lahat ng pagsisikap ni Mister sa trabaho.

To simplify it, when there are moments being shared, i-maximize natin ito para naman it will be a quality time talaga at di maaksaya. Enjoy each moment. Never waste the privilege to be happy together. It is a wealth comparable to none. It will serve as a weapon to each struggle in life... HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Kwento ni Nanay Anita

Sa pagkakataong ito ay mayroon akong gusto ibahagi tungkol sa sarili kong karanasan. Itong buwan nang Nobyembre 2009, kapapasok palang ng buwan ay napakarami nang bagay na di ko lubos maisip. Ang ating Diyos ay talaga ngang mapagmahal. Ang aga NIYANG pumasok sa akin at sa aking pamilya.

Nobyembre 4, may tawag sa apo ko. Kailangan daw siyang pumunta agad sa Homukyoku or The Legal Affairs Bureau. Kaya kinabukasan, Nobyembre 5, alas diyes ng umaga pumunta kami ng apo ko. Nagulat ako nang dinala kami sa silid at binati ang apo ko. Ipinaliwanag sa amin na sa araw na iyon ay ganap na siyang Hapones. Masayang masaya ang apo ko at ito ay hindi niya inaakala sa buhay niya. Masaya na siya nang "ininchi" siya nang kanyang amang Hapon noong 16 na taong gulang pa lamang siya. Noong una nilang pagkikita, siya ay 14 na taon gulang pa lang at masasabi ko rin na mature na ito sa kanyang pag-iisip. Dahil noong ipinanganak siya sa Pilipinas sa Mindanao, ay doon lamang siya pinuntahan ng kanyang ama para makita ang kanyang bagong silang na anak.

Masasabi ko rin na hindi ko akalain dahil sa batas nang Hapon, pag walang kasal ang isang babae at lalakeng Hapon, ang anak nila ay magiging anak nang Hapon sa visa kategori na Nihon Higushia.
Pero dito ko napatunayan na WALANG MAGAGAWA ANG BATAS NANG TAO SA BATAS NANG DIYOS. Dahil sa pagkapanalo nang ilang Pilipinong mag-iina kung saan inilaban nila ang kanilang mga karapatan bilang anak nang Hapon na walang kasal sa kanilang mga ina, ay nabigyan sila ng Japanese nationality. At sa awa nang MAYKAPAL last June 2008, ang ipinaglaban ng mga Pilipinong mag-iina ay nanalo. Kaya ang batas ay nabago at ito ay di lamang para sa mga Pilipino kundi sa lahat dahil ito ay ang bagong batas na naaprubahan. Kaya "Mabuhay!" kayong mag-iina na nakipaglaban sa karapatan nang kanilang mga anak. Minsan pang pinatunayan na WALANG MAGAGAWA ANG BATAS NANG TAO KAPAG ANG DIYOS NA ANG GUMAWA.

At noong Nobyembre 7, Sabado, ay naganap ang Profession of Vow ng aking bunsong anak bilang isang Lay Missionary ng Mount Carmel. Wala akong masabi kundi MARAMING MARAMING SALAMAT PANGINOON !!!
Napaiyak ako sa tuwa. Minsan na naman pinatunayan nang Diyos na walang imposible sa KANYA. At paulit-ulit kong sasabihin ...
Sa Ingles...
Whatever we don't see nor touch, there is always an end to it but, whatever we can't see nor touch but we could feel, that is the one that is ETERNAL.

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 PAGE 18

Ni Yellowbelle Duaqui

Jesus Christ: The Refugee

Fresh from attending a conference on migration, I became interested as to how the religious point of view, particularly Christianity, can illumine this issue beyond the economic, sociological, political and demographic reasons provided to explain it. I’m sure Filipinos, especially the Christians and the migrants among us, would be intellectually interested to know more about migration and to understand it from a spiritual standpoint – particularly the Christian perspective.

I had a chance to chat with a Jesuit priest who presented a paper on refugees during the dinner hosted by the conference organizers. I asked him this question: Was Jesus Christ a refugee? Before I share what we have discussed, let us clarify first what we mean by “refugee.”

According to Article 1 of The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the key legal document defining who is a refugee, their rights and the legal obligation of states, a refugee is a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country…" (

In Search of Refuge
The latest data on refugees from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is very alarming. It reveals that there are about 42 million forcibly displaced people all over the world at the end of 2008. In this 42 million individuals, 15.2 million are refugees based on UNHCR definition, 827,000 asylum-seekers (pending cases), and 26 million internally displaced persons (IDPs).

In 2008, UNHCR identified around 6.6 million stateless persons in 58 countries. But the UNHCR noted that the total number of stateless persons worldwide might be far higher, about 12 million people. It is important to note that women are girls represent, on the average, 47 percent of the refugees and asylum-seekers. Forty-four percent of the refugees and asylum-seekers are children (meaning they are below 18 years old).

Four fifths of the world’s refugees reside in developing countries. Pakistan is host to the largest number of refugees worldwide (1.8 million) in relation to its economic capacity, followed by the Syrian Arab Republic (1.1 million) and the Islamic Republic of Iran (980,000).

Almost half of all refugees identified by the UNHCR are Afghans and Iraqis. One out of four refugees in the world is from Afghanistan (2.8 million). Afghans have spread out in 69 different asylum countries. Iraqis are the second largest refugee group, with 1.9 million having sought refuge mainly in neighbouring countries.

Was Jesus a Refugee?
Refugees are strangers to the land where they are dislocated. The people in the societies where they settle look at them as a “foreigner.” The Catholic Church had always contemplated the image of Christ among people who move, including and especially the refugees (as Christ himself moved due to political persecution). “I was a stranger and you made me welcome,” says Mt 25:35.

If the experience of persecution leading to displacement will be used as a key indicator to identify a refugee, then Jesus Christ was one. Ever since his infanthood, Jesus Christ was a target of persecution. The first mortal to launch a massively organized persecution of the infant Jesus was King Herod, wary of a threat to his power posed by the birth of Jesus Christ, who was hailed to be the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One. This led to the flight to Egypt, where he was a foreigner.

The life history of Jesus Christ until his Crucifixion spoke of a series of moves from one community to another, preaching the Word of God to the local people. Jesus Christ was a man constantly on the move, going from one town or village to another, a man “who has nowhere to lay his head.” (Mt 8:20; Lk 9:58)

Mary, the mother of Jesus, can be also contemplated as a ‘living symbol of the women emigrant.” She gave birth to Jesus away from her native home and had to flee to Egypt to protect the infant Jesus from persecution. (Lk 2:1-7)

Christians, throughout the history of the establishment of Christianity, have suffered persecution like Jesus Christ. St. Stephen, who was the first Christian martyr who got stoned to death outside Jerusalem one year after the Crucifixion of Christ, preceded the long list of persecuted Christians in the early history of the Christian Church.

But despite the persecution, Christianity went on in history and continued to grow, beyond the rationalities of the Roman authorities and others who persecuted those who decided to embrace this faith.

When You Are Persecuted

Throughout history, people have been persecuted for their beliefs. In the perpetual struggle for power, it has been common practice for those who wield power to use force and cruelty to subdue opposition.

The best example given in the Bible as a response to persecution that will be “pleasing to God” was the one exemplified by David. He prayed to God for relief, strength and protection from his enemies, admitting his own weaknesses, but never responding in anger or seeking revenge. He placed his absolute trust on God for the outcome of his undertaking. He trusted God for the results. This is the true meaning of faith as a response to persecution.

When we are persecuted, and we question why God permits it to happen, it is best to keep in mind that it is always for our greater good.

It is instructive to hold on to God in times when we are tested, and it is during this time that we grow as Christians in leaps and bounds.


by Edward Labuguen

Nakalipas na naman ang isang taon sa buhay natin, at panibagong taon ang inuumpisahan nating tahakin. Salamat 2009, Welcome 2010! Marami sa atin ang nagiisip kung paano gawing mas maganda ang buhay sa taon na ito, at marami din siguro sa atin ang gumawa ng tinatawag na "new year's resolution." Alisin na ang mga hindi magandang kaugalian, mas makabuluhang pakikisama sa pamilya, ipon ng mas maraming pera, ayaw ng manigarilyo, magpapayat, mas maraming kaibigan, at marami pang iba. Yan ang karaniwan na sinasabi natin sa ating mga "resolutions", na kalimitan din ay nakakalimutan o hindi naman sinusunod.

Ang Bagong Taon ay napakagandang panahon na irepaso ang nakaraan, at pagplanuhan ang hinaharap. Para magawa natin ito ng mahusay ay kailangan ang tamang dedikasion. Hindi ko naman sinasabi na hindi maganda ang gumawa ng mga "new year's resolution" ngunit ang mahalaga, ay kung paano natin ito masusunod o maisasagawa. Ang buhay ay hindi lamang sa pangako, kailangang kumilos at gawin ang nararapat para masunod ang ating mga mithiin.

"If you are truly committed to achieving your new year's resolution you will forget about calling it a new year's resolution! It needs to be a constant living resolution that you are committed to achieving. This living resolution does not fade after January finishes, because it is alive and takes much more than a yearly review to survive."

Kailangan ng dedikasion sa bawat galaw, sa bawat pagpupunyagi para makamit ang mga bagay na minimithi natin, para sa ikakasaya at ikakaunlad ng buhay ng bawat isa sa atin. At sa pagtahak ng buhay na ito, hindi lingid sa atin na kadalasan, ay maraming sagabal na kailangan nating pagdaanan. Ang daloy ng tubig sa ilog, ay hindi palaging maalumanay, paminsan-minsan ay may mga alon na marahas, minsan naman ang tubig ay naihahampas sa mga batuhan, ngunit patuloy pa rin itong dumadaloy. "Life is full of pains, frustration, sadness, but it means that we continue to live, but life is finished when you quit!" At isama palagi sa ating buhay ang buhay na pananalig sa Maykapal na siyang kaagapay natin. Palakasin ang paniniwala sa Diyos, at dagdagan ang dasal. Huwag din nating kalimutan, na tayo ay patuloy na nabubuhay hindi lamang para sa sarili, para sa pamilya, kundi para sa lahat ng tao na ating nakakasalamuha. "An act of goodness that you do to your fellowmen can come back to you, or to someone that you love when you are not expecting it. If you do not see or feel this act of goodness returned, at least you have made a difference in this world, and in the end, isn't that what life is all about? Start gathering all the love there is on earth, or even in heaven, and start fitting them all into your heart."

Be unusual this 2010, and make your new year's resolution a living resolution that remains a part of your life! Mabuhay ang mga Pinoy sa Japan!

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 PAGE 20

By: Dr. Miriam Sun Arenas


Yes, there is life after cancer, even after being diagnosed of cancer stage four! For such a long time now, cancer has been the most dreaded disease because it is tantamount to a death sentence, a nightmare on Elm Street, being HIV positive, or just a never-ending maze without exits.

Indeed, to find a cure for cancer is the key to a better life for cancer patients. Imagine their agony of having to wear a wig or a hat because of hair loss due to chemotherapy. Not to mention the painful injections that are part of their daily routine.

Statistics show that 104 people die of cancer each day, that means about four persons die every hour! But this will be no more, since there is now a cure for cancer! That may be hard to believe, but yes, you heard that right! Now, a decline in cancer deaths, is that we will be looking forward to, in the years to come.

The cure? Cryosurgery. Simply put, it is surgery using freezing or extremely cold temperature. It entails having small cryoprobes inserted into the tumor and around it through small punctures on the skin, thru the guidance of CT scan. The probes create extreme cold temperatures, below freezing point, in order to kill the tumor. This method is faster, more effective and less painful as compared to the conventional surgery where the body is cut open to remove the tumor or the whole organ involved.

Cryosurgery, an advanced technology in the field of cancer treatment is introduced in Guanzhou, China specifically at Fuda Cancer Hospital.

Besides cryosurgery, other forms of treatment available in Fuda hospital are:
a) Immunotherapy, wherein an injection is given to the patient in order to help his body regain its strength by boosting the immune system
b) Brachytherapy, a form of radiation treatment that uses "seeds" filled with iodine that are placed very close to the tumor in order to kill it.

These treatment methods are actually developed in Western countries and most doctors in Fuda hospital have been trained in U.S. or European schools. Hence, Fuda hospital is considered an "alternative hospital" if the current hospitals do not offer these latest treatments. Usually, treatment takes a month and costs on the average P1M depending on the extent and severity of the cancer. Take note that only cancer involving solid tumors are covered by these treatment methods. Hence, cancer of the blood which is leukemia is not included under this category.

Indeed, this breakthrough in cancer therapy thru cryosurgery and other
modalities being specialized by doctors in Fuda Cancer Hospital in
Guanzhou, China offers HOPE for the previously hopeless cancer-stricken patients.

by: Joseph S. de Leon

Working in Japan, A Mission

Japan is one of the countries that all foreigners wanted to visit as a tourist or even live here for good. There are many reasons why we come to Japan. Some people want to enjoy the rich culture, delicious food, exciting four seasons, hospitable Japanese and other surprising things that this country has to offer. There are people who come here for greener pasture and engage themselves as one of the manpower that Japan needs to help build its economy. Some engage in a blue-collar and others in a white collar jobs. Although Japan has better job opportunities to offer than in our country, one of the challenges that we have to face among others, is the language barrier. Foreigners who are new in Japan will sometimes find themselves speechless if they don’t speak Japanese. We can just count using our fingers the number of our Japanese friends who can communicate with us in English.

This is where the job of Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs) or English Teachers in Japan come in. Japan is now giving great emphasis on the study of English as early as elementary level. Many foreigners from native English-speaking countries and from countries with English as their official language to include the Philippines are now employed as ALTs in Public Schools. I am one of those Filipinos doing our mission here to educate the Japanese children to learn the international language of industry. Teaching English in Japan is a challenging yet a very rewarding job. It’s now my 5th year as an ALT of Ichikai Town, Tochigi Prefecture. I have spent five years teaching with the Japanese English teachers and teaching the children themselves and experience tells me that Japanese are eager to learn English. Japanese teachers are also doing their best to learn the language and be able to communicate in English and prepare the children to be globally competitive as they work hand in hand with their ALTs. Since 2005, Ichikai Town teachers have been very cooperative in this mission to mold the minds of Japanese children in terms of English communication.

This academic year, with the able leadership of our new ALT coordinator at Ichikai Elementary School, series of English activities to further enhance the ability of the Japanese teachers in English Team Teaching (both Homeroom Teacher and ALT) were planned. For year 2009, I did three (3) demonstration team teaching classes with Ichikai Elementary School’s Japanese teachers. I was given the opportunity to share our skills in English teaching along with several Japanese English teachers in various grade levels. The best part of it was these series of demonstration activities were observed by most English teachers in various grade levels in our city. I felt very happy to know that our demonstration received high remarks from evaluators especially from the representatives of the Board of Education.
Last month, I had a demonstration activity which focused on Christmas. The lesson was focused on Christmas items and gift -giving using English as the medium.

This coming January 20, 2010, another demonstration of English team-teaching is scheduled with Grade 1 Homeroom teacher and the students themselves. It’s very evident that Japan Education gives emphasis on the English ability of the Japanese students and I am proud to say that me and other ALTs are part of this mission.

One of the reasons why I didn’t change town where to teach English and prefer to remain in my present town since September 2005 is because of the teachers’ cooperation and effort to have a better English team-teaching class. The Board of Education of Ichikai Town, teachers of Akabane Elementary School; Ichikai Elementary School; Kokai Minami Elementary School and Kokai Chuo Elementary School, PTA , children and the community are the reasons why I want to continue my mission as an English Teacher in this area of Japan.

Jeepney Press January-February 2010 PAGE 21

by Jade Pangilinan

In Search of San Fernando Lantern Making History

Our City answers to the monikers “Christmas Capital of the Philippines” or Lantern Capital of the Philippines primarily because of the enduring lantern tradition highlighted by the annual Ligligan Parul or Giant Lantern Festival competition. As a testament to this, Paskuhan Village, shaped like a lantern, was inaugurated in 1990 as the world’s third Christmas village though it does not function as such these days.

Compared to the Japanese lantern making tradition which dates back to thousands of years ago, ours in San Fernando is relatively young at about a hundred years old. Compared to Japanese lanterns, the San Fernando lantern is more colorful and dynamic with the fusion of blinking lights with lively Christmas music. These could be attributed primarily to the difference in cultures since Christmas is a bigger event for us here than in Japan.

These days I have been pre-occupied by studying the history of lantern making in San Fernando as part of our efforts to chronicle how the tradition possibly started and evolved through the years. Oral accounts, primarily based on the family history of the Davids and Quiwas of Barangay Santa Lucia, say that this year is the centennial of lantern making as pioneered by their forefather Francisco Estanislao in 1908. The details on how and why this happened remain unknown, but genealogical reckoning will show that present day lantern maker Erning David Quiwa is the great grandson of Estanislao whose daughter Fortunata married Severino David who is credited to have invented the battery operated lanterns in the 1940s. The son of Severino and Fortunata, Rodolfo David, is credited to have invented the rotor and redefined the parul sampernandu.

Going a little farther back, local historians like tatang Norming will trace the tradition to the conversion of early Kapampangans to Catholicism in the 16th century by the Augustinian friars who introduced the practice of saintly processions during which candles were lit. The naval victory of the British invaders during the colonial era was said to have been celebrated with fireworks and lighting of lanterns in Bacolor, which gave birth to the La Naval fiesta. In turn, the practice was transmitted to San Fernando which used to be part of Bacolor (pre-1754), possibly along with the transfer of provincial capital in 1904.

Alejandro Roces in one account explains that the concept (linguistic or otherwise) of parol originated from the lighthouse Pharos in Alexandria, that famous wonder of the ancient word. Chinese and Japanese lantern making traditions are also chronicled to have been extant for the last couple of thousand years.

Given all the interactions of our Kapampangan ancestors with other cultures, these explanations on the lantern origins are all plausible.

The search for lantern history in more recent years is even more daunting. In the city hall alone we no longer have documents pertaining to the lantern festivals prior to 2001 and so on. Popular history has it that the lantern festival as we know it started in 1928, then held in honor of Aurora Aragon Quezon who personally awarded the winners. At that time the Quezons were making a summer place out of Mount Arayat (the Bano area where the resort is located). However, I have not seen first hand accounts of this incident taking place. Either that or we haven’t been looking really hard enough.

The earliest written account of a lantern contest taking place in San Fernando I encountered in a copy of Ing Misionero, dutifully shared by prolific writer Mr. Romeo Cabusao. The reckoning of the said document is January 1930, from which I could deduce that the event happened the previous year. It just mentions that the winner of a lantern contest was San Jose while Del Pilar and Santo Nino also crafted beautiful lanterns.

In the book “Ing Balen kung Tibuan,” photos of the 63rd Giant Lantern Festival held in 1995 were featured. Based on our calculations, if it was only in 1978 and 1979 that the festival was cancelled, the first would have been held in 1932. But this assumes that through out the World War II years the annual competition persisted.

Winningest barangay in history is Barangay Del Pilar with an unparalleled feat of championships from 1983 to 1991 under the helm of the legendary Mario Datu. Santa Lucia is said to have been champion in 1957 to 1959. The oldest giant lantern photo that I have seen is that of the 1956 champion Santo Nino, courtesy of tatang Erning.

Tatang Norming Del Rosario in his history of barangay Del Pilar notes that it was in 1931 that their barangay first joined the festival. More interesting is that in 1932 the barangay was said to have made a lantern entry in the image of Kingkong, created by the parent of a certain Jose Galang. Tatang Erning recalls that one of his uncles, Fernando David, was awarded by the Bishop in 1966 for a cross-shaped lantern that opened to reveal the sacred host.

In this year’s Giant Lantern Competition, our lantern makers are making history again. For the first time in seventeen years, the village of Dolores is champion once more. The village of San Pedro showcased the very giant lantern made of fiberglass. And more lanterns than ever bring messages of peace for the Philippines and the world.

by Stephanie Jones Jallorina

The Terminal

Casting Tom Hanks, the movie with the same title, is a story of a European national whose homeland city spewed into a coup just when he was en route to the USA for visit. He is a threat to the USA and he can die if he goes back. And so he must live in the "Terminal" for a time.

There were quite a lot of bus, cab, limousines, trains and airport terminals that I have been to in 2009. First roll of the year was when a close brother in Christ, Jeff, pressed release a day or two before he was bound to Pinas to handle Brastel Manila branch. But knowing Jeff, he always will excel and live anywhere and everywhere. Next was when my best cousin Jen got married. Marriage? I still think it requires full preparation but I am proud of her for making that bold step to true happiness and now being blessed with indeed a good husband and a cute princess. Then my grandfather, our patriarch here in Japan, finally joined our Heavenly Father; and, so did the King of Pop Michael Jackson, US Senator Edward Kennedy, actor Patrick Swayze and recently Stephen Gately of Boyzone. Because of their illness, some people have anticipated their death. Others were shocked with a sudden passing. But all were left in much grief and longing.

In June, our little sister in Christ, Moneng, also left for Pinas to be with her beloved. Tito Bob also moved to Hong Kong to accompany his wife. Both followed their hearts, supported their partners’ endeavors and are living in bliss. Our Joann, “syimpre” (Ilonggo translation and pronunciation for “of course”), got a sponsorship from her former employers who just moved to the USA. Joann can provide more for her family and be more professionally equipped by grabbing that rare opportunity. Same goes for Ate Lani who is ever diligent and dedicated in all her work. May she find the answers to all her questions while she seizes all her options in the States.

I attended more despedida parties because many went to the Terminal. An unknown author has coined, “The anticipation of death is far worse than death itself.” It is an agony to know your loved one is leaving at one time but I found out that it is harder to know him/her leaving unnoticed or that you do not have much time left to even say goodbye. My good friends and brothers in Christ, Raenor and Glenn, almost left unnoticed. I thought Raenor will only take a Christmas break but other brothers told me he will stay a bit longer for an exam. Glenn as a finale for this year, was surprised himself with his new post and that instead of what we only thought as a vacation ended as leave for good.

Many of us may have gone to the Terminal this year to send off a family, a friend, a loved one. We may not have been able to handle the farewell really well as it is supposed to be and may have prolonged our grieving period. But we should be reminded that the Terminal was also built to fetch the same group of people whom God sends to fill in the gaps. We should not fear the Terminal itself and any terminal cases yet ask for His guidance for He knows the plans He has for us. Let us welcome 2010 with open arms, open mind and open heart. Let us remain open in love and trust everything in God.