Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jeepney Press May-June 2010 issue page 18

KANSAI CRUSADE by Sally Cristobal-Takashima

It was almost seven o'clock in the evening. We had just finished having dinner and I was just finishing up tidying the kitchen when the phone rang. It was a woman's voice, someone I didn't know. She introduced herself as a volunteer of the City Office's Shakai Fukushi Kyogikai (Social Welfare Assistance Group) and said we have a common acquaintance. Kaneko San wants to know if I can talk to - let's call her Marcie, a Filipina who is in need of assistance about her daily life in Japan. I was given her phone number and I immediately called her. Sure enough, she returned my call. We agreed to meet and have coffee at McDo the following day. She came on time which shows she is a busy person and strictly keeps a schedule. That was fine with me and who doesn't!

Tunay na Philippine beauty si Marcie. Mataas with long black hair, quite slim, mahinahon at magalang. Madali siyang mapagkakamalang cultural dancer or even a fashion model. Bago kami nag-usap ay binigyan ko siya ng isang set ng colored pencils and chocolates for her 2 children and 3 most recent issues of Jeepney Press, of course, for her to connect with other Japan based Pinoys. Matutuwa raw at mayroon ng mababasa ang tatay niya na nasa Japan para tumingin sa mga anak niya. Her oldest son is 6 years old and the second who is 4 years old is the one who was born premature. He is also visually impaired and is attending a special school for handicapped children.

Marcie's husband stopped coming home and she doesn't know his whereabouts. The supplementary income she receives from the city is automatically deposited to her husband's account and never reaches her. Her request to the Bureau of Immigration to extend her father's stay in Japan was denied which means he must return to the Philippines in June. It also means she has to change jobs and adjust it to the schedule of an after school day care center if she is lucky to find one. Dahil tunay na walang kuwenta ang napangasawa niyang Hapon, iniisip na din niyang makipag-hiwalay. Alam ni Marcie na maari siyang kumuha ng long term Japanese visa as a mother of Japanese nationals.

Para bang napuno ang ulo ko sa dami ng problema ni Marcie. Not to waste any time, we went to the City Office. She was given a Special Day Care School to call and was advised to file a Missing Person Report at the Police Headquarters. For my part, I will introduce Marcie to other Filipinas I know for job infos and for her to have a ka-chikahan. I also was informed by the Osaka Prefecture Counselling Center for Foreigners that her father's visa may be extended as a special case. I will take Marcie and her children to our church so she may find solace and a quite place to pray. Suddenly I remember several passages from the Bible like the ones that follow:
Matthew 11:28 Come to me all who are burdened and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. I am gentle and humble of heart and I will give you rest.

The Bible has always been one of the best selling books in the world. Each time you read it, a new sparkling gem is discovered. A renewed understanding of the parables is reached and we feel energized ready to experience daily moments of resurrection as if everyday is Easter Sunday.

The Annual Cherry Blossom Viewing Party of the Kamogawa Kai was held on April 3rd at the traditional Japanese house of the Ogawa Family. As always, it was to welcome Spring and enjoy the Kamo River in Kyoto lined up with Sakura trees. Along the river is the Ogawa Family's house which accommodated many members of the Kyoto International Community including exchange students, scholars, professors as well as members of the Kamogawa Kai who continue to devote their time and effort to promote international relations as well as appreciation of Japanese culture and traditions. We all enjoyed the homemade Japanese delicacies, the Tea Ceremony and most of all, the English Rakugo perfomed by Ken San and Otono San who by the way won a prize in an English Speaking Contest in Alaska. Omedeto Gozaimasu!

All the guests enjoyed the English Rakugo performances about the Florist's Talking Flowers, Kurumaya San and the Samurai. Warai wa honto ni kenko no moto. I never laughed so much in a while and I have become a fan of English Rakugo. I am actually thinking of inviting Ken San and Otono San to one of the future Philippine Community events if it can be arranged.

More on Kansai events. A Study Meeting on Human Rights in the Philippines was recently at the Osaka University, Nakanoshima Campus with Undersecretary Severo S. Catura. It was sponsored by the HURIGHTS OSAKA and Osaka University's GLOCOL (Global Collaboration Center).

The Knights of Rizal and the Philippine Community Coordina-ting Council visited Shirahama and enjoyed the famous Tsubaki Onsen, as well the awesome view of the Pacific Ocean from their hotel rooms. It was almost a five hour drive from Osaka. Famous for umeboshi and oranges, needless to say, there was much shopping along the way. The 3 hour Karaoke Marathon was truly a time to remember for everyone. For those who missed the trip - sama kayo next time.

The Kyoto Pag-asa Community celebrated the 25th aniversary of its founding starting with a Thanksgiving Mass, lunch and a musical program. The Notre Dame Sister and the Fransican Fathers were present. The event was held at the Kyoto Cathedral.

The San Lorenzo Ruiz Filipino and Japanese Community and the Kitano Filipino Community had a Hanami BBQ in Sakuranomiya, Osaka. The church based Phili-ppine Community in Ibaraki continues to have Bible Study and encourages more people to join.

Meanwhile, plans are being made to hold an Independence Day party at the Hotel New Otani in June for Kansai based Filipinos. The organizers will be the Knights of Rizal and the Philippine Community Coordinating Council.

To all loyal Jeepney Press readers, enjoy your Golden Week. Till the next issue.


Arangkada Pinoy ni Yellowbelle Duaqui

The Story Behind the Sakuras in Yotsuya

"What we have done for ourselves
alone dies with us;
what we have done for others and the world remains,
and is immortal."

- Albert Pike, 19th-century Scottish Rite Freemason

Hearing a good story can make one light-hearted and inspired throughout the day. So here is one good story that deserves to be read.

Churchgoers in St. Ignatius Church in Yotsuya, Tokyo will surely not fail to notice the beauty of the sakura (cherry-blossoms) along Sophia dori during spring. The sakura-lined avenue is a pleasant sight to behold, a joy not only to the people who flock there for picnic but even to the fleeting passersby.

Hearing the story behind these beautiful sakuras is as heartwarming as its charming appearance. I am grateful to have heard about this story during my graduate entrance ceremony (nyuugakushiki) in Sophia University during the Fall Semester last year. The university president, in his welcome address, related the story behind the sakuras dotting the avenue just outside the main gate, generously giving shade to the picnic grounds.

The university president recalled that a Sophia University graduating student, a poor boy from one of the far-flung towns of Japan, was responsible for planting what we now see as full-grown sakuras decades ago. He did it, according to the president, to show his gratitude to the university for educating him. He sold his clothes and other living items shortly after graduation in order to buy the seeds he needed for planting. As captain of the Sophia rugby team, he then rounded up his team mates not for their usual agenda of strategizing their game plan, but to plan the planting of the sakuras. Now that we see the results as these seeds have grown, the comfortable distance between each tree reveals the careful planning that they did to plant the sakura trees.

Now, we see and enjoy the sakuras in their majestic splendor. It was something that people did not experience until such time that the noble feeling of gratitude that sprouted from the heart of the graduating student have achieved fruition.

When one looks at the graceful stretch of the branches that seemingly reach out to the people passing by or to those simply resting in the benches, the meaning might be invisible. But knowing the story behind it will make one realize that the sakura branches that sought to stretch their reach is essentially a gesture of generosity.

This story behind the sakuras in Sophia dori is a very simple story, yet profound. It was a story of selflessness borne out of a beautiful heart.


GENKI! by By: Dra. Miriam Sun-Arenas


In this age of global warming and the move towards the greenhouse effect, PROBIOTICS are IN! Probiotics act as an alternative in the prevention and treatment of childhood diarrhea as in viral
gastroenteritis as well as in adult intestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome and lactose intolerance.

A closer look at probiotics bring us to a trend towards a natural approach to health.
Contents of probiotics may be partly or as a whole, the following: Lactobacillus acidophyllus, casei, lactis Bifidobacterium infantis, bifidum, longum Streptococcus thermophilus

Sources of probiotic agents are yogurt and cultured milk like Yakult. Other commercially available probiotics are available in capsule or in sachet form. Examples of which are Progut, Protexin, Robovites to name a few. Probiotics are also found in some commercially available milk preparation for kids.

As a whole, probiotics enhance vitality and restores health and balance. That’s why they are called "good bacteria." Moreover, probiotics also have anti-allergic properties and they increase the body’s defense against illnesses, hence they serve as immune system boosters.

What’s the difference between a probiotic and a prebiotic?

Probiotics are live non- harmful bacteria that when consumed in adequate amounts, give beneficial effects to the health of the host.

Prebiotics, on the other hand, are non-digestible food ingredients that beneficially affect the host by selectively stimulating the growth and activity of a number of bacterial species that can support the health of the host. Example of prebiotic fructo-oligosaccharide
(FOS) is the content of the enteric coated capsule of probiotics which is there to help stimulate the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria.

Synbiotics contain both probiotics and prebiotics. The survival of probiotics can be improved by providing them with prebiotics.

So what are you waiting for? Go grab the IN-thing these days! As they say, GO GREEN! Or GO PROBIOTIC!

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