Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Jeepney Press July-August Issue COVER



Cover Art and design by Dennis Sun

Jeepney Press July-August Issue Centerfold


Centerfold: FACING THE LIGHT
Triumphs Over Trials in the Life of Gino Matibag, MD, PhD

by Christopher Santos

Most of the shadows of this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

All of us Filipinos living in Japan, at one point in time, would have to address our own personal dilemma of whether it’s time to return to our home country. We will have to ponder if the stay here was worth the while, and what have we done to earn our keep under the sun in this part of the globe. What did we get out from all of these, and, more importantly, what can we give back in return?

In the pilot issue of Jeepney Press a number of years back, we have covered in one of the columns the topic about bridging the two distinct worlds of Japan and the Philippines. In the last issue, we featured a young person’s take on how to partially serve that purpose. Jeepney Press now presents one of its resident writers who actually went back home to contribute in realizing that much needed personal integration in his own right. And, what could be a more sustainable way to reach out and do that than to publish a book about it.

These days, reference to Gino Matibag, MD, PhD, is increasingly becoming synonymous with his literary work, “JAPAN Lights and Shadows.” Aside from being a licensed physician, a seasoned medical and academic researcher, and now a published author, Gino is a traveler at heart. A different one. Yes, he stayed in Japan for about 8 years although he was most often out of the country visiting 12 others and their total of 29 cities. And, yes, without doubt, his highly respected track record and dedication to excellence will most certainly bring him to further myriad locations. But Gino, fundamentally, is otherwise an extraordinary traveler of life. He transforms in every stage he is in. He adapts in every place he has been. He leaves his marks through every task he has done. But what makes him different? He dreams of always making his path a better way for others.

Prior to his life in Japan, he was a medical practitioner for 5 years in the Philippines. Never tiring of furthering his credentials, he also obtained a Master’s Degree in Hospital Administration. But his thirst for answers was not within the confines of credentials. He considers them merely a means to an end aligned towards a more meaningful purpose within a system and environment that would cater to his personal standards. He was on a quest at the time. He needed answers. Not only to take advantage of career opportunities but he was clamoring for a way to test his caliber in a different way. While most medical professionals would be afraid to relinquish their hard earned degrees and field experience, Gino knew he cannot allow that to limit his search for answers. When everyone else entertains the fear of leaving a profession, Gino leverages on it. Sending applications to many various international universities in search of a rightful host, he got a tip from colleagues who used to be Monbusho scholars. Surprisingly, he got a response from Japan, which was not even on the top of his list of options to explore due to language challenges. But as fate would have it, just like it would for people who brave to dare, he accepted the invitation of the Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine on September of 2002 as its initial foreign researcher. His arrival in Japan then marked his way to achieving his second doctorate degree in a relatively short span of 4 years, backed by a grant he received from the Japanese government.

The moment he looked around through the window of the first room he settled in upon his arrival, Gino knew it was not just a correct choice, it was the right move. There may be a language barrier but it felt right. And that feeling did not need any language to justify itself. He knew he could create a home for himself here. And so he did. He became a master of something he enjoyed doing – research – and everything that culminated around it, through it, and because of it. He got to travel. A lot. Travels, research, weekend works, community participations, and cultural immersions. All of these comprised his life for years to come until a discovery urged him to face a new turning point. As much as he loved his stay in Japan, it was not enough for Gino to compromise the integrity at risk if he succumbs to a system not known to and by many, both Japanese and foreigners. And, thus, the birth of his literary work where he illuminates his readership with how he sees Japan based on his memoirs.

Gino loves Japan as clearly detailed in his book. He identified himself so much with this country that, in fact, the time he got homesick was when he was back home in his native Philippines. To some, regrets about leaving Japan for the Philippines and not the other way around may be a sign of unpatriotic sentiments. But irony has no place in the mind of a realist. For Gino, his belief that everything happens for a reason was proven true when he claimed that his being in Japan was the biggest factor that helped him learn and deeply understand the Philippines even more, only from a different yet characteristic viewpoint that can only be enjoyed not necessarily by merely visiting a foreign land but specifically by experiencing this unique country. His challenge to relate back to the style of living and social attitudes in Manila is not an indication of colonial mentality. Instead, he takes it as a need to help raise awareness that cultures and best practices can be integrated. It is just a matter of practical acceptance. Just as one will not deny if a loved one is ailing and instead provide cure in the most effective way, Gino aims to find ways to promote, if not provide, possible solutions to what he imbibes as factors that limit our progress. But first and foremost, we need to openly but objectively welcome the gaps between the Philippines and Japan not just in terms of scales of economies but more importantly on the basis of social mindset. This, Gino strongly believes, is a fundamental necessity for a real change.

There are some 120,000 students coming to Japan every year. How many went back to their own countries with a book manifesting what’s real in Japan, Gino wonders. His book surely includes his domestic travels that unfolded the beauty of the country to him but at the end of its 11 chapters, his work was essentially about educating the readers. The main reason for writing the book was not out of commercial purpose but a way for him to allow transparency to take its proper place in a system that does not have the best interest of its working guests at its core. In a land where silence is considered the pure sound of beauty, it can also have a chance of being used to mute an accepted disorder. The book was his way of ensuring that his experiences and academic attainments are used to a more noble extension and be an honest source of realistic wisdom. The book, at its basic core, is about choices.

When asked what will be missed the most if we leave Japan, most of us would opt for infrastructure, pragmatic setups, food, culture and the likes as quick answers. For Gino, it’s the purity of the drinking water famous in Hokkaido. Even for someone who has already been through and accomplished a lot, fundamentals and simplicity of this kind remain to be what gives color to his persona that boldly accepts the challenge to unveil shadows and provides light for others that follow.

And with that, the book may not just be a memoir. It’s about how he welcomes life as he reinvents himself regardless of titles and degrees. It’s about how he reaffirms his faith and fight for his integrity in the face of risks and chances. It’s everything concerning how he made the most of the past, lives in the present, and will move on forward. It’s a testimony of how one learns by taking the chance, dealing with the pains, and sharing the gains. Basically, his work is about what he himself was from the start, and always will be – a researcher of his own passion, a doctor of his own path, and a traveler of life.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jeepney Press July-August Issue Page 3



KITAKITZ
By Elena Sakai

Major Convenience Store’s New Dessert Line, Inspired by Filipino Delight

Mini Stop, a major convenience store chain in Japan, famous for its halo-halo, will be selling a new line of dessert packages using Filipino fruits. The tasting of the new product line was done at the Philippine Embassy on June 18 by members of the Philippine Department of Tourism and Embassy members. There was also a surprise visit by former President Ramos, which Mini Stop presented the new sweets to.

The “hit maker,” Ms. Harumi Onodera (dessert and drinks product development manager of Mini Stop) came to know the Philippines during the summer golden pineapple halo-halo campaign that Mini-Stop did with the Philippine Department of Tourism had in 2009. Ms. Onodera says that the Filipino “pelican” mango has a different flavor from that of the most frequently used alfonso mango from India. The pelican mango has a refreshing tartness and fruitiness, which is turned into a mango puree to make a delicious “Pelican Mango Pudding.” The mango is also used in the “Tropical Fruits Parfait,” which you can taste fresh mango, pineapple and nata de coco (all from the Philippines!), with a layer of grapefruit jelly in the bottom to make the creamy parfait so light and appetizing even in a hot summer day.

There is also the “mix fruits and mild pudding,” which was inspired by the favorite Filipino sweets, buko pandan. Instead of using coconut milk, this beautiful piece is made of milk pudding with a tad of coconut flavor that contains tropical fruits, and melon jelly instead of pandan.

The most popular dessert at the tasting was the “caramel banana.” On top of a light caramel cake, there are fresh Filipino bananas covered in caramel sauce, accompanied by whip cream. This was well received even by President Ramos, which he finished during the dinner that day.

These desserts will be sold along with many other sweets using tropical fruits, from July 20 until mid-August. There will also be a raffle campaign with fun prizes during the selling period. Stop by at your nearest Mini Stop this summer to take home the new dessert line, and get a new “flavor” of the Philippines.

Jeepney Press July-August Issue Page 5


TRAFFIC
by Alma R. H. Reyes

The Senpai Commandment

“Following the leader, the leader, the leader

We're following the leader wherever he may go

We won't be home till morning, till morning

We won't be home till morning

Because he told us so…”

—from Peter Pan, “Following the Leader”

The road to summer seems like a long journey, after waking up to many months of rainy mornings, hot mid-afternoons, and sleeping through cold nights, on and off, since winter. As of this writing, I have just put away the futon! But, we all know once the summer heat in Japan sweeps in, hot is hot! And, foreigners just can’t wait to take off on their summer holiday. But, how does one really get an easy vacation from working in a Japanese company? Japanese are known for taking the shortest vacations on earth—the average, being from three to five days—and, one week is considered a luxury; two to three weeks, a fortune; one month, either a miracle or your next step to being fired! I know someone who flew from Tokyo to Paris for just one night, just to watch one day of the Paris Roland Garros tennis match, then returned to Tokyo the next morning. Why? Because, he had work.

So, this brings us to the senpai-kohai Japanese tradition of inter-relationships. Yup, senpai-kohai does matter when you want to take a holiday from work, because if you’re a kohai, you have to get your senpai’s permission, and normally your senpai’s vacation schedule is more important than yours, so you have to make sure your schedules don’t conflict; and, if your senpai doesn’t take a holiday off, it’s most likely you’ll be pressured mentally to do the same…well, out of courtesy. We, foreigners, don’t probably realize it but so much of Japanese life is dictated by the senpai-kohai system.

Ano ba itong “senpai-kohai”? It can be literally translated to a senior-junior relationship, like a leader-follower, or a supervisor-subordinate system. This system is uprooted in ALL aspects of Japanese life, and even in ordinary circumstances, it is important to know if the person you are relating with is on a senpai or kohai level. The kanji character for senpai begins with the “sen” character meaning “ahead,” or “first,” and the “ko” character in kohai means “after.” Both have the characters “hai” in the end that means a generation or a lifetime. Just imagine, you are a senpai or kohai for a lifetime! And, it probably is so if you live in Japan!

The senpai-kohai system originated from Confucianism that influences most of the ways of Japanese life, especially in their family systems and civil laws. Confucianism arrived in Japan from 6th-9th century, and became the underlying doctrines of the Tokugawa regime. That is how long the senpai-kohai system has existed. It came from the Chinese system of “cho-ko,” which means loyalty or filial piety. It teaches loyalty to elders, parents, older brothers or sisters. In the traditional family system, the male member is regarded as superior among others, namely, the father as head of the family, and the eldest son, because he is entitled as heir to the family; thus, all members must show him respect. Consequently, respect for senpais extend to superiors in work, to mentors in schools and social groups. In the early days, samurai warriors were trained by their superiors; and, thus, in present days, kohais in sumo, karate, and generally, all sports clubs pay respect to their senpais. And, in most sports associations, you cannot attain opportunities until you become a senpai. Schools in Japan are the best examples of followers of the senpai-kohai system. Lower-grade students look up to the higher-grade students. In school clubs, you can hear the juniors calling the seniors “senpai” instead of using their actual names. You can see the kohais cleaning the floors, running errands for their seniors, or even carrying club equipment for the senpai. They bow diligently with repeated “hai, hai,” and are always afraid to disappoint their senpai. Even after you have graduated from a university, a junior colleague may still call you “senpai,” and, when you meet for a reunion after 10, 20 or 30 years, don’t be surprised to be called still a “senpai” instead of your own name. It is, after all, a lifetime role, remember? Mind you, the kohai is truly loyal to his senpai. He will only do things the senpai tells him to do. In some cases, he also serves him favors. In social gatherings, you see the kohais serving the senpais beer, or offering them food. The senpai, on the other hand, feels obligated to guide the kohai, and teach him the proper rules. So, you think, after leaving school, the junior-senior relationship is over? Uh-uh. When you enter a Japanese company, the system prevails like the commonest thing on earth. Newly hired employees become the kohais and are expected to obey the guidance of their senior colleagues. In board meetings, you can spot the kohais because they usually sit near the doors, while the senpais are closer to the head of the table. Some kohais are also expected to serve tea or coffee to their senpai colleagues. Many also use the more polite language “keigo” toward their senpais. You know how they say that Japanese don’t work for long hours; they just stay in the office for long hours? Well, that’s true because they feel embarrassed to leave the office earlier than their senpais. And, when a senpai invites the kohai for a drink-out, it is most likely that the kohai cannot turn him down. Senpais and kohais even exist in the political scene. Junior politicians give way to their senior mentors, with the sense of loyalty so strong that it would even be hard for one to change political parties. In the music and celebrity world, young musicians and actors pay respect to their senpais, too. The system sounds militaristic, maybe because it is. When I look at junior train masters in station platforms bowing endlessly to their superiors, department store salesladies tailing behind their managers in those tiny and polite steps, firemen lined up in a platoon while having morning drill exercises, staff of stores practicing “Irasshaimase! Ohayo gozaimasu! Arigatou gozaimasu!” with their loud screams, I can’t help thinking that life in Japan is like one big military parade. And, the thing about senpai-kohai is that the senpais are usually older than the kohais. Age is critical in Japan, and the older you are, the more respectable and reliable you become. Did you notice that even pop idol groups have “ri-da-“ (leader) as head of their groups? The “leader” is usually chosen by his age. Thus, in the work force, it is the usual case that you cannot reach to top “senpai” executive level with all the benefits until you are over 40 and above.

Uh-oh…now I smell the reason why suicide is common in Japan…oops. Senpai-kohai gives the Japanese a lot of advantages, especially as foundation for their success and efficiency. After all, it pays to have more obedient citizens than rebellious activists. (Maybe Filipinos should adopt this system.) But, one wonders if one doesn’t lose himself in the senpai-kohai rules. You become so conscious of how you should be, instead of knowing who you really are. Of course, as the times modernize, some people become less dependent on the senpai-kohai system. Some eager, young enthusiasts strike out as adventurous, bold and daring, compared to their seniors. Still, these novices are just part of a small minority, for nothing seems to topple the Japanese sense of loyalty. That’s right, that’s what the kanji characters mean: an entire lifetime…

So, what’s the 11th commandment? Of course—Thou shalt obey your senpai.

Hope you get your well-deserved summer holiday!



Jeepney Press July-August Issue Page 6



DAISUKI!
by Dennis Sun

To Sit or Not To Sit

Kaya pala ang baho! Si Totoy talaga, pagkatapos umebak, huhugasan na lang ang kanyang puwit with the magic tabo at biglang may-I-leave the room na lang. Kawawa naman ang susunod na gagamit sa toilet. Hindi lang mabaho, meron pang hindi kanais-nais na itsura na natitira. Kadiri naman.

“Eh, kasi po, walang tubig,” depensa ni Totoy. Paano ka nga mag-pa-flush kung kulang o walang tubig. Ito ay isang malaking suliranin sa mga kasilyas natin sa Pinas. Wala ng tubig, wala pang toilet paper. Mabaho pa at napakarumi. Karamihan, wala pang pinto ang mga cubicle sa mga public places. Paano ka naman e-ebak kung kitang-kita ka ng madlang pipol?

3 years ago when I went home, I was in Greenbelt area to meet some friends. Kumain kami sa isang food area ng isang department store. After eating, bigla akong tinawag ng kalikasan, as in call of nature. So dumeretso ako sa CR. Pagkarating ko sa loob, ang unang-una kong hinanap ay ang mahiwagang papel ng buhay. Nawawala. Importante pa naman iyon. Di mo pwedeng gawin ang dapat mong gawin kung wala iyon. So, balik ako sa restaurant at humingi ako ng napkin sa waiter. Napakatipid niya! Binigyan ako ng tatlong piraso. Baka akala niya ay gagamitin kong pang-retouch ng make-up eh hindi naman ako nag-me-make-up. Binigyan pa ako ng konti kaya austerity is the name of the game. Magtitipid na lang ako. I will make do of whatever is available. Buti na lang at hindi “wet explosion” ang nangyari sa loob. Kung hindi, kulang pa ang isang box ng tissue paper. If ever, one has to take a shower after that kind of explosion. Para malinis, siempre!

Ewan ko ba kung bakit tinawag na CR or comfort room ang mga toilet sa Pinas. Actually, I don’t see anything comfortable. Do you? Meron ba? Minsan, sa dumi, ayokong umupo. Kung kailangan pang mag-tiis, I would have to carry the cross. Pero kung talagang oras na at napakarumi ng silya ng buhay, uupo ka ba? Isang maselan na problema. Ang dapat ilabas, dapat lang lumabas na. Kung hindi, magkakasakit ka pa. I will be honest with you. If this is the case, I don’t sit. I squat. This is what I have learned from the seatless Japanese toilets called WASHIKI.

Siguro, naranasan niyo na ang mga seatless Japanese toilets. Sa mga probinsiya, marami pa ang mga ito. Sa Tokyo, bihira na lang makikita sa mga bagong ginagawang condo. Usually, kung nakatira ka sa lumang apartment, ang toilet ninyo ay WASHIKI. Sa mga department stores and train stations din, they provide options of having both the western style toilets and Japanese squat toilets.

My American friend hates these Japanese style toilets. “How do Japanese do their thing there?” he wonders. Namumulikat daw ang mga paa niya. At nalulukot daw ang bagong dry-cleaned na pantalon niya. So sabi ni Joe, hinuhubaran niya ang kanyang pantalon at sinasabit ito sa pinto. Hayan ang kanyang sikreto. Isang half-naked gaijin inside!

Wika ng mga kaibigan kong Hapon, very hygienic daw ang WASHIKI due to the lack of contact with the seat. In addition, a number of medical benefits are attributed to the squat toilets. Squatting strengthens the pelvic muscles sa mga babae which helps with incontinence or problema sa pag-ihi. Furthermore, this kind of toilet builds up strength in the hips and improves breathing and concentration. This kind of squatting position also allows wastes to be eliminated quickly and completely. Kaya this is very good for people who suffers from hemorrhoids. Assuming and maintaining a squatting position on a regular basis may also help maintain the flexibility of the knees. Doc, OK ito ahh?!

Pero given a choice, I would still choose the western style toilet. Lalung-lalo na ngayon, we have the super toilets equipped with the latest high-tech computerized toilet seats. In Japan, they are commonly known as WASHLET. The seats get warm during the winter season. A nozzle comes out and squirts and sprays water to wash the anus or bidet. The water is also adjustable according to strength and it also has options that can give you massage. There is a nice water flowing sound or music that plays to cover up whatever noise you are creating. There is a built-in deodorizer to remove whatever odor you are producing. And after you are done with your job, you don’t even need to flush it. Everything is automatic. Just put on your pants, zip it up and leave. Now that’s what I call COMFORT, with all capital letters!

I was watching a Japanese program on TV. Do you know kung ano ang pinakamabentang Japanese product sa mga tourists especially the rich Chinese? Computer! Nope. TV? Chigau. Cell phone? Uh-uh. Camera? Nah. Game machines? Ie. Hindi po. It’s the Japanese WASHLET! It’s so popular among the Chinese that droves of them come here just to get the latest one with them to China. A washlet in Akihabara costs about 30,000 yen to 50,000 yen depending on the brand and features.

Mag-ingat lang po sa pag-push ng mga buttons. Ibang button ang sa harap at sa likod. Kung lalake kayo, don’t try pushing the button for the front part. You will get surprised! One time, my friend pushed one button. He said he thought it was the flush button. Ngayon, it turned out he pushed the emergency button. Kinatok bigla siya ng tatlong security guards. Mag-ingat lang po at baka ibang klase naman ang kakatok sa inyo.

Maligayang pag-upo!

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SHOGANAI: GAIJIN LIFE

By Abie Principe

Speaking of Senbei

Senbei (煎餅)- a type of Japanese rice crackers. They come in various shapes, sizes, and flavors, usually savory but sometimes sweet. Senbeis are often eaten with green tea as a casual snack and offered to visiting house guests as a courtesy refreshment. Senbeis are usually cooked by being baked or grilled, traditionally over charcoal. While being prepared they may be brushed with a flavoring sauce, often one made of soy sauce and mirin. They may then be wrapped with a layer of nori. Alternatively they may be flavored with salt or so-called "salad" flavoring. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Senbei )

My first encounter with senbei was when I was still a graduate student in Nagoya. From the university, I went back to the dormitory, and in the lobby, on the table in front of the TV, was a box of, what I was later to learn, senbei. Some nice ladies who were helping students learn Japanese left it there for everyone. There was even a note beside the box “Take Free,” at that time the note made me smile, but that was before I realized it wasn't a joke.

But back to the little crunchy snacks.

The ones I saw were individually wrapped, and looked like brown bread, except when I got one, it was not soft. But the thing is, for some reasons, they reminded me of some cookie-like snacks we have in the Philippines (think ampaw). So I opened one, fully expecting to taste something sweet. Imagine my surprise, or more like chagrin, when I bit into something that tasted like burned rice with soy sauce. Well, that was truly an eye-opener as to what most Japanese people refer to as “snacks.”

The thing about senbeis is that they are unavoidable. Most Japanese people will give you some kind of senbei at some point of your life here, and often they wait eagerly as you open the package and take a bite. We cannot but help to incorporate the ubiquitous senbei in our daily life in Japan. Strangely enough, once you start eating, senbeis actually kind of grow on you, in a purely figurative sense of course. The longer you stay in Japan, the more you notice that you are actually liking those crunchy, soy sauce flavored crackers. And once you find yourself actually looking at the various senbeis in the supermarket, trying to find that one brand you like, then that is a sure sign that you have been in Japan longer than most. My personal favorite, senbeis wrapped in nori. Happy snacking!


Jeepney Press July-August Issue page 7


SA TABI LANG PO
by Renaliza Rogers

CUSTOMER

Inihatid ko sa isang airport sa Pinas ang isang kamag-anak kamakailan lang. At dahil matagal pa naman bago ang kanilang boarding time ay nagpasya muna kaming mag merienda sa isang coffee stall doon.

Habang ako ay nakapila upang umorder, napansin ko na nakasimangot ang cashier na kumukuha ng order ng mga customer. Bakas talaga sa mukha nito na parang bagot na bagot na siya sa trabaho niya. Hindi ito ang inaasahan mong mukhang bumati sa iyo kapag na-i-istress ka at gusto mong mag wind down with a cold drink sa isang coffee shop. At kung may isang halimbawa ng katagang “with a pleasing personality” ay siya na yata ang kabaligtaran nito.

Nang ako na ang umorder ay nagkunot ang kilay ko sa salubong nitong cashier sa akin. Hindi man lang niya ako tinanong kung anong oorderin ko, basta niya na lamang akong tinitigan at tinaasan ng isang kilay. So tutal eh medyo maganda naman ang araw ko nun ay hinayaan ko na lang siyang magsimangot at pangiti akong umorder.

AKO: Miss, isa ngang strawberry frappe na ice cream blend at isang cookies and cream.

CASHIER: (tahimik, busy kakapunch sa cash register niya)

AKO: Ay miss, pwedeng isang frappe na lang at gawin ko na lang mango shake yung isa?

CASHIER: Na punch ko na.

AKO: Di ba pwedeng i-void ang order?

CASHIER: Na puch ko na.

AKO: Ah…o sige, yan na lang (sabay abot ng bayad)

CASHIER: I’ll repeat your order… one strawberry frappe na ice cream blend and one cookies and cream frappe, espresso blend —

AKO: Ha? Espresso blend? Ice cream blend yung dalawa.

CASHIER: Eh hindi mo naman kasi sinabi na dalawa! Sabi mo strawberry lang and ice cream blend.

AKO: (nabigla at nagalit) Oh bakit, sinabi ko bang gawin mong espresso blend yung cookies and cream? Hindi naman ah! Dapat nagtatanong ka. I-void mo yan, gawin mong ice cream blend.

CASHIER: Eh sa na punch ko na nga eh (sabay taas ng kilay at titig sa akin)

Sa puntong yun ay napanganga ako sa tono ng salita niya at gusto ko nang tusukin ang mga mata niya sa inis, ngunit hindi ko ginawa. Sa halip ay pinukpok ko ang countertop sa harap niya sa sobrang gigil gamit ang aking kamay habang galit na nakatitig sa kanya. Nagulat siya at natulala. Kanina pa malumanay ang salita ko at kanina pa rin siya tonong nagdadabog. Wala na rin naman akong masabi dahil pati ako ay nabigla sa reaksiyon ko sa kasungitan niya. Umupo na lang ako bago pa umabot sa kung ano.

Hindi ako ang tipong madaling nagagalit, naiinis o dumadakdak sa mga ganitong klaseng mga tao o empleyado. Ako pa nga yung tipong umaawat sa aking ina sa tuwing niraratratan niya ang mga tiga-immigration sa Tokyo na nag-che-check ng passport niya sa kalye. Pero nung pagkakataong yun eh nasobrahan yata sa pag-iinarte itong cashier na hindi na kinaya ng pasensya ko.

Maraming ganitong klaseng mga empleyado sa Pilipinas, yung tipong kapag masama ang araw ay ibinubunton sa customer. Yung mga tipong hindi alam ang proper work ethics. Yung mga nakasimangot o halatang naiinis kapag may request ang customer, yung hindi alam ang isasagot kapag nagtanong ang customer kung meron ba silang ganito o ganun, or yung tipong nakikipag-chikahan or nakikipag-textmate habang nagta-trabaho at kung anu-ano pa.

Isang aspetong gustong-gusto ko sa mga Hapon ay ang kalidad ng pagtrato nila sa kanilang mga customer. Sa Japan, malalaman mo talaga ang kahulugan ng linyang, “the customer is always right” dahil, base sa mga naging karanasan ko dito, gagawin nila lahat mapaligaya lang ang customer. Magsabi ka lang na maalat ang sabaw (kahit pa nga hindi) ay lalabas na ang cook at luluhod-luhod na hihingi ng patawad sa harapan mo. Wala kang makikitang nakasimangot kahit pagod at wala kang makikitang empleyadong nagbibihis ng t-shirt sa gilid habang ika’y kumakain. Kilala nga tayong mga Pinoy sa pagiging hospitable at friendly pero kadalasan, sa ating mga restaurants or mall or kahit saan pang establishments, hindi marunong magtrabaho o makitungo sa customer ang maraming empleyado.

So hayun sa inis ko ay sinabi ko sa isang waiter na ang masungit nilang cashier ay tanga. Nakasimangot pa rin siya sa counter pero halatang nahiya sa pagpukpok ko ng countertop. Akala ko nga ay tapos na ang drama sa araw nitong masungit na cashier pero hindi na yata siya natuto kasi maya-maya, narinig ko nanaman ang isa pang customer na nagsabing, “ay miss huwag kang magsuplada, hindi ka naman maganda!”

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PAGMUMUNI-MUNI SA DYIPNI

by Fr. Bob Zarate

10 Dahilan Bakit Ayaw Ko ng SIGARILYO

1. Masama sa kalusugan – ng naninigarilyo. Kahit mag-research ka pa sa YOUTUBE, may mga videos doon na nagpapakita through experiments kung gaano kasama sa baga, sa puso at sa ating mga ugat ang dala ng sigarilyo.

2. Masama sa kalusugan – ng hindi naninigarilyo. Scientifically-proven din na masama sa hindi nagsisigarilyo ang nalalanghap na usok ng iba. Nagiging sanhi din ito ng cancer.

3. Magastos. Just imagine. Kung isang pack ka sa sa isang araw, that will be almost 200 Pesos equivalent sa Pilipinas! Kung naiipon lang yan at naipapadala para pang-kain ng ating pamilya, eh di mas makakabuti pa.

4. Mabaho. May mga taong ginagamit ang usok ng sigarilyo para takpan ang baho ng kapaligiran. Pero ang baho ng usok sigarilyo ay iba. Hindi siya mabango. Mas OK pa ang amoy ng katol.

5. Walang Manners. Ang usok, nadadala ng hangin. Kaya kahit ano pang gawin, talagang tatama sa mukha ng kahit ninuman ang naibugang usok. At pag may tumamang usok ng sigarilyo sa mukha mo, para na rin iyang hinihangan ka sa mukha mo, inubuhan o di kaya’y parang may bumahing na rin sa mukha mo!

6. Nagpapabaho ng iba. Sino bang normal na tao ang may gustong amoy-usok siya? Naligo ka. Nag-deodorant ka. Mabango ka. Pero ang nagpabaho sa iyo, hindi mo pawis at hindi mo gawa. Ang nagpabaho sa iyo, ibang tao!

7. Nagpapayaman sa mga mayayaman. Yung mga may-ari ng cigarette companies! Yumayaman sila dahil sa bisyo ng karaniwang tao.

8. Nagpapahirap sa mga mahihirap. Wala na ngang makain. Ang liit-liit na nga ng suweldo, nakukuha pang bumili ng sigarilyo. Tapos pag nagkasakit sa baga o sa puso, wala ring maibayad sa ospital.

9. Bad influence sa kabataan. Kung masama ito sa mga matatanda, eh di lalo nang masama sa bata. Pero naiisipang mag-sigarilyo ng isang under-age kasi nakikita niya ito sa matatanda. Kaya, ayan, maagang nagsisimula ang bisyo na karaniwang alam naman ng lahat ay masama sa kalusugan.

10. Nakakamatay… yes, killing me softly… ay killing YOU softly pala! Kahit sa Wikipedia nakalagay na 3 sa mga Marlboro cowboys ay namatay dahil sa lung cancer. Obvious ba. (Pati ate ko, namatay dahil sa sigarilyo – first heart attack at 43 years old, 2 ang anak – 12 years old lang ang bunso noong namatay, one month before his Grade 6 graduation!)

Kaya para sa mga gustong mamatay kaagad, Happy Smoking!

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SHITTE IRU?

by Marty Manalastas-Timbol

ALAM NYO BA…na it’s possible that cell phones can cause cancer? Yes, may mga studies at proof na ang prolonged exposure sa radiation galing sa cell phones can cause cancer and alzheimer’s. Mas maganda kung bawas-bawasan ang paggamit ng cell phone. Trend na kasi ito lalo na sa mga kabataan, kahit saan ka lumingon, karamihan may hawak ng cell phone. Some friends of mine said that they cannot survive without cell phones and sometimes nagtataka sila how I survive without a cell phone. Kaya mga kaibigan lalo na sa mga bata, kindly minimize the usage of cell phone, dahil sa sobrang gamit ng cell phone can result to health fall-out.

ALAM NYO BA…na ang karamihan sa mga bata sa Pilipinas ang natutunan nila ang jejemon language? What is jejemon? Jejemon is a pop culture phenomenon sa Pilipinas. Ang salitang Jejemon supposedly nag-originate sa mga online users ng email (example: yung hehehe, they use jejeje) Jeje is derived from Spanish and the word mon came from the word Pokémon – with “mon” meant as monster, hence “jeje monsters”.

ALAM NYO BA…na sa Pilipinas, we have over 170 dialects? Sa 170 dialects, about 12 belong to the Malay-Polynesian language family. Sa dinami-dami ng dialects sa Pilipinas, Filipino (Tagalog) and English are considered to be the main language use. Yung 12 major regional languages ay: Tagalog, Cebuano, Kapampangan, Maguindanao, Maranao, Ilocano, Waray, Bicol, Pangasinan, Kinaraya, Tausug and Hiligaynon.

(Source: Philippine Portal)

ALAM NYO BA…that our Jeepney Press Publisher Ms. Irene Sun-Kaneko and Editor, Mr. Dennis Sun are both from Pampanga? Mga kabalen ko sila. People would refer to us as Kapampangan. Ang salitang Kapampangan ay mula sa rootword pampang which means “river bank.” Kapampangan is spoken in the provinces of Pampanga, in southern towns of the province of Tarlac and other provinces near Pampanga like Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Zambales.

ALAM NYO BA…that the Filipino Community in Japan ay nagkaroon ng chance to meet and see the 12th President of the Republic of the Philippines na si President Fidel V. Ramos? Si President Ramos ay dumating sa Japan noong June 17 and met with the FilCom on June 18, 2010. The meeting was held sa Multipurpose Hall of the Philippine Embassy. Tuwang-tuwa ang ating mga kababayan sa mga kwento at mga jokes ng dating Presidente.

ALAM NYO BA…na nakakapagod pala ang umuwi sa Pilipinas na tatlong araw lang ang stay mo doon. Grabe kasi bugbog na sa biyahe at siyempre bugbog din ang bulsa…hahaha. Sa pag-uwi ko, nagkita-kita kami ng mga high school batch mates ko, may mga balikbayan from the USA and from Singapore. Masayang-masaya ang reunion and kahit kulang sa tulog at kahit pagod na pagod sa biyahe, sulit na rin and no regrets talaga kasi nag-enjoy ako and happy ako for seeing friends I have not seen them for more than 20 years na.


Jeepney Press July-August Issue page 10


JEEP TRIPS
By Jade Pangilinan

A SAGADA SOJOURN

I have always been a little in love with Sagada, ever since the first time I visited this haven on earth during my college days. Each visit brings a totally new experience that makes wanderers wanting for more.

Sagada is not your usual Philippine travel destination. Nestled in the Mountain Province, getting there is a challenge in itself. From Baguio City, we had to catch the 5am trip to Sagada on Lizardo Liner, which takes you through the winding Halsema Highway that is ten times more zigzag than the Zigzag part of Kennon Road, to get to Sagada by 10am. But the destination makes it all worth it.

The climate is divine, by Philippine standards. It is much cooler than Baguio or Tagaytay without the perils of urban pollution.

There are a lot of things to do in Sagada depending on one’s interests and physical fitness. For those who love history and heritage like, some sites worth visiting are the Hanging Coffins, Masferre Inn for the old photographs of Cordillera life by pioneer Philippine photographer Eduardo Masferre, the church complex which includes the quaint Saint Mary the Virgin Church and the cemetery where historian William Henry Scott is buried, to name a few.

For those who are more adventurous, Sagada offers guided cave tours which take you through its extensive cave networks. The most famous cave is Sumaguing Cave with its interesting rock formations and cooling waters that make the hike seem easy. Spelunking, however, is not for those with faint hearts and weak knees.

Another Sagada adventure which should not be missed is hiking. In my last visit, we hiked for about two hours and went through the midst of rice terraces to reach Bomokod Falls. After a quick rest from the long and sweaty hike, it is best advised to take a dip in the freezing waters from the falls which form a natural pool. After all, your wet clothes will end up drying by the time you have made the return trip to Sagada town proper. Just make sure that you put on a lot of sun block if you choose the trekking adventure because the cool and balmy Sagada air makes you forget about sunburn.

A weekend getaway in Sagada will not be complete without the legendary Saturday buffet dinner at the Log Cabin Café. This is a special Sagada treat that you have to sign up early for as there are a limited number of slots. A reclusive French chef cooks a gastronomic feast that involves around 13 courses, from appetizers to desserts, made from the freshest available ingredients for P 350.00 per head. The result is a dinner experience like no other.

Food trips in Sagada also includes stops at the Yoghurt House for the homemade yogurt with banana, strawberry or granola toppings and the Sagada Lemon Pie House for a slice of the homemade pies that go best with coffee.

My most unforgettable Sagada memory is watching the breath-taking sunrise at Kiltepan, where the sun seemingly floats above a canopy of clouds, and you will feel like Sagada is that slice of heaven on Philippine soil. I have heard that the sunset at Lake Danum is equally stunning.

Next time that you visit the Philippines and have about one week to spare, explore Sagada and its wealth of wonders for an experience that you will cherish for a lifetime.

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CONNECTIONS

by Richard Diaz Alloro

On Festivals and Thanksgiving

What I like about June in Sapporo, apart from the cool breeze, warm sunlight and fresh new green leaves, is the opportunity to go out, see places, meet people, and indulge with nature. In June, Sapporo starts to bask in sunshine and that means we can leave our houses in slippers, shorts and t-shirts! June gives us a permit to become more mobile and enjoy outdoor activities, such as festivals and merrymaking.

Just recently, I have participated or attended two festivals being held annually in Hokkaido University and in Sapporo - Hokudaisai and Yosakoi Soran Festival. The Hokkaido University International Food Festival or Hokudaisai is usually celebrated on the 1st week of June. This festival, which is organized and participated by students, aims to showcase the culinary delights of different countries around the world and to foster cooperation among nations through food and cultural exhibitions. The Yosakoi Soran festival on the other hand, is a merriment of dance and music which originated just a few years ago. The festival in Sapporo is now considered as one of the biggest in Japan and has become one of the most-looked forward events in the city.

Festivals are celebrated all over the world. From big cities all the way to far-flung provinces, may it be grand or meek, festivals never cease to entertain and gather people from all walks of life. In the Philippines, the entire year is filled with hundreds of events being held across the archipelago. The Sinulog Festival (Cebu) and Ati-atihan (Aklan) in January, Panagbenga (Baguio) in February, Flores de Mayo and Santacruzan (nationwide) in May, and Masskara Festival (Bacolod) in October, are among the seemed to be an endless array of celebrations and joyous happenings of some sort throughout the country. Festivals are usually characterized by parades and street dancing, banquet, religious rituals, cultural and sports events, and the promotion of the area’s finest.

Like in any other country, festivals in Japan or Philippines have special meanings. Some of these festivities originated hundreds of years ago and some may have been conceived just a few years ago. Some festivals were created to provide entertainment, some to celebrate victories, some to honor heroes and religious figures, some to promote geographical groups or social assembly, some to inform traditions and cultural heritage, some to rejoice good harvest or change of season, some to commemorate great historical events, and some just to raise income and make business. There are countless reasons as to why we celebrate festivals and make them very important parts of our national identities.

No matter when the birthdays of these celebrations were, nor what were the reasons of their conception, for me festivals have one thing in common and it goes beyond entertainment. Festivals are celebrations of life. These festivities are our way of expressing our existence and our channel of conveying our gratefulness to the one Superior Being who created us. Festivals are our offerings, our thanksgiving for the many beautiful and wonderful things we received. We celebrate good harvests, lights and colors, we rejoice the blooming of cherry blossoms and the lilacs, we commemorate Independence Day and the establishments of cities and towns, and we honor heroes and saints.

Life is a festival. You, me, our parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends, and everyone around us are carnivals of the world. We are created special and each one holds a very important piece of the puzzle we call our world. Go out, celebrate, enjoy life, and be a blessing to others.

As for me, I’m very thankful for the coming of June. I got connected to festivals and thanksgiving once again!

Jeepney Press July-August Issue page 14


ON THE ROAD TO
by Neriza Sarmiento-Saito

BEING AT HOME WITH PINOYS With KYOKO KIMURA

Interview in Filipino by Yosuke

Japanese pop singer Kimura, Kaira’s “Ding a ring ding dong” song would probably ring a bell among the young Japanese. However, there’s another lady who is very much a household name among the Filipinos she became acquainted with.

KYOKO KIMURA is up and about as she goes through a day working at the Philippine Department of Tourism, Osaka Field Office. If not assisting her bosses Tourism Attache, Araceli Soriano and Administrative Officer, Ms. Lorelei Cruz at tourism seminars and exhibitions, she is on the phone answering queries in Japanese, English, and oh yes, in flawless Filipino complete with “po” and “opo.”

Five years ago, right after graduating from the Osaka University of Foreign Studies

(now Osaka University, School of Foreign Studies), she was hired by the DOT Office. In an event organized by the PCCC in Shiga-Ken, Kyoko attended to distribute questionnaires for her graduation thesis. She met Mr. Val Cabansag and Ms. Lorelei Cruz who needed part-time workers in their office. Luckily, she got the job that gave her more opportunities to speak the language she majored in. But a few months before graduation, she was accepted to work at a big clothing company and started training. But DOT needed someone like Kyoko in their staff so they requested her to work with them again, which she did. Explains Kyoko, “I have always wanted to work with Filipinos because they always make everybody feel at home. Our office is like one big happy family. We work hard and then we go out to have fun after the work is over.”

As a student, Kyoko traveled to the Philippines on several occasions. She joined a study tour of an NGO group in Kyoto where they had culture exchange activities with

Filipino children in Apelo Cruz in Pasay. Later, they also went to Alabat island in Quezon Province to experience farm life. Her encounters with more Pinoys never ended there. As a second year student in Gaidai, she studied at the University of the Philippines and stayed in nearby Teachers’ Village and became close to her homestay family she affectionately calls Kuya Dan and Ate Val. Later, she moved to remote Alabang Island to work as a volunteer at the ACCE office there. The stylish city girl lived among the islanders and some curious monkeys. “Gusto ko talaga na laging may kasama dahil noong maliit pa ako, madalas akong nag-iisa dahil solong anak ako,” wika ni Kyoko.

It was in Alabat where she got the inspiration for her thesis on “Mga Salitang

Ginagamit ng mga ‘Gay’ “. Before graduating, she became close to the family of visiting professor, Pia Arboleda. She brought her family to her hometown in Hiroshima to experience traditional Japanese lifetyle including wearing the kimono.

Occasionally, she accompanies Media and Travel Agent Representatives on Familiarization tours to the Philippines, most notable of which was the feature article about the Philippines in SAVVY Magazine, where she guided model and TV personality

AHN MIKA to Tagaytay and Manila for 1 week. Last spring holiday, she went to visit friends in Nueva Ecija and Vigan with YO-chan. “Mahiyain masyado si KAICHO. Lagi na lang nagbabasa ng libro, pero nang natuto na siya ng konting Tagalog, ayun ok na.”

He played a lot with the 5 year old brother of my friend. YO-CHAN said that he was inspired with the way Kyoko-san communicates in Filipino with their host family.” It is as if she belongs there… as if she is one of them “ as if she is a family member coming

home. She gives out a sigh. ”The Philippines is more than a hometown for me because I know that my Pinoy friends will welcome me like their own family.”

INTERVIEW IN FILIPINO:

1. Taga-saan ka sa Japan?

HIROSHIMA

2. Ano ang trabaho mo?

STAFF ng DOT, Osaka

3. Gaano ka katagal tumira sa Pilipinas?

SAMPUNG BUWAN

4. Ano ang nami-miss mo sa Pilipinas?

MGA KAIBIGAN KO.

5. Ano ang di mo nagustuhan sa Pilipinas?

LAGI NA LANG MAY “RING TONE” NG CELLPHONES KAHIT SA LOOB NG SINE AT MGA RESTAWRAN. DITO SA JAPAN MAY “MANNER MODE” ( SILENT MODE) ANG MGA “KEITAI”.

6. Ano ang gusto mong ugali ng mga Filipino?

MASAYAHIN, MADALING KAUSAPIN AT PARANG KAPAMILYA KA LAGI.

7. Ano ang magandang bagay sa Japan na maaaring maituro mo sa mga Pinoy?

MAAYOS AT MAGANDANG PARAAN NG PAGBABALOT NG MGA SOUVENIRS NA NABIBILI SA MGA DEPARTMENT STORES

About YOSUKE SHOHARA…. YO-CHAN, SHO-CHAN, KAI-CHO is a Second year

Student majoring in Philippine Studies at the Osaka University, Minoo Campus. He was the chairman of the student council at the Uenomiya Taishi Gakuen and a member of the calligraphy club. He wants to be a teacher in the future so that he can inspire young Japanese learners to study other foreign languages to get a better perspective of cultures outside Japan.

Jeepney Press July-August Issue page 16


K
by Amelia Iriarte Kohno

I wonder if my friend Casilda meant to ease my troubled mind when she said "I should be thankful, I survived my doctor," after telling her last month, that my oncologist for 10 years died. Honestly, I was at a loss thinking how difficult it would be to find a new cancer specialist, who would really go through every detail of my medical history. The long record of breast operations, radiation, a series of chemotherapy (intravenous/oral), countless tests(x-ray, CT, MRI, PET, blood,others), spanning ten years, was under his care. These various medical tests, though alarming for its high level of radiation effect cannot be avoided. Not to mention the depressing side-effects of chemotherapy, as my breast cancer has metastasized to different parts of my body, recurring almost every 2 years. At present, I am undergoing chemo for my lymph nodes. Dr. Sawai was the Director of the Cancer Department of the Kyoto Prefecture University Hospital when I had my first operation under his leadership. Four years ago, he opened his breast cancer clinic with state of the art medical equipments, so I am being treated there.

But what amazes me is that inspite of the many painful experiences and unspeakable inner struggles battling cancer, which recurs almost every two years, I still feel that life is beautiful and we should live it to the fullest. Oh, yes, every now and then, there are always questions left unanswered. Why do I want to go on living? Is it because I still want to see my 2-year old grandchild through college, reap the fruits of the trees I planted, or simply write a book on green technology or making people happy? That must be true in part, but surely our lives have deeper meanings... I believe it is all in God's plan. It is this belief that has given me the courage whenever I come across the dark tunnels of my life. Kung minsan nga kahit maraming balakid ay lalong tumitibay ang ating pananampalataya sa ating Poong Maykapal.

When friends ask why I can travel, frequently visit my daughter in Tokyo, be with people, and still have time for many special things more, even when I am undergoing chemo, my quick response is, have a positive attitude. Inner peace is attainable when you have "joy" in your heart.

A recent visit to Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, was a relief, a break from my worries concerning my new doctor, and an inner healing experience. The wondrous sight of the beauty of nature always has a blissful magical effect on me. Green mountains, serene waterfalls, endless rivers and the splendor of the more than 350 years old majestic cryptomeria trees (13,000 trees) lining an avenue, simply make one think of heaven. I could even feel that I could talk to the trees. Those trees must be living witnesses of days gone by, of historical connections with the past, of people's dreams, of people dying. Ieyasu Tokugawa, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled Japan for more than 200 years, is enshrined at the Toshogu Shrine. The carved three wise monkeys - See no evil, Say no evil, Hear no evil- also an Important Cultural Property can be seen at the entrance of this often visited National Shrine atop the hills. Now I know why people say never say "lucky" until you visit Nikko. Or, I may add, never say you have journeyed into the world of Filipinos in Japan until you read the most dynamic Filipino publication, Jeepney Press!

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SHORT CUTS

by Farah Trofeo-Ishizawa

First Cut

Kamusta, Filipinos in Japan? How’s everyone going? Time flies so fast indeed when you are having fun. Did you “feel” Spring time? Spring is gone, and the rainy season is here. Time to take out your umbrellas, and those rain boots.

Second Cut

Hardly noticed Spring, how about you? What have you been doing this first six months of the year?

Third Cut

As I write this, I have just joined the world of ALT’s here in Japan. Assistant Language Teachers are the English teachers in Japan. And we teach English with the Homeroom teachers.

Fourth Cut

There is an increasing population of Filipino ALT’s in Japan. It is good news for the Filipinos because we have a chance to prove that we are good educators and communicators.

Fifth Cut

Teaching is a demanding job and it is very tiring because we also have to play games with the children, right? One more good thing, is that, “Sensei’s” are respected.

Sixth Cut

I salute all the teachers all over the world. To the Filipino ALT’s, remember we must continue to teach well, brush up our skills, and try to remove those accents that are noticeable…. A friendly reminder, please do not interchange your P’s and your F’s. Lastly, dress well at all times. OK?

Seventh Cut

For all of the Filipinos in Japan, be proud… Be yourselves but at the same time, try to adapt to Japan’s culture and ways. OK?

Eighth Cut

Wish all of you, readers, find your own happiness in the simple things here in Japan. Stay happy!

Learn to feel good with everything around us. God Bless –Mama Mary loves us !

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ARANGKADA PINOY

ni Yellowbelle Duaqui

Overseas Filipino Workers: Heroes or Victims?

The official rhetoric of the Philippine state proclaims the Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) a hero – a modern-day counterpart to great men and women from Philippine history like Jose Rizal, Gabriela Silang, Tandang Sora, Andres Bonifacio, Apolinario Mabini, Ninoy Aquino, and the Katipuneros. The luminaries notwithstanding, there are more heroes who are nameless in Philippine history - the simple folks who have fallen during the darkness of the multiple waves of colonization that battered the country. It is to their credit that the light of day was made possible for the generations of Filipinos who came after them.

But what does it mean to be a hero? What qualifies an otherwise ordinary Juan or Juana Dela Cruz to deserve the status of a hero? In the colonial days, at least, the parameters used were that of selflessness and immeasurable personal sacrifice, profound influence to stir revolutionary ferment and leadership in mobilizing revolutionary action or just by mere participation in those activities, among others. They were the noble souls who went beyond the comforted confines of the self, to step into the bloody arena of struggle, notwithstanding pain and hardship. They were the ones who dared, risked and challenged the oppressive structures of their time. They were the ones who refused to keep mum when others chose to be quiet for fear of getting burned.

Now, what makes the OFW a hero based on these parameters? Some say that the decision of the OFW to brave foreign lands and to face a proverbial cloud of uncertainty in search of better life abroad -- not even for one’s self but for the family left in the Philippines -- is a concrete sign of selflessness. Let their stories of hardship overseas – ranging from alienation to discrimination -- speak of the personal sacrifices they made in the name of the family. This is the main basis of the government and civil society for hailing OFWs the heroes of our time.

Indeed, some stories would validate that a hero lies in every OFW. This is not only about the remittances sent that become the lifeline of families left in the Philippines nor its positive contribution to the Gross National Product. This is not only about the donations they give during disasters and for the building of classrooms in poor rural areas in the Philippines. They give much, much more for the motherland. They who have the scantiest of time due to their demanding jobs, they who have limited resources but still manage to selflessly eke out a humble donation, they who are relatively powerless but have bonded with fellow OFWs to make things happen – they, on top of all the supposed roles they play – serve as the vital sign of hope that love for the motherland is very much alive, pulsating at the very core of the Filipino diaspora.

At present, can we see oppression as obvious as the conditions described by Rizal in his two literary opus in the lives of OFWs? If the coffins of OFWs that are sent back to the Philippines would serve as any indication, then there is no debate as to whether oppression exists.

So, are OFWs heroes? Or are they victims of a social structure that forces them to leave in order to live? Maybe, there is really no need to choose between these two images: hero and victim. After all, history tells us that true heroes have always been the victims of their time.

Jeepney Press July-August Issue page 17



PISNGI NG LANGIT
by Gino Matibag MD, PhD

Kulugo sa Pwerta

(Genital Warts)

Tanong (T): Dear Doc Gino, kumusta po. nbsa ko po kc s press re vaginal prob dpo kc npliwanag kc maigi. ano po ang vaginal warts? pano po mla2man if meron k ni2? ano po dpat gwin pra maiwasan mgkaroon n2? mganda po ang column nyo kc bwat impormasyon mlalaman mo. marami pong salamat!

Doc Gino (DG): Ang vaginal warts ay ang tinatawag na kulugo sa pwerta ng mga kababaihan. Ang sanhi nito ay mga viruses na nakukuha sa pamamagitan ng pakikipagtalik sa isang tao na mayroon nito. Tulad ng mga kulugo na matatagpuan sa ibang bahagi ng katawan, ito ay magaspang na mga butlig at maaaring maging napakarami at umabot sa kaloob-looban ng pwerta at maging sanhi ng pagbara nito. Depende sa dami at lokasyon ng mga kulugo, ang lunas dito ay maaaring mga gamot na pamahid, iniinom, pagsunog (cauterization) o di kaya ay operasyon, o ang kombinasyon ng mga ito. Ang pinakamabisa ay magpasuri sa isang gynecologist upang mapayuhan ng husto. Kasabay nito, ang sex partner ay kailangang magpasuri rin.

(T): marami pong salamat sa mga impormasyon. dmi po plang mga sakit n posibleng mgkaroon ka. kailngan tlga ng ibayong pg iingat. nabsa ko rin po pla s magazine re virgin coconut oil. dmi kc xperiences n nila2gay n kesyo mabisa raw, totoo po b o advrtsment lng po un. ingat po. salamat uli.

DG: Wala pa akong nababasa ukol sa epekto ng virgin coconut oil sa genital warts. Salamat.


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PEDESTRIAN LANE

By Mylene Miyata

INSPIRASYON!

Minsan, nakakatuwang isipin yung mga bagay kung saan bigla na lang tayong mapapangiti sa kawalan, di ba? Have we ever thought which significant element of life really energizes us in daily routine? Sit back! Relax! And try to reminisce a bit. Powerful ang thoughts kaya naman we have to make "good" use of it day by day. Mahirap yatang aksayahin ang bawat momentum sa buhay. No return, no exchange!

There are so many things we could ever consider actually. Iba't-ibang form ang mapaghahanguan natin ng lakas gaano man ka-bad trip ang araw natin kung minsan. Trying to consider the "Law of Attraction," I’m sure things will fall into places in the process. I am personally stubborn myself pero minsan, sinusubukan ko ding maging obedient. Why? Kasi, ayokong i-crucify yung sarili ko. Saan? Well, let me share this with you.

As I was checking my Facebook account one day, the wall post of my college friend Maria Agnes Dela Cruz saying "We crucify ourselves with these two things: 1. FEAR OF THE PAST and 2. WORRY FOR THE FUTURE" caught my attention at once. I quickly started collecting my thoughts then. Suddenly, I found myself commenting on that particular post. Sabi ko "...that which hinders us from having fun in life at times." Oo nga naman! Why do we have to crucify ourselves to the fears of our past? Likewise, why do have to let ourselves suffer worrying about our future? Both are impractical to use energy on naman. Past is done. When we fear it, nothing beneficial happens. But it's probably human nature. We cannot escape from our past. It will haunt us no matter what. So what do we do with our past? We can make use of it as a vehicle to live our present to the fullest instead. Para di na nga naman tayo ulit magkaron ng "another past" na katatakutan na naman natin in time. Next, worry of the future daw. Isa pa sa mga talent natin - ang mag-worry ng walang humpay. Well, sino nga ba naman ang hindi natututong mag-worry sa buhay, noh? Kakambal na nga kase yan ng pang-araw-araw nating pamumuhay eh! Ang tanong: Kung ubusin man kaya natin yung buong araw, linggo o buwan natin sa pag-wo-worry about our future, matiwasay naman kaya ang resultang makukuha natin buhat dito? Naman! Try natin? Huwag na kaya! Why not start preventing those worries to aggravate. Pwede naman natin tulungan ang sarili natin kesa ibaon natin sa dusa ng pag-aalala. Winner pa tayo in that aspect! We must not forget that no one has ever triumphed on worrying that much anyway. If possible, in every action we take, we may consider caution so as not to worry on its result in the end. Sure, nothing is definite anyway. But trying to get rid of worry-associated stuffs in life will give us a little more room to feel safe about our future, di po ba? It may not be exact but at least we dared to try to be at our best in the moment that we were allowed to choose. A simple instance is learning to say "yes" or "no" instead of the words "siguro" o "baka" as an answer as much as possible. Give a straight answer. Definite and firm as it is needed. It could sound harsh to some but will surely be less worries in many cases, I believe.

Taking things carefully will lead us to the sweetest scenarios each time. It is our privilege to get inspired in life. Why should we delay it? This will give us the freedom to have a meaningful day no matter what. If not throughout the day, at least in some moments each day. Just the way we want it. After all, we can only live what we choose to be. We are given the gift of the present. That is why we are being energized each day. Nothing is more important than living the present time to the fullest instead of fearing the past, neither worrying about the future.

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KWENTO NI NANAY ANITA

Ang ating tatalakayin ngayon ay tunkol sa ating "Haligi" nang tahanan o ang mga idolo nating mga AMA / TATAY / PAPA / DADDY:

Mayroon akong ikukuwento:

Noong taong 1932, mayroon isang lalake na may asawa ang pangalan ay Nettie na nakatira sa isang maliit na apartment sa Chicago. Agosto noon at mayroon pagtitipon na aawit ang asawa ni Nettie. Bantulot ang asawa ni Nettie sa kadahilanang kabuwanan na ni Nettie at ito ang una nilang anak.

Umalis ang asawa ni Nettie upang umawit sa isang malaking pagtitipon na mabigat ang dibdib. Ngunit sa 'di pa kalayuan ay napansin niya na mayroon siyang naiwan - ang kanyang "bass guitar." Kaya dali-dali siyang bumalik ng bahay. At doon nakita niyang natutulog ng mahimbing si Nettie kaya dahan-dahan niyang kinuha ang naiwang gamit at lumisan.

Nang sumunod na gabi sa pagtitipon, maraming tao ang dumalo at ilang ulit nilang pinakanta ang asawa ni Nettie. Nang natapos siya, umupo na ang asawa ni Nettie at mayroon messenger boy na nag-abot ng telegrama sa kanya at ang nakasulat ay “YOUR WIFE DIED.” Subalit, masayang nagpalakpakan ang mga tao at pinakakanta uli siya. Ngunit siya naman ay walang tigil sa pagluha. Tumawag siya sa bahay nila. At ang narinig lang niya ay “Nettie is dead, Nettie is dead.” Agad siyang bumalik sa kanila at doon niya nalaman na nangananak si Nettie ng isang batang lalake. Nasa pagitan siya nang lungkot at saya. Masaya siya dahil ang anak niya ay lalake, ngunit bigla itong napalitan ng lungkot dahil namatay ang kanyang mag-ina. Inilibing nang asawa ni Nettie at ang kanilang anak sa iisang kabaon.

Mula noon isinarado niya ang kanyang sarili sa lahat. Ang tanong niya sa Diyos - Bakit binigyan siya nang ganitong pagsubok. Lumayo siya sa Dios. Ayaw na niyang magsilbi sa Diyos o magsulat nang mga gospel songs. Pero dumating isang araw habang nagkukulong siya sa kadiliman ng kanyang silid ay sinabi niya sa kanyang sarili, "Kung nakinig lang ako sa Diyos na parang mayroon siyang binubulong na huwag niyang pabayaan si Nettie, ang Diyos kaya iyon?" Kung nakinig sana siya, e sana nasa tabi niya si Nettie nang mamatay sila nang anak nila.

Magmula noon nangako siya na lagi siyang makikinig sa ibubulong ng Diyos.

At nang sumunod na gabi, tahimik at madilim sa kanyang silid. Parang biglang sumilip ang araw sa madilim niyang silid. Bigla siyang umupo ulit sa harapan nang kanyang piano at ang kanyang mga daliri ay muling tumipak sa mga tiklado ng piano. Nadama niya na para siya hinipo nang Diyos. At muling naramdaman niya na lang na siya ay tumutugtog. Nakaramdam siya nang kapayapaan mula sa Diyos. Parang inabot niyang muli ang Panginoon. At ito ang mga kataga ng musika :

"Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand, I am tired, I am weak, I am worn, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, Precious Lord, lead me home."

Pinuspos siya nang Espiritu Santo at dito niya natutunan na kapag tayo ay nasa malalim na pighati at dalamhati, pakiramdam natin na malayo tayo sa Panginoon. Di natin batid itong mga sandaling ito pala ang Dios ay nasa tabi at hindi niya tayo iiwan.

Kaya ngayon ang asawa ni Nettie ay masayang nabubuhay para sa Panginoon at naghihintay lamang kung kailan siya susunod kasama ng kanyang yumaong pamilya.

("I am now living for God joyfully until that day when He will take me and gently lead me home.")

Kasaysayan ni :

Tommy Dorsey (band leader in the 30's and 40's )

Dito ipinahihiwatig ng Diyos na kahit sino man sa atin maging ang ating mga tinatawag na ‘haligi’ nang ating mga tahanan - macho, matapang, makisig - ginagamot ng Diyos ang lahat nang sugatan.



Jeepney Press July-August Issue page 18



BAHAI KUBO
by Maria Concepcion Pidelo-Ona

Stay Sane and Stress Less

10 Rules for Making O-bento (School Lunches) for your Kindergartener or Even your High School Kid

By April, Mommy or Daddy is excited to make the o-bento and creativity runs high. But perhaps, by the second or third month, you start running out of ideas and start getting stressed even by just simply listing the food you need to buy in the supermarket. Here are some tried and tested tips so you will be able to turn this school year into an enjoyable o-bento making 2010.

1. Keep it simple.

100-yen/1-dollar shop goodies do wonders and leave some money for buying more important things.

2. Make it quick in 15 to 20 minutes.

A quickly-made obento in the morning leaves more quality time with your kid during breakfast time.

3. Create cute/fancy obento only when you can.

Save your sanity and use the same designs over and over again as long as your little (or big high school) client likes it.

4. Go for a variety of colors to make it look yummy.

For instrance, brocolli and tomato go well with sausages. If the food still looks bland, use colored picks.

5. Repeat to yourself: It is my child who I am trying to please not another child's mother.

Your o-bento is for your child's eye to see and for your child's mouth to taste expecting to be appreciated by your child's teacher or another mother.

9. Disguise food.

For winter time, make huge dinner stews and use the same food for school obento, either by disguising it as an omelette or baking it with cheese topping.

10. Write your weekly o-bento planning in a noteboook.

Keep your menu list and recycle o-bento menu plans during those times when you hate to think of what to prepare.

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KANSAI CRUSADE

by Sally Cristobal-Takashima

Suma-atin na ang tag-init. Ready na ba kayo na magsuot ng swimwear? Sa nakita kong swimwear collection sa mga depatos ay marami na din bumibili ng fitness wear na ideal din for swimming. The better ones sell from 7,000 yen up and with good care will last for a couple of years. I have been postponing buying a new swim suit and it's not easy to find a flattering style with a reasonable price tag. At long last, I got an Ellesse black stretch shorts with pink piping and a silver/

gray top. The price was a bit stiff considering I don't really swim that often but more of aquabics and walking pa.

Manila beckons and the great time we had in Panglao, Bohol last year comes to mind. Beautiful shoreline, marine clear blue water, palm trees, wide hammocks, white sands makes me believe there is still Paradise not in Maldive or Hawaii or Guam but in our very own Philippines, the Pearl of the Orient Seas. For those who have plans to visit Cebu, splurge for once in your life, and stay at the Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa. It's a Philippine's premier 5 star resort. Ganda talaga so enjoy naman tayo once in a while. We got confirmed booking as of this writing sa Hilton Cebu Resort and Spa, a Mediterranean inspired enclave and siempre pa enjoy din mag relax sa Spa. Paminsan- minsan lang naman.

The other highlight of our vacation is the reunion of the members and friends of the Philippine Community in Shanghai which I co-founded with other Pinay expats in 1995. We lived in Shanghai for 3 years when my husband was posted there. By the way, the Shanghai International Expo 2010 in Pudong will run until November. To those of you who can make it, there are many exciting places to visit like the Silk Market, Fish, Bird and Cricket Market, French Concession area. Tourist nowadays hang around in the Old Shanghai district where one can hang around in traditional Chinese Tea Shops, buy Chinese dresses, discover a wide array of heavenly silk fabrics, nado nado (etc). This summer, I say make it Shanghai from Manila because it's cheaper. By the way, you need a Chinese tourist visa to enter China but visa free travel between Chinese and the Philippine government is currently being worked out. Maybe I should organize a Shanghai trip for Filipinos based in Japan.

And now for our Kansai news. The International Day of the St Mary's Catholic Church was held recently. It was a well attended event at talagang dinayo ng mga members of the Philippine commuinity pati na rin ng community members ng Korea, China, Brazil, Portuguese, Bolivia, Spain at iba pa. Among the many kababayans we run into were Lorly Cruz, Lety Konishi, Teresita Okada, Katrina Fujikawa, Tessie Hosaka, Susan Yamamoto, Violy Mizuno, Beth Onodera, Beth Kan, Marie Hashizuka and Yowie Tsuda with some of her students in tow. The mass was conducted in, if I remember correctly, simultaneously in Japanese, English, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese. With the continual decline in the number of Japanese compared with the number of Japan based foreigners attending Sunday, it can be said that the foreign community church goers are literally helping to keep Christianity stay alive in Japan. I cannot but agree and if you have attended a Sunday mass in, for example, St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Hong Kong. How easily will you be moved by the sheer number of Filipinos going to church on Sundays be it rain or shine. There was even a queue to enter the church just like the queue the tourist have to make when you visit the Vatican. Once lang na naka attend ako ng Sunday mass when we visited Hongkong. Nakaka-iyak nga when we started to sing and pray. It was a moving experience so I suggest when you visit Hong Kong or any other foreign country, attend a Sunday Worship Mass.

The annual flag raising ceremony to celebrate the 112th Independence Day was held in the grounds of MID Towers. A Holy Mass officiated by Fr. Mario Colina and a Brunch of various Philippine foods followed. Ambassador Maria Lourdes Ramiro V. Lopez thanked everyone who attended the celebration.

Pistahan sa Osaka the event everyone was looking forward to, was held in the Hotel New Otani. It was also a well attended dinner dance. Thanks to the officers of the Philippine Community Council headed by Jun Silva and also to Inada, Miho san of the Hotel New Otani. Among those who helped in making it an event to remember were Aya Hongo, Susan Fuchizaki, Heidi Terada, Malou Sato, Belle Futatsugame, Nixon Cacao, Neriza Sarmiento, Olson Solon and last but not least the Philipine band who made sure there was dancing music all nite long. Among the guests were Jovy Ferrer (Finance Officer, Philippine Consulate General), Arcie Soriano (Attache and Tousim Director, Dept. of Tourism) Lorelei Cruz, Admistrative Officer, Dept. of Tourism, Katrina Fujikawa (Balikbayan Express), Joseph Eric Pelaez (Metro Bank), Zafrullah Masahud (Dept. of Trade) Delia Nakashima, Libye Suzuki, Linda Sakae, Lisa Kumai, Yuriko Hayashi and Annabelle Sosogi.

Ambassador Maria Lourdes V. Ramiro Lopez in her speech encourages eveyone to rediscover Jose P. Rizal's heroism as he is an extraordinary man of timeless virtues worth emulating. She also mentioned that each and everyone of us should search and give meaning to our lives. Ang buhay na may kabuluhan ay pamana sa ating kabataan. Leafing once again through the pages of Noli Mi Tangere and El Filibusterismo will inspire us to know Jose Rizal, his life, beliefs as well as the women who inspired him. Special thanks go to our Vice Consul Senen Mangalile and the Philippine Consulate General for making Pistahan sa Osaka a success.

To all our Jeepney Press readers, just like I always do, bring extra copies of JP newspaper to the Philippines. They may want to network with Japan based Filipinos by subscribing or advertising. It's the best community newspaper in Japan.

Have a great 2010 Summer vacation! Ja ne!


KANSAI CRUSADE

by Sally Cristobal-Takashima

Biyernes ng umaga on the Osaka Loop Line train on my way to Kyobashi station. The early morning rush to board a train in big cities in Japan is something to contend with. One gets shoved and pushed. To be a part of this daily occurence is dehumanizing which remind most of us that we are just a cog in a wheel. Rush hour in Japan peaks at 8 to 9 a.m. Commuters are packed to double its capacity and the last passengers to get on have to be pushed by uniformed platform attendants. Yes, even prim looking OLs get to be pushed as well. Once inside the train, the commuters are pressed against each other, one can hardly breath and unable to move.

When the train reached Kyobashi station. Para bang mga lokang nag-unahan ang mga pasaheros na lumabas at sa oras na ito ay talagang naka Nike ka para hindi ka kulelat sa goal which is the kaisatsu guchi (exit). Oo, tama ka para talagang nasa marathon ang pakiramdam mo. One cannot do this in an empty stomach at talagang a smart well balanced breakfast is recommended.

Hindi pa man ako nakakalayo sa binabaan kong densha ay may isang malakas na hagulgol at tili ang narinig ng mga tao. Lumingon ako at dahil sa wala naman akong makita, pinilit kong malaman ang happening na nangyari. Isang naka unipormeng dalagita ang nakalupasay sa platform. Ang school bag niya ay halos nakasabog at natatapakan ng ibang pasaheros. Sa pagka usisera ko, tinanong ko sa katabi kong babae kung ano ang nangyari. Chikan (groper-pervert) daw! Naka cross ang dalawang bisig ng dalagita. Ang mga uniformed train attendants naman ay hindi mawari kung ano ang gagawin. Para bagang nagsikip ang dibdib ko sa awa at galit at hiniling ko na mahuli ang perpetrator sa madaling panahon. Habang ako ay naglalakad papunta sa aking yoji (scheduled errand) ay hindi ko mai-alis sa isip ang teenager na para sa akin ay isang outstanding youth. Bakit kamo? Well, inspite of the Japanese training in restraint and assertiveness, in her way, she contributed to raising awareness to the problem of train gropers. Many people are still not aware that calling it groping doesn’t make it anything lesser than Sexual Assault which caries a minimum sentence of 7 years vacation in prison or 500,000 - 1,000,000 yen penalty. Vast majority of cases are unreported because the victims are afraid to show their faces. This is a critical women's issue of seeking justice but humiliating and degrading at the same time.

Jeepney Press July-August Issue page 20



e-DESHOU?
by Edward Labuguen

PILIPINO PO AKO!

Sa mga oras na ito, nakaupo na ang bagong Pangulo, Bise-Pangulo, mga Mambabatas sa Mataas at Mababang Pulungan. Nasa kapangyarihan na si Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, bilang bagong Pangulo ng Pilipinas. Mula sa araw na ito, ang Bayan ay nag- uumpisa na namang mangapa, sa bagong liderato, ang kapakanan ng ating Bansa. Mahabang panahon na ang ating hinihintay, na magkaroon ng pagbabago at umangat ang Pilipinas. Napuno na ang mga Filipino, sa mga pangako ng pagbabago, pag-angat ng ekonomiya at kabuhayan, pagkakaroon ng matatag na trabaho, edukasyon, kalusugan at agrikultura, pero parang mailap pa rin ang mga oportunidad na ito. Ang inaasam nating pagbabago, ay hindi lang naman nakalaan sa mga iniluklok natin sa posisyon, kundi sa lahat ng Filipino. " Ako ang simula ng Pagbabago", dapat yan ang kataga ng bawat Pinoy, at kasabay ng katagang yan ang pagpupursige ng bawat isa sa atin, na gawin ang nararapat para sa inaasam na pagbabago. Katulad ng tema ng pagdiriwang ng Araw ng Kalayaan na ginanap dito sa Kani Fukushi Center, dito sa preperektura ng Gifu, "Kaya kung sama-sama, magka-isa para sa sarili at para sa Bayan." Bilang migranteng Pinoy sa Japan, asawa man ng Hapon, Japanese descendants, o OFW, ay may kanya-kanya tayong gawain o adhikain, na ang layunin maliban sa makatulong tayo sa ating mga pami-pamilya, ay makagawa din tayo ng ikaka-unlad ng ating bayan. Marami tayong magagawa, kahit tayo ay nasa ibang bansa, ay pwede nating ipamalas ang pagmamahal natin sa ating Sariling Bayan. Katulad ng sinabi ni dating Presidente John F. Kennedy ng Amerika, "Huwag hingiin kung ano ang maipaglilingkod ng Bayan sa yo, kundi hingiin sa sarili kung ano ang maipaglilingkod natin sa ating bayan."

Umaasa tayo, andyan pa rin ang PAGASA, sabi nga "habang humihinga, may pag-asa" ay palagi din nating isama sa ating mga panalangin, na sana magsilbi ng maayos ang ating bagong halal na mga pinuno, na sana isipin nila ang kapakanan ng sambayanan, magsilbi ng maayos.

Salamat sa naki-isa sa amin, sa paggunita ng ika-112 na Araw ng Kalayaan ng Pilipinas dito sa Kani Fukushi Center, sa pangunguna ni Mrs. Keren Tsuchida ng Phil-Jap Asia Tomonokai, at ang iyong lingkod ng Angels' Voice Youth Ministry, at sa lahat ng nagpamalas ng mga angking talento sa pagsayaw ng tinikling, ati-atihan, sakuting, sayaw sa bulaklak, sayaw sa Malong at ang mga ipinamalas din na kantang kundiman. Kahit sa ganitong paraan, maliban sa pagpapamalas ng ating kultura, at nagkakaron din ng panahon na nagkakatipon-tipon ang mga kapwa Pinoy para mas mapalalim ang pagkakaibigan at pagkakaisa. Salamat din kay CONSUL SENEN MANGALILE, ng Konsulado ng Pilipinas sa Osaka, na panauhing pandangal sa nasabing pagtitipon.

Mabuhay ang Pilipinas! Mabuhay ang Pinoy sa Japan.


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J-WAY
by Joseph de Leon

Teaching English in Japan

I have been teaching in the Philippines for 10 years before I was hired as an Assistant Language Teacher (ALT) here in Japan last 2005. My 15 years teaching experience (10 years in the Philippines and 5 years in Ichikai Town, Japan-2005-2010) greatly contributed to my present position as an ALT of Haga town. This town, located here in Tochigi Prefecture, has a unique and more efficient English-Teaching System. To be this town’s English Teacher or ALT requires me to be a good teamplayer because I have to work closely and teach together with the Japanese Teacher of English (JTE) and the Homeroom Teacher (HRT). It took me about a week to adjust to my new teaching environment after my 5 years teaching job as an ALT of another town. In my previous town, I prepared my teaching plans and managed the class with the assistance of the Homeroom Teacher without the JTE. Being flexible among other qualities helped me adopt to my new classroom role and teach efficiently together with other two teachers, the JTE and the HRT.

Haga town’s unique and efficient way of teaching English in Elementary Public Schools were planned and supervised by the town’s Japanese Teacher of English (JTE) Ms. Yui Takahashi. It‘s my first time to work with a JTE and I can see the positive effect of having Ms. Takahashi in the English Education of Haga town, Japan. Ms. Takahashi prepares the lesson plans and teaching materials with my assistance. She does ask for my ideas which I can also give her at any given time. A week before the lesson, Ms. Takahashi conducts a pre-class orientation (uchiawase) with the Homeroom Teachers, explaining them the content of the lesson and how to go about it. It is the Homeroom Teacher who is challenged to manage the English Class. She (JTE) makes English Teaching more effective because both the Homeroom Teacher, the JTE and myself (ALT) know the flow of the lesson. A good teamplayer is a must. My role as an ALT is the promotion of internationalization, providing the class with the native level of English.

Our English class starts with two pupils coming to our faculty room and invite us to their class using English. “Hello Teacher Joseph and Teacher Yui, we are ready. Please come to our classroom.” This greeting is usually heard from the pupils. With the ALT, JTE and HRT in the classroom, our class starts with the pupils’ greetings, warm-up song ( ALT leads the song, JTE and HRT sings with the pupils). Lucky People (HRT calls 5 pupils to go to the front and communicate with me in English). Review of the past lesson (HRT ask the pupils to recall the past lesson, ALT presents the learned words/ sentences and JTE assist the HRT and Pupils). Presentation of the new lesson (HRT presents the topic, ALT presents the target words/ sentences using native level of English accent, JTE supports the ALT in the management of the class and sometimes to the explanation of the lesson in Japanese to further pupils’ comprehension). English Game/Activity (HRT, JTE and ALT) do game demonstration and then HRT and JTE manages the game while ALT [me] joins the pupils), and the class ends with the pupils‘ writing in their evaluation sheet (they write what they’ve learned during the class).

As to this writing, it’s my third month as Haga town’s ALT and I have been an effective ALT working with JTE and HRT. I am proud to show to my Japanese colleagues the following qualities in working with them, to wit:

1. Be responsible. If you are asked to do something, do it. If you need to be somewhere for the team, whether it is a meeting or to support the team at an event, be there and be on time.

2. Listen to other team members without trying to guess what they are saying or judging them. This is called active listening. For some people, it's one of the hardest things to do.

3. Be supportive. Compliment other members of the team when they have worked hard or overcome a challenge. Sometimes a person who gives everyone support is more valuable than the most technically skilled member of the team.

4. Communicate effectively. If you have a problem, explain it, tactfully, before it becomes too big. It's okay to let people know if you feel something isn't right, just remember to be respectful of others’ feelings when you express yourself.

5. Be flexible. Even if you have always done it one way, be willing to try another way. There is more than one way to skin a cat.

6. Contribute. Be willing to take on responsibilities and share the workload. This doesn't mean you have to be a martyr, but work with your team mates to make things happen.