Thursday, May 12, 2011

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June COVER PAGE

Cover Art and Design by Dennis Sun

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June Centerfold Page

Marlene: Looking Back
By Dennis Sun and Yellowbelle Duaqui

It has been 3 decades and a couple of years now since 1978 when a young lady possessing a powerhouse of vocals stepped foot on the Land of the Rising Sun impressing the Japanese audience. Now considered an icon in Japan's entertainment industry with talents crossing boundaries not only in music but TV, films, theatre and radio, Marlene shares a gem of advice that any journey we take in life - especially in building a career - is not all about what you become, but who you become as a person. Grateful to the society that launched her career as a singer, she launches a new album entitled INITIAL which can be in no more perfect timing than this trying moment in Japanese history.

Sit back and relax as we throw out to Marlene 32 question for each of the 32 years she has spent in Japan.

1. Before you went to Japan, what were your impressions about this country?
Rich in money and culture

2. Of all the different countries that accept Filipino singers, why did you choose Japan? You could have gone to USA or Europe to pursue a higher singing career.
I was discovered by a Japanese promoter at 15, but did not go until I was in college.

3. Filipinos are known to be flexible and they can easily adjust to different cultures and customs. What do you think is the most difficult thing for you to adjust or
accept in Japan?
The language! When I came here, I did not speak ANY Nihongo but I was quick in learning it and figuring out what they were trying to say through their facial expre-ssions! Those days I didn’t understand why the guys comes first and not the women! You’ve got to know the language to be able to understand their ways!

4. How was Japan then 30 years ago when you started compared to the Japan now, 30 years later?
The Nippon Danji way back then was supreme and women seemed to be 2nd class citizens. Today, women are more independent, looking after themselves, making their own money and making their own decisions.
5. How were the Filipinos accepted then?
That was the time when Filipinos here were known as entertainers…as band players, singers and dancers in an omise. Our women entertainers were called ”JAPAYUKI,” which I hated! Where did that word come from anyway?

6. Can you tell us how you were discovered?
I was just starting my career singing in Manila when a Japanese promoter saw me and heard me and would not just stop offering me to come to Japan.

7. You started your career as a pop singing idol in Japan. But basing from your early albums, you only recorded songs in English. Why not in Japanese, as well? Some foreign talents like Teresa Teng, Judy Ong, Agnes Chan and others were all recording in Japanese.
During the first 2-years of my career I recorded songs in Japanese. Then in 1981, I was offered by CBS-Sony then, now Sony Music Entertainment to launch an album categorized as FUSION/ JAZZ. The company wanted me to be different from the others. I was a “GAITARE”(gaijin talento) that lives in Japan. The rest is history.

8. Do you think that if they have asked you to record in Japanese, you could have been a much bigger star capturing a wider audience?
Honestly, I have no doubt about that!!

9. Having been to many of your concerts, I noticed that almost everyone in your audience is Japanese. Seldom do I see Filipinos going to your shows.
Yes, very few. I guess because I’m marketed to the Japanese audience. News about me if there’s any are in the Japanese media which Filipinos can’t read or understand. There’s also the price of my tickets. I think they’re too high for Filipino standards. Even if I want to, it’s hard for me to invite everyone to come to my shows because I understand them.

10. Given a choice, would you have preferred to have made a name in another country like USA or other English speaking countries instead of Japan?
I’m happy with what I have achieved here in Japan. This is a very difficult market to get into. I feel so blessed. We all have our share and I am destined to make it here. Of course, I would be happy to be given the chance outside of Japan.

11. What is so special about Japan?
I love the rich culture, the loyalty of the Japanese people, their honesty, their polite ways, their being so organized which our country need.

12. Why did you prefer to stay here? You could have chosen to break it in the mainstream American music scene?
Before I knew it, I realized this has been home to me. I was once offered to debut in Europe then in the States but my career was doing great, my recording company turned it down!

13. Would you like to create a name in the Philippines?
Oh, no question about that! It’s definitely YES.You are famous in Japan but not in your own country. Would you like to create a name in the Philippines?

14. So many Filipino singing talents came to Japan decades ago. But only very few were chosen to succeed. And you are one of the biggest Filipino stars to have made a mark in the world of music, films, theatre and television. What is your secret?
In Japan? A few? As far as I know, BIMBO DANAO made it big here as a singer 60 years ago even ended up marrying a very famous actress. 30 years later came MARLENE, and movie actress RUBY MORENO. My secret? It's not even a secret!
I treasure the opportunity that was given to me.

15. Is there a different or special way of doing business with the Japanese?
Nope! It’s pure professionalism.

16. What tips can you share to aspiring Filipino artists out there who wish to follow your career?
You’ve got to have DISCIPLINE and ORIGINALITY. You may start mimicking your favorite singer but you have to find your own style.

17. What is Marlene doing when she is not working?
I’m a busy MOMMY.

18. What is a typical day for you?
I do what a typical Mom would do! I wake up at 6am, prepare breakfast and obento for my kids. Drive them to school, attend meetings in their school if I have to. Do some house chores, pick up the kids, take them to their extra curricular activities…BORING eh!

19. You live in Tokyo and Nagasaki?
Since the Nuclear Power Plant crisis started, we moved the kids to Nagasaki where my husband works. We’re fortunate that we have a place to go when the news on radiation came out!

20. You have lived in Japan for so many years and probably had many Japanese suitors but ended up marrying an American.
God blessed me with a great husband. It is what it is.

21. You have two kids. How is life as a mother?
It’s very challenging but it’s worth it! I really enjoy being a mother to my two energetic children.

22. Would you push your kids to follow the same path as you did? Or would you prefer them to do other things?
I would lay the rail track down for them but It’s up to them to choose which way they want to go. I’m confident that they are nurtured with love and care and they’re disciplined enough to know what’s good and bad and that they will know what to do in life when they grow up.

23. How do you see yourself 5 to 10 years from now? Any plans? Would you like to continue singing or pursue other fields?
I’m enjoying what I have now and I see myself doing the same thing. If I’m going to do something else in the future, it’s definitely outside of my career.

24. Given a chance, would you like to try it again in the Philippines?
I never gave up my possibility of giving my country a try. If it won’t happen, it still won’t change anything. As I said, I’m very happy with what GOD has blessed me.

25. You were in Tokyo when the tragedy in Tohoku happened. How did it affect you?
I was so frightened. It’s different when you have two little kids. When I was in grade school, Manila had a big earthquake. I remember broken pieces of plates, glasses and figurines lined up at the side of our street on my way to school. I felt this earthquake was greater than that.

26. Knowing the Japanese people for a long time, do you think Japan can recover from this tragedy?
I think people just now realize what they were losing. In the good old days, Japan became arrogant , too proud. It became materialistic. They had it all and it seemed it would never end. Japan forgot their values, respect, love and care to one another. Now we’re talking about saving energy consumption, helping each other, working hand in hand. For me, it’s OKAERINASAI JAPAN. Now that we’re back to basic, I’m confident that Japan can recover and be even greater.

27. As a singer whose career is fully established in Japan, how do you think you can contribute to its recovery?
Music can heal. I participated in a song recorded for the people of Tohoku region. It’s called “LOVE WILL FIND A WAY” produced by INCOGNITO leader Bluey. Artists and musicians from all over the world participated. It can only be downloaded on iTunes. I can show them a good positive attitude about life, give them life through my songs.

28. Do you think music can somehow help provide psychological reassurance to the Japanese people?

29. You have made new album of your previous hit songs from the SONY label before. Can you tell us about the album?
It’s FUSION. It’s entitled INITIAL. Produced by Andoh Masahiro. He wrote my signature song ‘IT’S MAGIC’. Photographed by the famous cameraman KANOU TEMMEI and my wardrobe stylist is KONISHI DON. It is composed of my well-requested songs from my past albums.

30. In your new album, you composed a new song, COME FLY WITH ME. Can you tell us something how the song came to be written and what it is all about?
I was getting tired of hearing psychological difficulties the people are experiencing nowadays, so when I sat down and started to write the lyrics, I thought I’d write something that would uplift their spirits. Be positive is the message. That’s how I came up with the lyrics.

31. What would you like to tell the Filipinos in Japan?
Mabuhay ang mga PINOY. Kahit na anong hirap, palagi tayong magkakasama. I’m so proud of you. I discreetly visited Filipinos from Tohoku who took refuge at the Franciscan Chapel in Roppongi about 3 weeks ago. I was so touched and relieved that in spite of their loss, I still see smiles on their faces. That positive attitude saves us through thick and thin.

32. What would you like to tell the Japanese?
Hand in hand, we can build this country again. Don’t lose your faith. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May the smile on your faces come back very soon.

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June Page 03

by Alma R. H. Reyes


For sure, so many writers of Jeepney Press will be talking about the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami the same way the September 11 shook the entire world. Suddenly, the past months have seen gloom on so many people’s faces in Japan: gas stations closed for sometime; some bank ATM machines not operating for sometime; supermarkets, office buildings, department stores, electronic stores, pharmacies, train stations turned dark and gloomy due to power conservation—less ceiling lights on, lower-powered heaters (despite the current 12 C climate last March)—not to mention, less commodities in shelves empty from day to night, each single day; some descending escalators no longer running (only ascending escalators) so that people can use the stairs instead when going down; five out of ten turnstiles in train stations blocked to save power; some TV screens inside trains black; less running elevators in buildings to save power; big flashing screens on the buildings of Shibuya, Ueno, Shinjuku turned off after six p.m.; maybe four out of six aisles in supermarkets lit; and so many other drastic changes that have given us a new Japan either to be sorry for or to sympathize with.

There are so many sad stories of families in Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and other affected regions that flash on daily news that I cannot even begin to relate them with any absence of helplessness. All I have done for this horrible crisis is to send off a box of mineral water and offer small monetary donations, but none of those gestures seemed justifiable to truly extend my compassion for all those who continue to suffer in their hearts. I wished I could be as brave as those workers in the nuclear plant who risked their lives dumping water on the reactors to cool them. I wished I could travel to Fukushima or Sendai and work in one of those evacuation centers. Yet, how many of us would be so prepared to face the risk of death?

The global phenomenon we all observed in this disaster is that every single person on this earth seemed to be focused on only one thing: how not to risk death. People panicked for food because they wanted to go on living; people hoarded for mineral water because they were afraid to be contaminated with radioactivity; people wore masks, sunglasses and hats because they were afraid of radiation rays; people purchased potassium iodide frantically online even without knowing what it was really for; foreigners fled Japan immediately when the nuclear plants exploded—all these, to protect our own lives; to overcome the fear of dying, of losing the life we don’t even know how to value and nurture in the truest sense. Such is the irony of being human.

Some people said there were lessons to be learned from this horrific catastrophe. The Japanese, being so loose and sometimes, abusive with their wealth, have now learned the scars of desperate living: low on electricity, water, food and losing loved ones. We really didn’t need that much light and that much power. There is so much waste in Japan that most regular Japanese consumers are so unaware of because life for them has been running on a one single pattern repeated over and over in time that most Japanese really do not know how to deviate from.

At some point we all realized it was good that there were power cuts because now we can save energy and learn to live more simply, but would Japanese really prolong this frugal life for long? Forever? Or, did we just forget that Japanese people (especially the young generation), having been so rooted on luxurious, comfortable living could not help being respected members of the first world countries at par with the luxurious and comfortable living of the US and Europe? If you have lived in Japan as long as I have, it really remains doubtful if Japanese could ever accept in the truest and sincerest sense that life was meant to be nothing but simple.


So, I left Japan during the crisis. Yes, I did. I was one of those “flyjins” who yearned eagerly to board on one of those savior planes out of the country. My ticket out of Japan though was planned way ahead in mid-February due to family reasons. It just seemed timely that I made use of the ticket when the crisis came. Like most “flyjins,” once I boarded the plane out, I felt I could breathe…breathe fresh “normal” air, and not the so-called contaminated air. When I landed in Manila, I was longing to be there…and be there for good. There were many jokes among Filipinos about my “pasalubongs” being tainted with radiation. The radiation scare was also felt in the Philippines, and one day there was news that the air around the Philippine atmosphere was tainted with radiation that a friend of mine came to meet me with an umbrella over her head, afraid to be hit by radioactivity. Even for just two short weeks, I savored many peaceful nights without aftershocks, many bright days without having to hurry to the grocery to get the last piece of bread, pack of eggs, carton of milk, or last 2-liter bottle of mineral water. I didn’t have to sleep in my day clothes worrying about the intensity of the next aftershock. I didn’t have to wear a mask outdoors. Life just seemed the way it should be, yet amidst the suman, green mango shake, buko, and beaches, I knew far too well that this life, the way it should be, would not last long once I return to Japanese soil.

If people are so worried and stressed about how each day pushes itself to the future, that would be useless mind-boggling over what we could simply do TODAY to live our own lives to the best and the fullest, and to humbly accept whatever arises under whatever circumstance. As they say, man cannot control nature. Man cannot even control God. And, I do believe that is the only way, in this time of so much uncertainty and restlessness, to live with a peaceful mind and heart.

God bless All!

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June Page 05

Hello, Future
by May Graziella Masangkay

“Hello, Future.”

I saw a Japanese commercial ad hanging over my head during one of my morning train rides, and I couldn't help thinking of the impact of that phrase.

At a time when our sensitivity is drawn to all things that speak of hope, safety, and security, the ad had a message that hit home – beyond all this seeming hopelessness and senselessness of unexpected and unprecedented natural calamity, there is a future to look forward to. There is, if only we have the heart and courage to embrace it.

Much has been said, written and shared about the March 11 experience, which later unfolded into the triple disasters of a magnitude-9.0 earthquake, ensuing tsunami that ravaged Japan’s northeastern and eastern regions, and the nuclear accident at the Fukushima plant, which to this day continues and signals a long-haul and protracted battle.

Individually and collectively, we find ourselves trying to process our thoughts and feelings while sifting through volumes of information about what was happening around us. Pre-quake and post-quake, our future plans may have altered. Consciously or unknowingly, we find ourselves struggling with the changes in our routine. And whether you are part of the immediately affected group in the northeast or in the relatively farther and not-as-affected, we all seemed to share one thing – our desire to hold grip on any sign of normalcy.

When the disaster broke, I was at a meeting with my other colleagues at the 20th floor of our news headquarters. The rare alarm that signaled a breaking news set off in the entire building, the elevators were shut down, and we had no choice but to wait where we were and bear the swaying which continued for some time, together with the eerily squeaking sounds.

Soon after, bits of information came gushing in…the severity of the quake, the tsunami alert, the situation of nuclear plants, etc. After the quake subsided, I rushed back to my assignment (or “beat” as we call it) and the day unfolded with a series of press conferences, doorstep interviews, briefings, and what not. I just did not have the time to “process” the almost magnitude-9.0 scale of fear and anxiety I felt.

Being in the line of work that I was, getting information asap was a bittersweet thing – on one hand, I had information that would be a good source to rely on and be rational, but on the other hand, there was the risk of being overloaded with information and anxious. I was somewhere in between.

During the first few days of the quake/tsunami/nuclear crisis, everyday was a discovery of something new -- a fresh event to be worried about. One minute, the government was assuring that everything was under control, and another minute, there was an explosion in one of the reactors. Then came the advisories of embassies, the exodus of foreigners, exodus of Japanese to western and southern parts of Japan especially during the subsequent three-day weekend holiday.

I was having a hard time trying to make sense of what happened. Everything seemed so surreal. The safety and security and peace that I often associated my life in Japan shattered in an instant. I suddenly felt scared of being alone, of taking my usual leisure walk lest the quake hits when I am outside, of going out without my emergency bag. It was like everyday was like an alert day for me.

It was unnerving to see friends leaving one after the other even as you try to hold your ground here in Tokyo, amid the continued aftershocks. It was stressful, to say the least, to assure your families and friends back home that you are alright since the Fukushima plant is still 220-250 kilometers away and there is no concrete evidence of Tokyo being affected bigtime, when moments after, updates of the worsening situation of the plant grab the headlines, and words such as “meltdown” and “Chernobyl” seem to be appearing constantly.

I was a foreigner, but growing up here in Japan and working here for the past decade made Japan so much of my home that it was not an easy thing to just pack my stuff and leave. I believe many of us felt the same way and hit at one point or another that big question -- should I stay or should I go?

Fast forward to now – a month since the tragedy struck, signs of normalcy are emerging with people who left Japan trickling back, trains operating as usual, grocery stores no longer lacking in supplies, and people more willing to talk about the ordeal.

For me, people I talked to happened to be from my faith community -- the Couples for Christ community which has been like a family to me because through it all, for whatever reason that bound us here, by obligation to work or by choice, they were there and it gave me hope and encouragement.

One of the dominant realizations for myself and, as far as the people I have talked to were concerned, was this deep, newfound appreciation of all things that are “normal” and “ordinary.” I have come to embrace the joys of all things “ordinary” and “normal”. In a fast-paced society like Tokyo, I usually went by my schedule without taking too much time to appreciate every little thing that passes me by. But during the rush hours in the morning, I found myself listening to every clanking sound of people walking and running to and out of the train; I became more observant than ever to every little detail, whether it was the shape of a flower I passed by, the expression of each person on the train, the ticking sound of the clock. I found comfort from any sign, however trivial and silly, of a normal, pre-quake life.

Interestingly, the Western media have pointed out at the “extraordinary” value of calmness and order displayed by the Japanese people at the disaster-hit areas. Having been raised in Japan, I have always thought that such calmness and order was the norm. It was simply normal to fall in line and wait for your turn, to share with others if supplies are lacking and be considerate, to think and act for the greater good. And now, when someone points out about it, you realize how such “ordinary” values are being praised as “extraordinary” when in fact those values deemed as extraordinary should have been ordinary in the first place.

We all have our reasons why we choose to stay or leave. We all have our different tolerance levels for situations. Leaving at the height of the disaster may be, as some argue, betrayal or chickening out, but I think it’s more than that. The disaster has considerably changed our routine, priorities and the way we look at our lives. The fear and anxiety of what happens next is still there. And it’s really every individual’s way of coping with things, every individual’s right to determine or decide for himself what he wants, what he values, and where he wants to be now and in the coming years. I believe it also boils down to how much you trust the government of Japan that it can put things under control, how much you are willing to bear and wait and see how things will unfold, how much attachments you have in Japan. No one can or should decide for you. If you are not at peace here in Japan, then go. If you feel that you want to stick around and be part of the reconstruction efforts of Japan, then do so. There are no right or wrong answers.

And after having processed your thoughts and feelings and changes in routine in this time of uncertainty, after having a grip of the senselessness of what happened, maybe the question will be -- What now? What can we do? What should we do?

And I believe we will have different answers for that. It may be service through your current work. Or volunteer work, in and our outside the disaster-hit areas. Or trying to be as normal as you could, buying things and attending events in the hope of stimulating the economy, which would in turn help the rebuilding efforts in Tohoku and the whole of Japan. Or you could be rearranging your priorities to spend more quality time with your loved ones and together do something to help those in need.

It doesn't have to be big. I recently attended a charity event for the Tohoku victims and there was a boy who came and donated toys and books so that children his age would find comfort and be happy in those gifts. Young as he was, he already knew what it meant by giving and reaching out to people.

Just like a lot of us of foreign nationals in Tokyo, I have not been directly affected as people in Miyagi, Iwate or Fukushima. I have not been deprived of sleep, food, water, home or all other basic necessities. I have not lost a family, friend or neighbor. Nonetheless, I feel affected. Why? Because we continue to feel the effects of aftershocks, radiation fears, and rolling blackouts. Because what happened in the Tohoku region could have happened to us. Because, though we may not be related to them, Japan has become our home.

As I keep on thinking and processing all these mixed emotions, I find myself again and again gazing at that Japanese ad again on the same morning train.

And I am hoping and praying that as the days pass, if there is one thing to be sad about, I would be able to erase that by finding 101 reasons to smile and be happy about. And I would like to believe that one day, I would realize that when I look at that ad, I can look around and see things are back to all things normal and ordinary, smile, and say to myself:

“Hello, Future.”


Talababa sa Japan: Marso 11, 2011 (II)
- Richard R. Gappi
9:48 PM, Martes, 15 Marso 2011
Angono, Rizal, Pilipinas

Saan nagtatagpo,
nasaan ang sangandaan
ng ngatngat ng lamig panganib ng nukleyar
na nakaligid, nakabitin
sa litid ng ating titig?

Ang sagot,
ay nasa
na parehong tumatawid
sa panginorin:
humapay ang bigat,
tumagilid at lumigwak
na singbilis ng kurap.
Ito ba ang buntong hiningang
pangungusap sa pagpikit
nang madilim na ganap?
Ano ang hugis ng dilim?
Paano nasasalat ang kanyang said?

Sukatin sa titig
dahil isang bolang itim
ang malamlam na tingin.

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June Page 06

by Cleo Umali Barawid

Of Anpanman and Toilet Training

While thinking of a topic to write in this column, my attention was caught by my 2-year old daughter who was squealing with delight as she watched Anpanman on DVD right next to me. She’s watched that DVD for the nth time but she never gets tired of it. If you have lived in Japan long enough, for sure you know who Anpanman is. Anpanman’s popularity among pre-school children in Japan is unquestionable. Kung ang Amerika ay may Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse and Friends, at Barney, ang Japan naman may Anpanman.

Anpanman Who?

Anpanman is a cartoon superhero with anpan
(bread filled with azuki bean paste) for a head. He is often seen breaking off a part of his head to give to hungry people. Like all superheroes, meron din syang arch nemesis. Ito ay walang iba kundi si Baikinman (germ man). Baikinman likes dirty things and he’s always plotting Anpanman’s downfall. He is naughty and cute at the same time (in fact he reminds me of my little boy, Kahlil).

Anpanman is not invincible. There are times when Baikinman gets the better of him. During the times when he gets beaten, his head would have to be replaced by a new one. Jam ojisang (grandfather Jam) would make him a new head and would throw it up in the air to land on Anpanman’s old head, after which the old head will be gone. Every time this happens, my youngest child would clap her hand in delight. All characters in Anpanman are loveable, the villains included. I admit I also enjoy watching.

The Anpanman cartoon was written by Takashi Yanase. He started writing it in 1968 but the idea of its plot had been with him eversince he was serving as a soldier in World War II. Faced with the prospect of starvation, he would dream of eating anpan. He thought how nice it would be if there’s one superhero who would fly around and come to hungry people’s rescue.

Today, Anpanman is a multi-billion yen enterprise. Anpanman merchandise (from clothes to toys to books) is a mainstay in all major kids’ store in Japan. As of 2006, over 50 million copies of the books were sold.

As a mother, I’m quite picky with the programs I let my kids watch. Some cartoons have too much slapstick in them. Tom and Jerry and Bugs Bunny came to mind. Admittedly these are funny cartoons but the plotting and the revenge element are not for toddler- viewing. I’m at ease letting my toddler watch Anpanman though because compared to other cartoons, it’s pretty tame. Even Baikinman and his cohorts from time to time portray good traits like standing up for their friends and doing the right thing in the end.


Shimajiro is not as popular as Anpanman but boy am I grateful to him. Bakit? Kasi at age 2, my daughter is potty-trained thanks to him. He makes toilet training fun and easy. If you want to know what I’m talking about, try looking for him in youtube. I-type mo lang ang Shimajiro and several toilet training videos will appear. Pwede mo rin kabisaduhin yung kanta ng parents ni Shimajiro sa tuwing gagamit sya ng toilet. I did. At syempre, lagi kong kinakanta pagmato-toire si bunso. And what do you know... effective nga, and that made me a very happy okasang indeed dahil nakakatipid kami sa diapers.

I think Japan is the only country where unchi (poo) and the oshiko (pee) are not considered kimochi warui (yucky). In fact, it’s not unusual to hear unchikun or oshikokun when referring to a child’s poo or pee. The suffix –kun is added to boys’ names to denote affection. So when one adds a term of endearment to unchi and oshiko, it only means that he is not put off by them, but is regarding them with fondness instead.


A Cup of Coffee
by Richard Diaz Alorro

What would be your ideal morning?

Kung ako ang tatanungin, my ideal morning would be a sunny and warm weekend morning. I will get up nang medyo tanghali compared to the usual weekday mornings, and while still in pajama or damit pantulog, enjoy the aroma of freshly brewed coffee sa balcony or sa labas ng bahay. A cup of coffee in the morning while watching people from different walks of life pass by, cars and other vehicles rule the streets, or trees and flowers sway with the morning breeze, will surely make my day. Isang tasang kape sa umaga habang nagmamasid at nagmumuni-muni sa takbo at agos ng buhay. Isang tasang kape sa umaga habang nag-aalay ng munting pasasalamat para sa nakaraang araw. Isang tasang kape sa umaga at panahon para sa aking sarili. Talagang nakakamiss ang umagang ganito.

Ano ba ang maaring i-offer ng isang tasang kape? A cup of coffee could warm up our chilly day, can make us alert during a lazy afternoon, or help us make it through the night if we need to finish loads of work. Para sa akin, a cup of coffee is a treat; a treat for myself after a hard and long day, a treat for a friend whom I did not see for a long time, a treat for a new acquaintance, a treat for a client to whom I will discuss business matters, a treat for a special someone to whom I share my dreams, a treat for my family who serves as my inspiration, and a treat for a life that I need to nurture.

A cup of coffee can make stories. Ang mga kwentuhan over a cup of coffee ay naghahatid ng iba’t ibang kwento ng buhay. Usually talks over a cup of coffee give us opportunities to share heartaches or a new-found love, mga karanasan sa buhay, childhood memories, dreams and aspirations, or kahit na mga maliliit na bagay about our neighborhood, failed exams or favorite showbiz personalities. May mga pagmamahalang nabuo, negosyong naitaguyod, pagka-kaibigang pinagtibay, at mga pangarap na natupad dahil sa isang tasang kape. Makahulugan para sa akin ang isang tasang kape because it creates bonds of friendship and love. It brings me closer to myself and to the society where I belong.

A cup of coffee symbolizes life. Mayroong iba’t-ibang flavor ng kape. May espresso, cappuccino, café au lait, café macchiato, café latte, frappe or the ordinary black coffee. Different flavors also bring different hues of coffee colors and tastes. May kapeng dark black, dirty white, brown or mocha. May kapeng mapait, creamy, o matamis at may mga kapeng instant or brewed. May kapeng mainit at mayroon ding iced-coffee. Ang buhay ay katulad din ng kape. Minsan dahil sa tindi ng problema or trahedya (katulad na lamang ng triple tragedy na sumalanta sa bansang Hapon – Great Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and Fukushima nuclear crisis), naiku-kumpara natin ang buhay sa isang mapait at black coffee. Minsan ang buhay ay parang café au lait, café latte, or cappuccino - creamy, mabango at masarap; masaya at pinagpala. Bawat isa sa atin ay mga sangkap to add flavor to a cup of coffee. It’s up to us to choose what we want to be – cream, sugar, cinnamon, milk, ice, or just another plain coffee. We may have different choices but we share the same purpose – to add flavor to this cup of coffee we call life.

Patuloy ang takbo ng buhay kaibigan. Sa mga panahong tayo ay nangangamba o nalilito, why don’t we stop for a while, sit down and have a cup of coffee. Let us think about life and the good things that are yet to come. At bilang panghuli, nais kong ibahagi ang isang napakagandang message by President Tom Beck (played by Morgan Freeman) from the movie Deep Impact (1998). Para sa bansang Hapon at mga Pilipino saan mang panig ng mundo:

“Cities fall, but they are rebuilt. And heroes die, but they are remembered. We honor them with every brick we lay, with every field we sow, with every child we comfort, and then teach to rejoice in what we have been re-given.”

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June Page 07

ni Fr. Bob Zarate

Ikaw Ang May Control!

Isang buwan na ang nakakaraan after the East Japan-Pacific Earthquake of March 11. Nakita na naman natin ang lakas na magagawa ng kalikasan. Studies say it took 200 years para magkaroon ng ganoong kalakas na lindol. Sabi ng mga scientists, para matumbasan ng mga bomba na binagsak sa Hiroshima at Nagasaki noong 1945 ang lakas ng energy na binigay ng lindol na ito kailangan ng mga 31, 250 nuclear bombs. Ganoong kalakas! Kaya hindi ka talaga magugulat sa matataas na tsunami na mataas pa sa isang 4-storey building.

Hindi mawala ang awa ko sa mga namatay sa lindol at sa tsunami na iyon. Paano kaya sila namatay? Biglaan kaya? Eh iyung mga nasa loob ng kotse na hindi na makalabas? How were they able to face death? Ang lindol na ito ang nagpaisip muli sa akin tungkol sa katotohanan ng kamatayan. Hindi man lang natin alam kung kailan darating ito. Biglaan kaya? Unti-unti? Nag-iisa? Kasama ang mga mahal sa buhay? Kung ngayon ka mamamatay, handa ka na bang
harapin ang Diyos? Sa bilis ng tsunami, may time pa ba tayong mag-sorry sa mga nasaktan natin?

Kailangang magtipid ng kuryente. Kailangang magtipid sa bilihin. Tinatawag ang mga Hapon na mag-isip muna bago bumili. Kahit ang mga useless text sa telepono, dini-discourage. Sa mga panahong ito, bumabalik tayo sa basics ng buhay. In some ways, isa ito sa mga positive na dala ng isang natural disaster. Bumabalik tayo sa kahalagahan ng pamilya, ang panahon na kasama sila, kasi walang TV, walang cellphones, walang PSP. Balik sa personal encounter ang tao at hindi sa telepono o computer lamang. Tandaan, kahit na gumanda ang buhay natin dito sa Japan with all the technology, kahit na malaki ang perang naipapadala natin kung ito ay ipalit sa peso, sana ay hindi natin maalis sa puso natin ang value ng basics ng buhay: ang mahawakan ang iyong mga mahal sa buhay, ang makasama ang mga taong mahalaga sa iyo, ang mag-schedule ng oras sa isang araw na patay ang TV, patay ang games, walang cellphone.

Kasabay ng mga news na nakikita natin about Japan, siguro ay familiar din kayo sa news about a certain game show na kung saan sumayaw ang isang bata nang malaswa. Yung mga against sa host will say, “Sinasabi ko na nga ba! Manggagamit ng mahihirap. Binabandera ang pera para maging dependent lang sila. Pawang kabaduyan!” Yung mga kampi naman sa host, “Eh ano bang pakialam nyo! Gusto lang naming magsaya! Kayo ba may magagawa sa pamumuhay namin?! Ha!” Well, kung tutuusin, kasalanan talaga ng mass media ng Pilipinas iyan. Bakit natin kasi pinababayaan na bumaba nang bumaba ang level ng ating mga TV programs?

Yung isang kaibigan ng ate ko na nagtatrabaho sa isang TV station sinasabi niya na pag nagmi-meeting daw sila for a TV program, kahit na mga graduates sila ng mga Ateneo, La Salle or UP, kailangan nilang pabakyain ang kanilang mga shows para panoorin ng masa. Naging instrumento ng business ang TV para kumita nang kumita at yumaman sila mula sa mahihirap na walang pera. Sila ang yumayaman. Ang mga mahihirap, tuluyang nagiging mahirap. Sila ang kumikita. Ang mga mahihirap hindi umaangat. Kulang na nga ang pagkakataon sa edukasyon, hindi pa binibigyan ng edukasyon sa pamamagitan ng mass media.

Ang quality ng ating mga TV shows sa Pilipinas, masyadong mababaw. Puro drama. Tapos ang mga primetime and noontime shows, puro pababaan ng level sa jokes, sa pagtingin sa babae, matatanda, bakla at may kapansanan. (If I remember well, nagsimula na itong lumala noong late 70's pa! Of course, isama na rin diyan ang mga toilet humor ng mga comedians.) Yung mga informative shows kakaunti. Yung mga shows with true appreciation of the arts, lalong kaunti. TV mismo ang nagiging paraan para hatiin ang Bansa natin: mga edukado at hindi, mga mayayaman at mahihirap, mga sosyal at bakya. Kung iisa sana ang effort ng mass media at gobyerno para itaas ang level ng Pilipino. Kailan kaya mangyayari iyon? Tapos naglalabanan pa ang TV stations. Pare-pareho silang nagiging kulang-sa-pansin (KSP). Kailangan mas maingay, kailangan mas mahaba, kailangan mas maraming commercial! Puro porma, kulang sa laman. Sayang... sayang talaga. Kung puwede lang sanang gawing paraan ang TV para lalong lumalim ang pag-ibig ng Pilipino sa kanyang bansa. Kung puwede lang sana maging paraan ang TV para mag-improve ang Good Manners ng mga Pilipino sa kalsada. Kung puwede lang sana maging paraan ang TV para tumaas ang sense of decency ng mga Pilipino. Kung pampasaya lang ang TV para sa isang Pilipino, ok lang sa akin... basta ang saya na iyon ay iyong hindi tumatapak sa karapatan ng iba, iyong hindi madamot at mayabang, iyong hindi ka magiging sakim sa pera.

Ako mismo ay isang mass media fanatic. Kaya kong magtrabaho nang bukas ang TV o radyo. Gusto kong may background music kapag naglilinis. Natutuwa ako sa power ng visual and audio communication. Everything in mass media can be used to give a message. Napapansin nyo ba ang mga posters ng mga pulitiko? Pati ba naman ang shade ng make-up o kulay ng kurbata, pati ang kulay at laki ng font ng mga letters ay ping-iisipan para makatawag-pansin at makakuha ng ninanais na reaction mula sa mga tumitingin nito.

Kaya dapat aware tayo sa ating nakikita, napapanood at naririnig. Hindi lahat ng nagbibigay saya ay mabuti. Kahit si Satanas kayang-kaya niya tayong pasayahin.
Kapag natawa tayo sa joke sa TV, afterwards, isipin din natin BAKIT tayo natawa, kasi baka ang pinagtawanan natin ay nakapagpapababa sa dignidad ng pinagtawanan. Kapag napapasayaw tayo sa isang tugtog, maging aware din tayo kung ANO ang lyrics ng kantang iyon at baka pawang kabastusan lang iyon.

Good values can come through mass media. And mass media can also give bad things. Wag ka lang tanggap nang tanggap.


by Marty Manalastas-Timbol

ALAM NYO BA... na nasa Pilipinas ako for an official business trip ng magkaroon ng earthquake and tsunami? Grabe ang takot ko when I received a call from Elmer of PEZA and mga text from friends na nasa Pilipinas updating me of what is happening, kasi alam nga nila na nasa Japan ang asawa ko at ang mga anak ko. Got so worried lalo na nung di ko makontak ang mga bata, ang husband ko at yung kasama namin sa bahay because phone service were disrupted. Gosh talaga, kung superman lang ako, gusto kong lumipad that time. Napakahirap at di ako nakatulog dahil sa worry ko and I was just looking forward for our flight the following day. I was also touched kasi not only friends comforted me with their text messages and calls, pati si PEZA Director General Lilia B. de Lima at si Ma’am Sabrina Panlilio, wife of DTI Undersecretary Cristino L. Panlilio. Again, thank you sa lahat ng mga nag text, mga tumawag sa akin at mga nagdasal para sa lahat ng mga nasalanta ng earthquake and tsunami.

ALAM NYO BA…na lahat ng naka-experience nung earthquake at tsunami ay may kanya-kanyang kwento, what they felt and what changed sa pananaw nila ngayon sa buhay.

ALAM NYO BA…na maraming mga kababayan natin ang nagsalita ng masama about the Embassy? Some even posted sa facebook without even thinking if what they were saying ay tama ba o mali o kung ito’y makakabuti ba sa kapwa. Others even said bad things about the Ambassador na gusto niyang umuwi ng Pilipinas kasama ang mga Embassy staff. Yung iba naman sabi pa na ang mga taga-Embassy ay pumunta ng Osaka at linisan ang Embassy. Tayong mga Pilipino talaga, diyan tayo magaling – ang gagaling natin manira ng kababayan, sisirain kahit walang ginagawang masama sa iyo, paninira ng kapwa kaya di tayo umaasenso. Nakakainis kasi, kahit saan sulok ng mundo na may Pilipino, sila mismo ang maninira sa iyo. Either inggit sila o may galit na di mo maintindihan. Sakit na ng Pinoy ang mag-criticize or feeling nila na para silang ignorante lang sa nangyayaru. Ang dali-dali for Pinoys to always criticize not only the government pati na rin yung mga ibang kababayan natin. Kaya next time you want to make a negative comment or make unnecessary criticisms, think muna kung ang sasabihin mo ba ay tama o makakabuti sa kapwa mo at sa iyong bayan. Isipin mo na rin, whether what you are about to say will make you a better person or not, will make you look educated or uneducated. For a change naman, instead of negative criticisms or mag-tsismis, why not just say a prayer.

ALAM NYO BA…na ang Japan is the only country na prepared sa earthquakes at tsunamis? In Japan, at least once a month may mga drills sila. Not only school children pati na rin yung mga Japanese corporations/ company, they make sure they have drills once a month. Kaya naman, whenever may earthquake, kahit malakas, hindi nagpa-panic ang mga Japanese, they remain calm and sumusunod lang sila sa mga instructions, maybe from a local fire department, a teacher or someone who is in-charge of the group. For school children, gaya ng mga anak ko, after the March 11 earthquake, hindi sila pinayagan na umuwi o umalis ng school, as in they are required to stay in school until a parent or guardian comes to collect them. It also applies for those whose homes are damaged or if walang family member na available to look after them, then kailangan nilang mag-stay sa school. My sister who was in her office during the March 11 earthquake, seeing buildings within vicinity of Imperial Hotel shaking violently or swaying witnessed how behaved and calm the Japanese people. My sister also said that you will see how companies in Japan are very much prepared, yung mga employees wearing protective hats, the person in-charge giving orders, distributing emergency supplies gaya ng tubig, biscuits and small flashlights. But what is also amazing is how the buildings are designed and built, that even if there is a big earthquake, the buildings will only sway left and right and will not collapse at all. Nakaka-believe talaga sila.

ALAM NYO BA…na halos lahat ng tao sa buong mundo ay na-impress sa mga Japanese? Kahanga-hanga talaga ang mga Japanese lalo na after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Dito nakita ng karamihan the best traits of the Japanese people, they are disciplined, orderly, patient and calm. Di sila nagre-reklamo o maririnig na pinagbibintangan nila ang kanilang government. Mayroon din siguro who complains but not really to the point na sisiraan nila ang kanilang government. They remain courteous, honest and have respect for each other. Hats off to Japan and to its people. May God bless Japan and its people.

ALAM NYO BA…that the Philippine envoy to Japan, Ambassador Manuel M. Lopez is now officially Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. Ambassador Lopez presented his credentials to His Majesty Akihito, Emperor of Japan, held at the Imperial Palace last April 7, 2011. Sir, congratulations po and more power sa inyo ni Madame! God bless always.

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June Page 08

Jeep Trips
By Jade Pangilinan

On Disasters

Just as I am contemplating on writing about the natural calamities that the Global Pinoy has to face, another earthquake rocked Japan barely a month after it was hit by a devastating tsunami and earthquake.

So far 2011 has not been a good year for the overseas Pinoys, with the earthquake in New Zealand, civil unrest in the Middle East, floods in Australia and the tsunami in Japan. Add to that the Filipino workers executed in China for drug trafficking and the growing number of Pinoys on the death row in various countries. Still, these disasters, natural or man-made, are not enough reasons for more Filipinos to stay here in our country. Each day thousands of our best manpower leave for foreign shores in the hope of finding greener pasture and better opportunities than what the Philippines has to offer. Disasters are mere challenges that the Global Pinoy has to face.

When the first big quake hit Japan in March, my first thoughts were of my friends in the Jeepney Press, kuya Dennis and ate Marty, and my cousin Evita and her family in Tokyo. I really am thankful for their safety and well-being. In the days that ensued I followed the news and saw the hard work of the people in the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, especially the Ambassador, who did their best for the Pinoys in Japan in spite of the limited resources they had. I realized that theirs was a thankless job given the many demands that some of our Kababayans were making, ranging from pamasahe to better accommodations.

I was also inspired by the likes of Jeepney Press’s very own editor Kuya Dennis and his family in keeping alive the spirit of volunteerism among our Kababayans, despite the fact that they were also victims of the same disaster that hit everyone in Tokyo. It is comforting to know that in spite of everything that has taken place, our newspaper Jeepney Press is still alive, kicking and running! I guess disasters really have a way of bringing out the worst and the best in the Filipino. It is during disasters that we learn of stories of courage and everyday heroism. It is also during disasters that we highlight the lack of support or attention we get from the government and we are overwhelmed with a certain sense of helplessness and fatalism.

Overseas Pinoy or not, I think that everyone has to prepare, at least psychologically, for disasters in our lives. These may be personal disasters or obstacles we have to face, whether with our family, relationships, career or whatnot. They may also be disasters of a 9.3 magnitude which we have to face with the rest of humankind. Come what may, we just have to find the strength in ourselves and strength in God to pick up where we left off or start all over again if necessary.


By Christopher Santos

This time you will help me write this article.
The purpose of us writing for Jeepney Press is to inform, to express, or simply to share. Walang writers kung walang readers. YIELD is yours. Sa kabila ng mga recent events sa Japan, alam natin na maraming nabuong karanasan, maraming tanong na nangailangan ng sagot, mga pangamba na naglabasan, at mga bagay na hindi natin kailanman inakala na pag-iisipan natin. I am equally sure that among those concerns, no matter how many forms they are camouflaged as, there are certain truths that only self-honesty can unlock. I know this is an editorial column and I have a responsibility to declare my opinions. However, tulad ng nasaad ko, this is YOUR column as much as it is ours. All this time, you have been reading my articles. This time, as respect for that self-honesty that only reveals itself at times we are truly challenged, I will simply ask the questions. Kung ang layunin ng pagsusulat ko ay para bumuo ng opinyon, and since this column has always been for our readers, this time ang mga sagot ninyo ang bubuo ng column na ito. By the time you finish pondering on what I can only hope as thought-provoking points, in your own silent accord, then we have collectively created a masterpiece. Hindi kailangan nagkakaisa ang mga sagot natin dahil wala naman makakaalam nito kung hindi ang mga sarili ninyo. Ang dapat lamang ay magka-isa tayo sa pagkilala ng isang oportunidad para higit lalo natin madiskubre ang mga sarili natin sa gitna ng mga pangyayaring pinagdaraanan natin lahat dito sa Japan.

We cannot publish your thoughts or your answers but you will be joining us in fulfilling what we in Jeepney Press are here for - to trigger something that will make us better people. We cannot predict the future. It's stupid to live past the present. But we can be prepared because, in the long run, it will be easier to select an option than to search for one. Walang sagot na tama o mali. Pero mayroong totoo at hindi. To our readers, kayo lamang ang makakaalam ng tunay na sa loobin ninyo. It's time na pakinggan natin ang sarili natin. And, before we proceed, thank you po for helping me write our article...
• During the midst of the 3/11 earthquake, gaano ka kahanda sa anumang mangyayari sa iyo?
• Ano ang nasa isip mo sa loob ng limang minuto na iyon?
• Anong paghahanda sa buhay o sa sarili mo ang hindi mo natupad bago lumindol?
• Ano ang unang naisip mo noong una mong mapanuod ang pag- atake ng tsunami sa Japan?
• Noong kinagabihan ng 3/11, ano ang pinag-usapan ng buong pamilya mo?
• Ano ang binago ng 3/11 sa iyo at sa pamilya mo?
• Sa kabila ng mga nangyari, nagpapasalamat ka ba na nasa Japan ka?
• Mayroon ka bang naisip o nakita na magandang bagay sa personal mong buhay na bunga ng mga pangyayari?
• Kung hindi mo man naisip na bumalik sa Pilipinas, bakit?
• What do you miss most about Japan after 3/11?
• Gaano mo na-appreciate ang Japan recently? Bakit?
• Gaano mo na-appreciate ang Pilipinas recently? Bakit?
• Ano ang pinakamakabuluhang tulong na naibigay mo sa gitna ng mga nangyayari?
• Kung may paraan na malaman mo na mangyayari ulit ang naganap nung 3/11, paano ka tutulong?
• May nagbago ba sa kumpiyansa at tiwala mo sa Japan matapos ang 3/11? Higit ba itong tumibay?
• Kung mayroon kang mahal sa buhay na magnanais tumira sa Japan ngayon, ano ang ipapayo mo?
• Kung sakaling papiliin ka ng isang lugar lamang kung saan ka tatanda, saan ito? Bakit?
• Kung sakaling talagang kaila-ngan mo na bumalik sa Pilipinas, handa ka ba?
• Kung sakaling talagang kaila-ngan mo na maiwan sa Japan, handa ka ba?
• Huwag naman pahintulutan ng Diyos, pero kung ang Pilipinas ang nagdanas ng trahedya, uuwi ka ba?
• Ano ang napatunayan mo sa loyalty mo sa Japan?
• Ano ang napatunayan mo bilang Pilipino sa Japan?
It is not my intention to solicit a choice, take sides, or present an ultimatum. I don’t even dare to stir emotions. This issue’s YIELD is sincerely dedicated to trigger truths that we take for granted. At least, I hope that's one good thing we can extract from our recent challenges. The very first article I wrote for Jeepney Press on its inaugural issue was about bridging Japan and The Philippines. Masaya lang ako to discover that after all these years, and inspite of everything that took place, and taking into account what is still happening, I was able to put into test what I firmly believed in then until now. I am a Filipino in Japan. To this date, I have spent more time in this country than in our own. Pero walang nagbabago kasi at the end of each day, it's not where we are or who we are that counts. It's what we do that makes a difference.
Maraming salamat po ulit. It was fun to "write" with you all.... Stay safe everyone.
God bless Japan.

Jeepney Press 2011 JMay-June Page 10

Arangkada Pinoy
ni Yellowbelle Duaqui

Gapiin ang Pag-aalala

Marami sa ating mga Pinoy sa Japan ang nabagabag sa tatlong delubyong kamakailan lamang ay sumalanta sa hilagang silangang bahagi ng bansang ito. Maraming .Hapon, bata man o matanda, ang pumanaw dahil sa tsunami; samantalang ang ibang nakaligtas ay nasawi sa mga evacuation shelters, lalo na ang mga matatandang Hapon na hindi pinaligtas ng lamig at ng mahirap na sitwasyon. Nawasak din ang mga ari-arian at napilay ang ekonomiya sanhi ng pagkaantala ng produksyon. Hanggang sa kasalukuyan, patuloy din ang problema ng nuclear fallout sa mga reactors sa Fukushima. Para sa karamihan, mahirap tanawin ang liwanag sa dulo ng madilim na bahaging ito sa kasaysayan ng bansang Hapon.

Walang duda na ang lahat ay nababahala dulot ng mga sakunang ito. Ito ay isang natural na sikolohikal na epekto sa isang tao kapag nasa isang napakahirap na kalagayan. Ngunit tulad ng mga Hapon, tungkulin din nating mga Pinoy na naninirahan, nagha-hanapbuhay o nag-aaral dito na umusad at piliting ibalik sa normal ang ating pang-araw-araw na buhay. Dahil kailangang magpatuloy para na rin sa kabutihan ng lahat, mas makabu-buting ituloy lamang ang mga plano o gawaing nasimulan bago pa man dumating ang sakuna.

Ngunit sa maya’t mayang pagdating ng mga aftershock, marami pa rin ang hindi mapalagay. Kung sabagay, may positibong dulot ang hindi pagkapalagay. Ito ay nakakatulong sa ating maging alerto. Ngunit kung ang hindi pagkapalagay ay nagbubunsod ng matinding takot at nagiging paralisado ang ating buhay dahil sa emosyong ito, hudyat ito na dapat nating suriin ang ating mga sarili bilang panimulang hakbang upang magapi ang pag-aalala.

May mga magagandang suhestyon na ibinigay si Dale Carnegie, isang tanyag na Amerikanong awtor at leadership trainor, sa kanyang aklat na How to Stop Worrying and Start Living: Time-Tested Methods for Conquering Worry. Ang mga nakatala sa ibaba ang pinakabuod nito:

• Huwag na masyadong pakaisipin ang nakaraan, maging ang hinaharap; mamuhay at ituon ang isip sa pang-araw-araw na buhay.

• Huwag kaligtaang maglibang paminsan-minsan.

• Maging abala. Nakaka-limutan ng isang taong abala ang kanyang mga alalahanin.

• Suriin nang mabuti: ano ang tsansang maaaring mangyari ang isang kinatatakutan?

• Gawin ang trabaho sa abot ng makakaya.

• Higit na pagtuunan ng pansin ang mga biyaya kesa sa mga problema sa buhay.

• Kalimutan ang sarili sa pamamagitan ng pagiging bukas sa paglilingkod sa kapwa.

Marami na umanong taong nakinabang at natulungan sa mga ideya ni Carnegie. Kadalasan, ayon kay Carnegie, dapat muna nating baguhin ang paraan ng ating pag-iisip upang mabago rin ang ating buhay tungo sa landas na ating minimithi.

Ngayong panahon ng pagsubok sa bansang ating pinaninirahan, higit nating kailangang maging matatag. Huwag tayong magpatalo sa takot. At kung hindi man epektibo sa inyo ang mga suhestyon ni Carnegie, pinakamabisa pa ring panangga ang pagdarasal.

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June Page 11

by Ping-Ku

Tulungan at Sariling Sikap

Taos-pusong nakikiramay kami sa lahat ng nasalanta sa nakaraang lindol at tsunami sa Tohoku. Habang sinusulat ko ito ay di pa rin nahahanapan ng solusyon ang krisis nukleyar sa Fukushima at pinagdadasal ko ang mga namumuno at gumagawa ng mga desisyon sa pamahalaan, ang mga ekspertong nukleyar at lalong lalo na ang empleyado sa loob ng plantang nukleyar na nagsusumikap hanapan ng solusyon ang lumalalang krisis. Sana ay lahat ng mga kapatid natin sa mga napinsalang lugar ng Kanto at Tohoku ay maligtas sa panganib at makaraos rin.

Makikita natin sa mga pahayagan at balita na maraming gustong tumulong upang makabangon ang bansa sa krisis. Ang sakura ay namumulaklak na at isang buwan na ang nakalipas mula lumindol noong ika-11 ng Marso, ngunit hanggang ngayon ay di pa naibabalik ang kuryente, tubig at gas sa maraming lugar sa Tohoku dahil sa kulang ang enerhiya at pagmayanig at masira ang mga tubo ng gas ay delikadong magkasunog muli. Dahil sa lamig sa Tohoku ay marami ring nagkakasakit. Mula sa pagpapadala ng pagkain, gamot, pananamit, tubig, kumot, at iba pang mga pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan— maraming mga tao, kumpanya at mga organi-sasyon ang nagpadala ng tulong sa Tohoku. Mula sa isang may-ari ng ramen shop sa Sendai na nagpa-kain ng libre sa mga tao sa Sendai pagkatapos ng lindol. O di kaya’y ang isang mag-inang survivors ng lindol sa Kobe noong 1996 na pinuno ang kanyang truck ng mga gamit at abuloy mula sa mga kapitbahay niya sa Kobe at nagmaneho patu-ngong Tohoku. Nagdala rin siya ng maraming bulaklak para ialay at isama sa pagbuburol ng mga namatay. O isang may-ari ng pabrika ng medyas sa Nara na nagpadala ng mga medyas sa mga tao sa evacuation centers sa Tohoku. Bumilib rin ako doon sa isang may-ari ng onsen ryokan sa Hakone na pinuno ang isang 12- wheeler na tanker ng hot spring water at humingi ng tulong sa SDF upang gumawa ng makeshift na ofuro at onsen na paliguan ang mga evacuees. Dahil maraming napinsalang mga pabrika sa Tohoku at Kanto, ang mga pabrika sa Kansai ay sinagad ang kapasidad para matustusan ang matinding panga-ngailangan ng mga battery, toilet paper at iba pa sa mga nasalantang lugar.

May mga naghandog ng tulong mula sa iba’t ibang bansa tulad ng Amerika, Alemanya, Pransiya, Tsina, India, Korea, Switzerland, Israel, atbp na nagpadala ng lakas militar, doctor, at iba pang specialist volunteers para sa relief operations. May mga nag-donate sa Red Cross tulad ng North Korea na nagpadala agad ng US$10,000. Ang Pilipinas ay isa sa mga unang sumulat kay Prime Minister Kan upang makiramay at mag-alay ng tulong. Nagpadala rin ng malala-king container ng mga saging para sa relief operations sa Tohoku at nangako na di i-aakyat ang presyo ng mga prutas na inaangkat ng bansang Hapon.

Sa Pilipinas, di lang ang gobyerno ang tumulong nguni’t pati ang pribadong sector at mga NGO ay nagtulungan upang magkaroon ng charity events tulad ng Jam for Japan jazz concert na ginanap sa Ayala museum noong ika-1 ng Abril at naging matagumpay sa pagtipon ng PHP17.5 million (JPY34.45 million yen) sa isang gabi. Malaki ang tulong na ibinigay ng Ayala Corp at lahat ng concert proceeds ay tinurn-over sa Japan Foundation na in charge sa pagpapadala sa Japan Red Cross. Sabi ng isa sa mga organizers ay “Oo nga mayaman ang Hapon kung ihalintulad sa Pilipino, pero pag may taong nahulog sa harap mo di mo naman tatanungin ang tao kung mayaman o mahirap siya bago tulu- ngan. Maraming mga aid at tulong ang nakuha natin mula sa mga Hapon at sa ganitong panahon, mahalaga ang pagtutulungan.

May nabasa rin ako tungkol sa Guinsaugon St. Bernard, isang maliit na barangay sa Southern Leyte, Philippines. Noong ika-15 ng Marso, nagka-fund drive sila na tinatawag na “Guinsaugon St. Bernard Gives Back to Japan.” Nang malaman nila ang tungkol sa lindol sa Tohoku, kaagad sila nagtipon-tipon ng pera upang ipadala sa Japanese Red Cross. Wala pang ilang araw at nakaipon sila ng PHP 21,574.50 pesos (humigit-kumulang ng JPY 42,777 yen). Malaking bagay ito mula sa mga pamayanan ng Guinsaugon.

Noong Pebrero 17, 2006, ang buong barangay ng Guinsaugon, ay nabaon sa isang landslide sa Ormoc at mahigit na 1,000 tao ang namatay. Ang bansang Hapon ay agad nagpadala ng mga rescue teams at ang JICA naman ay nagpatayo ng mga 50 duplex units para sa 100 na pamilya. Sabi ng barangay captain na ngayon ang pagkakataon ng kanyang barangay upang makatulong naman sa mga naghihirap sa Tohoku. Dinagdag nito na mag-fund drive uli sila makalipas ang 15 araw at pagkatapos ay ipadadala ang nakolektang mga donasyon (mas maraming barya kaysa bills) ay ipadadala sa Japanese Red Cross account.

May sempai ako na grumadweyt sa Kyoto University at nanirahan sa Manila kasama ng kanyang pamilya. Ang mag-asawa ay nagtapos sa Law Department at nagtayo ng kumpanya noong 2007. Itong kumpanyang ito ay isa sa mga tumutulong sa "Pray for Japan Philippines" movement at ang "Jam for Japan" concert noong Abril 1 ay isa sa mga events ng movement na ito.

Para ma-enganyo ang mga taong mag-donate, ay gumagawa sila ng mga give-aways at pinapasulat nila ang mga tao sa isang message canvas. Mabili rin ang mga simpleng T-shirt na may emblem ng bansang hapon na tinitinda nila sa mga Sunday market at sa labas ng mga simbahan.
Ang kanilang grupo ng mga aktibong Pilipino at Hapon na naninirahan sa Manila ay nagpa-plano ng iba’t ibang events at isa na rito ang charity marathon sa ika-17 ng Abril. Lahat ng kanilang kikitain ay ipadadala muli sa Japan Red Cross para sa mga nasalanta ng lindol at tsunami sa Tohoku.
Nakita ng buong mundo sa pamamagitan ng media (TV, balita, internet, blogs, atbp) ang pagtutulungan at sibilisadong pakikitungo sa isa’t isa ng mga taong apektado ng lindol at tsunami sa Japan. At nahumaling ang mga taong tulungan ang mga taong nagsusumikap umahon mula sa kahirapan. Nagsusumikap sila para ipakita ang kanilang pasasalamat sa lahat ng mga tumutulong sa kanila. Ang mga evacuees sa Tohoku ay di lang umaasa sa gobyerno at volunteers. Sila mismo ay nagsusumikap makalabas sa mga evacuation centers. Dahil walang privacy rin, marami sa mga evacuees ang umaalis at nagsusumikap linisin at ayusin ang kanilang mga bahay upang makabalik sa normal na pamumuhay. Mahaba at masalimuot ang daan patungo sa pag-ahon sa krisis na ito ngunit kung ang mga tao ay magtutulungan at makikisama ay tiyak makakaraos rin. Alam nila na upang mapabilis ang pag-ahon sa krisis, kaila- ngang may matinding pagnanais na sumulong at ito ay nagpapasimula sa sariling sikap at pagkakaroon ng community spirit.

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June Page 14

by Rey Ian Corpuz

Marso Onse

Katatapos lang ng huling klase ko sa Hanyu City West Junior high school. Ako’y lumabas at tumawag sa mga employer ukol sa aking paglipat. Naka tatlong tawag ako sa iba’t-ibang employers. Pagkatapos ay lumindol. Una, kumalma lang ako. Maya-maya biglang lumakas, pagkatapos, lalong lumakas, at hindi pa huminto, hanggang nanginig na lahat sa takot. Ang mga katrabaho kong Hapon ay kalmado ngunit takot. Ang mga emergency procedures ay nasunod. Ang mga bata ay nagtago sa ilalim ng kanilang mesa. Ang mga bintana sa teacher’s room ay binuksan lahat. Ako ay medyo nahilo at biglang nanginig. Ang aking asawa ay nasa Roppongi nagtatrabaho sa isang cosmetics company at walong buwang buntis. Nanginginig ako sa takot na hindi ko alam kung anong nangyari sa kanya. Nung lumilindol, ako ay tumawag kaagad sa cellphone niya ngunit walang sumasagot. Marahil siya ay kumaripas din ng takbo. Ipinagdadasal ko na sana walang masamang nangyari sa kanya at sa sinapupunan niya. Matapos nun ay nag concentrate ako para iligtas ang sarili ko. Lumayo ako sa mga bintana at bahagyang lumabas. Mabuti na lang at malayo ang matataas na poste sa aming paaralan. Makalipas ang ilang minuto kumaripas ng takbo papunta sa grounds ang lahat. Kabilang ang lahat ng mga guro. Hinintay ang mga sandali na may aftershocks. Makalipas ang ilang minuto, chineck ko ang website ng Japan Meteorological Agency. Una, Miyagi Prefecture ay nasa 7.1 pa lang. Ang Saitama ay nasa 6 kabilang ang Tokyo. Kalaunan nag update, at naging 8.9. Diyos ko po. Ito na ba ang the big shake na hinihintay ng Japan? Walang kuryente sa Hanyu. Pati tubig unti unti na ring nawawala. Lahat ng cellphone ay hindi makatawag. Tumigil ang lahat ng tren. Ang pinaka-pinagkukuhanan ng impormasyon ay ang radyo. Maya maya, may nag-post ng mga litrato sa Facebook. Susmaryosep, ang paliparan ng Sendai sa Miyagi ay na wash-out na ng tsunami. Ang mga nakakarimarim at nakakatakot na mga imahe at balita tungkol sa tsunami sa Tohoku area ay nakakapanglulumo. Habang tumatakbo ang oras, ako ay alalang-alala kay Cookie. Hindi ko ma contact. Panay ang post ko ng message sa aking wall sa Facebook na ako ay okay at ligtas. Si Cookie ay wala pa ring update. Habang tumatagal, ako ay lalong nag-aalala. Kinakausap ko ang mga kasamahan ko na English teachers na ang aking asawa ay nasa Roppongi. Hindi ko alam kung nagsi- bagsakan ba ang mga buildings doon. Makalipas ang isang oras, nag update na siya. Mag-usap daw kami sa Skype. Sa wakas at nakausap ko siya. Kumaripas daw sila ni Ate Glen ng takbo sa bakanteng parking lot. Buti naman at safe siya. Kalaunan, ang mga impormasyon ay duma-daloy na. Ang tsunami alert ay nakataas na sa buong Japan. Maya maya ay niyayanig ulit kami. Ako ay natataranta na. Ang pinakamasaklap sa lahat, walang tren na tumatak- bo. Nakitulog ako sa bahay ng kasama kong Pilipino sa Hanyu. Ang una naming ginawa is maka-secure ng pagkain for that night. Lahat ng vending machines ay patay. Ang convenience stores ay sarado na dahil ubos na ang paninda mula battery, tubig, tinapay, at lahat ng uri ng pagkain. Hanyu is also in panic that night. Pumunta ako sa bahay ng taga BOE at kinapalan ko ang mukha ko. Humingi ako ng kaunting pagkain man lang dahil walang wala kami. Hindi naman ako binigo ni Mrs. Harada. Nagbigay siya ng mga oyatsu o snacks. Yung nanay niya ay nagpahiram ng portable gas stove at gas canister. Pati noodles at kaunting desserts nagbigay. Sabi niya sino pa nga ba ang magtutulungan kundi ang mga magkapitbahay. Tama nga naman. Buti na lang makapal ang mukha ko or else tirik ang mata namin sa gutom. Nung palalim na ang dilim, dumating si Ernest. May dala-dalang tinapay at saging. Kumain kami ng noodles. Wala na kaming pakialam kung anong lasa basta lang maitawid ang gutom. Walang kuryente noon kaya nangangapa kami sa dilim. Wala din kaming kandila o flashlight man lang. Backlight lang ng cellphone ang ginagamit namin. Habang pinapatay namin ang gabi sa pag-uusap, dumating si Roland. Hinatid siya ng co-teacher niya from Honjo hanggang Hanyu. Ang layo nun kung tutuusin.

Samantala, ako ay nag-aalala kay Cookie. Buti na lang mabait ang boss nila at binilhan sila ng pagkain. Nung lumalim ang gabi, may nakilala silang taga Philippine Embassy na may sasakyan. Nag offer siya na mag drive papunta sa bahay nila Ate Glen ngunit hindi umuusad ang trapik. Hindi kasi gumagana ang traffic lights kaya nagkagulo ang kalye. Ayon kay Cookie, nagsarado daw ang Don Quixote sa Roppongi at mga bisikleta at sapatos lang ang kanilang binenta. Ayun, ubos ang bike at sapatos. At bakit? Naglakad at nag bike lahat ng taong pauwi dahil lahat ng tren at subway ay tumigil. Kawawa ang na trap sa subway, hindi pinalabas at nagpalipas lang ng oras sa loob. Patapos pa lang ang winter kaya malamig pa kung tutuusin. Maya maya ay bumalik sila sa Philippine Embassy. Doon na si Cookie nagpalipas ng gabi habang umuwi naman si Ate Glen dahil okay na raw ang Oedo Line. Alalang alala ako kay Cookie dahil traumatic ang kanyang pagtakbo from the shop until sa parking lot. Lahat raw sila ay nagdadasal na ng rosaryo at umiiyak sa takot. Mabuti na lang at mababait ang mga taga Philippine Embassy. Salamat po pala sa pagkupkop sa aking buntis na asawa. Diyos na po ang bahala sa inyo kung sino man kayo.

Sa Hanyu naman, kami ay natulog na. Lumilindol pa rin maya maya at medyo malakas pa. Minsan nagpa-panic pa rin at maalala ko si Rose ay tumayo at nagbabalak nang kumaripas ng takbo palabas. Ako naman, dahil sa sobrang pagod, bahala na yang lindol na yan at gusto kong matulog. At kinaumagahan, ako ay lumabas at umikot. Naghanap ng inuming tubig, noodles at kape. Along the way, napadaan ako sa West JHS at nakita ko si Kasahara Sensei. Mukhang wala pang tulog at nagbantay ata sa school. Nag-aalala din siya sa asawa ko at kung papano ako uuwi. Dumaan ako ng station. Suspended pa rin until further notice ang biyahe ng Tobu Isesaki Line. Diyos ko po ang layo pa po ng Hanyu sa Tokyo. At ako po ay alalang-alala na sa kalagayan ni Cookie. Baka po kasi makunan sa sobrang stress and takot. Nung bumalik ako sa bahay ni Rose, nanood kami ng NHK Live sa Internet. Diyos ko po, delubyo ang nangyari sa Miyage, Iwate at Fukushima. Nilindol na, binaha pa, at nasusunog pa ang siyudad. Maya maya ay lumilindol pa rin. Ako ay lalo nang na stress. Around 9:30AM, umalis ako at naghintay sa station. Nanana-langin ako na sana uusad ang tren kahit papano. Makalipas ang 45 minuto, nag announce sila na may bus service na tatakbo from Hanyu, Nishi-Hanyu, Kazo, Hanasaki, Washinomiya hanggang Kuki. Ayun at nabuhayan ako ng loob. Ako ang ika 4 na pasahero na nakasakay. Inabot kami ng dalawang oras eh nasa Washinomiya pa rin kami. Diyos ko po. Anyway, may tumawag sa driver. Okay na raw ang tren. Kaya bumaba kami sa Hanasaki. At sa wakas nakasakay din ng tren. Bumaba kami ng Kuki then naghintay ng tren na magdadala sa amin hanggang Tobu-Dobutsu Koen. Makalipas ang 20 minuto. Dumating ang tren. Pagkarating doon ay naghintay ulit ng 20 minuto para makasakay papuntang Kita Senju. Huminto sa lahat ng stations ang tren kaya inabot ako ng 2 oras. Pagdating ng Kita Senju ay nakahinga na at sumakay ulit ng Hibiya Line. Nakarating ako ng Philippine Embassy sa Roppongi mga alas 2 na ng hapon. Sa pagod ko ay kinain ko na ang bento kong dala na galing ng Hanyu. Ni onigiri, tubig o tinapay sa convenience store o vending machine ay wala kang mabibili sa Tokyo. Pagkatapos ay umuwi na kami papuntang Nishi Kasai sa Tozai Line. Okay naman ang tren pero kami ay nag aalala sa aming bahay. Bigla naming naisip, “Bumagsak kaya ang ref, tv, microwave, printer, laptop, drawers and dividers namin?” The worst, “Nandiyan pa kaya bahay namin o baka abo na lang dahil nasunog?” Diyos ko po huwag naman sana. Pagkarating sa bahay, ang mga plato at rice cooker lang ang nahulog at mga papel at bote ng cosmetics sa kwarto. Yehey. Safe ang bahay namin at kaming tatlo ni Cookie at Adrian. Thank God for our second life. Ang lahat ng ito ay nangyari sa loob ng 24 oras. Parang si Jack Bauer lang. Nakauwi kami ng bahay at past 2PM approximately after 24 hours since the big earthquake. Let us pray for all the souls who perished and for our safety here in Japan. Maswerte ka pa rin kabayan dahil nabasa mo pa ang article na ito. Ibig sabihin safe ka!

Three weeks later, our lovely angel, Adrian, was born. Thank God for keeping us always safe.

Jeepney Press 2011May-June Page 15

Neriza Sarmiento-Saito's
On The Road To:
A Japanese Daimyo's Monument in The Philippines
With the Takatsuki International Association ( TIA )

People embark on a journey for several reasons. A study made by some tourism marketing researchers revealed that most Japanese opted to go to places they have not visited before, and when they go there, they hope to get entertained and to have fun.

In the olden days, a Japanese Daimyo (Lord) took a single journey that was rather hard and depressing. He was banished to the Philippines for embracing the Catholic faith and later died in Paco, Manila. His name was Takayama Ukon, whose monument has become the center of a wreath-laying event by members of the Takatsuki International Association's Friendship Tour and the Mayor's Office of the Manila City Hall.
Takatsuki is a fast-growing metropolis that lies between Osaka and Kyoto. This foreigner-friendly city hosts various events throughout the year to promote global understanding among its citizens. Filipinos are the third largest group of foreign residents here since Manila is a sister city. The other sister cities are Shanghai in China and Towoomba in Australia. The Takatsuki International Association's Office is on the 4th Floor of the City Hall, with Mr. Shigeru Nishiyama as Executive Director and Mr. Yanone as Manager.

The sister city partnership was established 30 years ago with the city of Manila and several cultural and tourism exchanges were organized. One of the most significant activities every year is the Friendship Tour to Manila in coordination with the Department of Tourism, Osaka.
Two years ago, Mayor Okumoto joined the tour for the first time and was visibly impressed with the hospitality and warm- heartedness of the Filipinos. Last Feb. 17-22, 2011, a group of 17 residents of Takatsuki embarked on a tour that was both enter-taining and educational.

The traditional wreath-laying ceremony was even more meaningful this year because Ms. Baby Villegas, the International Relations Officer of the Manila Tourism Bureau, made sure that the Japanese guests would feel very much at home. Their visit and interactions with students of the Manila Science High School was an experience of a life time. The students welcomed the guests with musical renditions. Ms. Lorelei Cruz of DOT Osaka accompanied the group.

Our affinity and bonds with the people of Takatsuki is a result of the efforts of the TIA
Staff to continuously promote the Philippines in any event of the city. Whenever I attend meetings of the TIA Board where I have been serving as the only Filipino Board member, for many years, many of the other board members all have kind words about our country.We have been received warmly at schools where Lorelie, Kyoko and I introduced Filipino games
and cuisine through the kindness of Mr. Irie. Mr. Umemoto talked fondly of his friendship with Cielito "Mahal" Del Mundo and many other Filipinos who stayed at his place before. Belinda and Ms. Fujita and the other staff members helped us at our booth selling pancit, sotanghon, and lumpiang turon in one of the International events in Takatsuki last October.

If only Takayama Ukon could travel back to the future, he would probably be proud to say that the journey he made to the Philippines was not a bleak one after all. The proverb "Tabi wa ui mono, tsurai mono" (Travel is hard and depressing.) will no longer exist.


Shoganai: Gaijin Life
By Abie Principe

Marathon, Lindol at Tsunami

What with everything that has happened, lahat ng tao ngayon, iniisip ang lindol at tsunami. Ito naman ay normal lang. Pero, maiba naman ang usapan. Let's talk about before the quake. One particular event comes to mind. Noon Pebrero 27, 2011, nagkaroon ng Tokyo City Marathon. Isa itong taon-taong competition na ginaganap sa Tokyo.

Ngayong taon na ito, tumakbo ako sa 10k run ng event na ito. Masaya at exciting ang buong event.

Maraming mga marathon ang nangyayari sa iba't-ibang bahagi ng mundo, nguni't sa tingin ko, medyo kakaiba tong marathon sa Tokyo.

Alam ba ninyo na lahat puwede sumali sa takbuhang ito? Ang mga tatakbo ay pinipili sa pamamagitan ng raffle. Kaya, kahit gaano kaagang mag-register, at kahit na kaya mong bayaran ang registration fee, kung hindi ka mabunot, hindi ka tatakbo.

Ang Tokyo City Marathon ay mayroong dalawang race, and isa ay 42k o full marathon, at ang isa naman ay 10k. Hindi pa ako nakaka-takbo ng full marathon, pero madalas akong tumakbo ng 10k, kaya nung mapili ako sa Tokyo City Marathon, tuwang-tuwa ako.

Mas maraming gustong tumakbo ng full marathon, pinatutunayan ng bilang ng mga runners. Mayroong 30,000 kataong tumakbo sa full marathon, at 5,000 naman sa 10k.

Nakakatuwang isipin na ang lahat tungkol sa marathon ay planado na. Handa ang Tokyo na mag-host sa mahigit na 35,000 katao sa araw na ito. Walang traffic jams at hindi tumagal ang pila sa train stations. Impressive.

Ganitong paghahanda ay makikita sa maraming aspeto ng buhay sa Japan, lalo na sa pagdating ng mga kalamidad. Ika nga ng isang news report na nakita ko, "Japan is the country most prepared for almost any disaster." Nakita ang katotohanan nito noon nakaraang Marso 11. Na ang pagiging handa ng mga Hapon ang dahilan kung bakit maraming nakaligtas noong araw na iyon. At ito ring kahandaang ito ang tumutulong sa kanila ngayon upang malagpasan ang mga pangyayari, at magpatuloy sa kanilang mga buhay-buhay.

Dahil sa nakita ko sa Tokyo City Marathon, na kung ihahalintulad sa systematic way ng mga Hapon sa iba pang aspeto ng buhay nila, naniniwala ako na kaya nilang bumangon, at umunlad, in spite of the recent disasters. Ganbare Nippon!

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June Page 16

The Day When Japan Stood Still
by Isabelita Manalastas-Watanabe

Friday, March 11, 2011. It was the day the huge earthquake with intensity 9 struck Japan. The day when almost simultaneously a tsunami followed, with devastating effects, and then followed by another disaster – fear of a meltdown from the nuclear power plants in Fukushima prefecture. The day when we came to realize that no matter how powerful or how wealthy , or how technology advanced a country is, it is no match to the wrath of the forces of nature. I was in my office in Tokyo when the earthquake struck. At first, I was not very concerned, as we are used to having numerous earthquakes in Japan. Schools and offices in Japan have yearly drills on what to do when earthquakes strike, or when there is fire. But then, the shaking did not stop - so many after shocks! and strong ones, as well.

I ran out of the office and went out to the street, together with one staff. He got us a bottle of bottled water each, and we separated - he, walking back home to check out on his wife and small daughter (took him 3 hours, I later found out), me going to the safety of open space. I could not walk home - we live in the suburbs of Tokyo, around 50 kms away (almost one hour's train ride away, using the express train - almost 1 1/2 hours away, if using the ordinary train stopping at every train station). I called my husband, but I could not reach his cell phone. My sister, who also lives in Tokyo with her family, was in the Philippines on official business. I called her house landline to speak with my nephews and niece, but I could not also connect. I later found out that my brother-in-law walked more than 3 hours to get home and then to hop into a car and pick up the children who were in school when the earthquake struck.

My office was not far from Hibiya Park, our designated evacuation location. I decided to go there. While walking towards the park, I looked up at two tall buildings nearby, swaying - yes, literally swaying! - away from each other and then, towards each other, at one point, touching each other! I got very frightened.

There were many people who have already converged at the park. You will see how companies in Japan are very much prepared for such emergencies - I saw groups of employees wearing protective hats; others were listening to whoever was in-charge, giving instructions on what to do, and also distributing emergency supplies like water, biscuits and small flashlights. It was very cold, with strong winds blowing, and there was a slight drizzle. The lines in the women's toilets were very long, much longer than the men's. One man approached the long queue and told the women, it is better to also use the men's toilets. The small stalls in the park selling drinks and snacks were also with very long queues, with people probably anticipating they may have to stay the night there or somewhere safe.

When I thought the after-shocks have already subsided, and when I found out that the internet was running, I thought I should return to my office. My 2 cell phones were useless - no outgoing/incoming calls. Understandable... everybody was trying to call their loved ones, and probably the phone lines were just overwhelmed with the phone traffic.

And so I went back to the office, and I was even able to send out mails. And finally, I and my husband were able to "talk" thru Skype - I could see and hear him; he could not see and hear me. So he talked, and I replied by typing my responses. It was during our conversation that he told me that there was a warning out for another strong aftershock, maybe stronger than the original one that struck a couple of hours ago. The government advised people to stay indoors - inside the buildings or schools where they are. I told Fumio I want to go out in open space, back to Hibiya Park. His advice was for me to stay indoors. I finally said I am taking responsibility - I do not like to be inside the office alone, and would like to be with other people. I said my hasty goodbye, picked up the thicker of my 2 winter coats in the office, and then rushed out.

It was much colder now, and growing dark. The winds blew much stronger, and I thought I may not be struck by flying debris as my husband feared, if I go out, but I may die of the cold! So it was at the lobby of nearby Imperial Hotel where I thought I should seek shelter. To my surprise, there were hundreds of people camped out there. The hotel provided chairs, and turned on a tv screen where people followed up the news. Those who could not have chairs sat down just about everywhere. There was also very long queue in the hotel coffee shop. It was getting late and people were hungry. I was also hungry and I did not like to wait 1 hour to have something from the hotel, and went out to a nearby convenience store, only to find almost all the shelves empty!!! I was able to get yoghurt, cheese, and salami.

I went back to the Imperial, and found out hotel staff were distributing bottled water and canned bread. These were the emergency supplies of the hotel. The queue was very long, and as I had some food already, I did not join the long line. But then, one of the hotel staff whom I passed by, and who was holding a box of canned bread, very generously offered me one can, which of course I took.

It was growing cold in the hotel lobby, with the front entrance doors constantly opening and closing. I decided to go to the basement floor. Many people were also there, but it was not as crowded. I sat down, together with others, and had my "dinner". The canned bread was indeed an emergency supply kept by the hotel. Expiry date is still 5 years away. Some hotel staff brought blankets, giving priority to the elderly.

For those who have not been to Tokyo and have not stayed at the Imperial (Teikoku) Hotel - it is a plus, 5-star hotel, located in the Hibiya area, about 5 minutes away on foot from the Ginza. Room rates there, for single room, can start from JPY 30,000 (US$375) per night. And yet, here they were, the hotel staff, helping and serving all those people who have camped there, treating them no less kindly than their own guests who have sat down together with the rest of us. The hotel elevators stopped running, and until the emergency elevator started functioning, some hotel guests could not return to the upper floors.

One of my friends sent me a message, suggesting I consider checking-in at the hotel. I replied, saying I decided to leave the relative comfort of my office because I was afraid to be alone if another big quake strikes. So there I was, spending the night at the basement floor of the Imperial, sitting down uncomfortably, with a bad knee. Couldn't actually complain - it was warm, the carpet is thick and nice, and I had food.

Early the next day (March 12), at around 5:30 am, one hotel employee started going the rounds, holding a memo, informing us which trains have resumed running (Ginza line was the very first to start running, the previous night). When I found out that Odakyu line is already running, I joined the long queue to the hotel's ladies' room, washed my face and then prepared to go home.

I took the slow train back home (2 changes of lines). After around 1 1/2 hours, I reached my station, and there, waiting for me with a big smile, was my husband. We went home, where hot breakfast was waiting. I took a long, hot bath afterwards, and slept, and slept.

I am very thankful to the many emails, telephone calls, and text messages that my family in Japan received from friends all over the world – from the USA, Italy, Sweden, India, Korea, the Philippines. At home, we were glued to the tv screen, for any warnings/instructions that the government may issue. We are dressed up in street clothes, and our earthquake emergency supplies are out, ready to be picked up in a rush, if we are directed to leave our homes.
As of this moment (March 12), we are unable to contact the care house where my 89-year old father-in-law is staying. The care house is in Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture, my husband's hometown. It is around 150 kms away from Sendai, the earthquake's epicenter.

Let us continue praying for all those who have been injured, for those whose lives have been lost, for those who may be exposed to possible radiation if ever the nuclear plant in Fukushima cannot be fixed and explodes.

(Updates: On March 16, we decided to go to Nagoya, to avoid any possible radiation leak. On March 19, we finally decided it will be good to stay out of Japan for a while, and my family flew to the Philippines. I would have stayed a little bit longer there had I not received a notice from the Japanese financial regulator that I will have a final interview with them in connection with my company’s remittance license registration permit. I flew back to Tokyo on April 4, had the interview with the financial regulator on April 5, and on April 7, received the notice that Speed Money Transfer Japan’s remittance license application has been approved. My younger daughter opted to remain in the Philippines, to study English. My father-in-law in Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture is fine – we were able to finally visit him last Saturday, April 16.)

Jeepney Press 2011 May-June page 17

Doc Gino’s Pisngi Ng Langit

Sexually Transmitted Infection

Tanong: Drop ko na lang ang facts.

Sept. 28, may nakatalik akong babae na naka-chat ko lang sa Facebook. Well educated siyang babae pero hindi ako naniniwalang ikalawa lang ako sa mga naka-sex niya.

Oct. 13, nag-sex kami ng girlfriend ko while having her period. After noon eh nakaramdam na ako ng tila mabigat na pakiramdam na parang namamaga sa kaliwang bayag ko.

Oct. 14, di nawala yoong sakit at tila lalo pang lumala dahil pti kanang bayag ko eh sumasakit na rin.

Oct. 15, masakit na pareho pati kaliwa't kanang bahagi ng puson ko.

Oct. 16, nagpa-check-up ako sa doctor. Sinabi ko lahat ng nararamdaman ko then he asked me if masakit ba ang pag-ihi ko. Sinabi kong hindi dahil wala naman akong nararamdamang ganoon. Pinablood-test at urine-test ako nguni’t sinabi niya na normal naman daw. Baka daw luslos na daw itong nararamdaman ko. Niresetahan niya ako ng OFLOXAXIN at CELCOXX for a period of 5 days then bumalik daw ako sa kanya.

Oct. 17, hindi na parehong bayag ang sumasakit sakin Doc kundi pati kaliwang bahagi ng puson, at kaliwang bahagi ng ari ko na ang sumasakit. Tila parang namamaga at mainit na ang pakiramdam ko.

Based on my research Doc about sa HIV eh pumapasok ako sa 1 to 3 weeks before magkasymptoms ako nakaramdam ng mga ito. Ang girlfriend ko naman eh from October 13 na nag-sex kami eh namamaga ang lymph nodes niya sa may leeg na naramdaman lang niya kahapon (Oct. 16). Noong Oct. 13 lang kami ulit nag-sex since nakatalik ko ang isang babae noong Sept. 28.

Here are my questions doc,

Sir, what percentage po na mayroon akong HIV at girlfriend ko?

Kung STD-related case itong nararamdaman ko eh ano po kayang uri ito ng sakit and virus na nakainfect sakin?

Doc Gino (DG): I wouldn't know what percentage. HIV does not occur fast. It can take several months to years before it manifests. There are too many kinds of STDs. Laboratory tests such as urinalysis, urine culture, blood tests can confirm what infection is present.

T: Follow-up question sir. With relation to the facts I cited this morning sir, may possibility ba na na-infect ko na rin ang girlfriend ko when we had sex? Should I stop having sex with her for the meantime?

Umiinom na ako ng gamot since yesterday sir, walang nagbago sa pakiramdam ko Doc imbis eh lalo pang sumasakit. Should I finish the 5-day treatment instructed by my doctor or bumalik na ako sa kanya? Tnx sir in advance...

DG: It is possible to have another person infected if you were infected to begin with. I recommend consuming your medications, after which, seeking a follow-up medical evaluation with your doctor.


by Mylene Miyata


Isang araw makalipas ang May-June issue deadline ng Jeepney Press, nag-mail sa akin ang editor-in-chief namin na si Mr. Dennis Sun. Sabi nya, "Mylene, deadline natin kahapon, di ko pa natatanggap yung article mo." Naalala ko tuloy! Oo nga! Pero, sabi ko pasensya na sa abala. Paano ko nga ba ipapalagay ang isip ko na makapagsulat? Ganitong puro lindol ang laman nito? Ganon pa man, sinubukan kong mag-isip ng bagay na pwedeng talakayin para sa aming mga mahal na mambabasa. Sana ay pagtibayan natin ang ating pananalig sa ating Lumikha. Anuman po ang nga kasalukuyang kaganapang nararanasan natin sa ngayon, ang pinakamahalaga ay may matibay tayong pananalig sa Maykapal lamang.

Sa mga nakalipas na araw na halos makapagpigil hiningang lindol at tsunami, meron kaya sa atin ang hindi nababahala? Subukan man natin isipin na okay lang tayo... reality check, e medyo... hindi naman talaga okay ang sunud- sunod na malungkot na pangyayari dito sa Japan, di po ba?

Sa araw-araw na balita pa lang ay siguradong manlulumo tayo sa lungkot at pag-aalala. Pero, may choice ba tayo? Ilan sa mga kasamahan ko sa pinapasukan kong pabrika ay nagsipagbalik na sa kani-kanilang bansa. Nagulat na lang ako nang biglang nagsipaglaho ang karamihan. Tanong nga sa akin ng isa, "Di ka ba uuwi ng Pilipinas?" Gustung-gusto kong umuwi. Isa pa, ilang beses na din akong tinatawagan ni nanay at sinasabing "Umuwi muna kayo dito anak!" Madali sanang sabihin, "Sige, bukas 'nay, uuwi ako." Yung mga kapatid ko sa Singapore, sa Canada, at sa Malaysia, lahat sila walang tigil sa kakatawag sa "viber" sa akin. Sobrang nag- aalala. Doon na muna daw kami sa kanila tumira. Haaay! Kung ganon nga lang ba kabilis mapag-desisyunan eh! Pero, reality check ulit... di naman po ganoon kadaling magdesisyon, di ba? Una sa lahat, Hapon ang asawa natin. Sabi pa ng asawa ko, kung natatakot daw ako, punta muna daw ako sa Singapore. Sya na daw bahala sa bahay muna. Sabi ko, "Kung hindi ka sasama, kahit na sobrang natatakot man ako, dito lang ako!" Sabay ngumiti at nanahimik sya. Isa pa na madalas kong marinig sa karamihan na kababayan natin dito "Anong kabuhayan naman ang naghihintay sa atin pagbalik ng Pilipinas?!" Bagay na sya din naman pinupunto ng asawa ko sa akin. Hindi daw madaling iiwan basta- basta ang bagay-bagay. Maraming ganitong uri ng konsiderasyon.

At dahil din sa kapangyarihang dulot ng "media" at teknolohiya sa panahon natin ngayon, iba't ibang klase ng ispekulasyon ang maririnig, makikita at masasaksihan natin hinggil sa mga kaganapang ito. Bagay na talaga naman nagdudulot ng karagdagang pag- aalala sa atin, di po ba?

Sa dami ng kuru-kuro, paniniwala at impormasyong inilalatag sa atin, medyo malilihis, malilito at maguguluhan talaga tayo kung iisipin. Nandiyan ang "Mayan Calendar, Nuclear shelter, Doomsday Prophecy 2012, UFO plus NASA" at higit sa lahat ang pinagtagpi-tagping kaisipan ng tao ukol sa mga kasalukuyang kaganapan dulot na din ng ating malikhaing kaisipan.

Kahit ako, sobrang naguluhan sa mga impormasyong ito. Hindi po ako taong palasimba. Gaya ng ilan na linggo linggo ay nasa Holy Eucharist. Pero, ang lahat po ay alay ko sa Diyos na lumikha sa atin. Naniniwala po ako sa kagustuhan ng Lumikha. Nagpapasalamat sa kung anumang impormasyon ang inilalahad ng kapwa tao natin. Pero, gaya nga ng sabi ng ilan sa kababayan nating balisa, "Kung oras na natin, wala tayong magagawa." Tandaan na lang natin na wala po sinuman ang may alam kung ano ang meron bukas. Tanging ang Lumikha lamang sa ating lahat ang nakakaalam.



Kung mayroon BFF (Best Friends Forever), meron din BFHM (Best Friends Hanggang Maypakinabang). Mayroon diyan napakalaking kompanya sa atin sa Pinas nang dinala ang kalakal sa Japan ay isang matandang di naman nakapagtapos nang mataas na antas sa paaralan ang ginamit upang sila ay makipag-ugnay sa Pilipino community. Ang babaeng naantasan magbukas dito sa bansang Hapon upang i- introduce ang produkto ay nakiusap sa isang Pilipina na tulungan siyang magtawag sa Pilipino community. Kaya ang nilapitang Pilipina ang siyang nagtawag sa community at ginanap din nila sa lugar niya. Doon dumating ang mga matataas na tao nang kompaniyang ito. Marami galing sa Pinas at sa America (na may mga katungkulan sa kompaniya). Doon nagbigay sila nang mga introduksion tungkol sa produkto nila. Nakapag- umpisa sila dito sa bansang Hapon. At nang nagkuhaan na nang mga ahente ang taong pinakiusapan nilang magtawag nang kommunity ay di man lang ginawang ahente nguni't sub-agent lang. Kahit sub-agente lang siya iprinomote din niya ang produkto dahil ang katuwiran niya ay hindi yong kikitain niya, kundi ang ma-enjoy nang kapwa niya Pilipino sa bagong serbisyo.

Nang ito ay kasalukuyang nilabas na sa market, ang babaeng ginawang kontact nila nang sila ay nag-umpisa ay naalis na rin. Dumaan ang ilang taon at ang produkto ay lumago na. Dumating ang panahon na merong paraan para magamit ang produkto nila sa ibang systema.
At awa nang Diyos napakiusapan na naman ang babaeng nagamit noong unang magbukas sila dito. Halos ayaw noong una noong pinakiusapan nilang babae dahil alam niya mayroon na silang tanggapan dito sa Japan at mayroong problemang iniwan ang dating may hawak na tanggapan, na nagsara at kunuha lang nang pera sa mga customers pero wala namang ibinigay na serbisyo. Dahil sa pakiusap at dahil sa gusto niya ang produkto o serbisyo at sa pagmamahal niya sa mga kababayan niyang mga Pilipino, tumulong ulit siya. So sa awa nang Diyos, minumura siya at ang ibang mga staff dahil sa ginawa nang dating kompaniya. Pero sige lang at maayos lang ang pagpapaliwanag at maiintindihan ka rin nang mga customers. Pero di birong galit, mura ang kanilang natanggap. At naiayos na rin makalipas ang isang taon mahigit nawala na ang ibang galit na customers at dahadahan bumalik ang mga nawalang mga customers. Gaya nang inaasahan... kinuha na nang kumpaniya ang serbisyo na ayos na kahit papaano... at gaya nang inaasahan... di na kailangan ang babaeng pinakiusapan.

Yan ang buhay dito sa mundo. Pero di nila malilimutan ang babaeng pinag-umpisahan nila dito sa bansang Hapon. Di man siya Master’s Degree or MBA graduate, nagamit niya ang kanyang mga God-given talents, sarili niyang dunong at karisma.

Do you wake up every morning expecting favor and blessings on everything you do? Do you plan for what is good? When we plan for what is good, the scripture tells us that we find love. We know that God is love which means that when we plan for what is good, we will find God in the midst of our plans. So, don’t let the negative voices of the world steal your focus or get you off course. Don’t start planning for a bad day; choose to plan for good. The scripture doesn’t say, “Plan for good as long as the economy is booming.” It doesn’t say, “Plan for good as long as the housing market is strong.” It doesn’t say, “Plan for good as long as you aren’t facing any adversity.” No, we can plan for good because we serve a God who is good, and He is ready, willing and able to bring us through any adversity we face! Boldly plan for good today and watch God show up in the midst of your plans!