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!