Monday, January 10, 2011

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue COVER

Cover art and design by Dennis Sun

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue Centerfold


by Stephanie Jones Jallorina

The President is the supreme authority in our country, and meeting him, up-close and personal, is a memorable experience that anyone can pride themselves on, and will always live to remember. Jeepney Press gladly brings you interesting and funny accounts and recounts of people behind and upfront, on and for, the November 14 Dream “First” Date! As a year-opening salvo, let me note that the “First Date” was some elusive dream that came true. It was an old school kind of love, Unang Dalaw, where everyone got so excited not to only polish each of their assignment, but to finally decide on what to wear, how to look immensely better, and perhaps, to even smell far and good. Which one were you?

Ricky Lumenario “Mr. Perfect Practice but ABSENT during the BIG DAY”
Kuya Ricky is a musician by heart. He was a member of the Choir, taking his first shot on beat box, wanting to express himself to the President had he not been obliged to come to work. “Pinag-igihan ko ang practice ngunit sumabit lang sa work nung big day, sayang! Pero sinuot ko yung yellow rubber ko at tinanong ako ng boss ko sa airport kung bakit daw ako may ganun. Ang tangi kong naisagot ay dahil sa nandito nga ang presidente natin. Pero wala din, call of duty eh so I have to serve. But I am still glad knowing I “almost” sang and met, and surely, was willing to do it for the President. On second thought, maybe it is not yet time for us to meet.”

Lily “Ms. Extraordinary Christian”
Ms. Lily’s story is very inspiring. She is a Sectarian Christian but being so did not hinder her from rendering support to the Choir for the Mass with the President, of the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic nation. “Hindi ako nag-alinlangan nung maimbitahan akong sumali sa choir kasi at the end of the day, ang aking pag-awit ay para sa pangulo, para sa ating bansa, at para sa iisang Diyos na ating pinalulugdan.” Ms. Lily is also married to a Japanese who was equally supportive during her late-night choir practice, during the preparation of cranes to be given to the President and during their JaPinoy son, Yuki-kun, practice for, and presentation, where they even brought extra barong for other kids. Their lovely family represents the successful Japanese-Filipino marriages and kin.

Dr. Mel Kasuya “The Musical Director / Herald of Tahanan”
Doc Mel rehearsed and directed the applauded 37-Man Choir from 10 different parishes that made the Mass with the President more solemn and meaningful. On behalf of the Filipino Community in Japan that was present, Doc Mel also conveyed to the President about the “Tahanan,” a dream home for our children, and she expressed that, “Friends have been calling to say that the affair was very organized, the mass was solemn, the choir was good, the children’s part was touching and the sentiments of the FilCom were properly relayed to President.” Doc Mel ably articulated in her message the thoughts and insights from some 20 FilCom organizations and individuals.

Sis Nori Marquez, St Ignatius Church
Sis Nori was very thankful to be invited in that Filipino gathering to welcome the President. She has witnessed the reception for the coming of former Presidents Estrada and GMA but the recent meeting with PNoy is the best and most meaningful; a mass with the President. “I felt it was a very warm, familial get-together. The mass was very solemn and I really value the opportunity of praying together with our President. The presence of the children was very heart-warming and touching. They gave us the great joy and hope of seeing the Filipino spirit growing in our children of the second generation…The liturgy of the eucharist, the choir, the President’s speech, the gift from the children...lahat ay nakakapuno sa puso...something we have to be grateful to the Lord.”

Dennis Sun “The Presidential Emcee, The Designer”
Nakatutuwang isipin na maski ang ating Editor-in-Chief na si Kuya Dennis ay hindi pahuhuli sa ganitong pagkakataon. Tinanghal na Global Pinoy, ang likha at disenyo ng ating mahal na editor na streamer/ banner/ID na nagsilbing tanging dekorasyon ang isa sa mga nagpatingkad ng okasyon. Simpleng disenyo ngunit tumatatak sa puso na animo’y bandila ng pagkakaisa, pag-asa ng bagong Pilipino dito sa Japan. “Madali na siguro para sa akin ang maging emcee dahil sadyang napagtibay na ako ng panahon pero ang hindi ko makakalimutan ay yung kung pang ilang ulit kong idinisenyo ang nasabing streamer – disenyo, pasa, ulit– hanggang sa bumalik ulit sa unang yari. At ang mas nakakatuwa ay kung paano animo’y “Meeting of Great Minds” na tulung-tulong tayong mga Pilipino para ipakita sa disensyo ang sa iisang adhikain. Ang marinig na idinisplay ang mga ID, nagpa-picture sa streamer bilang memorabilia sa pambihirang pagkakataon ay nakakataba ng puso dahil alam ko naging parte ako.”

Jhun Faderanga “The Production Head”
Jhun has organized so many similar productions before but getting as close with the President of the Philippines is surely by far and will be a lifetime thrill. “Getting an opportunity to work for our President was one of the greatest things that ever happened in my life! Natural na nakakapagod dahil pinag-iigihang mabuti na lahat ay pulido at ikaaya-aya ng ating Pangulo pero sakaling mabibigyan pa ulit ng pagkakataon, lagi kaming handang tumulong sa abot ng aming makakaya.”

Ami Banzon and Natalie Datu, the Proud Parents of Joz and Nicole
Proud mommies Ate Ami and Ate Natalie feature a comical and touching parent-children story on a first date! Ate Ami was all-genki to coach her lovely daughters especially her eldest Joz, our Little Miss Philippines, deliver in Tagalog the children’s prayer for the President. “Having three children, our anticipation of a crowd (close to 40 kids in attendance) control were high that we prepared videos, activities and rehearsed their Japanese entrance song and the “Self-Less Love” finale to keep them focused and in place. But we were more surprised with how behaved and cooperative the children were during that day. During the recognition-after-party, Joz asked her mom, “How about the kids, Mommy?” Ate Ami related that the children were truly one with us in that gathering that they recognize their stake for their and their fellow children’s future here in Japan; they must have felt that hope is in the air that the new President, in his super power, can fulfill for them.

Ate Natalie can never be more proud she went out her way to look for Japanese kimono for Nicole, our Little Ambassadress to Japan, and had her all made-up to show how we have come to embrace the Japanese culture, second to ours. During recessional, a good number of Japanese in the audience hugged and pride on Nicole for getting too close with the President. They were so appreciative and happy as if a part of them has graced their own president or their Emperor for that matter.

Ate Natalie also recounted that what was sweeter about the Meeting with the President was the preparation of the cranes. In such a short notice, she and her children were able to make 700 perfect cranes as if preparing a good meal, or the house for the coming of a suitor! “Ang nangyaring ito ay isa talagang napakagandang alala para sa akin, sa aking buong pamilya, na yung nasa ibang bansa pa ay tumawag para lang batiin kami, at lalo na para sa aking anak. At sana ay masundan pa ang ganitong pagtitipon dahil sinumang magulang ay gugustuhing maibahagi at makibahagi ang anak nila para sa kanilang magandang kinabukasan.”

Angelo Roa, the First Child
Angelo Roa is one amazing kid! He cannot contain his excitement to finally meet and handshake the President. His excitement was contagious that we settled our when-to-wear-his-barong-charade at 4:00 pm and then rehearse his “Hi, Mr. President! God bless you,” lines which he would wittingly change to, “Pwede ka bang maka-dinner Mr. President?” Pero noong mismong iniabot na niya ang crane, “Na star-struck ako Ate. Ako yung unang nag-handshake tuloy!” Truly as I recall what has unfolded two meters away from where I was standing, in awe, was a handshake that stir the rest of the Filipino audience from their seats and that will make a big difference in Angelo’s life. I was seeing a happy child, flying even without wings!

John and Andrei Abrenica, the Blessed Bearers
Jan is Angelo’s partner crane bearer; unbelievably a shy kid no more when pressed to meet the President. It was a relief that he enjoyed and did perfectly well his short stint of a lifetime. And what was surprisingly funny was, “Ate bakit naiba? Di ba sa kaliwa dapat yung camera?” He and Angelo both complained kasi baka daw pangit yung kuha nila. I just have to make mention of the cute Andrei, youngest brother of Jan, whose birthday fall the same big day. The kid will surely have something historical and sentimental to share about with other kids who wish the same experience; when the future continues to be better to them, that is.

Consul-General Solphie and Madam Precie Confiado, The Dream Team
Together with Nanay Anita, we are sincerely thankful to two beautiful persons on top of everything; ang pinapangarap na tambalang Solphie and Precie, na tunog Guy and Pip! Ang isang magandang patunay at blessing na rin kung bakit naging malaking success iyong Meeting with the President ay dahil sa lalim ng pananampalataya ng mag-asawang Confiado na nagsilbing inspirasyon sa ating lahat.
Everything has been smooth and was professionally done because God was with top leaders every step of the way. Congen with the Embassy Secretariat and the 150 FilCom Volunteers have brilliantly covered the entire program and mobilization, while Tita Precie has been magically instrumental in the challenging 10-minute children’s program that has been the highlight of the Meeting, and which receives endearing and positive feedback. Sis Nori even suggested that in the next Meeting with the President maybe we could honor all the children living in Japan with Filipino roots. Both Confiados, to me, are like Talent Scouts; they have keen eyes and a very generous heart, the eyes of God who calls by name those who can be His Shaping Hands, and the heart to share their unwavering passion and love for Him by doing His Works worthy and well, and together proclaim His Good News.
When I received the invitation on the President's visit, I marveled yes, but I was sure I was not as too emotional and ecstatic as I remember I and Tess Simbre were during the hold-up drama of HK nationals in August that has lambasted "my" President's name in a "major, major" way for the first time upon his seat. Even Friday, a week before his actual visit, when ConGen and Tita Precie, asked me to help with the children's program, I was half-jokingly telling my buddy Tina Adovas, "It is not sinking in yet Shalani, nada!" and she came in a knowing-smile-rebutt, "Oh, com'on Liz!" It was not sinking in probably because I was wishing for someone else to appear; someone less political, someone who can relate on a more personal level, with us.
The children raised here don’t even know who he is and in their young minds, could care less about Philippines or about him for they are born, and more or less will stay here for good more years. But when they were lined up the tail of the grand stairs of Yokohama auditorium and were told to listen to the President's speech, they were all ears. I remember the littlest Bien, grasping to see the President's big frame and asked, "Who is He?" I could have easily answered, "He is the President Bien; with whom we shall give those cranes," minding that his gorgeous parents may have briefed him about someone running a country. But there is more in Bien's intelligent mind yet simple question that demands a tough answer...
But at certain points, of all the preparations, the sharing and reflections that I have heard from all Filipinos, Japanese and foreign friends who took part in that rare Meeting with the President, I got a glimpse of idealism, hope, and a sense of pride, duty and honor, not only from the President, which he surely inherited from both his parents. I realized, during those moments, that perhaps character cannot help but manifest itself. What was most appealing about and could be hyped about that chance encounter with the President is the character built among Filipinos. The character to lead by example and relay the Divine intervention as to our Embassy leaders; the character to mobilize, to share and optimize the talents, time and treasures as with fellow Filipinos who gathered, who sang, who rendered, and who delivered; the character to inspire, to strike, to balance, to harmonize as with the children, our future leaders, to whom we are building Tahanan for, and the character to recognize the assistance of a more Supreme Being than the President himself in all this.
Character is inescapable, and Filipinos have yet and again showed the rest of the world that we are a people of character, a people of God.

Jeepney Press 2011 Pasahero

by Amelia Iriarte Kohno


At the Kyoto Utawit Singing Competition last September, Lucy participated and sang “Matud Nila,” a song in her Cebuano/Visayan dialect loved by many not only for its melody but for it's lyrics. One interpretation of the song is, it's a longing for love lost. She must have chosen the song to express direct personal feelings at that time, because two months later when I was interviewing her for this article, the meaning of that song had a strong resemblance to the story of her life.

Lucy, born April 2, 1963, was only nine years old when she and her seven siblings became orphans. The family was very poor and their eldest brother was left to work in their small farm which was their only means of livelihood. To help support the family, Lucy, being the oldest of the three girls, had to work as a maid in a family who owned a furniture shop in Rebe Lala, a small town of Lanao del Norte.

It was the worst of times. At an early age and with only two years of primary education, she had to do work as a baby sitter and other household chores, when children her age were going to school and could play with their friends.

Not long after, her employer lured her to live with them when they transferred to Manila, without the knowledge of her siblings. Although, the new found family was good to her, she always felt the pain and anguish of leaving her own family and not being able to communicate with them for sixteen years since the day she left. She tried sending letters but got no answers. Or the letters did not reach them, Lucy, sadly reminiscing the long years of longing, of wanting to play, or simply of being with her sisters and brothers. She was already twenty-five years old when she finally met them, just before leaving for Japan.

It was at the insistence of her employer, now married to a Japanese, that she came to Japan in 1988, again as a nanny. Perhaps, taking advantage of her innocence, not having a formal education, and proven goodness, she was not given a definite salary for two years of employment. Lucy, did not complain. She knew nothing of her new environment. She just worked hard, a quality noticed by the husband of her Filipino employer. Hence, after they divorced, he proposed to Lucy and that was the start of her first own family. They had a son, Atsushi. But the marriage was not for long as her husband got involved with another woman. When she lost her custody case in court, she had to stay away and earn a living for herself. Her son is now 18 years old, and “it hurts,” she says, because she has not seen him since he was three years old in Ibaraki-ken. Her only consolation is that her husband is a good provider for their son, and he sent him to good schools.

With this unhappy memory, Lucy had to go far. And in Kyoto, she found a job working at a karaoke club. There, she met her second husband, who made life easier for her then. But this again, ended in failure. She would have given up if not for her strong character to fight and keep going when the odds were against her. The two failed marriages, though hurting and painful, even gave her more courage to go on with her life and make it more fruitful. With the experience of singing in Japanese bars, she studied “enka” songs. A style of singing, similar to our Filipino love songs – songs straight from the heart, she adds. And she has learned to love enka. Even with her limited education, she worked hard at mastering it, joining singing competitions wherever they were held.

That was during those trying moments in her journey through life that she met her third husband! For Lucy, love is “loveliest” the third time around. It is a very happy relationship. They both love each other and have been since eight years ago. And if heaven permits she'd like to stay it this way.

“Marrying Mr. Nishikawa is really a blessing and I have never been happier in my life. Living with him is also self-fulfilling. He has a good, stable job, we own a big house with a spacious garden, my in-laws are good to me and I have freedom to pursue my singing activities. He even encourages me to join contests at different places,” Lucy relates with expressions of happiness.

With the useful advice of Mikiko Yamada, owner of the convenience store where Lucy works, she has participated in many “enka” singing competitions. She practices her songs at the karaoke bar near her house, also owned by her friend Yamada-san. And who could ever imagine the many achievements she would get! In the last couple of years, she won prizes in almost all contests she joined, winning the Grand Prix Singing Contest in Kyoto, the Ryoichi Kuwata Certificate for Teaching Enka Songs, Oka Chiaki Singing Contest, and the “Top 6 Level Toru Funamura Award,” held in Tokyo, September 19, 2010, among others.

Not only is she a proven enka singer, but she already has the qualification to teach enka in Japan.

Still, another success in her life which she humbly confides, is being able to help her siblings back in the Philippines, by buying houses and lots for her brothers and sisters, plus a lucrative space in a condominium in Quezon City.

The world has really changed for Lucy Montebon Nishikawa, the little orphan girl from Lanao del Norte!

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue Page 03

by Alma R. H. Reyes

Ni usagi wo ou mono wa
ichi usagi wo mo ezu.
(One who chases after two hares
won't catch even one.)
—Japanese proverb

My Bunny Valentine

Shin-nen Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu!

Oo-la-la…it seemed just months ago when I talked about “natural catastrophes and massacres” that marked the previous year of 2009, and still, we have gone through natural catastrophes and massacres in 2010—what else could 2011 bring? Maybe as the earth gradually ages, and as human lifestyle succumbs inevitably to the power of technology, we can never escape natural disasters, hideous crimes, continuous poverty, or insignificant wars, but one value that the rescue of Chilean miners last October taught us was that there is still room for hope, will and human compassion among us.

No one knows about hope and trust more than the rabbit. Yes, 2011 will be leaping with trustworthy rabbits that are also known for being conscientious, articulate, talented, virtuous and non-confrontational. They also love artistic adventures, and are open to self-expression. So, if you are born in the year 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987 or 1999, expect a fruitful year of high expectations!

Of course, in our local scene, nengajo New Year cards came in popular themes of Miffy, My Melody and Peter Rabbit (or Playboy Bunny?). In fact, the “usagi” (rabbit) is a very auspicious animal in Japanese culture. The “tsuki usagi” or moon rabbit is based on a Chinese folklore, adapted in Japan, about a rabbit who lives in the moon, and is seen pounding rice cakes. The Buddhist tale relates that a monkey, otter, jackal, and a rabbit were called to offer charity on the day of a full moon. An old man came begging for food, and the monkey offered him fruits from the trees. The otter offered fish, and the jackal offered a lizard and a bowl of milk-curd that he stole. The rabbit, however, offered his own body and threw himself into the fire, but was not burned. The old man was so moved by the rabbit’s gesture he drew him on the moon for the whole world to see. And, this is why it is often said that the moon appears with a dark shadow on it, in a likened feature of a rabbit.

Well, isn’t that a “cute” story? Do expect a lot of cutey bunnies this year coming out in bag and pouch motifs, handkerchiefs, socks, decorations on plates, and “e-moji” characters on your cell phones on Valentine’s Day!

Japanese Hip

Shippo. Speaking of the New Year and new trends, one of them is the “shippo” (tail) pom-pom hanging from girls’ bags, cell phones, and pockets of jeans or jackets. These are large, furry balls or long fox or rabbit’s tails in various colors, swaying and bouncing as the girls walk—an addition to the array of “kawaii” paraphernalia.

Yama-gyaru. We may all be tired and sick of the “gyaru” gals hanging around in Harajuku, Shibuya, Shinjuku, Akihabara and elsewhere, but did you know that there are also yama-gyaru? This is a fashion trend among girls who like to dress up in mountain hiking attire. They go hiking in groups, covering themselves in kawaii knitted high socks, kawaii colorful knit and nylon pullovers, kawaii mountain jackets, kawaii hats and kawaii hiking shoes—and, you know what? Most of them don’t even like hiking! Ughh…haven’t we had enough of “kawaii?”

K-pop. “Ahn-Nyeong Hah-Seh-Yo!” These days I get dizzy watching pop idols on TV, singing in groups of 4, 5, 7, 9…it seems like the numbers go bigger by the season—and, they all sound alike, dress alike, look alike, you can hardly distinguish them as Japanese or Korean. K-pop suddenly takes a giant leap into the Japanese pop world, and for Japanese, the Koreans even sound more “kawaii” with their broken Japanese. Big Bang, Girls Generation, Kara, 4Minute…kilala niyo ba yan?
Yasai Suitsu. Vegetable pastries? Okay, let’s talk food. Looks like there is a hip in going all the way for a clean, healthy diet by shying away from jam, chocolates and other sweety sweets that fill your small slice of cake. It started with the matcha green tea flavored pastries, but that is all passé. Chic patisseries now offer not fruits, but veggies in their sweets: concoctions of carrot, asparagus, beans, spinach, radish, green peas, potato, and who knows what else. I’ve had pastries with “takana” (leafy vegetable often served pickled) and they were actually yummy!

Flavored Kit-Kat. I swear I wouldn’t be able to skip this one if I didn’t realize that so many Filipinos back home are so crazy about flavored Kit-Kit candies from Japan. Who would know? People like us who live here only notice the local o-sembe and local Meiji or Morinaga; but, apparently, Kit-Kat comes in so many varieties of green tea, hoji-cha, strawberry, wasabi, cheesecake, brown sugar kinako, bubblegum, Cola, lemon squash, cappuccino, Calpis flavors and more!

J-slang. Lastly, if you want to keep up with what the young hips are saying about you, you may want to learn a few Japanese slang terms, like mukatsuku (pissed off); omoroi (short for omoshiroi or interesting); or its more trendy version, ukeru (funny, great); uzai (short for urusai or literally to shut up); zakoi (tacky, weakling); kishoi (gross or nasty); (word) + wazu (from the English “was” meaning something you already did), like shopping-wazu (went shopping), ofuro-wazu (had a bath), tabeta-wazu (just ate); (word) + wiru (from the English “will” meaning something you will do), like denwa-wiru (will call), kaisha-wiru (go to office); word + nao (from the English “now” to mean what you are doing now), like Osaka-nao (in Osaka now), dekakeru-nao (going out now); (word) + poyo (to emphasize a situation) like age-poyo (high tension), sage-poyo (low tension), or affixing “cho” before any word to inject a superlative degree—like, cho-osoi (so late), cho-baka (so stupid), cho-kawaii (so cute) or cho-nagai (so long), like this article!

Have a sunny bunny year!

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue Page 05

YIELD by Chris Santos

After years of enjoying writing for the Jeepney Press centerfolds, sa wakas I’m back sa original column ko. Tadaima ! Ang sarap ng feeling to have a literary homecoming. So sana po JP readers that from now on, you can join me sa pasada ko dito sa YIELD. Ang layunin po ng column na ito ay bigyan kayo ng relevant tidbits tungkol sa mga aspekto ng makabagong pamumuhay. Be it finance editorials, motivational viewpoints, or current events. Headlines po na base sa makabuluhang balita ang bahagi na ito ng Jeepney Press. So, tara na, byahe 2011 na po tayo.

On motivation:
Syempre kapag bagong taon, hindi po maiiwasan ang usapan tungkol sa New Year’s resolutions. Pero karamihan sa atin hindi na nagbago ang paulit-ulit na resolution. Bakit nga ba minsan ang hirap tuparin ang mga pinangako sa sarili ? Well, for one, kasi sa sarili mo ginawa ang pangako mo so you can easily negotiate yourself out of it. Pero according to some time and goal management experts, isa sa pinakamabisang paraan to achieve a set goal is to make the actions required for it as a habit. Para hindi maging mahirap ang isang bagay kailangan nakasanayan mo na itong gawin. Once you establish the pattern, it's an automatic process na. Try to imagine if lahat ng habits mo are positive character building ones. Sa loob lang ng isang taon, you will definitely be a different person. A better one.

On investments:
Ang personal rule ko when it comes to investments these days is this: If you can't touch it, you don't own it. Kaya yang stock market na yan, with all the recent ponzi schemes and now the fiat currencies, ay iniiwasan ko. Sa ganang akin lang naman po. Pero kapag inisip mo, kahit nung makalumang panahon pa, dalawa lang naman talaga ang basehan ng personal wealth: real estate at precious metals. I think in the end, it all comes back to the basics kasi. Kapag binasa mo ang financial news recently, nagkakagulo sa ginto. Pero alam nyo ba na mas malaki ang opportunities for silver. Una, kasi it's undervalued pa. Panagalawa, it's both an industrial and precious metal. Pangatlo, alam niyo ba na mas kaunti ang silver na namimina compared sa ginto? Pero mas stable ang ginto kasi it's the most fundamental form of currency. Pero kahit na anong investment pa, ingat lang po lagi at dapat pinag-iisipan mabuti. Lalo na po ngayon, exit strategies are just as important as investment timing.

On life choices:
You are what you are through your choice alone. Kasi kapag inisip natin, ang buhay naman is just a collection of years, which is just sets of 12 months broken down to days, hours, minutes. So everytime na meron tayong gawin, nagdedesisyon tayo. If you spend an hour watching TV, ang ibig sabihin nagdesisyon ka na mas importante ang TV compared sa magbasa ka ng libro. If you spend an hour sa Facebook, you decided to that it's better to invest that time online than doing a creative hobby. Ganun lang yon. It all boils down to what we decide to do. And what we do, not what we think nor feel, dictates the results we produce in our lives. Hindi ko sinasabi na every second umarangkada tayo since we are just human and being so, kailangan din natin ng downtimes and decompression periods. Balance is key. Ang sa opinyon ko lang, dapat lang aware tayo that it's our choice how to live our days which will eventually be part of a more significant sum total called life!

Happy 2011 JP readers !!! Until our next byahe.


by Amelia Iriarte Kohno

Thank you Lord, another New Year has come! For most of us, this is a time for celebration. I call mine a new leaf in my "tree of life."

Family and friends who know me often wonder why I can still smile, have the strength to face each day with a happy expression or simply accept things as they are in spite of my deteriorating health condition. True, I've been fighting cancer for almost eleven years and recent medical prognosis predicts three years, as my breast cancer has advanced to my bone marrow, other parts of my lymph nodes, even my liver, that at times I cannot help pouring out some fears and anxiety. But I have no regrets or resentments... instead I learned that everything that happens is for a reason. And why I have my blessings to cherish.

Right now, my great joy is seeing the heart-warming innocence of my grandchild, who will be three years old on February 16. Angie gives me the courage and the reason to believe that each day will be better. When doctors up-date me on my bad health, I just have to remember her playfully touching my bald head, calling me "Lola, I love you," whispers when asking for food after her parents say she had enough, or the quiet happiness I get when she lovingly hugs me. At her young age we already have secrets to share, mostly on her favorite things she knows I would gladly give her. When I am with her every moment counts. For me, one does not measure "life" on how many happy or sad times one had. All we have to do is value the joyful days when we are able to make others happy and in how much we work to make our lives better, or make us a better person. "God creates beautiful things in His time!"

I am sure I've had abundance in my life and I can only thank our dear God for all these. The simple pleasures of frolicking on a sandy beach, watching the sunrise, sunset, being able to smell the flowers, gaze at moonlit skies or starry nights, exchanging pleasantries with loved ones, or witnessing in wonder a new born lovingly cuddled by a mother, are some of the joyful moments.

Yes, it is in thanksgiving that I can see a new leaf, or a new day and continue doing what I love to do.... in believing that a great Creator has made all these beautiful things for us to enjoy. And I do face this new year believing all these truths. Let us welcome 2011 with fervent hope, inspired determination and true devotion to do good and make our world a better place to live!

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue Page 06

by Cleo Umali Barawid

Lessons from Manny

Happy New Year folks!

Bagong taon na naman, panahon para gumawa ng mga bagong resolutions. Sa taong ito, nais kong maging better version ng aking sarili. Kung baga sa computer, gusto kong i-upgrade ang aspeto ng aking buhay na may kinalaman sa pakikitungo sa kapwa, sa kalusugan, at sa pagpapaunlad sa sarili. Naniniwala ako na mas magiging madali para sa akin na matupad ang mga ito kung mayroon akong isang taong tutularan. Sa pagkakataong ito, ang tinutukoy ko ay si Manny Pacquiao.

Bakit si Manny, lalaki sya at okaasan naman ako. Feeling ko lang kasi irrelevant sa usapang ito ang kasarian. Fan ako ni Manny sa simula't simula pa at sa aking pagsubaybay sa kanyang boxing career, talaga namang kinakitaan ko s'ya ng magagandang ugali na gusto kong gawing inspirasyon ngayong simula ng taon.

Malusog na pangangatawan. Kita mo ba yung karada ni Manny? Not an ounce of fat, di ba? Gusto ko rin nun. Hindi ko naman pinapa-ngarap na maging maskulada, gusto ko lang maging well-toned ang katawan ko para naman carry ko ng mag-sleeveless ala Michelle Obama. Matindi ang disiplina ni Manny sa sarili. Kung tutuusin, pwede nyang kainin ang pinaka-mahal na pagkain sa mundo pero ano paborito nya, di ba tinolang manok na maraming dahon ng sili? Healthy na affordable pa. At ang tamang diet, sinasamahan nya ng exercise. Marami-rami na rin akong nabasa tungkol sa iba't-ibang diets at ang isang malaking pagkakatulad nilang lahat ay ang pagsasabing hindi lang sa pagkain nakasalalay ang magandang pangangatwan, dapat sabayan ng galaw. Bawasan ang pagkakaroon ng sedentary lifestyle, o yung palagi na lang nakaupo sa panonood ng TV o pag-iinternet. Daliri lang ang na-eexercise dito. Kailangang igalaw ang ibang bahagi ng katawan.

Kababaan ng loob. Kahit gaano na kasikat si Manny, hindi pa rin lumalaki ang ulo nya. Makikita naman ito sa mga interviews nya. Wala syang masamang tinapay kahit kanino. Hindi sya nag-a-underestimate ng mga kalaban bagkus lagi pa nyang bukambibig na si so and so ay magaling na boksingero kahit na napatumba naman nya ang mga ito sa ring. Ang dami rin nyang natutulungan hindi lang mga kamag-anak nya. Hindi nya nakakalimutan kung gaano kahirap maging mahirap kaya patuloy sya sa pagtulong. Nakapagpatayo na sya ng isang malaking boxing gym para sa mga kabataang nagnanais sumabak sa boxing, nakapagpatayo na sya ng ospital, at lagi syang may mga fund-raising activities sa kanyang mga concerts. Sa abot ng aking makakaya, nais kong maging katulad nya na bukas ang palad sa pagtulong sa mga nangangailangan. Hindi lang ito patungkol sa pinansyal kundi pati na rin sa pagbabahagi ng aking oras at kaalaman. Pag-iigihin ko rin ang aking sense of empathy o iyong paglalagay ng aking sarili sa kalagayan ng iba. Sa ganitong paraan, mas mauunawaan ko ang pinag-dadaanan ng isang tao at magiging mahinahon ako sa aking gagawing pagpapasya.

Keber-ko-ba attitude. Hindi ito negatibong ugali ha! Ang ibig kong sabihin, si Manny kahit hindi kagandahan ang boses ay tuloy pa din sa kanyang pagkanta. Ang importante sa kanya ay nag-eenjoy sya sa ginagawa nya. His enthusiasm more than makes up for his lack in singing skills:) . Ang ikinabibilib ko pa sa kanya, pagkatapos ng kanyang fights, laging naka-schedule agad yung concert nya with the Manny Pacquiao band. Para bang napaka-confident nya na ang resulta ng boxing fight will be in his favor kaya tuloy ang selebrasyon sa concert! This year, I want to do things that will please myself. Hindi ko na masyadong iisipin yung shock factor sa ibang tao. Gusto kong magsuot ng mas makukulay na damit at maging mas-outgoing:) !

Pagiging renaissance man - ang isang renaissance man (o woman) ay isang tao na maraming alam gawin. Patuloy siya sa pagsasaliksik kung ano pa ang pwede nyang matutunan, sa ganitong paraan napapanatili nya ang pagpapalago sa kanyang sarili. Ang isang halimbawa ay si Leonardo da Vinci na isang magaling na scientist, painter, iskultor, manunulat, mathematician atbp. Si Pacquiao para sa akin ay isang renaissance man ding matatawag. Hindi nya nililimitahan ang sarili nya. Isa syang boksingero, public servant, singer, businessman, philanthropist, movie actor, TV personality, at products endorser. Ang galing nya sa time management di ba? Bukod sa pagiging nanay, asawa, at guro, gusto kong madagdagan din ang aking titles. Madaming pwedeng pamilian halimbawa pwede akong mag-aral ng cosmeto-logy o pagma-manicure (isama na din ang pedicure), pwede din akong maging magaling na baker. At ang mainam pa, kaya ko itong gawin ng ako lang, sa panahon ngayon lahat ng bagay maaaring matutunan sa internet.

Pagkakaroon ng magandang relationship sa Diyos - ito ang pinakagusto ko sa lahat ng magagandang ugali ni boxing champ. He always gives God the glory. Nung mga nakaraang taon, sa sobrang busy ko sa mga bagay-bagay ay naisantabi ko ang aking faith. Alam ko na hindi ito excuse kaya gusto ko sana sa taong ito ay yumabong ang aking spiritual life. I will set moments in my day for self-reflection and communion sa ating Panginoon.

Ambisyoso ang mga objectives na ibinigay ko sa aking sarili. Manny, my role model, is a not your average person after all. Sa kabila nito, umaasa ako na with lots of self-discipline... kaya ko lahat itong gawin. Ikaw, ano ba ang resolutions mo?


by Stephanie Jones Jallorina

(New) Kids on the Block

Happy 2011 everyone! Here’s a resounding plunge to the New Year!
Last year, we drive-thru places where we commonly go, through life. This year, let us together drive-thru people's lives, but in a good way; just all good vibes for a head start. Our first stop? Give it up for the new Kids on the Block!!!
Bet you would kind of agree with me that kids will always be the effortlessly funniest and cutest group of people. Below are my fearless forecast of the darnest thing kids will say, do and become this year, judging on my defensive reactions to strong coffee aroma of meters of distance, and on what will be the next lines of stars on telenovela, and the punchlines of most joke.
1. Bestest conversation sprawl, and will continue to spread with this four-legged group of individuals. Ang mga magulang ang nagturo sa mga anak kung paano gumapang, humakbang, mag-sulat at mag-basa. Sa dalas at init ng lambing at pag-alala sa mga tinig, at ang tibay at tahas sa paggabay sa kamusmusan ay nagpapalago ng magandang komunikasyon sa pagitan ng magulang at anak. Kaya mga magulang, huwag magtaka kung ano pa at kung saan pa kayo puwedeng makipag-usap ng inyong mga anak. Nag-boom ang facebook sa taong 2010 kaya pag sinabing, "Nay, follow me on Twitter," huwag dagdagan ang wrinkles. Ngayon pa lang, simulang pag-aralan ang Ito ay daan upang masundan ang mga aktibidades ng mga anak na nagsisimula ng gawin ang mga bagay-bagay ayon sa kanilang kagustuhan.
2. You are your kid’s favorite toy. Maliit pa lang, walang laruan ang di kaya o di gugustuhing ibigay ang isang magulang sa anak. Animo'y robot, lalo na ang karamihan sa mga magulang na naririto sa Japan na para maibsan ang paglayo, laging wika ay, "hanggang sa abot ng aking makakaya, anak." Ang forecast ko sa taong 2011, kung di pa gaanong kabilisan ang pag-unlad ng ating ekonomiya, at mataas pa rin ang bilihin at matrikula, tatagal pa kayo dito ng isa pang taon, at katumbas nun ay isa pang taong pagkawalay sa mga anak na pinagbabago din ng panahon. Ang inyong tanging konsolasyon ay ang kaalamang kayo pa rin ang importanteng laruan ng inyong mga anak.
3. " ‘Cause the baby is now a lady." Huwag kayong maniwala at commercial lang po ito. Sa mga mata ng mga magulang, gaano man naging damulag ang anak, ilang babae ang pinaiyak, o kung ilang anak na ang iniluwal, mananati-ling bata pa rin ito sa paningin ng magulang. At anak, kahit ang forecast ko ay booming babies pa rin ang 2011, laging babalik at babalik sa magulang para sa suporta, moral o pinansyal, dahil "mommy knows best."
4. Kid’s charm. Pag ang magulang ang nasa laro malimit, mas napipilitan ang mga anak na mag-cheer. Pag mapasabak sa videoke o sa sayawan ang magulang, pansinin niyo, mapapangiwi sa hiya dahil na-weweirduhan o nababaduyan ang mga anak sa napaglipasang mga magulang. Ang forecast ko ngayong 2011, kahit ganun man o kahit matanggap ng unti-unti ng mga anak, na mangyayari din sa kalaunan sa kanila, ang mga magulang ay laging matatawa, mahuhulog ang loob at mapapapa- “haaaaaay” sa galing at charm ng anak. Sa bawat maliliit na gagawin ng anak – ang pagdasal ng simple ngunit taimtim, ang pag-iyak kung nasasaktan, ang pagtawa ng malakas kung natutuwa, ang pagsabi ng totoo at di pagsisinungaling, hindi sumusuko, gustong matuto sa buhay – ay malaking inspirasyon sa mga magulang.

One of the best people I love is the kids; the bubbly, noisy, sweet and lovely little angels. Kairie for one, while we were inside the car, sleepy on a long drive, surprisingly rock us with her, “ang cookie, cookie mo” song which sounds kind of variety show jingles. The new kids now are still the same kids parent know of from the beginning, only of better and bolder version, as years go by. The challenge to us is really how to evolve together to the changes, as is our only familial option. As a closing gift to parents, let me share with you what I learned from Anthroposophy, the clarity of natural science’s investigations of the physical world, that the kids whom parents gave birth to are the same kids who actually chose whom they wanted us parents, before they were even born. Pinawawalang bisa nito ang kasabihang, “Makakapili tayo ng kaibigan pero hindi ng pamilya.” Have the kid’s charm in 2011 everyone!

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue Page 07

ni Fr. Bob Zarate

Mabait Ka Ba Sa Loob Ng Simbahan?

Bilang isang pari, isa sa mga bagay na medyo nakaka-sagabal sa aking concentration sa pagmimisa ay ang mga bata. Don’t get me wrong. Aware ako sa sinabi ni Hesus na, “Let the children come to me…” Pero kapag naaalala ko ang training na ibinigay sa akin ng aking nanay at mga ate at kuya sa tamang behavior sa loob ng simbahan, hindi ko talaga maintindihan kung bakit pinapayagan ng mga magulang ang kanilang anak na tumakbo, kumain o mag-game sa loob ng Bahay ng Diyos.

Until mga 1960’s, ang karaniwang pagmi-misa sa simbahan ay nakatalikod ang pari, Latin ang language at walang microphone! Kaya kahit na tapos na ang pari sa kanyang dinadasal, tuloy pa rin ang pag-aawit ng mga sacred songs (in Latin ha!) at kapag time for silence na, talagang nakakahiya kung may maingay dahil rinig na rinig ito. Ramdam na ramdam mo ang SACREDNESS ng simbahan at Santa Misa noon. Kaya istrikto talaga ang mga magulang noon sa kanilang mga anak. Kapag umiyak ang sanggol, nilalabas nila ito at kung malaki-laki na ang bata, kurot ang makukuha niya. (Aray!)

Pero ngayong ang misa ay mas “Community” ang tema, sabay-sabay tayong nagdarasal, sabay-sabay tayong kumakanta, at may microphone pa. May mga variations pa tayo sa misa at ang ating mga kanta ay naging modern na. Kaya siguro tuloy nagkakaroon ng di pagkakaintindi ang iba na since parang mas free na ang misa ngayon, eh, ok lang na mag-ingay. Actually, hindi dapat!

Ang simbahan ay simbahan pa rin. Bahay pa rin ito ng Diyos kahit na puwede nang mag-drums or electric guitar or sumayaw-sayaw sa mga modern sacred songs. Kaya sana, i-train natin ang ating mga anak sa tamang attitude at behavior sa loob ng simbahan.

Sa pagpasok pa lang, quiet na. Mag-bow sa Diyos bago umupo. Kung may luhuran, luhod muna upang batiin ang Diyos na ating dinadalaw sa simbahan bago umupo. (Naaalala ko tuloy ang nanay ko noon na ayaw niya kaming umupo kaagad. Dasal daw muna.) Tapos quiet na. Siguro puwede nating kausapin nang pabulong ang mga bata kung para kanino o kung ano ang puwedeng ipagdasal sa pagsamba o Santa Misang ito. Make sure nakaupo ng tama ang inyong anak at hindi nakapatong ang paa sa luhuran (dahil ang luhuran ay para sa tuhod at hindi para sa paa!). Do not encourage them to eat sa loob ng simbahan, kahit candy. Hindi kainan ang simbahan. Ito ay lugar ng pagdarasal.

Around isang oras lang naman ang misa, kaya puwede kang makipag-bargain sa anak mo. (Yung kaklase ko noong elementary, kapag tahimik daw siya sa simbahan during the mass, binibili daw siya ng balloon ng nanay niya pagkatapos. Kaya nasanay tuloy siyang maging tahimik sa simbahan kahit noong lumaki na siya… of course, wala nang balloons!)

Kung tatayo lahat, patayuin ang anak. Kung uupo lahat, paupuin ang anak. Kung luluhod lahat, paluhurin din siya nang mahusay. Kung sanggol at iyakin at mayroon namang “nakibeya” (cry room) sa likuran, dalhin ang anak doon at doon ka mag-participate sa misa. At paalala lang sa mga nasa cry room… hindi komo’t nasa cry room kayo ay puwede nang magtakbuhan at maglaro ang mga bata at puwede na ring magtsismisan ang mga nanay. Ang cry room ay parte pa rin ng simbahan kaya doon pa lang ay puwede na nating i-train ang mga bata sa tamang behavior.

Pero, in the end, sino ba dapat ang sisihin kung maingay ang bata sa simbahan? Eh di ang mga adults (at hindi lang ang nanay)! Kalimitan ang lakas ng mga boses ng mga Pilipino sa loob ng simbahan. May naghahalakhakan pa! Kaya ang dating sa bata tuloy ay hindi banal ang simbahan. Sayang. Ang simbahan na lang nga ang natitirang tahimik na lugar sa mga kabataan ngayon, hindi pa ito pinapakitang dapat galangin dahil sa mga ma-i- ingay na matatanda.

Kung gusto mo pang bumalik nang bumalik sa simbahan ang inyong mga anak kahit na malaki na sila, ito ay hindi lamang dahil sa may mga naging kaibigan na sila. That’s just one side of it. The other side is, babalik sila sa simbahan kasi ito na lang ang lugar kung saan puwede silang maging tahimik, magdasal nang taimtim at lasap-lasapin ang presensya ng Diyos!

At ito ay hindi mangyayari, kung hindi mo ito uumpisahan!


ni Dennis Sun

Disabled Pinoys

Ano ka mo? Taong 2011 na? Aba, hindi lang isang taon ang lumipas kundi isang dekada na after the millennium. Dumaan lahat ang mga taong ito na mas mabilis pa sa takbo ng shinkansen. Baka bukas, pag-gising mo sa umaga, taong 2020 na. At baka hindi mo na makikilala ang inyong sarili sa salamin dahil kung hindi puti lahat ang buhok mo sa ulo, eh baka “gone with the wind” na ang hair mo! Aray ko po! Lola, nasaan ang sabila!

During this time of the year, it’s good to reflect about our life. Ano ba ang nangyari last year? Have we achieved some of our goals? Now, with the start of the new year, we should have new goals para makapag-create tayo ng magandang direksyon sa buhay. Kung meron tayong goals, mas-focused po tayo. Alam natin kung saan tayo patutungo. Alam natin ang mga dapat natin gawin at iwasan. Like so many people, it’s good to make a New Year’s resolution list. Whether we do them or not, it’s still good to create one so we could motivate ourselves and give our lives a little extra direction. Kahit isa o dalawa man ang ma- achieve natin, malaking bagay na rin yon!

Last year po, since the visit of President Noy Aquino, we have been planning of creating a Filipino Center in Tokyo. Imagine, in Hong Kong and Singapore, meron po silang Bayanihan Center. Pero compared sa kanila, mas marami po tayong mga Pilipino dito kahit sa bilang ng mga Pilipino sa Tokyo lang ang kukunin. Basahin po ninyo ang liham na binigkas ni Doc Mel Kasuya kay Pangulong Aquino (page 18) tungkol sa paggawa ng TAHANAN para sa mga Pilipino sa Japan.

Sa isang pagpu- pulong namin, napag-usapan ang mga problema ng mga Pilipino sa Japan. Pa ulit-ulit ko na pong sinusulat dito at uulitin ko pa rin ngayon at sa mga darating pang panahon. Karamihan po sa ating mga Pilipino ay mababa ang antas ng karunungan sa wikang Hapon. We maybe highly educated in the Philippines but if we don’t know enough and proper Japanese language, we are as illiterate as the uneducated. Kung may mga physically handicapped na tao, tayo po ay mga pilay, bulag at bingi sa Japan dahil hindi tayo makasulat, makabasa at makaintindi ng Hapon. We see the sign, but we don’t understand it. They talk to us and hear them but we don’t understand. We want to talk to them, but we cannot express ourselves in Japanese. Dahil sa baba ng antas natin sa wikang Hapon, maraming problemang nangyayari dulot ng miscommunication.

Napakamahal po raw ng mga Japanese language schools sa Japan. They cannot afford. Marami naman pong mga government offices and NGOs ang nagbibigay ng libre o murang tuition fees sa kanilang Japanese language classes. If you consult your nearest ward or city office, they can refer you to several places where you can avail these services.

Eh, si Inday na twenty years na sa Japan, bakit hanggang ngayon, barok pa rin ang Hapon niya? Hindi ba niya alam ang mga murang Japanese classes? Depensa ni Inday, “Eh, bakit naman ako papasok pa sa Japanese school? Gagastos pa ako doon. Wala rin akong perang makukuha doon. Tsaka, matanda na ako para mag-aral pa.”

Si Inday, dalawa na po ang anak. Mga Hapon po. Kaya kung hindi mabasa ang mga sulat galing sa City Hall o bangko, pinapabasa na lang sa kanyang mga anak. Si mister, matagal na raw wala. Pinagpalit si Inday sa mas batang Pinay.

Marami po sa atin ay tulad ni Inday. Mga permanent residents dito ngunit napakababa ng level of Japanese proficiency. Para sa kanila, kung hindi man pag-peperahan, huwag na lang pag-aksayan ng panahon. Actually po, isang malaking investment ang pag-aaral ng wikang Hapon. Kahit isa kang entertainer sa gabi, iba pa rin kung marunong kang mag-Hapon. Tita, yung ganda mo, malalaos din iyan. Yung galing mo sa pag-sayaw, mawawala dahil sa rayuma! Tatanda ka rin. Kung marunong kang mag-Hapon, marami kang magagawang ibang trabaho.

Alam mo na nga na mahina ang antas ng kaalaman mo sa wikang Hapon at wala ka pa rin ginagawa hanggang ngayon. Kumilos ka, Inday. Huwag kang manatiling bulag, pipi, bingi at pilay sa bansang ito. May oras pa. Ganbatte!

Sa mga karamihan na mga Pilipinong housewife sa bahay, mag-sumikap kayong mag-aral ng wikang Hapon. Para sa inyo rin ito. Mag-aral ng tamang pananalita. Mag-praktis kayong mag-basa at mag-sulat dahil diyan tayo mahina. Kahit pakonti-konti lang araw-araw, pwede na yon.

Pakita natin na magaling ang mga Pinoy sa Japan. Kaya natin mag-salita ng maayos na Hapon. At dahil dito, madali natin maipahiwatig ang linalaman ng ating utak at puso. Marami tayong maiiwasan na gulo at problema. Sana sa bagong taong ito, umpisahin natin sa ating sarili. Paunti-unti, napag-aaralan natin ang wika nila. At magiging mas madali at maginhawa ang pamumuhay natin sa Japan.

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue Page 08

Hopeless Romantik
by Jackie Murphy

My true love... miles away from me... A TRUE STORY (part 3)

Lumipas ang maraming taon, nandun pa rin ang pagbabakasakali kong magkikita kami. Pista ng patay, Christmas o kaya piyesta sa bayan namin, pilit kong inaalam sa mga dati niyang friends and classmates in highschool pati na rin sa mga kamag-anak ko pero sa kasamaang-palad wala ni isang makapagsabi kung saan siya nagwo-work o di kaya`y tuluyan na ba siyang nag-asawa. Minsan naisip ko ring mang-bribe na lang ng pulis para mag-imbestiga o para lang malaman ang kanyang kinaroroonan. Iniisip ko pa lang yun parang nababayo na sa kaba ang dibdib ko. Paano kung may sarili na siyang pamilya o kaya`y masaya na siya sa buhay niya ngayon...hindi na niya ako kailangan. Manlumo man ang puso ko ngayon inaamin kong nagkamali ako. Mas dapat palang iniingatan at inaalagaan ang pag-iibigan kasi kung wala na siya sa buhay mo tsaka mo pa lang maiisip at mararamdaman kung gaano siya kahalaga sa iyo.

Ngayon ko lang naisip baka hindi na ako makahanap pa ng kagaya niya o dili kaya`y baka wala nang makagawa sa akin ang mga pag-aasikaso at pagpapahalagang ginawa niya sa akin noon. `Small things` man na maituturing pero doon pala nasusukat ang tunay na pagmamahal ng isang tao: ang maliliit na bagay na hindi kayang tapatan ng salapi. Biglang nagbalik sa alaala ko noong sinusundo niya ako sa bahay namin bago kami pumasok sa iskul sa hapon at alukin siya ng nanay para mag-merienda. 'Sige lang po' ang palagi niyang malumanay na sagot kasi nga mahiyain siya masyado. Pag-alis na ng nanay ko tsaka pa lang kami makakapag-usap nang maayos o di kaya`y makapaglambi-ngan ng konti (konti lang... promise!!!). Saan ako magsisimulang hanapin kaya siya? Sa diyaryo, sa barangay, sa police station...??? Hay naku, parang naghahanap ako ng karayom sa isang bunton ng dayami. All roads lead to a dead end.

Kailangan kong mag-move on. Paano ko sisimulan? I believe that time heals all wounds and I recklessly grabbed the easiest way: I started having relationships one after another after another. “Just go have fun and forget about a long lost love” were my lousy, unreasonable traps for getting into such. Nalilibang ako noong una pero puro kalbaryo ang inabot ko dahil hanggang anim na buwan lang halos ang itinatagal ng mga nagdaan kong mga relasyon. Parang may kulang. Parang hindi kumpleto ang sangkap! Hindi kaya pilit kong minimithi na sana siya pa rin ang kasama ko ngayon? Kailangan ko ng may sense kausap, masayang kasama, palaging nakangiti at walang arte sa katawan. Siya nga yung kulang. Kailangang magpursigi akong hanapin siya! Back to square one! Balik ulit sa tanong: Paano at saan ako magsisimula?

September, 1987, dumating ang isang hindi inaasahang matinding dagok sa buhay ko, sa buhay naming magkapatid. Pumanaw na ang aming pinakamamahal na ina. Ang pagkawala ng isang magulang ay katumbas ng mawalan ng pag-asa sa buhay. Paano ko mag-isang itatawid ang buhay namin ng aking nakababatang kapatid ngayon? Nasa kolehiyo siya noon at ako naman ay nag-aaral ng abogasya. Palibhasa working student ako: trabaho ako sa araw, aral sa gabi. Pakiramdam ko palayo nang palayong matupad ang mga sinum- paang pangarap namin sa aming ina noon. Hindi kami handang mawala siya. Napakalaking responsibilidad ang nakapatong sa mga balikat ko. Ayokong magpakita ng pagkatalo ngunit lalo ko lang naramdaman ang lungkot at pangu-ngulila dahil wala akong karamay, wala akong mapag-hingahan ng sama ng loob at higit sa lahat ito na ang umpisa ng mahaba at madugong laban ko sa buhay. Halos magiba ang mundo ko sa unang pasko na di namin kasama ang aming mahal na ina. Awang-awa ako sa aming magkapatid noon. Para kaming mga ligaw na sisiw na hindi alam kung saan sisilong pilit na hinahanap ang kanilang nawawalang inahin. At sa unang pagkakataon sa alak ko nakitang meron pa pala akong natitirang kakampi! Araw-araw, bote ng alak ang baon ko hanggang sa pagtulog. “Okey naman pala, eh, masaya ito,” ang sabi ko!

Kalaunan, unti-unting bumabalik na ang sigla ko sa aking sarili. Dito rin ako gulat na gulat! Dumarami ang mga kaibigan ko: mga kapitbahay ko, mga mare`t kumpare ko pati di ko mga kakilala dumadayo na rin. Kagaya pa rin ng dati, subsob sa trabaho sa umaga hanggang hapon. Bago ako umuwi ng bahay nagti-text na ako o di kaya`y tawagan ko na sila sa telepono para magtipon-tipon at magsalo-salo para pagdating na ng takipsilim nakahanda na kaming lahat. Hapon pa lang darating na ang in-order kong isang case na beer pati pulutan: ihaw dito, ihaw doon, may kasama pang karaoke! Pagkatapos ng unos heto at may natitira pa palang saya ang buhay!


Ni: Renaliza Rogers


Year 2011 na, bagong taon na naman! Isang taon na lang at katapusan na ng mundo 2012! Joke lang... Haay naku, parang kelan lang ata ako nagpabitin-bitin doon sa gate namin sa pag-asang baka tumaas pa ako. Parang kelan lang ako nagsunog ng Chinese wishing paper na bigay ng pinsan ko. Oo, wishing paper daw. Isulat ko daw dito lahat ng hiling ko for 2010 noon tapos hawakan ko daw ito at unti-unting sunugin habang itinataas-baba, na parang nagbabasbas, upang dalhin daw ng hangin ang mga hiling ko. Di ko naman naintindihan ang instructions at isiniksik ko sa loob ng isang lata ang aking wishing paper at sinilaban.

Panahon na naman ng mga paputok. Ilang tao na naman kaya ang magkaka “new look” for 2011? New look dahil kulang na ang mga daliri nila o di kaya’y wala na silang mga kamay dahil naputukan. May kakilala ako na naputol ang daliri, hindi dahil sa paputok, kundi dahil hinawakan niya ang makinang nagkukudkod ng yelo sa Ice Plant nung bumili sila ng ice nung new year last year. Ewan ko ba kung anong utak meron siya. Natuwa daw siya sa pataas-baba na gilingan kaya’t hinawakan niya ito. Ayun, nilamon ang daliri niya. Ang resolution niya for 2011, huwag mahuhumaling sa mga makina.

Ako, hinding-hindi pa yata ako nakapagsindi ng paputok sa tanang buhay ko. Ang pinaka-daring na attempt ko ay ang magsindi ng luces at Roman candle. Nagpapasuan pa kami ng kapatid ko noon ng luces. Sinusunog niya kasi noon ang buhok ko kaya pinaso ko nga siya. Mula noon, hinding-hindi na siya nagsunog ng buhok ko, diretsiyahan niya na lang akong pinapaso.

Dito sa Pinas, ibang-iba ang New Year. Grabe ang paputok, napaka-ingay. Wala pa ngang new year nagpapaputok na. Asahan mo na kina-umagahan ng bagong taon ay punong-puno ang kalye nga mga basu-basurang papel ng paputok. Maraming tao ang nag-eenjoy sa labas pero marami ding nagkukulong sa loob ng bahay pag new year dahil hinihika sa amoy ng usok at pulbura. Sorry na lang ang may mga hika pag dito kayo nag-pasko sa Pilipinas. Nung sa Japan ako nag new year, ang pumutok lang ay ang pwet ko at ang butsi ni mama. Wala talagang maingay sa daan. Andun sa mga club or bar or restaurant ang mga tao nagkacountdown. Ibang-iba sa nakagisnan ko pero ang bobongga naman ng fireworks display na sa TV ko lang naman nakita.

Ang dami ko nang naging resolutions nung mga bagong taon na nakalipas na hindi ko naman natupad. Halos ilang taon ko na yatang resolution ang mag diet pero wala namang kakuwenta-kwenta. Hanggang ngayon hindi ko pa rin yun nagagawa at mataba pa rin ako. Ang tawag ko ngayon sa mga tulad kong malulusog ay “curvalicious”, pakunswelo na lang sa diet na hindi ko nagawa. Naging resolution ko rin ang huwag maging tamad. Hang- gang ngayon ay tamad pa rin naman ako, pero hindi na sing tamad ng dati. Ilang beses na kasi akong binato ng aking ina ng kahit anong mahawakan niya sa inis at para lang gumalaw ako. One time, binato niya ako ng lumpia.

Sa bagong taon na to, hindi na ako magre-resolution ng alam kong hindi ko naman matutupad. Ang resolution ko for this year na lang ay maging mas mabait. Magbibigay ng pagkain sa mga batang kalye na nang aagaw ng binili mong siomai. Tapos minsan mangu-ngurot pa or gugulatin ka nila at tatakutin tapos pagtatawanan. Sarap talagang kutusan! Kaya lang yun pa nga, dapat habaan ko ang pasensya ko this year.

Isa din sa resolutions ko ay ang maging mas maingat. Napaka clumsy ko kasi. Ika nga ng ina ko ay parang may nana daw ang mga kamay ko, laging nabibitawan, nababagsak o nasasagi ang kung anu-ano. Palagi rin akong namamasyal sa mall na basa ang pantalon at panty dahil nga natapunan ng iniinom ko. Kamuntik na rin akong malaglag pababa ng mini-bus dahil natisod ako sa sarili kong mga paa. Buti na lang niyapos ako ng konduktor kundi basag ang mukha ko sa kalye. Kaya lang, feeling close agad si manong, may pahabol pang kindat pagkatapos.

Anyways, sa taong ito, 2011, sana nama’y maging maganda ang daloy ng panahon para sa lahat ng tao sa buong mundo. Sana’y huwag namang mag El Niño sa summer dito sa Pinas kundi mahi-heat stroke na talaga ako. Ang hiling ko lang ay, overall, maging masagana at maganda ang taong 2011 para sa ating lahat. Happy New Year!

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue Page 10

Shoganai: Gaijin Life
By Abie Principe

New Year Cards

Happy New Year!

Natapos na naman ang isang taon, dito sa bansang Hapon. Sa ngayon ay malamang naalala pa natin ang nakaraang Noche Buena at Medya Noche. Talagang pag Pinoy, ang mga kasayahan ay puno ng kainan! Since pinag-uusapan ang kainan, mayroon ba sa inyong nag-promise na mag da-diet na ngayong 2011? Kumusta naman ang mga New Year’s resolution natin?

Speaking of New Year, isa rin sa hindi natin maiiwasang bagay dito sa Japan ay ang pag- papadala at pagtanggap ng New Year Cards (年賀状).

Dito sa Japan, ang mga Hapones ay nagpapa-alam sa lumang taon sa pamamagitan ng pagpapadala ng mga New Year Cards. Para sa kanila, ito ay isang tradition na hindi dapat iwasan. At importante sa kanila ang magbigay ng New Year Cards sa halos lahat ng kakilala nila. Kung minsan nga, mayroong isang tao na magpapadala na higit 100 New Year Cards. Importante pa sa kanila na sulat-kamay, o handwritten ang mga cards na ito, nagpapakita daw ito na binigyang importansya ng nagpa-dala ang taong tatanggap. Ito ay isa sa mga bagay na “shoganai” dito sa Japan. Kaya ako rin, kung minsan ay kinakailangan magpadala ng mga New Year Cards, lalo na sa professor ko sa unibersidad, at sa mga kasama ko sa trabaho. Isang sign ito ng respeto at pagbibigay importansya.

Ang 2011 ay Year of the Rabbit, kaya ang mga New Year Cards ay puro mga usagi(うさぎ)o rabbits, ang design. Mula sa realistic hanggang sa mga cute cartoons, napakaraming mga rabbit New Year Card designs ang makikita sa mga postcards. Ngayong Year of the Rabbit, nagpadala ba kayo ng mga New Year’s Cards? Nakatanggap ba kayo ng iba’t ibang hagaki (はがき)o postcards na merong disenyo ng kuneho?

Ako rin ay natutuwa sa mga hagaki, pero mas natuwa ako sa mga Christmas Cards! Siyempre, kasi sa ating mga Pinoy, mas matimbang ang Pasko kaysa sa Bagong Taon.

Kaya lang, shoganai ne, nakatira tayo dito sa Japan, so enjoy ninyo na lang ang many interesting designs ng nengajo (年賀状)!

Masaganang Bagong Taon sa Lahat!


by Richard Diaz Alorro

Ruins & Miracles

Kumusta mga kababayan? Welcome sa kauna-unahang isyu ng Jeepney Press para sa taong 2011. Isang taon na naman ang dumating – bagong taon, bagong pag-asa, bagong simula. Bawat bagong taon ay isang biyaya at isang panibagong pagkakataon. A new year is a gift for it brings with it more seconds for us to live, more hours to learn, more days to work, more weeks to be with our loved-ones, and more months to enjoy life. Ang bagong taon ay isang oportunidad upang maituwid natin ang mga pagkakamaling ating nagawa sa nakaraang taon o upang lalong pag-igihan at pagbutihin ang mga kapuri-puring gawain.

Sa pagpasok ng taong 2011, nais kong ibahagi ang dalawang quotations na tumatak sa aking isipan kamakailan lamang. Naway makapagbigay ng aral o inspirasyon ang mga ito sa lahat.

“Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.” – Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love, 2006).

Ang mga salitang ito ay isa sa mga hindi ko makakalimutang bahagi ng pelikulang Eat, Pray, Love ng Columbia Pictures na pinagbibidahan ni Julia Roberts. Ang pelikula ay hango sa memoir ng author na si Elizabeth Gilbert kung saan isinalaysay niya ang kanyang mga travels around the world pagkatapos ng kanyang divorce at ang mga natutunan at experiences niya during these travels. Ang quotation na ito ay sinabi ni Liz (palayaw ni Gilbert) sa isang bahagi ng movie na dumalaw siya sa isang abandoned ruin sa gitna ng Rome, Italy. These words seem very powerful and encouraging to me. Marahil marami rin sa atin ang makaka-relate sa mga salitang ito.

Ano ba ang unang naiisip natin kapag narinig natin ang salitang RUIN? – sira, guho, gulo, problema, pinsala? Bawat isa sa atin ay nakaranas na ng iba’t ibang antas ng RUIN sa buhay. Sometimes in our lives we experience ruins in different forms – pagguho ng kaligayahan, pagkasira ng pagkatao, problema sa trabaho o pamilya. Maliit man o malaki ang problema na dumating sa atin, hindi maiiwasang tayo ay madismaya, malungkot, maghinanakit, umiyak, o mawalan ng pag-asa. Lahat ng ito ay mga pagsubok sa ating katatagan, pananampalataya, at pagkatao.

Ruin is a gift. Ito ay isang biyaya na dapat nating pasalamatan. Sometimes we need to decay in order to grow. Sometimes there is a need for things to fall apart in order to come together again in a stronger form. Minsan kailangan ng kaguluhan para matamo ang kaayusan at kapayapaan. Minsan kailangan natin ng maraming tanong para makuha ang sagot o dumaan sa pag-aalinlangan para maging tiyak at sigurado tayo sa mga bagay-bagay. Sa pagtatayo ng bago at matibay na bahay, kailangang gibain muna ang luma at inaanay na gusali. Sa pamamagitan ng pagsira sa isang luma at hindi na maayos na bagay, nabibigyang daan natin ang pagbabago at pagbabagong-anyo. Dapat nating mapagtanto na para makamit natin ang isang maganda at buong buhay kailangan natin ang mga sandali ng meaningful at creative destructions and ruins.

"People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child - our own two eyes. All is a miracle." - Thich Nhat Hanh

I came across with this quotation while I was brow-sing over some pages of the worldwide web. Si Thich Nhat Hanh ay isang Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet at peace advocate na naka-base na ngayon sa France. Naniniwala ako sa kasabihang ito ni Thich Nhat Hanh. Lahat ng bagay sa mundong ating ginagalawan ay himala.

Ang miracle o himala sa ating sariling wika ay nai-uugnay natin sa mga pangyayaring kakaiba at hindi naaayon sa laws of nature. Minsan nai-kakabit natin ang himala sa mga hindi inaasa-hang pangyayari na may kaugnayan sa divine intervention o act of God. Ang pagkakaligtas sa isang malubhang sakit o sa isang matinding disgrasya o kalamidad ay itinuturing din natin na himala.

Hindi ba natin naiisip na ang mga bagay-bagay o pangyayari na ating nakikita o nararamdaman sa araw-araw ay maaaring mga himala din? Ang mga ordinaryong bagay sa ating paligid tulad ng mga puno, bulaklak, ulan, hangin, at mga taong nakakasalamuha natin ay likha ng himala. The mere fact of our existence is a miracle we have to appreciate. Lahat tayo ay likha ng isang statistically unlikely but beneficial event (pagtatagpo ng itlog mula sa nanay at semilya mula sa tatay) na maituturing nating isang himala. Ang ating mga magulang, anak, kapatid, at kaibigan ay mga himala. Lahat ng nilikha at mga pangyayari ay himala at dapat nating pahalagahan at mahalin.

Minsan naghahangad tayo ng mga bagay na hindi natin kayang maabot o imposibleng magka-totoo. Sometimes we seek for great things that we forget to appreciate the small yet very significant pieces of our self and parts of our world. Sa mga panahong nangliliit tayo sa ating mga sarili o nalulumbay dahil sa pakiramdam natin pinagkaitan tayo ng tadhana, isipin natin na tayo ay espesyal at napapaligiran ng mga bagay na likha ng himala. You and me were all created by supernatural acts and were bestowed with millions of wonderful things. We are all miracles!

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue Page 11

Kansha al Kansha

by Ping-ku

大感謝祭 From San-in, with thanks (part 2)

Happy New Year to everyone! We are thankful for the brand new year ahead of us, and with it comes the challenge to make our lives matter and mark 2011 as a year we can be proud of.

Pride is a virtue when it reflects appreciation for others. Continuing the travelogue about my first visit to the San-in region, any visitor in Sakaiminato would immediately recognize that Sakaiminato people are proud for their famous kababayan, Mizuki Shigeru by making the whole town virtually Yokai themed. Mizuki’s creations are drawn al fresco on trains and even the taxis have eyeball lights on their roofs. From cakes, teishoku to stationery, accessories, to a Kitaro 交番or police box and a shrine with a granite eyeball icon, the transformation was remarkable. The townsfolk who were initially against the Mizuki Road project initiated by the city government in the late 80s to revitalize the declining town, were now completely enamored by Kitaro’s creator. As a first-time visitor to Sakaiminato, I realized that Mizuki’s life spoke of the power of passion that enabled rising from intense poverty to fame, thanks to his warm family and firm supporters. After spending around three hours on Mizuki Road and visiting the Sakaiminato ichiba, we headed towards nearby Matsue across the border in Shimane to visit the Matsue castle. It seemed like there were many like us who had the same plans that weekend as I had an impre-ssion that there were nume-rous motorists that jammed the roads to our destinations. The Matsue castle is one of the 12 castles remaining in Japan, and it is the only one remaining in the San-in region. The castle houses valuable warfare memorabilia of the grandson of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the shogun Naomasa Matsudaira who started the long reign in the castle of the powerful Matsudaira clan that spanned 234 years. It is definitely worth a visit for its magnificently well-kept structure and climbing up the steep stairs to the topmost floor offers a 360-degree view of the Matsue as well as an unrivaled view of Lake Shinji. Plus foreigners get a 200 yen discount off (regular 500 yen) admission fees.

After visiting Matsue castle, our limbs were screaming for some onsen. So we drove back to Tottori and headed for the hotel in the Kaike Hot Spa district in Yonago. Little did my in-laws and I know that my husband still had one little surprise for us to cap the day’s itine-rary: as we were nearing the Shimane-Tottori border, our eyes feasted on the Lake Shinji Sunset that has made Matsue, Japan’s water capital famous. Taking a photo inside a moving vehicle was never my forte but I lucked out at Shinji-ko. As we looked at the beautiful sunset, my in-laws and I felt most thankful for this chance to visit San-in and to my husband for planning the trip. We felt guilty remorse for dozing off during the long drive from Kyoto as our patient driver battled sleep by chewing gum and listening to the radio. These feelings and the photo remind me of a poem by W.S. Merwin who incidentally was chosen as this year’s Poet Laureate by the US Library of Congress. Allow me to end with the following verses taken from the aptly-titled “Thanks” by W.S. Merwin:

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.
….. with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is
From “Thanks”, The Rain in the Trees copyright© 1998 by W.S. Merwin.

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue Page 14

by Rey Ian Corpuz

Ang Aking Karanasan sa Goukon (合コン)

Ito na marahil ang isa sa mga karanasan ko dito sa Japan na pinaka-kakaiba para sa akin. Paunawa lang po na ginawa ko ito bago ko pa nakilala ang asawa ko ngayon. Ang goukon ay isa sa mga kaugalian ng mga yuppies at mga “single” na Hapon na kung saan pwede sila makatagpo ng syota o di kaya ay asawa o di kaya ay kaibigan lang. Una sa lahat, ano ba ang goukon? Ang goukon ay isang pagtitipon at pagkikita ng grupo ng mga babae o lalake kung saan ang layunin ay may makilalang boyfriend, girlfriend o di kaya ay ang pagkakaroon lamang ng kaibigan. Karaniwan, ito ay ginagawa sa mga restaurants o Izakaya. Dito sa Japan, kung saan karamihan ay walang panahon sa pakikipag date at kung saan “taboo” ang pagpapakilala sa sarili sa kahit sinong potential na tao, karaniwan ang “goukon.” Ito ay isang paraan para magkaroon ng “date” or simpleng kausap. Tuwing Pasko, karamihan ng mga babae sa Japan ay parating bukambibig na gusto nilang mag-ka-date sa darating na pasko at bagong taon. Kaya karamihan ng goukon ay nangyayari halos kasabay ng “bounenkai” or “year-end party” o Christmas Party.

Ang aking matalik na kaibigang Hapon na si Yuichi ay inanyayahan ako na sumama sa isang goukon. Sabi niya para din daw may makilala akong ibang babaeng Hapon bukod sa mga kilala ko at malaman ko rin kung ano ang mga dapat o hindi dapat sa goukon. Ako naman, ang layunin ko kung bakit ako sumali ay para lamang magkaroon ng karanasan dahil isa ito sa mga kaugalian ng mga Hapon. Isa sa mga kinakaba ko nung sumama ako ay kung papaano ako makikipagsalita sa kanila ng tama at diretsong Nihongo. Tapos inaalala ko din kung ano ang susuotin ko dahil ang nasa imahe ng pag-iisip ko ay masyadong sosyal ang mga Hapon sa mga ganitong bagay at ako ay walang perang pang porma para lang sa isang gabi.

Maliban sa 5,000 yen na bayad sa “nabe party” namin ay kailangan daw naming magdala ng regalo. Kasi nga Pasko at may palitan daw ng regalo. Ako naman, wala akong ka alam alam kung ano ba ang bagay na i-regalo para sa babae na mura lang. Kaya sabi ko kay Yuichi na siya na ang bahala at babayaran ko na lang. Nataon din na ang “kaisha” na pinagtatrabahuan ni Yuichi ay nagbebenta ng mga kung anu-anong “kawaii” na mga bagay. “Timing” din na sikat pa noon si Obama kasi kakapanalo lang niya sa eleksiyon kaya sabi niya yung “Obama Mask” na lang daw ang ibigay ko. Tapos yung sa kanya is yung mini Christmas Tree na lalagyan mo lang ng tubig. Kaya ayun, ready to go na kami sa goukon a. k. a. nabe party namin.

Ginanap ang pagtitipon sa isang mamahaling restaurant sa Shibuya. Sa loob ng tatami room ay kinuha na kaagad ang perang pambayad. Pagkatapos ay ni register ang pangalan namin at phone number. Binigyan din kami ng papel kung saan pwede namin ibigay ang aming pangalan at numero sa mga ma me-meet namin. Sa loob ay may dalawang lamesa. Hinati ang grupo namin sa dalawa. Labing-dalawa ang lalake at labing-dalawa din ang mga babae. Pagkatapos binigyan kami ng papel para sa “seating arrangement” namin at para din makilala namin ang kaharap at katabi namin. Pagkakita ko sa listahan ay napansin ko na ako lang ang gaijin na sumali kaya lalo akong kinabahan dahil wala masyado akong kautu-tang dila. Tig aanim na lalake at babae sa bawat lamesa. Sa simula mahirap mag “initiate” ng “conversation.” Nauubusan ako ng “appropriate” na Nihongo. Pang level 3 lang ang kaya ko na mga salita. Buti na lang at si Yuichi ay parati akong sinasalo sa usapan. Napansin ko rin na ang karamihan na lalakeng sumali ay nasa late 35 na ang kisig at ayos. Medyo matanda na obvious na stressed sa buhay. Ang mga babae naman ay medyo obvious na naghahanap ng milyonaryong hapon. They tend to get along with the conversation at first but later on they lose their interest upon knowing what your work is. Pero ako wala akong pakialam, kain lang ako ng kain. Nag eenjoy lang ako. Feeling ko parang nasa enkai lang ako ng kaisha namin. Inom lang ng inom din ng beer. Keep it flowing kung baga. Lahat ng dumalo ay masasabi kong maganda. Pero ewan ko kung talagang maganda dahil makapal ang make-up atsaka medyo dim ang ilaw. Pero sa tingin ko halos lahat ng mga babae doon ay interesado sa akin dahil ako lang ang gaijin. Panay ang tanong nila about sa Pilipinas. Ang nakakainis pa ay may dalawa sa kanila na hindi alam kung saan ang Pilipinas. Hay my gulay! Tinuruan ko pa sila ng geography 101. May isang babae na nakatira pa sa Shizuoka at araw araw nag shi-Shinkansen papuntang office nila sa Tamachi. Tapos may isang mayamang babae na huminto sa trabaho at kumuha ng PhD studies about Taiwan sa Tokyo Daigaku. May mga sumali na pre-school teachers kaya medyo nakaka-relate din sa mga ginagawa ko sa Junior High School. May mga babae din na nagta-trabaho sa IT. Medyo geeky ang pinag uusapan pero okay lang dahil nakaka-relate naman ako. Hahaha… Pagkatapos ng isang oras, nagpalit kami ng upuan. Lumipat kami sa isang table. Medyo mas relaxed ang mga kausap namin dahil medyo nakainom na. Pero hindi ko masakyan ang usapan nila dahil yung mga province na nila ang kanilang pinag-uusapan. Halimbawa, si Yuichi ay taga Nagoya, siyempre nag-ku-kwento siya ng mga kakaibang custom ng mga nanggaling ng Nagoya. Yung isa ay taga- Ishikawa, natural, puro mga kwento about snowstorm ang binahagi niya. Yung isa naman ay taga-Kokubunji lang sa Tokyo. Sabi ko ay taga-Kunitachi ako before at ayun, sa wakas, may nakausap din ako ng matino. Pero mukhang nainis siya sa akin nung tinanong ko ang kanyang edad. Dito pala sa Japan, impolite pala ang tanungin ang edad lalo na ang babae at lalo na sa goukon. Natatamaan daw ang pride nila.

Matapos ang isang oras, bumalik kami sa kabilang table at nag exchange gifts. Simple lang masyado ang exchange gifts. Habang kumakanta kami ng “Jingle Bells” ay nag clockwise ang mga regalo. Walang ka buhay-buhay at walang ka spirit-spirit ng Pasko. Yung Obama mask ko ay nakuha ng babae. Nung binuksan niya, nasira daw ang mukha sabi ni Yuichi. Ako naman ang natanggap ko ay isang laruan. Si Yuichi ay nakatanggap ng Godiva chocolates. Pero binigay niya sa akin ito dahil ayaw daw niya sa chocolates. Natapos ang party namin around 11PM. Medyo tipsy but still on the mood to party. In the end, me, Yuichi and his friend along with three of the other Japanese ladies, were the only ones ended up partying at Roppongi. The rest of the guys went home. We went bar hopping. I was almost out of cash because of that. It was all plain fun. What a nice experience. Hinintay ko ang 1st trip ng tren para makauwi. Pagod at ubos ang budget.

Ang goukon ng mga Hapon ay walang pagkakaiba sa “speed dating” ng Western culture. Ngunit sa tingin ko ay mas pihikan lang ang mga Hapon. They always do it from time to time. Eh bakit hanggang ngayon ginagawa pa rin nila ito? Ibig sabihin marahil ay wala silang natitipuhan. Kaya lalong bumababa ang populasyon ng Hapon. Karamihan sa kanila, nagiging single forever. Hindi ba totoo? Kaya next time, pag may nag yaya na kaibigan na mag goukon, eh subukan ninyo. Kung kayo lang ang gaijin, mas exciting dahil makikita mo talaga ang kaibahan ng kultura natin sa kanila. In the end, you will appreciate what kind of culture we have as Filipinos. Kaya kailanman ay hinding hindi ko ipagpapalit ang kultura natin sa kanila.

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue Page 15

Neriza Sarmiento-Saito's
A Woman's Reasons to Live, Hope and Evolve

“Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest and wisest of them all?” The mirror replied, "A woman who washed, swept and scrubbed all day but lived with graciousness, hoped that her family will reap success and evolved as a competitive woman globally.

These past years I have always featured a "fuko- otoko" in the first issue of the year but in the Year of the Rabbit which is said to bring out the soft spots in people, a lady should take center stage. Noemi Itsukage is the CEO and president of EVOLVE MISSHA Philippines, the exclusive distributor of BB cream products. More than a year ago, she opened
a shop at the SM North Edsa Annex. Just before it happened, she was the typical hands-on housewife until a magic wand popped up.
A long time ago in the early 80's we used to hold simple community events at the old Philcongen garage in Kobe with band music provided by the Tardy Boys. In 1984 with DOT's initiative, we formed the Kansai Nippi Tomo no Kai (KNTNK). That was when I first met her and her sister Catherine, who was a winner in one of the first beauty pageants held. Later on, we would see each other at masses in Kitahama church but we had to relocate to a small room inside the seminary within the compounds of the St. Mary's Cathedral in Tamatsukuri.
A statuesque beauty, Noemi once substituted for former Bb. Pilipinas Desiree Verdadero in a fashion show of couturier Nardie Presa. She was a fresh graduate of Optometry but had to join the designer 's fashion shows in Tokyo, Yokohama and in Osaka where she met I-chan. Eventually, they got married. Ma-kun came first followed by Noriko-chan and the youngest girl Miki was born in the millenium year. While the children were in school, Noemi polished up on her Japanese writing, reading and speaking skills. She was contented with being the stay at home type just waiting for a chance to have a career fit for her. Once in a while she accepted translation and interpretation work, mostly for the Osaka Prefectural police.

In 1998, the late Danny Alvez and I co-chaired the Centennial of Philippine Independence in Osaka. In the two-day event organized for the Filipino Community by the Philcongen, Noemi was one of those loyal friends we depended on together with Amy Wafuura, Vicky Wakiyama, Mely Kohno, Malou Sato, Mari Hashizuka, Susan Fuchizaki, Loida Hiyama, Roterry Shimono, Katrina Fujikawa, Sally Takashima, Luz Shimizu, Joy Yoshitomi and many more. They all assisted as committee chairpersons in the musical presentation that I penned and directed "Ang Kasaysayan ng Pilipinas" with music by Joey Manalang, the Rigodon de Honor, the Philippine Parade around the Asia- Pacific Trade Center, the drawing contest and the first Bb. Kalayaan contest that Henry Tabao directed and assisted by Noemi. The following year, we changed to Ginang Kalayaan in recognition of the struggles and aspirations of Filipino wives of Japanese. From thereon, Noemi was a permanent fixture in all Filipino community events.

She was also very much a part of Joey Manalang's musical " The Gaijin" playing the role of a court interpreter. By this time, we formed the PCCC where I was the first elected Chairperson in 2002-2004, Sally Takashima in 2004-2006 and Noemi in 2006-2008. As a chairperson, she was every inch a leader, frank but not bossy, disciplined but knew how to enjoy herself. Inspite of the demands on her time, she looked her best on gatherings.
On a trip to Korea with her sister, they stumbled upon the idea of opening a Missha shop in the Philippines. They called the office, set-up an appointment, and finally the executives asked her to submit a feasibi-lity study. "I didn't really expect what was happening but at the back of my mind, it seems that my dream of setting-up my own shop will come true." Wasting no time, and with no marketing background, she sought the help of professionals to conduct the market research. They also needed a place to build the shop. At about that time, SM Edsa was building an annex and will therefore be an ideal location. But then, she would have to invest a large amount of money as capital. Thanks to her budgeting skills as a housewife and traits she learned from the Japanese like punctuality. In a few months, she was ready with the business proposal for the Missha executives.

Alas and behold, they approved it on the spot and the International Marketing Manager commented that they were impressed with the proposal and did not deny initial misgivings they had about the diligence of the Filipinos.
Finally, after a few delays during the construction of the shop, Evolve Missha Philippines was inaugurated in October 2009 complete with a star-studded fashion show directed by Noemi. The new business eventually changed the course of their lives. Noemi had to manage her 7 staff while I-chan had to hold the fort at home while the youngest girl Miki, attends school. Eldest son, Ma-kun and second daughter Noriko are now working. "I miss my family but there are choices we have to make in some aspects of our life. I am happy that inspite of the fact that I started this business only now, I feel my worth as a woman because this is what I have always wanted to do. As a housewife in Japan, we can't help but feel regimented and duty-bound. But you can also direct your own course in life, if you go on living, hoping and evolving, “ says Noemi with a smile.

Jeepney Press 2011 January-February Issue Page 17

Doc Gino’s Pisngi Ng Langit

Ayaw maging buntis (Unwanted Pregnancy)
Tanong: gud evening. gusto ko lng po mag-ask kasi po i think im preggy, aug 22 po me last nagka-mens and regular ako... so dapat sept 20 something is dapat may mens ako... but til now october 1.. wala pa rin.. and i tried na rin ang pregnancy test minute ago... mga 11pm... but its POSITVE.. can i ask if totoo ba to???... sobrang depress me kc hindi tlaga pwede... ayoko not ready to have a child...ano po ba gawin ko??? anong pwedeng inumin na gamot para hindi ito mabuo?.. natatakot po ako... plzzz help me po.. thanks

Doc Gino: Ang nararapat mong gawin ay ulitin ang pregnancy test. Kung positibo pa rin ay totoo ang resulta at nabuo na ang pagbubuntis. Samakatwid, ang susunod na dapat gawin ay alagaan ang pagbubuntis. Magpacheck-up sa isang espesyalista tulad ng OBGYN at sumunod sa payo. Kung iniisip mo na putulin ang pagbubuntis, isipin ito nang maraming beses sapagka't baka manganib ang iyong buhay kung sakaling ituloy mo ang iyong balak sa dami ng magiging komplikasyon bukod pa sa hindi legal ito sa batas ng ating bansa.

Dysmenorrhea (Masakit na Pagreregla)
Tanong: dok i just wanna ask some more about my menstruation. im 22 yrs old single... since when the time na mag mens ako when i was 12 years old always sumasakit ang puson ko during my period until now. kung nong una hindi sya subrang sakit pero habang nag kaka age ako lalo rin syang sumasakit na para bang mahuhulog na ang matris ko. pinagpapawisan ako ng malamig at nanginginig ang buo kong katawan pag 1st day ko. naaabala ang trabaho ko so there4 umiinom po ako ng midol everytime na sumasakit ang puson ko, pero may naka pagsabi na may side effect daw ang drugs at the end.ndn after may period nilalabasan ako na kulay dilaw na likido na hindi maganda ang amoy na parang nana ang amoy nito, nababahala ako dok, na baka may sakit na ako sa vagina. di pa ako nagpapa consult. at totoo po ba na ang pag aasawa at pagkakaroon ng anak ay mawawala ang tinatawag na Dysmenorrhea. i will appreciate that u reply my question..

Doc Gino: Ang una mong problema ay ang "dysmenorrhea" kung kaya't sumasakit ang iyong puson sa tuwing magkakaroon ng buwanang dalaw. Isa sa mga dahilan nito ay ang tinatawag na “endometriosis” na kung saan nagreregla sa labas ng bahay bata o matres. Ito ay masosolusyonan sa pamamagitan ng mga gamot na pwedeng inumin. Kung susunod sa reseta ng iyong "gynecologist," ang mga "side effects" ay maiiwasan. Ang panganganak ay maaaring magpagaling ng "dysmenorrhea."

Sa ikalawang problema na may nalabas na nana sa iyong ari. Ito ay isang impeksyon sa pwerta na marami ang dahilan. Maaring ang iyong “sexual partner” ay mayroong impeksiyon na naipasa sa iyo. Kailangan ang pagpapasuri sa iyong "gynecologist" upang malaman kung ano ito. Kung mayroon "active sexual partner" pati ang kapareha ay kailangan na magpasuri rin upang maiwasan manumbalik ang sakit na ito.


Mylene Miyata


Kumusta po ang nakalipas na pasko at bagong taon natin?
Siguradong busog na busog po tayo nitong nakaraang okasyon!
At malamang busog din ang ating mga puso ng kakaibang kaligayahan dulot ng kapaskuhan at panibagong taong dumating, di ba? Hindi masyado?! Baket naman kaya?

Hindi rin natin maaring i-deny na iba't-ibang uri ng new year's resolution ang ating naisip nitong mga lumipas na linggo. Kaya naman, good luck po sa ating lahat patungo sa ating mga minimithing pangarap sa hinaharap na taon!

Pero, sapat nga po ba ang focus natin sa napiling resolusyon ngayong 2011? Seryosohan ba ito? Pwede!!! Baket naman hinde? Eh, sa tulin ng panahon po ngayon, malamang mapag-iwanan tayo kung hindi natin ito kayaning sabayan, di po ba?

Simulan natin sa teknolohiya hanggang sa klase ng araw araw na pamumuhay... Eh, napakatulin po talaga. Akalain nyo... Ganon lang natapos ang 2010! Anu-anong achievements po ang nagkaroon tayo last year? Nakamtan po ba natin ang new year's resolution natin last year? At eto, 2011 na! Wala nang bawian. Tuloy ang dagdag sa edad natin. Tuloy ang agos ng panahon para sa lahat. Inaabangan na rin ng karamihan ang World Cup nitong darating na 2018! Ganon po kabongga ang tiktak ng orasan ng buhay! Kakalerkey talaga! Kahit ako, slightly natataranta sa pagtakbo ng panahon. Kayo rin po ba? Okay naman?! Relax lang po ba?! Hindi rin?!

Naaalala ko tuloy madalas sabihin ng anak ko sa akin kapag nagmamadali kami para makahabol sa tamang oras sa dentist nya... "Mama, chotto matte!" Syempre pa, sasagot ako ng tahasan kalimitan ng ganito... "Anak, si mama pwedeng maghintay. Pero, ang oras tumatakbo! Walang hinihintay na kahit sino kaya please bilisan mo, anak!" Sa isang banda, ang sarap din naman kalabitin ang sarili ko. Hahaha. Tuwing naaalala ko yung literal na kahulugan nito, napapangiti na lang ako ng bonggang-bongga habang nagmumuni-muni sa buhay. At biglang mapapaisip na... "Ganito na ba talaga ang tumatanda?!" Merong feeling of "rush"? Nasa early thirties pa lang po ako. Pero may ganong factor na! Kayo po? Masasabe mo ba na ang ilang panahon na lumipas sa iyong buhay ay naging makahulugan? Naging mabunga? Kuntento ka ba? O meron ka pang gustong gawin para ma-feel mo na kumpleto? Yun bang alam mong wala kang sinayang na panahon noong malakas ka pa at saksakan pa ng ka-freshness-san? Wala bang sisihan?! Halimbawa ang hangad mong magpatayo ng dream house mo na may heliport? Magpakabait ng konte? Magpatawad? Magpasalamat? Kung ano man yan! Bakit di mo kaya subukang itanong sa konsensya mo? Try lang. Kaibiganin mo yung
subconscious mind mo. Friendly naman yan kadalasan eh. Basta, honest ka lang. Pero kung di ka aamin, hindi rin kayo magkakasundo nyan malamang. Tsk! Tsk! Sayang naman yung chance na matulungan ka nyang i-achieve yung greatest goals mo sa buhay, di ba? Kung meron pa man po. Kung wala naman na, eh di... happily ever after na. Ang saya-saya! Cheers!

Anu't ano pa man po ang kahihinatnan ng usapin hinggil sa bagay na nabanggit. Tandaan na meron pong isang natatangi at pambihirang kanais nais na bagay na pwedeng itanim sa isipan natin sa anu mang panahon sa buhay natin. Bagay na wala tayong katalo-talo saan man magkasukatan. Winner ka lage, friend! Iyon pong makasanayan nating i-focus ang sarili natin. Sa mga bagay na maaaring makapagpausad sa atin papunta sa hinaharap na panahon. Hindi ang magpabalik-balik sa mga panahon na di mo naman pakikinabangan sa iyong daan papunta sa gugustuhin mong makamit sa buhay. Imbes na bumuo ng balakid, baket di natin subukang bumuo ng kapaki-pakinabang na hakbang. Habang nanggigigil tayong makamit ang saktong estado na mithi natin sa buhay... Sabi nga sa wikang hapones "Mae ni susumu koto!" daw.

Masaganang 2011 po sa lahat!


ni Anita Sasaki

Ang buhay ay sadyang masalimuot, puno nang pagsubok. Pagsubok na nagtuturo sa atin kung paanong bumangon at maging matatag sa buhay.
Kung minsan ay binibigyan tayo ng Diyos ng maliliit na problema at dahil dun ay madaling nawawala ang ating pananampalataya at pag-asa sa buhay. O kung minsan di nangyayari ang nais nating mangyari, may mga tao tayong nakakaalitan, at higit sa lahat ay may mga bagay na di natin makuha.

Ang buhay natin ay regalo mula sa Diyos, isang pagkakataong hindi na maibabalik kailan man. Kaya kung pipiliin natin at bibigyang-diin ang mga mali natin sa buhay ay maaari natin itong pagsisihan ng panghabambuhay. Ika nga sa isang tula mula sa Alibata-Buhay ng Tao na sinulat ni Edna Lesada,
Ang buhay ng tao parang saranggola
Pagkatayug-tayug kung lumipad
Subalit kung ang hangin ito'y kalawitin
Mahuhulog sa lupa at magkakagula-gulanit.

Kaya’t nararapat lamang na pahalagahan natin ito sa bawat araw na mayroon tayo. Di rin kailangan ng okasyon tulad ng pasko o kaarawan ng taong mahal natin para maipadama natin sa kanila kung gaano sila kahalaga sa atin. Binigyan tayo nang mga oras na maari nating gamitin at di dapat sayangin.

Gawin nating aral ang bawat pagsubok na nalalampasan natin at tignan ang makukulay na bahagi ng ating buhay. Ang panghihina ng loob ay nagpapakita ng kawalang-tiwala sa ating sarili, na dapat nating gawin kalakasan.

Isaisip natin na tayong lahat ay may sari-sariling anyo ng problema sa buhay, lahat ay dumadaan sa mga ganitong pagkakataon sa di natin inaasahang panahon. Ang pagdarasal at kalakasang-loob mula sa ating mga pamilya at mahal sa buhay ang magsisilbing lakas sa pagharap natin sa buhay.