Friday, November 11, 2011

Jeepney Press 2011 November-December Issue COVER

Cover Art and Design by: Dennis Sun

Jeepney Press 2011 November-December Issue Centerfold

Fun and Fast Facts About UTAWIT 2011
by Stephanie Jones Jallorina

At natapos na naman ang taunang UTAWIT!!! Sa mga di nakadalo sa matagumpay na UTAWIT noong Linggo, November 6, sa Nissho Hall, heto at ibinabahagi namin sa inyo ang masasayang kaganapan:

7/11 – Hindi yung conbini kungdi para ipaalam na Seven Years Old in 2011 Na ang UTAWIT.

30 - at isa sa pinakaunang dumating na mga panauhing nangga-ling pa sa Shizuoka! Naka-uniform pa sila ng green na jacket bilang suporta sa kanilang kalahok.

50 – ang panauhing dumating galing sa Nagano, na may dala-dalang mga banner para bigyan ng lakas ng loob ang kanilang mang-aawit.

600 – humigit-kumulang ang kabuaang dumating na panauhin kahit malakas ang ulan, na animo’y biyaya na ikinatagumpay ng paligsahan.

On-time at Malinis– Nagsimula sa eksaktong oras, natapos ng 10 minutes bago ang naitakdang oras. Di makalat at madaling nakapagligpit, malaking puntos para sa Pinoy!

Lalaki – Lalaki pa rin ang nanalo, taga-Tokyo, si Mark Warren T. de Luna. Mga 3-seconds late siya bago naka-react ng tinawag ang pangalan niya bilang Kampeon, at nasa likod pa mandin siya ng mga Emcee na bumanggit ng kanyang pangalan.

Hiyawan, sigawan at tilian – ang iilan lang ngunit solid sa suporta na mga kaibigan ni Mark Warren sa kanyang Encore.

Produksyon – “Anak ng Teting” ang pamosong expresyon ng Director na si Ms Edith Bautista, ang cool at astig na lider ng produksyon na cute na cute nasa gilid ng kurtina sa stage sa kabuuan ng program.

Production & Staff – mga perstaymers halos pero nairaos din ng mahusay ang programa, salamat sa Diyos!

Emcee – na kwela, may drama at tatatlong pares pa! Makulay, ma-beauty at ma-three!

Usherettes – genki na naka-Filipiniana at nagtatakbo noong raffle.

Gawad-Kalinga Sibol (Felicity) – 23 noong 2009, 33 noong 2010 ang natulungan, sa ipinakitang suporta, binigay na donasyon ng taong itong, siguradong marami-raming bata pa ang masasagip at matutulungan, marami ang sisibol ng makulay at haharapin ang bukas na puno ng pag-asa.

Teary-eyed din si Ms Irene Kaneko, Chairman ng UTAWIT ExeCom, ng nag-encore si Mark dahil sa magandang kinalabasan ng programa sa kabila ng mga challenges sa pag-organize ng UTAWIT 2011.

ConGen Confiado at Madam Precie Confiado – Advisers ng UTAWIT, ngunit aalis na ng Japan for their next post. Kaya mula sa lahat ng bumubuo, sumusu-baybay at tumatangkilik ng UTAWIT, maraming, maraming salamat po! Hanggang sa muling pagkikita!


The Stars of Hope
UTAWIT 2011 Grand Finalists
by Stephanie Jones Jallorina

Maria Lourdes “Odette” Adachi
The Philippine Star

Not the Philippine daily newspaper but Odette is the Star who will stand to shine for the Philippines at all platforms, at all times. Her earning the title as the “Child Wonder” from the Grand Finals of the Showbiz with The Salvador’s proves her tremendously overwhelming singing vitae all throughout the entertaining years of her life. Her decision to work in Japan was strongly motivated by her desire to enhance her skills, to grow more professional in her field, and to achieve what her inspirations Marlene de la Pena and Charito have here in Japan. More than that, Odette shows dedication to her craft by self-imposing a two-hour vocalization everyday and avoiding drinking and smoking to keep her vocal chords well, a discipline that Filipinos can also religiously observe. With her piece, Kailangan Kita, Odette shall express the beautiful feeling of caring, loving and later on, returning to her love, among which is, the Philippines.

Janet “Net” Portugal
The Maternal Star

Net is the Star who was influenced by her mother to pursue her singing talent. Now that she is a mother herself as well, Net dreams of inspiring her own kids and the world by striving to become a famous singer like her idol, Whitney Houston. From her singing experiences at church, in a band, and some clubs, Net pushes her luck through UTAWIT to not only put Nagoya in Filipino-Japanese singing map, but to emphasize her maternal instinct, through her rendition of Isang Lahi, that above all, we are all one in the eyes of our Creator.

Christine “Cris” Sasaki
The Charity Star

Cris should have been named “Charity” instead, as she has quite devoted her life to it. But as they say, there is no accident in life; who knows, maybe her name “Cris” is her secret to easy success. Yes, Cris has only gained her singing experience in the last two years that she was invited to perform for family and friends in charity events. Thus, she is so happy and honored to become part of UTAWIT 2011 which for her is definitely a good training ground to hone her performing skills. Cris, a Filipina, is yet to render a Japanese song entitled, “Wasuremono” which is about a woman who does not know how to express her true feelings for the man she loves.

“Jasmin” Vasquez
The Imperial Star

From maternal, we introduce you to The Imperial Star that represent and pride on “three empires” with the entry of her name: Valera, Vasquez and Tanikawa. At such an early age though, Jasmin’s family broke up but she took it as a challenge and delt with it by unearthing her singing potentials. As early as 12 years old, Jasmin would hop from one church to another, joining choir groups, singing gospels, and playing the organ. Her wealthy experiences prepared her to Japan, where later on she found herself joining several singing contests, till she bagged the Regional Qualifying spot at Nagano. Her struggles are like raising single-handedly the three beautiful children she is with. It is a dream that continues; it never stops at one failure, or one championship, Patuloy ang Pangarap.

Takeshi “Take” Ashida
The Chemistry Star

Take is yes, the infamous, and the supposed third persona of the Japanese Pop and R & B duo, Chemistry, that won the Asayan audition, similar to American Idol series. The Chemistry must have some chemical reactions to him you can only imagine him singing while working at a gasoline stand in Hokkaido. Take hugely considered joining UTAWIT as a stepping stone to becoming the next icon like Kaname Kawabata of Chemistry. Take will sing for us Yubiwa, meaning “ring” to let every single ladies know that his biggest challenge in life is to find that someone special.

Melita “Milet” Gumatay
The Church Star (Utawit 2011 3rd Place Winner)

Not the Star Church of Walt Disney but Milet is the Star born in the church singing praises and worships. God revealed His gift of music to Milet through her classmates back in school. She would then fervently believe that she will receive whatever she will ask in intimate prayer. True enough, she was blessed even beyond that, her dream of becoming a professional singer came true when she landed here in Japan. It is not her own doing but it is the opportunities that find their way to her. It was her Japanese friends that informed her about UTAWIT but more than her personal ambition, she joins UTAWIT for the noble cause of bringing kids to school so that like her piece, Kahit Isang Saglit, she can show them her love.

Mark “Warren” de Luna
The Opera Star '(UTAWIT 2011 GRAND CHAMPION)

Warren looks like your typical boy next door, a young engineer from the Philippines who simply dream of sharing what he really loves which is singing and, coming to Japan to provide for his family. But lo and behold, Warren, whom he say of himself, can “sing a little bit of opera” competed lang naman in the 4th World Choir Games in Xiamen, China during college. He is now coming back with much humility through UTAWIT to regain his confidence in Solo Performance, and to become the person in his rendition of IKAW, a person who is grateful and faithful to his love, his love for music.

Emily “Ems” Takasu
A Star in Her Own Right

Ems is a self-proclaimed star. She was only six years old when she thought she can sing. Since then, she only has herself to count on in pursuing a dream that Filipinos are well-known of. She is a caregiver by profession but she would never stop imitating her favorite singers. Among them are Mariah Carey, Charice and Exile that, who knows, will eventually lead her to reap equal their riches and fame someday. While longing for that dream, let us hear her interpretation of a Japanese song, Aitakute Ima.

Bernadette “Berna” Okuno
The Star Records

Berna’s favorite song is, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers Anymore,” and her favorite singers are Celine Dion and Barbara Streisand. She has been singing most of her life that, eventually, she has become more and more professional. She is well-versed with the in and out of music, especially in recording that helped pave the way for her Inder production company to reach Japan. Berna may work on her dreams of having her own recording business one day but she will always pay tribute to her first love, music, with her intepretation of Mahal Kita.

Maria Cristina “Rhie” Mariveles
The Libra Star

Born in October, Rhie’s Libra sign indeed shows her competitiveness socially and intellectually. From joining UTAWIT since 2008, she is determined to win this year’s UTAWIT Grand Finals. She emphasized that she only has one thing to prove by joining UTAWIT again, and that is to let us all know how “a competitive singer” she is like her idols Misia and Sarah Geronimo. Will her birthday gift arrive a little late this year? Is Dreaming, a song about never giving up dreams, her winning piece? Well, let us all together be dazzled with her fighting spirit!

Keiko “Kei” Kuriyama
The TimeFlies Star

Kei is our only female Japanese contender this year, and TimeFlies is a vocal unit that she has started back in 2009. Her earliest UTA memories were singing to her grandparents during her childhood that always make the latter very happy. Since then she performs in club events and dances in street festivals and, time flies so fast that when she reached the age of 22, she considered being asked if she wanted to pursue her singing career as the turning point of her life. Tall, beautiful, and has a deeper voice, but Kei like her piece, Kiseki Wo Nozomu Nara (If You Wish For A Miracle), wishes to attract her listeners with her warmth and love.

Makoto “Mac-Mac” Inoue
The JaPinoy Star

Obviously half-bred as seen in his features, Mac-Mac is also raised in a musically-inclined family. Throughout his much younger days, he would be invited to sing in weddings, events and jam with local and international bands that visit the Philippines. Mac-Mac is close to idealistic youngster of this generation who is set to showcase UTAWIT as a medium for musical dreams to come true for both Filipinos and Japanese, or mixed. Mac-Mac will serenade us with the song Never Ever Say Goodbye, his way of saying that, whether as a professional singer, a recording artist or a composer, to music, he is here to stay.

Florence “Yeye” Liwanag
The Shining Star (UTAWIT 2011 2nd Place Winner)

If not once, twice, thrice still try because who knows you will get it the fourth time. And Yeye did! Truly, situations are sent when we need them. There is always a time and season for everything; provisions are always on time. From her last name “Liwanag,” Yeye’s star shines with her glistening light, at her own special moment. She is humble to say though that she only love singing that much and she only joined UTAWIT to have an experience but all along, she showed this determination to win everytime she loses. Will Lipad ng Pangarap be the source of light that will guide her to dreamland? Well, who knows, there’s this popularized Vanessa Williams single about the best is saved for last.

Jeepney Press 2011 November-December Issue Page 05

by Alma R. H. Reyes

“Windows work two ways,
mirrors one way.”
- by singer Jim Morrison

Jingle bells…jingle bells…as Christmas draws near, we cannot help but reflect on the events of the year—the good that came with the bad, the bad that came with the worse—and how we fit in every piece of it.

There was the huge flood in Brazil; the royal wedding of Prince William and Catherine; the death of Osama Bin Laden (or they say); the terrorist attack in Norway; the death of Amy Winehouse; the overthrow of Libyan leader Gaddaffi’s government; hurricanes in the U.S.; Nadeshiko Japan’s women’s world soccer cup; violent riots in the UK; the new Japan PM Noda; floods, typhoons, earthquakes everywhere; the devastating loss of Apple Co.’s Steve Jobs; and of course, for us in Japan, no one can deny the colossal effect of the big Tohoku Kanto earthquake and tsunami of March 11.

I sat one afternoon with some friends in Tokyo as we reminisced our personal accounts of that unforgettable day; of how one of us saw the Landmark Tower in Yokohama sway from left to right; of how another friend rushed in panic and tears from her 7th floor apartment down to the ground floor; of how for almost four weeks, we all slept (or not slept) in our day clothes, next to the 24-hour television or online computer that sent out earthquake alerts almost every ten minutes to the nostalgic “beep-beep…beep-beep” signal; and how, until today, many of us still keep our emergency bags by our front door, never knowing when they can be discarded away. At home, I have not put back the picture frames, ceramics, statuettes, and other trinkets on the console table, nor ceramic plates on the wall. Truly, after March 11, it feels like the “old” life is never to be seen again.

But, Christmas is a time to overcome misfortunes and miseries; it s a time for hope, they say. It is also a time to perform “neighborly” deeds, and in the Philippines, you cannot ignore your neighbors during Christmas time because everyone asks for a “pa-
masko!” So, I am reminded of a conversation I had with a Japanese friend who interestingly gave me fresh insights about Japanese neighbors and the amado that seems to be part of Japanese “neighborly” life.

Alam niyo ba ang “amado?” This is the window shutter, normally in steel, that you find encased to your large windows, especially that facing a veranda or a garden. It is raised up or pulled down in an accordion fashion, or sideways like a sliding door. Well, you may be surprised to learn how a single architectural structure as the amado could dictate the way Japanese neighbors behave towards you.

My friend happens to visit her mother every weekend, and says she is constantly harassed by her mother’s old-time neighbors when they find out when she is or is not around by the simple sound of the amado. When the mother is alone in the house, the amado is usually never pulled down. So, when my friend visits her mother, she raises the amado, and the next day, the neighbors would tell her, “Oh, you have come to visit your mother, heh.” When she doesn’t visit her mother for some time; and, therefore, leaves the amado up, on her next visit, the neighbors would say, “Oh, you haven’t visited your mother in a month.” When she is around, and comes home late at night, she shuts down the amado. The next morning, her neighbors would tell her, “Oh, you came home late last night, huh, past 11 p.m.” On some mornings, she would wake up late, and raise up the amado. Again, the neighbors would say, “Oh yesterday, you slept all morning, didn’t you?” My friend jokingly concluded, “Amada wa urusai.” (The window shutter is a nuisance.”) And, because of this, she has refrained from visiting her mother so often.

So now, you see how this amado can predict everything that goes on in your life! If you keep your amado shut all day, your neighbors can easily suspect you are out all day and night—either that, or something suspicious is happening inside your house! The amado makes such a huge noise that your neighbors can easily predict the time you wake up, sleep, leave the house, and return. The part of my friend’s story that amused me is when her other friend, also harassed by the amado (or the consequences of having one), was so irritated that she practically had it dismantled completely. Ha! Now, that was certainly being mad about the amado!

So, be careful! Unless you have a powerful device to move your amado in silent mode, how often you use it could actually either strengthen or strain your neighborly relations.

Have a “neighborly” Christmas!

The Gift of Pain
by Maria Carmelita Z. Kasuya

Gifts come in different sizes, some beautifully wrapped, others simply. Usually, gifts delight us because gifts make us feel we are remembered, we are loved. However, we focus ourselves with the gift and not the giver, nor the thought behind.

A gift of pain? Yes, God’s gift of pain. No matter how beautifully wrapped, pain in any form is something that we would not like to receive as a gift (return to sender if possible!). First, we do not know how to deal with it. Why God sent it is another thing we reckon with.
Pain is universal. It is an integral part of life. No one is spared from pain that could be physical, emotional, or spiritual. The natural reaction is to alleviate pain immediately. Rather than protesting about pain or sulking in misery, we can come to a place of acceptance and take the challenge. Instead of asking, “How can I get over it?” it would be best to see God’s perspective of pain and say, “What is the Lord trying to teach me?” The reality is that pain could be a blessing in disguise. If it comes from the Lord, it must be good. As always, Father knows best! He gave it and He will see us through. He loves us completely and wants only the best for us.

Pain draws us apart from worldly cares and brings us closer to God. God’s gift of pain could be His wake-up call to remind us that
(a) The body we are blessed with is the temple of the Holy Spirit and should be taken cared of.
(b) Life is short, life is a mystery – you never know what will happen tomorrow so why worry? Instead, live today to the fullest.
(c) While we are preparing for our final destination, we should be faithful to our respective call in life and do things with love. God does not demand success, only faithfulness.
Pain could be an instrument to journey back to our faith. God’s gift of pain sometimes put life on halt temporarily for us to be able to
(a) Reflect and get a better view of the direction that the Lord wants us to go.
(b) Pause from the daily routine, count the blessings and bask in God’s love.
(c) Forge the relationship with Him that is based on trust. He is a faithful God and will never abandon us. We are not alone in pain and suffering.

Welcome pain and suffering as God’s way of humbling us before Him so He may mold us. Experience is a very good teacher and the experience of God’s gift of pain
(a) Allows us to grow in virtue of faith and hope, patience and endurance, obedience and humility.
(b) Shapes us into the kind of person more pleasing to Him.
(c) Brings new meaning to our existence – living for others. In the process, experiencing God’s healing presence equips us so we may also be healers - wounded healers for those in pain.

Jesus understands what we are going through when we are in pain. He himself experienced pain and suffering on the cross for a purpose. So when the Lord sends a gift of pain to your doorstep, accept it and trust in the Lord’s wisdom. God’s gift of pain - He personally wrapped for you because He thinks you are special. You are loved.

Jeepney Press 2011 November-December Issue Page 06

ni Fr. Bob Zarate

CONFESSIONS of a Priest... Mga Angal ng Isang Pari Part 1

Ano na ba ang mga napagmumuni-muni ko these days? Marami. Pero in this issue (and the following issues of Jeepney Press), allow me to share by parts ang mga angal ko bilang isang pari dito sa Japan. Batu-bato sa langit... tamaan sana ang dapat tamaan!

1) Ang Pari, Ang Misa, Ang Sermon
Maraming beses na rin akong nasabihan ng “Father, ang ganda ng misa nyo!” o “Father, ang ganda-ganda ng sermon nyo!” Sa totoo lang, nakakataba ng puso. Iyang mga remarks na iyan ay nakakapagpa-affirm sa akin na tama pala ang desisyon kong magpari. Well... iyon ang akala ko... pero hindi pala! Yes, kahit sino man, kayang magsalita sa harap ng tao. Kahit sinong aktor kayang gawin yung ginagawa sa misa, kahit na hindi naman talaga totoong misa iyon. Naging pari ako dahil sa biyaya ng Diyos... at ang Diyos na rin mismo ang makapagsasabi at magbibigay ng patunay kung tama nga talaga ang desisyon kong maging pari. Yes, hindi ko na kailangan ang mga remarks na iyan. Hindi ko na kailangan pang sabihang maganda akong mag-sermon o mag-misa. Kung Diyos lang ang katapat, bakit pa ako papatol sa bola?

2) Father Entertainer?
“Ay Father, bakit si Father ANO sumayaw noong program namin? Bakit si Father ANO laging kumakanta sa mga karaoke parties namin?” Well, kumakanta at sumasayaw din naman ako. Naging choir member din naman ako, even in some special groups. At pagsayaw? Hindi naman ako break dancer, pero I have my sisters who can prove na maliit pa lang ako, good dancing partner ako nila at pati na rin sa seminaryo ay naging part ako ng dance group. I was also always a part of the stage plays we had in the seminary, on stage or backstage. Pero lipas na ako diyan. Nagpari ako hindi para magsayaw at kumanta. Hindi ako nagpari para maging entertainer. In some way, naiinis nga ako bakit inabot pa ako ng almost 10 years to realize it. Pari ako. I know what I have to do. At iyung iba, kahit kaya ko, ay hindi na kasama sa job description ko.

3) Ang Suot ni Father
Familiar ba kayo sa puting bagay na nasa front part ng kuwelyo ng pari? Ang tawag doon ay Roman Collar. Wala siya talagang spiritual na meaning, pero ang ibig sabihin lang ng Roman Collar ay palatandaan na PARI ang nagsusuot noon. Kalimitan, itim ang polo ng pari. Iyon kasi ang pinakamurang tela noong araw. Pero ngayon, ang itim ay simbolo na balewala na sa pari ang mundo, "namatay na siya sa kanyang sarili" at pag-aari lang siya ng Diyos. Ang itim na polo na may Roman Collar ay tinatawag na Clerical Shirt. Ang Clerical Shirt ay isang adaptation sa modern clothes mula sa totoong suot ng pari na itim na sutana. (Sa mga maiinit na bansa, puti ang sutana.) Let me just make it clear na hindi sinabi ng Simbahan na tanggalin na ng mga pari ang kanilang sutana at clerical shirts para maging "in" sila sa mundo. In fact, kahit ngayon, pwedeng-pwede at dapat pa ring suotin ito! After 11 years dito sa Japan bilang isang pari, nag-decide uli akong bumalik sa sutana at clerical shirt. Akala ko kasi dati, dapat "in" ako sa mundo kaya dapat hindi ako halatang pari. Akala ko kasi dati, pag naka-damit pari ako, lagi akong bibigyan ng special treatment... eh ayaw ko nga! Akala ko kasi dati, pag naka-casual ako, mas at ease daw ang mga Katoliko at kabataan sa paligid ko. After 11 years, na-realize kong hindi pala totoo ang lahat ng iyan! Ang pari ay never naging "in" sa mundo kasi pari na siya. At kahit na naka-casual ako, special treatment pa rin naman kung kakilala ko kasama ko, at sa Japan naman ay kahit nakapang-pari ka ay wala rin namang gagawa ng espesyal sa iyo. At para maging at ease ang tao sa iyo? Nasa personalidad at pananaw yan.

Nagugulat ako at sumasama rin ang loob ko kapag kapwa pari ko pa ang tatawa at lolokohin ako dahil naka Roman Collar o naka-sutana ako. Bakit? Natural lang bang pagtawanan ang isang kasal na tao dahil naka-wedding ring siya? Baliktad yata, di ba? Dapat ang pagtawanan ay yung taong hindi pinapakita ang identity nya sa iba! Palusot pa sila na "personal and silent witnessing" daw. Kalokohan! Once you become a priest, sorry na lang, you become public property... wala na yang mga silent-silent at personal na yan! Nagtataka ako kapag pinagsasabihan akong old-fashioned or "quaint" daw pag naka-sutana ako. Excuse me! If the original sutana was part of the "fashion" of those days, then, the sutana went beyond fashion trends at naging sign siya today of being a priest. In fact, ang nakakatawa dito, ang nagsasabing "old-fashioned" daw ako ay baduy mismo sa kanyang casual attire!

To summarize:
1) Si Hesus ang MAIN REASON ng lahat ng Misa. Kaya I have to prepare well for it and do it in a very solemn way.
2) Kung naging pari ako para lamang palakpakan, purihin, ipagyabang, gawing photo model ng lahat, pasayawin, pakantahin o pakainin ng bubog at manok na buhay, lalabas na lang ako sa pagkapari! Si Hesus ang BIDA sa pagkapari ko. Nobody else.
3) Marami nang mga Katoliko (karamihan ay Hapon ha!) ang nagsabi sa akin na mas komportable sila kung ang pari (at mga madre din daw!) ay suot nila ang nagpapakita sa kanilang identity.


by Marty Manalastas-Timbol

ALAM NYO BA…na dumating sa Japan si President Aquino? I think karamihan sa inyo alam na ito and lalo na for those who were able to attend the Filcom event with President Aquino. Si President Aquino during his trip sa Japan, he was able to go to Ishinomaki City, Miyagi Prefecture, a city damaged by the March 11 catastrophe. Dumalaw at nag offer ng flowers ang Presidente in front of Kadonowaki Elementary School building that was destroyed dahil sa tsunami at sunog caused by the Great Eastern earthquake. Maraming take home na promising investments by Japanese companies. Sana nga matuloy lahat ang mga investments na ito para na rin sa economy natin.

ALAM NYO BA…ilang tulog na lang at pasko na naman. Napakabilis talaga ng panahon. Saan kaya ang maganda na magpasko? Kailangan makaipon ng konti para sa mga regalo. Sometimes, you want to give all your loved ones and friends, pero dahil sa kulang sa budget, pati Christmas card hindi kayang bilhin sa dami ng dapat bigyan o padalhan. Mag-ipon na po tayo para sa mga may balak umuwi this Christmas or those who have plans to go to Europe, USA, etc. What is important, be healthy and enjoy the many blessings of God.

ALAM NYO BA…na marami ang nagbabalak umuwi sa Pilipinas this Christmas? Why? This is because of the ENDAKA (malakas ang yen). Imagine your Yen10, 000 now, the peso equivalent is about PhP5, 560. Umabot pa nga ang exchange rate to (Yen to Peso) .5640, that is your isang lapad is PhP5, 640. Ang lakas talaga ng Yen mga kababayan. Kaya yung mga nasa Japan who are Yen earners, saganang-sagana po kayo lalo’t may binabayaran na utang sa Pilipinas or may binabayaran na house and lot. So sa mga makakauwi this Christmas, sana’y magpatuloy na malakas ang Yen at siguradong sulit ang inyong biyahe dahil sa exchange rate.

ALAM NYO BA…na according to our travel agent, as early as end of August, halos fully booked na ang mga airlines going to the Philippines? Kahit na nadagdagan ng isa pang flight to the Philippines, which is the ANA flight, mahirap pa rin daw makakuha ng ticket this December and super mahal. Pero no matter how expensive yung pamasahe, mahirap naman makakuha ng flight. Pag pasko kasi, we, Filipinos here in Japan, mas prefer natin ang umuwi kasi, there is really no place like home, at super sarap ang mag spend ng Christmas sa Pilipinas kahit na mahal ang pamasahe at kahit na maikli lang ang bakasyon. But for some who got used to spending Christmas and New Year in Japan, and those who prefer a more peaceful celebration with less gastos, they prefer to stay. O ikaw my friend, my kababayan here in Japan, alin ang mas prefer mo this Christmas – go back home or stay in Japan? Whatever your decision, as long as kasama ang pamilya and happy kayo, OK na yon.

ALAM NYO BA…na kahit hindi Christmas, pwedeng mag-alay sa kapwa? Marami sa atin ang nangangailangan ng tulong, mapa-financial o spiritual and moral support. Kung kayo’y may extra budget or even an extra time, sana po make an effort to help lalo na for those who really need our help. Iba ang feeling pag nakakatulong ka sa kapwa. Kahit na maliit lang na bagay, as long as taos sa inyong kalooban at puso. Give love and share not only during Christmas, it makes a difference. So go my friend, share your blessings and God will do the rest.

Advanced Merry Christmas sa inyong lahat. Nawa’y maging maligaya ang inyong Pasko at pagsalubong sa bagong taon 2012.

“When you fall in any way, don't see the place where you fell instead see the place from where you slipped. Life is about correcting mistakes.”

Jeepney Press 2011 November-December Issue Page 07

Ni Renaliza Rogers


Gusto kong magsulat tungkol sa pasko dahil nalalapit na ito, pero marami nang magsusulat tungkol diyan at okay lang kung mababawasan ng isa. Kaya magsusulat na lang ako tungkol sa isang bagay na kinahuhumalingan ng marami ngayon, ang Facebook.

Halos lahat na yata ng taong naka-gamit ng computer ay mayroong Facebook page (alam ko isa ka na diyan). Kahit nga siguro mga taong walang kaalam-alam sa computer ay mayroon na ring “facebook” dahil ginawan ng kakilalang marunong sa computer (natamaan ka ba?). Kadalasan, lalo na sa mga kabataan, pag sinabi mong wala kang Facebook, asahan mong magugulat ang kausap mo na para bang sinabi mong isa kang alien.

Mainam itong Facebook para sa mga taong magkakalayo, tulad na lang ng mga nangingibang-bansa, para masubaybayan ang mga nangyayari sa mga mahal sa buhay. Titingin-tingin sa mga bagong pictures ni bunso sa eskwela, makilatis ang bagong boyfriend ni Ate kung mukhang adik ba o hindi, makita ang mga pics ni kuya na nag-iinuman nanaman kasama ang tropa, at kung anu-ano pa.

Ang Facebook ay may photos section kung saan pwede mong makita ang mga litrato ng isang tao. Merong magagandang picture, merong mga nakakatuwa at meron ding mga malalaswa. Inis na inis ako sa mga taong nagpopost ng mga picture nilang nakahubad o naka-panty at bra lang. Hindi dahil naiinggit lang ako pero dahil nagmumukha silang tanga. Susko naman, magbigay naman kayo ng kaunting class sa sarili ninyo. Okay lang kung nasa beach kayo’t naka bikini, pero yung nasa kwarto o banyo’t underwear lang ang suot at parang jejemon na trying hard na nagpopose habang pinipicturan ang sarili upang idisplay sa Facebook for public access…ay iba na yun. Ang mas masahol pa ay ang mga taong proud na proud pang nagdidisplay ng mga pictures ng mga anak o kapatid nilang maliliit habang kunwari’y nagyoyosi o naglalasing o di kaya’y nakahubad sa pag-aakalang ito’y nakakatuwa. Magmumukha ka lang ogag o di kaya’y pedophile sa mundo at pwede ka pang i-ban ng Facebook for indecency at inappropriateness!

Sa Facebook, pwede mo ring isulat ang kasalukuyang nararamdaman mo bilang “status” mo. Pwede ring mga lyrics ng kanta or quotes na napulot kung saan-saan, etc. Pero please lang, huwag mong ibalandra ang mga personal, pribado at maselang problema mo sa Facebook dahil nakakahiya. At please lang, huwag ding magmura na parang walang modo dahil ikaw rin ang lalabas na walang breeding, sige ka. Mas mabuti pang diretsahin mo na kung sino man ang may atraso sayo sa pamamagitan ng isang private message kung saan kayong dalawa lang ang makakabasa upang hindi kayo mapag-chismisan.

Sa Facebook pwede mo ring mahanap ang mga kabigan at kamag-anak na matagal mo nang hindi nakikita at makipag keep-in-touch sa kanila. Pero isang paalala, huwag mong “i-add as a friend” ang lahat, lalo na pag hindi mo naman kilala. Nagtataka ako kung bakit may mga taong merong libu-libong friends sa Facebook. Seriously, kilala mo ba lahat sila? Pwera na lang siguro kung isa kang public figure at marami kang fans. I’m sure kahit nga mga public figures merong mga private accounts kung saan mga malalapit na kaibigan at kamag-anak lang ang nakaka-alam. Mag-ingat sa pag-a-add ng friend sa Facebook dahil hindi mo alam, ang iba diyan ay mga spammer or scam artists na pwedeng i-hack ang Facebook account mo at huthutan ka ng limpak limpak na salapi! Minsan merong mga lokong kokopyahin ang picture mo at gagamitin bilang katatawanan sa internet ng hindi mo alam. Kaya’t value your privacy kahit papano.

Ang facebook ay useful din sa pagpapalaganap ng mahalagang impormasyon. Huwag ka nga lang magpapadala sa mga walang kwentang “Chain Mail” na mababasa mo na kesyo mamatay daw ang kapitbahay mo or mamalasin ka sa pag-ibig ng 10 years pag hindi mo ito nirepost. Seriously?! Nagpapaniwala ka dun?!

Sa Facebook, madali magkaroon ng hindi pagkakaunawaan. Patama ito sa mga magulang diyan na minsan ay masyadong siniseryoso ang nababasa sa “facebook” ng mga anak. Minsan magpapanic na kaagad dahil akala’y may kaaway ang anak dahil sa isinulat nitong “Langya ka! Hayup ka talaga tol!” Yun pala, nagbibiruan lang sila ng mga kaibigan niya. Minsan din akala’y may matinding problema na ang anak dahil sa status nitong, “I’m all out of love, I’m so lost without you...” Huminahon ka, nakikinig lang siya sa Air Supply. Diba, ma?

Oo, ang Facebook nga naman ay nakawiwili at isang convenient tool para sa pakikipag ugnayan sa mga mahal sa buhay at mga taong kakilala mo. Lagi mo lang tatandaan na magtira ng kaunting delicadeza sa sarili. Huwag mo ring hayaan na maging masyado ka nang dependent dito at maging pamalit na ito sa aktwal at personal na pakikihalubilo mo sa mga kaibigan at kapwa tao. Ika nga ni Bob Ong, “Ayokong masanay sa mga bagay na pwede namang wala sa buhay ko.”


The Common Denominator
By Arlene Dinglasan

Ms. A came to Japan during the bubble period as a singer. She mesmerized her now-husband with her golden voice, had 2 children who are now music-loving teenagers, and now goes out karaoke-ing with the family as a way of bonding and de-stressing. Having raised her kids in a Japanese-only environment to keep them away from bullying classmates, Ms. A only gets to taste Filipino food and speak Tagalog at the Philippine events she occasionally goes to on weekends.

Mr. B acquired his Mombushou scholarship and studied the best way to raise shrimps and crabs at a prestigious university in Tokyo where he has won lasting relationships with his fellow scholars from numerous other countries. Although he enjoys their company, when homesickness strikes, he dials a couple of friends’ numbers to splurge on adobo and pinakbet dinner in his dorm.

Mrs. C was a science teacher at a public high school in her hometown and is married to a car mechanic with whom she has 7 growing children. She opted to come to Japan as a domestic helper to support her growing family’s needs. “Ma’am”, as she calls her employer, yells at her on a daily basis for reasons such as the baby crying loudly while Ma’am is doing yoga, or the broccoli being a shade too green, or the attic having a dusty corner. At times when she misses being called “Ma’am” instead of addressing it to somebody else who has a lower educational attainment than hers, she would settle for a Skype chat with a former student she once ran into in church.

Dr. D was a pediatrician before he came to Japan in search of a greener pasture. He now is the driver for an ambassador and has brought his wife and children to Tokyo to live with him. On weekends, he drives his whole family to rehearsals where they all find pleasure in developing the family’s common interest in Philippine theater. He sees this as a way of providing his family with opportunities to make friends from his home country, as well as to instill Philippine culture and values to his children and for him and his wife to nourish friendships they have come to rely on, especially when the going gets rough.

Aside from being in Japan, what do Ms. A, Mr. B, Mrs. C and Dr. D have in common? The need for friends and friendships…the longing for the security that they have names to call anytime whatever kind of need strikes…the thirsty yearning for connection with other human beings who not only speak the language of their minds (i.e., Japanese), but also the language of their hearts that they used back home…the craving not only for familiar food but more importantly for familiar faces and voices with whom they build deep relationships…the chance, no matter how limited, to alleviate homesickness…and sometimes having at least one soul with whom to share their hopeful thinking that the yen they are privileged to send home is enough of a substitute for the hugs that their own children need as a dose of affection but cannot have.

Friends. Friendship. The common denominator that you and I need wherever we may be: in our own little hometown, but more intensely in a country so foreign that it leaves us feeling that we are drowning and helplessly ferreting for a life jacket. Friends.

(*All characters and situations in this commentary are fictional and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental.)

Jeepney Press 2011 November-December Issue Page 08

A Cup of Coffee
by Richard Diaz Alorro

10 Things I Love About Japan

The year 2011 marks the 6th anniversary of my arrival in Japan. I set foot on Japanese soil, for the very first time, on October 2, 2005. Ang bilis ng panahon! Six years have already passed - swift and sweet! The land of the rising sun has been very generous to me and has influenced me in many ways. My six years in Japan has given me the opportunity to improve my craft, to learn and experience different cultures, and to know more of my being a Filipino. Sa pagtatapos ng taong 2011, I feel that it is just fitting to pay tribute to the country which nestled me and continues to nurture and amaze me with endless opportunities and with great and bizarre things.

Living in Japan is an opportunity. Mapapalad tayong naririto ngayon sa bansang Hapon for having the chance to experience its beauty, culture, shadows, and mystery. For some of us who have stayed for more than 10 or 20 years, Japan is more than just a second home. Sa tagal ng pamamalagi natin sa bansang ito, we have learned to embrace the many facets of Japanese contrasts and hues.

Anong mga bagay o katangian ng bansang Hapon ang iyong hinahangaan at pinapahalagahan? Kung tatanungin ka kaibigan, ano ang iyong magiging sagot? Let me enumerate my answers. These will be the things that I’ll miss when the time for me to leave this second home comes.

1. Customer service
I have been to many countries around the world (for various purposes) but no one has surpassed yet the Japanese level of customer service. Be it in government offices, in restaurants, in train stations, in supermarkets, or in hospitals, the Japanese people never failed to deliver the best customer service in the world. Japan’s showcase of customer service best exemplifies the phrase “customer satisfaction.” Kahit minsan ang mga ngiti at welcome ay superficial lamang, laging tinatandaan ng mga Hapon na ang customer service ay hindi lamang isang duty to fulfill but a responsibility and commitment they have to live with.

2. Internet
Japan has the world's fastest Internet connections, delivering more data at a lower cost than anywhere else, ayon sa mga pag-aaral na ginawa. Sinasabi rin na ang bilis ng Internet sa Japan ay 8-30 times faster than the US. Most hotels in Japan provide internet connections (cable or wireless) in every room for free! Hindi katulad sa mga hotels in Australia or Canada where you have to pay for internet connection ($10-20/day). Kahit sa airports, McDonalds o Starbucks, may mga internet spots and connections for free. It’s easy to get wired and connected in Japan!

3. Convenient stores and vending machines
Almost every corner of Japan’s geographic periphery has convenient stores or vending machines selling various beverages, food and daily necessities. Sa loob man o labas ng buildings, sa mga parks, mountain resorts, beaches o kahit farms ay may makikita kang vending machine o convenient stores. And the catch, most of these “convenis” are open 24 hours kaya laking tulong sa mga nocturnals at mga late homecomers. Accessibility and convenience at its best talaga!

4. Onsen
Ang pagpasok sa onsen for the very first time is one of the most awkward moments ko sa Japan. But as time went by and after several attempts, I have learned to embrace and love the Japanese way of bathing and relaxation. Hindi lamang pampatanggal stress at pangparelax ang onsen, ito ay isang paraan din ng family or friend bonding. For me, there is more to onsen than just bathing and relaxing. Onsen symbolizes the shedding off of our inhibitions and breaking barriers. Sabi nga ng mga Hapon, ang onsen daw ay isang form of “naked communion” where you get to know people in a very homey atmosphere.

5. Food
Sushi, sashimi, tempura, ramen, sukiyaki, udon, soba, onigiri, and the list goes on. Japanese food is one of the world’s famous and distinct culinary creations. Saan mang panig sa mundo, kilalang-kilala ang Japanese food. Known for their healthy diet and long life, the Japanese people really value the quality of their food more than other things. Where to taste the best Japanese food in the world? Of course, in Japan!

6. Trains
Japan has one of the best public transportation systems in the world. Megacities like Tokyo and Osaka may have very complex train systems but they serve millions of commuters everyday very efficiently. Kilala din ang mga trains ng Japan sa pagiging on time, mabilis, at malinis (not to mention the amenities such as toilets and smoking area). No wonder, among other things, a car is not that much of a necessity in Japan, especially sa mga major cities. Tara, biyahe tayo!

7. Airports
Airports are considered windows of the country and serve as the country’s portal of culture and hospitality. Mahalaga na ang airport ay malinis, maayos (lalo na sa immigration section), may disiplina ang mga staff, at maraming options for relaxing, dining, or entertainment, at may convenient means of transportation to the city center. Most of Japan’s airport hubs are among the best in the world providing travelers with comfort and style in a very Japanese way.

8. Green Tea
If European countries have wine, Japan has green tea. The Japanese tea, especially green tea or matcha, is a symbol of Japan’s love for nature, balance and harmony. Isang importanteng bahagi ng Japanese diet ang pag-inom ng tea. Mara-ming magagandang naidudulot sa ating kalusugan and pag-inom ng green tea. Ito ay mabisang anti-oxidant at anti-carcinogen.

9. Free Facial Tissues
Considered as one of the major forms of advertisement, the giving away of free facial tissues is something very Japanese. A stroll around train stations or shopping areas will never be complete without packs of facial tissues to receive. Minsan nga sinasadya talagang dumaan sa harap ng namimigay para siguradong mabigyan ng isang pakete. This pack of facial tissue is a great rescue in times when I forget to bring handkerchief or face towel. Sometimes collecting them for fun until you realize you already have bundles enough to last for a month would be a nice experience!

10. Food packaging and presentation
And finally, I will always be amazed by how a very simple snack or dessert would look so appetizing, attractive, and expensive by just the way it is packed or presented. Japan has mastered the art of food packaging and presentation to add value to its pastries and other culinary delights. Maliban sa napakagandang balot, napakada-ling buksan din ang mga pagkain at pasalubong na gawang Hapon. I sometimes wonder how our more delicious Filipino kakanin, desserts, and pastries would appeal if presented in a very nice package. Certainly, looks can deceive!

Hanggang sa susunod na issue mga kababayan! Isang banal at maligayang pasko at mapayapang bagong taon para sa lahat!


Isang Barya Lang Po!
Sa pagkukuwento ni Alex Milan


Unti-unti na tayong nakakaipon sa pamamagitan ng isang barya kada pasada ng Jeepney Press. Ang ‘barya’ natin ngayon ay patungkol sa ‘Capturing Your Future Now!’ If financial stability is what we are aiming for, now is the time to capture it, and then nurture it over time.

Capturing something requires deliberate preparation, action and patience. If you want to achieve financial stability, you need to learn four basic things.

1. Capture Your Future by dreaming
The Holy Bible says, ‘When there is no vision, the people will perish.’ When we stop dreaming, we stop progressing. In today’s world, we cannot afford to stop progressing, otherwise we soon become irrelevant or extinct! Sapagkat ang mga pangarap ang nagbibigay kulay, nagbibigay-sigla, nagdadala sa atin sa higit na magandang kasalukuyan.

No matter what is our current situation or our past failures, we should not let go dreaming. Kahit ano pa ang nawala o sino pa ang naglaho sa buhay mo, dapat tuloy pa rin ang pangarap. Dahil habang may buhay, may pag-asa, kaya hindi tayo dapat tumigil sa paggawa ng panibagong pangarap. Kailangan ‘keep on dreaming’ para you can ‘try and try until you succeed!’

This is the first step in capturing your future - never stop dreaming.

2. Capture Your Future by systematic planning
If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail. Kung gusto nating ma-achieve ang minimithi nating financial stability, we have to follow a systematic plan. Kung pupunta ka ng Quiapo at manggagaling ka sa Caloocan, dapat alam mo kung saan ka sasakay o dadaan upang makarating ka ng Quiapo ng mas mabilis. In our financial planning towards stability, we have to develop the habit of savings. Form the habit first, bago ang lahat. Once you have developed the habit, start saving for liquidity. Cash is king, as we are always told. You need to have enough cash to meet your daily needs and your emergencies. Ito po ang una nating pag-iipunan – personal liquidity. Our suggestion is build an emergency fund in cash of equivalent to six months of your monthly budget. Idagdag na nating itabi ang isang buwang suweldo as our operating fund para hindi natin laging inaabangan ang dating suweldo bago tayo makapamili ng pangangailangan natin. Kapag na-achieve mo ito, you are on your way in capturing your future now. Hindi ka na isang kahig, isang tuka, ‘di ba! Kapag tinanong ka, ‘may cash ka?’, ang sagot mo ay isang simpleng ngiti at mapagpa-kumbabang, ‘Mayroon naman’.

Pagkatapos saka tayo puwedeng mag-save for short-term investment. Short-term investments are those investments which can immediately produce additional benefits for you in a short while. Ito yung makakatulong para magkaroon ka ng additional income or those assets that can reduce your regular expenses. Halimbawa, imbes na nagbabayad ka ng renta sa iyong tirahan, kumuha ka ng property na yung rentang ibinabayad mo ay paghulog mo na sa amortization ng iyong bahay. Huwag munang magarbong tirahan, yun munang abot-kaya ng iyong budget para hindi mabawasan ang puwede mo pang ma-ipon. Mag-ingat sa sales talk na magbubuyo sa atin na bumuli ng higit sa kaya nating i-sustain sa darating na mga panahon.

Then, save for legacy or para sa mga pamana mo. Kailangan ang magulang may pamana sa mga anak. Hindi yung utang ang naiiwan sa mga mahal sa buhay. Ang sakit na nga ng kalooban dahil naiwan mo na sila, naging pabigat pa ang iyong pagpanaw dahil ang iniwan mong pamana ay ang iyong mga utang.

Kung legacy o inheritance ang iyong iiwanan, mag-ipon ka ng pambili ng lupa. At dahil para sa iyong future generation naman yan, bumili ka ng murang lupain na balang araw ay tataas din ang valor nito. At kung papalarin, baka ma-develop yung lugar na yon, e, di doble-doble ang magiging halaga nito para sa iyong mga anak at apo!

3. Capture Your Future by protecting yourself
Ang pinakamahalagang asset natin ay ang ating sarili. Health is wealth so we must take care of our body for the sake of our dreams; for the sake of our loved ones. However, we do not know our life span. We also can not anticipate accidents, calamities and sicknesses. So, to capture our future now we must have protection through insurance.

We are being practical by covering ourselves with insurance such as life insurance, personal accident insurance, medical insurance, even memorial plans. When we protect ourselves, we are actually protecting our dependents. It is our responsibility to ensure that our loved ones will not suffer financially when something untimely or accidentally happen to us.

4. Capture Your Future by managing your limited resources
We can capture our future by exercising proper stewardship of our limited resources. Let us adopt the saying, ‘kapag maliit ang kumot, magtiis na mamaluktot’. Live within our means. This requires discipline and humility. It pays to be humble and simple. Mahalaga na hindi butas ang ating lalagyan upang makaipon tayo. We can postpone luxuries for the time being. The earlier we start building our savings, the earlier we can enjoy luxuries in life. There is time for everything and everything has a season. Teach our young the value of stewardship and you will never regret it.
5. Capture Your Future by trusting God
The most important decision one can make is to secure his eternal destiny. When Christ cried out on the cross, ‘It is finished!’, He declared that anyone can actually have eternal life if he believes on what Christ did on the cross – settling the penalty of sins; and by trusting Him as our saviour, we can have eternal life. Your eternity is captured and secured if you have Christ in you regardless of who you are and what you have done. Just come. Just as you are.

Salamat po. Hanggang sa susunod na ‘Isang barya, hatid ay saya!’

Jeepney Press 2011 November-December Issue Page 09

by Mylene Miyata

Passport! Pasko ko!

Christmas is in the air! Opo, ayan na! Parating na ang kapaskuhan. Wow! Bilis naman talaga, sobra! Sino kaya sa mga kababayan natin dito ang mas pinipiling magdiwang ng "White Christmas" sa Japan kumpara sa Pinas? Anyone?!

Ano nga ba ang mga reasons kung bakit minsan ay hindi natin maiwasang lumipad pauwi kahit pa man doble o triple ang presyo nitong mahiwagang airfare na ito?

Saang anggulo nga ba nagkatalo ang ihip ng hangin pagsapit ng pinakaaabangang simoy nitong hangin ng kapaskuhan dito at doon sa atin? Sa amoy ba ng nilulutong puto bungbong at bibingka sa bawat kantong madaanan natin?

Halimbawa sa:

1.) Palamuti? Dito sa Japan, grabe! State of the art ang illuminations here, there and everywhere. Pambihirang street lights na talaga namang nagsisipagkinang ng todo. Sa Pinas, ayun! Parol! Ayos!

2.) Christmas Songs? Dito? Dapat romantic... Kadalasan kasi itong special gift-giving event for young couples eh! Kaya naman pa-romantikohan ang mood settings madalas. At pagdating sa regalo: mas expensive, mas sosyal! Sa subdivision doon sa amin, ayun! Padagundungan ang labanan ng sounds. Mas malakas, mas in! Yeah!

3.) Simbang gabi? Naku! Teka, hindi gaanong uso dito sa Japan yun, di ba? Hindi kasi masyadong laganap ang Christianity dito. So, kung gusto man nating buuin ang "simbang gabi" para matupad ang dasal nating "hiling"--- eh, medyo, むり yata... unless, yung church mo may ganong special offering.

4.) Handa?! Handaan ba kamo?! Next topic, please! Wala akong masyadong maisip eh... Uhmm...dito... Cake? Crabs? Sushi? Buffet? Wine served in a hotel where we checked in? Orange juice for the kid, of course. Sa atin naman sa Pinas? "Too many to mention!" Hahaha... Kayo? Ano ba madalas ang nakahilera sa hapagkainan ninyo sa atin? Basta, alam ko, si Nanay sobrang pagod kakahalo ng halaya sa malaking "kawa." Paborito naming magkakapatid yun! Kaya, salitan kaming maghalo. At habang nilalagyan ng palaman yung "relyenong bangus" ni Tatay, nagpaparingas naman si Bingbeng sa garahe ng ihawan nito. Naku! Teka, sisilipin ko muna yung " lechong paksiw"... Halos pakumpleto na din yung labing dalawang uri ng bilog na prutas na nakagawiang kolektahin ni Nanay bago dumating ang bagong taon. Nasa gitna ng mesa dapat yun.

5.) May nangaroling na ba sa inyo dito sa Japan? Sa atin kasi, kapag wala kaming handang barya sa gabi, "Thank you, thank you, Ang babarat ninyo!" ang sigaw ng mga bata sa amin eh! Tsk! Tsk! Tsk! Gabi-gabihin ba naman kami?! Ilan ba kapitbahay nyo? Friends?! Relatives?! Naku! Exchange gifts?! Monito-Monita... Food?! Yun! Ready na ba kayo?! Na tumaba at maubusan ng budget this coming Yuletide season?! Nakapag- "divi" na ba kayo?!

Nasaan na ba yang passport ko na yan?!
:-)) "HAPPY HOLIDAYS po sa Ating Lahat!"


Isang Araw sa Ating Buhay
ni Jeff Plantilla

Isang grupo ng mga Pilipinong taga-Nara at Shiga (kasama ang dalawang SFIC Sisters) ay nag-pilgrimage noong 9 Oktubre 2011 sa Kyoto para mag-aral at magdasal para sa mga Katolikong namatay sa krus 500 daang taon na ang lumipas.

Sa Kyoto nagmula ang pagpapahirap sa mga tinatawag na 26 Nagasaki Martyrs. 20 sa kanila ay mga Hapon (3 bata na may gulang na 12-14 taon, at mga binatilyo at matatanda na may karpentero, taga-gawa ng espada, taga-gawa ng pana, taga-gawa ng telang silk, 2 doktor, parmasyotiko, at mga laypersons ng simbahan). Kasama nila ang anim na mga dayuhan (6 na misyonero). Hinuli, pinarusahan at pinalakad ng mga 800 kilometro mula Kyoto hanggang Nagasaki ang 26 martyrs bago sila itinali sa krus at namatay. Nangyari ito nung 5 Pebrero 1597 sa Nishizaka Hill sa Nagasaki.

May kinalaman sa Pilipinas ang 26 Nagasaki Martyrs dahil ang 4 sa dayuhang misyonero ay unang naka-assign sa Pilipinas bago pumunta sa Japan. May iba pang pangyayari sa simbahan sa Japan na may kaugnayan sa Pilipinas. Si Ukon Takayama, isang kilalang Lord ng Takatsuki, ay napilitang umalis ng Japan noong 1614 dahil sa pagbabawal sa Katolisismo at tumuloy sa Maynila. Doon na rin siya namatay pagkalipas nang mahigit na isang buwan. Umalis naman sa Pilipinas si Lorenzo Ruiz papuntang Japan nung 10 June 1636, at makalipas ang isang taon siya ay hinuli at namatay sa torture sa Japan dahil din sa kanyang pananampa-lataya.

Ang 26 Nagasaki Martyrs ay na-beatified nung 1627, at naging mga santo nung 1862.
Mahigit sa 30,000 na ang mga Katoliko sa Kyoto at mga katabing prefectures nuong 1613. Nguni’t ng mga panahong yon itinuring ng Japan ang Espanya bilang kalaban at kaya pinagbintangan ang mga dayuhang misyonero bilang espiya ng kaharian ng Espanya. Ipinagbawal ang paniniwala kay Kristo ng mahigit 200 taon. Sa panahong yon, maraming mga Katoliko ang mamamatay bilang mga martir, pahihirapan, o kaya ay magtatago ng kanilang pananampa-lataya.

Nagpatuloy ang pananampalataya ang mga Hapon bilang “Hidden Christians” kahit walang tulong ng simbahan. Noong 1873 lamang inalis ang pagbabawal sa paniniwala kay Kristo sa Japan.

Sa misa na nagtatapos sa pilgrimage sa Kyoto Christianity Cultural Center (Francisco no Ie) sa Kyoto (ang lugar ng unang ospital sa Kyoto na itinayo ng mga pari nung 16th century), sinabi ni Franciscan priest, Fr. Lucas Horstink, na ang mga Pilipino ay mga misyonero din. At hindi katulad noong una na bawal ang maging Kristiyano, ngayon ay malaya nang makakapagpahayag ng pananampalataya sa Japan. Kaya’t dapat ding maging malaya ang mga Pilipino sa kanilang pagpapahayag ng pananampalataya. Marami pa ring mga Pilipino ang nakakaranas ng hirap sa pamumuhay sa Japan. At ilan sa mga Pilipino ang tumutulong na malutas ang mga problemang ito. Sila ang mga tunay na bagong “misyonero” na sinasabi ni Fr. Lucas, katulad ito ng pagtulong ng mga dayuhang misyonero sa mga mahihirap at may sakit na Japanese 500 daang taon na ang nakaraan. Isa sa mga dayuhang “misyonero” sa kasalukuyang panahon ay si Amelia (Mely) Kohno. Mahigit na 30 taong ang kanyang boluntaryong paglilingkod sa kapwa-Pilipino sa Kyoto at iba pang lugar. Nabawian siya ng buhay ng umaga ng 9 October 2011 pagkatapos ng maraming taong pakikipaglaban sa cancer.

Kung tutuusin, natapos ang pilgrimage sa pagbibigay ng sayonara sa kanya sa gabi ng 9 October 2011. Isinabuhay ni Ate Mely ang kanyang pananampalataya. Pinagsikapan niya sa mahabang panahon na patuloy ang pagtulong ng simbahan sa Kyoto sa mga problema ng mga Pilipino. Pumanaw siyang masaya at maraming nagawa. Siya ang nagdugtong sa istorya ng mga martyrs noong unang panahon sa mga “misyonero” ng kasalukuyan. Nilagyan din niya nang mas malaking kahulugan ang pilgirimage na ginawa nung 9 October 2011.


Doc Gino’s Pisngi Ng Langit

Pamamawis ng kili-kili (Underarm wetness)
Tanong: Dear Doc, tulungan nyo naman poh aq sobra poh kc mamawis ang kilikili q, eh nag deodorant naman poh araw-araw..anu poh nid q gwen dok,,,,anu poh ba dapat na gmot d2 bukod sa tawas at deodorant...plis poh help me naman 2 my problem...

Doc Gino (DG): Kung nagawa mo na ang sa tingin mo ay iyong makakaya tulad ng paggamit ng iba't ibang “deodorant,” uri ng tela ng damit, atbp, ilan sa mga pwedeng gawin ay ang mga sumusunod. Tandaan lamang na may mangangailangan ng operasyon, at ineksiyon sa mahal na halaga. Isang eksperto sa balat o “dermatologist,” at siruhano o “surgeon” ang maaaring makagawa ng mga “procedures” na ito.

Ang mga maaring gawin ay:

Iontophoresis: Sa ganitong paraan, kinukuryente ng maliliit na boltahe ang kili-kili upang ang balat ay kumapal at mabawasan ang pagpapawis. Hindi ito ginagawa sa may sakit sa puso, buntis at nagpapapsuso, at may epilepsy.

Botox injection: Marahil ay narinig mo na ito. Hindi kaagad nararamdaman ang epekto kapag ginawa ito. Dalawa hanggang apat na araw bago makita ang epekto nito. Maaaring ulitin ang “procedure” na ito makaraan ang apat na buwan sapagka't maaaring magpawis muli ang kili-kili.

Operasyon: Ito ang pinakuhiling maaaring gawin kung lahat ng mga nabanggit ay hindi naging mabisa. Ang mga ugat na duma-daloy sa kili-kili ay iniipit o pinuputol. Dahil operasyon ito, hindi malayong mangyari ang mga komplikasyon tulad ng pagdurugo at pagsakit ng leeg. Ang ibang bahagi ng katawan naman ang magiging pawisin ng todo dala ng operasyon na ito.

Kaya inuulit ko, magpakonsulta sa isang “dermatologist” o “surgeon” upang makapagdesisyon ka ng mabuti.

Jeepney Press 2011 November-December Issue Page 10

Ang Paglalaba ng Pera
by Isabelita Manalastas -Watanabe

Bakit natin nilalabhan ang isang bagay? Diba dahil ito ay madumi? Ganito rin po ang ginagawa sa maduming pera - "nilalabhan." Sa wikang Ingles, "Money Laundering."

Bakit napaka-istrikto ng mga banko at mga non-bank remittance companies kapag gusto ninyong mag-remit ng pera? Bakit kailangang kuhanan kayo ng proper identification document? Isang dahilan ang pag-avoid ng money laundering. Kaya kapag malaki-laki ang perang gusto ninyong i-remit, kahit may isinumite na kayong tamang identification document, kukulitin pa rin kayo kung saan galing ang inyong pera, ano ang paggagamitan sa inyong perang ire-remit at iba pa.

Money is "laundered" to conceal all types of criminal activity, including people smuggling, drug trafficking, and these account for the majority of "dirty" money in the world. Needless to say, money laundering is driven by criminal activities and the need to conceal the true source of its funds. It becomes necessary when the amount of cash is so large that the criminal cannot absorb it into his or her lifestyle by spending it.

Countering money laundering is considered a most useful tool in the fight against organized crime. Whether intentionally or unintentionally, money transaction companies may sometimes play a supportive role in money laundering. Kaya sobra talaga ka-istrikto sila kapag malaki at malimit ang pag-re-remit ng pera.

Iba't ibang Paraan ng Pag-launder ng Pera

1. Asset Purchase with Bulk Cash
This involves individual purchases of big items such as cars, boats and real estate. Karamihan, ginagamit ng mga money launderers itong mga biniling mga assets na ito, pero ayaw nilang i-rehistro ang mga ito sa kanilang pangalan. Ipinapangalan ang mga ito sa kamag-anak, or kaya'y sa kaibigan. Iyong iba naman, ibinebenta ulit ang mga binili para magmukhang legitimate ang source ng pera.

2. Currency Smuggling
This involves funds moved across borders to disguise their source and ownership and to avoid being subject to the record-keeping requirements. Funds are smuggled in various ways (such as concealing the funds in personal items or shipping containers either by mail, courier, and/or by vehicle, ship, or aircraft) often to countries with strict bank secrecy laws. Kasi kapag may strict banking secrecy laws ang isang bansa at doon successfully naitago sa banko nila ang pera, hindi mabubulgar sino ang talagang may ari ng pera.

Mayroon namang ang destinasyon ng pera ay isang bansang napaka-lax naman ng anti-money laundering laws. Noong nasa Italy pa ako naka-assign, nadinig ko na maraming mga suspected money launderers ang literally crossing the borders of countries by car, at doon sa kotse nila itinatago ang cash, papunta sa ibang bansa sa Europa na hindi masyadong istrikto ang anti-money laundering laws, para i-remit ang pera.

3. Exchange Transactions
Using proceeds of crime to buy foreign currency that can then be transferred to offshore bank accounts anywhere in the world.

4. Gambling in Casinos
Isang paraan ang pagpunta sa mga casino ng may dalang malaking cash, tapos bibili ng gambling chips. Tapos kunwari magsusugal ng kaunti, tapos pupunta na sa cashier ng casino, para ipagpalit ulit sa cash ang mga hawak na chips.

5. Friends and Family
Gagamitin ang pangalan ng mga kaibigan o kamag-anak, para sila kunwari ang gagawa ng financial transaction, tulad ng money remittance. Karamihan ng mga ginagamit na kamag-anak o mga kaibigan ay may magandang katayuan sa komunidad, para hindi sila mag-attract ng atensiyon or suspetsa. The use of nominees facilitates the concealment of the source and ownership of the funds involved.

6. Refining
Ito po ay ang paraan ng pagpapalit ng maliliit na bills, para palitan ng big bills. Pupunta sa iba't ibang banko, casino o kaya'y mga money exchange companies para magpalit ng big bills. Siyempre, kapag maliliit ang bills, masyado iyang makapal o bulky at mas mahirap itago.

7. Reverse Flip
Ang money launderer ay hahanap ng kasabwat na property seller na ibebenta ang property ng higit na mababa sa tunay na halaga, tapos ibibigay ang difference sa under-the-table. Tapos, maghihintay ng kaunting panahon itong bumili na money launderer, bago ibebenta ulit ang property sa tunay na halaga. Lalabas na kunwari nagka-kwarta siya dahil sa tinubo sa kanyang pagbebenta.

8. Structuring
Ito po ang pag-be-break ng isang malaking transaksiyon into several small transactions para ma-evade ang maximum na halaga na dapat i-remit. Pupunta ang money launderer sa ilang mga remittance companies at mag-re-remit sa bawa't isa para hindi sila mahuling ang laki pala ng total na perang ipinadala.

9. Smurfing
When many inconspicuous individuals deposit cash, purchase money transfers, or buy bank drafts at various financial institutions. The cash is subsequently transferred to a central account or beneficiary. Ang tawag po dito sa mga taong ito ay "smurfs." Hindi sila nag-a-attract ng atensiyon dahil nga pinapalitaw nilang maliliit lang at below the maximum amount allowed ang kanilang mga transaksiyon.

Dapat po tayong maging alert na hindi tayo unwittingly magamit ng mga money launderers sa kanilang illegal na activities. Ang perang na-launder ay pwede rin pong magamit sa terrorist funding, kaya ganoon na lang ngayon ka-istrikto karamihan ng mga iba't ibang bansa sa pagbabantay ng money laundering.

Sa ating mga kababayan na nag-re-remit ng pera: pagpasensiyahan nyo na po at sana'y inyong intindihin ang pagiging makulit ng mga banko sa bansang Hapon, at saka ng mga iba't ibang remittance companies, kapag kayo ay gustong mag-remit ng pera. Sila po ay sumusunod lang sa napaka-istriktong anti-money laundering laws at saka anti-terrorist funding dito sa bansang Hapon.


By Farah Trofeo-Ishizawa

Where did all the days go? Time has literally flown so fast, don’t you think so? December 2011 will be here soon. Before we know it, we will welcome another year.

It is getting cooler each day, and I hope that all of you are ready for the winter season. This goes especially to all of you who just got here in Japan.

Winter is a beautiful time to dress up. Women put on their boots, wear their coats, scarves, and other winter wear. Just be careful not to slip when it snows. “Wha-foise ! :D
(my French version for – “wa-poise). ”

Winter is also the time when many English teachers are off from school. School or no school, still all of us should continue to work on improving our teaching skills. I see winter as a good time for this.

One of the things we can do during winter is to attend seminars that will help build confidence and teach us more creative stuff for our classrooms.

I am aware of three groups that constantly create workshops for the Filipino English teachers. They are: FETJ (Filipino English Teachers in Japan), CoFFET (Community of Friendly Filipino English Teachers) and the group “Mabuhay Classroom.”

There is actually an organization called – ETJ (English Teachers in Japan), and it does not limit its membership to only Filipinos. I would like to introduce someone from ETJ who is very close to many Filipino English teachers here in Japan. Each “cut” is divided according to my questions and the answers of the person I am about to introduce.

Meet Mr. David Paul, popularly known as “Paul Sensei” to many Filipino teachers. He is the founder of group ETJ, English Teachers in Japan. He is referred to as DP here as follows:

First Cut
F: Please tell me a short background of ETJ? Why did you form this group?
DP: I started ETJ about ten years ago because I thought English teachers in Japan needed a free grass-roots association that was appropriate for the busy classroom teacher. I also thought it was important to have an association that encouraged the sharing of many different opinions and ideas, and supported the professional development of teachers.

Second Cut
F: What is the present ratio of members in terms of nationality in ETJ? How can you compare it to the previous years?
New members of ETJ are not asked to say their nationality. About 60% of the members are Japanese, a bit over 5% are Filipino, and most of the rest are British, American, Canadian, Australian or New Zealanders. The percentage of Filipino and Japanese teachers is increasing.

Third Cut
F: Do you have a comment about the influx of Filipino English Teachers in Japan?
I think the influx of Filipino English teachers is having a very positive effect. It is certainly making events for teachers more dynamic.

Fourth Cut
F: What can you say about the Filipino English Teachers?
Many Filipino teachers seem very keen to learn. Recently, the percentage of Filipino teachers at ETJ events has been very high. So many Filipino teachers seem so motivated to develop professionally, and this is very encouraging.

Fifth Cut
F: Do you think everyone who goes to the seminars and lectures are qualified to be teachers?
To be qualified to be a teacher is a combination of training and experience. Going to workshops is a very important part of this, but it is not the only thing that is important. It is also necessary to learn by trial and error, to be observed by experienced teachers, and to take training courses.

Sixth Cut
F: What do you think is the future of the Filipino English teachers here in Japan?
I think Filipino teachers have a very positive future in Japan, especially teaching children.

Seventh Cut
F: What advice can you give Filipino teachers?
I think the best advice I can give is to keep trying to develop your teaching ability. This is true for experienced teachers as well as for new teachers. A good teacher is always learning. Another bit of advice is to learn how to teach in a child-centered way.

Thank you, Mr. David Paul.

Let us all work for the future of the Filipino English teachers in Japan.

Teachers: remember to plan your lessons well, do your best. Teach well, and be happy at all times. Mabuhay tayong lahat ! May you have a Blessed Holiday Season !

Jeepney Press 2011 November-December Issue Page 13

by Dr. Miriam Sun-Arenas


Marinduque is geographically located right in the heart of the Philippines where we can find the island paradise of a beautiful rock which is the Italian meaning of… Bellarocca which happens to be the name of a world class resort in Buenavista, Marinduque… Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa.

By itself, Marinduque is famous for the Moriones Festival celebrated every Lenten Season which depicts the passion and death of Christ. It is mostly portrayed in a colorful play wherein the central character is Longinus, a blind Roman centurion who regained his sight miraculously and converted to Christianity thereon.

Besides the Moriones Festival, Marinduque is also known as the budding Butterfly capital of the Philippines, wherein a butterfly farm is seen at Gasan. Likewise, several caves, famous of which, the Bathala Cave is found in Sta. Cruz. Moreover, in Boac, 17th century Spanish Cathedrals are found. In Torrijos, are found the famous white sand beaches. Buenavista is famous for the Hot Springs wherein its sulfuric waters come from Mt. Malindig, Marinduque’s highest peak which is also a dormant volcano.

The name Marinduque came from a close variation of Mt. Malindig, meaning tall and elegant stature. With the laid-back atmosphere of this province, is the excitement of discovering its unspoilt beaches, underwater coral reefs and adventure treks which stand proud among the country’s best tourist spots.

To get to Marinduque, you can drive your own car and the RORO boat can bring you to the island. You can also take a three-hour bus ride from Cubao via Jac Liner to Dalahican Port in Lucena City then a three-hour boat ride to Balanacan or Cawit Port. Or you can take the plane, Zest Air now has 4 regular flights a week. The more privileged can go direct via private helicopters, chartered flights or even on-board exclusive yachts to arrive at the island resort of Bellarocca, all 20 hectares of mountainous terrain.

Guests of Bellarocca are welcomed at the airport at Gasan with cold towels and chilled bottles of water to soothe the heat of the sun, before the pick-up van departs for a 40-minute land transfer to the town of Lipata, Buenavista. From there, guests are transferred via speedboat for an exhilarating 5-minute ride to the scenic island resort of Bellarocca.

While on the speedboat, Bellarocca is seen as a rising island above the cerulean blue waters of the Sibuyan Sea, its architectural inspiration coming from the Greek island of Santorini. With its immaculately white Mediterranean stucco structures and arches seen against the green landscape of the island and the clear blue sky offers guests a breathta-king view of nature.
Upon arrival at the hotel lobby, guests are welcomed by a group called mamumutong who performed an improvised traditional Putong ceremony, Marinduque’s unique way of honoring guests.

Bellarocca boasts of 70 exclusive hotel rooms, terrazas and villas each with balconies and verandas looking out to the sea and the majestic Mt. Malindig. Guests enjoy outdoor aqua sports activities like jet ski, water skiing, wind surfing, kayaking, and snorkeling. Moreover, a 9-hole golf course at the foot of Mt. Malindig, is available for the enthusiast. For relaxation, a grand spa at the Hillside Spa Treatment offers state-of-the-art in body massage. A seaside Infinity Pool and a hotel lap pool offers guests swimming activities. Indoor activities like billiards, board games, internet games are available at the Entertainment Room. Home-theater viewing of DVDs inside the hotel rooms can be done and reading books are available in the Library.

The whole perspective of rest and relaxation amidst the serenity and luxury of a world class resort is what beckons guests to seek Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa. Whether it be a romantic honeymoon, an island getaway, wedding destination, a family vacation or a corporate affair, Bellarocca will offer a customized unforgettable experience as it is manned by highly competent staff headed by a Swiss general manager, Mr. Rudolf Studer. The genuine politeness and hospitality of the rest of the staff will make the trip extra special.

Jeepney Press 2011 November-DecemberIssue Page 17

by Neriza Sarmiento

Way past my deadline... and listening to a “Gift of Songs” given to me as a gift by Dennis Sun in 2006 where he wrote on the cover the following:

“The journey in life may not be easy... The farther you go, the more exciting it becomes. And as we clear the way, we encounter the most amazing gifts that we didn't know were there.”

“This Is The Moment“ is the first in the compilation of songs... ”This is the moment when all I live for becomes one!”

Oh yes! Perhaps the sweetest moment of my life is the wedding of my son, Charlie and his wife, Tomoko. It is one moment that has all the familiar and unfamiliar, the simplicity and elegance, the sweetness and the sadness rolled into one.
In one part of the ceremony, the bride’s mother and I were called to give a piece of the wedding cake to them. Tomoko's mother scooped the strawberry topping and gently gave it to her while she shed a tear of joy. I found out later that it is her favorite because it was also the topping of a cake she had at her grandmother's house as a child. She cried because it brought back those memories and that her grandmother came to the wedding inspite of her illness.
It is said that memories of certain food linger and accummulate in our minds. Studies have shown that our likes and dislikes for food are associated with pleasant or unpleasant memories.

Perhaps no other dish can replace adobo in the hearts and palate of any Pinoy. Adobo is the connection to our beloved Philippines, that in moments of homesickness, we desperately try to follow Lola, Mama or Ate's original Adobo.
My own children like adobo not only for its savory taste but because of a particular family incident. My mother-in-law did not like the pungent odor around the house and said something bad about it. My second son did not like the comment and said to her right away that it was his mom's national dish and if he has to choose between that and natto, he will of course choose adobo. Since then, adobo has been the comfort food in our home that has gone all through our lives keeping the harmony in the family amidst cultural differences.

Comfort food is a term coined for dishes that give us solace and temporary release from stress in our daily life. Even geniuses like the late national artist for theater, Rolando Tinio would rush to the famous Adriatico Restaurant in Manila during his troubled moments for his favorite "spare ribs adobo."
If there is anyone in Japan who can always make us feel the "joys and pleasures" of home-cooked kitchen delights, then there will be no one else but Ms. LORLY CRUZ, administrative Officer of the DOT, Osaka.
Last July, students from the Department of Philippine Studies attended a Tourism Seminar in their office. After Ms. Araceli Soriano's welcome remarks, adobo was served together with daing na bangus, sinigang, pancit, ,guinataan and halu-halo which were all single handedly cooked by Lorly. For her, cooking for even a hundred people is usually a piece if cake.

When she first arrived in Japan, she missed the fiestas and family celebrations so she thought about promoting Philippine tourism through gourmet experiences on special occasions like Christmas and other events. For some years now, she has cooked Tapsilog breakfast for the Filipino Community during Flag raising ceremonies at the Philcongen in Osaka. On several occasions, we were asked to demonstrate Philippine cooking to community centers, women's groups, companies and schools all over Kansai. The responses of participants were enough to make us proud of our exotic cuisine, especially the humble yet irresistable adobo.

Two years ago we started to join the Gourmet and Jazz Festival in Takatsuki. Families with small children queued to buy turron, pancit sotanghon and arroz caldo. The TIA staff headed by Mr. Yanone, Mr. Nishiyama, Belinda, Ms. Fujita, Sally Yamamoto, Cora and many more were on hand to assist Lorly as she wrapped hundreds of turron. Olson provided music on stage including a rendition of the song, Anak.
Autumn being the best season to enjoy seasonal food, Philippine Airlines and the Department of Tourism co-sponsored a Philippine Food Fair from Sept. 24 -Oct 2. Two chefs from Via Mare Restaurant were flown in by PAL: Mr. Radito Dimatera and Mr. Benjamin Zabala. The mood was festive, typically Pinoy Fiesta style complete with a halu-halo station and all kinds of native cakes like sapin-sapin, pichi-pichi and turrones de saba. My co-workers Mr. Imashioya, Mr. Ito, Ms. Yamamoto and Ms. Ozaki could not resist the crispy lechon kawali. A cooking expert, Ms. Tamako Sakamoto wrote in the Daily Yomiuri some years ago about her amazement with lechon and adobo on her visit to the Philippines 25 years ago. The sour and savory braised chicken has become their favorite recipe gave them appetite on hot and humid days here! Osaka Hilton's Food and Beverage Manager, Mr. Guenael Le Berre and FB Group Leader, Mr. Jason Wu were very attentive to the guests at the Food Fair. Jason, who speaks 6 languages and is very familiar with Filipino cuisine mentions adobo as his favorite! That same week a Philippine Business Mission Seminar was held in the same hotel with Mr. Benito Bong Bengzon, Assistant Secretary for International Tourism and Mr. Salazar, PAL country manager, heading the delegation. It was indeed a hectic week for the DOT staff as Ms. Araceli Soriano, Tourism Attaché and Lorly and Kyoko-San shuttling from Osaka to Fukuoka to promote Philippine
tourism believing that the surest way to a tourist’s heart is a journey through his tummy!!!

Year after year, Christmas after Christmas, there is always some kind of an aroma that reminds me of the good old days in the Philippines. I miss my father's embutido and my mother’s arroz valenciana. On New Year's eve, along side the osechi ryori and toshi-koshi soba, I always put adobo at the center of our dinner table as a reminder of how this somehow pungent and savory dish taught me to appreciate life's sour and sweet moments and to be proud of our Pinoy roots.
Alas, and as I finish the last issue of the year, just to remind you all that food has to be enjoyed and appreciated and take care not to over-indulge!!!

And to all you "kindred hearts," let me end by sharing again to you what Dennis wrote:
“May your journey lead you to a better place, where you will understand and learn more about yourself. May your journey lead you to a place where JOY BECOMES A PERMANENT RESIDENT IN YOUR LIFE!!!”

Jeepney Press 2011 November-December Issue Page 18

by Rey Ian Corpuz

A Chance to Ghibli Museum

For those who are anime fans out there, this next column is for you. If you know Totoro, Ponyo, Castle in the Sky, and Spirited Away, then this place is exactly for you.

Before coming to Japan, I knew only one of Miyazaki, Hayao’s animation. Totoro was probably the only memory I have. Upon arriving here in Japan, one of my utmost goals is to enter this fortress-like museum. Why do you think it’s fortress-like? It’s because you have to book at least a month in advance before you can get inside the museum. And the ticket and time-slot where you bought can only be used once and can’t be rebooked either.

So what can you see inside the museum? Upon disembarking off Mitaka Station at Tokyo’s Chuo-Line, you can take the Ghibli Museum-painted-bound bus, which will take you directly to the museum gates. Upon arriving, you would be shocked to notice that the museum doesn’t look like one. It seemed like it resembled more that of an old European house or castle of some sort. In one of the far areas of the outer museum, while waiting for the time to enter, a display of the cartoon character Totoro is displayed. This is one of the two characters only allowed for picture taking.

When inside the museum, picture taking is prohibited. So the fun stops. No more pose for us trigger-happy individuals. So what can you see inside? The different electronic and mechanical displays used in the creation of the cartoons. A display of “stop-animation” can be seen and the display also explains its concept. But, sad to say, it’s only written in Japanese. On the different floors, you can see a lot of the original scripts and drawing used in the creation of the animation. The recent one I saw was the bundle of papers piled used for the animation Ponyo. Different merchandise is also sold in the third floor of the museum. On the rooftop, a huge replica of the gigantic robot from “The Castle in the Sky” is displayed. This is the only second character allowed for photography.

Indeed, out short two-hour visit to the museum was filled with ecstasy and filled with satisfaction, as this difficult-to-enter museum has been visited by us.


Kapatiran sa Japan
ni Loleng Ramos

Sa mga kagaya ko na matagal na ring hindi nakakauwi ng Pilipinas, nakakasabik di ba? Dito sa Japan, meron na akong pamilya, mahal ko na rin ang bansang ito at ang mga tao pero palagi ko pa ding inaasam na maka-uwi. Medyo mahirap nga kase nag-aaral ang mga anak, hindi tugma ang oras saka ang mahal na ng pamasahe. Pero parang tinatawag niya ako palagi, syempre naman Inang Bayan eh.

Miss ko na ang mahal kong Pilipinas! Paano ba maipapakita ang pagmamahal sa kanya? Una sa lahat, huwag natin sisiraan ang Pilipinas. Kesyo magulo, mahirap ang buhay, walang asenso…Nasa tao iyan! Magpa-alalahanan tayo na ang Pilipinas, ang bayan natin, may tungkulin tayo sa kanya, sa ating mga pangarap dapat kasama siya. Kung ang tadhana natin ay sa isang banyagang bayan, huwag sana natin siyang kalilimutan. Ano ba ang pangarap mo para sa Bayang Hinirang? Kung magtutulungan lang sana ang lahat para sa bayan at para sa bawat isa, sigurado, lahat ng suliranin ng lipunan, ng buong bayan, malulutas agad! Dito sa Japan, magkababayan pa din tayo, meron bang nag-aaway dyan? Nandadaya? Nag-iingitan? Nag-sisiraan? Naku, iyan ang mga ugat ng gulo, ng pagka-watak-watak ng ating bayan, ng isang pangit na buhay. Tama na nga iyan!

Pwede din tayong magpaka-bayani. Sabi nga “ we can sanctify ourselves through the things we do.” Paano iyon? Lahat ng gawain mo sa iyong buhay, pagbutihin mo. Kahit sa pagliligo, naghihilod ka bang mabuti? Bukod sa kalinisan sa katawan, sa marami pang bagay katulad ng paghawak ng mabuti sa ating trabaho. Maliwanag man o madilim ang lugar na pinagta-trabahuhan natin, kita pa din sa Taas. Masama lang ang trabaho kung dudumihan natin o kung pasasamain natin. Kung igagalang natin ang ating sarili, igagalang din tayo ng iba. Sa paligid mo, malinis ka ba? Maayos? Sa kapwa mo, dumadamay ka ba? Di ba kapag malayo sa bansa ang magkaka-patid, dapat nagtitinginan pa din? Minsan nagiging masama ang isang tao kase walang kumakalinga sa kanya. Huwag mo gagayahin si Kain (unang anak ni Eba at Adan). Noong tanungin siya ng Diyos kung nasaan ang kapatid niyang si Abel, ang sagot niya ay, ‘Ako ba ang tagakupkop ng kapatid ko?’ Lahat tayo ay anak ng Diyos Ama kaya lahat tayo ay magkakapatid, may responsibilidad sa bawat isa. Sa halip na sabihin mong “Wala akong paki sa iyo, sino ka ba?” dapat ang tugon ay, “Sagot kita”! Basta walang abusuhan hah!

Ang ating bayan ay isang Archipelago – parang isang rosaryo na binuo ng maraming isla, 7,107 na hinati sa tatlong bahagi, Luzon, Visayas, Minda-nao. Meron tayong humigit-kumulang na 171 na lenguwahe, ilan dyan ang alam mo? Kung mahusay ka sa kahit isa, at alam mong Pilipino ka, “Isang Wika, Isang Diwa” pa din at ang rosaryong ito ay hindi mapapapatid.

Gayahin natin ang mga bayani, huwag naman panay artista na lang ang idolo. Katulad ni Gat Jose Rizal, dakila at napaka-galing. Dalawampung lenguwahe ang alam. Kaya mo iyon? Kahit ano kaya natin, sikap at tiyaga lang! Mag-aral pa tayo ng iba, ng kahit anong makakapag-paunlad sa ating buhay, at sa ating bayan. Pagbuburda, Gantsilyo, Pinta, Paglilok, Pagtuturo, Agham, ang daming pwede! Malay mo, makapag-tatag ka ng kalakalan kapag naka-ipon ka na ng pang-puhunan o makapag-tatag ng institusyon ng pananaliksik, paaralan ng sining…walang imposible. Ang saya siguro ni Nanay Pinas!

Kapatid, kung gagalingan natin ang pagka- Pilipino… gagaling din ang ating bayan, umpisahan na natin? Magtulungan tayo!


Shoganai: Gaijin Life
By Abie Principe

Kapag Malamig Ang Panahon

Dito sa Japan, madalas ipinagmamalaki ng mga Hapon and kanilang 4 seasons. Yung iba nga nagkakamali pang sabihin na Japan lang ang merong 4 seasons. Malamang ang mga taong ito ay hindi pa nakakapunta sa Amerika o Europa. Kawawa naman sila.

Pero ang punto ng sulatin ko ngayon ay ang lamig na nararamdaman tuwing sumasapit ang winter. At siyempre, kasama nito ang paghihintay ng snow, at paghahanda sa darating na Pasko.

Sa Nagoya, hindi gaano kadalas ang mag-snow. Once or twice tuwing winter. Pero kahit minsan lang, nagkakaroon pa rin ng White December ang Nagoya, na kung saan lahat ay natatabunan ng snow, at nag-mumukhang Winter Wonderland ang paligid, kahit sandali lang. Sinabi ko na White December (meron ding White January), pero hindi White Christmas. Kasi sa tagal kong nakatira ng Nagoya, hindi ko pa naabutan ang mag-snow ng December 24-25. Minsan nag-snow, pero sandali lang, at hindi naging puti ang kapaligiran. Ang naranasan ko lang na White Christmas ay sa Nagano. E sa Nagano naman, basta pumasok na ang winter, sa araw-araw na ginawa ng Diyos ay puro yelo. Hindi special ang snow sa kanila. Pero sa Nagoya, appreciated ang snow.

Hindi nga maiiwasan ang harapin ang malamig na temperature at ang minsang pagbagsak ng snow kapag nakatira sa Aichi Prefecture. Ang una kong experience sa snow ay dito sa Nagoya, kaya ang una ko ring natutunang mga paraan sa tuwing darating ang tag-lamig, ay dito ko rin natutunan, sa mga taga-Nagoya.

Isa sa nakakatuwang bagay na ginagawa ng mga tao dito, pati na rin sa buong Japan, maliban siguro sa Okinawa, ay ang pag-tulog sa ilalim ng “kotatsu.” Ang kotatsu ay isang mababang mesa na merong heater. May kasama itong blanket at tuwing winter, maraming Hapon ang guma-gamit nito, bilang table at pagkatapos sa ilalim matutulog. Karamihan ng mga Hapon ay mas gusto ang kotatsu kaysa gamitin ang room heater. Tipid daw at mas kimochi-ii daw ang kotatsu. Medyo hindi ako sumsangayon dito. Gusto ko pa rin ang room heater, at para kasing pusa ang tingin ko sa mga mahilg mag-kotatsu. Pero marami nang mga Pilipino ang natutuwa sa kotatsu. Kanya-kanyang preferences lang naman.

Isa pa sa ginagamit ng mga tao dito tuwing winter ay ang “kairo,” isang chemical-heating pad. Parang maliit na unan ito, na pag binuksan ang wrapping i-init for a few hours. Linalagay ito sa bulsa, or hinahawakan habang naglalakad sa daan. Yung iba linagay ito sa loob ng damit, one layer away from the body, para mainit ang pakiramdam kahit hindi gaano makapal ang kasuotan. Natutuwa rin ako sa kairo, bagama’t hindi ako gumagamit nito. May takot ako sa mga chemically induced heat.

Sa Pilipinas, September 1 pa lang Christmas songs na ang maririnig sa mga malls, pero dito sa Japan, hihintayin pa matapos ang November bago makakita ng mga Christmas decorations. Normal naman ito sa buong mundo. Tayong mga Pilipino lang naman ang talagang napaka-tagal mag celebrate ng Pasko. Ito ang isa sa nami-miss ko mula ng tumira ako ng Japan. Hay, shoganai…

Nakakatuwa at nakakagulat ang mag Pasko dito sa Japan. Nakakatuwa dahil parang totoong-totoo na Christmas kapag nakaranas ng snow, feeling ko nga nasa loob ako ng isang Hallmark Card. Pero nakakagulat din, dahil dito hindi espesyal na araw ang Pasko. Sa eskuwelahan ko nga, kapag weekday pumatak ang December 25, may pasok.

Pero malamang nagkaka-isa tayong mga Pilipino sa pag-iisip na talagang mas masaya ang mag-Pasko sa Pilipinas. Pero, para sa mga hindi makakauwi, masaya na rin dito sa Japan, lalo na at makakasama ang pamilya at mga kaibigan dito sa Japan. Hindi man katulad ng selebrasyon sa Pilipinas, basta’t ma-aalala natin ang kaarawan ng Panginoon, at mag- bibigayan tayo ng pagmamahal at aruga sa kapwa, buo na rin ang ating Pasko.

Maligayang Pasko sa ating Lahat!