Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Richard Diaz Alorro


September-October 2013

It’s already the 3rd quarter of the year! Parang kailan lang tayo nag-celebrate para salubungin ang 2013, patapos na naman ang taon. Naway naging mainam at makabuluhan ang nagdaang mga buwan ng 2013 para sa inyo. There are still a few months more for us to work on our goals and make our 2013 worthwhile. Ganbarimashou!

This year has been a very significant and memorable year for me, so far. This year of the snake has posted another turning point in my personal and professional life. Year 2013 will be a witness to the birth of my first child, marking my debut as a father. My son will be born in November. Ang taong ito ay magiging saksi din sa isang malaking pagbabago sa aking buhay at ng aking pamilya, and that is the big move to another country. 

A very good opportunity has knocked on my door recently. I applied and fortunately was offered a continuing position in a university in Australia. I accepted the job and decided to leave the country that served as my 2nd home for almost 8 years. Ang desisyon na lisanin ang Japan at ang maraming bagay na naging parte na ng aking buhay ay isang mabigat at mahirap na desisyon. There are many things I needed to sacrifice with this move. Maraming mga bagay ang aking mami-miss at hahanap-hanapin pag-alis namin. Marahil habang binabasa ninyo ang article na ito, I and my family already bid goodbye to the Land of the Rising Sun.

More than the food and the culinary delights, or the famous Japanese electronic goods, there are many things invisible to the eye that I will surely miss about Japan. Japanese foods and electronic goods are ubiquitous. Kahit saang panig ng mundo ay may mabibili tayong pagkaing Hapon. Japanese electronic products have very strong global presence and are accessible to those who need or want them. I will surely miss Japan beyond the many material things associated with her, the excellent customer service, the discipline and order worthy to emulate, the safety and convenience that equates to comfort and a way of life, and above all the Japanese modesty.

Having been in Japan for almost 8 years has exposed me to this trait typical to most Asians. But nothing beats the Japanese level of modesty. Maaaring ma-associate natin ang kaugaliang ito sa lack of self-confidence o pagkamahiyain but for me it’s a different degree of sensitivity. Some Japanese (at least the ones I have had the pleasure to deal with) find it hard to say their honest opinion on something, tulad na lang sa pagkain, dahil ayaw nilang masaktan ang damdamin ng iba. They are sometimes hesitant to voice out their straightforward assessment of someone’s work to protect his or her feelings. Kahit ang pagtanggi sa isang paanyaya o di pagsang-ayon sa isang idea ay isang malaking effort para sa mga Hapon at nais nilang ipakita o ipaalam ito in the most subtle way. 

Ang kaugaliang ito ay salungat sa mga nakasa-nayan ng mga Americans, Australians o Europeans. Westerners are more frank and very vocal about what they feel. They tend to be more truthful and transpa-rent about their opinions which may sometimes offend those who are not used to such kind of approach. Maaring tayong mga Pinoy ay exposed sa ganitong kaugalian because of our strong associations with the Western World. Pero marami sa atin ang hindi handa sa mga frank confrontations o mga truthful and constructive criticisms. Parang national issue sa atin kapag may mga dayuhang nagsabi ng hindi maganda laban sa atin o sa ating bansa, kahit na minsan kung ating ipagtanto ay may katotohanan naman. Siguro hindi din tayo handa, in a state of denial, o sadyang tayo ay balat-sibuyas lamang? Aaminin ko, sa palagay ko, ako rin ay hindi handa sa mga ganitong pagkakataon. Ito ang isa sa maraming bagay na dapat kong paghandaan at pagsikapang matutunan. Ikaw kababayan, handa ka ba?

Life in the Land Down Under will be a different life. As a new family, we will strive hard to build a home in a land very foreign to us. I have been to most Australian cities many times and had a glimpse of the Australians’ way of life. But this time will be different. We have to assimilate, we have to learn, we have to peel off some of our Japanese skin, we have to adapt and accept that our journey with Japan is over. It will be hard at first. There will be a lot of sacrifices. There will be instances of comparing the two countries. There will be many realizations. But that’s life. The only thing that is permanent is change. And I feel that this change is best for my family. In the end, what’s important is we are together as one family. Wherever I may be, as long as I am with them, I will be home.

Maraming salamat, Japan. You have been very good to me. I owe you a great deal. I may have left your sweet bosom, but I promise I will visit you again someday. I will be very proud to introduce you to my children and let them know that sometime in their father’s life, I was cuddled by you. I will never forget you. Sayonara.

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