Saturday, May 17, 2014

Neriza Sarmiento Saito


with Yosuke Shohara

May-June 2014

I traveled again during the short spring break to attend my youngest sister's wedding! After the usual end-of-term exams, grades and graduation ceremonies, I packed my suitcase in a hurry. 

The day before I left, it was the graduation ceremony of the 2014 graduates of the Philippine Studies'
Department of Osaka University in Minoo. One of those who graduated was Yosuke Shohara. Sho-chan was very 
popular among students and teachers of the Uenomiya Taishi Gakuen, where he was the leader of the student council. His vibrant personality and cool disposition can easily make anyone feel at ease, even to the point of entertaining everyone, a natural actor!

After 2 years in the university, he decided to study for a year at the University of the Philippines while taking extra lessons in Filipino at a private language school.

With some help and advice from his "sempai," Ms. Kyoko Kimura, of the Department of Tourism in Osaka, he soon befriended other Filipinos like Ms. Noemi Itsukage and sister Cathy and their staff at Evolve Missha Philippines.
His circle of friends expanded as he traveled to other parts of the Philippines. He was also in-charge of the "Japanese Night" at U.P. 
A few times, he was hospitalized, but he continued and finished his one-year term. His family came to visit him once and instead of being overly worried about him, his mother encouraged him to go on with his dream. 
His love for the Philippines and the deep gratitude he has for those who looked after him in the Philippines were the greatest motivations for him to finish his course. After writing his thesis in Filipino on "Street Advertisements and Signs in the Philippines," he finally graduated this year. His advisers were Prof. Masanao Oue and Dr. Galileo Zafra. 

As a young boy, Yosuke started to travel in many parts of Japan. During his high school days, he went on a school trip to Germany. So when he decided to enroll at a course in UP, he was not only looking forward to improving his language skills but also to 
travel to many unknown destinations in the country. He went as far north to Baguio, Banaue, the Ilocos to the central region of the Visayas in Bohol, Cebu, etc. and to Palawan and as far south in Mindanao. Anywhere he went, he did not fear anything. All he knew was that traveling to many parts of the Philippines and knowing more about the Filipinos way of adding sparks in their lives inspite of the tough times, have given him courage to overcome his illness. 
"Gustung-gusto ko talaga ang mga Pilipino! Kahit mahirap ang buhay ng iba, lagi nilang sinasabing: Walang problema." 

From April this year, Yosuke will work in one of the major banks in Japan, where he will probably be adding more zest into the lives of his co-workers and people he will encounter, a kind of zest only the Filipinos can deliver!!! 

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