Friday, July 18, 2014

Jeepney Press July - August 2014

Jeepney Press July - August 2014

COVER
by Dennis Sun
www.dennissun.net



CENTERFOLD

Meeting Maiko

by Elena Sakai


Maiko was born of a Filipino mother and Japanese father, and mostly grew up in Saitama prefecture. Because of her exotic physical appearance and her pierced ears, Maiko Nakamura had a hard time “blending in” at school here in Japan. However, she found her own place in music, and naturally, she became a professional singer. Maiko, once a lonely girl with no friends, is now a star with so many fans, especially teenage girls supporting her. 




Do you speak Tagalog?
I know some words, and somehow understand when I hear someone speaking to me, but I’m not so sure with the grammar. 

So you are half Filipino?
Actually, I’m a quarter. My mother is half Filipino and half Spanish. If you take a look at my mother’s photo, you’ll see that we really look alike. If she were still alive, she’d be around 50 years old. Actually, the reason I started singing was because of my mother. She was a very good singer. Filipinos are good at singing, right? So was my mother. 

Can you tell us about your mother?
She used to sing in a choir and took auditions to be on television, too. However, when she found out that she couldn’t realize her dream, she went to college and became a nurse. 
 
So, when I started singing when I was still in junior high school, she became a “stage mama.” I took my first audition for Avex when I was 13. 

How was that audition?
It was pretty good, for a first-timer. I went up to the Kanto region block. At first, my father was against the idea of me becoming a professional singer. He heard stories from my mother about the show business in the Philippines, and he wanted to protect me. I told my father how serious I was, and promised that I would succeed. And so I gave it my best, and my father finally said, “If there is even 1% in succeeding, then go for it.” So, that’s how it all started.

How did your parents meet?
My mother wanted to work as a nurse here in Japan, but the nurse license in the Philippines was not effective here in Japan, so she came to Japan as an entertainer with her sisters and worked in an omise. That’s where my parents met. 
Nowadays, Filipino nurses can come to Japan to work, but it wasn’t like that back then. But still, she had to support her family. 



Your father is pure Japanese? Does he speak English or Tagalog?
My father only speaks Japanese. My mother studied Japanese while she was in Japan, so that’s how they were able to communicate. But eventually, my father learned some Tagalog words, too. It was a mixture of Tagalog and English, but basically, they spoke in Japanese.

What kind of music did your mother listen to?
She liked music that was popular in the Philippines at the time - Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston and The Carpenters. She liked ABBA, too. I used to listen to the music my mother liked, and every day, I would sing. I didn’t have friends. They bullied me because I was half Filipino. 

Did you have a complex about being half Filipino?
I had my ears pierced, and had always wore a pair of heart-shaped earrings. My skin was much darker back then, I had big eyes and my hair was curly. Obviously, I stood out, so the kids didn’t like it. Because of my appearances, I was not very good at socializing, or doing something in public.

How did you overcome that?
I needed to make my own place. The bullying became worse when I entered junior high school. It was really bad. I couldn’t even tell my parents about it, and I didn’t have anyone to talk to at school. I needed something to keep me hanging on, and so I decided to make “singing” my advantage, and without telling any of my classmates, I would succeed. 

So you’ve never sung in front of anyone until you took the audition when you were 13. Were you nervous?
Yes. I was very nervous. I was frustrated because I could have done better. You practice so many times for the audition, and when you’re there, you can’t even achieve 10 percent of what you really can. 

How did you practice after that?
I practiced with my mother. The first thing I would do after waking up was to wash my mouth and sing right away. My mother would play a CD for me, and I’d sing along to it. I really owe it to her. I’m sure that if she were alive now, she’d be my manager. 

What kind of music did you like listening to?
I liked Japanese music, since I grew up in Japan, but I like the singers who are really good, like Utada Hikaru. Of course, I listened to idle music, like Morning Musume, and I sing their songs in karaoke with my friends, but the music I really like are the songs of the “good singers.” Now, the singer I like best is Katy Perry. I like the way she performs. When I was a child, I loved Michael Jackson. In high school, I liked Black Eyed Peas, because there is a Filipino in the group. I gradually became interested in Filipino artists, too, like Charice Pempengco. Actually, we are relatives. 

Really??
Yes. Her father’s house is just across my mother’s house in San Pedro. We’re not close relatives, and I’ve never met her, but I heard we are related. I only found out 2 years ago, when I went back to the Philippines. My and her father were very close. I was told that the village was excited to have 2 singers (Charice and myself) from the place. 

How did you make your debut?
I made my debut when I was 17. There was a Japanese hip-hop group called the “LG yankees,” and they were looking for a vocal. I took the audition and I passed. I participated in a song called “Because” as a featured singer. The song became popular among young people, and song was downloaded one million times. After that, I collaborated with various artists, and at the age of 19, I made my first solo album, and made my contract with a major label in Japan. 

Did you always want to have your own solo album?
Oh yes. It was my dream. I’ve been collaborating with many artists, but I finally made my own CD. However, since they liked my voice, I continued to do collaborative work also, and last year, I released my “featuring” best album.   

This February, you released a cover album, “Haru Iro Covers (Spring Colored Covers).” Why did you choose to do covered songs?
Last year, when I released my “featuring” album, I thought I had achieved a certain goal, and I was wondering what the next step should be. So I consulted my management team, and they suggested, “Maiko, why don’t you try covers?” Until then, I was focused on making my own pieces, and writing lyrics, but my challenge to sing covered songs was to go back and remember my goals as a singer.  

In this album, you have some songs that probably young people do not know. How did you choose the songs?
The people who listen to my music are mainly young people. I wanted them to know that there are so many wonderful songs in Japan, and I wanted to know more about those songs, too. Many of the songs I’ve never heard of until this cover album came up. But all of the songs were so beautiful, and through the recording, I found the beauty of singing in Japanese. 
I also wanted more people to hear my song, and the ballads in this album would be nice to listen to, for wide generations. 



Which song is your favorite?
“Mokuren no Namida (Tears of a Mulan Magnolia),” originally performed by Stardust Revue, is my favorite. I thought of my mother when I was singing it. It was the first song that I thought about my mother. She passed away when I was 17, the age I made my debut. She was the one who wanted me to succeed in my music career the most. I was so sad, that I didn’t want to face the fact that she was gone, and tried telling myself “I’m not lonely, I’m ok.” 
But, when we decided that I would be singing “Mokuren No Namida,” and I read the lyrics, all I could think about was my mother. That is why this song is so precious to me. 

Is there a song that you’d like the readers of Jeepney Press to hear?
Well, I love all of the songs but “Furete Mirai Wo (Touch The Future)” is a great one. It’s actually the only up-beat song in this album. It was originally performed by Sukima Switch, a male group, but in this album, you can hear the “female” version of it. It’s nice for listening while you are driving. The arrange is an 80s taste, too.

Have you ever sung in the Philippines?
No, I haven’t but it’s my dream to do so. I was born having two countries, I want to strengthen the connection between Japan and the Philippines through music. Recently, I listen to a lot of OPM. I found a website with information of the latest OPM hit numbers, and I listen to all of them. My favorite singers are Maja Salvador and Sarah Geronimo. 

Do you want to sing OPM?
Yes. I want to try making Japanese versions of OPM songs and upload them on YouTube, so both Filipinos and Japanese people can enjoy. And then, in the future, I want to have a Filipino-language program in NHK, so I can learn Tagalog, too!



Can you give a message to the readers of Jeepney Press?
When I was small, I was bullied because I was half Filipino. There were even times when I was confused of which country I belonged to. However, lately, I began to think that what I used to think were my weak points could be my strongest advantages. I think that is what makes me special, and this is something that the other hit-singers don’t have. I want to be someone that could give courage to half-Filipinos like me. 
I want to tell them that 
I’ve overcome the mean people around me, and now I am standing tall, singing.
Most of all, I want to connect Japan and the Philippines through music. 







 










 

Dennis Sun

DAISUKI!

(July - August 2014)

Mainit na ang panahon. Tumitirik na sa init ang araw. Grabe na. So they say...mas mainit sa Pinas. But now you know, it’s  hotter here! Welcome to summer in Japan. 
HOT-sui! HOT-sui! 

Dito sa Tokyo, mas grabe! Imagine mo, ang isang kagubatan ng mga malalaking gusali at bahay. the Tokyo Metropolis jungle!  Dahil sa alinsangan ng panahon, to the max sa lamig ang mga aircondition everywhere. Kaya kung ikaw ay nasa labas, kawawa ka. Na double punch sa init: init ng araw at init na lumalabas na hangin ng aircon sa labas.

Alam ko grabe rin sa Kyoto at Osaka sa panahon ng tag-init. Una kong dinalaw ang Kansai region ng may mahigit dalawang dekada na ang nakaraan. It was during summer. Hindi ako masyadong nag-enjoy sa mga tourist bus trips sa Kyoto dahil sa init. Ayaw na namin lumabas ng bus dahil presko ang pakiramdam sa loob. Paglabas mo, parang yakiniku ang pakiramdam. Buti na lang, this year, I was able to enjoy Kyoto last April during the most beautiful season of the year. Beautiful na, malamig pa ang simoy ng hangin!  Salamat kay Emi sa pag-tour niya sa akin.

Noong una akong dumating sa Japan, nakatira ako sa isang maliit na apartment na walang aircon. My Japanese friends were so worried about me. Baka hindi ko raw kaya ang init ng summer sa Japan. Hay naku, don’t worry. Ako pa na galing sa Pinas. Kaya ko yan! Hindi ba nila alam that the Philippines is a tropical country and it’s summer all year round? Nabigla lalo sila nang sabihin ko, “Even during Christmas, it’s still summer in the Philippines!” 

Pagdating ng summer sa Tokyo, hindi po ako makatulog sa init. Mas malamig pa yata sa labas. Hindi kaya ng powers ng bentelador na bigay lang sa akin ng isang Hapon dahil baka raw kailanganin ko. Kaya ang ginawa ko, nakabukas magdamag ang pintuan ng refrigerator. Wala pa rin effect! Pagdating ng six o’clock, nakatulog din ako sa puyat at pagod sa kakareklamo sa init. Pero isang oras na lang at dapat magising ako para sa arubaito. Buhay nga naman! Pero ha, nakatiis ako ng sampong taon na walang aircon tuwing summer. Kaya ko pa bang magtiis? Hindi! Please lang! Tama na yung sampong taon na pagdurusa. Pabayaan niyo naman akong mag-enjoy ngayon.

Yung isang kaibigan kong Hapon na pobre din katulad ko at hindi maka-afford bumili ng aircon,  sa labas ng koen (park) siya natutulog kapag hindi na niya matiis ang init sa loob ng bahay. Problema lang daw ay ang mga pulis na nang-gigising sa kanya. Okey lang daw ang mga pulis. Naintindihan naman nila ang situwasyon. Ang malaking pagdurusa raw ay ang walang tigil na pag-kagat ng mga lamok. Jus ko po! Pagkatapos ng dalawang buwan na puro kagat ng mga lamok gabi-gabi, baka maubusan na siya ng dugo at maging vampire bigla. Kaya pala laging nanghihina siya pagdating ng autumn season. Anemic na ang dating. Kung alam ko lang, pinaderecho ko na siya sa pinakamalapit na Red Cross para humi-ngi ng dugo. Buti na lang, walang dengue dito.

Nabasa ko sa FB kaninang umaga, isa sa mga FB friends ko ay gustung-gusto maging singer ang kanyang anak sa Pilipinas. Maganda naman siya. Pero hindi ko alam kung ano ang talent. I’m sure hindi impressive ang pagkanta niya tulad ng mga pop singers dito sa Japan. Alam niyo naman, yung  mga batang Hapon dito, ginagaya nila ang mga idolong singers nila tulad ni Seiko Matsuda. Sa atin, hindi ganyan ang mga boses ng mga singers. Hindi galing sa lalamunan at lalung-lalo na sa balunbalunan ang mga boses nila. Dito, kapag kaboses mo si Mickey at Minnie Mouse, pwede ka ng maging singing pop idol. Baka pwede pa siguro yung anak niya na maging voice talent na lang sa mga cartoons. Diba? Pang Disney yung boses. Yung speaking voice, ha. Hindi singing voice! Aray ko nanay!

Actually, ang mga pop idol dito sa Japan, hanggang face value lang. Dapat KAWAII (cute) ka. Kawaii yung face, kawaii yung dress, kawaii yung pana-nalita, tsaka mannerisms mo. Yan ang gusto ng mga Japanese.  Sabi ng long time friend kong jazz diva na si Marlene dela Pena, noong una siyang dinala rito, ginawa siyang pop idol. Well, cute naman si Marlene. Pero, she has amazing pool of talents! Nagustuhan ng mga Japanese si Marlene as a pop idol. Nag-ningning ang bituin niya. But after she graduated as a pop idol, she transformed herself as a celebrated jazz singer. And she captured a wider and more matured audience with her albums topping hits for months and years. Hayan ang beauty, brains and talent!

Yung isang friend ko sa FB, nag-iisip kung anong gagamitin niyang pangalan sa anak niya na gusto rin maging artista sa Pinas. Aba, hindi mahirap iyan. Dapat merong tunog na Hapon yung name dahil half Japanese siya at para iba ang dating. Napag-isip tuloy ako bigla. Sabi ng isang talent manager friend ko, it’s better to have names that have the same letter initials. So, here we go. Pwedeng Osang Osaka (OO), Yoly Yokohama (YY), Nina Nagoya (NN), Freda Fukuoka (FF), Sabrina Shizuoka (SS). Kung lalake naman, ayan ang Teddy Tokyo (TT). Ayan ang favorite initials ni Inday! O, diba? Ken Kyoto (KK). Norman Nagano (NN). Herbert Hokkaido (HH). Naku, nag-complain si John. It’s not in the name, daw. Wala sa pangalan. Nasa talent. Meron bang ibubuga iyan? Kasi raw ang nangyayari, walang talent ang mga anak. Yung nanay naman kasi, overflowing of talent. Kung pwede lang umiyak at mag luka-lokang Sisa sa harap ng producer at director para makasali lang sa pelikula, gagawin nito. Patawarin tayo! Ibalik ang anak sa Japan. Hindi rin marunong mag Tagalog at baka maging komedyante lang iyan. Mag- arubaito na lang siya sa Yoshinoya  o Matsuya sa Tokyo.

Going back to summer in Japan, saan ba magandang pumunta dito? Minus the init, summer can be a beautiful season. It’s the season of fireworks. Almost every night, all around Japan, we see lively displays of fireworks giving sparkles of colors to the hot and humid summer night skies. There are festivals with all kinds of ceremonies, rituals and dancing. You need to check the largescale firework festivals in every major city in Japan.

If you have the budget, why not travel to Hokkaido? I think it’s the only place where you will not complain of humidity. Air is so pure and clean. If you come from Tokyo or other major cities in Japan, you will definitely discover the difference. It’s a good place for asthmatics like me. And it’s the flower season here making Hokkaido a beautiful place to visit not to mention the added fireworks at night. It has the perfect “F” experience: family, friends, food, flowers, fireworks and festivals! Isali mo na rin ang “ficnic” kung Kafamfangan ka. 

Kung habol mo naman ay beach, Okinawa is paradise! The island is filled with world class beach resorts. You can explore the seas, jungles, mountains, castles, shrines, caves, temples and food. And if you want to go back home to the Philippines without going out of Japan, Okinawa is the best place to be. 

Pero if ever your friends ask you when is the best time to visit Japan, advice them to forget the summer season. Mainit! Hintay na lang ng konti at autumn season na. Mas mag-eenjoy sila kapag malamig. Marami na tayong init sa Pinas: init ng panahon at init ng pulitika! Dagdagan mo pa ng init ng Japan! Maloloka si Inday!

At kung makakahintay pa, pwedeng winter season para makita nila ang snow. And after winter, nandyan ang spring season para makita nila ang mga sakura!  After that, balik summer season na naman tayo! Ano? Init na naman?

HOT-sui! HOT-sui!






Dr. JB & Nelly Alinsod

PANALANGIN PARA SA KAPAYAPAAN AT KASAGANAAN NG MUNDO


July - August 2014

Diyos, ikaw ang lumikha ng lahat. Dahil sa iyo kami ay buhay at kumikilos. Kalooban mo ang kapayapaan at kasaganaan ng buong sanlibutan!

Mahabag ka sa amin, Ama sa langit sapagkat mas inuuna pa namin ang aming sarili kaysa tuparin ang kalooban mo. Inaamin namin ang aming pagkukulang sa panalangin and pagnanasa na makita na matupad ang kaharian mo dito sa lupa gaya sa langit. Maluwalhati ka nawa sa amin at sa kalikasan.

Panginoon, bigyan mo kami ng bukas na isip na lumalago sa pag-unawa sa aming kapwa at ang aming relasyon sa isa’t-isa at sa lahat mong nilikha. Tulungan mo kaming maunawaan na kami ay nabubuhay sa isang maliit na mundo at kaming lahat ay tumatanggap lamang ng biyaya nito. Mabigyan nawa namin palagi ng mataas na paggalang at pagpapahalaga ang aming kapwa higit kaysa sa aming pagkakaiba o pagkakatulad ng aming ideolohiya, pananalig at kultura. Gawin mo kami na mapagbigay at punuin mo kami ng kahabagan para sa lahat ng may buhay. Pagtagumpayin mo kami laban sa kasakiman at pagiging makasarili na siyang ugat ng kawalan ng hustisya. Pahalagahan nawa namin ang isa’t-isa sapagkat kami ay nilikha sa iyong wangis.

Mahabag ka sa amin, Banal na Espiritu, sapagkat sumuway kami sa iyong gabay. Turuan mo po kami muli at akayin tungo sa lahat ng katotohanan na magpapalaya sa amin. Sa iyo nawa namin matagpuan ang magpupuno sa aming buhay.

Idinadalangin namin ang hustisya, kalayaan, respeto sa karapatang pan¥-tao at pag-ahon sa kahirapan sa lahat ng tao. Gayun din ang mga bata na siyang kinabukasan ng mundong ito. Matulungan sana namin silang maabot ang kanilang pinakamataas na potensyal bilang responsableng mamamayan ng mundo. Dalangin namin ang kalayaan ng milyon-milyong mga tao na bihag ng kahirapan, gutom at pagdurusa dulot ng pang-aalipin at prostitusyon. Dalangin din namin ang mga biktima ng karahasan at giyera. Pagalingin mo po sila sa kanilang mga sugat sa katawan, puso, isip at kaluluwa.

Kahabagan mo po kami, O Diyos, sapagkat ginawa naming malupit ang mundong ito. Hindi kami naging mabuting katiwala ng iyong nilikha at ngayon inaani namin ang resulta nito. Pagalingin mo po ang aming lupa at alisin ang sumpa nito upang muli itong magbigay sa amin ng mabuting ani. Buksan mo po ang kalangitan at ibuhos ang ulan para sa pagtatanim at tag-ani. Ibalik mo po ang sigla at kasaganaan ng mundong ito. 

Panginoon Hesus, bigyan mo kami ng lakas na patuloy na pagsikapan ang kapayapaan at kasaganaan ng mundo sa pamamagitan ng mapayapang paraan at hindi ng panglalamang sa kapwa. Maghari nawa ang iyong kapatawaran at pag-ibig sa lahat ng aming gawain. Tulungan mo kami na magsaya kasama ng mga nagsasaya at umiyak kasama ng mga napipighati. 

Panginoon Hesus, nagtitiwala kami sa iyong katapatan at pagmamahal. Nagpapakumbaba kami at umaasa sa iyo Panginoon Hesus dahil ikaw ang Prinsipe ng Kapayapaan. 

Request for prayers and other inquiries may 
be sent to scf_japan@yahoo.com or dr.jbalinsod@gmail.com 
Dr. JB & Nelly Alinsod serves the Filipino Community at Shalom Christian Fellowship, Shinjuku Ku, Tokyo, Japan. 

Karen Sanchez

PASYAL


July - August 2014


Isang araw, nabanggit ng isang dating kaklase ang nangyari sa isang restaurant. Nagpakilala daw yung waiter na nagsisilbi sa kanila at sinabing ang kanyang pangalan ay Haime. H hindi J ang unang letra ng pangalan. 

Sabi ni Haime, nagkamali daw ang kanyang mga magulang sa pagrerehistro ng kanyang kapa-nganakan. Maa-aring nagmadali kaya nagkamali ng sulat sa papel ng pagrerehistro, o yung opisyal sa munisipyo ang nagkamali nang sulat at hindi naman naitama. Kaya Haime na ang nasa civil registry ng Pilipinas at yun na ang dapat lumabas sa lahat na dokumento ukol sa kanya mula sa school, trabaho, pagpapakasal, pagrerehistro ng sariling anak, pagkuha ng driver’s license o professional license, passport at marami pang iba.

Buti naman at ang pagkakamali sa pangalan niya ay sa isang letra lamang at hindi naman masyadong mali - hindi lang tugma sa dapat na spelling ng Jaime na salitang Kastila.

Paano kung mas masama ang naging pagkakamali sa pagrerehistro ng kapanganakan? Dala-dala nila yung masamang pagkakamaling yon sa kanilang mga records sa pamahalaan, school, trabaho at iba pang institusyon. Kung talagang hindi maganda ang lumabas na pagkakamali, kahihiyan ang kanilang dala-dala sa bawa't oras na iyon ay mababanggit o maisusulat. May lunas pa ba sa ganitong pagkakamali sa kanilang rehistro?


Kauna-unahang ID

Tulad sa koseki tohon ng Japan, lahat ng tao sa Pilipinas ay dapat may rehistro sa gobyerno mula pa lamang sa pagkakapanganak.

Ang birth certificate, na mula sa civil registry, ay ang kauna-unahang ID ng isang tao. Ito rin ang pinakamahalagang ID niya. Doon nakalagay kung sino ang isang tao pangalan, magulang, araw ng kapanganakan, lugar ng kapanganakan, kasarian (sex), status bilang anak (legitimate o hindi) o pagiging ampon, kasama rin ang nationality (at ang pagiging naturalized citizen) at civil status (kasal o nawalan ng bisa ang kasal). Dahil dito, napakahalagang dokumento ang birth certificate. Halos buong identity ng isang tao ay nasa isang dokumento.

Malaki ang ibig sabihin ng walang birth certificate. Maaaring hindi ka tanggapin sa school, o kung makalusot ka, hindi ka naman makakuha ng serbisyo sa gobyerno dahil walang maipa- kitang katibayan na tunay nga ang pangalan at apelyido ng taong nag-a-apply. Maaaring hindi makakuha ng voter’s ID at lalo na ng passport kung walang birth certificate. Dahil din dito, may hindi makasali sa Social Security System bilang trabahador, o mapasama sa conditional cash transfer program (sustentong pera buwan-buwan) para sa mahihirap.

Sa international system, ang pagkakaroon ng birth certificate ay itinuturing na napakahalagang bagay. Nakasalalay sa birth certificate ang pagkuha ng mga pangangailangan ng tao, lalo ng mga bata, mula sa tulong sa pagkain hanggang health service, pabahay, edukasyon at pati sa pagbiyahe sa ibang lugar kahit napipilitan lamang na umalis dahil sa disaster o kaguluhan.

At kahit may birth certificate, may problema pa rin kung may pagkakamali. Minsan ang mismong apelyido ay naiiba sa tunay na spelling ng apelyido ng pamilya. Halimbawa, “Villar” ay naging “Vilar.” Lumalabas na iba na yung pamilya, hindi yung tunay na pamilya. Maaaring maging problema din kung ang pangalan ay humaba tulad ng “Maria” na naging “Ma.” na umikli, o di kaya ay nawala ang isang salita kung ilang salita ang pangalan (“Maria Josefina Victoria” naging “Maria Victoria” na lamang). Kapag iba ang pangalan, ibang tao na ang tinutukoy.

Katungkulan ng civil registrar na pangalagaan ang mga nakarehistro sa civil registry na hawak niya. Siya ang tatanggap ng rehistro at siya din ang makapagpapalit ng anumang nairehistro. Ayon sa isang batas, hindi basta-basta masisilip ng sinuman ang rehistro ng isang tao. Ang impormasyon sa rehistro ay dapat “strictly confidential” at hindi makukuha ng sinuman maliban doon sa taong nakarehistro, o ang asawa niya, magulang at iba pang taong binigyan ng kakayanang kunin ang impormasyon. (Child and Youth Welfare Code) Dahil sa nagkaroon ng mga kaso na ginamit ang impormasyon na nakuha sa masamang paraan (tulad ng discrimination laban sa taong nakarehistro), strictly confidential din ang koseki tohon dito sa Japan.

Pag-aayos ng record sa civil registry

Dahil sa hindi maiiwasang pagkakamali o di kaya ay hindi magandang pangalang naire-histro, pinapayagan ng batas sa Pilipinas na baguhin ang impormasyon sa civil register.

Dati-rati, ang anumang pagbabago sa civil registry ay magagawa lamang sa utos ng husgado. Nguni’t nung 2001, nagkaroon ng pagbabago sa batas upang ang “clerical or typographical errors” sa rehistro ay mababago ng civil registrar mismo. Kailangan ang pagbabago ay dahil sa pagkakamaling dulot ng pagsulat o pagkopya o pagtype na hindi naman makasasama tulad ng maling spelling ng pangalan o lugar ng kapanganakan na mabilis makita ng mata. Nguni’t kailangang may ibang dokumento bilang patunay ngang nagkamali sa pagpaparehistro.

Noong 2012, nagbago uli ang batas at isinama na sa mababago ng civil registrar na walang utos ng husgado ang pagkakamali sa araw at buwan ng kapanganakan at ng kasarian o sex ng tao. Kung sex ang maling nairehistro, ang medical certificate na nagsasabing hindi nagpa-sex change o sex transplant yung tao ay kailangan.

Kailangang gumawa ng affidavit na nagsasaad ng hiling na pagpapalit ng nakarehistro civil registry at may kasamang mga sumusuportang dokumento (tulad ng school records, o driver’s license o anumang opisyal na dokumento na nagpapakita ng tamang gamit na pangalan, sex at date of birth).

Malaking tulong ang pagbabago ng batas nung 2001 at 2012 dahil hindi na mangangailangan pa ng petisyon sa husgado. Kung ganito ang mga pagkakamali, puwedeng mag-apply sa civil registrar ng pagbabago sa records. Kung nasa ibang bansa ang rehistro, at nasa Pilipinas ka, puwedeng mag-apply sa civil registrar ng lugar na tinitirhan. 

Ito ay lalong mabuti sa mga Pilipinong nasa abroad. Sa Japan, ang Philippine Consul Generals sa Tokyo at Osaka ay makakatanggap ng petisyon sa pagbabago sa birth certificate na magiging bahagi ng record ng Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Ang PSA ang magiging kapalit ng dating National Statistics Office o NSO sa Pilipinas.

Dapat nating tandaan na hindi kasama sa mabilis na pagbabago sa birth certificate ang pagbabago ng nationality, civil status (married, divorced), pangalan ng magulang, ang pagiging legitimate na anak o hindi. Kailangan ng utos ng husgado bago mabago ang rehistro para sa mga ito.

Jeff Plantilla

Isang Araw Sa Ating Buhay


July - August 2014

Isang araw, nabanggit ng isang dating kaklase ang nangyari sa isang restaurant. Nagpakilala daw yung waiter na nagsisilbi sa kanila at sinabing ang kanyang pangalan ay Haime. H hindi J ang unang letra ng pangalan. 

Sabi ni Haime, nagkamali daw ang kanyang mga magulang sa pagrerehistro ng kanyang kapanganakan. Maa-aring nagmadali kaya nagkamali ng sulat sa papel ng pagrerehistro, o yung opisyal sa munisipyo ang nagkamali nang sulat at hindi naman naitama. Kaya Haime na ang nasa civil registry ng Pilipinas at yun na ang dapat lumabas sa lahat na dokumento ukol sa kanya mula sa school, trabaho, pagpapakasal, pagrerehistro ng sariling anak, pagkuha ng driver’s license o professional license, passport at marami pang iba.

Buti naman at ang pagkakamali sa pangalan niya ay sa isang letra lamang at hindi naman masyadong mali hindi lang tugma sa dapat na spelling ng Jaime na salitang Kastila.

Paano kung mas masama ang naging pagkakamali sa pagrerehistro ng kapanganakan? Dala-dala nila yung masamang pagkakamaling yon sa kanilang mga records sa pamahalaan, school, trabaho at iba pang institusyon. Kung talagang hindi maganda ang lumabas na pagkakamali, kahihiyan ang kanilang dala-dala sa bawa't oras na iyon ay mababanggit o maisusulat. May lunas pa ba sa ganitong pagkakamali sa kanilang rehistro?


Kauna-unahang ID

Tulad sa koseki tohon ng Japan, lahat ng tao sa Pilipinas ay dapat may rehistro sa gobyerno mula pa lamang sa pagkakapanganak.

Ang birth certificate, na mula sa civil registry, ay ang kauna-unahang ID ng isang tao. Ito rin ang pinakamahalagang ID niya. Doon nakalagay kung sino ang isang tao pangalan, magulang, araw ng kapanganakan, lugar ng kapanganakan, kasarian (sex), status bilang anak (legitimate o hindi) o pagiging ampon, kasama rin ang nationality (at ang pagiging naturalized citizen) at civil status (kasal o nawalan ng bisa ang kasal). Dahil dito, napakahalagang dokumento ang birth certificate. Halos buong identity ng isang tao ay nasa isang dokumento.

Malaki ang ibig sabihin ng walang birth certificate. Maaaring hindi ka tanggapin sa school, o kung makalusot ka, hindi ka naman makakuha ng serbisyo sa gobyerno dahil walang maipakitang katibayan na tunay nga ang pangalan at apelyido ng taong nag a-apply. Maaaring hindi makakuha ng voter’s ID at lalo na ng passport kung walang birth certificate. Dahil din dito, may hindi makasali sa Social Security System bilang trabahador, o mapasama sa conditional cash transfer program (sustentong pera buwan-buwan) para sa mahihirap.

Sa international system, ang pagkakaroon ng birth certificate ay itinuturing na napakahalagang bagay. Nakasalalay sa birth certificate ang pagkuha ng mga pangangailangan ng tao, lalo ng mga bata, mula sa tulong sa pagkain hanggang health service, pabahay, edukasyon at pati sa pagbiyahe sa ibang lugar kahit napipilitan lamang na umalis dahil sa disaster o kaguluhan.

At kahit may birth certificate, may problema pa rin kung may pagkakamali. Minsan ang mismong apelyido ay naiiba sa tunay na spelling ng apelyido ng pamilya. Halimbawa, “Villar” ay naging “Vilar.” Lumalabas na iba na yung pamilya, hindi yung tunay na pamilya. Maaaring maging problema din kung ang pangalan ay humaba tulad ng “Maria” na naging “Ma.” na umikli, o di kaya ay nawala ang isang salita kung ilang salita ang pangalan (“Maria Josefina Victoria” naging “Maria Victoria” na lamang). Kapag iba ang pangalan, ibang tao na ang tinutukoy.

Katungkulan ng civil registrar na pangalagaan ang mga nakarehistro sa civil registry na hawak niya. Siya ang tatanggap ng rehistro at siya din ang makapagpapalit ng anumang nairehistro. Ayon sa isang batas, hindi basta-basta masisilip ng sinuman ang rehistro ng isang tao. Ang impormasyon sa rehistro ay dapat “strictly confidential” at hindi makukuha ng sinuman maliban doon sa taong nakarehistro, o ang asawa niya, magulang at iba pang taong binigyan ng kakayanang kunin ang impormasyon. (Child and Youth Welfare Code) Dahil sa nagkaroon ng mga kaso na ginamit ang impormasyon na nakuha sa masamang paraan (tulad ng discrimination laban sa taong nakarehistro), strictly confidential din ang koseki tohon dito sa Japan.


Pag-aayos ng record sa civil registry

Dahil sa hindi maiiwasang pagkakamali o di kaya ay hindi magandang pangalang naire-histro, pinapayagan ng batas sa Pilipinas na baguhin ang impormasyon sa civil register.

Dati-rati, ang anumang pagbabago sa civil registry ay magagawa lamang sa utos ng husgado. Nguni’t nung 2001, nagkaroon ng pagbabago sa batas upang ang “clerical or typographical errors” sa rehistro ay mababago ng civil registrar mismo. Kailangan ang pagbabago ay dahil sa pagkakamaling dulot ng pagsulat o pagkopya o pagtype na hindi naman makasasama tulad ng maling spelling ng pangalan o lugar ng kapanganakan na mabilis makita ng mata. Nguni’t kailangang may ibang dokumento bilang patunay ngang nagkamali sa pagpaparehistro.

Noong 2012, nagbago uli ang batas at isinama na sa mababago ng civil registrar na walang utos ng husgado ang pagkakamali sa araw at buwan ng kapanganakan at ng kasarian o sex ng tao. Kung sex ang maling nairehistro, ang medical certificate na nagsasabing hindi nagpa-sex change o sex transplant yung tao ay kailangan.

Kailangang gumawa ng affidavit na nagsasaad ng hiling na pagpapalit ng nakarehistro civil registry at may kasamang mga sumusuportang dokumento (tulad ng school records, o driver’s license o anumang opisyal na dokumento na nagpapakita ng tamang gamit na pangalan, sex at date of birth).

Malaking tulong ang pagbabago ng batas nung 2001 at 2012 dahil hindi na mangangailangan pa ng petisyon sa husgado. Kung ganito ang mga pagkakamali, puwedeng mag-apply sa civil registrar ng pagbabago sa records. Kung nasa ibang bansa ang rehistro, at nasa Pilipinas ka, puwedeng mag-apply sa civil registrar ng lugar na tinitirhan. 

Ito ay lalong mabuti sa mga Pilipinong nasa abroad. Sa Japan, ang Philippine Consul Generals sa Tokyo at Osaka ay makakatanggap ng petisyon sa pagbabago sa birth certificate na magiging bahagi ng record ng Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Ang PSA ang magiging kapalit ng dating National Statistics Office o NSO sa Pilipinas.

Dapat nating tandaan na hindi kasama sa mabilis na pagbabago sa birth certificate ang pagbabago ng nationality, civil status (married, divorced), pangalan ng magulang, ang pagiging legitimate na anak o hindi. Kailangan ng utos ng husgado bago mabago ang rehistro para sa mga ito.

Marty Manalastas Timbol

SHITTERU?


July - August 2014

ALAM NYO BA…
according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the government of Japan decided to endeavor to realize the exemption or relaxation of visa requirements for nationals of Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. The objective is to promote Japan as a tourism oriented country with the even higher goal of attracting 20 million foreign visitors. Para sa mga Filipinos at mga Vietnamese, multiple entry visa will be substantially relaxed. Multiple entry visas for short-term stay term of validity is up to three years with a period of fifteen days. For more information or clarification, please contact the Consular Section of the Embassy of Japan nearest you. Kaya mga kababayan, hindi po visa free to Japan. (Source:  Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

ALAM NYO BA…na popular sa Japan ang raw horse meat? I have not tried it yet but for those who tried it na, sabi nila masarap daw. In a survey done in 2005, countries who are the biggest horse meat consuming countries were China, Mexico, Russia, Italy and Kazakhstan. According to my Japanese friends, yung raw horse meat is nutritious compared to beef and or pork and best eaten during summer as it gives you stamina.

ALAM NYO BA…pag marami kang iniisip na responsibilidad o mga problema, parang ang hirap makatulog o di kaya’y tuliro ka o wala sa sarili, ika nga. Kung minsan sa kakaisip at lalo na kung masyado mong dinidibdib ang problema na feeling mo wala ng solusyon, or if you feel you have too much to do or yung mga situwasyon na wala kang control over, then the results may lead to stress o di kaya’y depression and even becomes a mental health problem.

ALAM NYO BA…na pitong Filipino nurses sa Amerika ay posibleng makulong for three years? Sila ay gumamit ng mga fake transcript of records in acquiring their RN (Registered Nurse) licenses in California Board of Registered Nursing.  Grabe naman, di ba, at panigurado, hihigpitan na naman ang mga Pilipino nito, not only in the US, baka na rin sa mga ibang bansa. Ang mga nahuli o kinasuhan ay sina Juan Malaluan Tenorio, Jr. and Glyn Cordova Villegas of Kern County; James Quijano Leoncio of Orange County; Philip Tolentino Sarmiento, Laurence Viernes, German Zagada and Jude Dagza Leoncio of Los Angeles County. Silang lahat ay nag-apply to practice Registered Nurses sa California using false and forged nursing school transcripts from the Philippines. The eighth individual, Joanne Keeney, who is currently in the Philippines and the suspected ringleader ay may warrant na for her arrest.  (Source: infonurses.com)

Happy summer and keep cool! God bless!

Renaliza Rogers

Sa Tabi Lang Po: School Supplies


July - August 2014

Namili kami ng mga school supplies ng isang batang grade 1. Ito ang ilan sa mga nasa listahan: 8 writing notebooks, 2 composition notebooks, 6 pcs. #2 pencils (Mongol brand), 2 boxes crayons (Crayola brand), grade 1 pad paper, scissors, glue, art papers, 20 pcs. bond paper, plastic envelope, etc. Sa totoo lang, ang daming requirements, grade 1 pa lang. So hindi pala pwede ang mumurahing crayons at pencils dahil pangit ang kalidad. So ibig sabihin, pwede mong tipirin lahat ng supplies ng anak mo, pwera sa crayons at pencils. Dapat Crayola at Mongol lang.  Pwera sa requirements, meron pa kaming school bag na binili dahil hindi na pwede ang maliit na bag noong prep siya dahil masikip na ang 10 notebooks at ilang malalaking textbooks. Rolling bag na dapat dahil kaawa-awa ang bata kapag pasan niya ang bigat ng buong sanlibutan sa dinami-dami ng notebooks at textbooks na laman nito. Maraming klase ng rolling bag, may mura at may mamahalin. Syempre pag mura, mga 2 months pa lang ay wala nang gulong. Ang good quality ay 1,200-3,000. Pambihira! Hindi naman mainam na backpack ang ipagamit dahil magkakandakuba ang bata sa sobrang bigat at ikaw na magulang pa ang sisisihin kung bakit siya nagkaganoon dahil sa kakuriputan mo.    

At pwera mga nabanggit, meron pang bagong school uniforms na dapat bilhin. Ang sa mga lalaki, long khaki pants at white polo. Pwede rin namang irecycle ang lumang uniforms kung hindi pa masikip. Buti na lang malaking size ang black shoes na binili namin noong prep kaya't kahit medyo nagmukha siyang si Ronald McDonald noon, at least perfect fit na sa kanya ngayon! Pero hindi ko maiwasang isipin na hindi yata bagay ang long pants para sa mga batang grade 1. Ang Pilipinas ay isang napaka-init na bansa. Kapag ika'y naka polo at long pants, napaka-banas ng feeling! Pagpapawisan ang singit mo! Lalo pa't kung ikaw ay isang batang napaka-active, ng sigalaw ng galaw. Ilan lang naman ang electric fans sa isang classroom, malas ng anak mo kung mataba siya at doon siya nakaupo sa sulok kung saan hindi tumatama ang electric fan. Alam na alam ko ang feeling nito dahil ako noon yung batang mataba na laging pinagpapawisan sa isang sulok.   

Kung isa kang magulang, sakit sa ulo talaga pag tinitingnan ang requirements ng anak sa sobrang dami. At habang tumatagal, lalong dumadami ang kanilang mga panga-ngailangan. Ang hindi lang naman dumadami ay ang mga classrooms na pinapagawa ng gobyerno. Walang problema kung ang anak mo'y nasa private school dahil ma-a-accommodate siya sigurado, magbabayad ka nga lang ng mahal para lang mapagtuonan ng pansin ang anak mo. Eh hindi naman lahat ng magulang ay kayang pag-aralin ang anak nila sa private schools, kaya't doon sa mga pampublikong paaralan mapupunta ang anak. Maraming magagaling na public schools sa bansa, facilities at budget nga lang ang kulang. Kapag ang anak mo'y matalino at nasa top 5 sections, siguro ay mas prioritized sila. Pero kapag nasa lower sections, medyo kinakapos.  Andami-daming estudyante sa mga public schools sa bansa. Isa sana itong magandang indikasyon na maraming kabataan ang nag-aaral para maging mabuting mamamayan. Kaya lang, walang classrooms, walang libro, walang sapat na gamit. Salat. Mayroong doon na lang sa labas nagkaklase, under the trees with mother nature. Ang ibang schools na sa sobrang sikip ay "shared" ang classroom. Iisang room, dalawang klase at hinahati lang ng maliit na blackboard. Sa kabilang side ng blackboard ay si mam nagtuturo ng math. Sa kabilang side ng blackboard ay si sir nagtuturo ng science. Pataasan ng boses na lang. Paos na ang guro sa pagsisikap na makapagturo pero hindi naman masyadong marinig. So, ang maririnig ng estudyante ay, "biology is the study of x=78!" Halo-halo rooms. So, pag magulang ka, problema mo na nga yung school supplies, matrikula at baon ng anak mo, problema mo pa pati kung natututo ng maigi ang iyong anak. 

Napakalaki ng pagkukulang ng ating gobyerno sa edukasyon. Marami ang gusto at kailangang matuto ngunit hindi mapagtuonan ng pansin at nahihirapan. Hindi rin mabigyan ng tulong dahil walang budget para doon. Sana naman ma-improve na ang sitwasyon ng ating educational system at facilities upang makapag-aral ng mabuti ang lahat ng estudyante. 

Sa ngayon, ang aming first grader, kumpleto na sa gamit, nabutas nga lang ang aming bulsa sa dami ng binili at napudpod ang sapatos sa kakahanap ng pinakamura pero magagandang kalidad ng school supplies. Buti na lang hindi na kami ni-require magdala ng "1 Mono-block Plastic Chair (Ruby brand)" para upuan sa school.

Isabelita Manalastas - Watanabe

Advice ni Tita Lits: Take it or Leave it!


July - August 2014


Dear Tita Lits,

Problema ko po ang aking step son. Anak po siya ng aking asawang Hapon sa unang asawa niya. Hindi po niya matanggap na ako, isang Pilipina, gaijin at mas bata sa kanya, ang kanyang step mother at asawa ng kanyang tatay. Totoo po na matanda na ang aking asawa ngunit mahal ko po siya. Na brainwash po yata ng kanyang tunay na ina at ibang kamag-anak na ako ay isang masamang tao at nililinlang ang kanyang tatay dahil sa kanyang pera. Kapag kami ay nagkikita, hindi po niya ako rinerespeto kahit sa harap ng kanyang tatay. Pinagsisigawan niya po ako kapag wala ang kanyang tatay. Hindi naman po ako ganoon kagaling mag Hapon kaya tahimik lang po ako. Sabi ko noong una, napaka-swerte ko sa asawa ko. Ngayon, parang kamalasan na lamang ang nadarama ko. Ano po kaya ang magandang gawin?

Mila, Okinawa



Dear Mila:

Mabuti iyong hindi mo papatulan ang iyong step son.  Kapag palagi ka lang tahimik, magsasawa iyon sa pagkuha ng attention mo.  Kasi kapag sumagot ka, never ending na sagutan ang mangyayari. At siyempre, underdog ka, kasi nga hindi ka very fluent mag-Hapon. Kapag sobrang galit mo na, murahin mo na lang sa Tagalog or kung ano man ang iyong local dialect, pero hindi malakas.  Iyon bang parang nagsasalita ka lang to yourself  mailabas  mo lang ang inis mo at makaganti ka sa batang iyan indirectly.

Ikaw ang legal wife, at may karapatan ka talaga sa kahit anong pera or ari-ariang mayroon maiiwan ang iyong asawa.  Pabayaan mong manigas sa inis iyong former wife, wala siyang karapatang makihati.

Darating din ang panahon na mag-aasawa iyang step son mo, at hihiwalay na iyan ng tirahan. So, kaunting tiis pa.

Please continue to be a loving wife to your husband.  At kapag kayong dalawa lang ng husband mo, at kapag nasa isang environment na maaari kayong mag-usap  ng relax kayong dalawa (kapag mag-lunch out or mag-dinner kayo sa labas, kunwari), subukan mong mahinahon na kausapin siya.  Sabihin mong sana dumating ang araw na maging happy ang pagsasama ninyong lahat sa pamilya – ikaw, ang iyong asawa at ang iyong step son.

And always pray for strength and guidance from the Lord.

Tita Lits




Dear Tita Lits,

Malaking dilema ang dumating sa pamilya namin. Lumayas ang aking anak na babae na 15 taong gulang. Hindi siya umuwi ng bahay mahigit ng isang taon. Pagbalik niya sa amin, umiiyak siya at humingi ng patawad. Madali naman magpatawad lalu na't anak ko siya. Ang masaklap po ay buntis siya ng 3 buwan. Gustong ipalaglag ng asawa kong Hapon ang dinadala niyang bata. Sang ayon naman ang anak kong babae na 16 taong gulang na. Dahil isa akong Katoliko, hindi ako sang-ayon sa abortion. Sabi ko, kahit ako na lang ang mag-aalaga sa bata. Pero sabi ng asawa ko, hindi raw tama at maganda iyon. At kawawa raw ang aking anak kung itutuloy niya ang pagbubuntis niya. Malaking kahihiyan sa ibang tao. Tulirung-tuliro na po ako. Ano po ang maipapayo ninyo?

Luz, Gifu




Dear Luz:

Hindi ko alam kung ang anak mo ay anak din ng asawa mong Hapon. Sorry, ha. Dapat ko kasing itanong ito, dahil ang magiging payo ko ay magiging ibang-iba kung ang anak mo ay iyong anak from a previous relationship, or anak ninyong dalawa ng iyong asawang Hapon.

Kung anak mo siya from a previous relationship, I would assume that the father is a Filipino.  So kung ayaw mong ipa-abort ang bata dahil nga mortal sin ito sa ating mga Katoliko, pwede mong ipauwi muna siya sa atin sa Pilipinas, at ibilin sa kanyang lola or auntie or sino mang kamag-anak mo, na alagaan siya, hanggang makapa-nganak. Walang makakaalam dito sa Japan ng nabuntis ang anak mo. So, ang concern ng iyong husband na malaking kahihiyan ito (sa Japan), ay hindi na relevant. Kapag nakapanganak na siya, inyong desisyonan din kung ano ang gagawin sa bata – ipapa-adopt?  aalagaan ng kamag-anak sa Pilipinas?

Kung anak ninyo ng asawa mong Hapon, kailangang mag-usap kayo ng masinsinan – ikaw, ang asawa mo, at ang anak ninyo.  Kung kampi silang dalawa na ipa-abort, dehado ka sa laban. Ang pwede mong maging counter-argument sa asawa mo, regarding iyong argument niya na nakakahiya, ay bakit noong more than one year nawala ang bata, ay parang wala namang kahihiyan yatang nangyari sa pamilya ninyo?  In other words, pwede ulit “mawala” ang anak mo ng another year or so, and come back after she has given birth. Talk to your daughter again.  If it becomes very difficult for her to agree to your plan to have her keep the baby, try and get your priest to spare some time to meet you and your daughter.  I do not know if you know Fr. Bob Zarate.  He is a young priest, at kung siya ang makaka-meet at makakausap ng daughter mo, baka makinig (as compared sa isang napakatandang pari, na hindi maka-identify ang anak mo). Kung hindi marunong ng English ang anak mo at Hapon lang ang salita, OK na OK pa rin si Fr. Bob dahil magaling mag-Hapon.

Tita Lits




Dear Tita Lits,

Permanent resident na po ako ng Japan. I have been here for 15 years and I work for an IT company in Osaka. I am 36 years old and single. I had a Japanese girlfriend for 5 years but she married another man because of family pressure. But that is not my problem. Early this year, my parents asked me to marry the daughter of their business partner in the Philippines. I think my dad owes her family a lot of money. I haven't seen the girl and have no idea what she looks like. My parents said that it doesn't have to be real and we could just live together as friends in one roof. And once she gets her permanent residency, we could separate. My dad told me many Filipinos are doing this kind of thing in America and it's not really a big deal. Parang tulong na lang daw. Ano po ang opinyon ninyo?

Romnick, Osaka





Dear Romnick:

I would assume that you are on permanent residence visa already in Japan, and whoever you marry, siyempre, you can easily work out for the grant of a permanent visa, as well. Pero hindi ko pa rin ma-gets masyado itong sulat mo.

If your father owes that business partner a lot of money, it would seem that the business partner of your father is probably well off. Bakit kailangang “bilhin” nila ang permanent residency in Japan of their daughter? There are many ways to be able to stay longer in Japan – go on student visa, for example. Talagang mag-enroll sa Japanese school – language school, or normal university (undergraduate/ graduate). Basta’t may pera sila at medyo may utak naman din iyong anak nila, they can have their daughter stay in Japan.

So talagang hindi ko pa rin maintindihan ang logic ng tatay mo, for proposing to you the scheme you outlined in your letter.  But assu-ming your father is really serious about helping his business partner’s daughter to stay in Japan, by having you marry the daughter, then lay down some conditions to your father.

You can tell your father you are willing to consider meeting the daughter of her business partner.  That you and the daughter will try to get to know each other better, and see if both of you will hit it off.  Baka naman magka-igi kayo, e di well and good!  Kung hindi, sorry na lang. Tell your father you will help in other ways – like you can contact language schools in Japan where the daughter can be enrolled for one year full time, intensive Japanese lesson, and then after successfully completing the one year course, to then try to enter a Japanese university.


I don’t envy you. Good luck!

Tita Lits




Neriza Sarmiento Saito

ON THE ROAD TO: Winning a Tourist`S Heart Through Homecooked Gourment Dishes


July - August 2014

"The greatest sweetener of human life is friendship." 
-- Joseph Addison

he rainy season in June is a delight for many farmers in Japan and in the Philippines. An old saying goes that "One must sow before one can reap." The soil must be tilled, seeds have to sown before one can harvest.

I have always wanted to feature a dear friend who has been tilling and sowing all her life but never even has the time to harvest the fruits of her labor. She has declined several times to be featured in this column. But since her tour of duty is ending this year, I took the liberty to write this up.

I met Lorelei in the elevator of the
Department of Tourism, Osaka Office in Nishi-ku in the mid -80's. The DOT office had just transferred from their old office in Dojima during the time of Tourism Attache John Orola and PR Officer Jean Tabora. In March 1984, when the Japan- Philippines Friendship Society was organized, we had many chances to meet and got to know each other better. In one of our meetings at their office, I was so embarrassed when my two sumo boys broke one of their glass panels. At that time, the Tourism Attaché was Mr. Valentino Cabansag. Lorly assured me that there was nothing to worry about. In our succeeding meetings, she was always helpful and took care of my little baby, Charlie, while working on her typewriter so that I could join the KNTNK meeting. Little by little, I became acquainted with a woman who was destined to be my inspiration in life: Lorelei Dumpit Cruz. 

A presentation in one TV program said that in our own spiral of happiness, there are 3 things we need to attain:
1. You must have a job early in your life.
2. Find out more about your inner self. 
3. Meet a lot of people who can inspire you.
  
Lorly is a person who loves work! Early in life, she worked at the Department of Tourism and was assigned at DOT's travel tax booth. She was known to friends as a person who just loves to cook and share her dishes with as many people as possible. 

Coming from a big Dumpit family of 11 children with her being the 3rd, every mealtime is a feast. "Lagi na lang akong may dalang Tupperware ng mga pagkain galing sa bahay para sa mga office mates ko."

When a chance to work in Japan came, she was forced to leave her 3 young children Ritchie, Clarisse and John Paul in the Philippines so that she can support them after a breakdown in her own marriage. Determined and full of hope,  Lorly began a new chapter in her life. She missed her own kids but she could do nothing. Sometimes, she would cry at the sight of other children wishing she could also hug her own. 

Meanwhile, the Tourism Office in Nishi Ward became the center of meetings and activities to promote tourism. At those meetings, Lorly always cooked pancit or arroz caldo and lumpia. Some groups and schools started to invite us to demonstrate Filipino dishes. There was even a time when we demons-trated a full course menu at Creo Osaka. Word spread even to Manila's sister city, Takatsuki 
and Lorly's cooking became a permanent fixture at festivals. No matter how busy she was, she was there on time, with an amazing energy I can never imagine. The Takatsuki International Association started their yearly Friendship Tours to Manila in the late 80's usually with the city mayor and other officials. This year, Lorly accompanied some city officials in their courtesy call to Mayor Joseph Estrada. Aside from Mr. Orola and Mr. Cabansag, she has also worked with many tourism attaches like Ms. Hope Friedlander, Mr. Martin  Valera Jr. and Ms. Araceli Soriano. Former PAL manager in Osaka, Mr. Antonio Herrera and former Metrobank Manager in Osaka , Mr. Alfred Valencia always admired Lorly's cooking while they were here and said that feelings of loneliness and homesickness disappeared once they smelled Lorly's adobo and pinakbet. At that time, too, the DOT participated at the Midosuji parade, the Naniwa Festival and the Dotomburi events and Lorly always cooked for the participants. She didn't mind carrying the heavy pots just to make everyone happy. But cooking was not her job at all. She is the Administrative Officer with heavier responsibilities on her shoulders. When budget was tight and funding from the main office did not arrive, Lorly had to borrow funds from private sources or ask the owners of their building to allow them to pay later or call the Secretary of Tourism at that time to release the funds. That was how tough this lady is: resilient and staunch! When the tough times were over, they moved to a bigger office in Hommachi in 2005. By this time, Kyoko Kimura, a fresh graduate of the Osaka University joined the staff. Fluent in Tagalog and with a genuine love for anything Filipino, Kyoko became Lorly's constant companion in promoting the Philippines in various parts of Kansai and Western Japan: setting up booths at fairs, doing familiarization tours, organizing seminars, assisting Tourism Officials and Travel operators, or guiding tour groups to the Philippines. Students of Osaka University always get introductions to Philippine cuisine on their freshmen year and soon after they go on holidays to the Philippines or study there.  One of their most successful endeavors is the annual Philippine Food Fair at the Hilton Osaka and Nagoya and Fukuoka.

In 2013, DOT Osaka was featured in a television program hosted by comedians Katsumi and Sayuri and, as usual, food was the main theme. They also went to the Philippines to feature more attractions in Manila and Cebu in another program aired in January 2014.

Looking back through the years and all the seeds Lorly has sown, the fruits of her labor are visible. For Lorly, who has always shunned the limelight, and has remained humble always, who without fail is always the first to arrive at the Sunday mass, who will always listen to a friend's woes inspite of her own, who will be cooking and serving everyone even if it is her birthday, life is to serve. For her, the way to anyone’s heart is through something simple just sharing meals together, just like one big family. The Dumpit way is through their homecooked dishes. 
  
In this column, some of her close friends would like to share their messages : 

"Sometimes being a friend  means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence, a time to let go and allow people to hurt themselves into their own destiny. And a time to pick up the pieces when it's all over." ( Gloria Naylor ) 

Good luck and best wishes, Lorly! Lorly, if I have the power to turn back the hands of time, I will definitely reset it to the time when we first met. I cannot think of any word that can express my gratitude for all the things you have done for all of us. I will not say goodbye to you, but instead take care and till we meet again sometime, somewhere. 
- Nida and Jun Silva

Lors, you'll always be in my heart and  will never forget those  precious moments  with you.
- Ms. Valentine

Dearest Lorly,  it's your efficiency that my job is such bliss @ TIA, my grateful thanks for your support & friendship.
- Belinda Chow

My dear Ate Lorly,
thank you so much for always being there for us. Love you forever.
- Sally Yamamoto




Warren Sun

Cebu Dancing Inmates: The Lighter Side of Life


 July - August 2014

Much had been said about our fellow dancing inmates in Cebu Provincial Detention Rehabilitation Center (CPDRC) that they became another YouTube sensation few years ago when they performed Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” From doing simple exercise routines evolved choreographed dance numbers that made them famous worldwide. 





Cebu dancing inmates’ performance is scheduled every last Saturday of every month and is open to the viewing public for free but donations in cash or in kind is highly appreciated. We came to witness the July performance and saw hundreds of people dominated mostly by Danish and Japanese tourists. 


We were taken abound because the Japanese media requested for the song “Thriller” just a day before the performance and was immediately included in the playlist. Although the documentary was focused more on the daily routine of the inmates and their personal offenses, we got to witness the day where they made the local and international audience really happy. It was the first in time in history where a generous donor sponsored hundreds of red converse-like sneakers to all dancing inmates. 


CPDRC warden Romeo Manansala was kind enough to let us dwell inside the prison cells and interviewed notable inmates and some star dancers. We saw inmates inside one cell cooking chicken adobo as we started the interview. They answered in few words and very timid because we were told we are the first media allowed to interview inmates inside their cells. On the other hand, there were some inmates friendly enough to satisfy our queries as I thought it was rare for them to mingle with people from the outside.  

At the time of the one-hour performance where they performed at least 11 songs, I could see genuine smile in their faces amidst the extreme hot weather. I guess the warm reception they get from the audience serves as their inspiration. Moreover, their respective family gets to visit and watch them dance too. 

It is heart warming to know that apart from living behind bars, part of the donations go to their cooperative programs such as an in-house bakery, sari-sari store and selling souvenir shirts, straw and paper-made flowers. They have 3 TV sets as well catering to channels 2, 5 & 7 located on every corner of the huge open space. It was peculiar to see mostly everyone setting up their own hammocks during their siesta time as well. 

We may not know exactly the feeling of living inside a prison cell but I had a rare glimpse of what it is like joining these inmates as they shared whole-heartedly their daily routines and that they had made a global difference with incorporating music and dance as part of their rehabilitation program. These and more would showcase the lighter side of life of being a Cebu dancing inmate.
                                                                             































Marilyn Abellana Suico

Trying Times


July - August 2014


Slowly as I doze myself to sleep
My mind at rest, my eyes are wet
Many things I need to do the next day
I am sure the Lord listens when I pray.

So I pray and talk to the Lord
Deep in my heart, true to each word
That He may always look upon my son
To guard and guide with His healing hand.

I try to wake up each day feeling fresh and renewed
With enough strength and confidence to face the world
In my darkest hour, I can feel He is near
With full trust in Him, why would I fear.

There is really no guarantee of days without pain
Laughter without sorrow and sunshine without rain
Never alone in my thoughts, I'd whisper in the wind
My unconditional love for my son will forever stay within.

Now I can see my son is slowly recovering
His vital signs are gradually improving
Good signs of answered prayers I must say
Feeling grateful as I look forward to each day.

Warren Sun

Kusuri Sa Kusina: Corn on the Cob

July - August 2014

Mais! Maiz! Corn!トウモロコシ!コーン!Kahit sa anong lenguahe mo siya sabihin, 3M`s lang ang dapat isipin: Masarap, Mura at Masustansiya.  Madalas natin kainin ito bilang nilaga o kaya inihaw. Sa mga chiki-ting naman paborito ito bilang corn chips or popcorn. Pero ano nga ba ang mga health benefits na makukuha natin sa mais?

•  Inflammation and aging prevention
Ayon sa mga pananaliksik, ang mais ay may good source of phenolic flavonoid antioxidant at ferulic acid na tumutulong sa paglaban sa cancer, aging at inflammation.

•  Lung and Oral Cavity Cancer Protection
Ang mais ay may phenolic flavonoid pigment antioxidants katulad ng B-Carotene and Lutein na nagbibigay proteksyon sa ating lungs at oral cavity cancer.
•  Aid in Digestion
Mataas sa fiber content ang mais. Ang corn fiber ang nagbibigay tulong sa isang magandang digestion.  Nagbibigay din ito ng energy sa ating intestinal cells at pinapababa ang risk na magkaroon ng colon cancer.

•  Increase in Metabolism
Meron din mineral at manganese content ang mais. Nagbibigay ng tri-iodothyronine na nagpapabilis sa metabolism rate ng katawan.

•  Strengthen Hair Follicle
Ang mais ay nagbibigay din ng potential antioxidants tulad ng Vitamin C and Lycopene at may compound din na pinapabilis ang production ng Collagen na nagbibigay ng magandang kutis at buhok.

•  Enhance Mental Function
May mataas na level sa thiamine ang mais at Vitamin B na nag pro-produce ng Acetylcholine na naghahasa ng recall at concentration.

CORNtastic! Akalain mo kakain kalang ng mais at ito lahat makukuha mo na health benefits! At isang paalala lang na ang canned corn ay mababa lang sa nutrisyon kumpara sa fresh corn na niluluto. Lagyan lang ng konting asin at ipahid ng butter ang bagong nilagang mainit na mais ay masasabi kong pinaka-masarap na merienda na. Ano mang klaseng luto natin kakainin ang mais ay tiyak ikakabusog ng ating kalusugan.








Alma R. H. Reyes

Traffic: The "Umeboshi" Mind



July - August 2014

Reminiscing my student days in Kyoto, I was, then, working on a research about influences of Japanese culture on product design. I had to sit down with my professor to discuss my dissertation. I talked to him about my observations on apparent aspects of Japanese culture: minimalism, miniaturization, compactness, isolation, and others. On the last element, my professor crossed his thick eyebrows, “Isolation?” he asked. “Give me an example.” I said, “Sensei, what do you think about the obento (lunch box) with the red, round umeboshi (pickled dried plum) in the middle of pure, white rice? It’s called the hinomaru bento, isn’t it, taken from the rising sun image of the Japanese flag?” My professor started to smile. I continued, “Sensei, do you think that is just obento art or a symbol of isolation of the Japanese, just as it is symbolized in the Japanese flag?” My professor threw me a wide grin, almost laughing. “Umeboshi kaa…kimi, omoshiroi naa…” (in Kyoto dialect “Pickled dried plum huh….you’re interesting, aren’t you…”) I never got a definite answer.

Okay, maybe I imagined too much. But, if you scrutinize deeply into such visual symbolisms, you would understand how things we see, touch, and feel around us are hidden subconscious symbols of Japanese cultural behavior. 

We can feel isolation in language as well. There is no coincidence between Japan’s isolation period (Sakoku) from the rest of the world for about 250 years during the Edo period and the manner by which the society is culturally isolated by language. Take the “half-Japanese.” Being “half” in Japan sometimes injects identity complex. “I may look Japanese, behave like Japanese, and speak perfect Japanese, so why do they still speak Japanese slowly to me?” I met a half-American Japanese who has been living in Japan for over fifteen years, who looks Japanese “enough,” and speaks excellent Japanese. He has a foreign first name and a Japanese last name, but he said he could never come at equal rank with “native” Japanese, because Japanese do not know how to relate to and accept him. “He looks Japanese, acts and speaks like a Japanese, but he can’t be one of us, can he?”

You can be a “hen na gaijin” (strange foreigner) in two ways: for speaking Japanese with an odd use of words and expressions; or speaking “too perfect“ Japanese when you are not Japanese. That just doesn’t make sense to them! It would be like you are trying to blend too much to their blood when you cannot!

Day in and day out, we walk past ancient temples, tempting sushi bars, corner soba noodle shops, noisy electronic stores, and multiples and multiples of congested pedestrian crossings, unmindful of the hundreds of symbols around baring themselves to us.

Miniaturization, for example, is a widely known symbol in Japanese culture—seen in the bonsai, in the obento box, in tiny trinkets hanging from teenagers’ bags, or in food condiments. This mentality arises from the Zen teaching of “small but powerful”—the compactness of rooms, toilets, or traditional oshire closets that fit exactly the width of futons—are they all just adjustments to limited space?

The traditional Japanese home has historically been built on a concept of communal living wherein families occupy a single room utilized for all purposes. We find the low kotatsu (low table with built-in heating underneath it) sitting in the middle of the tatami mat room where everyday life circulates. Here, the family gathers around eating mikan oranges while watching television. Here, the child works on his homework. Here, the family eats their meals together. Here, the husband sits to read his newspaper. Here, the wife folds the laundry. Here, guests are entertained. And, at the end of the day, here, the table is set aside, and the space is replaced with futons where the family sleeps together. This compact living makes no room for privacy and independency, yet psychologically provides a safe mental niche for security and a sense of belongingness, even if its un-isolated structure ironically creates a subconscious isolation that sets the Japanese apart from everything that exists outside those wooden walls.

The capsule hotel is another explicit sample of Japanese miniaturization and compact culture. First introduced in Osaka around the late 1960s, the concept of a tight “livable” glass enclosure, measuring roughly 1.25m x 2m, perfectly accommodated busy Japanese salary men who commute from city to city, and must survive on a budgeted income. Usually priced at around 2,000 to 4,000 yen, the capsule room has just enough space from head to foot to sleep in, in an almost coffin like box equipped with a television, wireless Internet connection, mirror, and clock. Toilets and showers are shared, and only men are allowed in the hotel. A travelling foreign businessman, equally busy as the Japanese salary man, may also be crossing cities on trains everyday, but would he choose to sleep in a tight, claustrophobic glass box void of any possible leisurely movement, even for just a night? Is this just about isolation or perseverance?

In fact, we are all pitiful victims of cold isolation and miniaturization in this digital era, wherein our supposedly simple and proactive life has been compartmentalized in a tiny, super mega techno rectangle: the smart phone. If that is not pure isolation from the rustic breath of organic life and nature, what else could it be?

And, speaking of umeboshi on your obento, while we are immersed in the heat of summer, don’t forget it is the season of preserving and pickling umeboshi. The plums, maybe over a hundred of them, if not more, are dried and soaked in salt, vinegar and red perilla herbs akajiso, tightly packed in one huge glass jar, and preserved for months. That is A LOT of umeboshi minds, encapsulated in one enormous and fragile world.

Enjoy the Sweet Summer!




Roger Agustin

Musing of a Sarariman: The End to Over Pay



July - August 2014

At the end of May, the Japanese government announced an initiative to amend labor laws to allow the limit of 40 working hours per week to be exceeded without overtime pay in certain professions. This initiative is backed by the Industrial Competitive Council as part of the government strategy to stimulate economic growth. This is not a new thing at all because the proposal for overtime pay exemption has been thought of for more than 10 years already or even earlier. In fact, the same proposal was made by Prime Minister Abe himself in his first tenure way back in 2007 and stressed exactly the same reasoning behind (please see the excerpt of his speech below). The exemption scheme has already triggered strong reactions and protests from labor unions across the country just like in the past. The proposed amendment seemed to be suggesting a new labor system that scraps overtime pay across the board and that longer working hours promotes `karoshi’ (death from overwork). Just like in the past, the plan has met a lot of opposition from workers, unions and labor lawyers. PM Abe dropped the original plan in 2007 in face of strong criticisms, but the government aims to push through the new legislation proposal during the next year and put it into effect in 2016.

While the proposal is limited to white collar workers with a defined salary level and with conditional options that sound reasonable, it would still face a lot of opposition not only from the white collar workers themselves but even to the would-be workers. Many see the exemption from overtime pay as legalizing the already widespread practice of unpaid “service” overtime. And opposite to the goal of achieving flexibility in working style and work life balance,   it may even worsen the problems associated with long working hours and overwork.

I myself am not at all opposed to the idea because I am a proponent of performance-based pay system and working style. After decades of economic recessions and massive low cost offshore sourcing, the Japanese management styles and corporate cultures needed to adapt itself to changes in the global economy. The well known futurist Alvin Toffler’s book Third Wave gave birth to the concept of the knowledge worker in the Third Wave society which is where we are in now the IT age. We have seen the exponential increase in knowledge based production or knowledge based products where the products themselves could be created overnight and value defined by the consumers. Compare that to the conventional tangible goods that are mass produced of which the value/price is still defined by time and resources, and the difference is clear. 

I saw this coming when I was working for a very conservative Japanese company two decades ago where working overtime was the norm. We were paid for overtime but to a certain limit. Beyond the limit was the unpaid “service” overtime. Being in the low rank, our base salaries were low so that the only way to compensate for the low pay was to work overtime. I was a 
“knowledge worker” back then because my work was on systems design and my main work products were knowledge based like technical reports and patents, and the numbers I crunched ended up in computers that run cars on the streets. But at that time, I couldn’t comprehend the gap between productivity and the need to work overtime (just because everybody was still at work after five!). It wasn’t really about overtime but “working hard” which meant working long hours was seen as a virtue. It looked to me at that time that workers were adjusting their productivity to like 14 hours when they could have achieved the same within the regular 8 hours. I had a deep culture shock though when I moved to a US owned company because the pay was based on performance and overtime needed preapproval. 

Anyway, going back to the overtime pay exemption, it is also not new to me. When I was given the title of a manager, it came with a ‘management allowance’ package in exchange for an overtime pay exemption. It was in line with the Japanese labor laws that exempt employees from supervisor levels from the legal limit of 40 hours per week. It was perfectly fine with me since I was managing a team. But when the company started to promote other employees, including my team members, to supervisory level, it kind of felt odd to me. Many of the employees now are managers without any subordinates! After doing some research, that coincided with the time when a business school reported an increasing number of workers being classified as ‘managers’ when it comes to overtime policy. By paying a nominal ‘manager’s allowance’ or giving management titles to worker, companies are able to avoid paying overtime premiums within the boundaries of legal regulations. While I believe that my company was fair in using this policy, other companies may have taken advantage of this practice. After all, the Japanese workers, whether they are assigned management titles or not, are well accustomed to unpaid overtime work, accepting it as an inevitable fact of life. 

The concept of overtime pay exemption is not bad if it is to promote competitiveness by shifting from time linked pay to performance linked pay system. I believe on the positive side that if the pay is based on performance, the worker is given opportunities to continuously perform better with flexibility and be competitive in the global environment. There is also a high motivation to learn new skills as long as the company supports employee career development. But there would always be loopholes to abuse the system. Companies can set high production quotas at the same time set a cap on overtime hours and pay, white-collar workers would have to work longer hours and consequently forcing their subordinates to work more to meet their targets. It could become a vicious spiral of long hours of unpaid work and overwork related stresses or burnouts. This pheno-menon is already happening on the so called ‘black’ companies and also limits the equal opportunity for working women who are constrained to choose between motherhood and career. 

From my personal point of view, for the proposed legislation to work and meet its goals, it requires a paradigm shift because it would bring disruptive changes to established working cultures in Japan. I am a living testament to this “new” system along with many white collar salarymen.  PM Abe provided the options to choose. From my experience, it is not a matter of choice anymore but rather of acceptance.

A long time ago, I was told by somebody, “Work smart, not hard”. I guess so…and the truth is, if you work smart, you get more work. Ironic, isn’t it?