Thursday, March 17, 2011

my gratitude to japan

i have been arguing myself in these 3 months that i am finally active in my blog, if i will recall my experiences in japan back in 2009. then, for a time i decided against it because i might be carried away and write a hundred plus posts! yes, japan holds many of my great memories, the memories that i will treasure forever.

i now cannot imagine japan, after it had its greatest tragedy ever recorded. it happened last friday, march 11, 2011 at 14:46 jst when a 9.0 magnitude earthquake struck the northeastern part and even cascaded down south including the tokyo area. to make it worse, the strong earthquake triggered a 33-foot tsunami that swallowed most of the coastal part in sendai. more in wiki

i guess it is an appropriate time for me to write a post in summary of what japan had done for me in the short time of 6 months that i was there.

Meeting people in different races.

i was damn lucky that i was able to go to japan as a trainee in my previous company and i'm forever grateful for my leaders and everyone else for that. with how each of us has this preconceived notion regarding a certain race, i was able to break away from these biases and worked myself to understand instead.

Immersed in their culture.

i was there late spring and got burned after, with their summer heat which is quite different in our country because theirs is too humid. but i was able to witness and even join in some of their festivals during these seasons, like the hanabi (fireworks), tanabata and bon odori. i was in luck at that time for i had experienced several long vacations namely, the golden week, the summer holiday, and their other holidays. these were the times when i got to make way for those piled up travel plans and some impromptu ones!

while i was on training in yokohama, i joined all the tours organized by my training center and a volunteer group, consists of retired japanese called ksgg. i was making most of my little time there, exploring as much as i could afford. hehe

Becoming more independent.

i am already independent long before when i was only 11 years old. i moved from my hometown and had my high school years in the city , then college and eventually became a guaranteed tax-paying employee. hurrah!

confining myself in a 4-walled room or even in a grand house is a bad case for me because i have this need to be out there and experience the joy, taste the pain, and learn many new things along the way. my parents still don't understand this in me. ;(

so while in japan, i was breathing the air of freedom, calloused my feet, burnt my skin, got lost a number of times but never ever did i regret anything!

I learned planning!

my weekdays there were in a routine, i woke up early, met the same people who also had daily routines on my way to the train station, and most of the time, dashed insanely in order to be on time for my train. i had survived this routine by planning within the week on where i would go that weekend.

it didn't matter if most were menial plans like going to a different church, a park, and a temple which i believed i was in a temple overdose there. even if it would be my first time to be in that place, i relied on japan's convenient transportation, helpful directions along their streets, and some few japanese people who were able to comprehend my broken japanese.

i had this handy notebook wherein i scribbled the list of places and the train stations that i had to pass by in order to get to my destination. before i can manage to read few common japanese characters in the train stations, i even wrote the kanji equivalent just to be sure.

and i continue to plan up to this day.


of course, there are so much i could tell about japan because everyday that i was there was an experience. i hope in time, japan will only have to look back what's happening now and will be proud on how they got up from their knees, survived, and eventually recovered. everything will all be just a painful but fleeting memory.

like what they did during kobe earthquake in 1995.

P.S. For the recent earthquake in Japan, you can make your donations through Google. ;) here.


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