Loving (Japan) is easy

Every person I’ve talked to in the past five year who have visited any part of Japan tells me it’s fantastic. They say it’s ruined other Asian countries for them. So when I went to Japan this February, I had high hopes. I was going for the first time and to Osaka. Osaka they say is an easier transition to Japan than going straight to the capital Tokyo, where there’s much more to see, more people and more expensive.

It was still winter when we went and there was a definite chill in the air. Most of my photos are gray, as the sun didn’t come out much as well.

It was a city that felt so alive. There were definitely tourists all around, but this was a working city, with everyone going at a fast pace. We lost each other a few times (thank goodness that I opted for a sim of my own for data this time) in the crowd, but happily ate, shopped and walked around the Kansai region. It was a leisurely paced trip, which was largely slowed down by my capacity to go up and down stairs with my knees, but we had a lot of fun.

It’s not hard to love, Japan. It’s hyper organized but also has a lot of local color. The culture is a mix of super straightlaced with hidden kinks. The people are super respectful and proud of their product and food.

Oh my goodness the food. The fatty tuna, the amazing Kobe beef, the mochi, even the convenience store food was amazing (and we had some every night).

It’s not cheap. On average I spent a minimum of 400 PHP per meal, but I get why it’s so expensive. Electronics were pricier and foodstuff was too pricey to buy as a gag scary food gift for home.

So did I fall in love with Japan? Not completely. Maybe because I’m not really familiar with a lot of the culture except for the food. But I can see why people go head over heels for it.

Maybe when I get the chance to go to Okonushima (RABBIT ISLAND!) I’ll have a different view.

For now my heart still belongs to Vietnam.


Dear Nanay

Dear Nanay,

I was thinking of you last night. I was watching this show that I was watching right around your passing, of a grandma that had a stroke but survived. This season had a lot of content around her bucket list and they got to cross off a lot for her this season.

I cried because there was so much more I wanted to experience with you. I asked you last year how to cook your famous lengua, and you told me you pre-fried each piece so it wouldn’t get soggy. I wanted to cook it with you supervising so you could correct me on how it HAD to be done. And maybe show me the real secrets to why your lengua was so good.

Food and love I will always relate to you because you taught us all that. Mom knew and passed it on. I have come to realize that I cook for the people I care for and love. It’s how I say what I feel and make sure they’re taken care of.

There is so much more to you though than food. You’re tough. The story about you, Tatay and the itak over the bridge will always resonate with me of your strength and not taking crap from anyone, even your husband. Who, at the time was supposed to be lord and master of the household. You were able to stretch budgets to feed not only your kids but all their friends. You raised four kids. You were a teacher too.

I feel like there’s so much I missed talking to you about though. We found out some very interesting facts about you after the funeral that only made me more curious about what else we didn’t know about. There is so much more I wanted to find out but didn’t. And I wish I had more time with you for it.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I miss you and will continue to miss you at sad moments but especially happy ones. I want to share of all it with you and I guess I can only hope you’re paying attention from up there when they happen.

Keep on shakin’ Nay. We’ll miss you from here.




I think you should listen to Rudimental’s These Days today

Breakups are most often messy. Traumatic. We can’t help but wish that some people who broke us or we broke could cease existing in the same space we move through.

There are some separations that are cleaner and easier and I think that this song appeals to those who want to still be friends with their exes in the future. And in an ideal world, we all want to be the mature person who’s like that. I have to admit I am not that person yet. I do hope to be that way someday.

So I hope you find the openness to be like this with the people that have come and gone into your life. But for now, it can’t hurt to feel it through song.

Love is just a tool
To remind us who we are
And that we are not alone
When we’re walking in the dark
I hope someday
We’ll sit down together
And laugh with each other
About these days, these days

Listen to the song here.


I hope you see something that takes your breath away this weekend

This wasn’t this week, or even the last one, but I still remember the feeling of taking this photo, just breathing in the fresh air, the wind in my hair. I even tripped on the way down so that almost took my breath away as well.

This view in Batanes, this beautiful shore, on a grassy knoll, was incredible and I am very lucky to have been able to experience.

So you don’t need to travel to the northernmost part of the country, or even leave your house, but I hope this weekend, you set your eyes on something that takes your breath away. Even if it’s just an amazing meal or a scene in your favorite movie, we all need to have moments that make us realize what we’re here for.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?