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This is it!

I have barely slept 3-4 hours or so a day for more than a month in preparation for this. Not even when I took my entrance exam for college and NSAT did I study this much.

I’ve just taken the written and oral exams a day ago and yesterday respectively. As usual it was nerve wracking knowing full well that in some instances my Japanese proficiency is still not enough. However, I’m hoping I have convinced them during the interview that I will be able to reach the level of proficiency needed during the 2 years required to finish my Masters. Thus, here I am at school. Waiting for the results to be posted. Needing someone to talk to so much to relieve the stress and not finding anyone.

The written exam itself was really difficult. As usual I just tried to answer the easiest questions first and leave the hardest for later. I was particularly anxious for the translation part of the exam – English to Japanese. I hope my translation was not too weird . Oh well, it can’t be helped. But the area I got in so much trouble with was Question Number Two – semantic analysis of Japanese transitive and intransitive verbs. I was literally squeezing my brains out for whatever dregs of intelligence or information still remaining there – hahaha! Good thing I was still able to answer it although due to time constraints I was unable to finish it.

TRIVIA : It was snowing when I went out of my apartment to go to the University for the interview. 🙂 Any piece of cheeriness is good right. I took heart and went with a smile. I guess it was effective since during the interview although I was a bit nervous I was still able to answer the questions and even bantered with the two professors who were interviewing me – one of which is my adviser and the other is you might call a co-adviser. And they even noticed the parts where I got really excited which is an explanation about the term “lingua franca”. Since I told them its a reality in the Philippines. I wrote a lot about it so I guess at least that one question went well.

February 15, 2008

3:38 PM

At a convenience store (Family Mart) inside the University behind my College

Still waiting and writing this blog. Wanting time to move fast yet at the same time wanting it to slow down. A mixture of emotions which is quite understandable since this is IT! I’m refraining from calling anyone not until I get the results although I talked to Ronel a while ago asking about the results. Told him I’m still waiting for it and will inform everyone the minute I get it.

3:43 PM

I’m feeling this funny thumping of my heart. I can barely breathe and I find myself consciously taking deep breaths just to relieve this constricting feeling. As I write this passage, I am trying to distract myself by eavesdropping on the conversation of the two guys near me. hehehe… I think they are looking at a site written entirely in English and both of them can barely understand it. And they are asking how come it’s this way or that. hahaha! See how pathetic I’ve become? I’ve been reduced to writing about other people’s conversation without their consent.

3:54 PM

Can’t help but review in my mind what was said during the interview. Although I clearly remembered Machida Sensei remarking that overall I did well in my exams. And they asked me how I was able to study and told them by myself mostly and also with the help of my tutor – Akiko and of course the classes I attended which was taught by them. Looking back those classes were a revelation in terms of analyzing Japanese sentence constructions. One of the memorable things I’ve learned and it was the first time I’ve encountered such an analysis, was the way the verbs are analyzed by dividing them into different grammatical categories.

Basically it’s this way:   Verb base + Aspect + Voice + Tense + Modality

Previously I analyze Japanese verbs in terms of the suffix attached to the verb base and looking at the affix as one whole morpheme. Never thinking it can still be divided in even more smaller morphemes.

4:07 PM

Still waiting… I’m thinking of going to the entrance of the College of Letters Building by 5 PM. That should be enough time to post it right? I find that as the time draws near my anxiety escalates. Have I convinced them that I will be able to even more improve my Japanese during the time required to finish my masters here? Have I shown them a comfortable and confident aura that would make them think so? The only thing I remembered was that I was giving them my usual megawatt smile. I find smiling bolsters my spirit and makes me feel I can do anything. I also remembered literally chanting in my head – “Please, Please God! Help me!” – during the written and oral exams.

4:26 PM

My hands are getting cold my heart is still beating a mile a minute and I have come to the realization that the results is about to come. And I can no longer do anything about it but wait and hope. Although whatever miracles that was supposed to have happened must have happened over the past two days and I can only stay here and type and think about it and wait.

4:42 PM

Talking with Ako-san… finally able to calm down. Although there is still the funny feeling in my stomach.

4:54 PM

I am going now, with butterflies in my stomach, I am going to check the results. It feels like I’m about to open a door. I do not know what lies behind it which makes me scared and at the same time excited. There are very few moments in one’s life where one can recognize a turning point at a time when it is happening to them. Win or lose I am facing it.

5:07 PM

I remembered was it Sakuma Sensei or Machida Sensei (?) asking me what will happen to my scholarship if ever I continue my Masters. I told them it will be extended and I have already submitted the application forms for it months ago.  Hearing this they nodded.  EXTENSION – what a nice word to hear. But not in this case. Apparently the results will be posted at 6 PM. So I have yet to endure an extra hour of anxiousness. Just when I though I will finally know the results now this. This is torture!

5:36 PM

I e-mailed Ako-san, telling her the results will not be out until 6 PM. Ah! I’m on tenterhooks. Then Ronel called again asking for the results. Good thing too since I was able to forget my anxiety for the moment. As usual he’s in Sakae and will be going to his favorite store – GAP. He also told me about a good item to buy as omiyage in one of the shops there. Will be checking it out once I get the time. As for now, still waiting, still nervous and there’s still nothing I can do about it. SIGH!

5:56 PM

Finally! This is IT! No more hits and misses. I will finally know the results. My heart is once again beating so fast. My stomach is fluttering. My hands are getting cold (although that I can probably blame on the weather). I can barely breathe. Deep breaths Tayns, deep breaths. I’m about to go and open the door.

6:00 PM

I never knew how much courage it takes to take a step towards a building. How much courage it takes to look at that piece of paper. How much  courage it would take to make sense of it all.

Ah! there it is my examination number. I PASSED!

———————————————————–

NOTO BENE:

To all my friends who have supported and worried about me. Thank you. I would not have made it without any of you. I am truly grateful for the support you have given me.

  • Salve, Sherma and great great (to infinity) grandpuppy – thank you for your support. I am sorry for worrying you guys in the months I have been quiet. Although I found it not reassuring at all that after using both of your brains none of you can come up of ways on how you will cheer me up if ever I fail. 🙂
  • Akiko – Thank you for your endless patience and consideration. Thank you for explaining terms that I am unable to understand. It is without a doubt through your support that I was able to make it.
  • Ako-san – Thank you for being patient when I needed someone to listen. And thank you for sincerely rejoicing with me when I made it.
  • Kaishi-san – I know your support has always been there. Thank you. It looks like will be seeing a lot of each other for the next two years. Maybe will get to visit each others country by then.
  • Renzy, Weena and Ronel – hehehe… What can I say? Thank you. The support of the La Familia has allowed me to be confident and truly work hard for it.
  • To my Family who’s support has always been my strength. I am grateful to have you all.

TRIVIA: At the time of finding out that I passed I had this uncontrollable feeling of relief and excitement that when I saw Jaja-san (a fellow examiner who incidentally also passed) we just hugged each other and laughed. And in my excitement I do not know who I grabbed, I don’t even know if the person is male or female, I just grabbed him/her and hugged the person. So giddy with excitement I started calling all my friends and family about the results. In my excitement I wandered around the university forgetting where I parked my bicycle. And as I write this passage I am still smiling and thinking this is real. It is truly happening – I passed the entrance exam.

Thank you Lord for hearing my prayers.

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Hi peepz,

You know who you are. I know I haven’t been keeping in touch with you lately and it’s been some time since I last posted anything. Sorry about that. Let’s just say I’m having my period of introspection… hahaha! Salve and Sherma, if you were here you just might get the dreaded text message or maybe not. Maybe I’ll just hunt you guys down since I just need someone to cheer me up. Or maybe I just miss hugging you guys. Sigh! Luvy and Mae, can you believe me existing without hugging anyone? (point of clarification: I only hug girls my really close girl friends).  Or Missy Ai, I just might drag you to yet another session of i-max screening with food tripping interspersed (I just hope we don’t get jinxed yet again!).

Point of the matter is… it’s December. This will be my second Christmas here and I’m not there. I just feel so alone and so out of touch. I can hardly feel that it’s the holiday season which in hindsight is a good thing since I just might burst into tears during class… I can just imagine… (so not cool!)

So I figured since I’m so down and all why not make a list that will make me even more melancholic. I guess it’s one way of confronting a problem right? maybe if I have a really good cry I can get it out of my system… so here it is – the things I will miss this holiday season:

  • I will miss the Christmas decorations one sees on the streets, in the mall and in every house from the most humble to the richest. Especially the parol (a Filipino Christmas lantern shaped like a star which is constructed using bamboo sticks and colorful paper).

  • I will miss the blaring Christmas songs over the radio in the jeepneys, tricycles, buses, malls and from the house of my not quite so deaf but might as well be deaf neighbor (in my case the neighbor is actually a relative).

  • I will miss the puto bungbong (a purple colored grounded and glutinous rice cooked in bamboo tubes and placed in a special steamer. Once cooked the resulting sticky rice cake is often topped with butter, sugar and grated coconut.) that one can buy after simbang gabi (shameful admission this might be, that was one of the reason why I attend simbang gabi not to mention the wish you can make when you complete it).

  • I will miss karoling– kids going house to house to sing Christmas carols for some coin.

  • I will miss the cacophony of sounds produced by their improvised musical instruments usually made of bottled soda caps, pebbles and tin cans (which may not be harmonious but nevertheless charming).

  • I will miss the kids singing their thanks after you gave them their coin – “thank you, thank you, and babait ninyo, thank you!”

  • I will miss writing down “The List” – names of people that  I will be giving gifts to.

  • I will miss trying to remember the name of my latest inaanak then failing that writing the description of their progeny instead i.e. daughter of Ate Baneng’s sister, son or daughter of some aunt or other, etc.

  • I will miss the buying frenzy in the mall for Christmas gifts but most especially the trips to Divisoria where I usually end up lugging a sackful of goodies.

  • I will miss scouring the malls and every nook and cranny of Divisoria for that perfect gift for one of the people in my list.

  • I will miss the gift-wrapping mania that takes over me after I bought all the gifts and making some sort of system to monitor whose gift is which.

  • I will miss the manito-manita. The series of gifts one gives and receives before the big day according to theme –  circular objects, long object, soft objects, etc..

  • I will miss the office Christmas parties which is most often than not a costume party so everyone ends up wearing the weirdest of ensembles and everyone will think it’s cool.

  • I will miss receiving the Christmas bonus and the various freebies the company gifts to its employees.

  • I will miss giving the gifts I selected for each of my friends and of course receiving gifts from them as well. Hehehe…

  • I will miss the feeling of buying a round-trip ticket home for only 2,000 pesos mainly because I bought it weeks before I go home.

  • I will miss the feeling of packing all the gifts to take it home for the holidays.

  • I will miss the feeling of anticipation one gets when you know that in just an hour or so you will be home with your family to celebrate the holidays.

  • I will miss the feeling one gets when you see your family outside the airport.

  • I will miss the hugs and kisses, the laughter and the bickering – just the feeling of togetherness with my family.

  • I will miss grocery shopping for noche buena.

  • I will miss preparing the one and only dish I know how to prepare which unfortunately my younger brother can’t eat –  chicken macaroni salad. He is forever asking me to learn a new dish to prepare one he can actually eat, hmmm… maybe next Christmas 🙂

  • I will miss my mom’s barbecue, gelatin, special meatballs… my younger brother’s spaghetti. Sigh…

  • I will miss the noche buena with my family.

  • I will miss seeing first hand the expressions in my family’s faces when they opened their gifts.

  • I will miss sending text messages to friends on Christmas and new year’s eve. Actually, trying and persevering are the operative words, since everyone has the same idea as you so the lines are naturally busy but by persevering and patiently pressing the resend button one eventually gets through.

  • I will miss  receiving consecutive text messages from those same friends some unexpected all returning your greetings.

  • I will miss my niece’s shriek of laughter and kakulitan, my mom’s kalambingan, my dad’s excitement for his garden, my younger brother’s kakulitan and his updates about the latest anime, video games and such, my kuya’s stories and my sister-in-law’s bungisngis.

  • One thing I will NOT miss though – my flight back to work, back to the grind and to the smog, pollution and traffic of the metropolis.

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hmmm… I am currently enamored with this dessert that I would usually prepare it whenever I feel like it. I like it so much that I made sure that my fridge stocks the essentials for it. hahaha… yes girls I prepared this dish on my own. It’s just so easy to make and after which you have a delish dessert to savor.

Here’s how: I peeled the banana (from the Philippines, of course!) and any fruits I might want to add to it. Then cut it to half or diced it (whichever I might prefer at the moment). Then I sprinkled sugar on the fruits. After which, I heat up the pan and melt a spoon of butter (any butter would do but I was thinking Anchor butter would taste even better though I haven’t tried it yet). I fried all the fruits for a minute or so just enough to coat the fruits with the butter and melt the sugar on it. Then I poured everything on a dish, cooled it for a moment and put a dollop or two of ice cream (mine’s vanilla but whichever flavor you prefer would do of course). And voila! your very own dessert perfect for a hot summer day.

Happy eating everyone!

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July 28 (Saturday)

Target Prefecture: Shizuoka

Shizuoka is one of the provinces of Japan located in the Chubu Region (which basically means Central Region) at Honshu (literally means “Main State, it’s the largest island amongst the four major islands of Japan which includes Hokkaido, Shikoku and Kyushu) Island. It is famous for being the area where Mt. Fuji is located.

Hamanako Lake

We passed by this area on our way to the park. Our bus also made a pit stop in one of the service areas there. There was a viewing area at the side that I just had to take a peek and take a shot for posterity. The temperature was hot but it was breezy so it’s not uncomfortably hot and the sparkling waters was just so inviting. hehehe… making me wish I was home.

Ryuku Cha (Green Tea)

The famous green tea of Japan. Good for metabolism, so girls if you’re planning to lose some weight just drink green tea after every meal. Anyway, Shizuoka’s green tea is well-known all over Japan that it’s usual to see rows of green tea bushes being cultivated. It was a wonderful site too. At one point, there was an area that so reminded me of  “The Shire” that I was waiting for “Hobbits” to appear. No Hobbits though just Japanese farmers.

Destination: Fuji Safari Park

  • Address: 2255 -27 Aza Fujiwara, Susono City, Shizuoka Prefecture

  • Admission Hours: 9:00 – 17:00

  • Admission Fee: high school students and older (¥ 2,700); 4 year old to junior high school students (¥ 1,500); senior citizen discount – 65 years and older (¥ 2,000)

  • How To Get There: From Nagoya Station take the JR Tokaido Honsen and get off at Mishima or Gotemba Station then take Fujikyu Bus to Fuji Safari Park.

As I said before, the park is located at the foot of Mt. Fuji thus offering visitors a good view of this famous landmark on a clear day. Unfortunately, this was not one of those times. Still, the attractions offered by the park more than made up for it, most especially their Safari Zone.

Safari Zone

The Safari Zone, which is divided into several zones – Tiger, Bears, Lions, Cheetahs, Elephants and various Herbivores,  enables you to witness animals you see in the Discovery and National Geographic Channels roaming freely.

You enter the area by either using your own vehicle or the park’s jungle bus (a modified bus open at both sides with steel cage bars as side panels). But I suggest you go in using the jungle bus because it’s more atmospheric and you will really feel like your in an African Safari adventure. In our case though, we entered it using our tour bus but that did not stop any of us in enjoying ourselves immensely. The whole group (and most of it are adults mind you) literally became like kids in a zoo all craning to see the lion or the bear sunning itself or sleeping in the shade. For my part, entering the area of each zones actually reminded me of Jurassic Park. Each entrances has this enormous gate with a tower-like security post. All clear though, not a T-rex in sight!

Simba up close and personal

A lazy tiger combatting the heat of the day

Find the Bear Amongst the Rocks

Other Attractions

The House of Cats

  • Admission Fee: ¥ 500.00

If you love cats then this place will be your idea of heaven. Cats rules this house. You see them lazily walking by, sunning and even coyly playing with the kids and tourists alike. Although, I did had an encounter with a rather boorish cat (on second thought it might have something to do with me petting the poor thing while it was sleeping when it woke up it was naturally disgruntled).

Met Crookshanks there

Metro-Goldwyn Mayer… a rather sleepy version

The House of Dogs

  • Admission Fee: ¥ 500.00

You will literally be in the dog house! And there is no need for anyone to put you there for you will be there quite willingly. It showcases various small breeds of dogs and allows visitors to spend time with them. hmmm… I personally liked one of the dogs there so cute and ugly. 😉

Met Paris Hilton’s Chihuahua 😉

The Cutest Pug of Them All

Fun Transformation at the Souvenir Shop

Turned into Galena in cooperation with some of Sherma’s friends

MUST DO!

Walking Safari Adventure Tour

  • Admission Fee: ¥ 2,000.00

If you ever had a chance to come to this park make sure you have enough time for the “Walking Safari” attraction. It will take you at least 2 hours to complete the course but it will be worth it since it will allow you to get up close and personal with the various animals in the safari zone. Much closer than you’ll be if you go by their jungle bus. Alas! Much to my regret, Grace and I did not know about this attraction during our visit.

Now if you still have time and cash to spare you can join the park’s “Night Safari” on board one of the park’s jungle bus and observe the animals’ nocturnal behavior with night scopes. Hey, not everyone can afford a Safari vacation in Africa, might as well take the next best thing.

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Billiards was introduced to me by my dad, my interest was cemented by the magic one witnesses whenever Efren “Bata” Reyes plays. And the toothless smile… let’s just say I find it cute, odd as it may seem. Anyway, I found this wonderful video clip of Efren “Bata” Reyes’ game. Every time the commentators tries to second guess his move he confounds them. I’m thinking Efren just might be a genius when it comes to Geometry. Because when one of my friends was teaching me billiards she tells me to remember my Geometry course back in highschool since, so she tells me, it’s all about angles. Thing is I was bad at Math! Anyway, great sportsmanship shown by Earl Strickland as well. Enjoy!


SOURCE: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4YTuYpKdns

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Yesterday I invited some of my friends out so I can treat them for my belated birthday celebration – Kaishi-san, Ako-san and Akiko-san. Imagine my consternation, when they all insisted that they pay for the food which obviously I did not let them do. It was afterall my treat. Apparently, here in Japan the birthday celebrant are the one who gets treated on their birthday by their friends not the other way around. hmmm… maybe next time 😉

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These are the dances performed by the Filipino Students Society of Nagoya (FSSN) for the 2007 Philippine Festival held at Nagoya International Center on May 26, 2007.

  • The first presentation is a modern interpretation of a Muslim traditional dance to the tune of Joey Ayala’s “Magkaugnay.”

  • The second one is La Jota Moncadeña. According to the information I got, the dance is an interpretation of the Spanish La Jota dances during the Spanish Period by the people of  Moncada, Tarlac. Thus, it’s a combination of Spanish and Ilocano dance steps and music and was named after the place where it came from. The performers of this dance adds liveliness and excitement by using bamboo castanets.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6hQW0ctvbI

NOTE: The male dancer in the middle is one of our foreign friends. We assured him no one would question his presence in the dance since there are a lot of mestizos in the Philippines. If all else fails will claim him as insulares or peninsulares – whichever will do the trick. 😉

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