Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

The ScRibbLeR at Kamikochi, Nagano. A day-trip with friends for Kouyou (紅葉). Kouyou literally means colored leaves or autumn foliage. Autumn is the time for Japanese to go to the countryside and the mountains to enjoy nature as the leaves turned from green to red, yellow and orange.  It’s a really interesting period and a much awaited one. Weather reports will usually include the best time for it. It’s a breathtaking sight and a wonderful opportunity for camera enthusiasts (like yours truly and a bunch of my friends).

Photo taken by Ronel (I think) or it could be Chi-chen 🙂

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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!



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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