Everything Japanese

 

20170716_181537

The last day of Eiga Sai Ph at the Shang Cineplex was on July 16, Sunday. And like how the film festival always starts during the first week of July, it also always concludes before or after my birthday — so the dates always include my birthday. However, this year it actually concluded on my birthday.

It kinda reminds me of how Harry Potter either premieres a new movie before or after my birthday or during November. It’s only either July or November.

I decided to skip Saturday, July 15 screening of “Anthem of the Heart” and ended up losing P100 because I already have a ticket but then again, if I went I would have lost more money than just P100 because I would have to spend more.

So I opted to watch something on the last day instead. Initially, I was looking at watching Naomi Kawase’s “Sweet Bean” despite having doubts about it for having read negative reviews when it premiered at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

fxa0mzev

Then again, I couldn’t watch it because I was again late and so I ended up watching the documentary “Tsukiji Wonderland.” The docu is part of my shortlist but not really a high priority but I must say, it’s a better choice to have watched the docu instead.

I may have missed seeing inside the Tsukiji Fish Market last year, I only saw it from the outside on my late night walk; seeing the documentary makes me feel like I had ventured into every corner of the fish market in reality. And because I love fish, it was a sight how the Japanese put so much high regard with the fresh seafood culture and how they both have fun and in-depth knowledge about what they do and take pride in it.

 

20170716_230319

A lime torte cake that I was able to buy on a last-minute decision from Starbucks because it’s the only one that’s open when I went out of Shang. 
I haven’t had a cake since Ryuchan’s birthday last May 9th. I say it like I was actually there on his birthday. Delusional me.

Advertisements

Year of the Sheep: Bright Lights, Bright Beginnings

It was indeed bright lights and bright beginnings for everyone, including Filipinos who may or may not have Chinese blood or lineage. I was at the Lucky Chinatown Mall recently to join in the fun of welcoming the Year of the Sheep in my usual solo demeanor.

Chinese lanterns light up the night at Lucky Chinatown Walk. I love these, they're one of my most favorite things. It just simply makes me smile whenever I see them.

Chinese lanterns light up the night at Lucky Chinatown Walk. I love these, they’re one of my most favorite things. It just simply makes me smile whenever I see them.

I’ve always liked this place ever since I found out that there’s this new mall in Divisoria. It has this different vibe when I see the facade of the mall buildings – the colors and structure, something that makes me feel like I’m in Macau.

Every year, feng shui experts give out predictions for the year, including some information about the fate of the different 12 animal signs. It doesn’t really matter whether they will come true or not, rather like what they always say, treat it as a guide. So it doesn’t really harm that many Filipinos like to follow the practices or traditions that are believed to be lucky for the year.

Despite having Chinese lineage, I wasn’t brought up in a family following the usual Chinese traditions like the Chinese New Year but I’ve always recognized the Chinese part of myself, which is probably why I love HongKong. I wanted to get in touch with my Chinese ancestry, so joining in the celebration is one great way to do so even on my own.

And just like how the Catholics pray to God for their wishes, the Chinese have the Buddha to pray to and guide them in their everyday life, accompanied by a range of lucky charms and practices that are believed to ward evil and negative vibes and bring luck and prosperity.

One of the most popular attractions was the Prosperity Tree, which was the first thing that welcomes you when you approach the mall entrance. The Lucky Chinatown Walk became a sensation last February 18, where mall goers and visitors can take photos and take part in the (8) Lucky Rituals.

IMG_1218

It is strongly believed that anyone aspiring luck and prosperity should make a wish by tossing a coin at the Prosperity Pond beneath the Prosperity Tree. As seen in the second photo, the pond comes with a stronger fortune vibe because of the presence of the Dragon Tortoise statue. In Chinese tradition, the dragon tortoise combines two of the four celestial animals in the Feng Shui practice, combining the qualities of both the dragon for perseverance and valiancy and tortoise for its stability and steadfastness. In simpler terms, this mythical figure is the epitome example of wisdom and ambition and believed to bring good fortune in business and career.

IMG_1223

IMG_1296

That is me taken this Saturday, Feb. 28 trying out the toss coin wish. My friend Anna took the picture.

Most people are familiar with the Maneki Neko Cat, which is often seen in entrances of Chinese shops. They say, the cat’s moving paw is seemingly inviting visitors to the store therefore bringing and attracting wealth, fortune and opportunities. The belief is that you rub the cat so its good luck charm can rub off on you as well.

IMG_1235

The catch for this one though is that it’s the big version, so the paw is not actually moving

Gongs are frequently seen in Chinese temples. It has always been associated to meditation with its sound that aids in the relaxation of the mind and soul, therefore giving serenity. It’s also believed that if you whip the Good Luck Gong, you are banishing evil spirits and negativity not just in yourself but in your surroundings.

IMG_1234

Kids posing with the Good Luck Gong

And there’s also the wishing crane. I’m not so familiar with this one though, which is why I wanted to try it so bad. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to fold a crane and just ended up getting already-folded cranes from the booth.

Cranes symbolize long life and luck. Japanese legends also tell that folding a thousand origami cranes is to make someone’s wish come true.

IMG_1229

f1

The yellow one at the bottom photo is my very own crane. So I’m hoping, my wishes would come true.

Fu (Happiness), Lu (Prosperity) and Shou (Longevity) are called the Three Stars. They are are the gods of happiness, prosperity and longevity, which are the three essential attributes of a having good life. It is often found in ancestral shrines and Chinese homes. It can be likened to an altar in Filipino homes, where families say a prayer.

IMG_1231

The Three Stars

According to Buddhists, an incense signifies morality and immaculacy. In Chinese culture, lighting the first incense of the year grants a person’s New Year wish.

I remember everytime it’s All Soul’s Day, I light a number of incense and place them in a sand jar in front of the graves of my paternal grandparents and my father’s.

IMG_1225

The Buddha Shrine

IMG_1236

I forgot what this is called, but it’s also one of the popular lucky charms with coins in it often seen in Chinese shops.

f2

I was able to take photos in front of the Prosperity Tree and the Chinese ricksaw because it isn’t crowded anymore, as these were taken on Saturday, Feb. 28, and with the help of Anna.

There were also performances at the Lucky Chinatown Atrium, with singing acts including Kiss Jane, Silent Sanctuary, Hotdog, Cathy Go, James Reid & Nadine Lustre and Anne Curtis and hosted by Candy Pangilinan.

At 11:55pm, visitors were treated to a lion and dragon dance performance at the Lucky Chinatown Walk, an acrobat performance, forecast of the Year of the Sheep by Johnson Chua and the lighting of the first incense ritual.

Hua Mulan: A Children’s Musical from Kids Act Phils. were also performed on Sunday, Feb. 22. The children’s favorite story of Hua Mulan centers on family, sacrifice and courage.

The night ended with a grand fireworks display.

Other activities included in the succeeding days were Shin Lian Chinese orchestra performance, Chinese Opera, Feng Shui talk with Hanz Chua, Shaun – The Sheep Meet & Greet, Chinese school performance, Philippine Ling Namn High Pole Dance; and performances from Sitti Navarro, Sabrina, Myk Perez, Brad Go, Sheila Valderama, Richard Poon and Jose Mari Chan.

IMG_1251

The band Hotdog performing disco classics

IMG_1250

Silent Sanctuary playing their hits

IMG_1245

Kiss Jane performs “Lagi Na Lang”

f3

James Reid and Nadine Lustre bring in the “kilig” for the Chinese New Year celebration

f4

Anne Curtis performing in red

IMG_1248

Food for the day wasn’t Chinese though, but still with Chinese influences. Since the Chinese New Year countdown fell on the same day as Ash Wednesday, which means eating meat is prohibited. I ordered Shrimp & Tofu from ThaiCoon, which I hope would have more branches in SM Malls as I always have to go to Lucky Chinatown for Thai food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Gift of Books, Itachi and Sasuke Goodies

I’m writing this post at 11:15pm, Dec. 31st just before everything starts over again.

IMG_1123

I’m thankful for these great gifts of experience, adventure and knowing great people who are like real friends to me; although they’re fictional people. Most of the time, these people are the kind of people I’d really like to meet and be friends with. They’re the kind who are not so easy to find in the human world, so I’m really grateful for these wonderful stories of life, of love, of friendship, and everything else in between.

The most memorable character for me this year is Tsukuru Tazaki. He’s so close to who I am and I feel so connected with his story, despite not exactly having the same dilemma and ordeal he had to go through.

At present, I’m reading my first non-fiction book and travel related  one but still so Japanese. I’m enjoying it a lot, having to know more about the country I hold so dearly – my favorite country Japan.

IMG_1121

I also thank my Uncle Luvin from the States, who paved the way for me to be able to get Haruki Murakami’s latest release – The Strange Library; as well as this very beautiful (Naruto) Itachi messenger bag and this bad-ass looking Sasuke’s Eternal Mangekyou Sharingan necklace. But of course, before Uncle Luvin; it is God I have to thank for all these.

This year might not have been the best with an unfortunate event, but I’m looking forward to starting over again. I do not want to promise, instead I will keep on trying and learning from mistakes everyday; and hoping my Christmas wish that I always prayed for during the nine-day Misa de Gallo mass will be awarded to me by God this new year.

Happy New Year everyone and God bless!

Updating this post with some photos earlier during the New Year’s Eve dinner or media noche. Well, I don’t usually post photos of myself but it won’t hurt to do once in a while. I had to take the photos myself and I’m not so good with taking selcas; as I’m not with any family member, but it’s still good. And since I’m not photogenic, I had to take a couple of shots to finally capture some decent ones.

IMG_1140

I suddenly noticed earlier that my glasses and my shirt are the same color. That was not intentional.

FotorCreated

The only ones I personally prepared are the macaroni salad and the ham. The apple crumble, chicken and pancit malabon were take-out orders.

The candles, they’re called prosperity candles. I’m not sure if this tradition is done elsewhere too, but the practice is you light all (7) candles: red (health), blue (peace), yellow (intelligence), violet (spiritual growth), pink (love), green (money), and orange (career) at 11:30pm and put them out at 12 midnight. The smallest candle or the one that melted the quickest symbolizes the good fortune that the new year will bring you first, followed by the rest.

It’s really hard though to decipher which one is the smallest since the candles got a little mixed up when they melted. But I think orange is the smallest, then pink, blue, green, red, violet and yellow.

Orange is for career, hurray! I think this one got me a little excited, crossing my fingers and praying it will be. Pink for love, but not so much a priority. Blue for peace, oh yes peace of mind. Green for money, so I could travel more and buy more books; and Naruto manga and some goodies, and save more. Red for health, good health is always a blessings. Violet for spiritual growth, guidance from God. And last but not the least, yellow for intelligence; to learn new things and new experiences for the mind, body and soul intellect.

The Japanese solo birthday dinner

Not many people who are non-family greet me on my birthday but I never really cared. I forgot my mom’s birthday recently and I just forgot mine last year, but I’m not exactly the forgetful type. Aside from my mom, there are only two friends who always remember: one who I’ve known since primary and was my classmate both primary and high school and one from college. And yes another new addition, a friend who I’ve known for about five years but have yet to see her in person; she’s living in California. I am always grateful for these three whom I can say I trust the most among my friends. And last but not the least, my 4th brother who’s in Singapore who suddenly remembered my birthday few days after but that’s okay.

Image from liquorette.deviantart.com/

Image from liquorette.deviantart.com/

I woke up on Wednesday 16 July and found three messages of greetings. And also found out the whole street was having a power outage due to typhoon Glenda, which means there’s nothing else to do as there’s no telly and no Internet. My high school friend who lives in front of my parent’s place told me that early in the morning about 6am or 7am, the plastic roof of their mini garage was taken away by the strong wind but they were able to get it back into place.  I didn’t see the flying tree twigs and small branches as I got up a little later than that.

I was up the night before until about 4:30am as I was repeatedly listening to ONE OK ROCK’s single “Mighty Long Fall” – main song for Rurouni Kenshin: Kyoto Inferno that was posted on Tumblr, but supposedly to be officially released on the 30th this month. There wasn’t any strong winds yet during those hours, other than the quite strong pour of rain that got me worried if I should take the washing machine inside. Eventually, I only took in the laundry basins and my clothes that were still not dry. I felt relieved though the next day to find out that the washing machine was safe and that there was no flooding. It’s better to have a power outage than flooding.

So I couldn’t do anything else without any power. I couldn’t read because it was still so gloomy outside and I felt like I’d only hurt my eyes in doing so. I was supposed to go somewhere to deliver something but eventually opted not to. The weather was calm already so I decided to go out. Great thing, SM San Lazaro – the nearest mall was open when almost every establishment was close due to the typhoon.

At the very least, the only thing I could do for myself was a Japanese solo dinner of Miso Ramen and Tuna Sashimi for another year of the always reserved & no make-up face; solo geek; bookish and blogging nerd; the OC; the quiet fish and tofu dork; the mall wanderer; the loud music; everything Japanese, Korean and European; the non-provocative, non-expressive, non-political, non-feminine, non-perfectionist; the NBSB; the accustomed to occasional insults & rejections; the badminton and table tennis love; the struggling; the independent; the thrifty; the no-jeans; no one’s favorite; dream powers of invisibility, teleportation, time control and travel; dreaming of violin playing; Murakami & Harry Potter; coffee & fruit tea; Winter & Spring admiration; Lucban food; green salads; never wanting to be a “basically” and many, many more. 

Photo0687

 

I am thankful for the weird, the good, the bad, the okay, the rainy, the sunny, and for everyday.

And thank you Karate Kid for the sumptuous meal and because you were open that day.

Christmas dinner treat with the editorial team

I’m posting my last minute blog post for the year and for the month.

It took me (9) months to finally be able to give a treat to the editorial team on Dec.19 with my editor (girl in black) and our senior and junior graphic and lay-out artists Kuya Oliver and Ate Jube. I treated them to one of my favorite Korean restaurants as they haven’t tried the authentic Korean cuisine yet. I’m glad to hear the day after that they enjoyed the meal despite feeling really heavy.

1478985_10151874957993348_1698133212_n 995237_10201143749131608_1680804038_n

I consider my work with them as one of the best blessings I’ve had this year. I love this work in all honesty, despite some shortcomings in terms of pay. I get to go to events and learn new things, I get to read a lot too. They’re one of the nicest people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with since I started working.

I’m not sure how long will I stay with the team and the company. I have plans this coming year and hope to really clinch it this time to further help my Mom and hopefully to start my dream masteral studies. In any case, it was a wonderful year to share with these good people who taught me some things and guided me in the company.

Happy New Year everyone!!! And I’m really thankful for God for this year and for the good people and experiences.

May everyone be blessed with a wonderful year ahead full with guidance and blessings from God. Full of laughs, smiles, good vibes, savings, more travel, humility,gratefullness, less stressors, good health and safety at all times.

As for me, I wish for myself the same things of laughs, smiles, positivity, of travel, savings, health, less stress, blessings, safety to me, my family and friends, new work environment overseas, and of course more Tom Hiddleston because he really makes me happy even though I haven’t seen him in person.

On a Saturday Shinhwa made extraordinary

My first time in Singapore gave me a first-hand experience about what it’s like there. I pretty much discovered some things during my two-week stay there. Like during my trip to Hong Kong, I felt some similarity with the environment here, everything seems so orderly and organized; commuting isn’t a problem; clean surroundings among others. The place became familiar to me as I now know how to navigate the places quite easily, more so this time that I came alone but for a different reason.

If the first time came free and solely for the purpose of strolling and discovering Singapore, this time the travel came with a concert and not just any concert. It’s a Shinhwa concert, it’s Shinhwa’s 14th Anniversary Asia Tour.

It was my first time to watch in Singapore and first time to see my 3 month-old newly gained Shinhwa oppars perform live in concert. How awesome is that?! It was super awesome!

So the story started when I officially became a Shinhwa Changjo on March 28 or 29 last year. I’ve known the name Shinhwa since I got into the whole Korean popular culture bandwagon during my early college years.  The whole craziness started with Venus MV when Vince forwarded it to me on YM. But even before this, I was talking to ate Len about them already and Shinhwa Broadcast.

When me and the rest of my common fangirls became ShinChangs in March, we started talking about Shinhwa’s Wild Photobook that was shot in the Philippines, though we don’t exactly know where.   The conversations were mainly on the perv side as the photobook shows them half-naked, oh even full naked but back view, at a beach carrying coconut leaves, under a waterfall, against the waves and posing in the woods.  So imagination is really working for us,dirty imaginations haha! So this is where the idea to create a secret group came from, the birth of TCC aka Triple Cassie Changjo. It’s a combination of three fandoms: Triple from Triple S of SS501 (I’m not a TS anymore btw), Cassie/ Cassiopeia of TVXQ and of course Changjo from Shinhwa Changjo of Shinhwa.

When I found out that they’re going to have Asia Tour, I just felt the need to do it. I had to be there. I had to resort to even selling some of my SS501 stuff as it’s okay for me to let them go. And so I made it!!! Of course, everything came with effort and prayers that I managed to gather enough money in only 2 months and almost 2 weeks to see Shinhwa live!!! That’s so big!!! It was such an achievement to me because I haven’t gone to a concert overseas with just 2 months to prepare.  I did went to HK and Bangkok for a concert too but I had more time. Add to that, I was a relatively new fan unlike when I went to SS concert on Dec ’09, I was already a fan for months already and had like a year to prepare. So everything went so fast but I’m glad I made it.

So that’s how my ShinChang story began and how I gathered all my tactics to get to Singapore and see them.

The four of us went to Singapore: ate Elen, ate Lyn, Sarah and me. We left Thursday early morning. The concert was held Saturday, June 16 at Compass Ballroom, Resorts World Convention Centre. I didn’t take photos or fancams during the concert as I learned my lesson, it will only distract me. I just wanted to focus on staring at them. LOL!

Oh and we went to the airport Friday when the oppas arrived. Ate Elen and I managed to hand over our gifts to one of the managers. Airport guards were quite rude pushing us.  I really wanted to get close as in be able to hand it over to one of the oppas myself, but oh well that’s better than not having to hand it over though. Couldn’t take photos either, it was a riot at the airport just to get a good sight of the oppas.

My first Shinhwa concert was super blast! I really enjoyed the concert and damn they’re so so good live. As you know most idol groups nowadays aren’t worthy seeing live.One of my very best experience ever. I felt so good at the concert, I forgot about the time. Like I was literally in a new world – in Shinhwa happy world. I wanted more really. Couldn’t believe when it was encore song already. I promised myself I will see them again.

Via Tiger Airways with ate Lyn

Inside the MRT going to where again, I think to Paya Lebar

At the Compass Ballroom - Resorts World Convention Centre, Sentosa

At the Compass Ballroom – Resorts World Convention Centre, Sentosa

My ShinOppars!!!! I really wanted to take a photo here but I was alone when I saw this. I couldn't take a selca cause I wouldn't be able to capture all of them six.

My ShinOppars!!!! I really wanted to take a photo here but I was alone when I saw this. I couldn’t take a selca cause I wouldn’t be able to capture all of them six.

Photo0377  Photo0383

Ate Elen, Sarah and ate Len though ate Len didn't watch

Ate Elen, Sarah and ate Len though ate Len didn’t watch

The lovely Changjos :)

The lovely Changjos 🙂

 

Inside Compass Ballroom after the encore song

Sarah, ate Elen & me on our way to Compass Ballroom

Still inside RSW. At our back is the Hard Rock Hotel where  the oppas stayed

Late dinner at Wendy’s after the concert

Strolling at Clarke Quay the day after the concert. I was sad Hyesungie, Dydy and Dongwan went back to Seoul early Sunday morning. I couldn’t even see them off.

Still at Clarke Quay. It was a hot day

I’m writing my first Shinhwa concert experience cause I’ll be leaving again this Friday to see my ShinOppars on Saturday!!!! I missed them though I always see them through updates of course. As Minwoo said, Orange Princesses and Shinhwa will make unforgettable memories together again. :))) Shinhwa Mansae!!!

Sunny Singapura: At First Sight

It was my first time in Singapore and my third overseas trip, however this time I didn’t have to spend a single penny. June 2011 will always be a special experience and month for me. Before the trip, I was totally racking my brain on thinking of ways how I could go somewhere overseas again after Bangkok. But then, God is so good he gave me this in the form of my 3rd brother’s kindness. And oh, we also went to Kuala Lumpur. J

To put in proper form, I was actually just brought along to accompany my mom. It was my brother’s birthday treat to her so I just tagged along because it’s for free! Not anyone can get a free overseas trip any day so of course I agreed!  It was the first time traveling with my mom and stroll with both my mom and brother with his girlfriend overseas.

I’m just gonna post some of the highlights of the trip cause there are so many photos.

( Marina Bay Sands, The Helix Bridge, Esplanade, Merlion, Universal Studios, Sentosa)

And because I love this photo of mine since I don’t really look good in photos.

I really like this too! The Mummy at Universal Studios. The guy looks like in the movies.

I like the car. White.

Hard Rock Cafe for Ma’s birthday dinner. I remember last June, my Shinhwa oppas stayed at Hard Rock Hotel which is here at the same place.

Sentosa Boardwalk at night. I love it here when it’s at night.