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Aika Meets Nao: My Tokyo Spring Experience (Part One)

Hi! Long time no write 😀 Last month, I went to visit Japan for the second time. So I’d just like to share our adventures with you, friends. A lot of things happened so I will be dividing the article to two (or three, or four, depending on what will my mood be) 🙂

DAY 1. Last April 13,in a typical hot summer morning, I left Manila for Tokyo, to finally meet Nao-chan. It was my second time to go there, but the excitement I felt remained the same—and so my nervousness. Thank God, my flight was a breeze and after my 4 hour journey, I finally met my dearest Nao-chan!

Haneda Airport was amazingly beautiful as always, decorated with Koinobori (a carp-shaped windsocks) reminding people that Children’s day is around the corner. Unfortunately, we didn’t stay at the airport for a long time since my condition was quite bad. In fact, I was hospitalized the day before my flight due to acid re flux. So we just went home soon. Ah, no! We dropped by in Akihabara, and guess what Nao-chan bought—it was Nintendo Labo! It got released the day before my arrival and he couldn’t miss the chance. Nao-chan’s shounen spirit was dominantly present at that time. hahaha!

Haneda Airport Spring

 

DAY 2. Nao-chan and I went to Shinjuku Gyoen to meet his dad 🙂  It was very lucky day for me since I could still see cherry blossoms!  I’ve never seen such a huge park like that! The park was packed with local and foreign visitors, but we didn’t feel very tired, thanks to the beautiful plants and amazing views. Nao’s dad told me a lot of interesting things about cherry blossoms and other plants, in Japanese. It was an intense Nihongo training! hahaha! Nao-chan got tired translating difficult sentences for me~ But despite the language barrier, I was delighted that we talked a lot. If only I could speak Japanese more fluently, we could talk a lot more, and Nao will never have a hard time! (So don’t worry, がんばるぞ!) We had lunch at a seafood Izakaya and got my first Negitoro bowl. とても美味しかった!Too bad I couldn’t drink beer at that time.
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We also went to one of our most favorite singer’s concert, Ayaka! It was held in Tokyo International Forum. It was my first time to watch a concert in Japan, and it felt different. At the concerts that I’ve been to, everyone was shouting and singing along—the crowd got really wild. But in Ayaka’s concert, the people were more calm, but the enjoying and amazing atmosphere was there. Nobody’s taking photos or footage (of course! it’s illegal) It was a great time, and really heart-moving, I even cried because it felt so surreal! Ayaka is such a great singer and performer. The band was awesome as well! The concert was held in Yurakucho area, near Tokyo Station so after the concert, we just enjoyed strolling around and passed through grandiose buildings.

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Tokyo Kokusai Forum

 

DAY 3. This is the most hectic day of all. We went to 4 places in one day! We took a relaxing bus ride to Urayasu, and dropped by for a while. Then we went to Daimon to visit Zoujouji and Shiba Kouen. Zoujouji Temple is a very special place for me. Nao-chan has taken a lot of photos of that temple and Tokyo Tower, ever since we met. We were not even a couple yet at that time.  So it was a shame that we didn’t go there on my first visit. We have always wanted to go there together, and finally, we did! 🙂 There’s a marvelous park nearby, Shiba Kouen. That’s also where Nao-chan eats lunch sometimes. It was a great feeling to sit where he usually takes a break. We could share the same view. 🙂 After Daimon, we headed to Harajuku. It was indeed a fashionable spot. A lot of young people dressed in whatever they wanted; avant-garde, high fashion, lolita, cosplay, ANYTHING! And even on a weekday, It was surprising to be in a jam-packed crowd in Harajuku. We ate a delicious crepe there which was good enough to energize us. Seeing different people became too much for me, but good thing there’s Meiji Jingu! I loved it because there were lots of trees. It felt like we’re outside of Tokyo already. After a long stroll, we had dinner and had a great time with Nao-chan’s friend in Shinjuku. That Izakaya is beyond awesome. It doesn’t only offer sumptuous food, but also a wonderful view of Tokyo’s night cityscape. It’s called Hokkaido, located at 53rd floor of Tokyo Opera City Building. Please visit there!

 

Bus ride to Urayasu
Bus ride to Urayasu

 

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Zoujouji Temple overlooking Tokyo Tower

 

Harajuku station
Harajuku station

 

Heavenly crepes in Harajuku. Nao-chan was too excited to eat these! 😀

 

Meiji Jingu
Nao-chan rules Meiji Jingu!

 

izakaya
We walked from Meiji Jingu to Shinjuku for almost about 20 minutes.       We were starving!

 

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The exhilarating view from Hokkaido Izakaya!

 

DAY 4. Our rest day, and I must say, the best day. 🙂 We didn’t go anywhere far, but I was able to ride a bicycle around the neighborhood. We played Nintendo Switch and I was able to cook something for Nao-chan. We also went to a community library and read some えほん, or picture books. We also assembled Nintendo Labo VR goggles. Assembling took more time than Nao-chan tried playing it. So funny! Having a glimpse of daily life in Japan, made me more excited about our future… 😀

 

DAY 5. Strolled around Shibuya. Just like Harajuku. the crowd was massive too! I could see lot of Kababayan travelers there 🙂 We went to a really nice family restaurant, Cafe Gusto カフェ⋆ガスト It’s famous among locals and there were almost no foreigners (except me). So perhaps it’s not yet exposed to foreign travelers yet.

shibuya crossing

shibuya

cafe gusto famires
We ordered Ramen and Cheesy Hamburger Steak.  美味しかったです!

 

I will be writing my 6th to 9th day adventures on the next post!

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My Experience in Getting A Slot in DFA Online Appointment System (2018)

You’re gonna apply or renew your passport, huh? But as of today, you would’ve seen DFA’s passport appointment website like this:
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Last Feb, the same thing happened. I went to passport.gov.ph to set an appointment for passport renewal. But all slots were full until June, in all satellite offices around Luzon. I was fidgety and worried since my passport would expire in 5 months. Unlike few years ago, I didn’t expect that setting an appointment would be this da*n hard! Nao-chan was even surprised that we need appointments to renew our passports since they don’t need one (Of course, Japan and Philippines are incomparable when it comes to systematicness).

I think there is something fishy about appointments getting fully booked like a flash. Others say that travel agencies/fixers reserve a lot of slots then offer them for a hefty price. And as a ‘kuripot’ person (I don’t have money tbh hahaha), I didn’t want to pay about Php5000 for something that is supposed to be free. Also, we shouldn’t let those agencies and ‘crocs’ gain profit from their monkey business. So it didn’t become an option for me and I already accepted my fate that I won’t get any appointments anytime soon.

Until the first week of March arrived. I was so lucky to be able to secure an appointment for passport renewal. It really felt like I accidentally scored a 3-point buzzer beater shot! So let me share how:

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My Short Struggles as a Creative Newbie

You might be thinking why I haven’t been updating the blog in the past year… Not because I’m lazy! Actually, I got tied up with my work then and I’m going to share my experience /(^___^)\

 

Weeks before my graduation last 2017, I received a message from my supervisor during my internship, offering me a position at their ad agency. I was very happy as I had been dreaming to work there and since not all graduates can get a job right away, I really felt lucky.

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Strolling around Tokyo Asakusa with Ricoh Theta S

Recently I bought Ricoh Theta S.
This camera can capture 360 orbital view.

I would like to start take the photos of Tokyo and other areas as orbital images (‘ω’)

Seeing those images make me dizzy a bit actually, but exciting (^O^)

Anyway I strolled around my favorite place Asakusa….

To see images below properly, browsing with Google Chrome recommended.
Or click and jump to Google streetview.

 

 

Kaminarimon Gate

 

Nakamise Street.
Many lovely shops.

Retouching the photo to remove myself is very troublesome.
I should compromise retouching stone tiles.

I want to be invisible to save the time to retouch.

 

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Aika Finally Travels: Wandering around Singapore

Finally, I was able to have a my long vacation! Over the past few months, my world revolves around work and studies. (That’s why I couldn’t post so much in our blog haha) I work almost every day, even on weekends and write my thesis after tutoring. It was my first time to go on a trip abroad, and though Nao-chan wouldn’t be the first person whom I’ll travel with, I’m super thankful to my closest friend, Bebe-chan for inviting me to go on a trip with her. She planned for our trip and also introduced me to a lot of places, and importantly, food!

So after a 3-hour flight, we safely landed to Singapore! We arrived to our accommodation around ten in the evening so we just took a rest and got ready for tomorrow’s stroll!

 

First Stop: Little India

Our hostel was located around Veerasamy Road, so we could reach this very interesting place by a few minutes of walking. At that time, It was Deepavali Festival,  a religious festivity widely celebrated in India. and since Indians are part of the Singaporean multicultural society, this has also become a very important holiday in the country.
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The streets were decorated with colorful, bird-like lanterns

Little India is full of shops, offering various items. The establishments are all amazing as they are vintage and vividly painted.

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The streets were full of people because of the holiday. And I admit, at first I felt something. We look different so there are lots of time some locals were looking at us. But of course, this place is really safe and very interesting, I must say.  In fact when I was here, I almost forgot that I’m in Singapore! I could see a few women wearing gorgeous sarees, the aroma of curry and the lively Indian music.

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How to Slay your Self-Introduction in Japanese!

Nao-chan’s going to meet his dad. I would like to meet him in person too but it’s impossible since I’m here in Manila and also I can’t skype them since it was a weekday, and I was pretty busy at that time. So I just decided to make video message for his father. I introduced myself.

 

Well it’s not easy. I think in Japanese there are so many ways to introduce yourself, but it depends on the situation:

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A Day at Manila Ocean Park

It’s been seven years since I visited Manila Ocean Park for a high school field trip. So I was excited to visit the place again, with Nao-chan this time.

Manila Ocean Park is the only aquarium in Philippines. Some people say it is not as big as other aquariums abroad (but who cares?!) There are so many beautiful sea creatures to see and there are many packages to choose from depending on your budget.

We chose the ‘Deep Sea Rush 6’. which costs 580 pesos. It wasn’t so crowded as we visited there on a weekday. (yey!)

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