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AN Diary Posts

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.







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.


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


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!


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


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


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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Denied No More: How I Finally Got a Tourist Visa to Japan!

So 3 years ago, I shared with you my heartbreaking experience when I applied to get a Japan tourist visa for the first time. Being denied was very embarrassing that it made me scared to travel abroad.


Two years have passed since I last met Nao-chan. After his visit, we became quite occupied with a lot of stuff. Nao was busy at work while I had to do my thesis and right after graduating, I started working on a regular job. (Good thing there’s Skype!) But this year, some things have changed. I quit my job and became a freelancer. And since the silver week in Japan was around the corner, Nao thought maybe it was time for us to meet again, in his city.


I’ve learned my lesson in my first attempt of visiting Japan, so this time I didn’t do the same mistakes again. Unlike last time, I applied for a single-entry visa with a guarantor as I would be with Nao-chan during the whole trip. Here are the docs we submitted:

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:
@no appointment1.

Last Feb, the same thing happened. I went to 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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REA(L)OVE on Netflix: My Review

I subscribed to Netflix six months ago so I’ve started watching a few series (though my siblings are using it more than I do ^^) Recently,I’m into some reality TV series particularly Terrace House. It’s about six people, with different personalities and passion live in one roof to look for a potential partner. I got to know it from my former co-workers who had been watching it during lunch breaks. I find it very interesting – They live in a big, fancy house and they also have gorgeous cars that they can drive during their ‘dates’ or when the group is going to hang out together. The members are also wonderful as most of them have cool personas. Some of the members are models (that’s why they are so good-looking!), university students, or even athletes.

But few days ago, I bumped into this new Japanese Netflix show. I could say that it is a bit similar to Terrace House since the objectives are pretty same. Rea(l)ove is a Japanese dating reality show which participants will get to know each other for three days in Okinawa. But the twist is as the show continues, each of them will reveal their dark pasts that they have to get over with to find a new love. This one seems to be intriguing, so I gave it a try!

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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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I Love this Shiseido Commercial!「なぜ資生堂のCMが好き?」

Long time no write! Aika here~

Couple of days ago, Nao-chan sent me a YouTube video. It’s the newest commercial of Shiseido, and it really made my heart melt because my favorite actresses were there, Ryoko Shinohara, Maki Yoko and my current most favorite Yuriko Ishida!

Ryoko Shinohara (Screengrab from Shiseido Co. Ltd. Youtube Video)
Maki Yoko (Screengrab from Shiseido Co. Ltd. Youtube Video)

They are so gorgeous and their beauty never fades, especially Yuri-san! (My #midagegoal is to be like her when I reach my 40s hahaha)

Yuriko Ishida (Screengrab from Shiseido Co. Ltd. Youtube Video)

The video doesn’t have any English subtitles so Nao-chan had to explain everything about it. According to him, the newest commercial introduces Shiseido’s Hyoujyou (facial expression) Project. It reminds women not to be reluctant in showing their emotions. We all know that as we get older, wrinkles and visible lines appear when we smile, cry or do any facial expression which most of women don’t want to show.

Aside from the angles, videography and ‘pastel’-like vibe of the CM, I’m truly amazed to the story or concept. I like that it established a ‘human connection’ and it was able to highlight Shiseido’s significance.  (As an advertising major student, I really have to observe that XD)

Anyway, see the video here. There’s no English subtitles but you’ll definitely enjoy it since the music is nice! 😀
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