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January 20th, 2010

Blast From The Past

A few weeks ago, a long time friend Shirley posted this video in Facebook. I was speechless! I have been looking for my copy of this video. Leave it to Shirley to find this precious.

Compliments to Arvin who took most of the video, edited it too; and to Shirley for finding it and bringing it back to life.

In June 2000, nine of us from the Philippines came to Japan. We are all aspirants! We were 20-21 years young then, single, just graduated college and ready to take on the world and make a difference! We were all hoping to make it through the year-long training, then eventually work in our field and basically start a life in Japan.

The nine of us got along well. A few drama here and there but nothing really sticks out that I can remember right now. We were dealing with the sames issues one way or another – homesickness, excitement, and we were all struggling with culture differences and the language barrier. But there were a lot of laughs.

Epson AOTS Training, 2000-2001During our months of training, our first year in Japan, together we had a blast. Just in the first year, we can honestly say that we have maximized our stay in Japan. Our attitude was – we were all hoping that our first won’t be our last year in Japan, but just in case it was, we made sure that we’ve gone through the nooks and corners of Japan and tasted the best food we’ve come across, and had fun while we are at it. So we went on trips to Kyoto and Osaka, we went to Fukouka and Nagasaki to celebrate Christmas and New Year 2001, went to Disneyland in Tokyo; seen the seasons in Japan’s exotic places; and it was party every Fridays at our apartment or at different restaurants. It was so much fun!

Obviously, we have moved on. A few are still working in Japan. Some are trying out other ventures, raising a family or what not. We still look back with much fondness at those days in Japan as a professional stepping stone and as a marvelous life experience.

June 8th, 2008

Sayonara Japan

By the time this entry is posted, we are already on our way (flight) to the US. We have a few days stop in Hawaii. And then, to Florida.

My first time to the United States – I don’t know what to expect. But I am excited to finally meet dear hubby’s family and introduce Matthew to them. They love him now, they will love him even more once they get to know him.

Sayonara Japan and, thanks!

Thanks to all the people who at one point in time or another have been there for me – as a friend or more, a mentor, a teacher, or a passerby who gave me a laugh or a cry and have extended acts of kindness during my 8-years of living in Japan. I will always be grateful.

How do you summarize 8-years in Japan? I tried, but a few blog entries can’t fully summarize my life in Japan! A lot of words, or even a few pictures can’t be enough!

Japan will always hold meaning and immense joy in my heart. I will always look back with fondness at my experiences in Japan. And I look forward at the near or far future, when I will be able to come back to Japan and revisit these experiences. 

Thanks to all our well wishers! It will be hard for me to reply your comments and emails for now but I will get on with them as soon as I can. Also, I intend to maintain this blog, so please keep posted on my future entries.

I appreciate your prayers for our smooth transition! For you and your family, God bless!

Related Post:

June 3rd, 2008

State of Transition

We are still in Japan but we are currently at the start of – state of transition. This is our last week in Japan. Our stuffs have been packed including the computer, and they have already been sent to the US. Telephone services have been cut off. The apartment unit been cleaned and dear hubby is running around for his clearances and other stuffs he needs to do before our move to the United States.

We are currently staying at a temporary lodging called Kanto Lodge at a small room with a kitchen,  bedroom and bathroom, and a few facilities. It’s actually wonderful. But Matthew had a hard time settling down the first two nights! He too felt the transition …

I am blogging using the lodge’s computer/internet familities. Due to limited time, and uncomfortable location, I only read emails and visit and comment on a few blogs. I don’t know when I could do this again. I really miss the convenience of having my OWN computer and internet connection. Now more than ever, I have felt my deepening attachment to the internet. *sigh*

Related Post:

May 4th, 2008


I knew we are leaving Japan soon, but a few days ago, when dear hubby told me the date of our flight to the United States, my heart just sank! I felt so heavy in my heart. Somehow, the date of the flight made it more real to me that we are leaving Japan soon.

Dear Hubby is retiring from the military and since he hasn’t found a civilian job in Japan, we can’t stay in Japan after he retires. So, we are off to the United States on the first week of June, a month from now.

Our papers are ready. I’m not US citizen. There were so many procedures I went through to be able to enter United States. But a few weeks back I received my visa to the States. I even got excited over that.

Right now, the first things I have to take care of are our stuffs and on making a quick inventory. The movers are coming to pack the stuffs. I have started sorting out some clothes and shoes. I still have a few cabinets and drawers to go through. There are some cleaning up that needs to be done. We have to leave the apartment unit inspection clear . But we have the right tools. This shouldn’t be a problem if I don’t get lazy. Souvenirs are bought. It’s nice to bring something from this place to take wherever we are going. We bought a few more as gifts for relatives, too.

Matsumoto Castle, Nagano Pref, Japan

I think we are set. Except, my heart is still heavy over leaving Japan. I have anxiety and this has kept me depressed these days.

No matter how old I’ll get, Philippines will always be my home. However since I came to Japan, it has become my home away from home. When I first left Philippines for Japan on June 21, 2000, I wasn’t anxious or depressed. I always thought that Philippines is only 4-hours away. I can always go back whenever I want to. And then my life in Japan turned out better than I have ever imagined. Life is good here and very convenient. I gained very few but good friends, and the people are really nice to me. I met my man, married him and had our baby here. I can almost say I became an adult in Japan.

I’m sure with the help of my dear hubby, we will make wherever we are going our home together. Wherever it is, we will make memories and make it our children’s home where they can grow up, have friends and feel safe. And I know that United States is a great country where we can we can do all that. But that it’s being at the other side of the globe and the 16-hour travel miles from the Philippines is really stressing me! I will be farther away from the Philippines. This really makes me feel so sad.

I am not exactly sure how to end this post other than – Although the negative feelings over the positives are overwhelming me, I still have high hopes that our transition will be manageable especially for me. It was just easier to hope before when everything was still abstract. Anyway, I know I will adapt in the United States and eventually I will be happy being there with my supportive husband guiding me through and my son’s smile always brightening my days.

Friends in Japan and Epson Connection, you know who you are! I’d really like to get together with you before we leave. If you are up for it and not too busy, let me know.

March 30th, 2008

Hanami 2008

Lilypie 2nd Birthday Ticker

Photo Contest at

The photo below is my entry to
Photo Contest – Spring Time in
Write From Karen.

Matthew and Daddy, Taken at Showa Kinen Park, Tachikawa, March 29, 2008

Daddy and Matthew, Spring Time in Japan

All photos are taken at Showa Kinen Park on March 29, 2008

[Click to view all enlarged photos]

Spring Hanami 2008 Spring Hanami 2008

So we went for hanami (flower viewing) at Showa Kinen Park, near Yokota AB. The weather was sunny with cool spring breeze. The cherry blossoms and other spring flowers are in bloom. The park was crowded with Japanese locals, and a few foreigners. Most of them have picnics under the cherry blossom trees. We have a very active toddler that except for lunch, it was impossible to stay in one area.

The highlights of our day in the park were: 

  • Riding the trolly
  • Matthew pushing his stroller.
  • Matthew playing at the kids’ playground.
  • Matthew climbing up and down whatever stairs he finds
  • Matthew climbing up the very high pyramid-like structure and playing at the top.
  • Matthew refusing to play at the “cloud” park.
  • Matthew refusing to stay still for a decent picture.
  • Matthew getting dirty, mud and dirt all over him

Spring Hanami 2008Spring Hanami 2008Spring Hanami 2008Spring Hanami 2008

[Click to view all enlarged photos.]

Hanami is a Japanese traditional custom of “flower viewing” (hana = flower, mi=viewing), specifially cherry blossoms during springtime. Under the sakura trees, people had lunch and drank sake in cheerful feasts. Today, the Japanese people continue the tradition of hanami, gathering in great numbers wherever the flowering trees are found. Thousands of people fill the parks to hold feasts under the flowering trees, and sometimes these parties go on until late at night. [Read More]

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