I never conceived, even in my wildest dreams, that #TouchDownJapan or #WheninTokyo will ever happen to me this year.
It has been a spontaneous ramble of episodes in my life that out of nowhere, I #JustWokeUp on my messy mattress, regretting that I #WokeUpLikeThis from a reverie I, at no time, could ever envisage.
But what seems to be a fancy imagination of an indigent kid unfurled to be a #RealnaReal thing that fate had allowed.
All the aesthetics that had stunned me with my jaw exorbitantly dropped, may it be #Instagrammable or #PicturePerfect, were all still vivid in my recollection. I may not see them, more or less, again, or anytime sooner, Japan scarred a lasting mark in my heart that I will #Forever cherish.
Enough of singing praises of glory to the land of the rising sun, Japan, as an urban paradise is already a given and an established fact, and that’s #legit.
If I were to exalt Japan and of its best assets that sticks my heart the most, I were to choose all the people that had tied an everlasting string, keeping me this attached all the way from Toyama to my hometown in the Philippines.
Takaaki Tsukamoto, #BiboKid of Toyama
We first met in the student exchange program during our first days in Toyama. In his introduction of himself, he unveiled prematurely that he will be my foster brother in Japan.
He may be the quirky, young guy at first glance, he still strutted how ripe for #Adulting 18 year olds are in Japan.
He is 2 years younger than me but he already drives a car and he also got this part-time job in a nearby restaurant.
I was amazed how this young guy manage to look like a kid while being mature at the same time.
Translating every communication that transpired between me and him and with his non- English speaking family may have been challenging for this kid but he #slay it.
He is the unico hijo of the Tsukamoto family. He may have been blessed with a comfortable life unlike mine, but still, he has the industry to work for his own study even in his young age.
While his character really amuses me, I just smirk a bit when he transformed #RealQuick into a young kid all over again as he enlivened his #ChildhoodMemories in Tsutaya, an arcade house and in a fancy store of traditional Japanese toys.
He is cute, indeed!
Aside from Taka, his family made my stay in Japan more significant and awesome. This may have been one of the reasons some pieces of my heart were still left shattered in the glorious city.
His grandma, Tamae, reminded me of my real grandmother so much for the care she had bestowed us during the homestay program.
She always thought of our welfare and on how we feel with whatever they offer. We are very overwhelmed how she hospitably accepted us in her family.
She may not be able to speak and understand English but her action resounded louder than her words.
I will never forgot how she documented our stay there and on how she attempted to learn how to cook ‘adobo’ from Google just for us.
That dinner in Tsukamoto family is the sweetest ‘Itadakimasu’ I declared so far, #Foodgasmic and i’ll never forget those exotics.
Her husband, on the other side, is also a congenial one. He even let us inside his personal room to open up his private life.
Kenji is an ideal grandfather for me. A granny who will spoil you as a grandson. I’m amused on how patient he is in escorting us while shopping in a mall. It may not be a guy thing but the bonding moment is such a good ride.
Lastly, Namiko, Taka’s mom, is a caring mother. I will always miss how saying “Tadaima” will transform her to a very accommodating foster mother for us.
Misa Yano, #famous but #downtoearth
I admire her for being humble, as well as for many Japanese people I’ve met so far, regardless of how famous or how respected they may have been, they were all really down to earth.
Her sweetness and fancy character made me wonder why Japanese news presenters needs to be as cute and adorable as that. She is apparently a known personality in the prefecture of Toyama.
Unlike the fierce and strong attitude portrayed by many Filipina broadcast journalist, hers is subtle (really cute) yet serious, #SimpleLangPeroRak
I always love watching her video, as in #RapingtheReplayButton, as she demonstrated how she do her wonderful craft. She just simply read the script but she did it with grace that just left us in awe and a ‘Wow!’
Tatsuya Fujii, #BestFriendsForever
I never pondered upon that this Japan experience will bear me a kinship that will last beyond the time frame of the program. I don’t even know that our bond will be kept as of this writing.
Considering our distance and disparity, Japanese people are great friends, indeed. They don’t leave you no matter what, #Hugot.
We met him, together with his university-mates at the Toyama University of International Studies. Out of all the Japanese dudes out there, he was apparently astounding for me.
Japanese students were as bright as their Filipino counterparts, however, they are more dedicated and more focused on what they’re doing. Their level of education reflects on how they value education in itself.
A certain force pulled us together that at the end of the student exchange program, he was already sitting beside me. And like noisy students at the back, despite our language barriers, we #GettingToKnowEachOther and from then on, started a friendship that will tower over differences.
I was astonished that he accompanied us with our next day’s tour. On that day, I’m privileged that he opened up and eventually, let me protrude his private life.
Thanks to technology, we are still communicating constantly up to this day, talking about things ranging from politics, drama, anime, our favorites, our likes and dislikes, our similarities and differences and a lot more.
As we meet on both ends, we profoundly discovered how Japanese men and Filipinos are indeed a perfect match as best of friends not just in Facebook but even for having great nations that we could be proud of.
Toyama, at first, is a never heard place I never know has existed in the Far East.
But apparently, it has been the town that scarred my heart so deep that even capsules of time may not be enough to remedy. (Got no #RiteMed for this so far)
Toyama is paradisiacal in itself. It’s a city that has already notched perfection from the circumference of the Tateyama Alpine to its calm thoroughfares.
But what makes Toyama special even more will not just be all the scenic spots I was able to gaze at but to all the people who shared with me their lives, that at one point, we came at the crossroads, like that of the Shibuya Crossing, and let a lasting relationship bloom like sakura in the spring.
And I am exultant that I’ve got the most precious souvenir from this Japan trip and Jenesys experience and that I didn’t got short of Japanese Yen to afford one. I’m privileged to erect affinity beyond every miles we are all apart that I know will endure a lifetime.
Differences has never been a barrier. We even almost disremember that we have one.