December was such a busy month that I didn’t notice it passing so quickly. Today is the last day and soon a new year will unfold. And I have almost forgotten to post about my enchanting trip to Kobe Luminarie.
Kobe Luminarie is held every December in which illuminations are built in memory of the Great Hanshin Earthquake which struck Hyogo Prefecture on January 1995. I was still young back then so I didn’t know such a disaster happened in Japan. It must have been very hard during that time in Kobe. But now they have largely recovered and that is very good.
There was a huge crowd of people as expected. Saying it ‘huge’ in this post is actually an understatement. Because it’s so huge and large-scale that they have to slowly direct all these people to the illumination site so there were a lot of walking and detours.
It was really a spectacular sight. Though I must be frank, illuminations are still grander in the Philippines.
And so for the reflections of this past year..
I remember back then, I said during last year’s December that I will definitely have a different Christmas next year. And sure enough it happened. I received many blessings, so many that sometimes I can’t contain my happiness to myself. I am very thankful. I was taking my master’s program from the University of the Philippines during the almost first half of this year, and then I transferred during the second half at Kyoto University.
It was just dream before, going and studying to Kyoto. I didn’t know it could be possible. It’s all thanks to my sensei, he was so kind to accept me in his lab even though my background is different from their research interests. And the lab members are also kind to me, friendly and helpful. And I should note that I am their first and only international student.
I think the most important lesson I learned this year is to believe and to have courage. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here today. I am just so glad. I hope this coming year will also be a blessed one for me. Let’s do our best! 頑張りまあしょう！
Happy New Year! あけましておめでとう！
Our dog had a rather comfortable siesta this afternoon while I’m doing some laundry. At least she had a good sleep I just can’t help but sneak a shot.
She’s too adorable!
We went to Baguio City for the second time not really for leisure but because of the project I am currently involved with. Needless to say, we were not able to go to all the scenic spots. Still I enjoyed it very much because I was able to experience its refreshingly chilly air, see the towering pine trees, and visit the public market and buy ridiculously low-priced fresh produce (like lemon!).
It was very rainy (or rather stormy) on the first time we went. We crossed through the Marcos Highway because its safer, but despite that, we were welcomed by a zero-visibility fog and freshly fallen debris. I was only wearing shorts and slippers which was a terrible mistake, and so, I was really shivering due to the cold air enhanced by the storm.
On the second time, we crossed through the Kennon Road because the weather was very fine that day. The scenery is way, way better here than in Marcos Highway! The breathtaking gorges, mountains, rivers are ever-changing while you drove through. My humble camera can’t keep up though with the speed of our travel so I manage to snag only a few decent shots.
The majestic pine trees were also breathtaking. The forests look like a chase scene in Harry Potter and Twilight!
Due to its cold climate, Baguio City is also famous for beautiful flowers that are rarely grown in the lowlands. Like this bright pink hydrangea! It was my first time seeing it with my own eyes, nice.
Though the time was short, I was grateful to spend a relaxing time in Baguio City. I also challenged myself to bear the cold air as I will have to experience even colder temperatures in Japan!
I already knew so much stories of hold up along Agham Road, especially in UP-SM North Edsa jeepneys during the brief stops at the intersections. I became even more fearful after hearing personal stories from my co-workers. But they assured me that it would most likely happen during late afternoon to night. However this one happened during noontime, under the scorching heat of the sun.
I wanted to meet up with my sister and do some grocery in SM North Edsa so I rode the UP-SM North Edsa jeepney which is the default transportation route. I sat near the driver because it’s much safer. When I have already seated, I noticed some passengers wearing earphones and their cellphones exposed. I was irritated by that fact because they’re really eye-catchy to the snatchers/hold-uppers. I just prayed and asked for Mama Mary’s intercession for the trip to be safe. There was this image of Her in the jeepney driver’s dashboard and I just constantly looked at Her because I was feeling anxious.
Then came the most agonizing part of the ride: the Agham road intersection. The jeepney stopped several times because of the traffic. Then suddenly a young guy in yellow shirt wearing a Jeje cap came. Actually I didn’t notice him come because my eyes were in front, but I was alarmed by the sudden commotion among my co-passengers. It happened so fast. A bag and a cellphone was taken and the hold-upper ran away quickly. I didn’t know what really happened but the old woman told us that there should have been another backup along with that guy but they didn’t attempt to continue because someone shouted (a young boy selling rags) “Ay! Hold-upper!!” several times and was probably alerted. I remember that the hold-upper even denied while running away. The woman also added that the hold-upper was carrying a knife. Then she kindly scolded the passengers wearing earphones to not wear them again during jeepney rides because they attract snatchers/hold-uppers.
Thank God! The hold-up didn’t happen and no one was hurt! But it’s frustrating that the roads and public vehicles do not feel safe anymore when you should be actually be assured that you are safe, especially at daytimes. Hay.
I noticed some pretty flowers growing along the pathway in the place I am currently working at. It has a bright pink shade and looking very attractive among the greens. Attracted, I took some shots but they didn’t come out fine. So I practiced my editing skills with Adobe Photoshop Elements.
Since I have a pastime of browsing through pictures taken by such amazing photographers in Flickr, I got the hang and ideas of what looks good and what does not. So here is the result. I think it is much better than the original shot. I should really equip myself with a better camera.
Since I live in someone else’s house (hence, a boarder), I am limited to use the stove for boiling purposes only. Still, I really wanted to cook and concoct my own dishes. Also, I cannot forget the rich miso ramen broth of Roku Ramen and Sushi we ate just this Friday. So I decided to add some twists in a seemingly cheap taste of just-add-hot-water instant noodles.
That night, I looked for whatever was available in my food container and decided to use Lucky Me! Supreme Jjampong as the base. In my bowl I added the noodles, soup powder, a little bit of Cowhead lactose-free milk (because I’m lactose intolerant) and Century Tuna Hot & Spicy for some meat ( and for more spicy kick!). Then I poured boiling water onto the bowl and sealed it until the noodle’s done.
Then came the moment of truth – tasting, and I’d say it turned out quite nice! Or was it just me with a weird sense of taste? It may not look like in the picture but it was really good. The spiciness was dampened a bit (might be because of the milk) but it still kicks in because of the Century Tuna oil. The soup was also creamier and had a slight taste of sopas. Overall, 4/5.
The one thing that really bothered me was that I ended up having lactose-intolerant symptoms after eating this. Maybe the hot water denatured the lactase enzymes in the milk? I might not do it again, sadly, because of that.
That would probably be the longest title I’ve thought of in this blog. Does it ring a bell? Right! It’s a part of the translated lyrics of “Pub and Go” character song of England, one of the Allied members of Hetalia series, created by Himaruya, Hidekaz. The Japanese lyrics are the following:
“Kyou no ame.
Kinno no ame.
Kitto ashita no ame dakedo,
Kasa no sasanai, datte ore wa
Eikoku shinshi, shinshi, shinshi…”
The lyrics are very appropriate in this coming rainy season here in the Philippines. But I am no British lady or gentleman. I always have my umbrella in my bag. I should probably buy wedge slippers soon to prevent my feet from getting wet. Gah, I really hate rainy days. I don’t like the hot humid weather it creates before the occasional rainfalls or thunderstorms. Getting wet is also a bother. The grayness of the overcast sky is also depressing. I guess I just have to bear with it for the next six or seven months. Time to tune-in for the PAGASA site and their Project Noah.