11 Moments of ’11

2011 was a truly rockin’ eventful year! Here’s my pick of my 11 moments of 2011. I don’t like ranking stuff so I decided to post them chronologically. (I’ve also added a link to my blog post about said event, if available, just to not be redundant :D)

1. 初の雪 First Snow

If you’re a child of the tropics like me, it surely had been a dream of yours to one day see snow falling from the skies. A White Christmas would be asking too much, and since it rarely happens in Tokyo, I was pretty much content with just seeing snow.

I am also very weak when it comes to extreme temperatures (like horrible, I tell you) so winter in Japan pretty much spelled “indoors” for me, haha. But the moment the snow fell outside, I donned my thickest winter coats and frolicked outdoors (even though I was the only one haha). Thanks Japan for making a tropical girl’s dream come true! I also managed to see more snow (until I was sick of it) in Hakone and Oze. Too bad I didn’t have enough money for skiing!

2. Kansai and Hiroshima Trip

How awesome was this! This completed my trip to Japan, in my opinion. And I still stand by with what I said in my old blog about it: if you’re going to Japan, I suggest you visit the Kansai area rather than the urban jungle that is Tokyo. You would really get to know the heart of the country.

As for me, travelling has always been a dream of mine. But I realized that I prefer to do it with a bit more money to spend, haha. It’s just a big killjoy to be on a tight budget because you can’t eat the famous delicacies (like our fail Kobe Beef hunt), and tend to skip those places with entrance fees! Will save more money for my next trip, I swear!

3. March 11

For some people it’s just a random day, but for me, and a country, it will be marked forever in history.

I’ve always known Japan as an earthquake-ridden nation, but I never thought I would be there when a huge one would take place. Yes, as I have said, I wasn’t in the Northern areas so I didn’t feel it, but boy I did feel it. I felt the pain of a nation, how they started healing, and how they suffered from the effects of it. I feel somehow blessed as well that I managed to see with my own eyes how resilient the Japanese people are; and I will always admire them for their very culture, their very heart as a nation.

4. Kagoshima and Shizuoka Homestay

I may have failed and missed several on my Japan To-Do List, but I sure am happy I got to participate in not one, but two homestay programs! It gave me great insight on the daily lives of normal Japanese families- something I will not experience on my daily dorm life in modern and urban Tokyo :) I also got to know some great people and cuteeeee children!

5. Disneyland <3

It’s any child’s dream to step into Disneyland! Happy to know I went to the two parks in Japan- Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Sea! It was really a dream come true, tears really come on their own, hahaha.

6. The End of Harry Potter

Unlike the last few events, this didn’t entitle me to spend my savings or travel long distances.. No, it was just a one hour-ish subway ride to Nerima where the nearest iMax theater.

HARRY POTTER! I’ve been in love with this series since 11– that’s almost half of my entire life- and to finally see the series end on the big screen is such a milestone for me. FYI, I watched this movie a staggering THREE times on theater. I don’t rate it that high film making-wise, but the thought that it would be the last time I would ever see these kids on screen– people I grew up with! Heck I even wrote about it in my Japanese class, haha.

Fandoms come and go in my (pathetic) life, but Harry, you shall always be in my heart. And I would always get a little tickle inside me when I hear, and I will definitely be reading the books again in the future.

7. Welcome to the Family! The CFC SFC Family :D

One of the biggest milestones of 2011 was me finally joining the CFC SFC community- first in Tokyo, Japan, and now even here in Antipolo! And contrary to what many of my friends think, I didn’t join because of my boyfriend (geez), it was a journey that had always been knocking on my door, and I guess it took a few culture shock-moments to get me to answer it. :D

I was even lucky to be able to attend ICon, it was my very first conference~ And I assure you, it will be the first of many! Nothing can compare to the rush, the fun, and of course the many things you will learn about yourself and your faith than these conferences.

I am really thankful to the whole CFC community in Tokyo, Japan for welcoming me and making the last few months I had in Japan really memorable. And for my SFC family now here in Antipolo who had welcomed me in such a short while and I am so looking forward to more journeys with all of you. :D All for God!

Special mention to my boyfriend’s Central A YFC Family too. xD

8. 外大。(Gaidai)

I do not know what event would better represent my life in TUFS so I decided to just log in my whole stay as one. Thanks, Gaidai! I realized so much about myself, and I learned so many things (some 日本語 too!) And most of all, despite my socially-inept self, I was able to meet some great friends- my dorm mates, my Japanese class-mates, people from the Filipino department, Japanese people I met at parties and at class, and even random ones I just met on campus!

9. FOLSES!

It was my second-to-the-last week in Japan and God was so good that He decided to give me just one last hurrah before leaving! I really enjoyed my one week stint as an English camp instructor, but more than anything, I am really happy to have made friends, who have given me so much love and where, I realized just how awesome Japanese people are! Love love love! I am happy because until this day I don’t lose contact with these people.

10. SM Town Live in Tokyo

I don’t fangirl K-Pop much anymore nowadays but the pinnacle of my short life in K-Pop was reached when I attended SM Town Live in Tokyo! Almost all of my fave groups in one concert! I was awed to finally be seeing Tohoshinki live as well. :)

I haven’t fangirled much after this. Is my K-Pop life ever? No. I will always be a fan of those cute kids I loved to death, but as for new additions to the fandom, that’s just not possible right now. :P

11. Filipino Christmas

Definitely something I missed while I was away :’) I enjoyed what could be my last Lantern Parade as a UP student– even scoring several TV appearances as I participated in UP Tomo-Kai’s parade. I had fun hanging out with my friends at several Christmas parties and reunions. Special mention to TK’s Rock ‘n Roll Party and my SFC family party~! What made it even better was that I get to see my old high school friends and even my Tokyo friends!

But best of all, I get to spend it at home, with all those glorious home-cooked meals that I have missed so much. An extra bonus? Spending it with my boyfriend! <3

The saying’s true, there really is nothing like Christmas here in the Philippines! I know we’ve had a huge disaster for our friends down south, but the way I see it, it actually helped us realize the true meaning of Christmas. I’ve never seen so many people thankful and appreciative of life and more than eager to do their part to help.

___

So that is my highlight of 2011. What’s yours?

I am really thankful for such a year. It would probably be one of the most unforgettable ones, and probably THE year where I learned so many things. I have a lot of hopes and prayers for 2012. I am going to do my best and make it as awesome as possible!

Thank you Lord God for giving me such a great year, I feel so blessed! And thanks to YOU, and all the amazing friends and people that I’ve met and spent time with this 2011!  From my the comforts of my room, I send you love and wish you a happy new year 2012!  ♥♥♥

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Time to Face the Music

Of course you haven’t heard from me for more than a while. And yes, I am back home in the Philippines.

Believe me, I planned to honor my wonderful time in Japan by posting here about my favorite places and experiences– I even planned to post one for my last 30 days (but I listed and I couldn’t come up with 30 topics xDD). And then I thought how about for my last week? But no, my last week was spent in my friend’s house, and internet was sparse, also I spent my last week in Japan of course not by typing up blog posts indoors but by wandering around (although a typhoon did force me to stay indoors).

If there was one word to summarize my first few days (weeks?) back home, it would have to be this: lazy. HAHAHA. I had all the excuses– no internet, no things, tired, etc– but two weeks has passed since and what? My balikbayan boxes have arrived, I’ve tried in vain to get them in order (the papers are a pain in the ass so Imma procrastinate them haha). I’ve coerced my parents to have internet connected again and we even have wifi now! Hey, internet’s not that bad– except for torrents and DLs, it’s actually quite fast. I haven’t written letters and sent emails to people I have overlooked before returning to the Philippines. And to be quite honest I don’t have the will to do any of these tasks.

I don’t know, I called it in Japanese as “まだ落ち着いてない” or something like “I still don’t feel “at home” yet. Maybe the reason why I don’t want to take my things off my boxes yet is because if I do, I will really be “home”.

Of course I am happy to be back, but I do miss Japan sometimes– when I see random scenes in news about Tokyo or when I see my friends’ Twitter or Facebook updates. Not to mention I am itching for some unknown reason (allergy perhaps?) so I miss my clean Japan air and streets and the disciplined people. Don’t get me started on comparing discipline between here and there.

I will maybe write a “conclusion” of some sorts of my wonderful exchange stay in Tokyo– and I really want to pay homage to my dorm, my favorite places, people and the perks of living in Japan~!

Until then, and by then I hope I have recovered from “re-entry shock” (Yes Ms. Komisarof, I remember hahaha),

Elia ♥

Incoherent: SM Town Live in Tokyo Special Edition!

I haven’t blogged about my emotional departure from my dormitory, sorry, internet connection is sparse. For now, let me spazz about SM TOWN LIVE IN TOKYO!!!

Can I just say that this is probably the only reason why I still am staying in Japan? I thought I wouldn’t be able to go at first, so I was really happy when they added another date for Tokyo Dome and when I managed to win a ticket! And get this, I got an ARENA SEAT! It wasn’t as near to the stage as I was in Super Show 2, but it was okay :) Not that far!

Come on, it’s SM TOWN Family. I like almost all of them!!! Getting to watch this is a dream come true– although I have seen SHINee, 少女時代, and Super Junior before, so it meant I was really looking forward to seeing Tohoshinki.

And by golly.

The opening acts were the lesser known SM talents. I was a bit sad for them because they just started things suddenly without even warning, and some people were still getting into their seats. Tenjochiki was really talented and their Japanese is good too! :)

The first mainstream act to show up is Kangta. He’s not really popular in Japan, but his second song gained lots of attention because it was a duet with f(x)’s Sulli, and SHINee’s Onew made an appearance. *cue screams*

Then it was the popular acts! f(x) is going to debut in Japan too! And SHINee, wow! I didn’t know they had sooo many fans here. It was crazy. The fans acted like they were Korean. Hahaha!

I was so shocked when Yesung popped out in front of me, lol. KRY! <3 Cue crazy, shouting me. Unfortunately enough, Kyuhyun was assigned far from me, and so he will be for the rest of the night. We’re not meant to be, honey.

I don’t have time to enumerate all of the acts (and my memory is poor) but after f(x), SHINee performed. Then Shoujo Jidai, Super Junior, BOA.. I think they were saving Tohoshinki for the final act. Good thing they did was they spread out the artists’ hits, with the more popular ones coming late into the concert.. so even until the end you get to see the kouhais f(x) and SHINee. There were also special stages!

I have always loved Super Junior. And I was so happy when they performed Perfection, gaaaah Henry and Zhoumi came too! ;__; Heechul is not there, of course, and so is Siwon~ I am also so happy to have seen Mr. Simple performed live <3 And I was screaming the fanchants. GAH I LOVE YOU GUYS. Donghae is perfectly amazing God’s gift to womankind. I don’t know what God is trying to tell me, because Kyuhyun always goes to the places away from me :))

SHINee has improved a lot since I last saw them (when they were still children :)) LOL at Jonghyun’s arms, didn’t get to see him much because he was always at the center. But SHINee loved their harnesses- they were always flying in the air. While Lucifer, Minho was flying near our side and there was this spotlight shining on him, he was like an angel :)) I had too much Minho tonight. Not complaining!

SNSD was as flawless as ever, despite the lack of Sooyoung. I think Yuri’s a bit healthier now (she still did the chick gag lol so funny). Yoona was really popular as well, but I’m glad to see Hyoyeon is getting some love :)

Speaking of Hyo, the dance battle was so amazing. Minho was there, again. xD But Eunhyuk and Taemin, and Luna and Hyo, OMG get it gurrrrrl.

And YES, TOHOSHINKI OMG ASHAGDHSDGSHKDHSDGSJK. SO AMAZING AS EVER. They had a lot of fans, too. Yappari ne? Changmin was soooo cute OMG still the maknae as ever and OMG Yunho’s chest! xDD They are really amazing performers. They sang live, their energy is unmatchable and even their MCs were funny. CHANGMIN YOU ARE BACK IN MY LIFE. *kicks Kyuhyun out* (just kidding!)

I’m so happy, SM Town is like my K-pop family <333 I feel so accomplished, it was so worth the money and wait :) I felt really sad halfway through it because it is one of my last activities in Japan, and I don’t know if I will ever get to go to another SM Town again :( And it’s really a different experience.

I was sitting with a fanmom, and four fanboys :)) The guy beside me was dancing to Bad Girl and Sorry Sorry whyyy. I liked it when he said that SuJu’s Mr. Simple stage was 最高 (the best) <3 The fanmom actually talked to me, she was so nice! She and her daughter I guess, are SNSD fans. They found it cool that I know all of the artists very well :) Still, I think 85% of the audience were female~ HAHAHA. The high school girls behind me sound like Korean fangirls. They knew all the fanchants!

And alas, no fancams/pics from me :) I followed the rules, now! Also, they were very strict, as in some guy was roaming the aisles every 10 minutes or so, looking at the audience.

FOLSick.

I am tempted to blog this in Tagalog; I am too embarrassed if they ended up reading this blog.

Last week I had an awesome time in Nagano. I went with the students of the English Department of Daito Bunka University, for their annual English summer camp.

I decided to come because I needed money, and I have nothing to do for a week anyway. Just that, baito. To be honest after the orientation, I felt a bit nervous and scared to go because they seem to be  typical Japanese students ( not that there is anything bad with that, of course– but maybe students from Gaidai are just a different, and rare, breed.) I thought the English thing was just an excuse for them to hang out, I expected only bad things, basically. Pessimist me, I know xD.

And then I ended up having the time of my life. Which is really sad, because my days in Japan are numbered. I cannot hang out with this people anymore, more so join next year’s camp.

It wasn’t entirely perfect– I had my shortcomings, everybody had, and I failed in some things. I think I’ve become so socially inept with the past year that I’ve been here. Even so, considering that, I still had fun, I met lots of people and even some people who I will probably remember forever, and even look up to. Even if it was just five days and four nights, I made friends with people and talked to them about a lot of things.

It was really sad, especially during the final night. Everybody was crying for their senpais and friends and yet I could not shed a tear. I don’t think I’m that horrible, but now I want to cry all my tears out. I never thought I would actually go crazy and feel fuzzy after exchanging emails, becoming Facebook friends or even just gaining a twitter follower (which is bad, I don’t really give away my twitter to my foreign friends because I’m scared what they’ll think of my spamming and bitching on there). That amazing people would say sweet messages to me even though I’ve had so many shortcomings, and that people would feel sad– even cry– when they said goodbye to me.

More so, I’ve never been so proud to be who I am. I know Japan has given me some identity problems, but there are actually people who feel sad to have never felt they were Filipino, that wish they can speak Tagalog and (Philippine) English, or that there are people who wished they have stepped in our country.

It’s kinda embarrassing that some people who only have a tiny drop of Filipino blood in their veins would seem much more proud of that heritage than people who have been living in the Philippines for their whole lives.

Thank you guys. Maybe I will never meet you again, and someday we’ll forget each other’s names and faces, but I meant it when I said that despite coming there to teach, I actually learned more from everyone else. I may have written similar messages in your booklets but it is true, I do wish you all the best of luck in everything you do.

This booklet is now one of my most prized possessions. :) (kahit maraming hindi nagsulat, aysows xD)