Back in Manila!

Well, I was back last month. Now, I’m in Japan again. But, anyway, before coming back last month, it had been the longest time I was gone. About a year and a half. Perhaps it’s not that long still. There are a lot of people who work abroad and don’t come home to their country for years and years on end. But anyway, even though I’d only been away for a year and a half, so many things already changed.

I don’t really feel like going into detail. But suffice it to say that, although yes of course, the Philippines will always be my home, now that I’d been here a year and a half (and been married to a Japanese for half a year), Japan feels like my home now, too. I really don’t feel anymore like I’m just visiting or that I’m just here to work. Well, I suppose that’s only natural since I’m married now as well.

But anyway, it was really a lot of fun to be home in the Philippines, even though it was just for a week. And of course, the best part always of being home is getting to see the people you love. ❤ I’m extremely happy to have been able to spend time with my family and friends. And we went to Tagaytay! And the beach! And BGC! And Alabang! All my favorite places. Hopefully, I’ll be able to go back soon!

My family and I at Mary Grace Serendra

Let’s talk about my wedding

a candid shot at the 1st reception

So, I got married! It was four months ago, but I only had time to write anything about anything now. And I don’t actually have time now, I’m just doing this in between the many other things I have to do. I didn’t realize living in Japan meant I had to work 24/7. Or, okay, that’s inaccurate. There is some time to rest–but that’s just it. In my current situation, all the time that’s for rest is really for just that: rest. So, pardon me if I’d been remiss in blogging duties in favor of relaxing and sleeping. Anyway, I’m not a real blogger. But, I do want to update this blog to talk about my wedding. Or rather, I want to talk about my wedding, but my friends are sick of listening to me, and so I’m here! That’s what this place is for, right?

So, anyway, I had two wedding receptions. The picture above is the one I had with my bosses, co-workers and some people in the town I’m living. I wasn’t planning on having it, I originally just wanted a celebration with my family and closest friends from the Philippines. But living here for a year, spending every day with co-workers and things, I realized that I wanted to share the moment with them, too. And R agreed, so voila! We had a wedding party at a local restaurant.

I only wish the restaurant had told me that they were going to decorate their function room to include wedding-themed balloons, as I still regret to this day that I said no when they asked me if I wanted them to put a white backdrop instead of the usual green and gold that they already had on there. I just thought white would’ve been too boring. Well, it would’ve been if they hadn’t put balloons, but they did, and I realized too late that with the balloons there, the white would’ve been perfect. But, what’s done is done. And nobody noticed anyway. So, it actually doesn’t matter. Except to me. Because I’ll always know. But don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining. It was a super fun party. All my co-teachers were there and my parents and aunt made it, too. It was too bad my siblings had to miss it, but they were present at the main thing, anyway.

a non-candid pic with my family at the 2nd reception

You can’t see it in this pic, but behind us was an incredible view of the Tokyo skyline. This pic was taken at the 42nd floor of one of the many Mori Towers, after all. What you can see in this pic, though, is the yummy food that we had. It was really yummy Japanese food. Even the Japanese guests said so (which I was really happy about).

I’d always wanted a small wedding, or perhaps it’s more accurate to say that I never wanted a big wedding. I mean, I liked attending my friends’ and relatives’ big weddings, but I always knew it wasn’t for me. Call us non-traditional, but both my siblings and I all had small destination weddings. And that’s actually where I got the idea of having my reception at a tower with a breathtaking night view of a city. You see, my sister got married at a farm. In New Zealand. With beautiful, green, rolling hills in the background. In New Zealand. I mean, nature doesn’t get any better than that. Unless, you’re at a beach, in which case, the beauty is kind of even. And that’s exactly where my brother got married. At a beach. In our very own country, the Philippines! And sure, we’re not the best country in the world. But in terms of beaches, ours are definitely top notch. Now, tell me, how do you compete with that?

OK. I’m aware that life isn’t a competition and all that matters is that you’re happy and that you have love and blah, blah, blah. But the fact of the matter is, I didn’t want to be the only one in our family that didn’t have a beautiful wedding. And yes, sure, all weddings are beautiful, blah, blah, blah. The point is, I wanted my wedding to be as beautiful. I say “as beautiful” because I’m very aware that there’s just no way you can top New Zealand and The Philippines as locations for rolling hills and beaches. So, what was I to do?

The deserts in Dubai were mentioned a few times. And I think they’re beautiful, too. But, I just don’t have a connection with Dubai. The other interesting suggestion I heard was to have it at a historical/famous place, like the Eiffel Tower, or Mt. Fuji. Well, I think those are beautiful, too, of course, but I don’t have that kind of budget. Besides, I think it’s also kind of cheesy to have a wedding at those kinds of places. I mean, they’re good for tours and things, but they don’t really spell “wedding” to me. So, I thought long and hard, and thought, what would be a nice contrast to my siblings’ close-to-nature sunset weddings?

Why, a city wedding, of course! What could be further from the atmosphere of a mountain and a beach if not the middle of a bustling city? And what city could be more bustling than Tokyo? It was perfect!

And yes, I know Paris is “The City of Lights” and arguments have also been made for Hong Kong, Singapore and New York having better skylines. But, just like with the Dubai thing, I just don’t have any connections with those places. Meanwhile, Tokyo, albeit not the residence or hometown of my husband, is still the capital of the country he was born in. Not to mention that when I finally got a job here, it happened to be at a town just outside of Tokyo. So, like I said before, it was perfect!

Ryuichi and me on our wedding day

Anyway, it took us some time to choose the restaurant–there are a lot in Tokyo, and of course, we had to think of budget concerns, menu concerns and all that. But eventually we found it. And it was perfect. 🙂

So, that’s the story of my wedding. For now. I mean, there are many more details, of course, but this is the part I want to share at the moment. Happy four months to us!



I haven’t blogged in a while so I believe some updates are in order. There’s really only one update, and then you can probably assume the rest since I’m hardly the first person in the world to ever do this. So the update is: I’ve moved to Japan! Hooray! Here is a Sakura picture as proof:


Or, okay, I guess anyone can post a picture of them with sakura trees as long as they’d been to Japan. So you’ll just have to take my word that I’ve really moved here.

Anyway, my circumstances aren’t much different from most other people who’ve moved abroad. I got a job, I’ve learned how to remit money to my family in the Philippines, I’ve been super busy settling as I’ve only been here about a month or so and of course it was crazy busy back in Manila when I was preparing to leave.

So, I’m here now. I arrived just in time for sakura season so actually this is already a late post. The cherry blossoms where I’m at are all gone now and only green leaves are left. Not that that’s a bad thing. I’m looking forward to seeing Japan during all other seasons, too. The previous times I’d been here, it was always winter, so I haven’t seen Japan’s summer or fall. Most students tell me fall is the best season so I’m really looking forward to it. Also, that happens around the time of my birthday, so there are many reasons why I can’t hardly wait for it.

That’s all for now! Gusto ko lang talaga mag-share ng sakura pic 😛

Life, People, Short Story, Travel, Writing


Itte rasshai,” he said, right after we kissed.

Itte kimasu,” I replied automatically.

A usual exercise in my Japanese for Beginners class was that the teacher would say a phrase or expression and all the students would give the response in unison.

Arigatou gozaimasu,’ she’d say. ‘Dou itashimashite,’ we’d respond. ‘Tadaima,’ she’d say next. ‘Okaeri nasai,’ we’d answer. These expressions were common and therefore useful to memorize, she told us. And then she told us about the situations wherein they were used. ‘Itte rasshai’ and ‘Itte kimasu‘ were said whenever someone left the house to go to school or work, she explained.

But R said it to me in front of the turnstile at the train station, just before I went past it to catch the Shinkansen to Tokyo.

I gave the expected reply without thinking, and smiled and waved goodbye before turning the corner to get to the platform and disappearing from his sight. I did notice him taking a deep breath after I said it, as though it was something more than a language nuance. But at the time I didn’t think it was important. At the time, I was mostly thinking about catching my train.

When I finally had some time free, I realized I didn’t even know what the phrases actually meant. I knew they were used together, but what did they translate to? I looked them up and somewhere on the Internet I found they were interpreted like this:

Itte rasshai – You’re leaving now, but please come back.
Itte kimasu – I have to go, but don’t worry because I’ll come back.

I’ve previously read about one’s significant other feeling like one’s home. I think that’s already romantic without context, but being in a long distance relationship now, it feels more relevant to me somehow. We have places we need to go and things we need to do, but at the end of the day, we come back to the person who feels like home.

Itte kimasu, Ryuichi. I love you.