Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Photo Diary: Japan 2014


Japan is beautiful. Every part of it is just so well curated, I could not stop taking photos and admiring everything. This post is my diary, all the photos I took in between day 1-9. 

There's a bunch more photos on my instagram (since I'm better with my phone than I am on my actual camera. LOL)

Check those out too! @itsmiadurano
 Isn't she cute!? Lots of adorable dogs all over Tokyo! 



The Japanese are always on the go. So, supermarkets keep huge stocks of meals and drinks that are ready to be picked up and eaten at anytime. 


The moment you surface from the Ginza station, the Seiko watch tower is your first sight. Ginza is a major shopping district with all sorts of sights,sounds and very friendly people. We went shopping on our second night, I went nearly broke less than 48 hours in! LOL.


Kamogawa, Chiba.

Here's Nicole and Nina. I consider myself terribly lucky to have met these two girls on this trip. They are like sisters to me. 

P.S If you're reading this, I love you both like basics love Starbucks. <3


Kamogawa Sea World.



We took a fun sushi making class and were taught to make snail shaped sushi. It was pretty amazing, and quite complicated.


Look at my fat proud face with my snail sushi!






MIA in Kanji

Sunday, November 23, 2014

When in doubt, wear red.


 Here's something quick to fire up my Monday. I'm not the type to wear just one color all the way (with the exception of black). But I put this outfit together at the last minute and just loved it! I'm totally crazy about my skirt from USA Products too! Gave this outfit the dash of "sexy" it needed. And cause this outfit was in such a striking hue, I kept all accessories and make up to a minimum.

I missed shooting #OOTD's for the blog!! I really must commit to this more often!





Tuesday, November 04, 2014

2 days with Okkasan. My home stay experience.


One of the best parts of this whole trip is the HomeStay. We participants are grouped and assigned to live with a Japanese family for 3 days and 2 nights. This was a whole new level of immersion into the culture.  6 other girls and I were assigned to Okkasan (Mother in Japanese.)  Our Okkasan has 2 children that both work and live in Tokyo, so really, it was just her at home. She had the most amazing organic vegetable garden!  Okkasan spoke no English which sort of made communication pretty tough especially when we had to help her with dinner, but I guess with our broken Japanese and sign language, it got easier.

Our first night with her, she asked us to help her with picking fresh veggies from the garden and picking persimmon from her tree.  I also helped in making some sort of pasta-salad crossover. It was pretty fun to be helping out in the kitchen at dinner. I had to help her cook Japanese rice, it’s like regular rice but with sea salt mixed in. She also took out some beef, squid and hotdogs to grill after that. We had one crazy feast! One thing I kept thinking about is how in Japanese culture its considered rude to not finish food that’s prepared for you. But my groupmates and I just couldn’t anymore! There was just too much! We ended up trying to finish it anyways (hello, 10 extra pounds on me when I got back), helped clear the table and washed the dishes and got ready to just spend the rest of the evening bonding with our mom.
Another very different experience is the sleeping on tatami mats. Tatami mats are the traditional Japanese beds. There’s just something about these mats. I snuggled into one and just dozed off right away!
The next morning everyone from the program met at Oyama rice terraces. we explored the place and took a sushi making class. That’s going in another post J
That afternoon, we got taught the art of Japanese Calligraphy. It is, (as Okkasan makes it seem) supposed to be easy. But I don’t have a single artsy bone (or a musical or dancing bone) in my body. I ended up just copying the stencil and patting myself on the back for trying.  We helped make dinner after that, but it felt more like we were preparing another hefty feast. Japanese is pretty meticulous, taking long hours to prepare every dish and side dish. But only minutes to eat! We slept late that night, just chitchatting and bonding with everyone.

Everyone from the program had to get up early and prepare for our parting ceremony the next day. Everyone had a presentation ready and I was part of it as a host. There were a bunch of dance numbers and a cultural presentation (see why I was hosting. Haha) After all that, we were asked to say goodbye to our families. It was pretty sad and heartbreaking to say goodbye  to our mom. I mean, personally, I’m not big on emotions and I’m pretty guarded. But I guess spending two full days with a woman who opened her heart and her home to us, made me melt. I gave her my warmest hug and thanked her for everything.

Our Okkasan didn’t speak our language and we didn’t speak hers. But I guess, if you try hard enough and open up. You learn and understand a language that tugs your heart.
<3




















Thursday, October 30, 2014

Walking by the beach at Kamogawa, Chiba + Josai International University

  
I left for Japan about a month ago and I’m still not totally over the whole trip. Editing all these photos isn’t helping either, not that I’m complaining, I have only happy memories from that trip! J

Now, I’m sort of struggling with the photos and the order so I guess it’s easier to post them according to certain events. Our schedules were crazy packed , so there are days when I have no photos. These photos were taken in Kamogawa city, Chiba prefecture (prefecture means something like province). Kamogawa is a quiet seaside city. It’s quiet and the perfect place to relax. When I say quiet, I mean it. We Filipinos were probably the only noise there after 8.

On our first day in Kamogawa, we went to Josai International University’s Tourism Department. It’s a truly amazing campus built for 400 students enrolled in the program. (Amazing, I know.) We spent the morning with a few students who showed us around and asked us to sit in a few classes.( I was most excited about lunch though. I was pretty curious about what their college students ate for lunch. ) Hanging out in JIU was a really great bonding experience, It really got my mind me thinking about education in Japan and the quality and method of teaching. I noticed a smaller teacher-student ratio which really appealed to me since that obviously means that students get more attention from teachers. 

After JIU, we were moved to Kamogawa civic center where we got to meet our Foster Parent/s. More of that tomorrow!


 It does not get any more comfortable than this! Sweatpants are just winning right now.





 So thats what a Japanese student lunch looks like :)
 H&M top, Uniqlo pants and Converse shoes.