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i saw maiko

excited. that was my first reaction when someone invited me to visit kyoto…if it would push through, it would be my first time to go to a place not within the kanagawa prefecture or to tokyo area… my excited got bigger when i found out that my trip is 200% confirmed… yes! i will go to kyoto on june 1, 2008…

saturday morning, i was on my way to shinagawa where i will ride the shinkansen (bullet train)… quite nervous inside since it will be my first time to ride in the said train, i tried to look cool..pretending to be normal…

my excitement lessened when i do not see any thing exciting along my way… all i can see was either a congested urban area or a vast field planted with rice or orange… worse, the rain has never stopped since i rode the train..

when i reached kyoto, my excited returned… i felt excited to explore the place to see the different tourist places.

my first itinerary: meet bernadia’s friend and have lunch….. trying to find a stranger in the middle of the busy environment of the kyoto station… then i heard someone called my name….having lunch with him was good… he took me in a cozy italian restaurant. time was fast with him as we talked a lot of different things over a platter of pasta….

second itinerary: kyoto university….. after lunch, i headed to kyoto university to meet the student of my friend as well as leave my things in the laboratory before i continue with my tour…
it took me quite a while before i could find the place and the person that i have to meet since it was a weekend, i seldom see people on the street whom i could ask for directions… after a few rounds in the university and studying the map, i finally found the aka renga building (red brick)… as i enter the laboratoy, i can see the confusion on their faces when i introduced myself to them… maybe they were expecting someone older rather than see a high-school-like girl as visitor…

third itinerary: ginkakuji temple (the temple with silver lining)…. since i only have a few hours to look around, i see to it that i will make the most of my time.. so i chose the places that are uniquely kyoto… one of them is ginkakuji temple… aside from its uniqueness, the temple is also near the university… going there would save me some time to visit other places…. phong, friend’s student, was kind enough to lend me his bike going to the temple…. excitement and fear went into me as it was my first time to ride a bike in japan.. as i bike my way to the temple, i thought half of my spirit was left on the street… i was not able to enjoy much in the temple because my mind was on my way home using the bike again… luckily, i returned to the university campus safe….

fourth itinerary: gion (maiko town)…. when i reached the campus, i immediately returned the bike to him and decided to take the bus instead… in that way, i would feel relaxed from the burden of taking care of the bike and being safe… walking in the street of gion is like going back to the old time of kyoto… the maiko town (geisha’s place) is very traditional… the houses were made of wood and the architecture is ancient… very traditional just like in the old japanese movies… as i toured the quiet town, i see tourists (local and foreign) standing at the sidewalks as if waiting for someone… suddenly, people gather in a group.. there i found out that all of them were waiting for a geisha to come out for them to take pictures…. i also tried my luck but it always end up having their back view in the picture… i thought i will leave the town empty-handed… as i exit in the main gate, i saw a group of geisha coming towards my direction…

with a smile on my face, i returned to the campus… and when my friend asked how my trip was, i smiled, show him the picture in my camera and said: “i saw maiko”

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MY LIFE AWAY FROM HOME

April 6, 2008: It was a mixed emotion… part of me feels excited and half of me feel like backing out. As early as 3:00 am, all of my family members are already preparing for my trip. Everyone is excited yet one can feel the sadness in everyone’s heart. It would my first time to be very far away from home for a long time. On our way to the airport, we tried to make the trip a typical one like we always have. We diverted our attention to RM’s stunning expression for it was the first time that this little boy has seen a lot along the road – the glittering lights along the highway and the noise coming from the vehicles passing through.

 

As we get near the departure area, everyone still try to act normal. Though I know in m heart that right everybody feels like crying. There goes my first challenge – saying goodbye to my love ones without shedding a single tear.

 

The second challenge was harder than I imagine. As I pass through the airport security and my bag being weighed, I was shocked when the Northwest Personnel told me that I overweighed my luggage twice than the allowed…meaning, I have a 20-kilo excess baggage with me. I don’t have a choice but to pay that or else I would end up giving my stuff to the airport security.

 

Getting in the plane was a little easy… I just slept most of the time probably because I didn’t have a decent sleep for the past few days. Getting out of Narita International Airport has been fun though I felt quite nervous at first because of my very heavy luggage. But everything turned out fine and quick. Luckily the airport limousine was just right outside the airport exit door.

 

On my way to Yokohama, I was stunned by the beauty of the cherry blossoms. I just hope that I could get near to one. When I reached the YCAT (Yokohama City Air Terminal) I was welcomed by CITYNET Assistant General Secretary Kazuo Hashimoto. I was very glad to see Hashimoto-san. He was very kind to carry my heavy bag until we reached the Yokohama International Student House in Tsurumi, which is three stations away from YCAT. He even accompanied me to my room J After that, he toured me around the commercial area of Tsurumi and he even treated me dinner….

 

Hmm…I think I will be accustomed to my place in no time…. while I was packing my things and putting them in places that I think are right for them, I begin noticing that there are still some things that I need to buy tonight, most especially fresh food… Going to the market was easy because it was just right beside my building J After doing my grocery; I went back to my room and finished tidying up the place. A few minutes after that, I received a phone call… to my surprise; it was Von – my classmate in college!!! Talking about luck, I was very grateful that we are staying at the same building. He even offered me to just to his room whenever I need an Internet connection and he will lend me his iron. Yehey!!!

 

They say that first day is always a disaster… I think not… my first day in Japan has been a thrill. It may have some downsides but at the end of the day it turned out just fine.

 

May 30, 2008: It was almost two months now since i arrived in Japan. Adjusting to my environment was not really a big deal except for the extreme weather and language barrier with the japanese… being alone all by myself is quite a challenge too. i may look independent but being alone here in a strange place gave a new meaning to the word independent since it’s my first time to be really away from home. its like waking up everyday morning without someone to wish for a great day or going to bed without someone to chat how your day was. there is also the fun side of being independent… designing your own pad and deciding what to cook for lunch and dinner…but the rewarding part of it are the beautiful places. there are a lot to see in yokohama and elsewhere in japan.. i fear that i may not have enough time to visit the must sees in the land of the rising sun. but still there are times when you miss  home… as i go to different places and meet new friends, at the end of the day you’ll realize that there is no real place like home…

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There will come a point in one’s life that one would feel exhausted of his usual daily activities that he feels he is not growing as a person – mentally, physically, socially, economically, and emotionally. And the only solution to end all this is to step out of the box and explore a greener pasture. A place where he can redeem his self and try new things which would allow him to make use of his undiscovered talents and likewise enhance his old skills and knowledge. However, challenges would always hinder one’s decision to leave the box leaving him at the crossroad as to whether stay or leave. On one hand lies the opportunity of finding a new place to explore and the possibility of finding new happiness… on the other hand lies the offer of a big step in the current career that would not only earmark own credibility as a skillful individual but would also give pride and honor to the organization. With this, a huge question which needs to be answered: To Leave or Not To Leave????

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life changes….

Its really amazing how people could cope up with everyday changes that come in our way… good or bad, these changes have made us stronger and a lot wiser as we greet the morning breeze. When I was a little girl my mom would always tell me that for a person to become successful in life, he needs to make the most of what is at hand and be flexible to the changes that would come along the way. This principle has been my guide for the past 20 years of my life. Its not that I dont trust my capability especially in terms of planning but as they say mothers know best. No matter how well you plan ahead, a lot of changes – minor or major, would definitely challenge you as an individual and as a team player, if you work in a group. So how could we cope with these “changes?” I think the first step that one should undertake is to treat the change as a challenge for you to come up with a better output. One time, a few hours before a major activity, a 34-member delegation suddenly said that they wont be joining the activity anymore. As an effect, we were left with almost half number of participants. With this, we were left with so much food and a huge space in our venue. Seeing this, my group members were terrified because we cannot cancel the food orders anymore. Since I can’t do anything with the huge space, I focused myself on doing something for the leftover food. So what I did, I distribute it to the drivers and helpers saying that its our treat to them because of their untiring help for the success of the event. Not only did it solve our problem with leftovers, it also help me strenghten our publicity to those who help us in the activity. As a result, a more efficient service from them plus all the smiles from their faces everytime we cross ways. 🙂

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