Friday, June 17, 2005


Today is my last day in Japan, and this is my last BLOG entry here, unless I will do some editing or revision.

Anyway, my flight is at 6:20pm, and I practically woke up about 12 hours before that. The sun was shining then but it wasn't like so for the whole day. Danny and I left his apartment at a little past 8am, I think, and he accompanied me through two stations. From then on, I took a train, transferred, and took another train going straight to the airport. Wow, eto talaga ang astig. Mas nakatipid pati ako sa pamasahe.

Arriving at Narita, I checked in immediately (it was around 11am pa lang). Anyway, Narita airport (Terminal 2) is quite big, they have quite so many flights, and there are a lot of things that could be done here, like typing my e-mails, reading some journal articles, shopping, eating at McDonald's. I did all those.

So, it is around 2 hours before my flight, and I will say goodbye here now.

I thank God for the opportunity, Dr Pacheco for recommending me, Prof Tamura and the COE-TPU program for accepting and accomodating me, and to Japan and all my friends there (whether I know their name or not), this has been absolutely the greatest, most memorable experience of my life.

Rainy day part 2 (JUN-16)

It's a rainy day again today, and again, I practically stayed at Danny's apartment the whole day. Except that I went again to the nearby Tajima grocery store for my lunch, and to the Shopping Street leading to the Higashi-Jujo Station to buy something for one of my bosses. It was again a so nakakatamad day! Hehe. Well, I did my final, final packing today. We had Sinigang na isda for dinner. Sarap! :-)

Bai-bai, Apaato! (JUN-13)

Woke up at a fairly normal time this morning, had my breakfast, took a shower (my last shower), packed the last few things I haven't packed (e.g. soap, etc), and folded up the futon bed and the beddings. Actually I bought some hot coffee in can from a vending machine and sandwich from the convenience store. First time I tried either one of those, and one or both of them caused me a little stomach problem. I didn't have any appetite come lunch time.

Sachi arrived to pick me up from the apartment just before 11am, and then we brought all my stuff to the school, where I left my luggage for the evening.

Anyway, at a little past 1pm, Masuyama-san and Pillai-san and I went to this Yamada electronics store. Pillai was supposed to buy a Sony Clie, but unfortunately, it was only in Japanese. He bought a Japanese-English dictionary instead. Unfortunately, it is also for Japanese, but he could use it nonetheless.

At around 4pm, I ate my lunch, and I regained my appetite after taking two bottles of this sports drink, Pocari Sweat, which has the similar effects as Gatorade.

I learned only today that I could actually send some books and documents home via EMS (a kind of fast postal service), and the school will take care of the expense. So I was practically re-packing after lunch. The books and documents were around 5 kilos only. After weighing, I found out that I could actually send other things along with my books, and that the school will take care of the expense upto a 20kg weight. So re-packing I did again, until around 6pm, when we were supposed to go already to the Chinese restaurant near the school.

Anyway, so we went to the Chinese restaurant, and Yoshida-san and the master's students were there already. We had Chinese food of course, and beer and sake. Yoshida-san took care of the bill! Thanks again Yoshida-san! Pictures are available at We left the restaurant at around 8:30. Quite early? I was surprised also. But it was just the right time as I still had to go to downtown Atsugi to check-in at the Atsugi Urban Hotel for the evening, plus I had to catch the last bus. I actually got the 3rd or 2nd to the last bus.

Atsugi Urban Hotel is not as nice (maybe because it is not as new) as the El Inn Kyoto hotel, but it is practically the same. Slept well there, although being at the topmost floor, I always am concerned for the possibility of an earthquake happening. Of course, I believe that we are safe inside the hotel, but of course, the hotel management would ask us to evacuate. I was concerned that I might be in the Yukata (something like a bathrobe that looks like a simpler and lighter type of kimono). Hehe

Bai-bai, Atsugi! (JUN-14)

Quite a sad day today.  Got to the school before 9am.  I got a seat on the school-bound bus that stops directly in front of the hotel, and I think it was because "rush hour" at the school is around 9:30am, which I think is the start time of the first class on weekdays, and I was very early.

So a little more packing I did.  Now I got a box, and it was around 12kg.  So by EMS it went...

Prof Yukio Tamura was kind enough to offer a farewell luncheon for me.  We ate at this western (not exactly American) style restaurant near the school.  They had pretty nice food there.  We also drank two kinds of beer, one is a regular draft kind of beer, and the other is non-alcoholic...  Prof Tamura presented to me my Certificate of Completion just before eating, and then we had a group picture taken outside the restaurant.

Did I mention that this Japan trip is so far the most memorable experience for me?

Anyway, 230pm came, and Koizumi-san then fetched me from my office, I said goodbye to the guys there, and we went na to the Hon-Atsugi station.  I had a little trouble there pa, as I tried to pull my suitcase thru the ticket gate, and while doing that, the ticket gate ate my ticket.  Well, it's no problem.  Had a little more relaxed trip from there on going to my friend's (Danny's) apartment.  Had to pull up or pull down the big suitcase though through stairs.  I don't know why there are stations where there are no escalators (nor elevators) for the disabled.  Of course I am not disabled, but I just wonder...

Anyway, going down the Namboku subway line (which was around five stories below), a Nihonjin was so kind enough to help me carry my suitcase down two stories.

I arrived at the Oji-kamiya station at around 5:30pm, and I met with Danny's wife and son, Silahis and Dalan at one of the playgrounds near their apartment building.

That's practically the end of all my Japan experience...

Rainy day (JUN-15)

It's a rainy day today, and I practically stayed at Danny's apartment the whole day. Except that I went to the nearby Tajima grocery store for my lunch, and to the Shopping Street leading to the Higashi-Jujo Station to look for something for one of my bosses. It was so nakakatamad! Hehe. I think I was too tired as I was quite busy from Friday until yesterday, Tuesday. I had dinner with Danny and ate some Filipino food: fried dried squid (Sarap!).

Monday, June 13, 2005

Cleaning & Packing (JUN-12)

Today is packing and cleaning day for me as tonight is my last night at the apartment... So I woke up a little late (around 10am), had a coffee, tuna & rice breakfast, hung my laundried clothes dry outside (did the laundry last night), and did some major cleaning at the apartment. By early afternoon, I had packed my luggage, and then I took a bath. Afterwards, I went to downtown Atsugi to get something for this something that I have. I also had a late lunch at this "sushi turntable" restaurant. 5 small sushi dishes, Yen 895. Well at least now, I've tried it. Afterwards, I then went to the university because I had nothing to do at home. Went home at around 9pm, and passed by 7-Eleven for my dinner... It is my last evening at the apartment... How so very sad!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Home late! (JUN-7)

Not a very exciting day. Lecture in the morning. "Work" in the afternoon. Stayed at the university until almost 11pm!

Later! (JUN-8)

Not a very exciting day. Lecture in the morning. "Work" in the afternoon. Stayed at the university until almost 12 midnight! (Why do I have a feeling this is just one of those old movies being replayed?)

"Busy" (JUN-9)

It's another one of them busy days. Got home just in time for the closing time and discounted meals at Sekichu Home Center (the grocery). Actually I was early but I dropped by the 100-Yen shop, but I did not find what I was looking for. Actually I found something, but it was 840 Yen. No thanks! I also went home early today because tomorrow, we have a "business" trip to a really far place......

Tsukuba! (JUN-10)

We went today to Tsukuba to visit two research institutes: the BRI (for buildings) and the PWRI (for Public Works).

We met at the Hon-Atsugi station at around 9:30, we got to Tsukuba at around 12:45! We bought lunch at Tokyo station, and ate it (cold) on the bus from Tokyo to Tsukuba.

Tsukuba is quite a nice city, it's north of Tokyo, and farther north from Chiba prefecture (where Narita airport is). Lots of trees, large roads... It is I think a relatively young city, and I think being a location of (government) research institutes is its main industry. Anyway, if you like the "city life," you won't like it here because it's far from Tokyo, but anyway, I like suburban places and this is one of those kinds of cities, much like Atsugi.

Our first meeting started at 13:30 (1:30pm--did I mention already that Japanese are more used to the 24-hour format?), and we saw this really big wind tunnel at PWRI - 40 meters wide! There was a scale model of a 5-kilometer long bridge inside. Very interesting.

Palatastas: in making a scale model of one busy city center in Tokyo--the Shinjuku area--it cost one wind research facility around 8 million Yen. That's 4 million pesos. That is 80 houses for the poor. Hmmmmmm.....

We next went to the BRI and they had quite a lot of interesting facilities there. Our meeting ended at almost 5pm or so. We then took a taxi back to the bus center. The taxi cost around 2,020 Yen by the way. Maybe it was around 4 to 5 kilometers lang... Anyway, so we got on a bus back to Tokyo.

Actually, today was also the first time I experienced Tokyo traffic on the way back to Tokyo. It was rush hour din kasi.

We got back to Hon-Atsugi station at around 8:30pm already! Man, we were so tired! Giang-san and I had dinner again at this ramen restaurant beside the bus center in Atsugi. Got home after 10pm na I think. I did some more things at home, and was able to sleep na at around 1am.......

Nag-mana sa Ina? (My mom won't agree) (JUN-11)

Today...  We had our last lecture under Prof Tamura at 9:30am.  I WOKE UP AT 9:05!  Damn!  Was about 5 or 10 minutes late.  I really felt the exhaustion from yesterday's trip.

Anyway, I had lunch at the cafeteria - maybe my last lunch there.  I had my favorite ulam there, deep fried breaded salmon with fries.  Hehehe.  I got my usual vegetable side dish, and "L" size rice.

4:00pm came and it was presentation time!  My presentation actually started at around 4:15.  I ended maybe around 5:30, at around 5:45 after the questions.  Hehe.  Quite interesting, I liked my presentation, except that I noticed that I was not looking too much at the audience because I had to point to the screen using the laser pointer.  I was able to respond naman to the questions asked by the top two professors (Prof Tamura, Prof Matsui) in the group.  Earlier during my stay here, I had thought that my presentation would only take 30 minutes.  Two weeks ago, and then again a week ago, I practiced my presentation and it took me 1 hour, and a little over an hour each!  I had too much to talk about.  Some of the guys said it was very interesting anyway.  So, that's quite a good thing.

I feel good now, having overcome that minor obstacle.  Tonight, I did some laundry, and I am doing some packing.  I could sleep better tonight.  I'm leaving soon!  It's quite sad actually.  Two people already asked me if I want to leave Japan.  I answered to both of them "Yes and No."  Yes, because I have things to finish in the Philippines, and I miss my loved ones there.  No because, it is so nice in Japan among other reasons.  I have thought that this has been my most memorable experience so far in life.  For those of you who don't know, I am not married yet, and presently I don't have a girlfriend.  :-)

Anyway, last Wednesday, I was also chatting with a friend--si Elaine actually, my touring companion around Tokyo.  She was one of two people who asked me if I want to go back now to the Philippines.  Anyway, I was listening to some kinda senti music then (kinda lang), and mej na-senti nga ako.  (For the curious souls, I was listening then to the background music when Trinity was dying in the Matrix Revolutions movie.)  While that song was playing, I was telling Elaine that this stay in Japan is so far the most memorable experience for me in life.  And she remembered our first meeting at Ueno, when we planned to meet at 9am but we met at almost 12 noon na!  She was apologizing again, but anyway, I told her that that was a very essential part of this stay in Japan being my most memorable experience.  I told her that if I were someone else, I might have gone to the park and cried by myself.  But anyway, I took it positively, and well, that and other experiences here have taught me somethings about myself.  Of course, Elaine did not know that the background music was a senti kind of song, and hehe, that might have affected my reply to her.  Hehe.

Shocks, right now, I'm listening to senti songs again.  Hirap din mag-maintain ng blog.  Time consuming.  Anyway, eto, it's 1:00am again, and guess what is playing: "I'll never get over you getting over me."  Damn.  I should stop this here, right now.  So, until next then!

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Yokohama! The Technical Visit (JUN-6)

Woke up early today, just before 6:30am, to go to Yokohama. We toured Taisei Corporation's research center (Taisei is one of the biggest construction companies in Japan).

Afterwards, we went to visit the Landmark Tower which is the tallest building in Japan (296 meters high, 70 stories + 3 penthouse floors, + 3 or more basement floors). So, are you thinking.. Ang low-tech naman ng Japan, sa US may 110+ story-buildings sila, sa China or sa ibang bansa, may mas matataas pa na mga buildings.... Actually, they have a Law here that prohibits the construction of buildings above 300 meters, for aviation purposes! Similarly, Japan doesn't try to produce big airplanes to compete with Boeing, Airbus, etc. But actually, they are involved in their designs!

Anyway, we met one of the structural designers of the Landmark Tower who showed us the 170-ton "vibration absorbers" at the 70th floor. Then we also went to Shin-Yokohama Prince Hotel (~40 stories) where there are water tanks at its top floor that also "absorb" vibration due to wind. If you are an engineer, you might be more familiar with the terms "tuned mass damper" or "tuned liquid damper" or "tuned active damper" or "active mass damper" or "hybrid mass damper."

Going home, I felt so tired, partly because of my "injury" from Saturday pa, so straight home I went and slept quite early today...

Sinigang, Chopsticks, and Spaghetti (JUN-5)

Upon waking up, I found out that the pain I was feeling yesterday was a back pain, on the right side. I slept for 12 hours last night! (10:30 to 10:30)

My pseudo-medical findings are as follows:

I played basketball and exercised to the point that I got tired. I am right-handed by the way.

After basketball, I went home by bicycle (in ~15 minutes) carrying a not so light bag -- over my right shoulder.

When I got home, I did quite an extensive cleaning at the apartment! I would feel some pain, but I disregarded it.

After resting for a while, I took a shower.

Then I went back to school by bicycle (in 15 minutes) again carrying a rather lighter bag over my right shoulder. After about an hour in school, that's when I started feeling the pain.

Anyway, I guess it was basically over-exercise.

Today I took two Alaxans, one after breakfast and another after lunch.

I did some grocery shopping pala today, and bought ingredients for Sinigang. Can't find any kangkong though. I did find sitaw, okra, labanos, and pechay, as well as buto-buto pork meat. Of course, I have Knorr Sabaw ng Sinigang (Tamarind Soup Base) Mix from my mother, and Pillai-san had onions, tomatoes, Jalapeño pepper, and salt (he doesn't have patis of course, nor soy sauce). I also bought some fish for frying.

Anyway, so cooking I did at Pillai-san's apartment. Giang-san and Kawana-san also came to visit. I will soon upload the photos at

The verdict:

Kawana-san said that the soup is too sour. I think Japanese don't like very sour food too much. I loved it. Actually, I thought that yeah, baka na-sobrahan sa Sinigang Mix and kulang sa pampa-alat (like patis)...

Kawana-san also said that the fish tasted like Japanese food. The fish is of course "made in Japan," but I did tell him that, this is one thing that Filipinos and Japan have in common: fish!

Giang-san said that the sinigang tastes like Indian food (e.g. Indian food that Pillai-san prepares).

The ever-so-kind Pillai-san says he likes the sinigang a lot.

Now here's the twist, we all ate Sinigang with CHOPSTICKS!

And, when we ran out of rice, Pillai-san and Giang-san started eating Sinigang with SPAGHETTI! Well, actually pwede naman, it's just that... ... :-)

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Basketball! (JUN-4)

This Saturday morning, I played basketball, by myself lang though. Afterwards, I had lunch at the cafeteria with Pillai-san, and then went home for a shower. Actually, there's a lecture today but it is in Japanese so I chose not to attend. Anyway, upon coming back here to the school, I have this feeling in my right lung. Same thing happened after the first time I played basketball here... Is it the hangin here? Maybe because of the shower after exercise? I think I over-exercised. Sarap mag-basketball!

Oh, I just remembered. Two nights ago, I tried to make a cup of Sinigang soup. I literally said to the Sinigang soup, "I miss you!" Hehehe. Tomorrow, I plan to cook Sinigang and share with the PhD guys here.

Not much... (June-3)

Not much doin today. I have already started with the packing, and I think I did some more of that today. I'm thinking now of leaving 2 pairs of shoes: one with a hole in the sole, a second which was damaged because of my little bike accident. It looks like not everything will fit in the maleta...

Friday, June 3, 2005

Tired! (JUN-2)

Today, I woke up a little late because I was so tired of our Kyoto trip. But I didn't realize how tired I was until when in the morning I was riding the bicycle going to the school, I had a *little* accident. I had a mild sprain on my foot and my ankle because of that *little* accident; nothing serious. I can still walk and the swelling has gone down over the evening. Anyway, it was a funny accident because when it happened I thought I along with the bicycle was going to fall over, but ... haha, I found myself continuing to ride the bicycle as if nothing happened. It was a wake up call nonetheless...

Kyoto Tour (JUN-1)

Ah, it's June 1 already. And what a HOT day to go around the old capital city of Japan: Kyoto. In the morning, we had this so-so tabe-hodai (all you can eat) breakfast at the hotel... Then we went to Kyoto University to visit their wind research facilities. We had lunch at the Kyodai (Kyoto Daigaku = Kyoto University) student canteen...

Then, we went around Kyoto! A beautiful place it is. I noticed there aren't any buildings more than 10 stories tall... But it's still a big city with lots of tourists nonetheless. The Kyoto Station by the way is very modern, amidst some objections. Check out the photos. We walked a total of about 8 kilometers around Kyoto today! Oh how tiring, and how sore our feet were! But it was good food for the soul, I should say.

It's a good thing we were with Kawana-san, who basically is our impromptu tour guide, and history and language teacher. It was SO hot -- it was 29 degrees in Kyoto I think that day. In the evening, we had ramen at a restaurant just inside the Hon-Atsugi Basu Senta (Bus Center). Then I went to TPU to borrow Pillai-san-no jitensha (Mr. Pillai's bicycle).

And upon coming home--SLEEP!


Today was our Shinkansen (bullet train) trip to Kyoto... Along the way, I saw Fuji-san in all its glory! hehe. Anyway, it was really a spectacular view... I have pictures ( but pictures can't show the whole picture! Check it out anyway. :-)

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

busy (MAY-30)

Today is one day before my trip to Kyoto. Got a little busy today... By the way, my Zire72 is... injured... :-(

Tokyo! (MAY-29)

Went around Tokyo with Elaine again. Shinjuku, Harajuku, Meiji Shrine, Shibuya, Ikebukuro... I've practically visited all the tourist places in Tokyo! Yey! We had dinner at... SHAKEY'S! We ordered 4 kinds of pizza (a quarter of each kind)... One pizza was kind of like a sushi/seafood pizza. Sarap din! Of course, we had Chicken and Mojos.

Got home na around 10:30 or so I think. Quite tired na so I went straight home, with a very full stomach.

Just another one of those Saturdays (MAY-28)

Today is my brother's birthday. I greeted him last night at around 1:30am local time (12:30 am in Manila).

Because I slept late last night, I woke up real late today. Plus I did the laundry today because I know tomorrow is lakwatsa day. Anyway, I planned on going to Atsugi to go to the 100-Yen shop but (Now I remember that I didn't go last night), it was too late already, I had to attend a seminar/lecture at the school at 3pm. So I went afterwards. Got on a bus with one of the students and had a little chat for the whole bus ride. So I did go to the 100-Yen shop, and I found out it closes at 1am pa!

? (MAY-27)

I forgot na what happened on May 27, Friday. Most probably a boring day. I think I went to the 100-Yen store then... Ah, I slept quite late that night, maybe at around 2:30am already... And so...

Friday, May 27, 2005

Todai + Tonkatsu! (MAY-26)

Today, to Todai I went, along with Giang-san and Pillai-san. There, an interesting wind engineering research facility they have.

After Todai, we had some coffee and cake at a small coffee shop. 700 Yen for a cake and coffee!

Afterwards, I parted ways with the two guys, and went to Toritsu-kasei in Nakano-ku (ku=ward/district) in Tokyo, to meet with my mom's friend, Tita Arlene, who brought some Pinoy goodies from my mom.

Then I took the train back, this time to the Seibu-Shinjuku station. From there I managed to navigate my way on foot to the Shinjuku station. From there also, I saw, in daylight, where the Airport Limousine Bus Service dropped me (and other passengers) off. I traced my steps going to the Odakyu train line, reminiscing about dragging my big maleta down the stairs, and up and down some escalators. Still a very memorable night.

Got back to Hon-Atsugi station, went to TPU to check mail, and went home by bicycle. I dropped by the Lawson convenience store, where I got something which I thought was chicken again (tori-katsu)... When I got home, I found out it was tonkatsu! Pork! First time I ate tonkatsu here in Japan!

End of day. :-)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Moved to!

Please note, this site will now be moved to :-)

Moved to!

Please note, this site {this japan 2005 blog thread} will now be moved to :-)

I'll be home for... my birthday! (MAY-25)

Quite tired today, because of the basketball last night. Our class under Prof Tamura extended also up to around 12:15 (supposedly until 11:00 only), but because we had to cover some topics and there might not be enough time next time...

Anyway, today, I was informed that my flight back home is (re-)confirmed for June 17, Friday. Estimated arrival time in Manila is 9:40pm, so hopefully I will be out of the airport by 10:20 or so. (Adrian, pasundo?)

Now, it's decision time: shall I go to the Expo or not?

I plan to leave "work" early to go to the grocery, and maybe the 100-Yen store na din...

basketball! (MAY-24)

i played basketball today, with the school's college varsity team! quite tiring (i did all these exercises with them), but man, i really like playing the sport! i ate two set meals for dinner afterwards! had class #3 under Prof Tamura in the morning.

new host!

Finally, I have applied for a web hosting service. For only US$ 7.77 a month, get 5Gb disk space and 10Gb/day bandwidth from Please put as your referrer ;-) Plus, if you apply now for a two year subscription, you get 14 months free! So, the website ( is all set until July 21, 2008! All I need to do now is update it. I have actually started with the photos (, so check it out!

Until then... Say "jaa mata" to! I'll still probably retain the site for memories' sake (and also for additional 20Mb storage for I don't know what...)

Monday, May 23, 2005

ho-hum... (MAY-23)

today, i spent 12 hours at the school. ho-hum. nothing exciting. had some headache middle of the day actually - gutom lang yata yon. oh well. time to go home now. :-)


woke up early, met with Kawana-san and Giang-san at the Hon-Atsugi eki. Took a train going to Shin-Matsuda eki (first time I took a train in that direction). Transferred to JR Gotemba train line for Gotemba. Met with Katsumura-san at Gotemba. He brought us to his company's off-site laboratory, the Wind Engineering Institute (head office is, obviously in Tokyo). They had one wind tunnel there. Learned a lot during that visit.

Then we had lunch at this restaurant in a cool Japanese old-style building. We had "hoto" noodles, and this different kind of sushi. Oishii (sarap)! Vegetarian was the noodles though. And the sushi is actually rice wrapped in I think fried tofu. They served "Mt. Fuji" water. Haha, okay din. Katsumura-san treated us for lunch!

Then we went up Mt. Fuji. Yey! The weather wasn't so good though. Cloudy. When we were up at the 5th station (at around 2,300m elevation--Mt Fuji summit is around 3,700m elevation), we stayed at the rest-house there, took some pictures... I saw Elaine (my friend Rad's girlfriend, who is my tour-guide/friend around Tokyo!)! It was foggy there already and it was "raining" actually. Anyway, Elaine said there were climbing up Mt Fuji but they had to go back down because there were landslides already. There were still some snow (maybe its peak was 5% covered in snow.)

Nonetheless, I had a great time! Thanks a lot to Katsumura-san first and foremost! Thanks to Kawana-san and Giang-san also! And of course, thanks to TPU for making this trip happen!

Anyway, I will upload the pictures soon.

In the evening, I was so tired, I went straight home (dropped by 7-Eleven actually for dinner). What an awesome sight, Mt Fuji is. Too bad I haven't seen Mayon Volcano yet!

Alright, until next!

class day #2 (MAY-21)

morning... class day #2 under Prof Tamura.

afternoon... wala lang.

evening... wala lang.

well i had 7-Eleven food for dinner. medyo mas-type ko ang food sa 7-Eleven kesa sa grocery kahit na mas mahal ng kaunti so...

Sunday, May 22, 2005

my very own

finally, i have a domain of my own (very cheap at CheaperThanCheapDomains at and my own webhost (very cheap -- 5Gb/day + 10Gb/day bandwidth -- at if you will get your own hosting at PowWeb, don't forget to put "" without the quotation marks as your referrer. ;-)

what's here? photos, the ronjblog, the engineering site, and more to come soon: r@dyo (1998), ronjmail, my resume,, the store, the Paradigms & Paradoxes Corp. WebOffice (TM), and more!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

business trip #1 (MAY-19)

business trip #1 to tokyo today. went to the shimizu research institute. that's the research institute of one of the three largest construction companies in japan: shimizu corporation. they have very interesting facilities, mostly from an engineering standpoint, but anyone would find some of the technologies they have very interesting too, like air-conditioning through the floor, fire protection using water walls, etc.  they have this computer set-up for doing very complicated computer simulation of wind: 10 pentium 4 3.something GHz processors, plus more!

anyway, going to shimizu pala, it's kind of school S-O-P that we wear formal attire.  yup, i was wearing suit & tie, the works.  but it was a very hot day (probably reached 26 or 27 degrees) in the tokyo area, and we were running late for our meeting time with the shimizu guys, so we ran probably 700 meters from the station to the institute, at around 2 o'clock in the afternoon, with our suits and ties on!

then, our agenda at shimizu was quite over sooner than i expected, and two of four of us wanted to go back to atsugi already (one guy had previously thought about going around tokyo), so... it was just around 3:30pm and i was going to meet pa with mia in chiba at around 7:30 pm pa... so home the three of them went, i went to my friend at todai (tokyo daigaku - tokyo university) and made tambay there muna. hehehe, conio-sounding na naman.  anyway, my meeting place with mia was at tsudanuma station, and i got there at around 8pm na din.  so may mga pinadala na akong mga books kay mia.  then i ate muna at becker's inside the station, and si mia na din, and i was on my way home na from tsudanuma at around 8:30pm.  i took the local train.  anyway, sa pagmamadali ko, i stepped on a train going in the opposite direction!  so i got off one station away, and got on the train going home.  i took a local train, which means it stopped at every station, so that i don't have to change trains pa until shinjuku, and naka-upo ako the whole time.  basa na lang ako ng nobela at nakinig sa mga senti na kanta sa aking palm zire 72.  medyo na-apektohan yata ako ng mga senti na kanta.  or baka pagod lang ito.  anyway, naka-48 years of solitude na ako.  hehe.  i've finished around 48% of the novel "100 years of solitude" by gabriel garcia marquez.  very interesting novel, for me at least.  by the way, i paid just 150 Yen for my trip from iidabashi to tsudanuma, and tsudanuma to shinjuku.  hehehe.  guess why.

got back to hon-atsugi eki (station) just before 11pm, and to the apartment at 11:15pm na.  the price for taking a local train.  on my trip from shinjuku to hon-atsugi eki, naka-upo naman ako.  pero i was so tired of travelling the whole day, i felt na parang super tagal ng trip na yon.  upon getting down at hon-atsugi, i decided against my previous plan pa of going back to TPU (the school) to get the bicycle para the next morning, magba-bicycle ako to school.  anyway, i was super pagod na talaga, so i took Bus No. 25 which goes to as close as two blocks away from the apartment.  Bus No. 26 goes straight to TPU sana.

by the way, i thought i don't need to buy an iPod if i wanted a music player, dahil pwede naman sa palm zire ko, lagyan ko lang ng malaking capacity na memory card.  problem: hindi pang-matagalan as a music player ang batterya ng palm.  lasted me a over 2 hours lang.  my advice: okay ang iPod.  but if you want a palm PDA and a music player in one, PalmOne is releasing a PDA model that has 4Gb of capacity and is priced under US$500.  pretty good na din yon, i think.  antayin na lang din natin na mag-mura.

ang dami ko nang sinabi!  bukas ulit! :-)

seminar day! (MAY-20)

i still felt very tired in the morning. i didn't have coffee pa pati so... spark plug ko ang coffee.

anyway, in the afternoon, two professors from the US gave some short presentations about research activities at their respective universities.

here's something interesting: At Colorado State University, there is one required course for ALL freshmen students (undergraduate of course): "NATURAL HAZARD MITIGATION FOR FRESHMEN."

beat that.

also, copying from the Japanese (or from Prof Tamura's PhD students at least) as Prof Bienkewicz of Col. State U mentioned, they also did some "wind tunnel tests" with pre-schoolers.

beat that.

haha. ha. ay pilipinas kong minamahal... nakaka-inis ka dahil kaya mong umunlad pero ayaw mo, pero ganun pa man, miss na kita, pilipinas!!! aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

nga pala, walang magku-kuwento sa akin ng star wars episode 3. kainis!!!!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

busy + workout! (MAY-17)

busy day today. again. workout. again. but compared with yesterday, i got to go to the grocery for discounted meals... :-)

class! (MAY-18)

First thing in the morning, Prof Tamura gave us an introductory class. Then, I felt tired in the afternoon, must be because of the workout. It was also sunny in the morning, and then cloudy and colder in the afternoon. Maybe that had something to do with me feeling tired. The two other PhD guys from Vietnam and India felt a little tired in the afternoon also.

Ah, starting yesterday morning, I tried a different bike route going to the school. Mas madali dumaan don kasi konti lang dadaanan kong traffic light. Tsaka, it looks like a shorter route, although I'm not so sure about that. Yesterday actually, I kind of got lost, I mean, hindi naman. Yung kaibigan kasi natin e mali ang binigay na instructions. Well, trying to help lang naman siya. Anyway, basically I did not know which direction to go, where to turn, etc., but I was following some high-rise landmarks... On my old bike route kasi, it's following a line of transmission towers. And then, just before the last traffic light towards the school, there's this big place - I think it's a golf course - and since residential area ang paligid, may matataas na mga net along its perimeter. So sinundan ko lang din yon. It felt like a shorter route. But I think, the important thing also is hindi uphill itong bago kong route. Yung dating route, pawis ako palagi pagkadating ng school, and pa-easy-easy lang pagpa-uwi. Ngayon, pareho lang ang effort halos for both ways.

I left school early to go to Sofmap in Atsugi. Basically I bought memory cards for my cameras, and also a memory card reader for the laptop. Got into quite a conversation in Japanese with one of the salespersons there. Anyway, nagkamali ako ng nabili na Compact Flash memory card - Sandisk ang brand na nabili ko so halos pareho lang ng presyo sa Pinas. Anyway, magandang brand naman ang Sandisk. Nakabili din pala ako ng extra battery para sa Canon na camera ko...

Wellp, that's all for now! 'til next!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

warm + busy + workout (MAY-16)

it's the first monday, first day of my second month here in japan. it's quite warm today, it was sunny since 5:00am! how did i know? i woke up at around that time, and boy, was the sun shining. remember japan is up in the northern hemisphere, and they have like 14 hours of daylight on months around the summer. sun rise today is actually at 4:35am, and sun set is at 6:39pm. and, they do not use daylight savings time here unlike in the US.

a little busy day though i got off to a slow start. next thing i know, it was lunch time already. i had two meals for lunch. hehe. i had "pizza" for breakfast, but it didn't quite satisfy my stomach though.

at around merienda time, there was this demonstration again of some software that processes digital video images to determine the flow of air (or water) around some building or obstruction.

next thing i know, it's 5pm already. i have been preparing this "country report" on wind data from the philippines, and i actually started preparing my powerpoint presentation already.

7pm, it was workout-at-the-gym time. quite a good workout. i followed my "trainor's" instructions. hehe.

i was late for the discounted meals at the Sekichu Home Center (grocery), so i settled for 7-Eleven. they have this meal that i like a lot: it has fish, squid, and chicken, and i really like the rice with the nori (seaweed) and stuff.

well that's all for today. jaa, mata ashita!

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Household Chores day (MAY-15)

Today, I got to the university almost 6pm na.  I started my laundry
last night pa actually, but anyway, I just finished today.  I made
laba (naks, how so coño naman) the dirty stuff din like mga basahan,
etc.  I did some apartment cleaning - actually I think I didn't do
any last weekend, so super dumi na ng apartment.  I really don't
know why super daming alikabok sa apartment, when its doors and windows
are closed probably 98.5% of the time.  That's why I made laba
the dirty stuff
, kasi daming naipon na dumi.  By the way, dumi
is different from kalat.  The apartment's a little organized

Last Friday, it was forecasted to be a cloudy day today but the sun was
shining for the whole afternoon!  Anyway, in the morning, I was
trying to dry the newly-laundried clothes in the bathroom (there's a
heater inside).

Oh well...  Back to work now...  Have to do some planning and
thinking for the rest of my stay.

Tonight pala would be my first month here in Japan!  (I arrived
April 15, remember?)  :-)


"Tokyo" (MAY-14)

Almost everything went on schedule today... 10am meeting with the Professor. 2pm meeting with my friend, Mia... Got my cellphone na! Texted my brother. It seems that the Globe website ( is not up-to-date. Supposedly, I have a local number. It doesn't seem like so. My brother texted back that it was my (Globe/Philippines) cellphone number which was displayed together with my text message.

Mia pala is in Chiba-ken (ken = prefecture ~ province), same prefecture as the Narita International Airport. Now I'm from Atsugi-shi (shi = city) in Kanagawa-ken. Imagine that the Manila International Airport is in Bulacan and I live in Los Baños, Laguna. Haha, anyway, I will be more at peace now, because I now have a cellphone! (A Nokia 6650 by the way, for rent from Globe for P75 a day.)

I had late lunch at McDonald's there, and did some window shopping, and some hyaku-en (100 yen) shopping. Now I finally got wasabi, and I also have this sake set. Hehe.

On my way back home, I dropped by Tokyo eki (eki = train station) which I took some pictures of. It's one big and old red brick building. Since my website free space is almost nil, I'll update na lang my photos website when I get back na to the Philippines.

I also dropped by the Shinjuku area, actually just to check what's up at the GAP store (hehe). Did some tambay but nothing really was happening at Shinjuku around that time. It was around 530pm na.

I tried contacting my friend, Elaine, but she wasn't at home. I was gonna ask sana kung may gimmick pa siya.

I also tried to text my friend, Danny, on his Japan-based cellphone. He didn't reply. I don't know if he received it.

Got back quite early to my home-eki, Hon-Atsugi eki. I was there a little past 7pm na yata. Dropped by the supermarket na din for some food. Ubos na yung mga okay na meals nila, so I dropped by the 7-Eleven na din. Mej napadami yata ang binili ko, I was so full, pero naubos ko naman. Hehe. Saya! :-)

Friday, May 13, 2005

busy on friday-the-13th :-( (MAY-13)

Busy day again today. Tomorrow morning, Saturday at 10am I have to meet with my adviser here at TPU, Prof Tamura. Have to meet also with a friend in Tokyo, Mia, who brought a cellphone for me here.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

"busy" + Photos Update (MAY-12)

still busy today... and i had to disable the "misc" and "food" photo sites to make way for the blogs...

jaa, kyo wa, kore ga imasu: (thus, for today, these exist:) (my apartment in atsugi) (atsugi-shi, city where i live) (my visit to nikko, old japan) (pictures in tokyo - incomplete actually because of disk space) (pictures at TPU where i'm doing research) (my visit to yokohama, port city about 1-hour away from tokyo or from atsugi)


too many

Try a search for "ronjie" on ... There are too many of us! Just a year ago, you'd get only one or two pages of search results from google. Not anymore! It's a good thing I got this domain first! Actually I got it sometime back for free for one year, but back then I haven't yet heard of CTCD's existence so it was quite expensive. Oh well, now all I need to do is find a reliable webhost...

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

"busy" (MAY-11)

work work work ... went home past around 930pm na. wala lang. ate instant noodles and a can of tuna for dinner. sabi kasi ng "training instructor" ko to have diet on my "Day 3" of workout, which is Wednesdays... check out the gym equipment pala at

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

"busy" (MAY-10)

work work work ... i did some workouts today at the gym! yeah!

Sunday, May 8, 2005

International Tea Party! (MAY-8)

Slept last night actually at watashi-no tomodatchi-no apaato-ni (at my friend's apartment). We were supposed to go to Miraikan also in Odaiba, but we had to cancel. Anyway, I got back to the Hon-Atsugi station at almost 1pm na.

Whenever I ride the trains here, I feel like I'm on the Amazing Race. I always try to think of how I could get somewhere faster! Sometimes, I take trains for another destination, and change trains na lang at some station. I saved 9 minutes on my trip from Shinjuku to Hon-Atsugi today! That could have been worth a lot to get to the pit stop first!

Anyway, I did not go home straight actually, because there's an "international tea party" for foreigners in Atsugi at 2pm. Ate lunch at... McDo again. Love ko 'to! Hehe.

At the party, there was this German, a Thai, Three Vietnamese (including Giang-san), one Indian (Pillai-san), one Filipino (me), one Bengal or Pakistani i think, some Chinese, and a lot of Japanese. Anyway, I was forced to sing in front! So I sang... Leron Leron Sinta. Unfortunately I forgot the lyrics, but fortunately no one there knew! They were clapping to the song anyway. Hehe

Afterwards, dinner with Pillai-san and Giang-san at the Indian Kitchen restaurant. Had some "nan", the Indian bread, with chicken curry.

Yeah baby!

Saturday, May 7, 2005

Tokyo Day 4 (MAY-7)

Walked a lot today! Went to Tokyo eki (nice building but I forgot to get my picture taken there), and then to the Imperial Palace and Garden and the (small font) museum (/small font) where admission is free. Maliit kasi. Next stop was Hibiya Park. So-so, except that there's a bust of Jose Rizal there!

Next stop was McDo for lunch, then the convention center there... Amazing architecture!

Then off to... Odaiba! Spent practically the whole afternoon there. Saw the Rainbow Bridge, went to the "beach"... There was this nice looking mall that had a on-a-cruise feel to it. Went to Fuji TV headquarters - amazing architecture again! Some Nissan cars on display... Then off to the Toyota something there. Lots of cars on display! Very interesting exhibits. We probably took a long time there... We also rode an automatic car there, for 200 yen per person and 45 minutes wait. As in, it drives on its own! Accelerates, breaks, turns, turns on the turn signal, automatic talaga! Kaso, top speed: 15 kph. Small car lang.

Anyway, dinner at McDo again!

Check out the pictures sana, kaso wala nang space sa website ko!

Friday, May 6, 2005

"busy" (MAY-6)

Today is a "busy" day. My usual "work": downloading some references, and editing my "country report." Chatted with some friends in Manila, one of them will be coming here on a work trip next week. Exchanged some e-mails.

Cold day with some "showers" by the way! Yesterday and the past few days have been clear skies and sunny days!

Thursday, May 5, 2005

Yokohama! (MAY-5)

I went to Yokohama today, although I also planned to go to Kamakura. Anyway, one day may not be enough to go around Yokohama really. Although, perhaps because I took some time at Motomachi - I dropped by the GAP store, and went to the Catholic Church, which is perhaps the nearest one to Atsugi.

Well, there is a lot to be said... Anyway, on the train trip between Atsugi and Yokohama, I saw a different kind of Japan; not very much like Atsugi, or Yokohama, or Tokyo. It's much like seeing a part of Oakland when travelling from Berkeley to San Francisco by the BART (train).

I saw the World Police (Band) Concert 2005 but I didn't watch the whole of it...

And lastly, I like Yokohama a lot, but maybe because it's a smaller city than Tokyo, and there are a lot more open spaces, and part of Yokohama's features really is the big body of water (that's why Yokohama is called the port city). I like what they've done with the Yamashita Park and all the other sea-side (or bay-side) attractions. There are maps and guides maybe almost every 500 meters or every kilometer which are also in Roma-ji or English as well as in Kanji/Hiragana/Katakana, of course. Perhaps, aside from being a port city, Motomachi explains why this is so. In Motomachi you could find plenty of European-style houses and buildings. It is also there where I found the Sacred Heart Cathedral. There are at least two other Christianity-based churches there.

Checkout the pictures:
I've also updated: and
The new photo site and the updated sites will be effective on Saturday, May 7, 2005 in the morning, Tokyo & Manila time.

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

English Show Time! (MAY-4)

Today, like I've previously mentioned is still technically a holiday, but anyway I'm here at the university. I want to finish the things I need to finish so that I could come clean come Friday, the first truly working day after this long holiday.

Anyway, today also marks the first time I am able to see an English show for a change. Wala lang. Saya!

== Photos Update ==

The following photo sites are new or have been updated: (new) (updated) (new/updated) (updated)

The following photo sites are still up:

Tuesday, May 3, 2005

Holiday Work (MAY-3)

It is a legal holiday today in Japan; it's Constitution Day. Technically I
could go out and not go to the university.

Anyway, waking up, I still felt a bit tired from the long weekend. I was
planning on going to Yokohama today but, well that was one reason why I
didn't go. A second reason is that it was cloudy when I woke up, until
around mid-day.

At mid-day, it was all so shiny and clear! Truly, the weather here changes
quite drastically in a matter of minutes!

So I went to the university... Worked up some e-mails, downloaded some
reference materials, chatted with some friends from home, coordinated with
my brother for my roaming phone rental...

I wanted to stay there until I was finished with all the
reference-gathering, but I thought, I'll just go home early, get some
discounted food at Sekichu Home Center (the grocery), sleep early, and go
back early to the university the next day. Technically it's not a holiday
tomorrow, May 4, but because it is sandwiched by the May 3 and May 5
holidays, it is declared as a holiday. Thus starting from the April 29
holiday (Greenery day) upto May 5 (Children's day), it is called "the
Golden Week," which a lot of Japanese take as one long holiday. Some
companies however, mostly those based in Tokyo, and some researchers also,
do not take these holidays or all of them off. I guess, the same is true
for some people back home.

Anyway, it was 7:45 already when I left the university, and Sekichu closes
at 8pm! So I rode the bicycle as fast as I can, and I got there probably 2
minutes before closing time. That was a 13-minute bicycle ride; it was
actually one of my best record times (I think I previously made it in
12-minutes from the apartment to the school).

So I got my usual discounted meals. Oh, I had just instant noodles and a
small can of tuna for lunch so I ate a lot for dinner: 3 ulams and 3
rice! I didn't have any room for the strawberries I bought. Oh well, I am
very satisfied, now I really feel like sleeping early. So off to sleep I
go now! 'Til next!

Monday, May 2, 2005


I still feel tired. This morning, I did some laundry and some apartment cleaning. Went by bicycle to the grocery. Was going home by bicycle, but it turned out that it cannot carry my weight as well as the groceries. So I parked the bicycle somewhere near the grocery, brought the groceries home, and got back to the bicycle, and then went to the university to type-up my write-ups for April 29 to today for my blog. I still feel so very tired. I think I'll go home and I'll have a heavy dinner. I plan to go to Yokohama within the next three days.

Until may energy na ulit ako! :-)

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Tokyo Day 3 (MAY-1)

Breakfast at Danny's, and at around 10am, off to Korakuen beside the Tokyo
Dome. It's a big Japanese-style garden (park).

Then we had an American lunch at Becker's (Burger, salad, and Cora, or
Coca-Cola for me).

Then off to Roponggi Hills we went for the Tokyo City View... And the Mori
Art Museum, and the Museum for the Future of Urban Infrastructure?

Last stop was Harajuku. Then I parted ways with Danny and his son Dalan at
Shinjuku station where they still had to get some more of Dalan's school
things. Got back to Hon-Atsugi at around 7pm na.

I was so very tired. I passed by the University pa to check lang for
e-mails. Then Pillai-san and Giang-san invited me for dinner and drinks at
their apartment. Pillai-san prepared some Indian food (I liked it a lot)
but it was vegetarian (but I still liked it a lot!). I only had a couple
of glasses of drinks, and got home na to the apartment at a little past
10pm na, very tired (rode the bicycle pa kasi). Then, ayun...

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Tokyo Day 2 (APR-30)

Got up for breakfast with Danny's family, and then Danny went to his lab
for the day, Silahis and Dalan (his wife and little boy) went out for
shopping for Dalan's day-care-center stuff, and I went to Ueno station to
meet with a friend.

I met with Elaine at around 1130am already. We were supposed to meet at
9am, but, as usual, I was lost. (Tanga na ba masyado? =)

Actually, my friend Rad who has helped me so much to prepare for my trip
here introduced me "electronically" to Elaine. Elaine and I communicated
lang by e-mail and actually it was the first time we actually met in person.

Anyway, I really thank her very much because she was patient enough to wait
almost three hours! Finally, she found me wondering around in front of the
public payphones and vending machines.

Well our first stop was the Ueno Ameyoko Market where basically window
shopping lang ang ginawa namin. Meron doon na parang "1000 Yen Chocolates"
na basically, the sales people will sell a bag of chocolates for 1000 Yen,
and if you are not satisfied, you can try to ask them to add more
chocolates in the bag! Anyway, they were selling western (mostly American)
chocolates so I did not get nor do I plan to get in the future. Shempre,
andito lang din ako, Japanese chocolates na lang ang kukunin ko! =)

Then we ate at this place which sells a 10-piece-Gyoza meal (with rice and
soup and some side dish) for only 700 Yen. Quite cheap! But don't try to
convert that to PhP, mahal pa din ang dating. =)

After the Gyoza meal, we went to Ueno zoo. First time I think I saw a
Panda! Lots of fascinating animals... Check out the pictures na lang. :-)

Then we commuted again to Asakusa. First we passed by a bridge overlooking
I think the Asahi Breweries Building and the Azumabashi Building. Check
out the picture. The weird gold shape - which I thought was a flame - is
supposed to be a cloud (on the Azumabashi bldg). The other building is
supposed to be like a mug full of beer (the Asahi bldg).

Then we went to the Sensoji Temple. Just before the temple, there are lots
of shops, where, as usual, I went window shopping. Then, the Sensoji
Temple. Check out the pictures!

Oh, at Asakusa, I had a taste of a Japanese soda (similar to Sprite or
Mountain Dew) inside a traditional softdrink bottle. There's a ball inside
the bottle that supposedly if you turn the bottle incorrectly, the ball
will block the flow of the drink. Well, it didn't work, but the soda, at
200 Yen if I remember correctly was quite refreshing nonetheless.

Last stop for the night was Akihabara, the "Electronic City." Lots of
shops selling all kinds of electronics, new and second-hand. Well, I
didn't really have budget yet for electronics so... Anyway, I saw this
second-hand Canon digital camera (2 MegaPixel) for just below Y9000...

We had dinner at Yoshinoya in Akihabara. It's just unfortunate that I
haven't tried Yoshinoya in the Philippines before! But Elaine said that
it's better in Japan! hehe.

I went back to Danny's apartment na din. But... I forgot Danny's
apartment number! I was trying to call him on his cellphone but I didn't
understand a word the operator was saying in the payphone! Luckily, my
visual memory brought me to his unit without committing the mistake of
knocking on someone else's door.

So, until next day again!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Tokyo Day 1 (APR-29)

Hay... It is actually May 2 now already, it was a loooooong 3-day weekend
starting Friday. Friday afternoon I went to Tokyo to meet with my former
officemate, Danieru-san. (Danny)

Danny is a very good man, and actually, because of interesting discussions
on a lot of things during the times we were officemates, I have started to
want to know more about histories and cultures, primarily of the
Philippines (my country) and then of Asian nations, and then of the world,
of course. History, if I remember correctly, is one of Danny's primary
interests (as a hobby, as he is, like myself, into engineering and research.)

Well, it was the first time I rode the Tokyo Metro, the local subway in
Tokyo. Of course, I rode the usual 50+ minute trip from (Hon-)Atsugi to
Shinjuku, then a-subway I went. At Shinjuku, it was my first time to go
out of Shinjuku station, and what a busy, downtown/urban place! Anyway,
the only store that caught my attention was this GAP store. GAP is my
favorite (American) brand of clothing, although I usually purchase their
sale items lang, otherwise, the best na para sa akin ang SM Surplus Shop. :-)

I went down at the Todaimae station (Todai = short for "Tokyo Daigaku" or
the University of Tokyo; mae = before when refering to time, or "in front
of" when refering to a place). Danieru-san is a PhD student at Todai. He
toured me around their lab... And around Todai in general. I didn't yet
take pictures because I know I will visit the place again soon. ;-)

He then took me to the Nezu Shrine (and garden). Check out the
pictures! Go to and find the link to the photo site, or go

We then took a walk through Ueno park, to get to the Ueno station (because
the next day, I was to meet another friend at Ueno) and met with
Danieru-san-no kazuku (Danny's family; wife and 4-year old boy). He
brought me to this authentic Chinese ramen place.... It was 1100 Yen for
one big bowl of ramen, and it was oishii!

Then, I stayed at Danieru-san-no apaato (Danny's apartment) for the
night. Of course, madaming exchange of stories (and opinions on certain
issues) over 500mL cans of Asahi... (Actually, I've forgotten which drink...)

On to the next day!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

HOT! (APR-28)

Today it is mega-warm! Probably 25 degrees or higher. The forecast high
for tomorrow here in Atsugi may reach 27 degrees! We had to turn on the
air conditioning inside the laboratory. Well i won't complain. Better
than cold. =)

I'm quite glad pala about the workstation I'm using here. It's got a
Pentium 4 3.8 GHz processor, 2Gb of RAM, a 250Gb hard disk, and a DVD-RW
super drive. The DVD-RW super drive has been very useful for me because I
am able to free up space on my laptop's hard drive. Yesterday I bought a
spindle of 10 DVD-Rs worth Y880, Imation ang brand - ayos na din!

Today, I visited the library - they have, in my eyes, quite a good
collection of books (and journals) in English. I'll visit it again.

I also dropped by one of the wind tunnels today, and found some of the
researchers and students preparing for an experiment on May 9.

Tomorrow night will mark my first 14 days here in Japan.

Time flies so fast sometimes, I do not know why. =) is alive!

The domain is now finally mine! I hereby would like to recommend you register your domain at CheaperThanCheapDomains ( It's just US$8.94 or PhP450 a year! Right now, I'm just redirecting to my free Tripod website at (this page!). In the future, I will also apply for cheap web hosting somewhere. =)

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

"busy" (APR-27)

Today was a "busy" day. In the morning, I got up quite late. Sunny
day! But because the cold air got trapped inside the apartment, it was
hard to get up. I noticed that it's harder for me to get up when it's
cool. Last night, I forgot to put on a sweater before going to sleep. I
woke up at 830 am na.

Dito pala, I think the sun rises before 5am! And sets at around
630pm. They do not have daylight savings time.

Anyway, in the morning, one of the researchers brought me to one of the big
wind tunnels at the university, and explained to me some concepts in wind
tunnel testing.

Generally for the whole day, I was busy with preparing for my country
report. I went home from the university at a little past 9pm na, and
passed by 7-Eleven for dinner. I was so hungry, I bought one meal (which
had very little meat), and bought extra rice (worth 230 yen!) and something
like coleslaw. I also opened a sardine can (which was probably worth
around 100 yen), and had Coke as drink. The meal cost me close to 1000
yen, but it was fulfilling for me, nonetheless. The coleslaw tastes
different from the coleslaw I know.

For lunch pala, the meal I bought came with mustard... which tasted like
the usual western kind of mustard and wasabi in one! From what I know,
wasabi is mustard, although my dictionary says it's Japanese horse radish.

Well, those are the highlights of today. Starting this Friday until next
Thursday is the "Golden Week". Basically, Friday April 29 is a holiday, as
well as May 3 and May 5, and usually May 4 is also declared a holiday. So
basically, people will tend to take Monday off also and effectively taking
one whole week off! I plan to meet with friends in Tokyo this week to help
me go around Tokyo. =)

'Til next!

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

a little more interesting day (APR-26)

What about today?

Well today, the usual routine. Cheese on white bread microwaved, coffee, banana, and orange juice for breakfast. The usual bike ride to the university. Usual bike to the grocery for dinner, and then home.

Had something like barbecue (tasted great!) and a special kind of rice for dinner, and tuna sushi rolls... Actually, I did not find any good looking ready-to-eat dinner that was 30% off already. I got the barbecue at regular price, and the rice and sushi at 30% off. I forgot what tuna is in Japanese... Maguro? Oh, I semi-boiled some petchay-looking vegetables to go with the dinner, and I used this sauce (which, when I bought, I thought was soy sauce) for flavor. It tastes more like a cross between soy sauce and oyster sauce, it doesn't taste salty enough for me though. The sushi I bought came with wasabi pala! It's the first time I saw wasabi here in Japan!

At the laboratory, I wrapped up the re-installation of software on my workstation (it had problems yesterday, it became very slow). Started to get on track with my country report. Had a short discussion with one of the researchers here, Dr. Quan Yong. Had a little chat also with Pillai-san about finite element analysis software we use, and about Matlab (a math/programming software).

I called my mom using Skype, a free software for making voice calls over the internet. It went well like we were on the phone talaga! Beats long distance. Of course, the Microsoft IM and Yahoo IM could do that too but anyway... Ayos!

Kahapon pala, si Mr. Restaurant-in-Megamall-where-my-mother-once-brought-me, nagkuwento ng pagkatagal-tagal, bumangka kumbaga! Dalawa kaming kasama niya and I dunno pero parang medyo naiinip na din yung isa. La lang. Mej mahirap din kasi yung situwasyon niya, hindi niya talaga linya itong pinasok niya so... Well, nagkuwento siya about different things from his homeland.

Another thing I like about Japan: the packages here like the package for the soup flavor mix and the little bag of oil that you put in boiling water to make soup or noodle soup, the package for the soy sauce or mayonnaise that comes with the food you bought, and the bags of chips - they're all easy to open! No spills, no oily hands, no problem! Yay!

ho-hum (APR-25)

Ho-hum day. Got to the laboratory late most probably because of the
"bonding" session last night, but maybe also because I had a heavier than
usual breakfast this morning.

Then the computer assigned to me was acting really
slooooooooooooooooooow. Late in the afternoon, I reformatted it na.

I went home around at around 7:30, and dropped by the grocery for my
dinner. The cashier was asking me if I wanted chopsticks, or so I thought,
as she was motioning her fingers in a scissor-cutting like fashion after I
told her that "Sumimasen. Nihongo ga sukushi wakarimas." Anyway, I said,
"Hai, dozo." "Yes, please."

That's about my story for today.

By the way, one thing I like about Japan so far -- no where has it ever
occurred here that the store, or the bus, or wherever, does not have
change. Palaging may "otsuri" or panukli sila. Walang, "Sir, okay lang po
kung kulang ng piso?" 'lul! Okay lang ba sayo? :-)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Laundry, Osake, & A Japanese Restaurant (APR-24)

Today, I woke up quite late, after the tiring but very fulfilling day yesterday. Upon waking up, I did two batches of my laundry, the whites and the colored ones. Quite easy to use the washing machine (although I had to ask help from Koizumi-san), put in all the clothes with the detergent, and press the red button for power-on, and then press the green button ("Go!"). The washing machine will determine how much water it will use, do all the draining and spinning (including spin-drying), and voila, nice smelling and clean(-looking clothes). It was another nice sunny Sunday (so far it was not so cold in the evening; air-con kind of weather lang), and I hanged up the whites to dry. The colored ones though, I had to leave hanging inside the apartment because I was scheduled to meet with Giang-san and Pillai-san at 5pm, and it was already 5pm. Besides, there was no more sun, and there's a forecast of rain for tomorrow, so... Well, since they've been spin-dried, they're not causing any flash flooding inside the apartment so, as Pillai-san would say, "no problem."

I took the 10-minute walk to the bus stop, only to wait for around 20 minutes for the next bus for the university. Then upon hopping on the bus, it turned out that Pillai-san and Giang-san were there! I also bought my first bus card today, so that I don't have to put in coins everytime.

Pillai-san and Giang-san and I were supposed to go out for a drink, but Giang-san was not feeling well, so he went straight home. Pillai-san and I then went to a nearby Thai restaurant, but, as is for many Japanese small restaurants, it is closed on Sundays. We then hopped over to a nearby open restaurant, which turned out to be a Japanese restaurant. It was my first time to eat at a real Japanese restaurant in Japan. It was a small restaurant with only one table which is about 10 inches high only (the traditional Japanese table where you sit squat around it). There is a bar with four stools where you could also eat. Pillai-san and I were the only customers there, I believe the owner was more than happy to have us. Hehe.

Anyway, it was my first time to try Sake! (or Osake, the Japanese rice wine; the O makes it more polite. Like Otsuri (tsuri: change/sukli), Otomodachi (friend), Otenki (weather)) We had three small flasks of Osake... It was quite pleasant to drink! Then, not knowing what to order, we settled with the easiest to order: Tori (chicken). Actually we were trying to ask for chicken curry, but we were given fried chicken. It was good nonetheless. We had some ocha (tea) afterwards. All that oishii food and drink for two cost us 3900 Yen! Mother, I will settle for 7-Eleven food na lang! =)

Actually the 7-Eleven food is fresh naman, in fact the ones that are available there are good only for about 12 hours at most. Anyway, I do not plan to get ready-to-microwave fresh food at 7-Eleven all the time, dahil mas mahal don. I plan to get my lunch at the university co-op, and my dinner, at the grocery just before closing time, which becomes 30 to 50 percent off, dahil nga masisira na. My breakfast, I buy cheese and bread at the grocery, and I have, today, bought some fruits (strawberries and bananas). I also bought some fishes in can (tuna, and I-dunno-what-but-it-looks-nice fish) which I could make a sandwich with my cheese and bread. I also actually bought some fruit in a can (I think it's peach, but I do not know yet... I'll find out soon).

Well that's it for today! I hope I wake up early tomorrow (Monday)!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Bullet! (APR-23)

Today, I reminisced about my first day (first night actually) here in
Japan. I'll tell you why later.

It was a little unfortunate that I was not able to book the morning flight
from Manila then, which means I would have arrived here before 3pm, and I
would have gotten on the direct bus from Narita airport upto the Hon-Atsugi
train station by 6pm. But it was unfortunate that, I got the afternoon
flight, it got delayed, and there was no direct bus anymore, except to
Shinjuku which was in Tokyo, and from there my adventure began! And in
Shinjuku, I was just trying to follow the signs while pulling and dragging
around my big maleta, my heavy backpack, and my laptop bag. I had to
immediately board the train, and so on.

Anyway, I remember that on that evening a very nice Japanese man
voluntarily helped me out and gave me instructions, in English pa. Oh how
very helpful the Japanese are, and I thought that incident was
one-in-a-thousand, but after 7 full days here, I have realized it is quite
a fact. Of course, if they can't help, they can't, but so far, it has not
been a problem. Today, I was at the same station, and boarding almost the
very same train!

At the Hon-Atsugi station, I remembered just going out into the downtown
area at a little past midnight, not knowing where I was really, which
direction was north, and not knowing yet by face who was picking me up. A
friend of mine, Rad, gave me a Japanese phone card for this trip, but I had
trouble using it as the instructions were in Japanese (fast
Japanese!) Fortunately, I had some coins so I was able to call
Koizumi-san, and so she found me with the big maleta at a telephone
booth. Oh how memorable that telephone booth is! I think I took a picture
of it, and it's posted at . Today,
I again saw that telephone booth for the second time in broad daylight,
shimmering in the warm sun. Haha, reminiscing daw ba talaga!

On that night I immediately recalled that it was right-hand drive here
(compared to left-hand drive in the Philippines and in the United States),
because as I was about to board Koizumi-san's car I noticed it was the
driver's side!

On that night, I asked Koizumi-san that we drop by somewhere to get dinner,
and she suggested 7-Eleven, and 7-Eleven it was. And I noticed that there
is another 7-Eleven closer to the apartment where I'm staying right
now! And now, I notice that there are much more 7-Elevens around, as well
as AM/PM, Lawson, etc. All convenience stores. Immediately I wondered why
there aren't as much 7-Eleven type stores in Manila--ah, but we have lots
of sari-sari stores. One store near our Manila home, the Dela Rosa Bakery,
most probably because a nearby convenience store has opened the market for
late night consumers, has since operated a 24-hour store of its own to get
a share of the market. By the way, I saw a MINI-STOP convenience store
here today! I thought that was just the Gokongwei's convenience store
chain in the Philippines. Apparently, Mini-Stop is global!

And now to today...

Today, I took a train to Shinjuku, and then after realizing that it was a
local train (meaning it will stop at every station), I transferred trains
for an express train. Upon arriving at Shinjuku station, I went out, saw a
tiny little glimpse of metropolitan Tokyo, and then I got a ticket again
using the automated ticket machine (which has a button to convert the
Japanese instructions into English) and went to the Tokyo station. From
the Tokyo station...

I took a bullet train to Utsunomiya! I was headed for Nikko!

Now how did that happen? My original plan really was to go to Yokohama and
Kamakura this Saturday, which are both in the same prefecture/province as
Atsugi. But one of my bosses (who lived here in Japan for around 12 years)
suggested that I should visit try to visit Nikko because there might still
be some cherry blossoms there, because they seem to blossom late than is
forecasted for this year. I wanted to see the cherry blossoms! Actually,
I decided I should go to Nikko just this morning. Why?

Last night, I went home at around 9pm, but I forgot to get a guide from the
internet on how to go to, and where to go to in Nikko. So I went pa to the
university this morning (got there before 9am) to download and print, and
to study the route. Anyway, I finished up at the university quite late
already -- around 925am, and I went na to the Hon-Atsugi station. I
thought that, wait a minute, Yokohama and Kamakura are just nearby, I could
easily visit those places anytime, so why not Nikko? ...Because it's too
far, it's too expensive and... But for the chance to see cherry
blossoms? I changed my mind!

I got to Nikko at around 320pm na, though...

Well how did that happen? Well first of all, upon arriving at Shinjuku I
still had to find out how to get to Tokyo. Yeah, I know I should take the
JR Chuo line but again there's the Rapid Express, Express, Local
train... What the!? The JR (Japan Rail) train system seems to have
different fares for Rapid Express, etc, compared with the Odakyu system
(which I take from Shinjuku to Hon-Atsugi). So, as Giang-san (and future
Giang-sensei) said, you try and try until you get it right! So I took a
chance, boarded a train, and didn't have any problem at all. (As
Pillai-san would always say, "No problem... No problem.")

Now I'm thinking, while it might be confusing for first timers, it's
actually a convenient thing to have these Express kind of trains. Then I
thought, isn't that not beneficial to the train company because.. I dunno,
some people could get lost and they could be just going in and out of
trains? Then again, I thought actually it's better for them also, because
the faster you can transport the passengers, the better. Plus, you could
separate those who are going to farther distances from those who are going
to just a few stations ahead. Thus, hindi ganon kasik-sik sa mga stations,
sa mga trains, etc. Well, mga naiisip ko lang yan, I don't really know.

Ok, so I took some time at Shinjuku station. I also took sometime at Tokyo
station trying to find out how to get on a Shinkansen, their "Super
Express" train, their "bullet train." If I remember correctly, I got on
the Shinkansen past 1230pm na yata! Actually, I ate a sandwich muna kasi
because I was so hungry na! So far, here's how it went:

815 leave apartment. 840-925 university. 925 to ~950 university to
Hon-Atsugi. ~1000 to ~1050 to Shinjuku. ~1200 at Tokyo. 1200-1230
sandwich and cold green tea for lunch. 1230 to 130 bullet train to
Utsunomiya. 130-140 I tried to figure out how to get to Nikko. It turns
out that the train just left at around 135pm, and the next train was at 230
pa! Because it was a Saturday I think, there's no 200 train. Oh
well... 40 minutes to wait... I got milk and another sandwich for my
lunch part 2. Finally, I got to Nikko at 320pm na nga. Shocks!

Oh well, all is good.

I saw the Mini-Stop actually during my train ride from Utsunomiya to Nikko.

The bullet train wasn't what I expected but... Fortunately, I got on a
double-decker bullet train. Unfortunately, I was seated at the lower deck,
for which the view was obstructed by walls on both sides of the rail of the

On my way home, it was a single-level bullet train. Unfortunately, it was
night time already! Mega- =( !!!

I expected that the bullet train would be much faster. It is quite fast
compared with, say the MRT or LRT in Manila, or the other trains here
(which are similar in nature to our MRT and LRT trains.) But I thought
wala ka na talaga makikita. This was what I felt from the inside. But at
the Shinkansen station, a bullet train passed by, and boy was it fast
nga! I mean, for something so big and long, and staying on the ground, to
move that fast -- that's very fast! A 1.6L car could go faster than the
bullet train, but, look Ma! No hands! Between Tokyo and Utsunomiya, we
only made three stops for a ~45 minute ride. =)

The trip from Utsunomiya to Nikko was kinda slow, it took around 40+
minutes being a local train. But, after seeing very urbanized Tokyo and
even Atsugi, ah, here was a welcome break. Lots of trees (looking like
forests actually), lots of mountain views (there are views of mountains
from here in Atsugi but I think they're inhabited already), and then no
buildings taller than 3 stories... mostly 2 level residential homes,
mostly Japanese in architecture... Actually, downtown Utsunomiya looked
very much like a prosperous city, looking from the train station. But upon
leaving the station, the view drastically change from urban to
country! It's like changing channels on the radio!

Oh and I saw some cherry blossoms, but only in pockets (maybe one blooming
out of how many lined up, some have bloomed much earlier). But I saw them

From the JR station pa lang in Nikko, old school na kagad ang dating, yung
station pa lang. Except for the quite significant amount of tourists
walking the main road of Nikko, this could have well been a "wild, wild
west" kind of town that has survived through to the 21st century. But ah,
there are old Japanese buildings and houses here which are very interesting.

I learned from the guide I downloaded that there are very important shrines
in Nikko, like the Toshogu Shrine, etc. Also, a 40 to 50 minute bus ride
from Nikko is Lake Chuzenji, and the nearby Kegon Falls. I wanted to visit
all of those places.

The guide said that the walk from the JR Nikko station to the bus stop
closest to the Toshogu Shrine would take about 20 minutes, and that the bus
would take about 10 minutes. It took me 25 minutes--it was kind of uphill,
plus my shoelaces kept untying itself. (On my way back, it took me 23
minutes, this was downhill, and I got stopped by a pedestrian traffic light
and I tied my shoelaces once.)

So I got to the bus stop closest to the Toshogu Shrine---actually it was a
bust stop closer to a famous Japanese landmark as well: the Shinkyo
Bridge. It is an sacred old Japanese bridge, which was recently restored
(or recreated?). It's quite nice. 100 Yen to cross it. No thanks, a view
from the adjacent modern steel-girder bridge is enough!

I then went to the big complex that enclosed the Shrines - the "Nikko World
Heritage Park." Oh just check out the pictures. Nag-donate na naman ako
sa mga Hapon--1300 Yen to go around the Toshogu Shrine. Check out the
pictures na lang. I could have almost gone without it, but... Nah, it's
worth it na din. Check out the pictures na lang! =)

There, I went up quite a number of stair steps! Because probably it was
cold, I got quite winded at the top, and my hips hurt on the way back
down! May nakasalubong akong matandang Kano, gusto ko sanang sabihin,
"Good luck sa'yo, Tatang!" Truly, going there, you wouldn't expect it was
that difficult. That walk up the steep stairs was going to the tomb of one
of the more prominent emperors/shoguns, Ieyasu.

Check out the pictures! I also took some videos. If this link is not
working yet, try again tomorrow!

Ang campaign slogan pala ng city of Nikko is: "Nikko is Nippon." Nippon =
Nihon = Japan.

Maybe around 5pm, I decided not to go na to Lake Chuzenji, dahil 40 minutes
at least pa yon by bus! So 40 minutes to get back! If I spent just 40
minutes there, that'd be another 2 hours and I could have been home by
midnight na! So I went on my way back na. I got home almost 10pm na. I
got my dinner at 7-Eleven na lang, and microwaved it at home. Also bought
some sushi kasi hindi nakakabusog ang isang "meal" dito from
outside... Which is the same in the Philippines.

Hay... If a picture says a thousand words, a visit or an actual experience
or basically being there and seeing it all for yourself - you'll be
speechless. So for now, check out the pictures na lang. =)

Friday, April 22, 2005

Fly! (APR-22)

I've seen a mosquito here maybe three times already, and boy, for a place
like Japan to find mosquitoes, it's quite scary. I also saw a fly today.

Here, if a person ain't doing anything, he could be actually Counting
Crows. Quite a lot of black crows you see flying around. The garbage area
here were we put our trash bags has to be covered all the time because the
crows might swoop down for a bite or two.

Last night, I went home by bicycle and what a great convenience it was. 10
minutes, and I could be home. Less effort, but it's some exercise
nonetheless. Thanks again to Mr. Pellai (future Dr. Pellai) from India.

Talking about last night, it was my first time to eat noodles here in
Japan. Well, it's your usual cup-noodles kind of thing. Got it for 100
Yen at the grocery. I also had Miso Soup, and some sushi. Yeah baby!

I received an e-mail alert yesterday from the VDC about an earthquake in
Japan early morning. I did not quite feel it. Maybe I was fast asleep...

Tonight, Pellai-san, and Giang-san might be going out for a drink or
two. I do not know if Kawana-san would be coming, he's like a nice guy.

I took pictures of the view of the mountains from our laboratory, and
pictures of the university's entrance and at least one other shot at the
laboratory. Find it at

There are also new pictures at nihon2005misc and nihon2005food (just
replace nihon2005tpu at the address above).

If you haven't checked it out yet, visit the nihon2005apato picture
page. nothing new there though except that I have changed the photo size
to 320x240 to accomodate more photos at the site. Hope you enjoy them!

Pahabol: Yesterday, I learned that Kawana-san will be presenting an
introduction about his PhD research to FIRST GRADE STUDENTS. Imagine
that! Of course, it is kind of difficult to teach 1st grade students the
habitability of buildings due to aeroelastic phenomena and stuff like
that... But imagine, first grade students here already have an idea about
PhD research!

Oh, and one opinion about Japan so far. I think that Japan is as
progressive and as culturally rich as other European countries, and it's as
good as visiting Europe almost. So, thinking of going to Europe? Try
first to go where it is nearer (and maybe the cost is slightly cheaper
also) and where it is a little more familiar - Japan! =)

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Great Day! (APR-21)

Yesterday, as I said, it was COLD! And raining the whole day.

But there was a positive thing that happened yesterday. I left the
laboratory at a little past 7pm, I was standing on the bus na when I
boarded. Anyway, when I got to the grocery, the food I got which was at
Y500 was 50% off na! So I got it for Y250 na lang! I also bought this
different kind of... I thought it was a soup. I think I uploaded na the
picture to .

But it wasn't soup at all. It had this jelly feel to it, or tokwa feel
(not fried). Tasted great nonetheless. My meal was also quite
good. There was gyoza, sweet & sour & spicy ___ (I think it was pork; I
loved it nonetheless), and sweet and sour shrimp.

I also went to the 100-Yen store to buy more hangers because I've run out
of hangers (they provided only 3), and I need to hang wet clothes (like the
other night when I went home near-soaking wet...) I'll be able to use it
also for drying newly laundry-ed clothes. I also bought a rain coat,
thinking it would be nice to have one most specially when I will ride the
bike on a rainy day... Have I told you I went to the school today via
bicycle? I took this route which was much shorter than going the bus'
route, Koizumi-san showed me the way the other day.

Oh, the rain coat I bought had too short sleeves. They're supposed to be
long sleeves I think, but for me they're just below my elbows. So if I
was riding a bicycle, my watch could get wet. I was also actually looking
for a rain coat that reached the knees. Well, what could I get for 100
yen. Plus, I didn't understand the label. It said "80cm",
"170-180cm". So I thought since I am about 180cm plus in height, this
might be good for me. Well, I guess it should be, and that rain coats were
not meant to be very long-sleeved.

Hmmm, I forgot if I've already mentioned my other Japan picture sites: (it should be apaato,
apartment) and . The last three sites have not
been updated since I last told everyone about it.

Today... I went to the bank first thing in the morning to deposit money
into Mrs. Nakayama's account (I "borrowed" from her before leaving the
Philippines). The bank is in downtown Atsugi. I also made a phone call to
an aunt who has lived here for the longest time after marrying a Japanese.

It is a great day... Sunny day... I went out, figured some things out
myself, asked some people for directions...

Oh, at the bank, the teller was like matigas-ulo, ayaw niya mag-Ingles. So
I tried to explain as best as I could with the little Nihongo that I know
and with some hand gestures. And then in the end, ang tagal na namin
nagu-usap, in-Ingles na niya ako. Sheesh!

Anyway, wrong decision pala on my part. The remittance charge is close to
5000 yen! I should have just asked my dear mother or dear brother to pay
muna in my behalf for my "utang" to Mrs. Nakayama. Well, what's done is
done. Donation ko na lang yon sa mga Hapon.

It's great here... Photocopy all you want for free... Use all the
resources you need (for your work)... Very fast internet access... All
the books and reference materials I needed which were not available at the
university library back in the Philippines, they're here... All the guys,
the professors, the PhD students I'm with are all so nice persons. One guy
looks a lot like this guy everyone hates in the Philippines so medyo
naiilang ako sa kanya, pero ayos naman siya. Hehe. Kamukha lang talaga.

Oh well. Thank God na lang for all of that. Tomorrow again!

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

COLD! (20-APR)

It is very COLD today! Under 20 degrees even inside the building, possibly
colder outside. It was raining this morning... Did I say that it was
quite warm yesterday? We had our windows open. I heard that in winter, it
goes down to MINUS 6 degrees here!

I had quite a long dip in the tub last night; I finished the book Farenheit
451. A very interesting book.

Well that's it for now! Have to do a lot of things! (Planning
actually. I am starting to get quite busy!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Yesterday (19-APR)

Dear Mother, Dear Brother,

Actually okay na din yung price sa 7-eleven dito, slightly higher lang than
at the grocery, which is slightly higher lang than at the co-op here at the
daigaku (university). I think at other small restaurants, the price
wouldn't be attractive, but yes i'm sure it is better food.

I am by myself in the apartment. There's TV, yes, but no cable. Did you
see the pictures of the apartment?

Also visit and and . I will update these also
(hopefully I will have the time.)

It is basically not a studio-type apartment, nor is it a one-bedroom
apartment, because the bedroom is... Well check out the pictures na lang. =)

Yes, I do the cleaning, dishwashing, and microwaving (perhaps I'll do
cooking later), and the laundry, i plan to do this sunday.

Yes this is school and not an "office," "studying" but not really, more
like "researching," and not "working." I say it is an "office" because in
this big room (larger than our house) where i "work", there are desks and
computers and appliances, but there are just four of us: me and three PhD
students. I think they call the whole building, with our office, and the
other professors' and researchers' office, and the library as a
"laboratory." It is actually an APEC Center... APEC Wind Engineering
Research Center, I think. Well, studying is working also, but of course,
not in the usual sense. My "working" time is 09:30-17:30 but they are not
strict. I could come in early or late, and leave early or late. Well, I
do not have much to do at the apartment, and there's no internet there also

Okay let's talk about yesterday!

Yesterday, starting at lunch, naka-usap ko yung isang Vietnamese na PhD
student. He's 31 with wife and a 7-year old girl and a 3-year old
boy. His name is Giang. Okay naman, nagkakasundo naman. Mabait din, he
guided me how to get lunch at the co-op's "fastfood" (microwaveable food,
shorter line).

Right after lunch, naka-usap ko naman din yung Indian na PhD student. He's
"24.5" years old, and his (family) name is Pillai, and he lives just around
15 km north of the part of India hit by the tsunamis last December. Mabait
din, linibre niya ako ng kape and pinahiram ng payong at bisikleta nung pauwi.

So nung afternoon, the silence was kind of broken na at the
"office"... Although my long durations of silence pa rin... Busy nga rin
naman sila. Si Giang is busy with preparing a country report for Vietnam,
and also looking for a topic for his PhD research. Pillai meanwhile is
busy refining his research topic, and also doing some research.

Medyo ginabi ako kagabi... At a little past 6pm, Giang and Pillai invited
me for dinner at the canteen because it closes at 7pm, and it's a good time
to eat because hindi crowded doon at that time. I had my first
not-so-Japanese meal... It was "chizu" hamburger with fries, but I ate it
nonetheless with rice and hot tea! Hehehe. Actually medyo nagtitipid ako
because paubos na ang Yen ko, e i was not able to exchange my dollars or
pesos, and today lang (tuesday) ibibigay ang allowance.

Then we went back to the "office" or "laboratory", medyo uma-ambon na. I
thought I'd stay na din muna, para maka-internet na din ng kaunti. Then
lumakas ang ulan! The two guys said they'd go home at 9:30pm but 10:30pm
na hindi pa sila umuuwi so nauna na ako! Actually I should have gone home
earlier kasi...

Ang lakas na ng ulan! But I had to go home (than stay at the "laboratory")
to rest, because the next day (kanina), Koizumi-san was going to teach me
how to use the stove, the washing machine, and where to put the garbage for
the garbage collectors. Also, there's this bottle and I didn't know what
it was... Koizumi-san told me it was "body shampoo"... I do not know
if she meant body lotion...

Anyway, so I went home by bicycle, with an umbrella in one hand. It was
raining real hard. And then I got lost... So I approached this car parked
in the street. And meron pala don na mag-nobyo't-nobya na... alam niyo
na... Anyway, I had no choice but to disturb them... I asked for
directions, fortunately marunong mag-ingles yung babae. And then I went on
my way, malayo pa, and then they drove right next to me offering to bring
me home in their car, but that I had to leave the bicycle there (which was
not mine). I had to refuse because I said I had to bring the bicycle
home. So home I went, all wet, took me maybe around 30 minutes total from
the university to the apartment. Still, bait pa rin talaga nitong mga hapon.

Tsk tsk. Anyway, I did not become sick naman or anything. I got good rest
naman. So we go to... Today!

Today, Koizumi-san went to the apartment nga, and then I asked her for
directions to banks in Atsugi. So we went to the downtown, walked around,
saw a McDo, KFC, Starbucks, and Denny's... We got back to the university
in time for my meeting with my advisor(s), Prof Tamura, the Program
Director, and Dr Cao, a Researcher.

Now... I'm just typing e-mails! Actually I'm feeling only 99% well. I'll
go home early tonight... =)

Until next! ;-)

Monday, April 18, 2005

First Day (18-APR)

It is my first day at the university. Walang nagsasalita dito...

Anyway, parang berkeley na berkeley nga ang dating dito. Suburban siya,
mga 50 minutes away from Tokyo by train (familiar ba--BART?)... Malinis,
Malamig, Presko ang hangin, hindi nga lang namamansin ang mga tao pag
nakakasalubong ko... Pero generally ang mga cashiers and sales people,
okay sila. Basta magtanong ka sa kahit sinong lapitan mo, mabait naman
sila generally.

Malayo lang ang school from the apartment, I take a 10 minute walk and then
around 10 minutes by bus. Medyo maliit lang yung campus pero parang
deserted... Bakasyon yata? I don't know.

I have things to do naman pero to all honesty, nakaka-ilang ang katahimikan dito
sa "office."

Til next time!

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Sunny Day Sunday! (17-APR)

Ah, what a nice day it is today. It is sunny outside, the sun feels like
28 degrees, and the wind is not so cold. It was cooler there in Manila
back in January than here today.

Today, I wanted to wake up early to "practice" for tomorrow, but alas, I
woke up at 930. I bought breakfast yesterday, but I ate it at past 11am
already so it was like my brunch. I'm still trying to get used to taking a
shower at the quite cramped bathtub/tower. That plus preparing the
breakfast (heating with the microwave, boiling water) took quite some time
so... I can't figure out how to make the stove work, too. I bought this
different looking daing/tinapa like fish at 7-Eleven... After a minute in
the microwave oven, it was exploding already! I found out it was about 70%
fish egg, and 30% fish meat inside... I didn't finish eating all of the
fish egg because "CHOLESTEROL!" blinked in my mind.

At around 2pm, I set out to go back to the Atsugi Trellis. I went grocery
shopping for my dinner, for some snacks, and for breakfast. I bought
tinapay and cheese, some chocolates, Coke, orange juice, and milk, and some
household items like bathroom sandals (I am so not used to not wearing any
sandals or shoes inside the house!), walis and dustpan, and some
basahan. I finally found the 100-yen store. I was there already yesterday
and I did not know! I asked a nice old man and he said... "San gai"... by
hand gestures, he told me it meant the third floor.

It's just before 5pm, and I plan to do some paper work... Like edit my
thesis proposal to email to my thesis advisers (Doc Pacheco, and one other
UP professor, Prof Germar), and prepare a document (research/report kind of
thing) that I will submit to TPU tomorrow.

That's it for today. Hope I can email tomorrow!