on missing Kanazawa

It’s been more than half a year. Still the memories are made fresher by every captured moment glued on a photo album. They jumped out of the piece of paper and enliven in my mind making me smile and sigh at the same time. If ever I get the chance, I would go back again and relive the memories.

in front of 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Arts

Japan is such a wonderful place. But my memories of Kanazawa, a humble capital city of Ishikawa Prefecture in the Chubu region, will always be remembered. Kanazawa had been close to my heart since then that I cried when we are to leave for Tokyo on our last day of homestay.

leaving Kanazawa for Tokyo

Macha flavored chocolates awaits for me every time I go home from school or from an AFS activity. Watching the seagulls frolicking on Asano River over my bedroom window is such a joy to the heart. And who can forget those little kids I see that look like an anime character every time I wake up on a freezing morning as they head to school. The enchanting Kenrokuen Garden made majestic the Maeda Castle on the background. The gaiety that surrounds the silent walls of Higashi Geisha District, the pageantry of the Noh Theater and the modernity of the Museum of Contemporary Arts.

How do you like your food serve with gold? Yes, Kanazawa supplies 99% of Japan’s gold leaf demand. You can even eat them straight. Japanese believe it’s good for the body.

Kanazawa is a home where tradition and modernity is combined. Populated with such wonderful people and great food, I would always love to go back and live there if I can.

my host family at a Gold Leaf house

More than that, I am missing my host family, my Otoosan and Okaasan and my brother whom I used to exchange ideas with and share my learning and the culture that I brought right on their doorsteps. And my AFS Family with whom I have spent these memories with, it will always be a joy to see each other again.

JENESYS Batch 4 Country Mix

Sober Illusions


The moon shines up high
my smile is as bright as the night sky
it flatters
and shatters

my dreams flew as a lone bird in the windless sky
dark
silhouette
like a phantom
it glides in no definite direction

I sit in the dark
sipping a cold whiskey
warming my frozen heart
torn in two

I hear myself speak
with no meaning
senses overwhelmed by the spirit of wine
deluded
sober
yet the spoken words are sublime
broken but with rhyme

like a lone star waiting to touch the moon
I long to touch you
yet the dark clouds hide your face
and I’m afraid I won’t fathom the depths of it

I lay down
‘til the spirit of wine draws me to sleep
and the illusions are gone
my spirit is free
and everything is in reality
in my dreams.

Thank You

Thank you
For making my nights as bright as day
For showing me my emotions
Are worth counting on thus I may

Thank you
For putting a smile on my face
For showing that life is worth living
And that I should enjoy the race

Thank you
For your simple gestures of kindness
For your time that makes a difference
That fixes the shards of my brokenness

Thank you
For appreciating my musings and poetry
For putting reasons to singularity
That life is indeed a beautiful symmetry

Thank you
For painting my life in colorful palettes
For choosing such a wonderful canvass
That I might have missed if it weren’t in your eyes

Thank you
For meeting me at the crossroads
For sharing and widening our trail
That helped us keep our bode

To you
Who gives me the most beautiful smile each day
Who makes my life sparkle with your stare
Who chooses to flow in the opposite way
Who puts love between you and I
Thank you

You are a gift so precious to own
You are a gift I’m afraid not to own.

Sa Iyong Paglisan

Tulad ng dampi ng hangin sa tag-init
Tulad ng mga ibong umaawit
Ang pagdating mo’y kasing bilis
Ng paglisan mo sa aking libis

Tulad ng mga dahon at bulalak na nalalanta
Bubuhayin ng tag-ulan sa tuwi-tuwina
Ang tulad mo’y mananatiling alaala
Isang masaya’t makulay na pagsasama

Tulad ng simoy ng hangin tuwing gabi
Gabi’y kasing lamig ‘pag wala na sa tabi
Ngunit ito’y huwag ikabahala
‘pagkat pareho tayong nasa iisang tala

Tulad ng papel na niluma ng panahon
May halaga bawat paglipas ng taon
Munting dasal ang aking pabaon
At biyaya sa bawat pagkakataon

Buhay ay sadyang ganyan
May mga panahong kailangang lumisan
Ngunit huwag mabahala kaibigan
Mananatili ka sa aking puso kailanman

At sa iyong paglisan
Huwag sanang kalimutan kaibigan
Masasayang araw natin na nagdaan
At hirap na ating naranasan
Na nagpatibay sa samahan
Umula’t umaraw man.

Para sa lahat ng kaibigan at naging kaibigan ko. Maraming Salamat sa munting alaala.

The Curious Case of Lady Josephine

Journal Entry # 45
January 23, 2010
11:45 PM

Staring blankly at the ceiling, I was brought to some place familiar. We were seated face to face enjoying the cheeseburger meal we ordered. It was one of those nights when I feel good just to have you around. You love talking while I enjoyed listening. It’s like you’re a piece of entertainment I couldn’t miss even though I’ve seen it many times.

“What???, How many times did I tell you not to look at me like that?” you would asked me when I fixed my sight on you.”Am I ugly? Something wrong?” you would continue. I just said nothing. I’m afraid my vocabulary is not wide enough to describe the beauty in front of me – not to mention your grammar-sensitive ears.

I don’t know who you are – figuratively speaking. It’s like you are enclosed in a halo or a Venus energy that every man is drawn to you. And like Venus, you trash them away – most of them – never even bothered to put to recyclable cans. The way you talk, move, sway, gesture – everything is in sequence and in tune with each other that over all it’s like an orchestra of music pleasing to the eyes and ears. Yet, you are like a baby, constantly in need of care, attention and love.

When you’re mad, you scare the hell out of everyone else. Like it would be the last day of whoever touches you. And I am afraid to feel Venus’ wrath because I am afraid to lose you. You enslave me like you enslaved every man. I’ve seen your Medusa yet I keep coming back for Venus overshadows the dark side. You have left me once and I’m afraid it would happen again. I know how it feels, its draw back on me. Your like a demigod feeding me with ambrosia I couldn’t have with any one else.

Am I spell bounded? No matter how I try to write the ugly you it turns out to be a beauty. Maybe. Walking with you in the dark of the night I do not fear. I would laugh at how I would hide from people just to have you alone. My thirst is quenched just to hear you speak and know that you are okay. Your daily rants and musings amuses me. You’re like a piece of puzzle I would love to solve everyday. Nothing but more of you and less of me.

I fear the coming days. When you will be gone, forever. Like fairies and fairyland dies when every child give up believing. I fear that I might not be able to solve puzzles again. I fear I won’t hear the elating sound of the orchestra anymore. I fear that I would never taste ambrosia again, bitter as it may seem. I fear that I would not be able to solve the mystery of you – forever. I fear. I fear.

– Mike

Remembering the 90s: Values on Screen

Taking advantage of my nostalgic mood, I resume my journey down memory lane. Do you still remember the movies and television shows you watched? I do. I was studying in a public high school then back in Cainta, Rizal and my class is only half day. Starts at 6:00 am and ends at 12:40pm. I usually am in a hurry after class to either go to the gym and practice volleyball, go to a nearby computer station and play X-Men or Tekken – back then its graphics weren’t as refined as the latest version – or to go home and watch my favorite shows.

I remember back in high school after our final exam we went to Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall and stand by at the entrance waiting for the mall to open. It was an hour of waiting just to be the first in line to watch “Titanic”. Entrance to the cinema then was 70 pesos when it would be 25 pesos here in Bacolod for movies like that.

The 90s were also the height of Mexican/Spanish telenovelas. I would catch up “Lazos de Amor” when I arrive home – Thalia wasn’t famous then and her telenovela at RPN 9 was “Quincenera” together with Lucero, the star of Lazos de Amor. It was only later when everybody got crazy over “Marimar” that the producer invited her to have a concert in Manila. At 4:30 in the afternoon my friends and I were already in front of the TV set watching Claudine Barreto, Christine Hermosa, Paolo Contis and the rest of the young stars now crack their jokes at “4:30 na! And TV na!” show. This was replaced later by the Filipino version of “Dawson’s Creek”, Tabing Ilog. I would go home early in the evening to watch “Superman” where Dean Cane and Teri Tatcher were the stars then, “Tales from the Crypt” and “Are You Afraid of the Dark?”. The week wouldn’t be complete if I fail to watch “Bubble Gang”. Back then the show was wholesome. I would laugh my heart out at the MTV (music tagalog version) or MEV (music english version) of the current chart hits and the funny side of the latest commercials or watch Rica Peralejo and the gang in T.G.I.F. (Thank God it’s Friday).

Who can forget the Baywatch? Everybody drools at the lifeguard’s Pamela Anderson, David Hasslehoff and the rest of the cast parading in bikini and trunks at the beach. Or maybe laugh with F.R.I.E.N.D.S., joined Calixta Flockhart in her cases as Ally McBeal, share sentiments with the college life of the people of Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210 or be shocked by the cases in the X-files. I will not forget the Power Rangers when I would shout “It’s morphin time! Blue 3! Sabertooth Tiger! (haha) or Mask Rider Black, Dragonball Z, Bioman and Ultraman – watching them now would make me laugh at how “bahul” the graphics are but back then it was so awesome!

These were great shows that taught me some good values. Right now, movies and tv shows are filled with great graphics and special effects of less value while anime and manga and on-line games corrupted the minds of the young. These shows how society degenerated from the 90s to present. I guess there can never be any decade better than the 90s! I’m proud I’m a 90s child! Haha.

Remembering the 90s: Soul of the Music

I was born in the decade of the dawn of electronic pop music and colorful leggings and headbands as if you are going into an aerobic class. I still had them playing in my mind: Brother Louie, Karma Chameleon, Rick Ashley, Cher, Roxette to name a few of the songs and artists. But the 90s bring so much memories especially with my friends and “barkadas” whenever I hear the songs being played on the radio or its new version are sang by my students.

The 90s gave fame to boy bands – duo, or group. We used to play their music when we have school programs and even memorize their dance moves. Code Red, LFO, Boyzone, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Savage Garden, Hanson, Moffats, 911 and a lot more. Not to forget the rock bands: No Doubt, Oasis, Nickleback, Blur, Nirvana, Radiohead, Pulp, Coldplay, U2, Foo Fighters, Bone Thugs, Black Sabbath and Metallica on the extreme. Add up the feud between the HipHop wearing baggy pants and loose shirts against the Punk’s skinny pants and shirts in black. The late 90s also gave rise to “girl power” popularized by the SPICE Girls with  Solid Harmonie, Bewitched and Destiny’s Child along. Thus, triggered the search for equality with men of the female species. Alternative artist also savored the eminence of the decade like The Corrs, Meridith Brooks and who can forget Alanis Morissette!

But what gives me the melancholy and melodramatic feelings are the, as I may say, timeless or classic songs of Eraserheads, Rivermaya, Parokya Ni Edgar and Introvoys. Everytime I hear their song brings me back to my high school years when being young and feeling “I already know everything” gives me so much freedom. Me and my “barkada” used to stay under a mango tree late in the afternoon with a bottle of Tanduay, strumming the guitar to the tune of Harana, Awit ng Barkada, Para Sa Masa, Toyang, Elesi and more. Life is fun and easy then. There’s nothing to worry about except if we can ever go to college and find a decent job in the future. This was the decade when our dreams and ambitions are weave and intertwined with the nationalistic and youthful cry of these local bands.

Now, as I remember this decade in my life, I can only smile. The 90s gave me so much memories to cherish even if the dreams and ambitions we woven aren’t what they are now. There is so much that because of its volume I am overwhelmed to put into writing.

I only wish I could go back in time, even just for a day. Siting under the mango tree, drinking my shot of Tanduay, singing the songs with my “barkada” as they strum the guitar strings…