Memoirs of Japan

Mar 18, 2011 by

In 2005, I, along with hundreds of other ASEAN youths visited Japan for a goodwill exchange program. It was perhaps one of the most unforgettable trips of my life. I fell in love with Japan and it was a kind of love that I want to go on forever. The people, the culture, the food, the weather, the history — they just fall into place. Don”t get me wrong, but I am very much a Filipino inside out and I am proud as proud can get about my being a Filipino. But I just have this unique infatuation for Japan that whenever I get to converse with people about places, Japan tops the list.

The recent catastrophe in Japan broke my heart. And I am saying this not for the sake of saying it. It”s what I truly felt and I fervently pray for stability of things that are currently shaking up their country and their people. Dignified as they are, the Japanese people only demonstrated a response that gained global admiration and compassion. My prayers remain.

I thought of putting together a few photographs of my sweet honeymoon with Japan in 2005. My fellow ambassadors and I were billeted in a five-star hotel called New Otani Hotel. It was a sweet stay, given the luxury of being at the heart of Tokyo — theĀ  most expensive city in the world. After exploring parts of Tokyo, I was assigned to fly to Shimane Prefecture (see map below) to spend 4 days of homestay with my foster family.

Where Shimane Prefecture is.

Quoting Wikipedia: “Shimane Prefecture (Shimane-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the on Honshu island. The capital is Matsue. It is the second least populous prefecture in Japan, after its eastern neighbor Tottori.”

One of the old shrines such as the Izumo Taisha can be found in Izumo, an area which provided the stage for mythology. With my foster brother in the photo.

Enjoying the winter at Shimane with my fellow ambassador from Brunei, Nazzu (together with our foster brother in this photo).

Writing a prayer on a wood-board at Izumo Taisha, a tradition visitors should practice.

Nazzu and I visiting a daycare center, where we learned how to prepare traditional food and weave some wreathes for the Christmas Holidays.

Downtown Tokyo the morning after arriving from Shimane. I just love Tokyo!!!

After the trip to Japan, I look forward to another opportunity of coming back. Every time I see a wishing well (including the one at Universal Studios), that”s the only wish I make; other than winning the lottery so I can buy me some tickets to Tokyo.

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  1. You were so lucky Sir Bob to have been given the chance to explore Japan. My heart goes to those who were greatly affected. I’ve always been dreaming of going to this country. Seeing the way the Japanese people are dealing with this catastrophe, this country is on its way to fast recovery.

  2. Thanks again for the blog post.Much thanks again. Fantastic.

  3. Glenn Fernandez

    the experience was awesome… fun fun fun and love love love

    • bobby

      I think among all of us, ikaw ang pinaka EPIC experience in Japan! All the sleazy and secret stuff! I loveeet! hahaha!

  4. Ja

    Bobby, this made me remember my stay in Niigata. it’s heartwrenching to watch all the vids on the earthquake and the tsunami. the japanese are really resilient people. i’m sure they will overcome this challenge. on a diff note, siga 2012 will be held in japan. you should go. :)

  5. Steve

    Hi Bobby,
    I am from batch 86 SPY and during our homestay in Japan in 86, Sol D went to …..Shimane!
    Which part of Philippines are you from? Anyway, SIGA 2011 was held in Spore and we had 4 Filipino friends that came all the way to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. We are already planning to go to Japan for our 26th Anni in 2012. Hope to see u there if u are going. Keep the 2005 SSEAYP spirit soaring.

    • bobby

      Hi Steve! Wow this is a wonderful surprise! I am from Iloilo (as per blogsite, hehe). My batchmates (2005) are also planning to join SIGA in japan. We hope all will be well by then and if personal funds permit. I was also informed of the Singapore SIGA 2011 but none of my batchmates was available to go. Hope to meet you in one of our gatherings! Cheers!

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