Saturday, December 30, 2006

Celebration!

I think New Year's celebration is one of the most highlighted events in a year (the fact that Christmas is only celebrated mostly in Christian countries). This is one event where everybody gets busy, trying to rush and get done with year-end reports, brushing elbows at grocery stores to get hold of those must-have-at-the-dining-table-before-midnight-comes, scrubbing dirt at every corner to welcome the new year with a "clean" start, rushing to come back home to their families or hometowns, and getting that needed sleep before the year ends to try to stay awake when the new year comes. I think for most of the countries around the world, this is one event that shouldn't be missed.

For some countries like Japan, New Year's celebration is not just a celebration of welcoming a brand new year; it is actually a practice of century old traditions. From preparing new-year-only delicacies to mailing of postcards (nengajo)that must be received by January 1st. Japanese are also required to visit a temple (for Buddhists) and/or a shrine (for Shintoists) to pray and receive blessings.

In the Philippines, this is the time where family reunions are normally held. A time where you meet relatives you thought never existed. Meeting a distant cousin who has gone to the same school as you, a Tita (aunt) who is the girlfriend of your classmates's brother, a Lolo (grandfather) who you've only heard from stories, and maybe a Tito (uncle) who has the same age as you. I think I've only been to one or maybe two reunions. Normally, my family stays home and celebrate New Year together. I remember the time when my mom asked my tita to fetch me from my grandmother's house. We welcome the year with a rosary at 10pm and by the time we're done it is almost 12midnight after which me and my siblings together with other kids and teens goes from house to house to feast on their Media Noche.

But most of the countries (if not all) celebrate the New Year with a bang and I literally mean a BANG! This is the day, the night of all nights where you see fireworks, dancing lights in the sky. From houses in one's neighbourhood to firework displays organized by the government. It is totally a feast for the eye. Colors, hundreds of them. Colors that glitters, trully a grand spectacular view to see.

I guess we owe this wonderful celebration when Earth welcomed the new century that is the year 2000. This is one event where every nation around the world celebrated a new year like never before. Countries that don’t usually celebrate the New Year have joined others in celebrating it with spectacles. And still 7 years have passed that tradition never stop. Now everyone is looking forward to that grand welcome.

In a few more hours we bid goodbye to 2006 and welcome the dawn of a new age, that is 2007. As we ponder and think about what transpired in 2006, let us keep happy memories alive and make our failures lessons to live by. Like everyone else we hope for a better future, better health, better career, a better life, and most of all WORLD PEACE!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Life begins at 30!

29..30! Four months from now life, for me, will make a different turn. Growing older (a bit wiser I guess) but still having fun just like a child. For the next few months of my life before I go near the edge and join the bandwagon of calendar lookers, I would like to do things that have been pressing in my mind. Things I think I should focus on, after all life is too short why not enjoy it while you can. So here it goes, my 30 to do things before I turn 30:

1. get to read a book, a nice book
2. go clubbing in Roppongi
3. go back to Ikaho and go skinny dipping in the hotspring
4. learn to skii
5. travel to Kyoto and see the place during winter
6. be good at Nihongo (as in fluently)
7. get all A's from my classes (hopefully!)
8. have my VISA upgraded to multiple-entry
9. get a massage
10. ride a shinkansen to anywhere
11. go to Disney Sea
12. make a draft of my thesis
13. take nice pictures of the great outdoor
14. finally see and climb Mt. Fuji
15. get myself an iPod Shuffle
16. change my mobile phone service provider
17. spend one whole day travelling...ALONE!
18. have a trip to Hokkaido
19. have more money to finance all these trips
20. finally get to see Tokyo tower before they tear it down
21. make up my mind whether I will move in the dorm or not
22. host a party at my place
23. play badminton or tennis after 12yrs
24. buy my first set of suit and trousers
25. build my own snowman...hehehe
26. go back and see TMG at Shinjuku
27. stay in the tub and relax
28. see south Honjo (Kodama)
29. get an A in Shimamoto Sensei's class (have I mentioned this already?)
30. finally...be happy!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Lost and FOUND!!

In our university, we gain access to every facility using our student ID cards. Even the security panels holding the keys for key-type locks can be accessed if one is authorized using his ID. Yesterday, as I was returning my ID to my wallet after returning our lab key, I noticed that my Alien Registration Card was missing. What a deep sh**! Of all the things that could be loss I have lost my Alien Card. One can't go out without it, they'll jail you for not bringing one.

I back tracked where I came from to check if I may have dropped it while pulling out my student ID but there were no sign of it. Then I hurried home as I have remembered that I was using my Alien Card while filling up some forms. So I checked around the house but still no sign of it.

Then it hit me! I photocopied it last Monday at the grocery shop. The f*ck! It must have been gone by now. Anyways, I hurried to the shop and checked the copier I used. Still no sign. The machine must have been used several times, who knows what happened from that day till Friday.

As a last resort I went to the customer service counter and asked if there were any returned items specifically an Alien Card. The guy at the counter said that there's none. Stupid guy! Didn't even look around the counter. So finally I went to the Koban (police box) to report it. I need a police report if I plan to get a copy (Well I sure need it!).

Today I went back again to the grocery shop to check the machine. I was thinking that maybe just maybe someone must have used the machine after me and then throw my ARC near the copier. Well bad luck! No trace of it. Anyways, my stupid intuition tells me to go back at the service counter and ask again. True enough, my hunch was right. Another stuff from the counter got a box out and there inside was my ACR. FINALLY!! Someone with a right mind tought of something. Well the stupid guy was still there and he was searching at the log book. No help really.

I am just thankful that I finally got it back and that I don't have to worry anymore.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Olympus E-500


Yesterday I finally got my Olympus E-500 from Amazon and I thought I couldn't have it after they have had problems with verifying my credit card. Last Wednesday I got this email from the site stating that they have finally verified my card and that they are processing the order now. I really want to have this camera. Why? It's an SLR, a good professional camera for novice users like me, weighs less than other cameras and the quality of the shots are superb. More specs at
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/specs/Olympus/oly_e500.asp read all about it and you decide. For now I am off to the street to get some shots!

HP B1900

Finally sold my VAIO VGN-FJ57GP and got me a new laptop (though not litterally new), an HP B1900 Notebook PC. Got this last Wednesday at Akihabara. I actually saw a brandnew unit at Yodobashii, same specs, they sell it for about 129,800 Yen. Was really into it but still want to look out for something cheaper. Then I went to a shop I've gone to before and saw exactly the same model selling for 117,800 (secondhand though). The body looks superb, I mean you wouldn't tell that it's second hand. The keys still looks great, no signs of keys been overuse and I got it in a much much cheaper price, 112,00Yen.

Why did I have to make a switch? Well my old laptop is heavy and less powerfull. I am looking for something light and yet powerfull. And I say, this HP B1900 gives it all.

Specs? Check it out:
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 (2MB L2 Cash, 1.66GHz, 667MHz FSB)
  • Chipset: ATI Radeon Xpress 200M
  • Memory: 1024MB (512MB x 2) PC2-5300 DDR2-SDRAM
  • HDD: 100GB (Serial ATA, 5400 rpm)
  • Drives: 8x Super Multi-drive
  • Modem: Built-in 56Kbps Fax 14.4 kbps
  • Network: 10/100 Integrated LAN
  • WLAN: Broadcom (IEEE 802.11 b/g, WiFi)
  • Wireless capability: Integrated BlueTooth
  • Graphics: ATI Radeon Xpress 200M
  • Graphics Memory: 128MB Video Memory
  • Display Size: 12.1 inch WXGA High Definition BrightView Widescreen DisplayExternal
  • Display Resolution: 1280 x 800 resolution
  • I/O ports: 1 VGA, 3 USB 2.0 ports, 1 IEEE-1394, 1 RJ-11, 1 RJ -45, S-video TV out, 1 headphone jack, 1 microphone jack, AC Adapter, SPDIF (supported via adapter connected through headphone out)
  • Expansion slots: ExpressCard/54 slot (supports both 34 and 54 form factors)
  • Dimension: 22.4 cm (W) 28.7 cm (D) x 2.8 cm - 3.4 cm (H)
  • Weight: 1.79kg

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Maskipaps! version 2

By the way, I have already created another blogsite for the things I've been doing out of my kitchen (just click on the title of this post). This is in connection with my previous blog (Maskipaps!). Anyways, this is long overdue since I was really planning to create one featuring the dishes that I've been trying out. Hopefully, I could work on again those past dishes that I've already made and be able to post some pics and "how to's". Also, the blogsite will contain "kitchen experiments" of the various dishes that I've tasted and would love to try out on my own. So I wish you guys could visit the other site and post some comments or better yet, make your own little experiments. One warning though, try all the dishes at your own risk!

Maskipaps!

I got a text message from my friend asking for my where abouts. She wants to return the pot she borrowed last time and also gave me some left overs since she can't finish it all. Anyways, I was already in the building when I got to read the message and saw that she left the thing in front of my place. Earlier I was thinking of cooking pasta since I was really hungry and don't have time to cook rice anymore. Besides, I have to finish up all the breads I bought which is nearing expiration (actually it was expired already since yesterday but still consumable) and I thought it will go well with pasta.

Anyways, there were two left overs, one is a soup of meat and sausages with pineapple chunks and the other one is a grilled fish. I was thinking of making a pasta dish out of the grilled fish but I don't think it would go well with tomato sauce. So I played around with the soup heating it up first. Then I thought of removing the extra liquid by simmering it more, this will make the sauce more thicker. At this time I was preparing the macaroni shells. I remember that I still have some brocolli in the frig and so I added it up together with some mushrooms and pour in some milk to make the sauce. Once the consistency of the sauce was attained, I poured it over the macaroni and top it with some parmessan cheese. I didn't put too much salt since the soup already has taste. I know you are wondering how it looks like so I generously took some pictures of it for your viewing. Besides, earlier this week I was thinking of doing a blog about my cooking. What I cook. Maybe later. For now, enjoy!

Monday, October 16, 2006

FREE HUGS Anyone?

Saw this one in YouTube about the FREE HUG campaign. The video is awesome and quite moving. You'd feel like you want to go out and look for someone to hug. We may never know it but that person we hug do really need some comfort right now. The music by Sick Puppies entitled All the Same in its own is quite moving. Sounds good to hear and the words are very appropriate to the video. Anyways, I hope you have time to check it out and hug someone!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Views

I really love to have a camera. Not the small one or handy one that you normally see. I want those big, bulky, a bit heavy cameras professional photographers use. I've been wanting to learn photography even before college but don't have the time and the resources (the camera, I don't have one). Anyways, I have here some pics which I took using my mobile phone's camera. If only I have one of those cameras, the shots would be much nicer. Enjoy!











Sunday, October 08, 2006

Autumn in October

It really is autumn here in Honjo. Around last week, you can't imagine that a new season had arrived. I guess because of the changing weather. During the last week of September to the first week of October, we experienced varying weather change. In the early mornings it was cloudy with a little drizzle then the warmth of the sun in the mid day. Also, we experienced lots of rains during these past few days which made it more difficult to recognized the change in season. But came Saturday (Oct. 7) where I thought (or so we thought) that it would still rain (a previous commitment was cancelled because every body thought that it would still rain since it was raining straight for the past two days). You can hear the howling of the wind and you can feel the coldness in the air coming from the mountains of Gunma and Niigata. The temperature is starting to drop and that even in the day, one should wear something comfortable as protection to the cold weather. In the streets of Honjo, you could see dead leaves fallen from the trees, blown by the wind. It really is autumn. And winter, yes winter is about to come. The preparation for the cold season has begun and I think I might as well prepare for it myself. Aaahhh what a lovely feeling autumn brings.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Bursting inside!

13 yrs. yep, that is how long I've known Rolee. He was my classmate back in college and for me I consider him to be one of my good friends, very good friends. Though I don't confide problems to him (actually not even to anyone), still I considered him to be my best friend. He is always jolly, full of antics and always there to share a laugh. I never saw him getting angry or mad to someone or to anyone for that matter.

After reading his post in his blogsite, I felt his anger, bursting inside. As I've said, I have never seen him like this before. Not until now. What ever that is bothering him, I pray that he may recover from it and forgive the one who done him wrong. Though I know it is hard to put away all that anger, still it is the only thing to do. To Rolee, I love you always my friend. We are all here, those who knows you well and we will support you no matter what.

Friday, October 06, 2006

BAGUIO on my mind.


Its been raining since yesterday. Though it is not that heavy, still it feels cold. Ewan ko ba kung bakit ganito ang weather ngayon. Yesterday, there were some drizzle in the early parts of the morning and the sky was cloudy. I was still able to go to the bank and pay for my bills, but then around 11am it started to rain. And it never did stop. Until now.

It is cold. And times like this, I remember the cold climate of Baguio City. I missed the place. Though I am not shivering because of the cold weather, I just hate it because it made me miss Baguio City even more. Sigh...

(Sunrise at Camp John Hay courtesy of BaguioCityONLINE)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hajimemashite!

はじめまして!私の 名 は マイケル です。 今 日本 に すんで います。

So much for Nihongo. Anyway, just like what Japanese say, Hajimemashite! Been living here in Japan for quite a few months now and my classes have just started. No problems so far. I really don't think that I have to adjust to the food, the culture, the lifestyle of the Japanese people. I guess I've been too familiar with them after all those Japan Video Topics that I have watched (always) when I was still a kid. I guess it helped a lot. Actually, been dreaming of experiencing the life here in Japan and now it finally happened. I'm here!