Lost in Translation – The Bath House, Beers, and Peanuts

Making an impression

Making an impression

It was 4 o’clock in the afternoon.  I set off on a walking spree. Looking at a paper of a bad yet compassionately drawn map to the Onsen. It was like every turn were just weird signs.  And if I ask directions, will we understand each other?  Will I even get there?

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The only thing I can read was the letter “P” and “1000″ and “500″.

I was walking aimlessly asking people in my wanna-be Japanese “Onsen wa doku desu ka?”  pointing to the map I was given.

I was having conversations in my mind.

“Hey, they really think I can speak Japanese, COOL!” And then I realized ….

“Yes! They are speaking to me in Japanese! SHIT! I can’t understand them! Just nod, smile and look at the direction they are pointing.”

Being the random guy that I am.  I immediately went to the direction people I asked were pointing.  I still didn’t know where it is and if I would be able to see it.

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Nope this is not the Onsen.

I saw some old men who were just standing around in the house at the photo above.  As by custom I asked them where the Onsen was.  By some stroke of good luck one of the old guys decided to go the Onsen.  So he and I were going to the Onsen!  Just the perfect scenario.

And then strange questions were hovering over my mind.

“Will we actually go there?”

Why did he bring a bike?”

“Why is he not riding his bike?”

“Is this guy a part of the Yakuza where they abduct people and then he will just leave me to them and then go home using his bike while counting money?”

“Will I be able to go back to my home country?”

He was talking to me in broken Enggrisshhh.  His name was Suichiro I think.

 

And so we really got to the Onsen.   No pictures were taken there because of my respect to their culture and to censure the scenery you are supposed to not see. It was just a simple Onsen with boiling hot tub and a bunch of naked old people. They were nice enough to teach me how to clean myself the Japanese way in which I now practice from time to time. After the bath, Suichiro and the owner of the Onsen started talking to each other as I was just fixing my things.   I saw some canned drinks and thought it was iced tea in a can because….errrrr…..because…..I thought it was iced tea.

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The iced tea…or so I thought

To be honest I really didn’t have the slightest idea why I never tried to read the labels.  Must be thirst or must be my confusion. So I bought one and gulp it in a few shots.  The two old men were busy talking and I was just listening.  Then, I felt happy and energetic.  Must be the drink.  I began to talk to them in Enggrrishh of course.  We didn’t really understand each other so we just kept on laughing everytime one of us speaks.

The conversation went like this:

Me: “Japayuki!”

Old Men: “Japayuki!”

All three of us: “HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Me: “I look like that criminal at the board!”

Old Men: “Japayuki!”

All three of us: “HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

Suichiro gave me another drink.  So I thought yeah we’re on the same page. Still the conversations never stopped.  The drinks came in courtesy now of the owner of the Onsen coupled with peanuts from China. They told me that when I come back I must be able to speak and understand Japanese.  And I said yes!  That’s why I’m studying it now. Suichiro and I left the Onsen all drunk while walking.  We parted ways when we got to his house and then he showed me the way back to the place I was staying.

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I’m in the posting mood today

Facebook has been run amock with selfies, and quotes and the dreaded selfie and quote tandem.  To be honest I also do that.  I find it fun and I feel wise too.  I love ice cream so much that I eat one almost everyday.  You see selfies and quotes are like ice cream.  The look is the selfie and the quote is the taste or should we say the after taste.  Yes it looks good and fuzzy.  And then it tastes good and then you get the after taste.  That dry feeling on your throat.  That bloated feeling.  That inexplicable absence of desire.  You promise yourself to no more ice cream.  No more selfies with quotes.  And then the next hour you’re at it again.  Sometimes a selfie and sometimes just a quote.  You can’t just take a look at an ice cream.  And you can’t just lick anything to get the after taste.  It becomes redundant and empty.  Like my selfie on what I thought to be Petronas Tower.

This is not the Petronas Tower...damn where is it again?

This is not the Petronas Tower…damn where is it again?

This is another moment where you realize your thoughts govern your perception or something like it.  It was two shining buildings!  I should’ve done more research (ehhmmmm I should’ve researched point blank!).

This is an example of a selfie with a quote.  You see it looks good and then tastes good.  And then the after taste leaves you bleh!  Maybe next time we should post selfies with factual data added to it like.

This one!

This one!

See it’s a selfie but it promotes a website.  It’s like an advertisement now! It made me look like a model (hahahaha!).

 

I still would post selfies with quotes.  Its fun, it’s the in thing, it’s….just kidding I’ll post more selfies with advertisements now.

 

 

That exciting feeling

In the blazing heat of the sun, I walked to the store to buy some cellphone load.  Suddenly like a gust of wind my consciousness began to scramble.  It was like woah! I immediately sat on the pavement and leaned my head on the wall.  I was just a stone’s throw away from my house.  But it felt like a big mountain to climb.  I told myself I’ved been through worse and it’s only a couple of steps until I get to our gate.  In loopy steps I made my dash.  And like a drunkard I sat on the chair demanding to turn on the electric fan.  My heart was pounding.  My head was spinning.  And I was hungry.  My mother immediately took the sphygmomanometer and tried to get my blood pressure.  A lol moment was when she didn’t know how to.  I took over and then it read 130/100.  I shrugged it off but still the same result.  I was rushed to the hospital with my head spinning around.  My mother was hell bent on admitting me to the hospital.  And as we were riding the motorcycle I felt excited.  A few weeks ago a neighbour also felt similar symptoms and then he died while being rushed to the hospital.  I thought I was about to suffer the same fate.  And I was so excited to experience it of all the things to think about.  They say your whole life will flash back at you at your end.  Mine didn’t.  And as I was sleeping on the hospital bed I remembered to call a few friends of mine.  We were having a seminar in the afternoon and there I was at the hospital bed calling them.  Even they didn’t know how to feel.  One would say pity, then annoyance, and then pity again, and then get annoyed again.  It was those surreal moments when words aren’t enough to describe your situation.  And then something dawned into me.  Life was too short to chase things that are fleeting.  So I decided to do things that will make me happy.  It wasn’t that hard really.  I didn’t want to sleep at the hospital for two days.  Medical Tests were done to me and then I was prescribed to drink Chocolait and Coke.  The hell that just happened.  And yes it was real.  I didn’t need to be hospitalized.  I didn’t need any medication.  And thank the heavens for Ice Cream and Mountain Dew! So all those thoughts that were going into my head were all a play.  Those realizations in the hospital bed.  Those phone calls.  In the end I was just hungry.

Two things I learned from this experience:

1. When you decide to be happy, life gives you ice cream.

2. New experiences makes you a story teller however mundane they are.

Yes, those life backtracks were a bit too much.  But still, it made me think of when it will actually happen what would I feel?  Would I still feel excited about it? It’s like graduation.  It will actually happen after years in school.  Then when it happens it feels like you’re at the gateway between your past and to something unfamiliar.  It’s an exciting feeling!

A few hours after we left the hospital, I felt the sense of “joke”.  I got the best medication given to me (chocolate and coke wtf it’s heaven!) and to top all that I had one of the most exciting experience without resorting to mountain climbing and spend a lot of money or something.  And it all happened in my head!

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This photo was taken two years ago. Thinking of ice cream maybe.

Two years worth of reflection

It’s been a while since I wrote here.  I can’t believe it’s been two years since I decided to quit my job and maybe do something crazy.  I wanted to have regrets over what I did but then I realized that employment can’t measure up to the things I experienced in the past two years.  It was really, as I always say, “a hell of a ride!” Regret would be mind boggling for me right now actually.  Well there’s this parental pressure for permanent employment but then fate has its ways of taking you on a detour.

So to summarize what happened to me in the past two years:

1. I started traveling frequently to Cebu, Manila, and Baguio.

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2012 – Cebu (before the quake)

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2013 – Manila

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2014 – Baguio

And yes most of them were monthly.  Some of them were unexpected.  And some of them were free, well almost free.  Some were sponsored.  The best thing about this is that I get to experience traveling via roro which was one of my goals!

2.  I trained myself to travel solo

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Traveling solo means…

…you are on a budget ~ This is a big deal once you get that 3,500 Yen haircut because you’re stupid enough to get one.

…you create your own itinerary ~ Sometimes you ditch the itinerary and just go by the flow which sometimes works and most of the time not

…you can’t complain ~ Hunger is a primary complain.  Other than that I’m good.

…you have to get out of bed on your own ~ No problem with that!

…you’re fucked when you get back home and you’re broke ~ Been there and done that, still money can always be earned again

…you have to talk to strangers ~ English, tagalog, “arigatou gouzaimas”, “terimah kasih”, and you’re all set!

…something AWESOME is happening to you!

 

3. My life became simplier.

Sometimes different projects would bombard me at nuclear proportions.  But then when I sit down and relax, I realized that they were not that cumbersome and be done one at a time.  I felt like an old man gazing at the sky.  And everything I needed was right within my reach.  I still struggle with money though but  that’s the beauty of experiences. It lets you be more creative and open to everything.

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Me holding a katana (“fake”) symbolizes me starting to simplify my life by cutting out what I don’t need.  See what I did there!

4. Got back to some of my hobbies slowly.

Life wouldn’t be complete without some things to inspire you on your way.  And I have been learning new things and rekindling my old hobbies from my younger days.  And yes, it pains me to mention “my younger days” in all honesty.

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Music and Drawing has always been a big part of me aside from food.  I could get so immersed in doing these things that even hunger can’t stop me.

5. I get to sit quietly more often now

I’m good at shutting up, may it be my mouth or my thinking.  I could be the idiot that mindlessly stare at something.  Kidding aside I enjoy solitude whenever I can maybe that’s why people would get the wrong impression of me being not too friendly.  Most of the time when I’m with people I tend to zone out because ehhh..I just zone out.

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And here is a picture of someone who doesn’t listen to instructions or maybe I’m zoned out.

6. I get to see the big picture (somewhat)

Most of the time when nothing’s on your mind you get to see things as they are.  And that they are…it…that’s just it actually.  I like the fact that things are getting clearer now in my perspective.  It seems as if I’m the observer or the old man down the street.  I don’t mind.

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I know this is an old photo but I can’t help but see the big picture (LoL!)

 

7. I got to spend more time with my family

Working online gave me the privilege of spending more time with my family whenever I’m not traveling.  I got to see them in my own adult perspective and I realized how cool they are because of all the things they have experienced in their lives.  It made me appreciate them even more.

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Similar to this strawberry ice cream with a straw berry on top.  It will melt and will not be ice cream anymore.  Still you get to taste it’s authenticity through the strawberry.  Parents and people are like ice cream.  You need to enjoy it while you can and take time to cherish the garnish.  Family is sweet like this berry.  It wil remain sweet for the rest of your life.  Or was this just my excuse to put strawberry ice cream here?

8. I learned not to expect things

In College, we were taught about statistical probabilities on a much head aching scale.  I tended to simulate things in my head.  And that was not really helping me at all.  I realized that in my whole life I wasn’t someone who expected things much because things just happen naturally to me.  So I learned to go back to my pre college attitude and everything is going well again.  Well not going well but things just start to become possibilities and realities.  Whoa! Nerd Alert!

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Not being afraid to leave things behind when you’re sick of it.  But of course it’s just a bratty way to fix things.  Expectation limits the imagination.  But when we try let go of it.  We get this awesome picture of me leaving my backpack to sit around and me to take a photo of it to post here.

9. I got to meet awesome people from all walks of life

No they won’t change your life but they made it brighter.  They were sources of inspiration for me.  Some of them were younger than me but I get to see them as mentors because in my mind I’m still the little kid that looks up the sky.  I made friends with people I maybe won’t meet again or maybe will meet again.

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10. I got to volunteer for two awesome organizations!

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A few years back I was talking about volunteering for some organizations just to pass the time and maybe do something worthwhile.  And then these two came.

 

 

2014 became a game changing experience for me.  It pushed me out of my assumed comfort zone and into the unknown.  Cliche as at sounds I am getting used to this change.  I love this change actually! They say your life changes whenever you get to reach 27 years old.  Guess it’s that time of the phase.  I can’t be more thankful enough for the experiences that I had, the experiences I’m having right now, and the experience that I will be having!

Part 2: CDO, Cebu, Negros, and Iloilo ~ no more cubicles

We didn’t buy return tickets to Iloilo so we did our usual land-trip trip.

Chilling at 2GO bound for Cebu.

Some info about the book I’m holding.  The Spear of Destiny tells about Adolf Hitler’s rise to power using an artifact called the Spear of Destiny (XD) which was rumored to be the spear that pierced Jesus and would give its owner the power to conquer the world.  Yep, the books I read.  It’s cool but nah! The world is too small for my desires!

Four cities in a span of 24 hours! We almost rode on everything.

Planes

Ferry Boats

Jeepneys

Taxis, Tricycles, Pedicabs,

Horses

Rubber Rafts,

Floaters,

all except a Motorcycle (though five days later I find myself riding one to Osmeña Peak). 

Cebu was always Cebu.  I never get sick of being in this place.  This is my second home!

Figure 1. The Plan: Cebu -> Toledo -> San Carlos, Negros-> Bacolod -> Dumangas

Credits to istorya.net for the picture above

   

At Toledo port going to San Carlos, Negros

San Carlos, Negros Port

The scenic view en route Bacolod

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Late night eating at Milagrosa Shipping Lines going to Iloilo (RORO ~ I appreciate former PGMA for this!)

After this trip our lives (well I’ll be talking about mine) drastically changed.

1. A friend of mine was accepted as a monk in a monastery.  I felt somewhat devastated as it was someone who I looked up to and was one of the people who really inspired me to travel and explore.   A very dear and close friend indeed. It was like a part of me was removed.  I’m very happy for my friend actually. This was one of my friend’s dreams and it has come true!

“Wondering and wandering we went…now on separate yet similar roads…HAHA! CHEERS TO THAT!”

2. A day after this I joined our annual JBLFMU-tour on-board Palawan.

3. After the Palawan Tour, me and a few colleagues of mine explored Southern Cebu.  Specifically Osmeña Peak.

4.Three days later I went to Guimaras with some colleagues in the morning. In the afternoon, I met up with another set of friends headed for Montpelier.

5. When I got back at the office after all the trips I decided to quit my job.

6. Five days after I quit my job I went back to Cebu and from there explored Osmeña Peak (again), Dumaguete and Siquijor.

7. Fast forward five months after. I met new people and learned a lot from them.  Most of them are travelers.  And a month from now I’ll be on the road again.  Not that I could escape or anything it’s more of an urge to explore or an urge to scratch the itch.  This time I’ll take everything slow.  Chill bai!

8. To the future…it’s really a blessing that I have the opportunity to slowly actualize my dreams. And everyday I thank God for this!

 

With a Humble and Thankful Heart may I be guided not on my whims but with divine love (naks)!

No cubicles for me for now!