Osaka // Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum

2016 // 12 // 26

Only 5 hours of sleep on Christmas night. No wonder Sofia Coppola made a movie about this country with the word “lost” in the title. I understood that clearly after just our first day. But honestly, in a country like this, I wouldn’t entirely mind. Maybe it’s because I had a basic grasp of the language–enough to get around with basic social interactions. Or probably because of how disciplined they are as a whole, and how safe I felt here.

And on the 26th, the vacation formally begins.

After our grooming rituals, our travel group went down to McDonald’s for breakfast. Strangely, that Makku (what they call it in Japan) had no English menu. That was weird, but okay. Like what I did with the ramen place in Dotonbori, I chose whatever looked like an Egg McMuffin. Turns out, it was bacon and egg. Not bad.

When we were done, we walked out only for the rain to greet us. The area wasn’t covered, so some spots had rain pouring. Good news: I brought an umbrella in my luggage. Bad news: I, a genius, left it in my hotel room. I knew it would rain during our trip, but didn’t know it was that day. I still marched on in my coat, beret, and Doc Martens.

Rainy days dampen the motivation of photographers. But when you’re in Japan, FFS, forget about that. I thought of it as a challenge. Hues change according to weather and time of the day. What is ugly at day is likely beautiful at night. Or what seems meh under the sun stands out in the gloom.

Continue Reading

Osaka // Dotonbori

2016 // 12 // 25

After months of waiting, the day came.

I spent hours on JapanesePod101.com learning the basics. Even a lazy ass like mine learned how to read hiragana and katakana within the ber months. If idle time at work existed, I spent it on Googling everything related to Japan. There were sites dedicated to the country’s quirks that baffled foreigners. Only Japan can be a fascinating, beautiful, and weird country all at once. Anyone I knew who’s been there always talk about how the country is heaven on earth.

Of course I was excited. My parents went there three years ago and went back home with tons of praise. Now, it’s my turn to experience Japan’s beauty. For once, I’m taking a break from the mess of my homeland’s society. Also it’s been 3 years since my last flight. Hello, airline food and in-flight entertainment!

Continue Reading

IrasshAICAse: The Japan 2016 Instagram Photodump

おはよう ございます!

How are y’all doing? I hope you’re feeling well because it’s just the start of the year! We’re glad to leave 2016 behind and move on to 2017. (Not that it treated me or you badly, but it f**ed up society as a whole.) It’s only the first week of January, yet I’m already tired. I blame myself though, since I slept for only 5 hours on some nights. Can you blame me, though? Two Sundays passed since I left Japan!

Two weeks in, but I still have (the good kind of) fever. I can still hear the female voiceover in the train stations announcing where the doors open. Hidari for left, migi for right. Then I still remember that woman at the Daikoku Drug Store where I bought most of my makeup at. And I can’t forget every bowl of ramen I took in the entire country!

I know y’all are waiting for the main course. But here’s the starters. All photos are from my Instagram. (If you’re not following me yet–why though?!–it’s @aicstheticist.)

Continue Reading

Traveling Challenge: Surviving Mercury Retrograde

There are certain times of the year where the stars just wanna watch you burn.

I’m not kidding. Mischief gets its share during those times of the year. You can actually blame fate for your setbacks, because it’s fate’s fault then. Around this time, you end up with lots of “what.” Maybe you stopped at the wrong train station. Or you sent e-mails to employers without your CV. You started dating someone who turns out to be a douche. Screwing up has a fancy name: Mercury Retrograde.

I first encountered this term during my TV production course back in college. Our professor marked a range of dates in her calendars with that dreaded name. She simply explained to us that it’s a very delicate time for production, because that’s when the messing up starts. Since then, I kept this in mind since we now heavily rely on gadgets and tech.

Later on, I learned that this was an astrological concept. I know some of you think astrology, zodiac, and horoscopes are bull. Even I’m not sold on the stars telling my fate. But sometimes, you just can’t help wonder why things just go haywire after an amount of time…

Continue Reading

HOLIDAY GETAWAY: Tagaytay // SkyRanch

This is the second part of my Holiday Getaway travel blog this weekend. For the first part, you can read my entry about Taal Vista Hotel.

Like Taal Vista Hotel, we were no strangers to the amusement park called Sky Ranch. If you’re not a lazy bum, you can reach the park through the long walking distance. It’s not that far away from the hotel. Perhaps, it’s the nearest leisure area that’s not as small as the Play Palace from the McDonald’s across the hotel or as “adult” as the Casino Filipino behind the fast food chain. Sky Ranch welcomes everyone of all ages.

tagaytay_skyranch-3

Continue Reading

HOLIDAY GETAWAY: Tagaytay // Taal Vista Hotel

Long weekends are a rarity this year. Most holidays in 2016 fell under weekends, so boo, that made 2016 such a year! But that didn’t mean we can’t catch a break every now and then, noh? But honestly, holidays falling on Wednesdays felt off. Is it really a vacation if you reset to normal immediately?

But my family took this chance to bond with relatives from the US who came over for my cousin’s wedding. Even with the short time we had this holiday, we toured them around Tagaytay. Its breezy climate and proximity to Manila make it the perfect day tour / road trip getaway. We took my uncle and aunt to Tagaytay and checked in to the scenic Taal Vista Hotel.

tagaytay_taalvista-6

Continue Reading