Thursday, August 21, 2014

Many many reasons why I keep coming back to JAPAN!

I was a recipient of a scholarship from the Japan External Trade Organization back in 2001 where I earned my second postgraduate degree (Development Studies). 2001 was the start of my fondness and my eternal love for Japan. When I graduated in 2002, I would always go back on a yearly basis and explore each region and still find myself amazed each time. How lucky I am to work for a Japanese government based in Manila for 4 years too. This is how BIG the influence of Japan in my life.

Last year, my school, Institute of Developing Economies Advanced School or IDEAS invited me, being an alumni of the program, to a follow-up seminar. Can you imagine how excited I was of this opportunity to be back again? The last time I was in Japan was in 2010, the year I got married, and was not able to visit the country for 2 years. I was jumping with glee as soon as I got the invitation! The program time was perfect for me as it was season in the last stage of winter but approaching spring time.

I arrived in Tokyo, a day after my family spent holidays in Hong Kong. This means that I barely had the energy to plan the things I need to bring (moreso, the daily ootds there hehe). In addition to this chaotic but exciting schedule, my family was scheduled to make a big move to a brand new house a day after I will arrive from this Japan trip - kagulo no?

After I arrived in Tokyo, I went straight to our assigned accommodation which is located at the end line of Kaihin Makuhari station (Soga). My friend, Jenny, and I will meet for dinner around central Tokyo, which is around 1.5 to 2 hours away from my hotel. I quickly shifted to my rusted super basic local language and surprisingly I was able to managed to get through the crazy lines in Tokyo station :)

We went to a typical Japanese modern fusion restaurant and my first order was what else - UMESHU!!! Umeshu is a plum sake and of which is my most favorite drink in the world! hehe. How much I love umeshu, let me count the ways...

discovered this only in 2005 and the rest is history hehe
Umeshu is made from steeping ume (plum) fruits (best while still unripe and green) in alcohol. Its taste and smell appeal even those who normally dislike alcohol. Its sweet for me and I love it! The cold weather and umeshu was a perfect combination. Of course, umsehu with yakitori is the best!!! I miss this now here in Manila!!!

Happy to drink this again in 2013 :)

Japanese curry is like no other in Tokyo :)
A few good shots I had just outside Tokyo station as my omiyage (souvinir)

Love this forever :)
I will be back with family in Japan so soon :)

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