Everywhere I Go

2013.02.25 - Japan Day 5! Kyoto Tour <3

This day would probably be my favorite part~ We went to Kyoto on my 5th day in Japan! Oh and I got to see a Tanuki~ hehehehe 

Perhaps Kyoto would be my favorite place in Japan because it’s the home of my favorite MATCHA GREEN TEA!!! Going to the alleys around Kyoto, you’ll encounter shops that sell different kind of Match flavored goods everywhere!!! 

Upon arriving at Kyoto, we looked for a place where we can try wearing Kimonos~ renting one costed me around 3,000 yen or P 1,500. 

It was worth it because I got to walk around Kyoto looking like a legit Japanese girl in traditional clothes~ ehehehehe

And before I even forget, I also got to meet one of my first Japanese friends who went to the Philippines back in February 2012 for an AIESEC Exchange Internship, and now, she’s the Local Committee President of AIESEC in Nagoya City University!!! I’m so proud of my good friend Sumie Yamada~~~~

For the rest of the day, we went around Kiyomizu Temple! It was very beautiful~ There were lots of tourists when we got there :)

At the entrance~

We got to try finding out our fortune, and also making a wish for our future! :)

After this, we went around a little more, ate lunch and finally did some matcha goods shopping~ We were so happy buying so many souvenirs that we actually missed the original train ride that we bought a ticket for~ We were running to the station only to end up watching the train disappear from the station :))

MY DAY DIDN’T END HERE….. My friend Koudai drove us up Rokko Mountain, overlooking the whole city of Kobe!!! The scene was very lovely~ I was just speechless at seeing everything that night…

Who would have thought that I would be experiencing such a trip? Going up the mountain wasn’t even part of the plan, but then a good friend has made it possible for us!!! :) 

We had to leave the next morning~ I thank everyone I met during my stay there; old and new friends, all of you were memorable to me :) I will surely visit again :-) Thank you Kobe, my first home in Japan <3

2013.02.24 - Japan Day 4! Cooking Activity + Global Village

It was already my 4th day in Japan and so I thought that it’s already my turn to make breakfast for my host~ Good thing I brought instant Champorado / Chocolate Rice Porridge with me! Aya-san said she liked it! :D

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That day was very interesting! Not only was I given a chance to share the Filipino Culture, but I was also able to learn about other country’s cultures too~ But before we got to that, we had a cooking activity!!!

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With all these ingredients, we tasked to cook the following

> sautéed burdock

> miso soup

> boiled spinach

> rice

Me and my team for the cooking activity!!! :D

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[L-R]: Taigo Fujii, Tommy Kwan (another faci from Taiwan), Yohei Yamaguchi and me! 

They gave us a recipe written in both Japanese and English! We tried to follow everything and ended up eating happily :3 

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After that, we all had to was dishes~ but these guys didn’t want me to wash, they said they’ll do everything and that I’ll just be the one to return it to the cabinet afterwards…. even the wiping was done by them! These gentlemen are sooo nice ahahaha it feels good to be the only girl in the team :)) And I was amazed by this guy named Ryota because he washed everything so fast!!! 

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Next stop, GLOBAL VILLAGE!!! Each Faci country had a station where we were given a chance to share our country’s food and culture~

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There were also other activities like Sado / Japanese Tea Ceremony~ wherein I even got to try; Caligraphy and Japanese Dances! 

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Tea-making was a really amazing experience for me because I really really really really really LOVE MATCHA GREEN TEA!!! 

Some caligraphy~~~ excuse me and my lack of skill in writing Kanji :))

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The last activity was the dancing!!!! :D After the group performed, they also taught the dance to us :-) I’m sorry, I already forgot the name of the dance :< But they were really cute! :D

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After that day’s event, we celebrated and ate dinner altogether and another good news was that I met our previous exchange intern from Japan whom I met back in the Philippines! Who would have thought that we would have a chance to meet again back in his country~ I’m glad to have met Koudai again! He used to be an AIESEC intern for a year!!! According to him, some Japanese people sometimes mistake him as a Filipino already! ahahah Hisashiburi Koudai-san!! ^^

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To end the night, I had my first legit Japanese Karaoke experience~~~ :3

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If ever I go visit Japan again, I’ll be sure to go to Karaoke again!!!

2013.02.23 - Japan Day 3! First Step to Social Issue

The Social Issue Track of the Summit happened during my day 3 in Japan! Our task was to share a social issue that our respective countries were experiencing. Each facilitator had their home groups to share to and at the same time we were also expected to generate solutions from them. 

To start of the event, we had a game as an icebreaker~ Each team had to come up with the tallest pasta-marshmallow tower they can create! So this was ours~

When the time was stopped, we were all asked not to touch our towers so that they can measure each one~ Who would dare touch their towers if you see this….. =))

To our surprise, we actually won the game! And our price was….. THE EXTRA MARSHMALLOWS~~~ ahahaha This is me with my home group~

[L-R]: Leo Murayama, Kazuki Yokoi, Me, Manaho Yokoyama and Kira who came in later on during the middle of the event~

After this, we all came back to our seats and started the real deal~ So for most of the time, I was required to share the problems happening in my country and at the same time help them reflect and think about the possible solutions for it.

The topic that I chose was poverty, a situation that the Philippines has been facing for years now. There were so many things to talk about, they all had so many questions in mind and the answers were infinite. Poverty in the Philippines rooted from so many things that is already became so difficult to trace where it all began and how it became worse. 

Most of them reflected a lot on the possibilities of it being solved, but I think they’ve reflected and been disturbed most by the fact that there are children in the Philippines who are forced to work at a very young age when they are expected to be studying in school and carrying books; but in contrast they are on the streets either selling, begging or collecting garbage for a living. 

I feel very happy that I was able to share my country’s problems with other people from another country. Being able to do these things, I feel like there’s hope all the more because there would be people who are willing to help; but they should know the right kind of help depending on the need. 

Long-term Sustainable Help VS. Instant but temporary Help

Day 3 - SUCCESS!!! :) 

2013.02.22 - Japan Day 2! Meeting AIESEC Kobe + AIESEC DLSU VP Elections

My Day 2 in Japan was a very big day: 

1. Summit CEEDers / Facis meet the OC Team in preparation for the event

2. AIESEC DLSU Local Committee VP Elections! I’m an online candidate!!!

This day started really cold but nice as I woke up to a really nice view from my host’s apartment and a really cute breakfast made by Aya! 

After preparing we had to leave to pick up the other CEEDers to go to Kobe University for the meeting! Later on in the afternoon I kept waiting for the skype call from the Philippines as I had to be interviewed by the election panel online :S

Arriving at Kobe University, I was reunited to Kumi, one of their members who went to the Philippines before~

Meanwhile during lunch, I came across some really amazing things….

They have a Matcha Green Tea Milk in a carton!!! My heart cried for joy over seeing this lovely piece of heaven~ TT_TT I wish we had some of these in the Philippines tooooo

Curry Rice!!! If I remember correctly it costs around 350 yen / P 175. It was really good! I also got to order some sweet pumpkin as a side dish :)

Plus! I met this awesome guy from Singapore!

Me: Hi! What’s your name?

Guy: Hi, I’m Yufei from Singapore. 

Me: Oh I’m Claudeene :D

Guy/Yufei: From what country??? :O

Me: Philippines! 

Guy/Yufei: I was the one who created your invitation for the Conference in Singapore next month!!!

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Such a very cool encounter it was~! I haven’t really mentioned, but I was also going to Singapore the next month for another leadership conference, so it was really nice to have met someone in Japan whom you actually know you will meet again the next month in another country!

After the meeting and the lunch, we got to join AIESEC Kobe’s Local Committee Meeting!

We got to interact with the members too! Plus~ we made them do the Filipino peace pose!!! :))

Soon enough my moment of truth came and I had to face the VP elections through skype. I had a difficult and weird experience running for VP online WHILE IN JAPAN AND WHILE WALKING IN THE STREETS, because we had to leave the venue; and thank goodness for those who were kind enough to lend me their pocket wifi so that I can continue answering the online panel questions while travelling by foot. 

This was how silly I looked like~ thank you to our co-CEED Gary from Australia who took this photo :)) I seriously felt the eyes of the locals at me while we were walking on the street and I was holding a laptop in my hand, as if I was talking to myself/to the laptop =))

What happened after that? I got into the selection pool :) By the way I’m a VP right now so yey I got the position!!! :D I found out a few days later so after that tough experience, we went out for dinner!

I got to eat legit Karaage~~~ <3 chicken is the best!!!

We also met the former President of AIESEC Kwansei Gakuin University~ Shuhei Watanabe! He was the summit chair :) That same night I asked him to make a paper crane ahaha

Well I guess that was my day two~ :) 

Next up, Day 3!!!! :)

2013.02.21 - Arriving in Japan

So as promised, I’ll be re-vamping this blog so I’ll make my Japan trip last February as my come-back post of some sort! 

Yes, I went to Japan last February 21-26, 2013 for an AIESEC event. It was called “First Step Summit”, an activity/seminar gathering international facilitators and local students from Japan in a 2-day interactive seminar. My participation in this summit would not have been possible if I didn’t meet some Japanese AIESECers from Kobe University when they came in the Philippines; since they were the ones who invited us.

I was actually thinking twice about going, but in the end, I booked my flight and applied for a visa :) 

WHAT: AIESEC Kobe University’s First Step Summit

WHEN: February 22-24, 2013

WHERE: Kobe University, Hyogo Prefecture, Kansai Region Japan

WITH: My blockmate / Orgmate Franz Englis

BUDGET: Php 45,000 - Php 50,000 [Inclusive of flight expenses + accommodation was free of charge because all event facilitators were hosted by local AIESEC members from the host university] 

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Arriving at the Kansai International Airport in Osaka, I was amazed at how clean and big the airport was. I’ve actually seen a similar airport when I went to South Korea back in 2010, Incheon International Airport also had some similar vibes to it and unlike the Philippine airports, it didn’t feel chaotic at all! No wonder both Kansai and Incheon Airport are two of the top airports in the world.

Thank you to our lovely hosts for picking us up! I don’t know how I would ever manage to ride their public transportation for the first time without any help! This is [L-R] Aya Yamashita [My host] and Kirara Nakamura [Franz’ host]. Both of them are AIESEC Kobe Members!

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We arrived in the evening so the first thing we did was to get to their apartments to leave our luggage’s as we were going for a welcome party for all facis or what we call CEEDers [Cultural Envoy for Exchange Development]. The party was at another member’s house, his name was Kouhei Fuji but to most of the people there, he was known as ‘Fujiji’~ I think it’s because he was a senpai to most of them so it must have been a short term for fuji-jichan [grandpa fuji ahahaha]  

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Fujiji while making the sticks for the snacks :))

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This was the last photo before we all went home! Actually some of them already went ahead before this photo was taken…

It was a really great night to start off my experience in Japan! It was so cool because I met my fellow CEEDers from Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong; I even met AIESEC Kobe’s previous President, and of course the current members too! They were all so cute, especially when I started asking for their names~ almost all of them had really cute nicknames like ‘Choco’, ‘Manty’ or ‘Bucky’. 

The first night ended well! It got me all excited for the next day. Truthfully, the next day was also the VP elections for AIESEC DLSU back in the Philippines so I had mixed emotions of being excited for the summit and at the same time being nervous because I had to run for my VP position online, via skype; for most of the time, I was probably worrying about the internet connection and all! 

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This was my host’s apartment! This is where I stayed during my trip in Japan. Thanks to her, I felt very welcome :) Thank you Aya! 

I’ll post day 2 soon! Please watch out for it! :D