Sunday, November 26, 2006

Eh-hum # 123

SANAMAGAN! I am deeply saddened by the news that Maximo V. Soliven, one of the Philippines' influential journalists, passed away Friday morning in Japan. I even quoted him in my last blog entry (which was his second to the last article). I do not know Manong Max personally, but I always look forward to reading his opinion column, By The Way in the Philippine Star, of which he was also the publisher. His comments and writings, intelligent and straightforward with a dash of humor and at times, poetic, was always a treat to my serious side. Also, for the times I felt the Philippines was going nowhere, his optimism about the country's development gives me hope that yes, we can prevail. More importanly, his decision to stay in the Philippines despite his success is something the Filipinos should consider. There will never be anyone like Manong Max, and he will surely be missed (by both friends and foes alike). Am sure, he's being welcomed by another great journalist, Teodoro Benigno, Jr, in Heaven.


Soliven to get burial honors at Libingan

The Philippine Star 11/26/2006

The family of the late Philippine STAR publisher and board chairman Max Soliven has accepted the government’s offer to bury Soliven with honors as a war veteran at noon on Friday, December 1, at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Makati City.

Soliven had joined and fought in the resistance against the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines as a guerrilla volunteer while he was a cadet at the Ateneo de Manila Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) during World War II.

He was stricken with acute pulmonary and cardiac arrest on his way back to Manila from Tokyo, Japan last Friday. Soliven was rushed to the Narita Red Cross Hospital but efforts to revive him failed. Doctors declared Soliven dead at 11:26 a.m. (10:26 a.m. Manila time).

Soliven’s father Benito was also a World War II veteran whose exploits during the War in the Pacific were immortalized in Soliven’s column "By the Way," which saw print in The STAR. Soliven flew to Japan last week, where he delivered two major speeches, one before airline officials and the other before Japanese journalists in Osaka. His widow, Ambassador Preciosa Soliven, is still in Japan making arrangements for the return of his remains. Ambassador Soliven said it was her husband’s wish that his remains be cremated.

Ambassador Soliven is scheduled to return to Manila at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday with the urn containing her husband’s ashes. Arrival honors will be provided for Soliven at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) by the Philippine National Police (PNP), and escorted all the way to Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City, where Soliven will lie in state. A Mass will be held immediately after arrival honors at the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Mortuary at the St. Ignatius Cathedral in Camp Aguinaldo.

Masses will be held nightly at 8 p.m. for the duration of the wake. Final necrological rites for Soliven will be held on Friday, starting with a Mass at 8:00 a.m. Interment will follow immediately at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio. The Soliven family has asked that donations to The STAR’s Operation Damayan be given in lieu of flowers.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Eh-hum # 122

Invading Kyoto Part 1

An article from the Philippine Star written by veteran journalist Max Soliven convinced me to join a school-sponsored trip to Arashiyama, Kyoto and engage in a momijigari (maple-tree viewing). And I quote: "The former Imperial capital of 1,000 years, with a population of just 1.7 million, remains a spot of respectful pilgrimage – with Japanese flocking there to recapture the essence of what used to be Japan....It gave my heart to see the trees turning color – the autumn leaves flaming red on the maples, others flaring orange, golden yellow – a riot of shades which made you wonder whether you had fallen into some enchanted sleep and awakened to fairyland. " Here in Kobe, I've also noticed the leaves have turned either red or yellow in most trees, but my adviser told me that autumn is best seen/felt in Kyoto. While the Emperor's Palace was not part of our itenirary, the trip was subarashii...however, one must prepare to walk great distances to see the lovely sights Arashiyama has to offer.

Since we were only given a day (by the way, October 23 is a Japanese Holiday), we only have two major destinations: Nison-in Temple and Hogon-in Temple. Next to castles and Studio Ghibli, visiting real Japanese Temples and Shrines is a must for me. Between the two, Nison-in covered more land area, thus it offered more landmarks to take pictures with or to take pictures of. One is a Hall of the temple, a small shrine-like structure that sits quitely in an elevated lot.

Another is a huge Buddhist bell that people ring before offering a short prayer. Some tourists rang the bell then had their picture taken while doing it. I chose not too, thinking it is one way to respect Buddhism. But I requested my friend to take my picture while standing beside it.

Maybe because it was a holiday, some of Hogon-in's landmarks were not open to the public. It features lovely and manicured gardens that boasts trees already red in color. I did, however, manage to take a picture of a traditional Japanese home (from the outside, that is).

Stay tuned, more kwentos to come. Eh-hum

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Eh-hum # 121


Geez, from what I know, autumn is not over yet. But the weather we have here in Kobe is too much for someone like me (who has lived all her life in a tropical country). Moreover, getting ready for the cold season is EXPENSIVE, I had to buy some winter clothes plus accessories to protect myself for some serious sub-zero temperature. My skin is dry like land during drought, while my hands are numb as if I have been holding ice. Its so wierd that extreme cold could leave a burning sensation on your skin. Never in my life have I wished December-January be over. Back home, these are the most enjoyable months, because its cooler. Nonetheless, I'm glad I get to experience winter first, so that I can enjoy spring next year in April.


I haven't had the opportunity to go sight-seeing, my classes has kept me quite busy. Also, the changing weather has kept me from visiting the neat places Kobe (and the rest of Japan) has to offer. However, all is not lost, I have still have more than 10 months, and I guess spring would be a better time for me to go around and get lost. More importantly, whenever other Filipino scholars have time to pahar-tei, I get to come as well. This usually means good (and crazy) fun and free food. HEHEHE.


Sadly, I have not been updated with the happenings back home. But if its something about the elections next year, I rather not read the news, it leaves a bitter taste. However, the much awaited third bout between Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao and Erik "El Terrible" Morales, was something we Pinoys (and perhaps our Latino friends as well) like to sink our teeth into. And I couldn't be more happier with the news that Pacman was too much for El Terrible. Knocking his opponent in the third round, Pacman, also known as the Philippines' Pambansang Kamao, proved that the Filipino fighters are a force to be reckoned with. More importantly, his win showed that even a panadero can make it big thanks to hardwork and dedication to his craft. Manny, MABUHAY KA!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Eh-hum # 120

I have been living and studying in Japan for a month. Though I couldn't say I have sucessfully adjusted to the Pinoy-in-Japan way of life (my definition is applying the Pinoy practical know-how or diskarte with Japan's rigid, off-beat, high-tech and expensive environment), I could say that I can see myself spending the next 11 months in this country. I've always dreamed of going to Japan to study, so why quit now?

Three weeks of attending Nihongo class was quite a challenge. The medium of instruction is of course, Nihongo. But whenever I give my sensei a blank look while saying "wakarimasen", she or he kindly explains in English (phrases, not sentences), but not without a "polite" chuckle. In my dormitory, I am one of the few students who cannot converse in Japanese. Most of the students are young, European/American University students who have the energy to go out every week or weekend to a party, event, etc. They're a friendly bunch, but I rarely go out with them, it sort of reminds me how old(er) I really am and how different my approach is while living in Japan. However, I do get along well with other research students and Ph D students (wink, wink). What keeps me from bursting a vein from trying to perfect my Japanese are my classes at another faculty. I am taking two other courses in English and are more in tune with my field of interest, which is international relations/peace and security/environment.

The more I stay here, the more it is okay to spend money, one amounting to 25000 yen. Last Thursday, I went to an electronic store and bought a spanking new electronic (duh) dictionary. It took me one whole week to debate whether I need to buy one. For one, I need to buy it for practical reasons, like a more up to date dictionary. On the other hand, I need it because its sorta, kinda feels awkward to consult my little Japanese-Engligh Oxford Dictionary while my seatmates are all digital (DAMN you peer pressure!). But I bought it anyways and am contented with it. Now, I am seriously considering of buying a new digital camera; my Canon Powershot A85 is experience some technical difficulties when taking pictures (sorry folks, no pictures in this blog).

Observations Part 1 (Celebration of Japan's Uniqueness, or rather, Intended Not to Offend Anyone)

1. (Almost) Everything here uses some state of the art sensor technology. You name it, doors, faucets, lights, escalator and even trash cans. One time, I thought the escalator is not working becuase it stopped moving. I took the stairs and when I got to the train platform, I saw an old couple using the escalator. It turns out, it shuts down when the sensors do not...uh, "sense" people who would use it.

2. Kobe is the shoe capital of Japan. A good 80% of the ladies here wear boots; stilettos, combat boots, cowboy boots, leather, suede, etc, etc. Usually paired with skinny jeans, short shorts and short skirts. Channeling Carrie Bradshaw, some of the stiletto loving ladies of Kobe can run to catch a bus and climb up a 60 degree angle hill wearing these killer boots.

3. Most of Kobe's young people here have an unique fashion sense (Note, I did not use strange, but for some, that could also work). Hair stylishly disheveled (will check spelling later, sowee) and dyed, purple pants, fur trimmed jackets, lotsa bling (bling!) and shoulder bags. YES, boys here use shoulder bags. For the ladies, the bigger the hair, the better. Also, leather, in whatever form, is good.

4. Need Make-Up Advice? Ask the girls and the boys. While its understood that girls love make-up (one girl was putting so much mascara that I thought she wont able to open her eyes just as soon as she blinks), the guys like to put a little of the stuff as well. Plus, they like to shave their eyebrows.

5. Love train rides. Though this may sound strange, I like riding trains. Back in the Philippines, I am a supporter of the MRT and LRT systems. Here, the trains are high-tech and clean with a capital C. The public transportation in Japan is excellent.

6. The senior citizens of Japan are so active (playing sports, taking their dogs for walks, going to the gorcery, etc), I think they can live to about 200 years old. It must be the tea.

Now back to studying...hehehehe.