Sensō and Sensibility

Tokyo, Japan

January 28 and February 2, 2017

I was looking up at a dragon staring down at me. That was how it was standing directly under the giant chochin, that iconic Japanese lantern, hanging under Kaminarimon, the entrance gate to Sensō-ji. The stream of tourists washing into temple grounds was oblivious to the intricate carving on the wooden, hidden dragon above them. I timed a gap in the human flow to take a groufie with my girlfriends before another wave of people nudged us to move forward.

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Under the Chochin’s Dragon @ Senso-ji, Asakusa, Tokyo

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Something Fishy Too

Tokyo, Japan

January 31, 2017

Two-na, too-na, tuna! I went the way of chilled tuna that had traveled up the Pacific rim from the warm tropical waters of my archipelago to this chilly fish port in Tokyo. My early morning visit to Tsukiji Fish Market was a sequel to my tour of General Santos City Fish Port Complex three years prior. Yellowfin tuna from Celebes Sea were prepped in GenSan before they turned up sashimi-grade in Tsukiji.

TTT and Taka @ Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

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Food and Ninja Moves in Yamanashi

Fujikawaguchiko and Oshino, Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan

January 31 – February 1, 2017

Ninja called. I came.

Seriously, what could top my first snow experience and first ski lesson in Yamanashi? Practically none, but other treats this prefecture near Tokyo could offer were more than charming. That turned out to be food so oishi and some ninja moves so out of the blue.

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TTT @ Oshino Ninja Village, Yamanashi Prefecture

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My Japan Home

Tokyo, Japan

January 28 – February 3, 2017

Ah, to be in a small town trapped in a big city. In just a week’s stay, I felt in the zone in Taito-ku, one of Tokyo’s more traditional wards encompassing the quaint districts of Ueno and Asakusa. It had the best of both worlds. I could live here, I thought. Having been welcomed so warmly by friendly, familiar faces accounted for that sense of home. My student-turned-friend Taka came by within minutes of my arrival.

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TTT with Takafumi @ Asakusa, Tokyo

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Illumi-naughty

Yokohama, Japan

February 3, 2017

Like a moth to a flame. That was how I had a night of light with my naughty friend Yuka. She suggested we see the annual extravagant LED light display commonly known in Japan as “illumination.” The word effectively lured me to scenic harbor city Yokohama. A walk on the boardwalk certainly delivered. The skyline was wholly lit-up with a galaxy of colored pin lights outshining actual stars.

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Cosmo Clock 21 @ Minato Mirai, Yokohama

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3W for a Salaryman

Tokyo, Japan

January 30 and February 2, 2017

3W was shorthand for three sales a week. For us put-upon salespeople, though, it meant work, work, work! That was my ancient past as a life planner for a Japanese insurance company in Manila. Our big boss, Sawaki-san, demanded nothing less than Japanese-style work ethic. I had never looked back on it as fondly as I did in Tokyo Metro 20 years later. I fancied myself as a salaryman for a day.

TTT as Salaryman @ Tokyo Metro

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